"All I can think is that Swiftel's towers are grossly underpowered for the volume of traffic they're dealing with..."
Ding ding ding! This much is abundantly clear to you, to me, and to anyone else that has half a clue about how these sorts of things work. But of course, nobody on either side of that Sprint/Swiftel fence is going to be straight with its customers about it. It's all lies and deflection.
I'm in Austria right now getting 1.5 Mbps down and 1.7 Mbps up on a 3G T-Mobile network on the same iPhone 5 that Sprint employees tell me to reset the PRL on when I tell them that I can't even get a data connection near 41st and Louise.
Yeah, it's the phone. Sure. And I'm selling a bridge behind my house too.
I have had the same issues with Sprint in Sioux Falls as explained above. I live just off of busy 57th street and I go over Interstate 29 near the mall on my way to and from work. You'd think near the mall and the interstate I'd have some data. But it is a huge black hole. I've been told for the last 2 years Sprint was around 6 months away from WiMax and now am being told they are 6 months from LTE. I don't even need that. Just make the 3G work. The 3G doesn't even need to be fast, just make it work everywhere I have a full signal. It is not just Sioux Falls either. I travel a lot for work. The Sioux Falls metro is 240,000, Sioux City Iowa is also served by Swiftel with 160,000 in it's metro. This along with Brookings, SD, Watertown, SD, the towns from north of Brookings to South of Sioux City Iowa. There are easily a half million people who live in the area Swiftel serves. Then add all the traffic on Interstates 29 and 90. There are a lot of people who have a pretty poor Sprint option as a carrier. There are a lot of people here who could use some updated towers. When I go anywhere else my phone is fast!, Including Fargo North Dakota! Fargo even have WiMax 4G! But I digress, I am stuck with Swiftel. I still really like Sprint. I really hope Softbank can do something to force Swiftel out or require them update their towers and back haul promptly.
Thanks for a place to Rant
Thanks for the post. Your more than welcome to rant. I understand your frustration. We are working very diligently in getting our entire 3G foot print upgraded to Network Vision. We plan to be near completion by the end of 2013. Do you just have an issue with Data? How is the voice service? With the acquisition of Clearwire and the merger with Softbank expect Sprint to do some pretty amazing things in the near future. Right now, we are focused on upgrading the Network. To not only fix it but create a better experience overall across all services.
Sprint Social Care
Hello Captain Random. There is an issue with data, and it is not just me. My friends with Sprint and my family with Sprint all experience the same dead or painfully slow data areas in Sioux Falls, Sioux City, and the Swiftel service area. My phone calls are normally good. They have dropped before but that is usually in rural areas or when I go from the Swiftel towers to the Sprint Towers. For instance, there is a very large area with next to no coverage on Interstate 29 between Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE. In that area I drop calls and can't make calls. Data is different. I like to use my smartphone when I run so I can track it with Endomondo. But, my phone can't stream music in large areas of Sioux Falls. This is when my phone has full bars for a signal. I end up using my work iPhone 4S on Verizon. It is running off of 3G towers too (no 4G radio) and the iPhone doesn't seem to even be trying when I use it. I would assume the Empire mall area would be one of the first areas to get an upgrade or have a strong signal because it is next to the interstate with its traffic and all the traffic that runs past it on 41st street and Louise. My gym is a mile from the Empire mall and data is non-existent in my gym's parking lot. I feel doubtful that there is going to be any sort of upgrade from Swiftel anywhere near the end of 2013. Fargo is smaller than Sioux Falls and has less travelers going through it. There are a lot of people who go through Sioux Falls on their way to see Mount Rushmore. So it is easy to be discouraged when Fargo, North Dakota shows upgraded towers on the Sprint tower map. If Swiftel does decide to start upgrading by the end of 2013, I feel they may turn a ***** on a single tower and say they are working on it. Swiftel is a municipality. They are controlled by the City of Brookings, SD. See link: Brookings Municipal Utilities then hover over "Services" and then "What we do" there you will see Swiftel. This is a city of 25,000 people. Why would the Brookings municipality want to upgrade towers 60 miles south in Sioux Falls? Or 140 miles South in Sioux City, IA?
Sorry, more ranting. I feel something should be done.
This is a poor deal for Sprint customers. And we have all been paying the additional 4G charge for a while now, even though, I feel they have no desire to offer 4G anytime soon. I suggest you Google ( Sprint Swiftel ). You will find many more upset customers.
In driving around Sioux Falls, I've found that I get reliably better service as soon as I get about a half mile or further east of I229 on E 10th St. The sweet spot seems to be around the intersection of Sycamore and E 10th and the nearby parking lot of Shopko. Why, I don't know but it mostly works and it isn't an exercise in frustration trying to access data or make phone calls. The further west back into Sioux Falls I go, the worse the service becomes. At the Empire Mall I can mostly make and receive phone calls but data is a lost cause. At that location, I just jump onto Midcontinent's free public WiFi.
Not coincidentally, there is one small island of suspiciously great service for both data and phone north of there--right around the parking lot of the Swiftel/Sprint store on N Louise. I don't know this for a fact, but my gut instinct is that there is a nice picocell or microcell set up there for selling purposes. As soon as I get further than a block in any direction away from the store, not surprisingly my service degrades.
I use the apps ROOTMetrics and Sensorly to report in the field on signal strength and both have consistently zero to poor results around the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds, poor around the Empire Mall, moderate at best around much of town but somewhat better towards the Sycamore Ave area before fading out again. On the average if I can access data at any speed, it's around 0.04-0.09 Mb/s on a good day and pretty much zero the rest of the time.
Knowing the ROOTMetrics and Sensorly apps have no axes to grind with anyone, I figure my contributions will help improve an impartial coverage map and inform shoppers about the trouble spots around Sioux Falls.
I normally would cheer for local companies and utilities over big corporations, but frankly Swiftel is as bad if not worse than AT&T or Verizon when it comes to blowing off customers and practicing the fine art of passive aggression towards people like me who ask too many questions.
If Sprint/Softbank has any legal tricks up it's sleeve to kick Swiftel into line, I'd strongly suggest that it use them. Our service here is poor not just for locals but for all the tourists from all over who pass through the largest city between the Twin Cities and Denver. I also would like to take this moment of my rant to remind Sprint/Softbank that the region bounded by the Twin Cities, Omaha and Sioux Falls is fast becoming known as "Silicon Prairie" for all the IT companies that are setting up shop here in the Great Plains. It would be a missed golden opportunity for Sprint/Softbank if it blunders with upgrades in this area.
Thanks for the reply. I understand the need to use apps. As I am a runner too. I use the Nike + app and hate it when Im at the gym because my numbers are always wrong. So I have to compensate by doing a cool down. So I know how you feel. After taking a look at the area I show they are all 3G towers and they do not show any upgrades coming within the next few months. If Swiftel maintains the towers. There is not much Sprint can do to get them to upgrade. I did see there is an outage in the area that is affecting 3G data and messaging. The techs have put up an ETA of today or tomorrow. I say we wait to see if this clears. I can also put in a pinpoint ticket for your effected area. I will need a zip and cross st.
Sprint Social Care
Thanks for the post. As stated to Emjay, I dont show any upgrades going on in that area within the next few months. If Switel is maintaining the towers, Sprint wont be able to assist as they would handle it. In regards to the store, they might have used one of these. www.sprint.com/airave. This would be good to provide service indoors and it covers up to 5000 sq. ft. I do apologize for the issues you have been having with dealing with them. Sensorly and Root metrics are great apps for reporting your findings.
Sprint Social Care
Hi there, So when you say there are no upgrades for the next few months? What happens after that, nothing?
It's just so sad that a city with 160,000+ has to suffer from poor service from sprint. I honestly think it would be a great investment for Swiftel/Sprint to upgrade every single Sprint tower here in Sioux Falls so they can continue to gain customers.
Thanks for the post. Sorry about the upgrade situation in your area. Sprint plans on upgrading its entire 3G footprint. So when I look at the map, the towers that are ours will be getting upgraded. The issue is that we have not put forth a date for this. Anything after 90 days is to far out to comment on as this could change in a blink for many reasons. When I gave the outlook for the area, this was my criteria. At this time I dont have anything within the next 3 months. You can keep an eye on the rollout by checking our network website. www.sprint.com/network, Here you can see what has been upgraded and get info on what's next.
Sprint Social Care
It is awesome that Sprint is planning on upgrading every 3g tower, but what about here in SD? As far as I understand every tower that sprint phones use in South Dakota are owned by Swiftel, there probably isn't a legit Sprint tower anywhere in this State. What happens then? Do we just get skipped over?
Thanks for the reply. When was this. This sounds like good news. No? We would not have any access to this back and forth. The only way I would be able to know if they came to an agreement would be if they start the upgrade process. I would stay on them and update us here. I would do the same if I hear anything from our end.
Sprint Social Care
I called the Swiftel/Sprint location in Brookings recently to ask if there will be any alleviation of the signal/capacity problems here in Sioux Falls. The representative I spoke with openly acknowledged the issues with data and dropped calls. He apologized and reiterated that Swiftel was under no obligations to upgrade to LTE or expand the capacity of the network. He also stated that while Swiftel would like to remedy the issues we've been bringing up here it is a municipal utility bound by different laws than a telecom like Sprint. According to him, Swiftel simply doesn't have the cash or resources to upgrade their network. He attributed the problems we're all having to the explosion of iPhones and skyrocketing numbers of users saturating a network that was never intended to handle present volumes. He added the explosive growth of Sioux Falls was also unforeseen and could not be prepared for. He didn't foresee any change in the infrastructure here in the future. I mentioned this forum to him and suggested he read it and pass the comments from here to his supervisors.
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