Sprint announced this week that it would be enabling three-carrier aggregation on iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, LG V20, and LG G5 smartphones. Those phones join the HTC Bolt in supporting the faster LTE Advanced specification, as first reported by Wireless Week. In Sprint’s case, the carrier is claiming that the switch to three-carrier aggregation offers peak speeds of up to 200 Mbps, a dramatic improvement over the 100 Mbps top speed of two-channel carrier aggregation.
To quickly summarize, LTE Advanced is a faster version of LTE that’s beginning to roll out in the US, which is primarily accomplished by carrier aggregation, which essentially means that the device uses multiple LTE bands simultaneously to allow for increased bandwidth speeds. The more bands (there are five total, but current commercial solutions top out at using three), the higher the theoretical data rate. The feature was enabled through a software update, which Sprint rolled out through the various device manufacturers last Friday.
Along with the new devices that support the spec, Sprint noted that it now supports three-channel carrier aggregation in multiple cities across the US, including Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, Columbus, Atlanta, Miami, and Seattle. Notably still missing from that list however are some major markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.