I’ve been using Sprint as my cell phone provider for the last 2 years after establishing a 2nd line on my wife’s Sprint account. Previous to that time, my former employer had provided me with a cell phone (initially on Sprint, then on Verizon) for 12 years so I didn’t have my own “Personal” cell phone until getting this line with Sprint. During my 2 years with Sprint, I’ve been so frustrated with the weak cell connections and very slow data speeds in the Greater Seattle area. While other cell phone providers like Verizon and AT&T have been beefing up their Networks with faster LTE voice and data speeds, Sprint has just been lagging behind in Seattle. My latest Sprint phone is the HTC EVO 4G LTE (a great phone, by the way), however, I’ve never been able to use LTE because it doesn’t exist where I live and work! So I’ve been paying an extra $10/month to Sprint for the privilege of having a Smartphone on their network, but I can’t utilize the faster LTE connection speeds.
I recently changed positions within my company and I now work about 50 miles South of my previous job site, and I’m getting terrible cell connections and very slow data speeds with my HTC EVO LTE smartphone. In fact, one day during lunch I was reading news with the USA Today app on my HTC EVO, and noticed I was getting 1xRTT speeds (this is the slowest data connection possible)! That was the final straw in my book, as I had complained to Sprint last year about lack of LTE in Seattle and horrible signal strength. Back then they told me, “LTE should be working by the end of the year”, which is the same line they gave me again when I complained recently this year.
As such, I decided to do some research and see if I could get cell service in Seattle that better meets my needs. I decided to check out AT&T, since I didn’t want to deal with Verizon (after my dealings with them using my company cell phone for a number of years). I discovered that AT&T had excellent 4G and LTE coverage all throughout the Seattle area, and also got confirmation from several coworkers that they were happy with their AT&T service. After hearing this, I decided to give AT&T a try and get the HTC One Smartphone to test out for a 14-day period (this is the time within which I could return the phone and not pay Early Termination Fees (ETF)). My local AT&T Store was great in helping me setup with a phone, and I was out the door with my new HTC ONE phone in under 20 minutes.
The first think I noticed was the ‘4G LTE’ logo lit up on my phone’s statusbar! That’s the first time I’ve seen that in Seattle on a Smartphone that I’ve owned. For the next few days I was constantly checking for 4G and 4G LTE connections with my new phone, and doing data speedtests to see how well the AT&T service was at my home and work areas. I’m happy to say that the AT&T service in my area performed great, and I was very pleased with my switch over to AT&T. Now, I don’t know how my new AT&T service will do outside of Seattle, but with my current job I don’t do any traveling so that may not be a big concern.
With regards to actual download speeds, on Sprint the fastest connection I could get is 3G, which Speedtest results show as having less than 1 Mbps download speed (at best). With my HTC One on AT&T, I was getting 6-9 Mbps with a 4G connection, and 20-40 Mbps when connected to 4G LTE! That’s a huge difference between Sprint and AT&T. I was definitely shocked and pleasantly surprised at these results, and once again glad I switched to AT&T.
The only real downside to switching carriers, is that my monthly data usage is no longer unlimited (with Sprint). I now have a 3 GB limit, which if I exceed it I will be charged an additional $10 for that month for another 1 GB of data. But, I think I’ll be ok since historically I’ve maxed out at about 2.1 GB of data over the last 12 months with Sprint. Unlimited data is great to have, but it really doesn’t mean much when that data is at very slow speeds.
Now, I still had about 1 year left on my Sprint contract, but I was so sick of the slow data speeds that I decided to pay the $150 ETF and get out of my contract. I could make up some of that cost by trading in my HTC EVO to HTC to recover $100 with their HTC One Trade-up Program. And in all, I was also able to upgrade to the new HTC One which is the best Smartphone I’ve ever owned.