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Sprint’s rivals now offer faster downloads in KC

Newer cellphone technology really is faster, according to tests of the major wireless carriers’ networks in Kansas City. And on that basis, Sprint Nextel Corp. is playing catch-up in its hometown.

Overland Park-based Sprint had fared well in Kansas City tests last August conducted by RootMetrics of Bellevue, Wash.

Sprint’s 4G phones running on WiMax technology posted faster download speeds than AT Inc. or Verizon Wireless devices on those firms’ 3G networks.

Since then, however, Sprint’s larger rivals both have launched their own 4G service in Kansas City using Long Term Evolution, or LTE, technology. Their data download speeds flew past Sprint’s, RootMetrics’

tests in Kansas City last month

showed.

Sprint plans to launch its LTE coverage in Kansas City at midyear.

A statement from the company said its own and others’ testing show that “the Sprint network in Kansas City ranks as a very competitive Tier 1 network.”

The company also noted its network upgrade under way will provide faster speeds and improve call quality. It will include the LTE launch as well as 3G improvements

Verizon earned RootMetrics’ recent top overall rating in Kansas City, followed closely by AT Sprint, T-Mobile and Cricket, a service provided by Leap Wireless International, performed about the same overall. The broader measure looks at dropped and blocked calls and texting times in addition to data speeds.

T-Mobile’s Kansas City service showed a higher call failure rate than the four others.

Texting scores varied based on the number of seconds a text took to arrive at its targeted phone.

In

the 2011 Kansas City tests

, AT and Sprint shared the top performance spot in Kansas City.

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