Sprint announced on Tuesday that customers with more recent phones will get access to a faster 4G LTE network, as well as more monthly hotspot data at no additional cost.
Users of the company’s “Unlimited Plus” and “Unlimited Freedom” plans will now get 50GB of 4G LTE data each month. “Unlimited Premium” customers will receive 100GB monthly, up from 50 GB.
The new monthly data allotment comes “just in time for holiday travel” and also as the carrier is turning on its faster 4G LTE Advanced network across the United States. More than 225 cities are now able to access gigabit speeds.
The company says the network upgrades are paving the way to 5G.
"We've supercharged our network with some of the most advanced technologies in wireless to give customers an even better data experience," said Dr. John Saw, Sprint chief technology officer, in a statement. "LTE Advanced is critical for meeting customers' growing demands for data, and it's an important stepping stone to launch mobile 5G next year."
Preparing for 5G
Sprint says most of the latest “flagship” devices it sells -- including Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max; Samsung's Galaxy S9, S9 and Note 9 and LG's V30+, G7 ThinQ and V40 ThinQ -- are compatible with the faster network, which offers customers speeds up to twice as fast as before.
All four major wireless carriers are working toward the deployment of 5G. Verizon has already launched its first version of 5G in four U.S. cities and AT&T plans to launch its 5G network for mobile devices later this year.
Sprint plans to have its first 5G mobile device ready for purchase around March 2019, Roger Solé, Sprint's chief marketing officer, told USA TODAY.