CHANDLER, AZ - Sprint customers who own one of many "4G" phones available from the cell phone company know that Sprint doesn't offer 4G service in the Phoenix area.
4G promises MUCH faster Internet speeds for streaming video, music and surfing the web.
Sprint was the first major cell phone provider to offer 4G service.
Here in Phoenix we've watched as other large cities including Philadelphia and Los Angeles have been added to the 4G list. Smaller cities including Boise, Idaho and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have also been added.
If you've been anxiously waiting for 4G from Sprint in Phoenix, your wait may finally be over.
Sprint, through its 4G partner Clearwire, appears to be in the process of building out its 4G network in the Valley.
I recently noticed that Clear.com's 4G coverage map now includes certain pockets in the Valley.
Downtown Chandler is covered, parts of Mesa are covered and parts of North Scottsdale.
Even Casa Grande appears to have some 4G coverage. These new coverage areas show up on Clear.com's map but not on Sprint.com's map.
Sprint uses Clear's network for 4G service.
Different names but the same network.
On June 19th I drove to downtown Chandler to test it out for you and sure enough, 4G is turned on and working well. I was able to get download speeds 5 to 10 times faster than a 3G connection.
Sprint has repeatedly told me that they do not have any announcements about plans to add Phoenix to its list of 4G cities.
I reached out to Sprint this week about these 4G hotspots throughout the valley and was provided with this response:
"As we've said, Sprint 4G will continue to expand across the U.S. We haven't announced a timeframe yet for our launch of Sprint 4G coverage for Phoenix. As the networks are continuously optimized and prepped for build-out by our partner Clearwire, customers may notice 4G service in some places which aren't on our 4G coverage maps. While customers will find a few places where they can pick up a 4G signal in the greater Phoenix area, we do not market or promote our 4G services until they meet our very high customer experience standards in terms of coverage quality and footprint. This is why we would tell you that [Sprint] has not yet launched 4G in Phoenix." - Sprint Spokesman
Sprint is clearly not ready to make any 4G promises in the Valley but something seems to be going on. The good news for you is that if you live in the right area, Sprint 4G service may be available to you right now.
Take a look at Clear.com's coverage map here and let me know if you have any luck getting 4G coverage with your 4G Sprint phone. Comment here or check me out on Facebook and Twitter.