After signing up for Google's Project Fi I had only to wait a couple of days before a SIM card and "Welcome Kit" showed up at my door. I noted that the accessories - a battery pack, earbuds, and white case for the Nexus 6 - seemed to be carefully and thoughtfully designed, even if the hard plastic boxes for each seemed a little extravagant. The welcome kit was foreshadowing for the rest of the Fi experience - thoughtfully put together and pleasing.
I've been using Fi (switching over from T-Mobile) for over a month now, so I thought it might be helpful to rewind through my experience and answer some questions would-be Fi users might be asking.
Google's Project Loon isn't on our radar much here in the US because we have expansive high-speed internet access. That's not the case everywhere, though, and it's a problem Project Loon aims to solve. According to Google, a single balloon can apparently provide LTE service to a region the size of Rhode Island. I could have baited you with "a whole state" in the headline, but this is still pretty impressive.
It has apparently been a while since Sprint's been able to focus on simply growing out its nationwide coverage. While the company has expanded its LTE coverage piecemeal, announcing new markets every couple of months, it has also had to manage the networks powered by different technologies it acquired when purchasing Nextel (iDen) and Clearwire (WiMax). But after a decade of acquisitions and adjustment, Sprint may be ready to start turning things around, according to S4GRU, a blog dedicated entirely to Sprint's 4G LTE and WiMax expansions (it doesn't get much more niche than that).
AT&T is currently the only carrier to offer 4G LTE roaming in other countries, a change it rolled out back in December. At the time, only Canada was supported, followed by the UK. Now the carrier is rolling out the service in around a dozen additional countries. These range from locales as small as Hong Kong and Singapore to places as expansive as Australia and Russia.
AT&T now also supports 4G LTE roaming in:
Antigua & Barbuda
Since carriers in different countries use various wireless frequencies, a device that works in one country may not work in another.
Some people live in places that have had 4G LTE coverage for a long time now. Others don't. AT&T is steadily working to fill in the gaps in its network, and today it has announced the launch of 12 additional markets. This brings the total up to 488 nationwide.
Check the list below to see if your town has made the list.
Update, 11-6-13: We've added in all the relevant stories from the following week.
As you may have noticed, your friendly neighborhood Android Police writers have been more than a little busy in the last couple of days. Google had the odd notion of launching a new flagship device and a major operating system update on a holiday, so it's understandable if you haven't been able to keep up. If you spent most of last night escorting your kids around the neighborhood (or if you don't have kids, and you spent most of this morning nursing a Halloween hangover), here's everything we've got on KitKat, the Nexus 5, and anything else you want to know.
Maybe you got LTE coverage a long time ago, but not everyone is so lucky. AT&T is still filling in the gaps in its LTE network, and is today adding 13 new markets and expanding a few more. Let's see if you're on the list.
Compared to Verizon and AT&T, Sprint's network leaves much to be desired in terms of both data speeds and coverage. This isn't the result of a lack of effort, though, as the Kansas-based company has steadily rolled out LTE to new markets throughout the summer. Today the company has announced the availability of 4G LTE in 34 new markets, bringing the total number from 151 up to 185. Sprint customers throughout the South, Midwest, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania should now have a new reason to smile.
Sprint's 34 new markets:
Houma/Bayou Cane/Thibodaux, LA
Lake Charles, LA
Bay City, MI
Oklahoma City, OK
Juniata and Mifflin counties, PA
Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX
Corpus Christi, TX
Del Rio, TX
San Angelo, TX
Fort Atkinson, WI
Marshfield/Wisconsin Rapids, WI
The full list of markets with 4G LTE coverage is available here.
Think of Sprint as the Little Engine That Could. It's tinkered with 4G perhaps longer than any of America's other major carriers, but it has little to show for it. There are large swaths of the country that don't have LTE coverage and the speeds aren't necessarily that fast in the areas that do. Still, those of us on Sprint's network must hold on to hope. The company is hard at work, and today they've announced the availability of 4G LTE in 41 new markets. Faster Sprint service is now available in both Brooklyn and the Bronx, along with Philadelphia, Portland, Daytona Beach, and Jacksonville.