Sprint has said that it's 4G LTE network will be going live by the middle of 2012, with Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio slated to be among the first markets with the LTE (and enhanced 3G) coverage. Just because Sprint's 4G LTE network isn't officially live just yet doesn't mean that it can't be put to the test, though, and that's what the folks at PCMag recently did. Sprint invited the publication to test the LTE network in several Atlanta locations earlier this month, using an LG Viper 4G LTE and a speed test app to see how the service performs. Sprint's average LTE download speeds came out at between 9 and 13Mbps, while the average upload rate was around 2.19Mbps.
While Sprint's LTE network performed better than its WiMAX or 3G networks, its peak speeds were a tad shy of AT&T and Verizon's LTE, which is owed to the fact that Sprint is using 5MHz channels for its network rather than the 10MHz channels in use by the other carriers in several cities. Sprint executives also told PCMag that they're aiming to give customers a good standard experience rather than just trying to get blistering peak speeds.
Overall this sounds like promising news for Sprint customers, especially those that've been having less-than-stellar experiences on Sprint's 3G network as of late. Of course, it's worth noting that these tests were conducted on a network that's not yet open to the public, so it'll be interesting to put Sprint's LTE service through the paces once us normies get to hop on. Exactly when that'll happen is still a mystery, but we're starting to get awfully close to the middle of the year. Here's to hoping that we hear more soon.