Sprint unveils new 1Gb ‘Spark’ wireless service

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Sprint today revealed that it has developed a new wireless technology that could allow it to surpass the data speeds of its competitors. Dubbed ‘Sprint Spark,’ the ultra-fast LTE service is currently capable of delivering peak speeds of up to 60Mbp .

But the company says that’s just the beginning. Spark’s speed will increase as the technology matures, and will eventually reach staggering 1Gbps download speeds. And to prove that, Sprint demonstrated a 1Gbps connection today at one of its labs…

From the press release:

“Sprint (NYSE:S) demonstrated live today 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) over-the-air speed at its lab near Silicon Valley, Calif. This was the highlight of a day that showcased the innovation and what’s possible on the Sprint network as the company unveiled technology with the potential to surpass wireless speeds of any U.S. network provider.

Named Sprint Spark, the super-high-speed capability demonstrates 50-60 Megabits per second (Mbps) peak speeds today with increasing speed potential over time. Given Sprint’s spectrum and technology assets, it is technically feasible to deliver more than 2Gbps per sector of over-the-air speed.”

How does it work? Sprint Spark combines multiple LTE technologies in various bands in order to deliver high speed Internet via tri-band devices. And these devices will be capable of seamlessly switching between these bands without interruptions or slowdowns.

Will it work with iPhone? Unfortunately, no. Existing smartphones won’t be able to take advantage of Spark’s technology, and Apple is most   definitely not on the list of handset manufacturers set to release compatible devices over the next few months.

Where can you get it? The good news is that Sprint isn’t wasting any time deploying the tech. It plans to deploy Spark in 100 major American cities over the next 3 years, with initial availability in five markets today: New york, L.A., Chicago, Tampa and Miami.

While I applaud Sprint for pushing the envelope here, you have to wonder if it’s a very smart move. After all, the carrier has a shaky track record with new wireless technologies (see WiMAX), and it’s not even close to finished rolling out its current LTE network.

On that front, Sprint says its 4G LTE service now covers over 230 markets in the US and will be available to approximately 250 million Americans by mid-2014. The company announced earlier today it sold 1.4 million iPhones last quarter, posting $383m in profit.

What are your initial thoughts on Sprint Spark?