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Sprint EPIC "4G Service" Useless Indoors

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Journeyman

Sprint EPIC "4G Service" Useless Indoors

At my home in Haverhill, MA it works like a charm outside....full boat signal and it flies speed wise.

Walk in the house and the signal drops to a fragile connection and most of the time fails.

Assuming it was just a fluke at my house, I tried it this morning in Boston as well while going to a project meeting.

Same thing...wonderful signal outside with grreat up and down speeds....walk indoors and POOF...it's gone.

What good is it if it only works OUTDOORS?

Message was edited by: jfenton1957

Message was edited by: jfenton1957

56 REPLIES 56
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Journeyman

mmoore6073, I too live in the Tampa area (Riverview) and although I am not particularly happy with the coverage of the 4G/Clear WiMax network at my home (or nearby communities, even though our two communities top 3,000 homes).  However, I hope that if any future expansion does take place that they will go just a bit further to the south and cover the rest of Riverview.

At home I use our WiFi network, and since coverage indoors on 4G isn't the greatest, the WiFi network I have at home performs much better than the 4G would anyway.  I have a closer tower for the 3G voice network, so I have great signal strength with that and can take calls throughout my home without any issues, and that is important to me, much more so than the 4G network.

Looking back on it I think the 4G data network is overrated and not of a major concern if you have a good WiFi network at home or work.  If you have good 3G coverage then for the most part you should be somewhat satisfied.

In my opinion, the commercial push toward customers of the 4G network is a lot of hype.  If someone doesn't do a lot of data transfer then the 3G network for the most part works well for them, as well as their calls.   Although I hope it (4G/Wimax) grows in the future to provide better service, I don't consider it an overall dealbreaker as I am happy with the Epic phone and am more concerned with operating system and phone functionality updates than I am about the 4G network.

-Russ

Message was edited by: RussD

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Journeyman

Note to Sprint Sprint form censures - I will continue to post the below on Android Forms, Facebook, etc. until the service is working... If you would like, please contact me via email, so that we can have a conversation.  Thank you.

SPRINT BASICALLY LIES.  THE 4G AVAILABILITY IS TOUTED IN TAMPA, BUT I CAN'T GET IT AT MY OFFICE OR MY HOME.  IT IS AT THE POINT THAT I AM CONSIDERING CANCELLING MY PLAN.  DON'T OBTAIN A SPRINT PHONE ON A PROMISE.

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Journeyman

The 4G network is growing, but you need to be stationary and in a "sweet spot" for it to stay connected.  If you're not surfing the web, or conducting other data-intensive activities, it's best to have your 4G turned off.   With 4G turned on, the phone will drain its battery faster due to the switching back and forth between 3G and 4G.  This battery-drain information was posted by a tech to one of the other forums.

The complaint I have is with the MANDATORY $10.00 monthly charge for 4G service.  Those who live in a 4G servicable area should be allowed to opt-out if they do not want to use this "upgrade" feature.  Those who do not live in a 4G area shouldn't have the pay the $10.00 4G fee at all.  It's rediculous to charge someone $10.00 for something they can not use.  With taxes, the $10 actually comes to $12 more per month, or $144 per year.

-Allen in Chicago

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Journeyman

Looks like my hopes of the fringe of the 4G network that is only 2 miles from my house getting to me have been nixed.  I think you'll find this story interesting:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372170,00.asp

Cash-Strapped Clearwire Slashes Staff, Halts Roll Outs

By: Chloe Albanesius

  • 11.04.2010

Clearwire has run into some money troubles. In a third-quarter earnings report, the company said it has "not yet secured future funding," and must implement a number of cost-saving measures, including layoffs and a suspension of additional market roll outs.

"We continue to pursue all options for future funding including debt, equity or a potential sale of excess spectrum or other assets, and we remain cautiously optimistic that we will resolve our short-term funding needs in the near future," Clearwire said.

Clearwire will suspend the launch of its Clear services in Denver and Miami, and will not pursue Clear-branded smartphones, the company said. Clearwire will also lay off about 15 percent of its employees, implement a "substantial reduction" in its number of contractors, and reduce sales and marketing spending.

Clearwire will also suspend zoning and permitting in sites where it had planned to roll out until it can secure more cash. This will potentially save the company between $100 million and $200 million this year and in the first half of 2011.

The news comes two weeks after Clearwire announced plans to launch its 4G services in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles later this year. In August, it unveiled Rover, a pay-as-you-go mobile broadband service aimed at tech-savvy "digitally addicted" customers.

To solve its money woes, Clearwire is considering a number of options, including strategic transactions, additional debt or equity financings, or asset sales. Clearwire investors include Intel, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

In a statement, Sprint reiterated what chief executive Dan Hesse said recently. "Sprint has been in discussions with Clearwire regarding the financial status of its ongoing operations as well as Sprint potentially providing new financing," the company said. "We expect those discussions to continue as we review alternatives with Clearwire. There is no assurance that the discussions will result in any transaction with Clearwire."

Sprint's own 4G plans remain unchanged, the company said.

By the end of the quarter, Clearwire had 2.84 million subscribers, of which 1.01 million were retail subscribers and 1.83 million were wholesale subscribers. Clearwire added 150,000 retail customers during the quarter. The company expects to hit 4 million subscribers by year's end.

Clearwire reported revenue of $147 million for the third quarter.






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Journeyman

Russ, at least you are getting something usable in Tampa.  I am also in Tampa, and was excited to find that 4G was deployed.  I rushed out and bought an Epic.  At home (Town and Country on Hillsborough) I get four to five bars consistently under 4G, similar in other locations nearby.  My throughput rate with the 4-5 bars maxes out at 26.8 kbps!  Yes, that is "k" as in "kilo", not "m" as in "mega".  I even tried a factory reset thinking perhaps something had corrupted the phone software.  No improvement.

I am not amused, and will most likely be taking the Epic back, along with forgoing the Overdrive 4G I was also planning to purchase as an upgrade to a Novatel MiFi card.  If my current Sprint 3G Novatel card and my wife's Sprint 3G Blackberry Curve can each beat the Epic 4G throughput to a pulp without breaking a sweat (which they can and do), what's the point of Sprint 4G?  Or do I need more than five bars to get decent throughput?

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Journeyman

GARDOGLEE wrote:

I get four to five bars consistently under 4G, similar in other locations nearby.

The 4G signal strength indicator only has three bars.  4G signal strength has absolutly no relationship to phone service signal strength.

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Journeyman

In that case, when I look at the little area over the "4G" logo I see two arcs, three arcs, or "ZZZ".  It flips back and forth between these, usually on two arcs.

That is a bit different than 4-5 bars, but it does not change the essential problem from the end-user point of view.  I am in a covered area, and I get lousy throughput.  Perhaps by driving around and watching the phone I can find a place with three arcs consistent signal, where I will presumably start getting data throughput more like what I expected, 50 to 100 times the data throughput I have had so far.

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Journeyman

What type of throughput are you getting at speedtest.net?  Have you tried in other 4G covered areas as well and what were the results there.   I can only tell you that I think the announcement that Clear/Sprint 4G was available in Tampa is political because I still see that some areas coverage is spotty for a bit, but yet lately has become more solid.  In my opinion, they are still tweaking this network.   I use WiFi on the phone at home because the 4G network ends just north of my home.  However, at work and other covered areas I get good speeds.   -Russ

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Journeyman

cdriccio, I noticed in your post you mentioned the $10 fee.  I thought you'd find this recent article interesting:

http://nexus404.com/Blog/2010/11/12/sprint-premium-10-4g-fee-going-away-sprint-clearwire-dispute-may...

Earlier this year, it quietly came to the public’s knowledge that Sprint would be charging an extra $10 “Premium Data Fee” for customers who were using their EVO 4G or Epic 4G phones. Sprint insisted that it wasn’t a 4G surcharge on the unlimited data plan, instead calling it like a “first-class seat on a plane.” But now, a dispute between Sprint and WiMAX provider Clearwire may end up with 4G customers seeing that fee cleared away.

In their current agreement, Sprint is paying Clearwire for all EVO 4G and Epic 4G phones on their network, even the ones outside the current 4G network coverage. It seems that Sprint passes this fee onto the customers in the form of the $10 premium data fee. Sprint is now taking Clearwire to an arbitrator as they argue that they (and their customers) shouldn’t pay for Clearwire’s network, if the phone is to be used outside the 4G network.

If Sprint wins in the case, it could mean big trouble for Clearwire. FierceWireless reports that Clearwire is in financial trouble and that they’re already having trouble continuing to finance the expansion of their 4G network. If they no longer get a piece of every EVO 4G and Epic 4G on Sprint’s network, that would likely worsen their situation.

For those who may be unaware. Sprint’s “first 4G network” is actually leased from Clearwire, even though Sprint owns 51% of Clearwire, it’s a seperate publicly traded company. Clearwire also leases their WiMAX network to other companies, as well as providing some direct 4G WiMAX modems to customers under the name “CLEAR”.



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Journeyman

However, here is another article that contradicts the one I just posted saying that the fee would absolutely not go away.

http://androinica.com/2010/11/11/no-4g-you-still-pay-for-it-and-so-does-sprint/

No 4G? You still pay for it, and so does Sprint

November 11, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Sprint

Sprint and Clearwire are in an almost comical back-and-forth over the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G. Sprint currently has to pay a wholesale sum to Clearwire because the EVO and Epic obtain 4G through Clearwire’s network. The arrangement doesn’t sit well with Sprint because paying wholesale means the company is charged even for customers who don’t live in markets with access to Clearwire’s 4G network. FierceWireless reports that the two companies are entering arbitration to resolve this issue.

The funny part of this situation is that EVO and Epic customers have been complaining about the very same thing that Sprint is trying to stop.

Subscribers with a 4G-capable phone must pay a $10 monthly surcharge even if their home market lacks 4G coverage. Sprint has justified this by claiming that this is really a “premium data charge” for the large of amount of data someone is likely to consume with these high-powered devices. If you believe that, I’ve got some Enron stock that I’d like to sell.

Is it possible that Sprint charges everyone because Clearwire charges WiMAX prices regardless of whether WiMAX is available? It’s very plausible, but Sprint won’t go on record saying that. Will the carrier drop the $10 monthly plan if it wins arbitration with Clearwire? Absolutely not. The logistic headaches and financial losses of doing that makes that a bad business decision.

As much as it pains me to say, people really need to let this 4G fee thing go. We all know that Sprint is charging us extra, but it still costs less than AT&T and Verizon. We’re definitely being shafted, but the only solution is to not buy either the EVO or Epic in protest.

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Journeyman

My 4g works perfectly in a large office building in the middle of downtown. However, it is totally pointless because I have wifi that is literally about 20X faster. It does not work in my apartment where I think the 4g network would be faster than my DSL. I get 4g in my car as well, but that doesn't really help all that much.

I have researched a lot of options and through trial and error, the only thing that seems to marginally work is to create a satelite dish out of tin foil and pan lids...wow...

This trick seems to boost the signal when it comes in marginally.

If sprint sold little 4g antenna boosters that we could put in our homes, I think EVERYONE would buy them.

For now, I feel like its 1987 and I am wrapping tinfoil around the tv antennae...

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Journeyman

I suppose this means I will have to take apart one of my hats to have enough tin foil...unless I can figure out how to integrate my Epic into my hat?  How do you get the Epic into the pyramid?

Seriously, though, I did Speedtest.net and it shows 6 megabit down in some places, and nothing at all in some others nearby, but every application I try, and particularly the Hot Spot application, crawls like a wounded snail.  That does tend to suggest to me a software problem in the Epic. I've got a week left to take this back, and I think I am going to do so, and then try an EVO.

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