Sprint Nextel Corp. on Wednesday announced that it would launch 4G LTE on July 15 in five markets: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio.
These are the first cities where Sprint is launching LTE, though the nation's third-largest wireless carrier plans to announce additional markets later this year.
Sprint is modernizing its wireless infrastructure through its so-called Network Vision program in an effort to stay competitive with its larger rivals, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The company anticipates completing its new LTE network with an improved 3G network by the end of 2013.
"The performance of both the 4G LTE and improved 3G networks are exceeding our expectations," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement, "and we are pleased with the progress of the entire Network Vision program."
Sprint is aiming to cater to such customers as those on its Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, Anytime. Starting at $79.99 per month for smartphones, the plan includes unlimited data, texting and calling to and from any mobile phone in America while on Sprint's network.
Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint operates a 4G WiMAX network through its partnership with Clearwire Corp., though the technology is considered at least by some experts to be inferior to LTE or Long Term Evolution.
Among the largest wireless carriers, Verizon Wireless is leagues ahead of its competitors when it comes to 4G LTE coverage. The mobile-phone giant last week announced that its high-speed network is now available in 304 markets to more than two-thirds of the U.S. population.