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Sprint unveils new technology that promises faster speeds

Posted October 31, 2013

Sprint Corp. says it is speeding up its wireless network with “groundbreaking advances” in smartphone technology that ultimately will reach speeds that could match the ultra-high-speed Google Fiber service.


The Overland Park, Kan.-based company on Wednesday announced a new service called Sprint Spark as its next volley in the cellphone wars with Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile. It will download applications, photos and videos more than 10 times faster than Sprint’s current fastest service, which it is still building.

“If they can reliably deliver that speed, they’re going to have a huge advantage over their competition,” said Dave Scott, a partner in Kansas City-based Avid Communications LLC, which provides Internet and phone services to businesses.

Sprint also reported its first quarterly profit since 2007 on Wednesday even as it continued to lose subscribers. The profit came from a $1.4 billion gain triggered by Sprint’s purchase of its wireless network partner Clearwire Corp. in July.

Dan Hesse, Sprint’s chief executive, hinted at “groundbreaking advances in network and device technologies” during a conference call with analysts after the earnings report.

Sprint demonstrated Sprint Spark at the company’s technology center in Burlingame, Calif. Only limited parts of five cities – New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Tampa, Fla.; and Miami – have access to the service so far. And phones that can reach it won’t hit stores until Nov. 8.

Sprint Spark will expand in those five markets and reach others over the next three years. Sprint said it will cover 100 million potential customers by the end of next year.

As for Google Fiber-like speeds, Sprint’s holding that promise out in the not-yet-foreseeable future. Wednesday’s demonstration showed that the Sprint Spark setup can match the 1 gigabit of data per second that Google Fiber promotes. And the speed comes without the fiber cable that Google is bringing to Kansas City-area homes.

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