Sprint turns on 4G in some markets, forgets to tell customers

Sprint is rolling out their 4G network as fast as they can. While they're the only provider currently offering the service, Verizon is about to unleash its LTE network in the coming weeks. A few months back, Sprint announced that they would be expanding their coverage to many areas, including Cincinnati, Ohio. 

As a sweet little surprise today, I turned on my Sprint Overdrive and surprisingly it connected to a 4G network even though Sprint hasn't announced its availability. If you go to Sprint's website and look at their coverage map, they don't even list Ohio as having the network yet. 

If you live in an area that Sprint has said that it would be deploying its 4G network, it may be worth your time, if you have a 4G device, to see if the network is already live. A bit of caution, the connection is finicky at best, as sometimes it works flawlessly and other times the connection drops completely, which may be the reason it hasn't been announced. More annoying is the fact that I cant force my Overdrive to only pickup only 3G, which makes the device useless if 4G drops. 

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33 Comments

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You can't exactly hide a public radio network, obviously they are testing/haven't finished deployment. Deployment will be most likely carried out by contractors, and won't be considered finished until all the testing to show the network meets the requirements of Sprint have been signed off. Only then will the network be announced as ready. Releasing an ecosystem which isn't quite really can be quite disastrous for the product's reputation.

smithy_dll said,
You can't exactly hide a public radio network, obviously they are testing/haven't finished deployment. Deployment will be most likely carried out by contractors, and won't be considered finished until all the testing to show the network meets the requirements of Sprint have been signed off. Only then will the network be announced as ready. Releasing an ecosystem which isn't quite really can be quite disastrous for the product's reputation.

Well, they can to an extent. They can provision specific test-sets to access the network, denying access to the rest. However that is a headache as each market will have different test-sets and additional sets added as the network footprint grows and requires more testers.

Los Angeles 4G showed up as 1 bar in the Glendale Galleria EVO 4G marketing stand. There was a netbook tethered to it and from speedtest.net it got 2.52 Megabits down and 0.7 megabits up which was still good

This isn't anything special. There have been numerous reports all this year about being able to access the 4G network before it is launched as they are testing it. To be honest it makes a lot of sense too. Activate the network and let those who have the hardware use it. If there are any issues it isn't launched yet so you can take your time finding the cause fixing it before the actual "launch".

halcyoncmdr said,
This isn't anything special. There have been numerous reports all this year about being able to access the 4G network before it is launched as they are testing it. To be honest it makes a lot of sense too. Activate the network and let those who have the hardware use it. If there are any issues it isn't launched yet so you can take your time finding the cause fixing it before the actual "launch".

It does seem like a great idea to get all the kinks out before an official launch. However, I see a potential for marketing that has been overlooked. There are many people, namely ones here on Neowin that would love to be a part of this but only by chance have they been able to.

Xenosion said,

It does seem like a great idea to get all the kinks out before an official launch. However, I see a potential for marketing that has been overlooked. There are many people, namely ones here on Neowin that would love to be a part of this but only by chance have they been able to.

Based on what Brad is saying, people on this site would rip it apart with that kind of performance if it was "official".

and yet today the wireless industry defined the meaning of 4G and that is LTE or WiMax2.... so the Sprint "4G" isn't even "4G" by definition anymore

neufuse said,
and yet today the wireless industry defined the meaning of 4G and that is LTE or WiMax2.... so the Sprint "4G" isn't even "4G" by definition anymore

link?

/- Razorfold said,

Sprint 4g was never considered a 4g standard by definition. WiMAX and LTE were contenders but WiMAX lost out. However, WiMAX is still faster than the 3g America has so Sprint uses that to its advantage.

Then again Verizon's LTE shouldn't even be considered LTE since its nowhere near the speeds LTE is supposed to get.

yeah exactly, they never where true 4G, but at least someone is start to define what true 4G is now

neufuse said,
and yet today the wireless industry defined the meaning of 4G and that is LTE or WiMax2.... so the Sprint "4G" isn't even "4G" by definition anymore

By definition it is 4G... The 4th generation system for Sprint.
1G=CDMA, 2G=CDMA2K, 3G=CDMA2000 1x (3G1x & 1xEV-DO), 4G=WiMax.
And mixed in were a few regionals that operated 2G TDMA & 2.5G GSM networks, which eventually went to T-Mobile.

Regression_88 said,

By definition it is 4G... The 4th generation system for Sprint.
1G=CDMA, 2G=CDMA2K, 3G=CDMA2000 1x (3G1x & 1xEV-DO), 4G=WiMax.
And mixed in were a few regionals that operated 2G TDMA & 2.5G GSM networks, which eventually went to T-Mobile.


By definition, it's 3.9G. There is no such thing as a 4G network that underperforms compared to a 3.5G http://socialmediaseo.net/wp-c...10-06-04-at-3.33.21-PM2.jpg . As such, I'm expecting LTE 4G to blow Sprint's speeds away. And still, that wouldn't be 4G.
True 4G is only WiMax 2 and LTE Advanced.

It's disappointing when I see companies doing something great but do themselves a disservice either through a lack of marketing or just lack of any communication. They could be beating up the other providers in marketing right now..

Exosphere said,
You obviously didn't read the story then.

I'm not sure what article you read but my comments are valid. When a carrier is not telling it's customers that 4G is available then it is indeed a disservice. It is even more so when said carrier doesn't even list 4G as being developed in cities where it's been turned on. Please enlighten me to what I am missing here. Oh wait...I'm not.

Xenosion said,

I'm not sure what article you read but my comments are valid. When a carrier is not telling it's customers that 4G is available then it is indeed a disservice. It is even more so when said carrier doesn't even list 4G as being developed in cities where it's been turned on. Please enlighten me to what I am missing here. Oh wait...I'm not.

A bit of caution, the connection is finicky at best, as sometimes it works flawlessly and other times the connection drops completely, which may be the reason it hasn't been announced.

Replying with a quote is pretty pointless. As if I didn't read that part. Sprint has announced where they plan on deploying 4G. Yet where this article is specifically about isn't even listed as all the other areas are. How is that helping Sprint's cause at all? It's not. It's a disservice. g** da**.

Xenosion said,
Replying with a quote is pretty pointless. As if I didn't read that part. Sprint has announced where they plan on deploying 4G. Yet where this article is specifically about isn't even listed as all the other areas are. How is that helping Sprint's cause at all? It's not. It's a disservice. g** da**.

You don't know the whole story. Maybe it's for testing purposes only? Maybe it's got a LONG ways to go, like it seems they do. Why would they announce that stuff prematurely? Doing that would be much more of a disservice. Why are you getting so riled up over this?

ew2x4 said,

You don't know the whole story. Maybe it's for testing purposes only? Maybe it's got a LONG ways to go, like it seems they do. Why would they announce that stuff prematurely? Doing that would be much more of a disservice. Why are you getting so riled up over this?


It's a simple matter of opinion and some people like be overly sarcastic which is down right obnoxious and pointless.

Xenosion said,

It's a simple matter of opinion and some people like be overly sarcastic which is down right obnoxious and pointless.

He was just trying to point out what the reason could be . I don't see any sarcasm there.. IMHO...

I sure would like to have 3G from Sprint, but apparently my city isn't big enough for Sprint to do it. AT&T has it here, but Sprint doesn't yet. Too bad AT&T doesn't have enough antennas here to provide good coverage. I sure would like faster than 70kbps.

semifamous said,
I sure would like to have 3G from Sprint, but apparently my city isn't big enough for Sprint to do it. AT&T has it here, but Sprint doesn't yet. Too bad AT&T doesn't have enough antennas here to provide good coverage. I sure would like faster than 70kbps.

Maybe those particular networks, such as yours, are in their testing phase at the moment which would explain why you don't get persistent connections.

As a sweet little surprise today, I turned on my Sprint Overdrive and surprisingly it connected to a 4G network even though Sprint hasn't announced its availability. If you go to Sprint's website and look at their coverage map, they don't even list Ohio as having the network yet.
How did you know when you turned it on? Is there a setting or something somwhere that tells you?

este said,
How did you know when you turned it on? Is there a setting or something somwhere that tells you?

It shows a 4g icon instead of a 3g icon.