Last week I visited a Sprint store and upgraded from a 3G MiFi to an Overdrive. I was very excited to try out WiMax in my hometown of San Francisco and in Las Vegas during CES 2011. Unfortunately, my excitement for Sprint’s 4G service has fizzled.
On Sunday I tried running Speedtests all over downtown San Francisco using my iPhone, connected to the Overdrive via WiFi. I saw both upload and download speeds under 1Mbps consistently. I did get one download test to spike up to 3Mbps, but I couldn’t repeat the act. I tried running Speedtest several times using AT&T’s 3G network and saw much faster download and upload speeds. In fact, AT&T’s 3G network was consistently two or three times faster than Sprint’s 4G network.
Last year I saw several people using the Overdrive in Las Vegas during CES 2010 and 3Mbps to 7Mbps seemed to be the norm. Perhaps Sprint’s going to roll in some COWs for the official kickoff of CES on Thursday, but so far I haven’t been able to get anything over 1Mbps.
I’m going to give the Overdrive and Sprint another shot when I get home next week. If I’m not able see markedly better download/upload performance I’m going to explore other options, including Verizon’s LTE service. While 1Mbps or so might be good enough to check email or browse the web, it’s not what I’ve been waiting all these years for.
Last week I mentioned that Sprint should make it easier to upgrade from a 3G MiFi to a 4G Overdrive, but now I’ve changed my mind. Sprint needs to whip its network into shape before it disappoints more users. I’m sure there are satisfied customers in other locations, but I’m very disappointed in my purchase and new 4G contract. Unless some COWs roll in, I won’t be able to use the Overdrive for uploading videos from the CES 2011 show floor.