As we suspected, Sprint’s 4G LTE network which went live in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday was due to testing and not due to an early, official roll out.
Sprint has confirmed the news to The Verge saying that it was only testing 4G LTE service in the Bay Area and that it still hasn’t launched service in the region.
And while testing is a good sign that something could come in the near future, the carrier remains mum on an exact release date for 4G LTE in the Bay Area.
With the release of the iPhone 5 coming up, and 4G LTE rumored to be on board, we imagine that Sprint will likely have the service live at some point before it launches or, at the very least, shorty afterward.
It’s unclear if Sprint is going to kill service to the parts of Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto that were getting 4G LTE service yesterday but we assume, that because it’s just testing, that those data speeds will become unattainable in those areas in the near future.
Sprint currently has 4G LTE service available in a grand total of 15 markets in the United States. Its next scheduled expansion isn’t set to arrive until September.
By September 3rd, customers in Baltimore, Maryland, Gainesville, Georgia, Manhattan/Junction City, Kansas and Sherman-Denison, Texas will see 4G LTE data service which will allow compatible devices like the HTC EVO 4G LTE to pull down data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than those found on normal 3G.
We also expect Sprint to add more cities to that list before September arrives, the month that Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5 which is rumored to have 4G LTE capabilities.
The carrier is still lagging behind AT&T and Verizon which boast around 50 4G LTE markets and over 300 4G LTE markets respectively.
Sprint has said that it will complete its nationwide 4G LTE roll out by 2014.