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Thread: How Did Sprint Data Network Get So Bad?

  1. #1
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    Why is Sprint so slow?

    I have a truly unlimited (SERO) plan from Sprint.

    According to the Sprint coverage map, I never ever leave 4G and 3G coverage. But my iPhone 5 is painfully slow (or more often doesn't load at all); "speed test" apps have never clocked higher than 400kbps download. Seriously, most of the time when I try to load a web page, I wait 30 seconds and then just give up.

    What gives? Is Sprint known for slow speed to compensate for "truly unlimited" data? Are there other carriers that are generally faster?

  2. #2
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    You get what you pay for. Now that pricing is pretty much similar you can go with MVNO's that run on Tmobile HSPA+ network or one of the big dogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fajoff View Post
    I have a truly unlimited (SERO) plan from Sprint.

    According to the Sprint coverage map, I never ever leave 4G and 3G coverage. But my iPhone 5 is painfully slow (or more often doesn't load at all); "speed test" apps have never clocked higher than 400kbps download. Seriously, most of the time when I try to load a web page, I wait 30 seconds and then just give up.

    What gives? Is Sprint known for slow speed to compensate for "truly unlimited" data? Are there other carriers that are generally faster?
    You're in an LTE market? what metro area?
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    If you're not in an LTE market, try going to Settings > Cellular and disable LTE. That made a difference on my LTE phone, although if it's simply a capacity issue it may not help.

    I can say though, my ping times (the most important part) went from 600-700ms back down to 100-200ms when i disabled LTE/eHRPD
    Left: T-Mobile Unlimited LTE in AZ, Right: CenturyLink DSL at Home

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    Re: Why is Sprint so slow?

    Quote Originally Posted by m3nphls View Post
    You get what you pay for. Now that pricing is pretty much similar you can go with MVNO's that run on Tmobile HSPA+ network or one of the big dogs.
    Actually I wouldn't go with T-Mobile. You leave the metro area and you'll want to throw your phone out the window once you leave that T-Mobile HSPA+ coverage. It's worse than Sprint, believe me, I went through it! After all, you do "get what you pay for" as stated above

    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III using HowardForums

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    Re: Why is Sprint so slow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abstract08 View Post
    Actually I wouldn't go with T-Mobile. You leave the metro area and you'll want to throw your phone out the window once you leave that T-Mobile HSPA+ coverage. It's worse than Sprint, believe me, I went through it! After all, you do "get what you pay for" as stated above

    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III using HowardForums
    It depends. If you don't travel much, tmo is a good value. Ask your friends how they like it.

    I'm used to cdma voice quality, so I would look at verizon & metropcs if i wanted to switch.

    Sent from my EVO LTE using HowardForums

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    Quote Originally Posted by gameaddict8 View Post
    It depends. If you don't travel much, tmo is a good value. Ask your friends how they like it.

    I'm used to cdma voice quality, so I would look at verizon & metropcs if i wanted to switch.

    Sent from my EVO LTE using HowardForums
    Very true. And you especially can't go wrong with Verizon !

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    Re: Why is Sprint so slow?

    Quote Originally Posted by fajoff View Post

    According to the Sprint coverage map, I never ever leave 4G and 3G coverage. But my iPhone 5 is painfully slow........
    What area are you in? Could it be coverage maps are depicting 4G Wi-Max and not LTE?



    Sent from my EVO LTE using Tapatalk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abstract08 View Post
    Very true. And you especially can't go wrong with Verizon !
    Well, you can.... $$$$$$ LOL
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    Question How Did Sprint Data Network Get So Bad?

    Thinking back to about 5 years ago, the Sprint Data Network received high accolades from PC Magazine and other reviewers that tested the performance of the Sprint Data Network. Recently as I and other members of SU have experienced, The Sprint Network has many areas in which the data speeds are completely unusable (less than 30Kb/sec) and it is almost impossible to open a simple mobile webpage. The performance in these areas is absolutely abysmal. All of the other cell phone providers, T-mobile and Metro-PCS included provide performance that is at least 50x that of the Sprint Network.

    My question are:

    How did the Sprint Data Network fall from being near the best to being a complete joke?

    Didn't Sprint Executives anticipate the problem, and if they did, when didn't they immediately do something to fix the problem before it became stage-4 cancer? Didn't they see the train-wreck coming?

    Why didn't heads-roll at Sprint? Sprint Executives have allowed the Sprint Data Network to become the laughing-stock of the cellular world. The folks that allowed this to happen should have been fired!

    I am hoping that there are some current or ex Sprint employees with inside knowledge that can provide real answers to these questions.

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    The iPhone happened. Remember about that same time the iPhone brought the entire ATT network to its knees. ATT scrambled to expand capacity. Verizon smartened up and set up a roadmap to expand their network and released the iPhone with proper support. Sprint didn't take it seriously, hence why the CEO was so adamant about getting the iPhone recently. Sprint sat on their hands because they were always the "business" network. Then the iPhone came and made smartphones a consumer product, suddenly Sprint lost hoards of customers and their network was years behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s99nj View Post
    The iPhone happened. Remember about that same time the iPhone brought the entire ATT network to its knees. ATT scrambled to expand capacity. Verizon smartened up and set up a roadmap to expand their network and released the iPhone with proper support. Sprint didn't take it seriously, hence why the CEO was so adamant about getting the iPhone recently. Sprint sat on their hands because they were always the "business" network. Then the iPhone came and made smartphones a consumer product, suddenly Sprint lost hoards of customers and their network was years behind.
    Someone should have been fired for this blunder. I have not heard of any disciplinary action within Sprint.

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    This happened LONG before the iPhone hit Sprint...

    I remember when EV-DO first came out ~2007, Sprint was very proactive with blanketing their entire corporate footprint with it, and they constantly beat Verizon in speed tests...

    It was great--I work in broadcasting, and when my hometown was flooded out in December 2007, I was sitting on top of a hill at our transmitter site 12 miles out of town with DSL-speed internet and a generator relaying emergency information with my laptop and EV-DO data card... all wireline internet was gone across the entire region, US Cellular was the only other provider with working (1x) data (probably Nextel too--but I know AT&T, T-Mo and Verizon data was down since people called to tell me about it), but Sprint was *flawless* and they gained a LOT of loyalty from me then.

    Then, in September 2009 something changed that "tipped the scales" and over the course of 2 months the data speeds just went to crap. Pre 9/09 I *almost always* had download speeds above 2 megs... by December 09 they were 200k and stayed there until about a month ago--and even now only hover around 1.5-1.8 and only at sites that have been upgraded.

    I still don't know what happened... but it tanked VERY quickly across the region in late 09, and across the US over the next year... I don't think there is any Sprint market that hasn't seen a slowdown.

    I don't blame this on Hesse... I think it was Forsee's doing since they put all their money into Qchat, PowerSource, and promoting IDEN--without actually doing anything of value to get people on CDMA. The only thing Forsee did good here was get CDMA on nearly every IDEN site in the region that didn't have native CDMA coverage via synergy sites--a task that it looks like he abandoned midway through--we were just lucky here.

    I have the feeling that they totally ignored the data crush that they HAD to have known was coming (especially since AT&T was right in the middle of dealing with iPhone mania in 2008) and let their network just sit.... then Hesse inherited the whole mess and has only just been able to juggle moving people off IDEN, upgrading the 3G backhaul, all while launching LTE....

  14. #14
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    VZW's 3G is/was pretty awful too. A large part of Sprint's problem is that EVDO, as a technology, just isn't efficient enough to handle a glut of smartphones.

    Verizon's 4G network.

    I live in California, not New York. I actually dislike New York.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newyork4me View Post
    VZW's 3G is/was pretty awful too. A large part of Sprint's problem is that EVDO, as a technology, just isn't efficient enough to handle a glut of smartphones.
    That may have something to do with it as well -- although providing enough bandwidth at the towers to keep up should have been able to keep things fairly stable. I realize Verizon's 3G isn't that great either--but at least they managed it better than Sprint did.

    On a similar front, I wonder why the CDMA carriers didn't push out EVDO Rev. B on a larger scale (only a few in Asia did IIRC) -- this would have got them up to around 19 megs by bonding a few channels together, providing similar speeds to HSDPA 21, using the same amount of spectrum. IIRC Rev. B was basically just a software update so it wouldn't have been a huge overhaul like LTE is.

    The GSM carriers seemed to be just a bit more aggressive in pushing their 3G... HSDPA has always required a 10 mhz. chunk of spectrum for a single channel--but they have been able to push it to 21 megs, and 42 by bonding 2 of the channels together. IIRC Rev. B offered similar capacity, but by bonding multiple 2.5 mhz. chunks together... similar amount of spectrum, similar speeds, but just going about it a different way.


    Of course now that everyone is heading towards LTE that point is moot--but still a curiosity why Sprint and Verizon allowed themselves to lag so far behind in 3G while the GSM carriers have their "faux G" that is really still their evolved 3G technologies--and provides a much less drastic fallback (at least in their 3G areas... going from LTE to GPRS/EDGE is a whole different story)

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