Sprint officially launched its Spark tri-band 4G LTE network technology back in October, utilizing its 800MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz bands of LTE coverage to offer increased capacity and faster speeds to compatible hardware. The first batch of devices that currently support Sprint Spark or will support it in the near future include the HTC One max, LG G2, LG Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy Mega and Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. If you live in a Spark-ed market and aren't interested in any of those models, though, you'll be glad to hear that Sprint will soon add another Spark-compatible device to its lineup.
Sprint today announced that it will launch a new, Spark-ready version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 in the coming weeks. This variant of the Galaxy S 4 will be similar to the model that Sprint has been selling for most of 2013, meaning that it's got a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 16GB storage and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The one big difference will be that the new model includes support for all three Sprint LTE bands, meaning that it can access the Spark LTE service in areas where that coverage has been activated.
The new Spark-friendly Galaxy S 4 will be sold for $199.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate or $25 per month with Sprint's One Up upgrade program. It's good to see that Sprint is expanding its stable of Spark-compatible hardware, especially with a device as popular as the Galaxy S 4, though I'm sure that there will be some owners of the existing Sprint Galaxy S 4 that are bummed that their phone won't be able to access the Sprint Spark service. The good news is that at least they've still got access to Sprint's regular LTE network, which recently went live in an additional 45 markets and is now available in a total of 230 cities.
In other Sprint news, the big yellow carrier today revealed that it's made major 3G and 4G LTE network upgrades in Chicago. Sprint explains that it's been working to "rip and replace" equipment from 38,000 cell sites across the country and that that effort is now largely complete in the Chicago area. The improved Chicago network is expected to provide better voice and data service, especially in high-traffic areas like sports arenas and business districts. Sprint's tri-band LTE Spark technology is also available in Chicago.