Sprint announces Samsung Galaxy S4 with ‘Spark’ 4G LTE compatibility



We often make fun of Sprint at the Mobile Roar podcast, but we can’t deny the company is moving in the right direction. Slowly, but surely. The Now Network is expanding it’s 4G LTE reach and is currently also working on improving it with the “Spark” 4G LTE project. Only some devices are compatible with Spark, and now you can add the Galaxy S4 to the list.

What is Sprint Spark

Spark is Sprint’s initiative to make their 4G LTE network more reliable. This is done by creating a tri-band network that will support the 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz bands. Devices will be actively switching between said frequencies to make a much more reliable connection.

“Sprint Spark provides the capacity to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications while opening the way for futuristic applications. Sprint Spark is designed to support a new generation of online gaming, virtual reality, advanced cloud services and other applications requiring very high bandwidth.” -Sprint


Where is Sprint Spark available?

Sprint Spark is said to be coming to 100 of the largest markets in the USA, but so far it is only available in 5 markets:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Tampa
  • Miami

Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sprint Spark: price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sprint Spark will not come as the cheapest high-end smartphone out there. Sprint is pricing this bad boy at $200 after a $50 rebate and a 2-year contract signature. You can also go the off-contract route and get the device for $25 a month with Sprint’s One Up program.

The Galaxy S4 continues to be a great phone, but it’s not alone anymore. The LG G2 and the HTC One Max also support Sprint Spark. Which of the 3 would you get?


Edgar Cervantes

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  1. Just don’t forget that 4G won’t work on this phone AT ALL until the towers in your area are upgraded to handle the third band. 3G only! Also, no more data/voice at the same time. This isn’t the right direction at all. They’re always releasing phones before their network is ready for them.

    1. Wait!! But I thought they said this phone could use all the older bands? So wouldn’t the phone just use the older 4G bands and when the newer ones come out it would be using this “new” band?

      1. You would think so, but no.

        1. Thanks that explained a lot.

        2. This is a good read. I wanna save it and read it tomorrow for work. But then I may actually be busy. LoL!!

    2. I have an S3 with 4G LTE on Sprint and I can make calls and use data at the same time. If I’m in an area where I only have 3G then of course I can’t do that but it works great on 4G. I like teasing my friend with the same phone on Verizon. He can’t do that lol Verizon.

      1. That phone is a dual band phone so yeah it can do that. This is only an issue with the new 3 band “spark” phones.

        1. do you know if it would work for the Galaxy victory?

    3. Your statement isn’t actually true. Yes, there’s something to what you’re saying, having to due with the issue they have with their CSFB tech. But it’s not a ‘doesnt work at all’ thing. It’s more of a ‘it depends’ thing.

      It will be for some, not all.

      But you are right on the no more simultaneous voice/data. There are reasons for that to, but in the meantime it’s just not there for the new phones, at least until VoLTE.

      1. It works if you’re in one of 5 markets. This is all a ton of the same old crap.

        Wimax is coming soon, just wait!
        LTE is coming soon, just wait!
        Network Vision is coming soon, just wait!

        I got tired of waiting. This tri-band LTE crap is just another example of the above. I left them last month.

        1. You have some serious reading comprehension issues. All 3 bands fully work in those 5 markets. There’s 10-30% of markets that have issues with the CSFB, and about 60% or so where the LTE works as expected, but it isn’t ‘Spark’ triband… EVEN with a triband phone.

          Don’t get me wrong, Sprint isn’t perfect or any crap like that. Make any decision you like, but don’t mis-inform yourself or others as you are doing.

        2. Those 5 markets make up the majority of the Wireless market lol?? not sure how that matters..

          1. that’s not the majority of the wireless market.

          2. Wrong again. In the wireless industry we refer to these markets as IMPACT markets. Particularly in terms on population coverage. And its 6 markets now, not 5

    4. Youre still statement is completly wrong. Irrelevant

  2. Let’s take the time to think about this. If you now have the ability to use these high bandwidth services, wouldn’t you download more data? Now I know that if you do the same thing as before, watch Netflix, and web browse, etc., then it wouldn’t make a difference. But if you change because you now have faster data, then you could potentially download more data.

    Okay, so what am I getting at? Well Sprint seems to throttle their customers at 30GB. Why do companies advertise that you can download all this stuff and use all this high bandwidth stuff if they’re going to cap or throttle you so early on?

    I don’t think 30GB is a bad cap, but my friend reached it and I was laughing. Mainly because he was watching Netflix like ALL day, everyday and reached it in like 2 weeks. =.3

    Eh… Oh well…

    I wonder what happens if you use all 10,000GB Tmo gives you? LoL!!

    1. I think you have your networks confused.

      1. Possibly. A user left a very interesting read about 4G LTE Spark and Sprint’s Tri-Band phones.

  3. The Nexus 5 supports Spark as well.

    1. This was what I wanted to point out as well.

  4. Laughing at Sprint? That’s funny, I’m laughing at my friends that pay way too much for AT&T and Verizon and support companies against net neutrality. Also, before you comment on Sprints network you may want to check out Sensorly.com. Sprint’s network is second only to Verizon… Sure they were behind on LTE but they quickly grew and surpassed AT&T’s network.

    1. Ha. Optimistic thinking I guess

    2. You have me laughing! We pull down 40 MBPS down with AT&T in Chicago. Not to mention in terms of LTE coverage Verizon and AT&T trump Sprint. Sprint’s LTE might be more reliable than their 3G was, but when their native footprint is still mostly 3G than they are still the laughing stock!

      1. I wouldnt get cocky my friend. I work with altec lucent. Youre network is running out of capacity. Very fast. and youre avg Latency is horrible

        1. I believe that’s Alcatel-Lucent. hmmm

    3. Really, AT&T blows Sprint out of the water in most of the country. The only few people that are happy already have LTE and it’s mainly in areas with small MSA population bases. 2nd largest city in MD here and the 3G is unusable, and no LTE in sight. Paying $260 a month and can’t use my phone outside of my wifi, i’ll glady pay at&t the extra $40/month to have 4G LTE everywhere I go.

    4. Sprint did come in dead last in a consumer reports’ survey.


      Also — and I know this is just anecdotal — everyone I know who has Sprint says their service is horrible. And when I compare my LTE speeds and coverage to my wife’s, who has T-Mobile and pays less for unlimited than I do for Sprint, it doesn’t even come close. T-Mobile’s 3G is faster than Sprint’s LTE. That’s not a good network, if you ask me. I admit, my experience is just for the areas I work and live. I’m sure that Sprint is great in other areas, but overall, there are a lot of customers that don’t like Sprint as the above article proves. So, it’s not just me.

      By the way, in looking at http://sensorly.com/, it looks like this just shows the coverage areas for various carriers. For Sprint, having LTE in your area means very little. I get LTE all the time, but it’s still really slow…might as well not even call it 4G.

  5. Kinda late to be releasing this now. Not with the S5 so close.

    1. There’s still a good 4-6 months left.

  6. Is the note 3 going to get this

    1. I don’t believe so. IIRC there was an uproar because the Note 3 isnt tri-band.

  7. in Denver Id be happy with any 3g speeds, let alone any version of LTE

    1. That’s why I left Sprint. Every other carrier has LTE in Denver. Sprint got left behind.

  8. Man, Sprint barely got their 4G LTE up… now they’re releasing something new?

    1. I know! wi-max, then LTE, now Spark LTE… can they stick to one thing?

      1. spark is apart of their LTE roll out… its just a more reliable way of pumping it out because

    2. It is not something new. It’s 3 LTE frequency bands (including the original one) rather than just the one. “Spark” is just branding for the masses.

      1. It’s still gonna take a while for it to roll out to every major city in the US, let alone have good coverage for “Spark”

        1. Fine, but now you’re changing the point. It’s not something ‘new’. “Spark” is just a branding for their 3-band LTE coverage.

          Oh wait, I think maybe you were replying to someone else, not me…

        2. Most of the Major cities already launched Spark. NY,LA, Chicago, Miami. Dallas is already reporting Spark connectivity so i dont understand your logic or simply being a negative person who dislikes sprint

          1. I don’t think most would not consider four cities (I actually read somewhere it’s 5 cities that have Spark) to be “most of the major cities” in the U.S. And I don’t see DavidVarghese’s comment as particularly negative or incorrect. LTE has taken a long time to roll out for Sprint. And in my area, LTE is slower than other carriers’ 3G (I mean, seriously, 4 mbps on average for LTE coverage?).

            I too am skeptical that Sprint will roll out Spark in a timely manner. I’m also not counting on it being all that fast if it ever does come to my city.

            Not trying to be negative, I’m just going from my experience. Sprint has had horrible coverage for a long time now. And the promise after promise of an improved network never really seems to be fulfilled — at least in my area. And, yes, I live in a major city.

      2. i just got my first 4Glte phone from sprint and i don’t went to be left behind.

        1. Which phone did you get?

          1. i have the Samsung galaxy victory

    3. Their LTE isn’t even up yet LOL. This is why I left them. They make way too many promises and never come through. They release phones for a network that isn’t even available, then release a phone, and then a few months later release the same phone with something the prior one didn’t have alienating their customers. I have been promised LTE for 16 months, got tired of waiting, moved to at&t and not looking back.

  9. Already have the HTC One Max. Bring it on! For the love of God, PLEASE bring it on! Lol!

  10. I got the LG G2 and love it. Here in Los Angeles I get LTE of 20 Mbps down and 7 up. That is without SPARK since the phone will get the update for SPARK in January and then we will see crazy speeds on this phone.

  11. Spark? Just a cover name for something they should be doing already and other carriers like Verizon have already been doing nothing too special just an improved capacity fix I dOubt Sprint can handle such a project so fast

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