Sprint announces first markets for LTE

Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio will likely be among the first markets to get service from Sprint’s overhauled network and a new form of wireless broadband, the company announced today.

That means, among other things, those cities will get the first taste of Sprint’s switch to a new way to provide high-speed wireless connections. Sprint’s current so-called 4G, or fourth generation data-moving service, moves on WiMax technology. In a program to upgrade the infrastructure that carries all its wireless traffic, Sprint is shifting to the more common industry standard called long term evolution, or LTE, technology.

In the upgrade that Sprint calls “Network Vision,” the infrastructure that supports 3G service and voice calls are also expected to operate better with the new hardware and software upgrades that carry signals to and from cell towers and along hard-wired networks.

Sprint has been promising for several months that the new network would light up in the first half of 2012. Only today has it begun to identify some of the markets that will be included in that first wave.

“Network Vision platform involves the deployment of multimode base stations across many of Sprint’s cell sites throughout the country,” the carrier said in a news release. “As base stations are deployed, customers will notice immediate improvements in voice quality, signal density and data speeds. The first completed deployment of a multimode base station was in Branchburg, N.J., in December 2011.”