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Sprint fires up new wireless data network

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Sprint

Sprint says it has turned on its new wireless data network, providing a much-needed boost to the carrier, whose data speeds lag those of its largest competitors. 

Sprint fired up the fourth-generation, or 4G, network in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, San Antonio and some smaller surrounding cities on Sunday. It uses "LTE," or "Long-Term Evolution," technology already in use by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Four smartphones and one "mobile hotspot" are capable of using the network.

PC Magazine got early access to the network a month ago, and found that it's not quite as fast as Verizon's and AT&T's equivalents, but a big step up from Sprint Nextel Corp.'s older 3G, or third-generation, network and the 4G access it rents from Clearwire Corp.