Some good is on its way towards Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and San Antonio. At the annual Citigroup Entertainment, Media, and Telecommunications Conference held today, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced that these cities will be the first major markets to receive 4G LTE and improved 3G coverage by the first half of 2012. This means that apart from high-speed data, Sprint subscribers will soon reap the benefits of improved voice and data quality, and stronger signal penetration inside buildings.
Unfortunately, the announcement was mum on the exact speeds Sprint's 4G LTE network could bring as well as which devices would be available for customers to snap up. But if Sprint follows in the footsteps of two other major carriers that launched LTE networks before it—AT&T and Verizon—we're guessing that we'll be seeing hotspots and modems before any phones or tablets emerge on the network.
Previously, Sprint had invested heavily in WiMax as its 4G technology—a move that ultimately hasn't turned out so well for the network. Though it earned Sprint the bragging rights to the first "4G" network in the United States—with its EVO 4G becoming one of the top-selling smartphones in 2010—the network was subsequently outflanked by two bigger carriers in the race who upgraded to the superior LTE technology, Big Red and Ma Bell. Presently, Verizon's LTE networks cover close to 200 markets, and AT&T's is live in 26 markets. T-Mobile, whose acquisition by AT&T was recently cancelled, is the last and only major US carrier with no known LTE plans.