Sprint launches enhanced LTE 'Spark' network, eventually hitting speeds of up to 1Gbps

US carrier Sprint has announced its plans for an enhanced LTE network, following the trend of many other carriers around the globe. The Spark network, as Sprint is calling it, will give customers added speed when streaming movies, browsing the web, video chatting, and more. 

At first, Sprint says customers can expect speeds to hit their smartphones at 50-60Mbps at peak speeds, "with increasing speed potential over time". Sprint says in its labs it has achieved speeds running at a whopping 1Gbps, but gave no timeline on when the high speed would be available to customers. 

Sprint Spark will be available to customers at no additional charge. The rollout began on Wednesday on a limited basis in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. The carrier hopes it can reach 100 cities by 2016.

Sprint Spark comes at a time when the carrier's 4G LTE network has been faltering, lagging behind competitors' speeds. With its upgraded service, Sprint wants to jump ahead. 

Sprint said phones compatible with Spark will be the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega, and LG G2 - all of which are being launched on the carrier on 8 November. The HTC One Max will gain Spark compatibility in the near future, too. Spark brings faster speeds thanks to a hand-off between the 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz spectrum bands. 

Sitting as the third-popular carrier behind AT&T and Verizon, Sprint lost 360,000 contract subscribers last quarter, but brought in a profit of $383 million. 

The race for faster LTE speeds has taken precedence for carriers worldwide to attract customers now that most areas are covered with LTE. South Korea has the fastest speeds out there right now, as SK Telecom's LTE-A network brings speeds up-to 150Mbps



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