I'm in Houston where NV and Spark deployments are well underway. I'd say things have overall improved drastically in Houston, but I'm still displeased with the performance of the network.
I bought the S4 L720T so I've been able to take advantage of bands 26 and 41 in some areas. Band 41 is awesome: 45/15Mbps+ pretty consistently, and band 26 actually tends to outperform band 25. I see about 18/7 on band 26 and about 8/3 on band 25 on average. I assume that's because everyone has a band 25 -capable phone on Sprint these days, i.e. - band 25 is becoming saturated.
All this is fine and well, but my issue is how and why (in a market so far along in NV/Spark) I'm constantly still being booted down to 3G. Further, the wait time to get back on LTE seems to take forever, especially when I'm in the middle of something important and I'm dropped to 3G without (as it seems) any rhyme or reason. The only fix seems to be the whole Airplane Mode switch, but that's just not an acceptable solution.
I would honestly rather have no connectivity for a few seconds than fall back to 3G and have to do the silly Airplane Mode switch when I'm inside a building or traveling throughout the city. I've been patient sometimes, just to see how long it would take to go from 3G back to LTE. After 10-or-so minutes of sitting on 3G, I just end up flipping the Airplane Mode switch and (strangely) I'm back on LTE with a decent signal. Doesn't make sense...
There's a tower less than 500 yards from my house. At home, often I get bumped from 26 (strong signal, fast speeds) to 25 (weak signal, slower speeds) and then sometimes to the dreaded 3G (strong signal, slow speeds, high latency). I can't seem to figure out why. I should be able to jump in my car and consistently tell Google, "navigate to XYZ" and not have to wait 30 seconds for the 3G network to handle it (or do an Airplane Mode switch and redo my command), especially with a tower so close to my house!
Is there a way to de-prioritize or disable EVDO while maintaining phone service capabilities?
I've played around with the Data Programming menu (##3282#) and can't seem to find anything that does that. Setting the NextLTEScan Timer to 1 minute hasn't done anything in terms of at least improving the time I can automatically get back onto LTE when I've been pushed down to 3G. I've also set it to LTE Only mode, but of course, I can't make phone calls, unless I use VoIP, but then lose 911 capability, so that's not an option.
Any other suggestions?