Why is Sprint's LTE network such a bad joke?

I recently signed up for Sprint service since my contract was up for renewal from another carrier, and Sprint had activated 4G LTE across all of New York City.

My advice? Steer clear. Don't repeat my mistake. And make sure that if you do, you give yourself time to cancel your service in the 14 day window and send the phone back!

Long story short -- Sprint's "LTE network" is a bad joke.

Walk out anywhere in the provincial cowpatch known as Manhattan with a Sprint LTE smartphone like my Samsung, and you're greeted with five bars of LTE -- and NO measurable data speeds.

Emails dribble in, one by one, and if you adjust Speedtest.net to kilobits/second, you learn that your five bars of outstanding LTE coverage outdoors is giving you an outstanding 5 kbps. Walk into any building, and it downscales to Sprint 3G, which delivers better performance than 4G -- 100 kbps. (Still absurdly slow).

Yes, that's just over 1/3 the speed of the dialup modem I used with my Atari ST computer in the early 1990s as a teen.

If you go on Sprint's web site, the forums (which are often offline) are filled with angry people, furious over poor LTE performance in Manhattan. Many times, they're told "LTE isn't yet officially activated in your territory and needs to be optimized." Yet in NYC, it's "official" and it sucks. In my "strong signal" area in dark purple, it's laughably bad.

Why would Sprint launch such a ridiculous network experience and declare it ready for prime time? Every other major carrier, including the much smaller T-Mobile, have been able to provide passable to good LTE service in NYC.