Tech Files outtake: In San Jose, Sprint’s the pits

If you live in San Jose and are a customer of Sprint, I feel your pain.

For my column today, I tested Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone. As I wrote, I was underwhelmed by the phone. What I didn’t mention was that I was even less impressed with the network it was running on.

The particular iteration of Galaxy S5 I tested was the one for Sprint. It was the first Sprint phone I’ve used in a while; the gadgets I’ve tested over the last six months or so generally have run on AT&T, Verizon or, sometimes T-Mobile. It was a frustrating and eye-opening experience.

I had trouble getting a decent signal just about everywhere I tried, whether from my office in north San Jose, from my house in Willow Glen or points to the east, west or in between. And when I did get a signal, it was typically from Sprint’s older and slower 3G network, not its newer LTE one. My experience made a mockery of Sprint’s coverage map, which indicates that its signals pervade our area.

To be sure, my experience is anecdotal, not scientific. I didn’t do any kind of thorough study of Sprint’s signals in our area.

But my experience jibes with the findings of more rigorous studies. In its most recent report on wireless coverage in San Jose , for example, Root Metrics rated Sprint a distant fourth among the big four providers. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports rated Sprint dead last among wireless carriers both in its national ratings and its ratings for San Francisco, the nearest city for which it looked at wireless coverage.

South Bay Sprint users out there, is your experience any better than mine?


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  • joshuasantos

    Sprints coverage in San Jose is complete garbage. After being a loyal customer for over a decade, it became unusable as of last October. Constant dropped calls across 5 lines, slow data, and call quality issues. I switched to Tmobile and it was night and day better. I had to eat hefty EFTs in the process despite having horrific service and talking to 3 different managers. I would highly recommend never using Sprint ever if you live in Silicon Valley.

  • Napolean

    I am not the user of sprints, but my friends said that, it was not good. They didn’t recommend this for me. Service is bad they said. Have to try other.

  • Justin ta

    My experience in the bay area is also terrible, but I hope there new tri-band will fix that soon!

  • Dave

    Hi Troy. I switched to Sprint less than a year ago after getting tired of AT&T charging $100 a month with text and data caps. Sprint has been working hard to upgrade its network which does take time. Yes, I have also suffered dropped calls and poor data connections. The network still needs a lot of improving. I am not a satisfied customer but I am also very loyal to Sprint because they have always admitted the problems, and customer service for me has been excellent, they even gave me a credit a few times on my bill. I upgraded to a HTC One M8 that uses uses the latest technology and my network connection has improved significantly. Sprint still needs to roll out LTE in the San Jose area but the good news for me is I do get LTE in my home in the Santa Teresa area and at my workplace in downtown San Jose. My previous phone was a LG Viper 4G LTE. It was the source for most of my network headaches. I am still not satisfied with Sprint until they get broader LTE coverage and stronger signals from their towers.

  • Speednut

    It’s not just Sprint… CDMA carriers including Verizon have significant data capacity and dead spots in the South Bay. North SJ is especially bad. Verizon’s marketing LTE maps would look like swiss cheese if they told the truth. More info about Verizon’s issues can be found at:

  • Chris Schmidt

    I recently left Sprint after 9 years because of the horrible HORRIBLE network quality in San Jose. I feel sorry for anyone that has signed themselves up for 2 years in their substandard (actually that is too kind) network.

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