Earlier today, we covered some interesting updates coming to Sprint's Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Mini, and HTC One Max, all concerning LTE bands and "LTE UI Enhancements." These changes were of course related to Sprint's fledgling "Spark" tri-band LTE network which, according to Sprint, could potentially reach speeds of between 50 and 60 Mbps.

The network is only ready for a few cities (Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Tampa), but if you own a compatible device you'll get to enjoy Sprint's LTE UI Enhancement anyway. What's the enhancement? A little spinning spark icon in your status bar. Android Central got a glimpse of Sprint's new network and the spinner icon itself and has a gif of the new icon. Here's our approximation.


Okay fine, that one's just a joke. Here's what the icon actually looks like:


The actual design of the spinning icon isn't necessarily as tacky as, say, a flaming "4G" logo (or strobing lens flares), but its constant motion certainly has high potential to be disruptive to a user's overall experience.

via Android Central

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Thomas Lovett

    The makers of (ROM) ICE BLUE_TRU_AOSP_REAL_BLU_BLU DEVS just got a hard on.

  • John Moore

    ...interesting design choice.

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    • Thomas Lovett

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      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        I almost didn't want to mark it as spam, I crazy loved it.

        • Thomas Lovett

          I even got downvoted for my unwavering respect for GOOD CHINESE PRODUCT. FEOREGINER LOVE.

  • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

    I'm suddenly not so bummed my phone isn't Spark-compatible.

    • Chris

      Didn't I read somewhere that phones will show this whether they're in a "spark" LTE area or not?

  • don_xvi

    Ooh, pretty! I'll switch from my unlimited data Verizon for this enhanced experience!

    • sprint user

      What do you pay? Me $68 ttt on sprint.

      • Derail Doax

        Doesn't matter. Sprint is not worth the money. Take it from me a 12 year Sprint customer who just paid ETFs to leave.

  • Crispin Swickard

    First image brought to you by J.J. Abrams~

    • J.J

      It needs more time travel.

  • TSON1

    Sooooo, a constantly spinning icon that directs your eye away from what you should actually be looking at, and the ability to, in theory, use my entire data plan in one second?

    Where do I sign up?

    • squiddy20

      ...Except Sprint doesn't have tiered data.

      • TSON1

        They still have their 1GB plan, don't they?

        • NoSleep333

          Sprint data is unlimited. True unlimited.

          • adrianr514

            No. With the new "My Way" plans you have the option for 1GB and it averages to $15 More per 1GB of Overage or simply trully unlimited for only $10 more

          • NoSleep333

            Regardless. At Sprints prices I don't see the sense in signing up for anything but unlimited everything.
            I pay $80. flat for it all.

          • Coop

            That sucks, I pay $75 after taxes, fees, and discounts on AT&T for virtually unlimited talk, text, and data and it actually works as advertised.

          • NoSleep333

            $65 bro. I only pay $80 due to payments toward my HTC one. I also don't have a contract. Meaning that when this phone is paid off, should I choose to even go that route instead of claiming a new device after 12 months, my plan goes down to $65 flat. And you say "virtually unlimited"? LOL. Lets not argue about this anymore bruh. I have unlimited, period. That goes for minutes, text and data. I've downloadedcountless gbs of movies without ever having experienced restrictions. A smartphone on sprints network is essential should one ever need to replace a network-capable computer. And as far as your services as advertised, I'd like to see them work in a seedy motel room outside of Nashville Tennessee and across the entire country even remotely. Then you can try and discredit my service. One or two bad experiences don't account for everyone. Virtually. Haha

          • dunkey

            Your payments will go back to the $80 when you're done paying off the HTC One. You don't keep the $15 discount, and with the One Up going away in favor of the Framily Plan, you'll have to go that route.

          • Derail Doax

            My HTC One used to get unlimited 50 Kbps connections all day long. Not worth the money I paid them. I'm loving my AT&T Note 3 now though.

          • NoSleep333

            I have the HTC One on Sprint under One Up after already having been a customer for the last 3 years so I think it's really nice to be off contract and paying $65/mo. $80 after taxes. The service is great. I personally don't see a better deal anywhere.

        • squiddy20

          Indeed they do. Didn't realize they had snuck that plan in there. But I wouldn't necessarily call that "tiered data". There's 1GB... and unlimited. Those are your options. If you choose 1GB, then you know (or should know) with absolute certainty that you won't go over that limit... ever, because you don't use that much data. If you choose the 1GB plan but know you are a heavy data user, you're just plain stupid.
          Also, taken literally, even with speeds as high as 60Mbps, it would take just under 18 seconds to use 1Gb (gigabit) of data, not the "one second" you claim. If you even get and maintain a that speed, that is. And unfortunately, that's a really big "if", since most telecom companies like to highball the maximum data speed numbers.

          • TSON1

            You're overthinking the joke, buddy. I wasn't referring to the 50-60 mbps anyway, more to the press release for Spark that says "Given Sprint’s spectrum and technology assets, it is technically feasible to deliver more than 2 Gigabits per second (Gbps) per sector of over-the-air speed."

            Hence the "in theory".

          • Siggif

            16-2/3 seconds to be exact. LOL

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Looks lame

  • Willie D

    That's the most tacky and intrusive icon seen yet. The issue I have with it, is that it stays on even when you AREN'T in Spark capable areas.

    • ProductFRED

      Once again Sprint misleads customers about its data speeds...

      - An ex Sprint store employee and Sprint customer

      • Rob

        I agree with you ProductFRED. Sprint just lit up 4G LTE in my neighborhood and so far the speed I'm getting from it is what 3G should have been. Depending on what they deliver for speeds and the reliability of the network on 12/31/2013 I may act on my threat, er, promise to break my contract and go to either AT&T or T-Mobile. I have a Nexus 5 on the way, so I'll have flexibility to do as I please once that deadline arrives. :)

        • ProductFRED

          If minutes aren't an issue for you, go to T-Mobile's $30 plan. It has 100 minutes (10 cents a minute afterwards), unlimited text, and 5GB 4G LTE with unlimited throttling afterwards. That's what I'm using.

          • Rob

            Yeah, I have that plan with a GSM Galaxy Nexus I picked up, but since under contract with Sprint, I often tend not to refill it regularly. When my Nexus 5 arrives, I'm going to pop in the T-Mobile SIM and test out 4G LTE in my area if T-Mobile has it lit up here. :)

          • Joshua

            How good is T Mobile's 4G? That sounds like a reasonable plan for me--I use shittons more data than I ever do minutes.

  • JordanMcRae

    Any way to tell you're on Spark in an AOSP rom?

    • Thomas Lovett

      You can use your data on the sprint network.

      • JordanMcRae

        Yes, you can test the data speed. But what about an indicator or information in the "phone information" menu?

        • David Peterson

          No need! The phone will just continually vibrate at full intensity.

          Another innovation from Sprint

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I'm actually turned on by Liam's take. Can I haz?

  • David Li

    oh carriers ....

  • Nick Gonzalez

    So, I guess it does blend! Finally

  • Steven Cannan

    I..I like it

  • Peter Oliver

    I actually like this.

  • Matt Palermo

    Speaking of Spark, if the Moto X has the radios for Spark, why isn't it on the Spark Capable list?


    • bill

      Because it's not tri-band. Therefore not spark compatible.

      • Matt Palermo


        That's just the first one Google finds for me. It shows that it has the proper frequency support for Spark. (unless I'm mistaken...)


        • Evan Knofsky

          Sprints tri-band uses LTE frequencies 800 1900 2500, The Moto X only supports 1900 from that list.

          • Matt Palermo

            Oh... :-

            Well that really sucks. I really had my heart set on a Moto X. I don't want another Samsung (especially not after this KNOX crap my GF's S4 got pushed to it). So that leaves me with the N5? Great... Another giant brick slab in my pocket...


  • Fifth313ment

    I'm sure the spinning icon will force close or break before Spark actually makes it to most cities. This is Sprint we are talking about, lol.

  • Ian Bowers

    Check out this spinny spark... Pay no attention to our carrier grade NAT... It spins!

  • Adam Watts

    That is annoying. I don't like the distraction of a lot of stuff in my notification bar. For me, I only want icons for stuff I need to know about/action. Persistent icons for my keyboard when I'm using a 3rd party keyboard, or the many other apps that think I need to know it's running, even when it's in the background, are very annoying and distracting.
    Texts, emails, IMs, Calendar, etc. Nothing else.

    • Tim242


      • Dumo-san

        He was correct.

        • Tim242

          Technically both are correct. However, using the ' is the most accepted by educational institutions.

          • Alex Winton

            No it isn't. If it is at yours, find a new one. Apostrophes indicate possession or omission. They have no business in plain pluralisation, and where an apostrophe DOES feature in plural words ending in 's', it will come AFTER the 's'.

          • Tim242

            Maybe you should Google "apostropheto pluralize."

          • Alex Winton

            Perhaps you should:


            CDs (not CD's)

            PCs (not PC's)

            70s (not 70's)

            I got three As in my examination"


            Apostrophes are not there to punctuate any 's' you feel like. But it's one thing to be wrong about this, and completely another to act like an ass and 'correct' someone else for being right.

          • Tim242

            Somebody didn't read his articles.

          • Tim242

            : )

          • Charles Sweeney

            I guess I don't get why you felt the need to correct him if, as you say, both are correct. This is obviously not an educational institution. Dick move....

  • Irinel Loghin

    Guys, the ones ranting about the icon being distractive, you guys are missing the point... Sprint spark is basically Network Vision 2.0 - coming from a current sprint employee!

    • Derail Doax

      You do realize Network Vision has totally failed right? Last year I was getting 1.2Mbps downloads on EVDO and 8-10Mbps downloads on WiMAX. This year I was getting 50-200Kbps downloads on EVDO and 1-2Mbps on LTE when I could find the occasional tower. I went to Disneyland and Waikiki and there was ZERO data throughput. It showed a data connection however when running a speed test it would just error out. Sprint has failed. Sorry.

      • Irinel Loghin

        When I said that spark is network vision 2.0 I was sarcastic. Don't know if you're just ranting, since you left the network (can't actually blame you for doing so) but you're missing the point... As a CS rep, trust me I know how much of a disappointment NV is... The idea behind it (and spark) is good. But the way the project was handled is still giving me nightmares... However, once the network will be 100% up and running (2017 maybe?), sprint will actually be a serious pain in Verizon's rear.... But most definitely not now...

  • abird

    I just want regular LTE :(

    • Derail Doax

      Get Verizon or AT&T.

  • $68 flat

    I'm just gonna root my n5 and turn on the bandz ♒ bandz make her dance

  • http://www.jugarjugar.net/ Jugar Jugar

    This theme is great. Looks like real sunlight. I love things like that. Sparkling and honest as possible.

  • d

    1st 2 year contract, hey buy this Evo 4g for fast data, months later, Sprint discontinues wimax.

    2nd 2 year contract, hey buy this Evo lte for fast data on our not here yet but will be here soon lte network.

    4 years later, still waiting. You should sign another 2 year contract for Sprint Spark.

    Now 6 years later, no wimax, no 4g, no lte, and no spark.

    But you do get 0.12 mbps down and 0.02 mbps upload, just enough to load CNN in 30 minutes.

    • Michael Ward

      I work for sprint in the Midwest and I have to say this is the truest statement ever told.

    • Rob

      Thank you. That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Now I have 4G LTE downloads in the range of 3 to 5 Mbps. Saw a burst to around 10 Mbps ONCE here at home, and another one on Cape Cod, MA at 19 Mbps near the water, but it dropped to sub-2G levels as I moved closer to land. WHAT. THE. HECK. ???? :-)

    • Simon Belmont

      I know right? No WiMAX, no 4G, no LTE, no Spark.

      Reminds me of this: http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVTXjR-uS8SOfrS0sT8czrwnkjtWyNCgP6x3eF4fUehheDI69UPA .

      • Simon Belmont

        By the way, when I had WiMAX (which was up till about 6 months ago), I actually got great speeds. Between 10 and 20 Mbps (probably because no one else was using it, lol).

        Sprint still hasn't rolled out LTE to my area, so I've been on T-Mobile for a while now. HSPA+, ALONE, was as fast or faster than WiMAX. I just got a Nexus 5 and I've been hitting 35+ Mbps with LTE. I love T-Mobile.

    • Rob H.

      You sound just like I did. But I got out and went to T-Mobile. And don't regret it for a second.

      Sorry Sprint, no more broken promises!

    • Canon User

      I call bullshit on this. Ok ok, at least you exaggerate. 4 more months before Evo 4G is 4 years old.

      You should pick a carrier based on coverage. Sprint coverage is great for mobile, TMobile is crap. Don't see me carrying TMobile and whining about it....

    • bob smiths

      I get great speeds at my house, close to 20mb but the coverage is horrible. The whole east side of town has no coverage at all

    • Dkennedy

      Sorry to hear -- gotta wonder what area you are / were in?
      I have 4G LTE in my area and have a tower almost directly behind my house - tend to consistently get 15-17 mbps down. I've spoke with people on spark that get that with 1 bar - with a strong signal they can easily see 30-40 mpbs.
      ..results may vary I guess.

  • John Smith

    Nexus 5 + AT&T GoPhone is a beautiful thing.

  • abobobilly

    Imagine if that "Dico Light" was actually there in our phones for LTE.

    No one would've needed a reason to shake their booty lol.

  • Ryan Stewart

    So somewhere there is a 50 foot radius in Chicago there Sprint's LTE is faster than 6Mb/s. The only trade off is you have to have a cheesy star spinning on your phone.

  • jimmy

    Hmm. I would like to have a constant 1-3mbps connection... But we know this is not possible with sprint my current 3g is 0.05mbps and when I so get their 4g I have not seen more
    1-4 Mbps...some how I don't believe they are ever going to have 50mbps

    • Derail Doax

      Reading your comment I thought it was something I had posted. I feel your pain man. Pay the ETF and leave. That's what we did. I couldn't justify letting them have any more monthly payments while providing me such bad service. I felt like I was getting a bait and switch pulled on me.

      In the end after I paid a $420 ETF and sold my HTC One for $300 I only paid $120 to leave. You'd think I felt like I lost money paying $120 to leave but no, I was just happy to be away from them. Did you know that you get charged FAT taxes on ETFs? I was PISSED when I found that out. $350 ETF with $70 taxes?!? 20% taxes on top? Guess so, who do I argue with about that?

      • Kevin Verdesca

        You shouldve just roamed on verizon's network and then they would ask you to leave without paying the ETF.

    • Robb Nunya

      I usually sit at around 3, but have gone up to 24 on occasion. It was glorious.

    • Dkennedy

      Again.. i consistently get 15-17 on 4G LTE at my home. I'm not in a "spark" area, but I wish I was.
      I have unlimited everything.
      Yes, they really do have 50 mbps if you are pretty close to a spark tower - I've seen 15 mbps on one bar of spark.. -- it would be pretty easy to hit 40 or 50 if you are in the right range of the tower.
      But.. I have to keep in mind your post is 9 months old also..I'm talking to you from the future :)

      • rafe1621

        I'm in area right in the middle of Spark coverage and my phone, which is Spark compatible, hasn't seen a single bit of it yet.

  • Rob

    Jebus, that's annoying. Sprint, please cut that shit out. Give us a static 4G, 4G LTE or LTE icon and concentrate on your network infrastructure versus all this marketing nonsense. (oO)

  • Hugh Johnson

    Wow as an angry Verizon customer with Verizon logos plastered on nearly every square inch of my phone, I am so glad I dont have to look at that spinning monstrosity every day.

  • Charles Sweeney

    This is just as bad as when AT&T updated their phones, back when the iPhone 4 came out, to show the signal meter with a 4G symbol, even those certain phones were incapable of getting 4G service. My work blackberry is one the phones that is a prime example of this. I get the 4G signal icon but the phone is even capable of getting the actual service/speed. So very deceptive. But I'm sure the DEVs (and I meant to type DEVs and NOT DEV's) will make a rooted stock ROM for the tri-band phones and get rid of that annoying icon.

  • Freak4Dell

    So their Spark thing is going to "potentially" offer speeds that people were seeing on Verizon's regular LTE network when it first came out? At best, this is just going to slow down to the same speeds that the other carriers' networks get right now. Pathetic.

    • Robb Nunya

      Yeah... how dare Sprint try to improve...

  • Michael Lee Bowie

    It wouldn't annoying if it were static... BUT NO, THEY HAD TO MAKE IT SPIN.
    Agh, getting tired of Sprint's spotty coverage and false promises. If only my mom and brother's phones were compatible with T-Mobile, raaaaaaah.

  • Nadeem Ansari

    Guys its better if you don't install android 4.3 pre release or the test versions for GALAXY NOTE 2 GT-N7100 coz it won't get rooted. The only way to revert back is here http://goo.gl/FH73hn

  • http://www.gahe.co/ Gahe

    Very useful and supportive article. I wish I can do all of that in a short period of time.

  • dmeegan14

    I would be happy if I had regular LTE !! Maybe they should finish what they started over 2 years ago and get everyone on the same page first

  • IncCo

    That looks incredibly annoying

  • Televerge, Inc.

    Check out this Sprint Spark ready router: http://www.televerge.com/tigr-televerge-industrial-grade-router/

  • Robb Nunya

    What, did JJ Ambrams design it? #lensflares

  • el_bandolero77

    I stuck it out with sprint bought a 3g phone but no 3g where I lived. Finally 3g came and I bought a wimax phone but no wimax where I lived. Ended up moving an hour and a half away for work where wimax was and bought a lte phone. No lte for a lil over a year and now its here and I couldnt be happier. Average between 8-10 mbps. Higher at night and early morning which is even better for me. Ive hit upwards of 15 mbps at times. And they arent done updating all the towers here. So yeah I couldve split to att or verizon but I use tons of data and im glad I didn't.

  • Albie Frates

    Well...after reading the article and then the comments, I must be living in a wormhole. I have a Mega 6.3 and I'm with Sprint. I also am fortunate to live in an area of Southern Cal that has full-blown 4G-LTE. I got the "spark" update today, saw the spinning icon and couldn't care less about it. What I do care about is the enhanced speed I'm seeing as I go through the day. I have to admit that the speed I'm getting is phenomenal. At times, it rivals my FIOS WiFi at home. On cellular, YouTube loads quick, webpages pop right up and I have very little to no lag. I've been in the Android world since 2009 and have had several top tier phones both with Verizon and Sprint. To say the least, I'm extremely happy with both the Mega and Sprint. Oh yeh, when the bill comes due...I'm even happier still.

  • Brian

    I understand the lack of love Sprint gets, but I switched From AT&T to Sprint a year ago, due to their unlimited data plan, and I couldn't be happier. Yes it took 6 months longer, than they said it would, to get LTE in east Tennessee, but the wait was worth it. I can get right under 30 MBps during off peak hours, and an average of 17 anytime, throughout the day. That's more than enough for me (home cable connection is only 20!).

    I love my phone (G2). There are NO hidden bits about their unlimited plan. Customer service has ALWAYS been a pleasant experience. I get a discount through work, and only pay $63/month. I'm completely satisfied with my choice. True, there might be a few areas where I drop to (almost sub-EDGE) 3G speeds, but those are few and far between and are a lot less than they were two months ago.

    U Mad?

  • sglick

    This spinning icon is AWFUL!!! Its just another reason I will leave Sprint when my contract is up. They are idiots for designing this crap. AT & T and Verizon don't have this kind of nonsense on the software for their phones. Morons -- total and complete morons run Sprint. CEO Dan Hesse is the world's most inept corporate honcho.

  • Somaya Mckinney

    I absolutely love the little cute spinning guy. Its the cutest and super fast. People

  • Yvonne Edwards

    This is bull I have virgin mobile and they could put hover out of business. So could their coverage.