Sprint introduces international WiFi calling, 30-day service trials and stronger cell towers



Rounding out Sprint’s long list of announcements today (earlier we learned about the Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport and new markets for 4G LTE and Sprint Spark) are three changes that are sure to catch your eye. First up is international WiFi calling: you’ll be able to use WiFi networks to make calls in over 100 countries abroad, so if cellular service isn’t quite “right” where you’re staying simply hop onto a WiFi network and do your bidding. Sprint hasn’t given an exact date as to when this feature will be available or if this will be a staggered rollout, though we’re told to be on the lookout for it in the “weeks to come.”

Next up, Sprint is offering 30-day risk free trials to anyone who wants to give the network a run and see if it’s strong enough for their needs. It can be seen as a direct response to T-Mobile’s latest Uncarrier moves which allows you to borrow an iPhone for a bit and take the ol’ network for a spin. Sprint has to be super confident in their network as they offer a 100% money back guarantee, no questions asked (we’re sure they’re at least going to ask you what you thought of your time on the network, though).

Finally, the carrier revealed new 8T8R cellular radios for their towers. These radios promise to push a stronger and more reliable signal over the company’s 2.5GHz spectrum (the one that did a good bit of the heavy lifting before Sprint Spark came along). This should result in even faster speeds across the board, though it will take time to get the deployments going. Commercial availability of the new performance is expected to be made available later this summer.

These announcements aren’t quite bringing the same level of “ZOMG” as T-Mobile’s Uncarrier movement tends to, but if this is the result of T-Mobile pushing other carriers to compete then we hope there’s a lot more where it came from.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

[Update] Sprint 4G LTE comes to 28 new markets while Sprint Spark heads to 3 more

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  1. WTF!? Sprint is that much better now? I don’t believe they’re any good. They took to long to increase their network. I was with them with 2 years and nothing changed.

    I’m sorry, but I’m scarred.

    1. I had sprint for a few months back In 2010….I could not get a signal at my school… so I went immediately back to Magenta….but its starting to look good for Sprint….

    2. Anecdotally there’s been a noticeable improvement in coverage and 4G availability in my area (Denver) the last month or so

    3. This what what I usually get on LTE but that one that was 2.something down that was at my house where I have a strong 3G connection. So I mean it’s improving just slowly.

  2. In before “ZOMG SPRINT!!!”

    Dang. Too late already…..

  3. Does WiFi calling also work In the US? cause I have T-Mobile and I use WiFi calling to call from home…if sprints WiFi calling does work here In the states….that Harman-Kardon M8 looks nice right

    1. If you have crappy service in your house you can get an Airave for free (plugs into your internet to give a cell signal).

      1. I have AT&T and the analogous product is called a Micro Cell. It has to be near a window or it will lose GPS and not work (some law requiring use only in certain areas). It is unreliable – when I come home, my phone often won’t pick it up without a reboot. I don’t want any extra equipment – I have a wireless router – make the damn phone work with the router – end of story.

      2. I had a Airave and it was horrilbe. It worked great for a month or two, and then bam, it would go out everyday. Funny part is, you should never need it. You are paying for a service that is unusable unless you tether it to your home internet which you pay for also.

        How is that fair? Sprint should take $40/month off of a bill in locations they need a Airave.

    2. The WiFi calls work great on Sprint. I wish that I could have used the international calling last month.

  4. Sprints sucks at least for me. I see no reason to go back just yet. All I ever wanted was just lte. Lol

    1. And not pay a $10 “premium” data fee.

  5. Rather than it being a “response” to T-Mobile, I think Sprint is just trying to align as much of what is currently offered with what T-Mobile is offering, in the event the merger is approved. That would eliminate Legere from having to change much with existing Sprint customers.

  6. But no matter how many radios recieve or transmit, doesnt the 2.5Ghz spectrum have shitting indoor coverage? I mean outside it’s full bars galore, according to my experience with Wimax…… but in the end aren’t they dressing the pig? because I may be near an area with Spark speeds but im sure not pulling down 20-35Mbs indoors…more like…500Kbs to 3Mbs indoors, and it fluctuates like crazy even getting that Band 41 signal pumping off low down speeds. The only time I see 45-49Mbs is by some cell site in Union city, NJ by a Mcdonalds on 32nd street(for anyone who is familiar)…once u move from its direction its down hill.

    1. The 8T8R radios boost the 2.6GHz signal indoors and outdoors. It also increases edge of cell performance. Even on a -110dbm signal on 2.6GHz, I have hit as high as 20Mbps. Last week, I got 77Mbps down and 14 up on a site in Brooklyn, NY. In Union Square and SoHo in Manhattan, I got over 40Mbps in the most crowded areas.

      It works well. Sprint just needs to get it out to consumers as fast as possible.

      1. That’s the issue with Sprint Bryce. They are always releasing something, or making a big announcement but their follow through sucks. Sprint is great in the few areas that have Spark or LTE, but for the 90% of everyone else they are still on 3g and barely hitting 200kbps.

        My phones on Sprint were unusable. Years of promises from Sprint, it never happened. I’m happy for you in NYC, but most people I know on Sprint can’t wait for their contracts to end to leave, or already left. I’m much happier on AT&T where I have LTE everywhere I have went, and can still pull anywhere from 25 to 50 mpbs in doors.

        1. Follow through with Network Vision has been great. Sprint has not stopped deploying LTE since July of 2012. If your area hasn’t received LTE, it will. And about 60% of all Sprint sites have LTE broadcasting from them, and it doesn’t take 100% of all cel sites to cover 100% of a population. That’s how Sprint was able to cover 225Million people. There are certainly areas where I drop LTE and fall back to 3G, but that is the case with every carrier. I’d just rather have 1.5Mbps 3G rather than EDGE, or Verizon’s antiquated 3G that they are no longer putting Capex into.

          Sprint’s problem in the past was follow through, that’s no longer the case.

          1. I think you would be better saying in your area LTE has been great. If you read message boards which I know you do, there are far more people out there complaining about Sprint than positive reviews. I was with Sprint for 15+ years, and Sprint has the worse follow-through of any company I have seen outside of Comcast.

            They promise the world and never deliver. It’s always next year, next year, next year. Now, in the areas they actually get the work done, that’s great, but, in most cases they are in 3rd place for a reason.

          2. My experience isn’t limited to my area though. The same can be said for Chicago, Indianapolis, Houston, Miami, Raleigh, etc. It hasn’t always been “next year” for these cities. This year, you’re guaranteed to reap the benefits of Network Vision. 68% of Sprint sites have LTE on them, that number should reach around 90% or higher by year end. 95% of Sprint sites have already had equipment replaced and are waiting on backhaul to turn on LTE. That puts the chances of your sites having already been hit by Sprint at a very high level.

            So like I said before, Sprint has been following through without a doubt.

  7. Stronger towers?

    If got a nickel for every time I heard that from sprint….

    I’d be lucky if I can even load the disqus plug-in over their network.

    1. funny you say that as I reply while using my sprint phone for internet on the interstate right now with 20+mbps service…sucks to suck

  8. I have Sprint and currently in Kansas City. The service sucks. When the Note 4 comes, I’m going with AT&T.

  9. Wtf? How much does the international calling cost?? Thats the only thing I clicked on this article for.
    Is the trial free and this is all the information you have?

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