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Why Are So Many EVO 4Gs Being Sold in 4G-less Areas?



The success of the EVO 4G has exceeded just about everyone’s expectations. Many Sprint stores are sold out of the device or have a pretty lean inventory. We’re all being hammered with Sprint’s ‘First’ advertising campaign and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t see at least a handful of the devices out in the real world. Both geeks and average consumers seem to be picking up the device at a fast clip. There’s only one problem: Sprint doesn’t offer 4G in most areas.

That’s right, you simply can’t use the killer feature that Sprint is bragging about so much in its marketing material in most metro areas. I’ve seen countless EVO 4Gs here on the streets of San Francisco, which is a 4G-free zone. The nearest Sprint 4G coverage to here is 130 miles away in Merced, CA. I’m sure it’s a perfectly nice town, but like most Californians I’ve never visited.

As in California, most states have sparse 4G coverage. A quick look at Sprint’s 4G info page shows that only a handful of cities in select states are in the coverage area. Texas, Goergia and the Northwest get the most love. Unofficial pockets of 4G are popping up in some metro areas as Clearwire lights up new towers, but Sprint is giving itself until the end of the year to officially launch coverage in San Francisco, New York and other cities.

As a geek and longtime Sprint customer I completely understand the urge to rush out and buy an EVO 4G. But I don’t think it’s a wise¬†decision to buy the device and wait several months until you can actually (maybe) take advantage of its unique features. By the end of the year I’m sure Sprint will introduce more 4G devices, making the EVO 4G look a little stale.



  1. GTaylor

    07/21/2010 at 11:53 am

    What features of the phone which are not 4G dependent appeal to users? Is it a good user experience over the non 4G Sprint network? Is the experience comparable to someone buying an iPhone 3 and then upgrading to an iPhone 4 even though service was not available at all from that user’s home for 3 years?

  2. Mark

    07/21/2010 at 12:08 pm

    Why are so many iPhones sold in areas where AT&T can’t provide decent 3G, if any at all?

  3. Xavier Lanier

    07/21/2010 at 12:09 pm

    Actually AT&T’s 3G service was only MIA here for 2 years ;-), but yeah same general idea. A more accurate comparison would be buying an iPhone 3G well before AT&T officially launched 3G in my market. My concern is that people are buying into the 4G hype and will have to wait a minimum of several months to try out 4G in their home towns, by which time better/cooler 4G devices will be available at Sprint stores. The EVO 4G is a pretty nice device, but people keep on telling me they bought it because it’s the first 4G phone, not because of Android, the apps or the UI.

  4. Mike

    07/21/2010 at 12:21 pm

    The 4G is nearly irrelevant. I have one and rarely turn it on and I am in a 4G area. The only time it’s truly useful is with the hotspot app, which I use fairly infrequently. This is the fastest and best experience in a device Sprint has to offer regardless of wireless speeds.

    • Xander

      07/21/2010 at 3:18 pm

      4G comes in handy watching HD Youtube and Sprint TV, as well. Really useful for furtively watching a crisp and clear broadcast of the World Cup at the office :)

  5. Kevin N

    07/21/2010 at 12:36 pm

    I bought an EVO for its big screen, Android 2.1, HTC Sense, and EV-DO network. EV-DO (especially Verizon, but Sprint’s plan also covers roaming via Verizon) has the best data coverage in the places I go. WiMax was a potential nice feature, as was hotspot, but they weren’t the deciding factor.

    I would’ve kept it, if it weren’t for my wife’s Verizon plan. The Droid X is close enough, so that’s what I ultimately have gone with.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of other people are doing the same as I did — buying the EVO for its other features, and for Sprint’s good network and plans.

    • Ben

      07/21/2010 at 1:27 pm

      I agree with Kevin. Most people just want the latest, greatest Android phone.

    • Louis R.

      07/22/2010 at 6:00 am

      Ditto, let’s not forget about its great looks, the Droid X is flat black. looks dull, hardware buttons not as sleek.

  6. gmich

    07/21/2010 at 3:20 pm

    I have an Evo and live in a 4G area (Chicago), but I rarely use the 4G because I’d rather conserve battery and 3G is usually plenty fast. I bought the phone mostly for the large screen and Android 2.1., and I’m loving it. No regrets at all.

  7. Mark

    07/21/2010 at 4:19 pm

    I had the original Droid and the EVO was 30% faster in downloading a web page in a 3G area only. The screen is considerably larger so I make less errors when typing things into the screen. The large screen means I can see more stuff on the screen and I don’t put the phone in landscape mode anymore. The EVO also has a wireless hotspot.

    4G is scheduled for the San Francisco Bay Area sometime in 2010 so I can look for even more speed improvement on downloading web pages. This will help if I tether a laptop to the EVO. The EVO should get Android 2.2 in the very near future so I expect even more speed improvement in the Javascript processing.

    And finally, it only cost me the price of a conference. I went to the Google I/O conference and they each of us unlocked Sprint EVO and a Droid (US and a few other countries) or Nexus 1 phone. So 2 unlocked phones, 2 days of a conference, breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and a after conference party for $300 seems like a pretty good deal.

  8. Topgun

    07/21/2010 at 5:18 pm

    How about…the Evo is one of the most powerful and feature rich phones on the market? That could be a good reason. 4g is a bonus.

  9. GoodThings2Life

    07/21/2010 at 6:44 pm

    No 4G here in Youngstown either, but I like my EVO because the hardware is fast, stable, and has a beautiful screen on it. It’s the best phone on the Sprint network, which is the second best carrier in the region after Verizon, which frankly is too expensive.

  10. Robert

    07/21/2010 at 7:48 pm

    I live in Nashville, TN and we don’t have 4G and probably won’t until at least the 4th Quarter of 2010. I was with Sprint for almost 10 years and left for AT&T and the iPhone. AT&T was spotty with their 3G coverage and when I was finally up on my contract I couldn’t wait to go back to Sprint…. With Sprint I save $30+ per month even with the $10 EVO Tax. I have traveled to a couple of area’s with 4G (Raleigh/Durham and Atlanta) and 4G isn’t bad as long as your outside and in a good spot. But overall 3G speeds are great and 4G wasn’t the main selling point. I considered dropping my old phone a couple of times but Sprint never offered a true top notch device.. I passed on the Pre, Moment and Hero….

  11. Jasen Jones

    07/21/2010 at 7:59 pm

    My-fi and phone as a single device tipped the scale for me. Cheaper than iPhone and laptop connect card i had before.

  12. Anand

    07/22/2010 at 12:05 am

    The evo is a fantastic phone and has been compared to the iPhone. People like me, if we were forced to leave our blackberries, would rather the Evo than the iPhone.

    There is no phone that has more features except maybe the Droid X. Although Sprint has been harping about 4G, there are several other good reasons to get the Evo 4G. For one, if you cancel, it’s not 350 dollars. Sprint plans are much cheaper than others and in general, I’ve noticed a lot of hatred and irritation has been caused by Apple’s CEO. What goes up comes down. There is no logic involved.

    The Evo sells because it is the most original feature packed massive SPRINT phone that has ever been released exclusively for the carrier.

  13. Brandon

    07/22/2010 at 2:53 pm

    It’s the best Android device on Sprint and “arguably” the best Android device out period with a front facing camera.

    I don’t think it matters if you’re outside of a 4G area. Sprint 3G is better than any other carrier’s 3G service – at least in my area.

    Even with the $10.00 premium on 4G, Sprint is still much cheaper than any other carrier – and I get unlimited data.

    It’s an easy decision, why would I wait for 4G before using this phone? And if I do wait on 4G what’s the alternative; again, Sprint 3G in my area is the best and cheapest.

  14. GTaylor

    07/22/2010 at 8:13 pm

    Xavier, Do you have your answer?

  15. Jordan

    07/24/2010 at 2:11 pm

    I dont think 4G is even half of the appeal of this phone. Even on Sprints 3G network this is one of the most powerful and user friendly phones currently on the market. Also it was explained to me that the $10 charge is not just to support the 4G network. Sprint is anticipating this phone to put huge draws on its existing 3G network and has decided to charge a small fee instead of capping data usage as some carriers have.

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