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Sprint's 'Spark' technology enables cellular data speeds of up to 60Mbps

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Sprint store (STOCK)
Sprint store (STOCK)

Sprint claims it has developed a new wireless technology that could allow the carrier to surpass the wireless data speeds of its rivals. Dubbed Sprint Spark, the "super-high-speed" currently reaches peak rates of 50 to 60Mbps, but Sprint insists that number will grow as the technology matures. In fact, to illustrate the progress it's making on that front, Sprint today demonstrated 1Gbps over-the-air speeds at one of its labs.

The carrier isn't wasting time deploying Spark; it's rolling out in "limited availability" in five US cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami) today. Sprint Spark is expected to reach 100 million Americans by the end of 2014, assuming the carrier's LTE expansion remains on track. From there, Sprint plans to implement the technology in over 100 cities over the next three years.

Unfortunately existing smartphones won't be able to take advantage of Sprint Spark; you'll need tri-band hardware, designed to utilize all of Sprint's spectrum bands on one device, to achieve the higher speeds. The first of those — from HTC, LG and Samsung — are due to arrive starting in November. Sprint claims these devices will be able to seamlessly hand off between 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies, providing a continuous high-speed data session without interruptions or slowdowns.