Neville Ray posted about his carrier's network improvements and revealed that the the carrier had achieved 979 Mbps LTE speeds in the lab using 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM technology and an un-specified, un-released smartphone. Ray said that “This is the fastest speed possible on a mobile device today and T-Mobile will absolutely be first to Gigabit speeds!”.
Today, Sprint's CTO John Saw responded to Ray with a post detailing how much Sprint had improved its network in 2016. According to Saw, Sprint expanded its 800 and 2500 Mhz LTE coverage, optimized every cell site and deployed two and three channel carrier aggregation with antenna beamforming in all its LTE Plus markets. The number of LTE Plus markets grew from 100 at the beginning of the year to 250 at year end. Sprint is now handling over half its LTE traffic with it's 2500 Mhz spectrum which is where Sprint has lots of bandwidth and can deliver the highest speeds. In terms of speed, Saw touted the PCMag 2016 Fastest Mobile Networks report's finding that Sprint beat T-Mobile and AT&T in average download speeds and achieved greater reliability than Verizon. However, Saw is cherry picking the results as PCMag ranked Sprint fourth (out of four) overall in network performance.
Like T-Mobile's Ray, Sprint's Saw suggested that his network would deliver 1 Gbps speeds in 2017 saying. "...in 2017 we expect to unveil some innovative work with 256 QAM and Massive MIMO pushing 1 Gbps class speed boundaries, all on our licensed spectrum." Apparently Ray and Saw are in competition to see whose network will be first to achieve 1 Gbps.
While speed is great, I think most customers would rather see Sprint and T-Mobile spending money filling in the big holes in their coverage, especially along major highways. There are huge gaps in Sprint native coverage along heavily traveled I-80 in Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada. I-90 is even worse with no Sprint service for 1200 miles from Spokane, Washington to Sioux Falls, South Dakota! Of course the same can be said about T-Mobile which has its own large coverage gaps along both i-80 and I-90. Why are the number three and four carriers network guys competing on maximum theoretical speed when their networks' greatest real world weakness is coverage?
To his credit, Sprint's CTO took the high road and did not respond to the nasty things his T-Mobile counterpart said yesterday about Sprint's network which he called "...DFL on every meaningful metric".
Source: Sprint via Fierce Wireless