Sprint is only recognizing one town in America as having their full 4G LTE cellular service, and it has a population just over 25,000 and is located about an hour south of Chicago. Meet the extremely fortunate town of Kankakee, Illinois.
A Sprint spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that they have 4G LTE towers up and running in other markets across the country, but wouldn't specify where. This is, for now, the only town they'll recognize as being able to reach the full potential of the LTE towers. They plan on launching in six new, major markets by June, including Kansas City, Mo., Baltimore, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta and Houston.
The picture above is the Kankakee County Courthouse. There's a collection of pictures of the small town on Flickr, but it doesn't have any shots of people streaming a movie off Netflix on their 4G Sprint phone.
Sprint is playing catch up to the other phone providers, who already have some kind of 4G offering in place. Some of the difficulties in upgrading to 4G lay in the murky definition of what 4G service actually is. It's blurry from company to company, to say the least. The LTE technology seems to be the most prevalent of the 4G options, boasting speeds almost ten times as fast as 3G. AT&T and T-Mobile offer advanced 3G networks advertised as 4G service. The Wikipedia page is even labeled "too technical.".
Ironically, according to Sprint's website they don't even have a store in Kankakee, Illinois. The nearest Sprint dealer is in Bourbonnais, Illinois, which is roughly 12 minutes away according to Google Maps.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.