The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a very nice phone. On Sprint's current infrastructure it is not a good phone. In fact, a Galaxy Nexus activated on Sprint today will operate on Sprint's CDMA 3G network (3 generations old if you count LTE is being current generation). I have done multiple side-by-side comparisons in the Houston market with my Galaxy Nexus on Sprint 3G vs a Samsung Galaxy S II Epic running on Sprint WiMax (4G). WiMax performance over a new Galaxy Nexus will either enrage you or make you cry depending on your persoanlity type, but what we have here is the failure of Sprint.
Sprint planned a schedule for device releases in 2012 long ago. They had an internal milestone to get their LTE network up and running before bringing Sprint versions of these popular LTE phones to market. Sprint FAILED to deliver on that internal schedule (I am not over exaggerating. Do not make me track down the articles from Sprint stating very public expectations that Sprint would have their LTE network up by time the Galaxy Nexus shipped. Sprint failed.). The impact of this internal failure is an immedite and yet illusive one for the casual customer looking to switch networks, lured by the Galaxy Nexus phone and considering Sprint.
What a new customer who signs up for a two year contract on a Galaxy Nexus gets is a device built for a network the carrier is no position to support yet and WILL NOT BE for months to come. The customers out of pocket cost and contract obligations are very similar to what a customer would be up against on Verizon's network. The big lure of course being the unlimited "everything" package Sprint offers that will carry over to LTE. But it's all vapor. As a new Sprint customers two weeks ago, I walked out of their store with a two year contract and a phone that with horrible performance on a legacy two generation old CDMA 3G network. It's performance for streaming low-definition media is hideous compared to what I was getting on another carrier 3G network.
Here is the bad news for Galaxy Nexus owners
When I signed my contract and obtained my Galaxy Nexus two weeks ago, the manager of the store and the sales clerk both told me "Houston is one of the first cities getting LTE. The network has been in testing for seveal weeks and will go live probably in the next two to three weeks". This lines up with some of the news stories I've read. However when I called Sprint customer service today I got a very different story. I explained to the support rep that I had signed up with Sprint two weeks ago and had been told LTE was coming to my market soon. I said "I really want a more percise time frame" this got me transfered to 2nd tire Sprint support. I then talked with a customer service rep who pulled up information on LTE tower upgrades within a 100-mile radius of my house. He was very informative and kind, but the news he delivered I did not want to hear! He told me that Sprint had upgraded a bit more than half of the towers in my area for LTE. He explained that if the Sprint store reps are seeing LTE towers come on that's just a standard test -and- that given the amount of work to do in Houston we would guess mid September to October before LTE goes live in the Houston market. I joked "are you guys holding out for Verizon to buy you?" That did not get a response or even the slightest bit of laughter.
I'm furious. Sprint is selling customers (on binding contract no less) advanced handsets their network can't support. On this ground alone I would say they have failed their existing customer base and future customer base. I hope they get bought out by Verizon at this point.
The Galaxy Nexus isn't equipted to connect to WiMax (4G) so it fails horribly against Sprint's 2011 Smartphone (WiMax) lineup. This is what a struggling cell phone carrier looks I imagine. I would have never signed the contract had I known three very important things. 1. The Galaxy Nexus does not work on WiMax and 2. Sprint's CDMA 3G network is horrible and not what you experinece on some other carriers 3G network 3. LTE service is months away from going live.
As a new customer to Sprint your best bet is to pick a phone that supports both WiMax and LTE. The problem is this carrier does not have any models I am aware of that do this. If they do they certainly are not the sought after phones.
A very disgrunteled customer (who's fight has only begun)
Just wanted to follow up and let everyone know Sprint failed yet again. It's June 4th and LTE is not operational in Houston or any surrounding cities/towns yet. Their latestest ETA? July 1st. I'm sure next it will be Aug 1st. Gotta love these guys. Meanwhile they keep selling LTE phones like crazy.
How have they failed? They never gave a date for LTE being available...the only official statement ever released was "mid year". Counting months, July 1st would be the mid point of the year. I'd like it as much as the next person, but I knew it going in that it may not happen when they said. It is quite a huge undertaking to upgrade hundreds of towers. They are still making progress with more towers being upgraded every day.
Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Atlanta get LTE on July 15th. Pretty darn close to the mid-year estimate they originally announced.
I've had my Galaxy Nexus for about 2 weeks and had crappy coverage on the 3G data. I've been using my WiFi at home and thinking I should've bought one through Google. Any chance they'll take this phone back and drop most of their early termination fees??
There is a 14 day trial period where you can return the device and not pay an ETF. You will be responsible for any other account fees though. If its been more than 14 days all you can do is talk to someone and hope.
4 days past. So hopefully. Otherwise I'll just cancel and sell the phone off to cover my fees and get the one through Google. Also gives the added bonus of updates. I had the Nexus One and always received updates straight from Google.
OP: To be honest, I do agree with you; but to a point.
Sprint has strived very hard to be the first to the fight when it comes to technology, and staying on the cutting edge. This is where WiMAX as a technology presents itself. We launched the first type of 4G on June 4, 2010. The next dog to the fight was Verizon, laucnching their LTE on March 17, 2011. AT&T followed closely behind, lighting up ten launch markets in May of that same year. AT&T previously had an HSPA+ network somewhat established, but that being a 3G standard, WiMAX blew it out of the water.
Being the first in the game put Sprint at a disadvantage at this point. The LTE conversion has been a nightmare, to be honest. We are activating new spectrum, consolidating old spectrum, thinning iDEN and phasing in the 800 MHz spectrum to work in conjunction with LTE, as well as implementing multi-modal infrastructure on every tower we have control over. The Network Vision process is tedious, yes, but once completed, other carriers won't have an answer for quite some time.
Sprint being a smaller network, we can mobilize faster. I live in the Atlanta launch market, and I can tell you that on the 15th, LTE wasn't everything that I dreamed. I have a Nexus and an SIII, and was disappointed to see such a sporadic 4G signal on both. I gave it a few days, and everything just lit up. I have consistent LTE everywhere that I am at this point. The only problem I have, is with in building penetration, which is what offlining and phasing in the 800MHz spectrum is meant to correct, as lower geared signals have easier penetration rates. The rollout is indeed ahead of schedule, considering that almost all of Metro-Atlanta at this point is getting 4G, and new areas are lighting up every day: Gainsville, Macon, Calhoun, Kennesaw.. and more.
All I can tell you, is to wait - and give you absolutely no time frame as to when you will see the bright lights of LTE light up your phone. I can't say that Sprint isn't delivering here, because they are and things may obviously differ in your area. I apologize for this, as that's almost all I can do. It's all consequential from being first.
If I can check on anything for you, I'd be glad to.
When in the Atlanta area I am seeing more LTE as I drive around. I do note the bit about "implementing multi-modal infrastructure on every tower we have control over". What exactly does that mean for Sprint? Since many towers are owned by 3rd parties and contain antennas from many carriers I assume you are upgrading those as well.
Well, the complicated part is, some we cannot touch. On the network side of things, Sprint Ericson works to ensure that the towers they can manipulate can communicate directly with ones that they cannot. This doesn't require hardware changes to said towers, but rather software changes on our end of things to optimize the signal being transmitted.
It's very convoluted, and uselessly political.
Just one add-on question for you - sprint.com/coverage shows that I have LTE coverage at my residence and at my office and at nearby malls. In reality, I get ZERO coverage at these locations. I tried indoors, outdoors, standing stationary, jumping off the roof (well, not really) - zip, nada, zilch.
I called Sprint and they had no answer except "wait". (no ETA, no explanation, just 'wait').
Any ideas as to why sprint.com/coverage seems to be inaccurate? Is there a place where I can get actual coverage maps?
P.S. Why was your thread about Jellybean update deleted just a day after you posted that very helpful thread?
I can't tell you as to why you aren't getting a signal in all honesty. There could be any number of factors contributing to it not coming through. I had the same issue for the first two weeks of LTE launching in my area and it eventually just turned itself on. The buildout is ahead of schedule, but still having sporadic issues in some areas from what I hear. I was even at a store that had an LTE repeater on the roof and was getting no signal inside, but you could walk outside and stand by this one pear tree and BOOM, 12mbps down!
It'll light up eventually. Just hold out.
Just random, and I know you've porbably already tried this, but do you have LTE/CDMA enabled under your mobile network settings?
I also have the Google Play version on T-Mobile and it works great. Been on JB 6 weeks or so. It's a bit faster than ICS on the same phone and T-Mobile's 4G is great if you're in a city. Pretty much EDGE everywhere else. Remarkably, EDGE is faster than Sprint 3G in many places. However, as a phone I can use the GN on Sprint most anywhere outside. Indoors there are times I can't make a reliable call.
LTE on the Sprint version is very fast when you can find it (which is more frequently in the Atlanta area) but the stock battery is weak! The free extended battery is much, much, much better.