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Why is Sprint's 4G LTE Signal so bad almost everywhere [in my area]?

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So after waiting years we finally have a new 4G network but frankly it just isn't that good. I really thought once LTE 800 was deployed it would be better but LTE I usually get 1 bar almost everywhere. Yes I know the bars don't mean anything but LTE Signal strengths of -110 to -100 even if you are very close to the towers. Even when I drive around I can be in the line of site with a Sprint tower and still not have full strength. A -115 LTE signal will drop once it gets a little worse then it rolls to 3G with full signal under -80 EVDO strength. Sure pulling 60+ down on band 41 is nice when you are right next to the tower but you don't even have to get very far away and the signal strength is just garbage. Yes Sprint 3G was slow but strength of EVDO was never really a problem. Can Sprint just not get the network right ever? I have been with them over 10+ years stuck it out last summer when calls were dropping left and right but what is it about there setup that make the signal so low compare to the other 3?

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So after waiting years we finally have a new 4G network but frankly it just isn't that good. I really thought once LTE 800 was deployed it would be better but LTE I usually get 1 bar almost everywhere. Yes I know the bars don't mean anything but LTE Signal strengths of -110 to -100 even if you are very close to the towers. Even when I drive around I can be in the line of site with a Sprint tower and still not have full strength. A -115 LTE signal will drop once it gets a little worse then it rolls to 3G with full signal under -80 EVDO strength. Sure pulling 60+ down on band 41 is nice when you are right next to the tower but you don't even have to get very far away and the signal strength is just garbage. Yes Sprint 3G was slow but strength of EVDO was never really a problem. Can Sprint just not get the network right ever? I have been with them over 10+ years stuck it out last summer when calls were dropping left and right but what is it about there setup that make the signal so low compare to the other 3?

 

What phone are you using? What market are you in?

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So after waiting years we finally have a new 4G network but frankly it just isn't that good. I really thought once LTE 800 was deployed it would be better but LTE I usually get 1 bar almost everywhere. Yes I know the bars don't mean anything but LTE Signal strengths of -110 to -100 even if you are very close to the towers. Even when I drive around I can be in the line of site with a Sprint tower and still not have full strength. A -115 LTE signal will drop once it gets a little worse then it rolls to 3G with full signal under -80 EVDO strength. Sure pulling 60+ down on band 41 is nice when you are right next to the tower but you don't even have to get very far away and the signal strength is just garbage. Yes Sprint 3G was slow but strength of EVDO was never really a problem. Can Sprint just not get the network right ever? I have been with them over 10+ years stuck it out last summer when calls were dropping left and right but what is it about there setup that make the signal so low compare to the other 3?

 

If you're receiving -80dbm on EVDO and -110 on LTE then other you're not connected to the site you think you are, or downtillt hasn't been adjusted at the site.

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Sim..we do not even have LTE 800 here in Vegas land and B41 is pretty restricted (currently) to I15 and I215 FW corridors but the overall Sprint experience here is not nearly as desperate as you seem to indicate; our Sprint experience here will take

a quantum leap this year as the hundreds of Wimax towers are torn down and/or converted to B41 and later this year we will be seeing LTE 800 for the very first time; maybe your tower density in Minneapolis is the culprit..as many folks here will suggest to you: if your wireless life is horrible then change it..

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Ever since B41 was turned on here my phone sits at 1 - 2 bars and is regularly in the -110 dbm range. Just kills my battery even if I'm not using the phone. And B41 getting turned on has done nothing for the problem areas here.

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I'm in Minnapolis/St Paul market. I use an HTC M8 which I know Samsung gets better strength on Sprint than HTC but still. 

 

2015_03_14_20_42_50.png

 

Speedtest Aprox -105 LTE on 1900

 

Will flop between 1900 and 800 but 800 really not that much better at least at my home tower. I have wi-fi at home and work so it's not a huge deal but I can pull almost 20 on Verizon all the time with the Verizon tower being pretty much right down the road from the Sprint one.

 

EVDO -77 is the same spot I took the 4G speed test. I know LTE is more touchy but I'm not that far away from the tower. This by the way is not just my home tower, it's all over it is like this.

 

What is it about the Sprint towers that the signal is so much lower than say Verizon? Sprint has 800 LTE now but even that still sucks most the time.

 

As far as 1X coverage goes, most the towers here in my area are fixed now from last year and call coverage with Sprint is very good but the Data still blows. Do they want to go voice over LTE eventually but I can hardly keep a good LTE signal?

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I'm in Minnapolis/St Paul market. I use an HTC M8 which I know Samsung gets better strength on Sprint than HTC but still.

 

2015_03_14_20_42_50.png

 

Speedtest Aprox -105 LTE on 1900

 

Will flop between 1900 and 800 but 800 really not that much better at least at my home tower. I have wi-fi at home and work so it's not a huge deal but I can pull almost 20 on Verizon all the time with the Verizon tower being pretty much right down the road from the Sprint one.

 

EVDO -77 is the same spot I took the 4G speed test. I know LTE is more touchy but I'm not that far away from the tower. This by the way is not just my home tower, it's all over it is like this.

 

What is it about the Sprint towers that the signal is so much lower than say Verizon? Sprint has 800 LTE now but even that still sucks most the time.

 

As far as 1X coverage goes, most the towers here in my area are fixed now from last year and call coverage with Sprint is very good but the Data still blows. Do they want to go voice over LTE eventually but I can hardly keep a good LTE signal?

I was in downtown Minneapolis for a few days in February and had a very different experience. It was a mix of band 25/26/41, but I only saw evdo when in an underground parking garage. Speeds weren't great (2-5 on 26/25, 4-20ish on b41), but all the areas I went had good coverage.

 

I guess the network can vary wildly even within the same city. I was mainly near the convention center and on the skywalk , but we did a fair bit of driving around a couple days.

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I was in downtown Minneapolis for a few days in February and had a very different experience. It was a mix of band 25/26/41, but I only saw evdo when in an underground parking garage. Speeds weren't great (2-5 on 26/25, 4-20ish on b41), but all the areas I went had good coverage.

 

I guess the network can vary wildly even within the same city. I was mainly near the convention center and on the skywalk , but we did a fair bit of driving around a couple days.

Yea it does really depend on where you are.

 

2014_10_12_18_22_29.png

 

Again low signal strength but excellent speed. I can't remember where I took that one. 

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-105 ain't a bad signal strength. For whatever reason a lot of Android devices only show 1 bar at that signal level (which I think is a very poor design flaw that should be corrected ASAP) while my iPhone shows 3 bars.

 

Also, I am assuming Minneapolis does not have an extensive B41 network as of yet nor a second B25 carrier. Site spacing is probably not as good as it is in my market either. I also have doubts that Sprint has been able to optimize each and every B26 site to its full potential. These factors are likely why speeds and signal levels appear to be piss poor in your area.

 

I'm happy in the Chicago market with my service. Signal levels are decent, but they could be better. I really hope they deploy 4x2 MIMO on B41 as well as B25 in the near future. Those using T-Mobile claim this configuration is a great complement to their AWS LTE, so I would assume performance using 4x2 would also enhance the PCS LTE and BRS/EBS LTE user experience on B25 and B41 respectively. Also keep in mind that Sprint is planning on increasing site density by a tune of 9000+ sites. In fact, they are putting a new tower just down the street from me.

 

By the looks of it you may be happier with another carrier of you are not able to complete the tasks that mobile phones are supposed to do while on a cellular network. But if it is more of an annoyance rather than un-usability, it may be worth waiting for the network enhancements Sprint has on the horizon.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Yea I really don't even like to go by "bars" by I do keep an eye on the actual levels rather than just the bars. I do get 4G almost everywhere now with fewer spots kicking over to 3G as time goes on but I wish we were seeing close to the 3G evdo levels on LTE which at this point is not even close.

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This thread has an unnecessarily problematic title.  And it does not belong as a standalone discussion.  It belongs as part of its relevant market thread.  Individual issues are not reflective of Sprint as a whole.

 

Just be forewarned when this thread gets moved and absorbed elsewhere...

 

AJ

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It probably doesn't help either that there are still a few straggler 3G only sites sitting smack in the middle of Minneapolis... Which more than likely means the sites around it are overloaded.

 

As Tim would say on here: "Soon:)

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Sim..we do not even have LTE 800 here in Vegas land and B41 is pretty restricted (currently) to I15 and I215 FW corridors but the overall Sprint experience here is not nearly as desperate as you seem to indicate; our Sprint experience here will take

a quantum leap this year as the hundreds of Wimax towers are torn down and/or converted to B41 and later this year we will be seeing LTE 800 for the very first time; maybe your tower density in Minneapolis is the culprit..as many folks here will suggest to you: if your wireless life is horrible then change it..

 

Seriously, last time I was in LV, I never left B41 at all.

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I get the feeling that many Sprint LTE towers are just turned on at minimum power until they come around to "optimize" them. In my area it's not uncommon to go into Walmart, Target, Costco, Sears, JCP, or any grocery store, etc and lose LTE signal once I'm inside, despite these places having a Sprint LTE tower right across the road (less than a quarter mile away). 3G, on the other hand, is solid everywhere in town, even beyond areas that the coverage map says they have coverage. This has been my experience with a Galaxy and iPhone.

 

For now I'm holding tight until 800MHz LTE comes along.

 

My other concern is that when comparing Sensorly LTE coverage maps for Sprint and T-Mobile (and the other two) in major cities/metros, Sprint's isn't anywhere as dark purple (stronger LTE signal) as the other carriers. Kinda worrisome especially compared to T-Mobile considering they're using weak AWS LTE for almost all cities (very few cities have 700MHz so far) yet their signal appears a whole lot stronger/solid. But I'm hopefully 800MHz LTE will fix all these for Sprint.

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Yea it does really depend on where you are.

 

 

 

Again low signal strength but excellent speed. I can't remember where I took that one.

Appears you are using different devices at a minimum based on your spark icon and the LTE letters. So, perhaps the slow one, with the non standard LTE and Spark logo is a rooted device, with a custom ROM, and your issue lies in the radio part of that ROM?

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My other concern is that when comparing Sensorly LTE coverage maps for Sprint and T-Mobile (and the other two) in major cities/metros, Sprint's isn't anywhere as dark purple (stronger LTE signal) as the other carriers. Kinda worrisome especially compared to T-Mobile considering they're using weak AWS LTE for almost all cities (very few cities have 700MHz so far) yet their signal appears a whole lot stronger/solid. But I'm hopefully 800MHz LTE will fix all these for Sprint.

 

What I've experienced in my testing in NYC was that although T-Mobile had a stronger signal outdoors in many places, Sprint had a stronger signal indoors even if marginally on PCS.

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I'm in Minnapolis/St Paul market. I use an HTC M8 which I know Samsung gets better strength on Sprint than HTC but still.

 

That's not accurate.... What makes you say that?

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I'm also in the Minneapolis market and my results are a little different. I'm in Burnsville and have good B41 around my home city and Bloomington. I don't travel to the city of Minneapolis much but I do have LTE most of the time. There are some cases where I have LTE but the speeds are low like SIM-X is reporting but I assume it's because of the backhaul to the tower. 

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EDIT: Read AJ's comment no need for mine  :).

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That's not accurate.... What makes you say that?

 

In my experience samsung devices hold on to a LTE signal better than HTC. I don't care for the Samsung as I have been loyal to HTC for years. Touch Pro, TP2, HTC EVO (wimax), EVO 3D, Evo LTE, M7, M8 and of course will be getting the M9. I have friends that use Samsung and I have used Samsung phones temporally usually your signal strength is a few points higher and they won't roll to 3G as much as the HTC's. Even an old Galaxy S3 would get 2-3 "bars" where my M8 would get one on my home tower. This is my personal experience but it's been that way for as long as I can remember even on the old wimax devices. Back in the day the sanyo phones with retractable antenna were king for reception. 

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Bars mean nothing. Are they different RSRP values?

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

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I don't know where you are in the MSP area, but the downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul areas are VERY good. Lots of Sprint B41 in addition to many Clearwire conversions. For the past 6 months I've had no issues save for my N6 double texting which has been fixed and isn't anything to do with the network.

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In many markets, optimization lags. Every site might have LTE but B25 and B26 may still be at low power levels and downtilt. 

 

Even in Philadelphia, I drop to 3G much more often than I should. Clearwire B41 is strong and works great, but indoors the B26 LTE still isn't optimized, and this is a big metropolitan area. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same issue in Minneapolis right now. Sprint is not inherently weaker than the other carriers, as you suggested. However, at this stage in your market's deployment, it might be. 

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In many markets, optimization lags. Every site might have LTE but B25 and B26 may still be at low power levels and downtilt. 

 

Even in Philadelphia, I drop to 3G much more often than I should. Clearwire B41 is strong and works great, but indoors the B26 LTE still isn't optimized, and this is a big metropolitan area. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same issue in Minneapolis right now. Sprint is not inherently weaker than the other carriers, as you suggested. However, at this stage in your market's deployment, it might be. 

I haven't seen any decent results from B26 yet, it's the same strength as B25 for the most part.

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