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New Boost or Virgin Mobile LG Volt or Galaxy S5 Not Connecting to LTE? Here's Why

Some Virgin and Boost Mobile users have discovered that their new LG Volt and Samsung Galaxy S5 Sprint Spark tri-band LTE phones are not connecting to LTE in locations where the Virgin and Boost coverage maps indicate LTE is available. Older non-Spark LTE phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III or Galaxy Victory do work in these areas.

Spark devices not getting LTE in all markets is a temporary issue caused by the way Sprint is rolling out Spark and LTE. Older Sprint single band LTE phones like the S III can connect to CDMA for voice and LTE for data simultaneously. That technology, which is called Simultaneous Voice and LTE (SVLTE), is not supported by Spark phones. Spark uses a different technology called Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) to temporarily shut off LTE and enable CDMA when the user makes or receives a call. As soon as the call ends, CSFB switches back to LTE.

Because their phones don't support Simultaneous Voice and LTE, Spark phone users can't use data to look something up on the Web while in the middle of a call. If that wasn't bad enough, CSFB requires network upgrades that haven't been made in all Sprint LTE markets yet. A Spark phone in a non-CSFB market disables LTE and defaults to CDMA/EVDO only mode so that voice calling works. A partial workaround is to change the phone's network mode to LTE-only in settings, which should let the phone connect to LTE data, but will also make the phone unable to make or receive calls.

The good news is that Sprint is working to quickly enable CSFB across its entire network. Click here for a spreadsheet from S4Gru.com showing which markets Sprint identified as having problems as of 12/4/2014. Click here for an S4Gru.com forum thread where users report CSFB related LTE issues, which still seem quite widespread. For a detailed explanation of the technological issues involved see this S4Gru.com article and this Geek.com article.

Image: Sprint

18 comments:

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  1. This is unacceptable. Why don't we have VoLTE yet?

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    1. Current T-Mobile user very happy to be enjoying VoLTE on my LG G Flex and unradio by rhapsody.

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  2. I have an s three and cant get lte where the map says there is. I think sprint needs to get oily ts act together quick. And verify that the area truly has lte fist.

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  3. LOL, they can't even finish Network Vision 4G LTE and the 3G back haul, seems all Sprint can do is offer 4G Service, but not provide it.
    No, don't look over there at our 4G roll out, look over here at this new shiny turd!

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    1. It looks like Network Vision has developed cataracts!

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    2. S4Gru = Sprint 4G really unusable! S4Gru are nothing but a bunch of pathetic Sprint sycophants who will block/delete anything in criticism of Sprint Network Vision roll out, especially if you post actual factual evidence of the Pathetic 4G service that is provided in an area officially labeled 6+ months ago a 4G LTE Market. Going on 16 months since 4G LTE showed up and still you can barely get a decent 4G signal any farther than a 1 mile radius from the tower and most towers don't broadcast in a radius, but in a rectangular pattern 1-1.5 mi out N-S and .5 mile out E-W. 3g is at best 1X anywhere you go.

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  4. well...since there are persistent news about a possible Sprint/T-mobile marriage, hopefully they will change the network from CDMA to HSPA/LTE, the way Telus/Bell did in Canada, if not its game over for both companies, and ATT/Verizon will pick up the spoils.

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    1. I think it is more likely to be game over for Sprint. T-Mobile is actually looking brighter than it has in a while.

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    2. Tmobile might be worst, they gained over 4 million customers and still can't make any money. Imagine if they wouldn't gotten all those customers. Things don't look bright for neither one.

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    3. Old data. T-Mobile gained 22 million customers in the past two years, and just made a $101M+ profit in the last quarter alone, more than all the analysts predicted. Things are definitely bright for Tmo USA. They have lots more growth potential and their stock is only trading at 9X earnings. They already have more subscribers than Sprint, who is counting 1.7M MVNO customers who have not spent money in over 6 months as of Q4 2014 (that 1.7 number grows every quarter).

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    4. Harbor Mobile beats Cricket on price+features/services, and blows it clear out of the water on overall coverage when you included international. You get voice and DATA roaming on AT&T and regional carriers in the US for only $30/month - t. ~$35 in my area. Music Freedom, international sms and data roaming are included, folks.

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  5. T-mobile is in trouble with the FCC for cheating customers again

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  6. someone with an s3 on boost, tell me if it really can chat via voice and use a hotspot or tether at the same time, via foxfi?

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  7. "....S4Gru.com showing which markets Sprint identified as having problems as of 12/4/2014"

    Kind of depressing, that they envision the problem (not the solution) to be well established this coming Dec 4,

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  8. Have the same problem lg volt on boost not getting calls when in LTE/CDMA in Philly area.

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  9. My lg volt wont even connect to the 4g network.

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  10. My husband and i have the same phone. He picks up 3G & 4G, mine only works when I'm near the city. I can't even watch live broadcast because it is constantly trying to connect. What's the deal? I have to stand by the window or outside to talk on my phone.

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    1. Reception varies between one phone and another of the same make and model. If yours is really bad there might be a problem with the phone, if it's under warranty get it replaced and see if the replacement works better.

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