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?

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (279 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.