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  • Mr.Nuke

    We Welcome Our New Magenta Overlords?

    By Mr.Nuke

    Seth Goodwin
    Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
    Monday, April 30, 2018 - 5:00 PM PDT   After three previous attempts during the past four years, something many thought may never happen actually did. On Sunday April 29, T-Mobile announced they were effectively acquiring Sprint in an all stock deal, combining the third and fourth largest carriers in the U.S. wireless market. Pending regulatory approval, the merger is targeted for closing in the first half of 2019. The Deal The deal using an exchange ratio of 0.10256 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share valued Sprint at approximately $26.5 billion (plus the assumption of Sprint’s $30+ billion in debt) or $6.62 per share using T-Mobile’s Friday closing price of $64.52. The combined company “New T-Mobile” will be owned 41.7% by Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company. 27.4% of the company will be owned by Sprint's parent company SoftBank, with the remaining 30.9% owned by the general public and institutional investors. According to terms of the deal announced by both companies in a joint press release, the combined T-Mobile will retain two headquarters in Bellevue, Washington and Overland Park, Kansas. Current T-Mobile CEO John Legere will retain that role at the new company. T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert will serve as President and COO. No Sprint executives were announced to the management team at this time. Deutsche Telekom's Timotheus Höttges will serve as chairman of the company's board of directors, and DT will have 9 seats on the board compared to SoftBank's 4. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, and SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son will occupy two of SoftBank’s seats. As opposed to the famous T-Mobile/AT&T attempted tie up several years ago, this deal does not include a breakup fee should the merger fail to pass regulatory approval. Rather, Sprint has independently signed a roaming agreement with T-Mobile for four years that will continue regardless of the outcome of the merger. On the analyst call for the merger announcement Marcelo Claure said this would take effect immediately. As of the time this article was published, specific details pertaining to the roaming agreement and any actual known roaming connections have yet to materialize. The Plan Sprint and T-Mobile will continue operating separately until the conclusion of the merger, something that in and of itself raises multiple questions about this coming year. Hopefully we'll gain some more insights with Sprint's upcoming FY 2017/4th quarter earnings call.  Assuming approval, the companies announced that they intend on spending up to $40 billion in the first three years on capital expenditures and consolidating operations into a single entity. According to the press release, this represents almost 50% more than what Sprint and T-Mobile combined had spent over the past three years. At the time of closing, the companies estimate that Sprint and T-Mobile will have approximately 110,000 macro cell towers. Of these, around 35,000 will be decommissioned due to co-location or other redundancies. 10,000 new sites will be added leaving New T-Mobile with approximately 85,000 macro sites. Within the first three years of a combined company it is also estimated that the carrier will have over 50,000 small cells independent of magic boxes. The two carriers currently have around 10,000 combined. The stated plan is to “use T-Mobile as the anchor network” and use selected Sprint “keep” sites to add coverage and density. At a minimum, Sprint’s BRS/EBS 2.5 GHz spectrum will be added to T-Mobile’s sites and T-Mobile’s “full spectrum portfolio” will be deployed on Sprint’s “keep” sites. At face value, this would point toward mainly decommissioning Sprint sites as part of the 35,000-macro site reduction. In actuality we'll see what they do. For example all things equal, if two sites are co-located the greater synergies are in eliminating the tower rack with less favorable lease terms or worse rack location. VoLTE and Two-dot-Five The conference call noted while the goal is to migrate Sprint's CDMA customers to VoLTE as soon as possible, with 20 million Sprint customers having T-Mobile compatible handsets on day one. The intention is to have the total migration to T-Mobile completed over a three-year period without “degrading experience on Sprint’s network.” This suggests at a minimum keeping Sprint’s 1x800 voice service active during the transition as well as a deliberate coordinated process for overall decommissioning of macro sites. The other thing to watch going forward in this area is that T-Mobile makes no mention in their investor presentation toward utilizing anything other than Sprint’s 2.5 spectrum on their sites. A Sprint T-Mobile merger would create a spectrum behemoth with holdings ranging from T-Mobile’s low band 600 MHz for building penetration and rural coverage all the way through Sprint’s 2.5 GHz for capacity and speed. On Sunday, executives announced they have no intention of divesting any spectrum. However, questions remain on issues like what does a company that already possesses 600 MHz and 700 MHz LTE spectrum do with 800 MHz? How do T-Mobile and Sprint independently spend CapEx this year without diminishing merger synergies? We at S4GRU plan on potentially analyzing a combined company’s significant aggregate spectrum situation in a separate article at a later date. According to the investor information provided, the combined company is estimated to have run rate cost synergies in excess of $6 billion annually or on a net present value basis in excess of $43 billion. $26 billion NPV or $4 billion annually of these annual savings would be derived from network consolidation and CapEx synergies. Additional savings could come from consolidation of operations including store closing and eliminating corporate redundancies. From Sprint’s perspective these savings would be significant. The carrier has not turned a profit in the past 10 years. However, with these savings (even a portion of these savings) the carrier hypothetically would have been profitable all 10 years. Regulatory Hurdles This merger is not a done deal by any means. It faces regulatory scrutiny from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under the administration of former President Barack Obama, AT&T and T-Mobile attempted to merge only to be shot down by the government. Sprint and T-Mobile were reportedly told not to even try four years ago. The prior administration's thinking had constantly been that by allowing any combination of the big 4 U.S. wireless carriers to merge into three, consolidation would negatively impact the average consumer due to lower competition in the market. On the conference call Marcelo Claure noted that regulatory approval is “the elephant in the room.” Claure and Legere are expected to embark on a tour of Washington D.C. to try and gain favor for the merger later this week. Much has changed in Washington since Sprint and T-Mobile’s last attempt at a tie-up, but whether or not a merger is anywhere close to a guarantee to pass remains in limbo. President Donald Trump has positioned himself as a pro-business President, meeting with Masa Son shortly after his election. And while Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai has made comments signaling he may be more open to market consolidation than his predecessors; President Trump’s DOJ is simultaneously attempting to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Claure and Legere noted that they had talked to Pai, but had yet to talk to anyone at the DOJ prior to announcing the merger. The Sell With nothing guaranteed, selling this merger to the government and the public is going to be the key factor on whether or not it ultimately gets approved. Sprint and T-Mobile executives wasted no time in starting on Sunday launching the pro merger site allfor5g.com. Legere and Claure continued touting the merger in a series of interviews and television appearances Sunday night and Monday morning. Based on early results, the argument for the merger is fairly crafted towards its intended audience. The crux of T-Mobile and Sprint’s contention is that 5G is the future, and the future is costly. Both companies maintain a 3rd stronger carrier is better than 4 carriers in a market, two of which are at a capital disadvantage. Claure noted that, “It’s a very simple rule of business---both companies need each other.” Sprint has 2.5 GHz spectrum that will be optimal for 5G but lacks the financial resources to deploy its own. A new T-Mobile benefits from the 2.5 GHz spectrum, a larger combined customer base, financial synergies, and greater economies of scale to effectively deploy 5G. Legere noted their goal to eventually be able to provide 450 Mbit/s speeds consistently everywhere. The 5G argument is significant for a couple of reasons. The first is the current administration has made 5G a quasi-national security issue. The merger of Qualcomm and Broadcom was blocked partially on the grounds of China taking the lead in 5G, and it was widely reported at one point that the Trump administration was considering nationalizing 5G out of security concerns with China. The goal here is that if you let New T-Mobile happen they contend that they will be in a position to deliver 5G rapidly, creating a sense of urgency that a deal needs to be approved sooner than later. If you don’t let them combine they aren’t in the same position to make that happen. They also contended that 5G would allow for the innovators of the future, a not so thinly veiled overall economic development message. The other major 5G argument centers on rural expansion. For a long-time wireless rural cell service and rural broadband have been an important political and economic development issue. Historically rural service has lagged as the infrastructure cost to deliver service far exceeds any revenue operators can hope to recoup. Legere and Claure have immediately been pushing the notion that a merger would allow the combined carrier to bring rural broadband across the nation (as well as creating jobs in rural areas during the network deployment). Lastly, their final argument centers around job creation. Typically, one of the reasons companies merge is that you can save money by eliminating duplicate positions within two separate organizations. Legere on Sunday claimed that this merger would create “thousands of American jobs” with 200,000 people working either directly for or on behalf of a combined entity. This likely faces more regulatory scrutiny than some of the other pro-merger arguments, as again typically mergers result in overall contraction. Furthermore, Sprint on its own announced several hundred layoffs within the past few months. Why now? In the near term, the FCC at some point soon is going to impose a quiet period forbidding anyone that is participating in this fall’s spectrum auction (an auction Sprint and T-Mobile are seeking a waiver for to jointly coordinate bidding strategies) from discussing mergers. Additionally, the longer the wait  is, it is likely some of the merger synergies would be eliminated. Sprint towers that are redundant to T-Mobile are not to Sprint itself. If Sprint's executive team was to be believed, Sprint was poised to spend $5 to 6 billion on Capex each of the next three years. Undoubtedly some of that, a potentially significant portion, would've been on towers T-Mobile has no interest in retaining. Slightly longer term, if there was ever a presidential administration to try this under it is this one. Much like this merger's outcome President Trump's re-election is far from a certainty. If a Democratic administration were to come back to Washington D.C. odds of any merger approval diminish significantly. Longer term yet, Sprint hasn’t turned a profit in 10 years. Marcelo Claure has done a more than admirable job at steering the ship during his four-year tenure: cutting costs, coming up with creative cost-effective network deployment strategies, etc. However, at some point access to traditional borrowing markets may have been cutoff due to Sprint's inability to generate a profit or even consistent free cash flows. It didn’t appear imminent given their two-time borrowing this year, but the company has over $27 billion in debt due over the next 6 years. It is pretty easy to envision a scenario where bond investors said times up. Beyond that, the simple burden of debt may have become so overwhelming that even if it didn't threaten the going concern of the company, it negatively impacted capital expenditures, something we've seen recently. Long-term is actually the story of the past 5+ years. Sprint has incredible spectrum assets, but it needed someone more financially able and willing to deploy them. SoftBank through either inability to act due to debt covenants with Japanese banks lending it money or through deliberate choice—in hindsight was never the savior it seemed. On paper, this merger should seemingly create a financially healthy company that finally is able to leverage Sprint's vast spectrum assets. However, as in the past, time will tell...   Source: 5gforall- https://allfor5g.com/
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San Jose/South Bay Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 12:09 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...South Bay. The South Bay market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint South Bay market encompasses Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. This includes the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Campbell, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Morgan Hill, Hollister, Gilroy, Salinas, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Soledad. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in the South Bay-San Jose area, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to do just that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February-March market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as this is a lower production rate than many other markets.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Downtown San Jose provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, July 6, 2012 - 12:55 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is way down yonder...Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The PR/VI market has yet to be announced by Sprint. Network Vision work is under way, with Samsung and their subcontractors actively working around the market. The Sprint PR/VI market encompasses all of Puerto Rico (including Culebra and Vieques) as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands (including St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John).   Samsung has this market deployment configured in a completely different manner than any other we have reported. Samsung did show up and begin work at the end of April. Their subcontractors are running around the islands installing base station equipment, new cable runs, remote radio units and new Network Vision antenna panels. We have had S4GRU members in Puerto Rico submit some pictures of this work being completed at sites near them. This work appears to be on schedule from our previous report for the market.   Network Vision site in Yauco, Puerto Rico. S4GRU Member Edil Montalvo provided this shot of a site in Yauco that received NV upgrades in early May. This site is slated to get Microwave backhaul which will not arrive until this Fall.   Sprint and Samsung are currently working on the 4G Core in Bayamon that will handle all the LTE data and eHRPD data that will come from completed Network Vision sites. The Bayamon 4G Core will not be ready until this Fall. Sprint's backhaul vendors are actively working to install high-speed backhaul that will connect these NV sites to the completed core.   Once the 4G core is complete and a good chunk of the backhaul is in place, Samsung will get back out to completed Network Vision sites and get the 3G upgrades and LTE hooked up to the new backhaul. Then the eHRPD and LTE networks can be running. The deployment dates in this article will discuss the dates that LTE sites are scheduled to start going live this Winter after everything is in place.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in the PR/VI market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February-March LTE launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). We will have a better idea how deployment is going after the Bayamon core and backhaul work are completed and LTE starts to go live.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. There is a chance that if the Bayamon core and backhaul can get completed ahead of schedule that these LTE live dates can be improved upon.   Photo of Christiansted, St. Croix provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Southern Connecticut Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 4:49 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Southern Connecticut. The Southern Connecticut market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Southern Connecticut market encompasses Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties. This includes the cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Danbury, Hamden, Trumbull, Waterbury, Meriden and Torrington. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Southern Connecticut, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will try. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January - February market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 25 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a really low amount compared to most other markets. There is no reason why they should not be able to complete the market on time, and there is a good chance that they may even be able to get ahead of scheule.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by July 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Stamford provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Northern Jersey Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 12:26 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Northern Jersey. The Northern Jersey market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Northern Jersey market encompasses Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Union, Passaic, Morris, Warren and Sussex counties. This includes such communities as Newark, Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Clifton, Passaic, Paterson, Hackensack, Teterboro, Paramus and distant Phillipsburg over on the Pennsylvania border. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Northern Jersey, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to do just that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of approximately 50 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as 50 sites per month is a steady rate that can be achieved with proper planning.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Statue of Liberty and the Jersey City skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

Fire Photon torpedoes! Motorola Photon Q hits the FCC OET

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 2:54 PM MDT   S4GRU continues with the third in a series of short articles on the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filings for "tentpole" devices headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Over the past few months, we have brought you the scoop on the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Today, the Motorola model number XT897 hits the FCC OET database with FCC ID IHDT56NL2, and we expect this mystery handset ultimately to be the Photon Q. Without further ado, here is the RF rundown:
  CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz carrier bandwidths world phone international roaming capability 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel) SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 22.45 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 19.89 dBm (EV-DO 850), 27.12 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 24.03 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 21.72 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 19.33 dBm (EV-DO 800), 25.22 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC capability Antenna locations: CDMA1X bottom, EV-DO/LTE top, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth bottom   The Photon Q's FCC filing makes mention of world phone international roaming capability, albeit latent inside the handset. Presumably, it will include at least GSM 900/1800 and W-CDMA 900/2100+1900 (a la the international roaming capabilities announced to be unlocked in several VZW handsets). But, before anyone asks, do not expect any LTE international roaming capability. RF uplink output looks to be healthy. It is generally a bit higher than what we have seen recently from the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3. However, unlike the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, the Photon Q lacks 802.11a/n Wi-Fi 5 GHz band capability. The filing indicates that the hardware is present, but 5 GHz operation is locked out. So, the Photon Q will be stuck in the increasingly overcrowded 2.4 GHz band. At this point, the LTE UE category remains unknown. Recent Motorola RAZR LTE handsets on VZW have used Moto's own Wrigley LTE baseband chipset, which has limited those devices to LTE UE category 2. We hope that the Photon Q will utilize the Qualcomm MSM8960 as a single chipset modem, as that should enable UE category 3. Perhaps the most interesting and potentially controversial aspect of the Photon Q's FCC authorization is the inclusion of two references to the Motorola Admiral, a front facing QWERTY handset currently available on Sprint. One reference cites the Admiral as a "similar transmitter;" the other reference flat out calls the Photon Q the Admiral. Thus, while some sites have leaked photos of what purports to be the Photon Q in the expected QWERTY slider design, we leave open the possibility, however modest, that the Photon Q may arrive as an LTE refreshed Admiral clone with a front facing QWERTY keyboard.     Sources: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

San Francisco Bay Area Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 12:02 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is the City by the Bay...San Francisco. The SF Bay market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is the only First Round market to not yet start deployment.   The Sprint SF Bay market encompasses all of the Northern San Francisco Bay Area, including the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Solano. This includes the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon, Antioch, Brentwood, Hayward, Berkeley, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, Richmond, Napa, San Rafael, Novato, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Daly City and Palo Alto.   Samsung is scheduled to finally start mobilizing with their subcontractors in this market next month and get things moving. The first completed Network Vision sites are will likely start coming online in September. There was a lot of anticipation that this market would start around the times of the other First Round markets. However, S4GRU discovered there were issues early in this market as the start dates for sites pushed out to summer pretty early in Network Vision. It just plain takes longer to get started in a market like Northern California with all of the bureaucratic red tape, planning and zoning requirements and approvals. And the issues Samsung has encountered in Chicago are likely to have played role in the push back too.   SF Bay Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like San Francisco, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately February (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be January. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in the Bay Area. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Samsung will need to hit a production rate of 75 sites per month to stay on schedule. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have any problems staying on time to this schedule. But this is very dependent on whether the market will indeed start in August.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by July 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of the Bay Bridge provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

New Orleans Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is, the Big Easy, the Crescent City...New Orleans. The New Orleans market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint New Orleans market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in the Southeastern Louisiana area. This includes New Orleans and its suburbs, up to Baton Rouge, around the north side of Lake Pontchartrain in Hammond, Covington and Slidell and then over toward Houma and Morgan City. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors before the end of August. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online in Septemeber.   New Orleans Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like New Orleans, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   It doesn't much matter in this market if Sprint launches at 40% or 50% completion. Ericsson is scheduled to hit both the 40% and 50% milestones in the month of January (should they stay on schedule). It may seem that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service around NOLA. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 40 sites per month to stay on schedule. This appears to us to be an achievable rate. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of New Orleans skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

San Diego Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 2, 2012 - 12:30 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is ...San Diego. The San Diego market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint San Diego market encompasses San Diego County and parts of Imperial County, including the San Diego Metro Area, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido and Calexico and El Centro to the East. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market this month. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in August.   San Diego Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like San Diego, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately February/March (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be January. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in San Diego, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of approximately 70 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as 70 sites per month is a steady rate that can be achieved with proper planning.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Downtown San Diego provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Raleigh/Durham Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 2, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is ...Raleigh/Durham. The Raleigh/Durham market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint RDU market encompasses most of Eastern North Carolina, except the coastal areas. This includes the Research Triangle/Raleigh-Durham metro area, Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, Southern Pines/Pinehurst, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Greenville, Kinston and Goldsboro. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market this month. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in August.   Raleigh/Durham Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Raleigh, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately January (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be December. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Raleigh/Durham, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December or January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a pretty low rate. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time, or maybe even getting ahead of schedule.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Downtown Raleigh provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Philadelphia Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 12:56 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is the City of Brotherly Love...Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Metro market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Philly market encompasses all of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Including the Philly Metro area, up toward the Lehigh Valley (Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton) and over toward Reading and Pottstown. In does not include the Jersey suburbs, which are in the Southern Jersey market. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to be mobilizing their subcontractors around the market now. Completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online this month.   Philadelphia Metro Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Philly, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately January (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be December. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in Philadelphia. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December or January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent will need to hit a production rate of 50 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is an achievable rate in our opinion. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by July 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Philadelphia skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Indianapolis Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Saturday, June 30, 2012 - 2:02 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is The Crossroads of America...Indianapolis. The Indy market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches. The Sprint Indianapolis market encompasses all of Central Indiana, including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area, Bloomington, Lafayette, Anderson, Muncie, Kokomo and Columbus. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in August. Completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in September.   Indianapolis Market Launch It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Indy, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches. It doesn't much matter in this market if Sprint launches at 40% or 50% completion. Samsung is scheduled to hit both the 40% and 50% milestones in the month of December (should they stay on schedule). It may seem that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in Indy. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production. Samsung will need to hit a production rate of 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is an easy to achieve rate in our opinion. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have any problems staying on time. They may even be able to get ahead of schedule here. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Indianapolis skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Tampa Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 29, 2012 - 12:28 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is ...Tampa. The Tampa Bay area has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Tampa market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. This includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Largo, Dunedin, Brandon, Plant City, Riverview, Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Zephyrhills, Spring Hill and Brooksville. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in August. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online around the first of Septemeber.   Tampa Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Tampa, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   It doesn't much matter in this market if Sprint launches at 40% or 50% completion. Ericsson is scheduled to hit both the 40% and 50% milestones in the month of December (should they stay on schedule). It may seem that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service around the Tampa Bay. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 45 sites per month to stay on schedule. This appears to us to be an achievable rate. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Tampa skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Orlando Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 29, 2012 - 8:59 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is The City Beautiful...Orlando. The Orlando market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Orlando market encompasses all of the East Central portion of the Florida peninsula. Including the Orlando metro area, Melbourne/Palm Bay area, Port St. Lucie, Daytona Beach/Port Orange Area, Lakeland/Winter Haven, Palm Coast, Titusville/Cocoa Beach/Space Coast, Deltona and Vero Beach. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in July. Completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in September. However, if they mobilize in July, sites may start actually coming online in August.   Orlando Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Orlando, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately January (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be December. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in Orlando. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December or January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will need to hit a production rate of 65 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is an achievable rate in our opinion. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Orlando skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Nashville Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 12:59 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is The Music City...Nashville. The Nashville market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches on July 15th?   The Sprint Nashville market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in eastern Tennessee, and the Tri-Cities area of Western Virginia. This includes the Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Clarksville and the Tri-Cities (Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol). Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing in this area with its subcontractors in late July. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online before the end of August.   Nashville Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Nashville, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Nashville market, it would make the launch month to be December (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be November. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in November, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Some sites are scheduled to be live in the Tri-Cities at the time. However, Chattanooga and Knoxville sites won't start until early 2013.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Nashville market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out. And we know Sprint won't want to do that. But we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a November market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will need to hit a production rate of 85 sites per month to stay on schedule. This will be a difficult rate to achieve and maintain consistently. Guessing now and based on the best production rates thus far, I could see this market taking longer to complete. Since they should be starting soon, we will be able to understand how things are going in a few months.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites are scheduled to be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Knoxville skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Central Jersey Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 7:50 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Central Jersey. The Central Jersey market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches on July 15th?   Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent initially deployed to the Central Jersey market quite early, starting work back in November 2011 at a site in Branchburg. AlcaLu later established their 4G LTE FIT (field testing) areas around the Marlboro/Freehold areas at the beginning of 2012. There are already 20 sites in this area with live Network Vision upgrades...both 3G and 4G LTE. And work is just about to begin in other parts of the market in the next 30 to 45 days.   Network Vision Sites in the Central Jersey market. 14 sites are complete in the market around Marlboro/Freehold. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, and some of them have been reported as not being blocked at this time.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, in recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion in many instances. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Central Jersey, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Central Jersey market, it would make the launch around the middle of December (should they stay on schedule). That being said, if Sprint should launch around mid November (as we suspect), then the market would be well under 50% complete. This doesn't sound like enough, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in November, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances.   And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is reporting that most of the Network Vision sites around Marlboro have both 3G EVDO and 4G LTE complete. It is not known at this time if the new sites that start coming online will have both 4G and 3G complete at the same time. But we are keeping our fingers crossed.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Central Jersey market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of November based on our review of the schedule. Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has almost 15 Network Vision sites complete.   Alcatel/Lucent is plotting continual progress from here with production increasing up to a rate of almost 50 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees a February 2013 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, AlcaLu can certainly finish this market timely.   Photo of New Brunswick provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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South West Florida Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 12:59 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...South West Florida. South West Florida has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint South West Florida market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in Manatee, Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties. Including the Sarasota/Bradenton area, Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda, Ft. Myers/Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Naples. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in early August. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online before the end of September.   South West Florida Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like South West Florida, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately Mid December (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be Mid November. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in Mid November, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in South West Florida. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a November or December market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 30 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a pretty low rate and should be able to be achieved. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But time makes fools of us all!   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Bonita Beach provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Ready for LTE launching? Sprint says mark your calendar for July 15th in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 10:09 AM MDT   Speculation is over. Sprint is going to stop blocking LTE connections and launch service in 5 of the 6 announced markets on July 15th. LTE service will be live, on or before July 15th in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio. However, Baltimore is an announced market that is not listed in this new release. It is not shocking to S4GRU readers that Baltimore is not quite ready yet. We are tracking the completed sites in all Sprint markets, and we know that none of the completed Network Vision sites in the Baltimore market even have LTE live yet, as we mentioned in our recent Baltimore schedule update article. Good news for you LTE device holders in these announced markets. Anyone want to hold a nerd riot in celebration on the streets?       Source: Sprint

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Memphis Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is The River City...Memphis. The Memphis market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Memphis market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and NE Arkansas. This includes the Memphis metropolitan area, Jackson, Dyersburg, Tupelo, Mississippi's Golden Triangle (Columbus, Starkville, West Point), Greenwood and Jonesboro in Arkansas. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing in this area with its subcontractors in early August. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online in September.   Memphis Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Memphis, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Memphis market, it would make the launch month to be December (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be November. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in November, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Some sites will are scheduled to be live in Jackson, Dyersburg and Jonesboro at the time. However, Mississippi sites won't start until early 2013.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Memphis market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out. And we know Sprint won't want to do that. But we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a November market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 40 sites per month to stay on schedule. This should be an easy to achieve rate. If properly prepared and equipped, and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by February 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Memphis provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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New York City Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 5:09 PM MDT   I hear from yous guys all the time, so I know that the Big Apple is ready to take a big bite out of the upcoming Sprint LTE network. So it is with great joy, that the next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...New York City. This market has not been announced by Sprint, but appears to be on the way for a November/December launch.   The Sprint NYC market covers all of the New York Boroughs, up into Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley up through Newburgh and Poughkeepsie. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent has been actively deploying in the New York City market since April and is making good progress. As of this week, there are approximately 30 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are located throughout the market.   Network Vision Sites in the New York City market. Approximately thirty Network Vision sites are complete in the market.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like New York, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the NYC market, it would make the launch month to be as late as January (should AlcaLu stay on schedule). That being said, if Sprint should launch some time in November (as we suspect), then the market would be less than 50% complete. This doesn't sound like enough, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in November, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites in the NYC market as currently broadcasting 4G LTE, only 3G EVDO. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in June with LTE. However, none have shown up as LTE active to date. This most likely means that either the backhaul is not quite ready to service 4G LTE, or the 4G cores that these sites are tied to are not quite ready for LTE traffic. A huge backlog of LTE sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the New York City market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of October based on reports internally within Sprint. However, after reviewing the schedule, we don't see how they could launch before November unless the market deployment speeds up faster than scheduled, or they lower the percentage for launch to be less than 40%. We will be listening closely when Sprint announces the next round of market launch projections to see if they include New York, or even if they so boldly announce a date.   Sprint's schedule for this market currently has 31 Network Vision sites complete. Alcatel/Lucent is continuing to progress and is planning to increase the production rate up to 90 sites per month from here forward. This seems like a very high rate, but plausible with the right resources allocated to the job.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there are several sites that will linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, AlcaLu is currently a little behind schedule, but can recover if they start increasing production to 20+ sites per week in July.   Photo of Manhattan provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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32GB Samsung Galaxy S-III Preorders supposedly on their way out for shipping...finally!

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 4:00 PM MDT   It appears that the logjam has been cleared and the 32GB Samsung Galaxy S-III pre-orders by Sprint customers are finally starting to roll. And yours truly has been one of those affected, sitting in backorder purgatory. We informed you all last week about the delay affecting 32GB models reportedly caused by overwhelming global demand that Samsung couldn't keep up with. The sources say that devices started shipping out today, and that customers should see an update at Sprint's website. However, in checking my status just before going to print still showed my device as backordered. Also note that I finished up my pre-order only minutes after the pre-order sent went live. So hopefully this info is legit and the devices are on their way. It appears my wait is nearly over, as well as for thousands of other Sprint customers who boldly stepped out and pre-ordered the 32GB version of the Galaxy S-III. Soon I will be able to write that radio performance article comparing the GS-III, EVO LTE, Galaxy Nexus, Epic 4G Touch and EVO 3D. Stay tuned for that! EDIT: I received a tracking number late tonight and see my GS3 is at the Louisville Airport on its way to me. The end is nigh!!!     Source: Phandroid, Sprint

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Jacksonville Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 2:40 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is the Bold New City of the South...Jacksonville. Jacksonville and Florida's First Coast has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Jacksonville market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in Northeastern Florida and extends down to even parts of the west coast of Central Florida. This includes the Jacksonville Metro area and the Beaches, Orange Park, St. Augustine, Palatka, Gainesville, Ocala, Wildwood and down over toward Crystal River and Homosassa Springs. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors next month. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online in August.   Jacksonville Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Jacksonville, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Jacksonville market, it would make the launch month to be November (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be October. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in October, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in Northeast Florida. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate an November or December market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 40 sites per month to stay on schedule. This appears to us to be an achievable rate. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Jacksonville skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Charlotte Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 12:06 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Charlotte. The Charlotte market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.   The Sprint Charlotte market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in western North Carolina. This includes the Charlotte Metro area, Kannapolis, Concord, Salisbury, Gastonia, Hickory, Boone and all the way over to Asheville. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing in this area with its subcontractors any time now. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online before the end of July.   Charlotte Market Launch   It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Charlotte, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.   If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Charlotte market, it would make the launch month to be November (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be October. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in October, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Charlotte market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out. And we know Sprint won't want to do that. But we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate an October or November market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Alcatel/Lucent and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   AlcaLu will only need to hit a production rate of 50 sites per month to stay on schedule. This appears to us to be an achievable rate. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.   Photo of Charlotte Airport provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Sprint 4G LTE Tri-Fi Hotspot Review

by Rick Layton
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, June 25, 2012 - 4:27 PM MDT   As technologies advance, the equipment to use the technology must advance as well. With the upcoming release of 4G LTE in our area (Houston), new equipment will be required to be able to use it. Although Sprint will have numerous data devices to handle the usage by the end of the year, only the Sprint Tri-Band Modem will be available at the rollout of the 4G LTE service. Due to the enormous dependence my business has on accessing data in a mobile environment, plus the great increases in data speed available with 4G LTE, this makes getting access to 4G LTE imperative to me. I depended heavily on the Sierra Wireless data devices when I started this business 7 years ago for my source of a reliable method of mobile data transmission. This relationship continued on until the release of the original Hotspot with the 4G service in my area. At one point, I was so displeased with past models, that I had sworn I would never buy another Sierra Wireless device as long as I live. This conclusion was reached after having numerous issues with previous hotspot models. There were so many problems that it seemed as if the device was never even tested on the networks it was to be used on. Also Sprint actively blocked reviews of the device, likely to not hinder sales in spite of the problems. My need for a new device with both WiMax and LTE capability outweighed my outright dislike of Sierra Wireless products. I proceeded against better judgment, and the Tri-Band modem was ordered even though the possibility of getting a substandard unit once again was always at the forefront of my mind.   On with the show   The official part number of the Tri-Band Modem is 803S. Along with the modem, I also ordered the SSX7077-V desktop cradle. I had to dig through a lot sites to find the information necessary to make this decision for my business. Much to my surprise, even though I was told the cradle was not available yet, I got a Sprint telesales person who was able to use the part number and find they had it in stock. Upon arrival I unpacked the unit and cradle...while holding my breath. The device that came out of the box was a pleasant departure from the previous Hotspots I had owned. Above is a picture of the device as it was shipped with all components. There was a small user guide as well but to get the real instructions the user guide must be downloaded from Sprint.   Gone was the one piece blow molded plastic case which allowed no air circulation and caused the prior Hotspots to overheat quickly. Although the display is still too small for my aging eyes (it is actually the same display size as prior units) the change to the case makes it much easier to see in the interior of my van where the device will mostly be used. In this picture of the front you can see that there is a new button arrangement as compared to the older Hotspots. Also in the picture is the USB cable for use with the charger or to connect a computer, the AC to USB adapter, the battery and the battery cover. I opened the cradle, which was surprisingly inexpensive, and was delighted to find an additional AC to USB adapter which meant the cradle could be left in place without having to move the adapter around. As you look at the modem from the side you can see the antenna ports (the covers are open), the USB connector in the middle and the slot for the memory card. The round hole just right of the left antenna port is the reset button for the unit. Here is the same view with the battery and cover installed. Notice that the SD card slot is covered by the battery cover.   The opposite side has two switches. The one on the left is a WPS setup button while the one on the right is a slider to mute the unit.     The unit sits nicely in the cradle and looks to me to be a solution to help keep the USB port for the charger/interface cable from failing. This has been a major issue with the prior Hotspots. The case of the unit also helps support the USB port to take some of the load off of the circuit board. It took quite a bit of digging on the Sierra Wireless site to find out that the antenna ports are for the 4G WiMax band only. The cradle contains 2 5dbi omnidirectional antennas to allow full use of the WiMax network architecture.   Initial testing The initial testing of the unit looks promising. The antennas in the cradle for 4G WiMax actually seem to get 3 – 5dBm gain in all conditions tested. The new unit has the ability to search the other bands for signals while staying connected. This allows less downtime between band changes. I notice a lot less disruption when switching bands. This unit has better reception on 3G and 4G WiMax than the previous hotspots and even the U600 USB modem I use as well. 4G WiMax is able to connect quickly even at 10% and the cradle has improved stability of WiMax and decreased ping times. For a short time I had access to Sprint 4G LTE as they were testing the towers in my area. The speeds were incredilbly faster. A 10% 4G LTE signal averaged 8.12Mbps download and 1.85Mbps upload. An 80% signal was able to get 35.8Mbps down on my best test and 22.1Mbps up. The upload speeds was very unexpected, and much higher than Sprint LTE smartphone devices have reported. This is likely due to much stronger transmit capabilities of the hotspot. I also discovered that when the modem is tethered the cable limits the bandwidth to approximately 20Mbps total speed. It will be interesting to see how it works in the 12 to 14 hour days of hot Houston Weather.   First week in the field The Tri Band Modem got pressed into service a little quicker than planned, as my main unit went down with a bad transmission and the U600 USB modem with a Cradlepoint that was in this unit appears to have been damaged by the wrecker’s radio which runs on the edge of the WiMax frequency at 5 watts. The units have been sent in to determine cause of failure and for repairs but I think next time I will make sure all electronics are powered off before getting that close to a transmitter (OUCH!!). I am running the same routes in a rental van with the Tri-Band Modem that I normally use the other units on. There is less downtime in the signal gaps I am familiar with and areas where I have had signal problems in both 3G and 4G WiMax are much improved. I have yet to encounter any more 4G LTE signals but am looking forward to the service coming online soon. The unit seems to be running hotter than I would like with a fully charged battery but is actually cooler that the previous Hotspots. The temperature is supposed to soar over the next few days without the cloudiness we have had this past week. So it will be interesting to see if the overheating problems of previous models still occur.   Week 2 – The True test The unit is getting worked really hard this week with temperatures outside up near 100 degrees. The GPS is useless with this kind of sun load as the unit will overheat if left in direct sunlight (as the instructions state) in about 20 minutes. The good news is that this is about twice as long as my original Hotspot will last. How anyone can make a unit that requires a clear view of the sky for GPS but can’t handle sunlight is beyond comprehension. A quick check of the Tri-Band’s temperature specs shows that the unit is only rated for 95 degrees. The prior Hotspot was rated well above the century mark but couldn’t even handle 90 degrees for any length of time. The crappiest laptop on the market will handle 105 degrees plus all day long. The true test will be my afternoon calls when the temperatures are high. Battery life has been about 8 to 9 hours which is far better than the prior Hotspots. The unit started overheating one afternoon. I can’t say I’m a bit surprised at that, but what is surprising is that it will run steadily as long as the air temp is below 98 degrees. This is a first for Hotspots as they always overheated well before the rated temperature spec. The bad news is the crappy overheat shutdown doesn’t turn off the unit before damage starts to occur, nor does it turn the unit off completely. Removing the battery cover seems to help air circulation and overheating some. The button lights are flickering after one overheating but the unit seems to be working fine other than this. It will be interesting to see what happens when it really gets hot here. According to the specs 4G LTE takes the least amount of wattage to run so it may not overheat as fast when using 4G LTE. I had the chance to try the modem in the old school 3G EVDO mode as one of my locations is 40 feet underground and that is all that is available at this location. I shut the unit down after 30 minutes as the unit was so hot you could barely handle it even though the temperature underground is around 70 degrees. I would not recommend trying to use this for any length of time if you want the Tri-Band to not overheat!!   My Opinion Although Sierra Wireless has made some major improvement in the 3rd generation Hotspot, this is still a unit for the casual user. It is not designed to handle heavy use or outdoor summer temperatures for any length of time. It will be going in my climate controlled cabinet to protect it from the heat next week. I will let you know how it works when the temperature stays below 85 degrees. The improvements in connectivity, reception and stability are worth the investment. As long as you know and adjust your usage for the limitations of the unit.

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