Sprint customers could soon get a little bump in their data speed — at least those who own a flagship phone. Sprint is holding the keys to a new hidden feature on many flagship devices that will allow customers to tap into a new wireless technology aimed at enhancing their data connection speed, Günther Ottendorfer, Sprint’s chief operating officer, said in an interview with CNET.
The bump in speed could be very helpful for Sprint, which has been waging a war against its rivals by saying that it has totally closed the speed gap between it and the others. There has long been the perception that Sprint is the slowest of the big four networks –and a big speed boost could help change that impression.
The new feature will be available to customers through an over-the-air update, and it will basically tap into a technology called 3x carrier aggregation, which is Sprint’s fancy wording for a higher data bandwidth. Phones set to get the new feature include the likes of the Apple iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S7, the Google Pixel, and the LG G5.
There is one phone on the market that already makes use of the new technology — the HTC Bolt, which Sprint launched December 14. The feature is only available in markets where the new technology is implemented — that’s only nine markets so far, and we don’t know exactly what those markets are.
Sprint is a little different than the other carriers, for multiple reasons. First of all, it uses a number of different frequency bands, including frequencies above the 2.5GHz range, which offer a higher data speed. With this new technology, Sprint can use all of its frequency ranges for faster service.
So when will Sprint customers get the faster data speed? The first device to get it will be Samsung’s next flagship, which will most likely be the Galaxy S8. Speculation suggests that the device will be announced in late February, so we should expect Sprint’s new features sometime after that.