WICKER PARK — Sprint customers have been experiencing difficulty in some parts of Chicago as the company works on what it calls "network upgrades."
Logan Square resident Donna Kuinius, 90, visited the Wicker Park Sprint store at 1600 N. Milwaukee Ave. around 3 p.m. Wednesday to complain that her phone has been dropping calls for two days.
According to a store employee, Kuinius was one of about 50 people to complain Wednesday.
"This morning I was trying to order medical supplies, and I kept getting disconnected," Kuinius said.
Kuinius said she does not have a landline because "nobody needs one now...everyone's got cell phones."
Sprint's in-store customer service manager, Leonal Bustamente, who advised Kuinius to call customer service, said he received "about 50 complaints" Wednesday.
"Every other person is complaining," Buscamente said.
Sprint spokeswoman Kelly Schlageter said Sprint has not had any cell sites down as a result of the network upgrades.
"However, during the process, some customers may experience difficulty making or sustaining a phone call," she said.
For example, the sites in the 60622 area code completed their upgrades Wednesday night "so customers should begin noticing that their service is not only back to normal, but also that they have [a higher-speed] 4G LTE signal," Schlageter said.
The sites in the 60647 area code are scheduled to be complete in the next few weeks, which will mean improved service and the addition of 4G LTE for customers in that area, she added.
Schlageter said upgrades for the Chicago market are about 88 percent complete "and we expect to be largely complete with the upgrades by the beginning of summer."
A Sprint representative at a Shreveport, La., call center said that Sprint is working on more than 1,000 cellular towers "all over Chicago, really" to upgrade from a 3G CDM to the faster 4G LTE Network.
Work on the towers are causing Sprint customers to "experience dropped calls, phones going straight to voicemail, and not ringing," the rep said.
The 4G LTE network Sprint is upgrading to as part of a $4 billion to $5 billion investment is already used by competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the Tribune reported in November.
Sprint customers can call the technical support team directly at 800-390-9545.