Sprint’s 5G Network Takes a Different Route than its Competitors – and for Good Reason

I was a Sprint wireless customer for over 10 years, and I recently switched to AT&T because Sprint’s coverage didn’t meet my needs. So when I found out in an article from The Verge about how Sprint is taking a different approach to it’s main competitors Verizon & AT&T, I definitely wanted to read up about it.

Why I Switched

Sprint’s coverage in the areas I frequent has always been a bit spotty. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s a general knowledge among Sprint users that you just don’t have the consistency and quality of service in certain areas.

In fact, other Sprint users regularly joke around at The Avenue in White Marsh because there is a Sprint store there and you barely get any data service – which makes you wonder how often there are issues activating new phones right inside the store.

An event notification from Marshy Point Nature Center. In the details section at the bottom, they make it clear that Sprint does not work at their location | Image Credit: Marshy Point Nature Center Facebook Page

Of course, playing PokemonGo isn’t really why I would switch wireless carriers. The last straw occurred when I couldn’t keep connected on a phone call with a doctor during a medical emergency while I was in Ocean City, MD. I ended up borrowing someone else’s phone to make the call – they had AT&T, and that’s what I ended up switching to.

Sprint Might be Addressing their Coverage Issue with a Different Approach to 5G

So the reason I found it interesting that Sprint was going about 5G differently than Verizon and AT&T is that it seems like they’re making the move in order to change their reputation as a network with spotty coverage.

The 5G technology Sprint is employing will sacrifice speed for coverage and consistency. While Verizon and AT&T are using millimeter-wave technology to deliver blazingly fast speeds, the technology doesn’t travel very far and is almost impossible to achieve indoors.

Sprint’s move will deliver 5G over their existing mid-band 2.5 GHZ spectrum which is supposed to promise wider coverage with fewer drop offs than the millimeter-wave technology used by it’s competitors.

iphone battery pixabay
Image Source: Pixabay

Will I Switch Back if it’s Better?

Never say never… but probably not. Sprint essentially sold LTE service for years advertising better coverage than what they really delivered, and a lot of us bought into it. It only became apparent when they had to disclose their LTE coverage was much less than they advertised when they had to file for FCC approval for the T-Mobile merger.

If that’s not a reason to essentially never trust a company again, I’ll throw in that last straw I had when I switched: not being able to stay on the phone with a doctor during a medical emergency. That in and of itself was enough for me to bolt out and leave.

Hopefully, Sprint’s coverage with 5G does get better for the sake of the customers who use them, however, I’ll most likely not be one of them.


Featured Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr | License: CC BY 2.0

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.


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