When buying an Android or iPhone smartphone it’s easy to believe that carriers are perfect if you base your decision on their marketing or advertisements. Obviously, since they’re business, each carriers whether it’s Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T advertise themselves as the best choice for you under any circumstance. AT&T advertise its network as ‘the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network.’ Verizon consider themselves as ‘America’s Largest and Most Reliable Network.’ And Sprint according to themselves, they are ‘The Now Network.’ It’s cool that carriers promote the best part of their network and how they are different from each others. But they start to cross the line when they lie to people in order to lock them in a two-years contract; and this is what Sprint is doing.
Sprint consider themselves as ‘The Now Network’, but that’s a misrepresentation of themselves. Sprint is in fact ‘The Later Network.’ Ironically, for a being a network that call themselves ‘The Now Network’, Sprint currently has the worst network out the four major carriers. First let’s acknowledge that coverage depends on location. For example, even considering that Verizon has the most coverage there are places where even MetroPCS has better coverage than Verizon. Same thing can be said for AT&T, there are some places where Sprint might have faster data speeds than AT&T’s ‘nation’s fastest 4G LTE network.’ But on average this won’t happen, those are just exceptions. Now let’s see why Sprint sucks…
Worst 4G LTE coverage
Sprint’s LTE coverage is way behind all four major carriers. It’s been almost three years since Sprint started deploying LTE and the carrier currently has LTE in only 110 markets. Sounds a lot but it is not. Sprint’s so called “markets” are small towns and just a few bigger cities with terribly spotty coverage – they just add LTE in those small towns to claim that they have LTE in their advertisements and TV commercials. While Sprint only has LTE in 110 ‘markets’, Verizon is already on their 500th market and AT&T in 328 markets. T-Mobile, which has fewer subscribers than Sprint, announced their planned to upgrade to 4G LTE one year later after Sprint announcement to roll out LTE. In less than a year T-Mobile put Sprint to shame by having more markets covered than them.
Slowest 4G LTE
Compared to the two other major carriers, Sprint has the slowest LTE speeds. Since Sprint can only deploy LTE on 5×5 spectrum while Verizon and AT&T on 10×10, their LTE speeds can only be half of AT&T/VZW. Sprint’s LTE speeds can only go up to 37 Mbps theoretically while AT&T and Verizon theoretical speeds are 73 Mbps. That’s why you can occasionally get speeds of 60 Mbps on AT&T and Verizon but you will never see anything above 37 Mbps on Sprint.
Sprint will always own your iPhone
You’d think at least after your contract is over Sprint would unlock your iPhone so you can take it to another carrier. Nope. Sprint doesn’t unlock phone, even if you pay them early termination fees or your contract is over. Sprint only unlocks the iPhone for international use, meaning their phone will not work with carriers in the US. This will mean that your iPhone will have a lower resale value compare to AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile phone.
Great 3G coverage, terrible speeds
Unlike their LTE which has terrible coverage, Sprint’s 3G has a great coverage. But it has one problem: it’s slow slow. Since Sprint never bothered to improve their backhaul and network equipments as demand for data grew, their 3G network ended up being slower than dial-up most of the time. You’ll be lucky if Netflix even opens with their 3G.
The Later Network
Unless Sprint already has LTE in your area and you don’t often leave that area, you should not consider Sprint as “The Now Network.’ Their network is horrible in most places. It should only be considered “The Now Network’ by their marketing department and their fanboy. It’s “The Later Network.’ Although Sprint is not good now, it will get better in future. Now that Sprint has acquired Clearwire and has merged with SoftBank, they will have the resources to expand their coverage faster. Another advantage Sprint recently got is the iDEN spectrum, they can now use this spectrum for 4G. So now Sprint is not good, but later they might be as good as AT&T and Verizon when it comes to coverage and data speed.