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Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Update

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 10:30 AM MDT


BREAKING NEWS and a S4GRU.com EXCLUSIVE...We have some good news for y'all in the Heart of the Lone Star State! Sprint's Austin market is now confirmed to be in the First Round of Network Vision/LTE deployment.


Austin was originally slated to be in the beginning of the Second Round of deployment. However, since the original Network Vision schedules were compiled back in October 2011, Austin has apparently been moved up. Ericsson is the Network Vision OEM Contractor that oversees the Austin market. Ericsson has created a 4G LTE FIT (field testing area) within the Austin market just south of the city of Waco.


It now appears that Ericsson and its subcontractors are rolling right out of this 4G LTE FIT and right into full scale deployment. In the latest Network Vision schedules obtained, Ericsson will be deploying a total of 19 sites within the FIT area. Starting in April they will continue deployment steadily across the market.


Phased for your LTE enjoyment


The Austin market deployment is now made up of two phases. The first phase is scheduled to run into July 2012. It's at the end of Phase 1 that Sprint will come out and announce that the Austin market is live! Phase 1 includes approximately 50% of all the sites that will receive Network Vision and LTE upgrades. Phase 2 will continue immediately after the conclusion of Phase 1 until the entire markets completes around the end of October.

gallery_1_1_63222.jpgLive Network Vision sites - Austin market. There are six sites currently live in the Austin market in the Waco 4G LTE FIT.


There are already six sites live in the Waco FIT area (shown in the map above). These are reported to have full Network Vision upgrades including 4G LTE already operating. Granted, that LTE is unusable to Sprint customers at the moment, as there currently aren't any Sprint 4G LTE devices on the market. Although we have reported that will change soon with the releases of the Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper that are anticipated on April 15th.


You won't need to wait until launch to enjoy some early LTE goodness


Even though the formal launch of the Austin market is not anticipated until July 2012, Sprint is planning to allow all of its customers who do buy LTE devices the ability to use the LTE service prior to market launch, should they find themselves in an area with LTE coverage. Sprint plans to instruct its sales and customer service channels that customers may discover LTE in their market prior to launch, but it is not "optimized" for use until formal launch announcement. However they will be encouraged to use their LTE, but with the caveat that LTE services in their area are not supported until formal launch. In other words, don't call and complain to them if it goes down!


In the Austin market, there is anticipated to be 35 sites live when LTE devices are expected to go on sale. And there will be over 200 sites live when the market is formally launched in June. So there will be several months of unofficial LTE sites coming live across the market. If you live in the Austin market and are one of the early LTE device buyers, you will need to scan for a LTE signal every couple of days. Because that 4G LTE signal could just jump out at you at any moment! Unofficially, of course! ;)




Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.


Danny Bullard

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 10:49 PM MDT


Any Windows Phone 7 users in the house? Are you getting tired of waiting for a new Windows Phone to replace your HTC Arrive? Well you might not have to wait to much longer. According to SprintFeed's sources, Sprint will be getting a LTE Windows Phone Apollo device this Fall. At the moment, we aren't certain who is making this device. Nokia sure would sound good to most of you!


This mysterious device is reported to pack Qualcomm's MSM8960 chip. This chip provides a dual-core CPU and Qualcomm's Adreno 225 GPU. Qualcomm's new chip has beat Nvidia's Tegra 3 chip in a few benchmarks. GPU performance also looks very solid. This would be Microsoft's most powerful Windows Phone device to date.


Hey Windows Phone fans! So, do you plan on holding out for this device? Or have you already switched to another carrier for more Windows Phone 7 devices? Sound off in the comments.







by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, September 29, 2011


For those of you who have tried to upload Sensorly results on 4G WiMax Protection Sites while Sprint roaming, I now know why your results aren't posting.


Sensorly does not post roaming results. They only post native service. For instance, if your device is posting 3G data, it looks to see what network you are on. If you are on your native network, the results show up on the Sensorly coverage map. If you are on a roaming network, the results don't post. They only want native coverage reflected for carriers because roaming deals change and PRL's revise all the time. Native coverage is more consistent.


When it comes to 4G WiMax reporting, Sensorly is still checking your EVDO connection to Sprint to verify whether you are native or roaming. Therefore, if you connect to a 4G WiMax network while roaming off the Sprint network, Sensorly's servers think you are actually roaming and does not report your results to the coverage map.


This only affects newer WiMax devices, like the Evo 3D, the Epic Touch, Photon, etc. Older WiMax devices like the Epic and Evo currently will not connect to WiMax when off the Sprint network at all. However, according to a Sprint engineer, this will be remedied in a future OTA for older WiMax devices.



by Jeff Foster

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 4:30 PM MST


Hearken back to April 2010 when Sprint announced the HTC EVO 4G and thus, became the first carrier to introduce a 4G device. Oh, the excitement! It was 4G WiMax, but who cared? Not many thought LTE would be such an overwhelmingly dominant 4G technology so quickly in the future. Of course, we later learned that WiMax didn’t pan out in America in the way Sprint had hoped.


LTE has now become the global standard in fourth-generation wireless. Verizon and AT&T are using LTE for their 4G networks and most other U.S. carriers have planned or are even starting to implement their own LTE network. Sprint has now begun the progression of transferring from WiMax over to LTE for its 4G technology.


At the CES exposition, Sprint announced three new LTE devices, two of them being smartphones. The LG Viper, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a dual 4G WiMax/LTE hotspot. It looks to be several more months before any of them are released. Earliest rumors calling for Mid-April. However, Sprint's last final word was Mid 2012. Sprint has said the first LTE markets won’t go live until approximately June of this year. The initial launch markets officially announced by Sprint are Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Kansas City and Baltimore, with additional markets coming online later in the year. (S4GRU has announced many of these other markets *wink*)


So what happens to existing stocks of WiMax smartphones? Promotional Sales, of course! Sprint has committed to keeping the WiMax network running up until 2015. That is several more years of WiMax network availability. A network that Sprint estimates will get significantly less burdened between now and 2015 (see graphic at bottom of page). More free space for you to stretch out those data consuming legs.



WiMax Subscription Forecast. WiMax subscriber numbers are expected to drop by 10% this year and then really start dropping fast.


The closer we get to the middle of 2012, the more aggressive the pricing will likely get and the better the deals that will probably come available. Especially from the third party retailers. After all, who wants to be stuck with worthless paper weights when the goodness of LTE is right around the corner?


If you’re in the market for a phone now, depending on your needs, you may want to wait for a LTE device. However if your phone is acting froggy, you dropped it last night, or its just on its last legs and you need a replacement, then maybe a new WiMax device is a good choice for you.


Best Buy recently had several WiMax devices on sale with a new contract for as low as $49.99. Including the Evo 3D. These deals are likely to keep repeating themselves all over the internet into the forseeable future until all WiMax devices supplies are wiped out.


If you live in a solid WiMax market, and you're in need of a new device, it may make sense to pull the trigger and pick one up. Or if you have solid 3G coverage, and don't even care about 4G service. You will be able to score some really solid devices for great prices. And if you find a great deal, post it in the S4GRU.com forums!


WhyMaxxx photo courtesy of Gizmodo.com


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 1:30 PM MDT


A few months back, Sprint announced new group partnerships with members of the CCA (Competitive Carriers Association) to expand the availability of Sprint LTE availability in many places across the country outside Sprint service areas. Additionally, Sprint has recently formed a subgroup of current/future LTE providers of the CCA that is referred to as the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP). Announcing such a deal with nTelos in May, and nearly another dozen in June.


Sprint is part of the over-arching CCA, and working with its large membership group to establish a national LTE roaming group. However, where the action is happening now is with the Rural Roaming Preferred Program. RRPP members are joining a specific Sprint alliance which gives them more direct access to Sprint, their vendors, technology, devices and most importantly…Sprint’s vast spectrum holdings.


As it has been explained to us, CCA members who are not a part of Sprint’s RRRP program are using their own spectrum and resources. Current disclosed members of the RRRP are regional and rural providers nTelos, C-Spire Wireless, SouthernLINC Wireless, Nex-Tech Wireless, Carolina West Wireless, VTel Wireless, Flat Wireless, MobileNation/SI Wireless, Inland Cellular, Illinois Valley Cellular, James Valley Telecommunications and Phoenix Wireless. There are more currently in discussion. Some speculate US Cellular will be announced soon, but we have not been able to confirm that.


The news of the CCA and RRPP partnerships was well received by Sprint customers and members of the S4GRU community. Our members have been stoked at this announcement for months. Craving more details. When is this going to happen? Where, exactly? And the most important question to our readers has been, ‘how will the service be treated…native or roaming?’


In press conferences, news releases and media coverage, it is often being referred to as “LTE roaming” deals. When people see the term roaming, they immediately conjure up ideas of monthly limits or added expenses. For instance, most Sprint postpaid plans currently limit their 1xRTT and 3G EVDO data roaming to only 100MB or 300MB per month. That’s not very much. So many of our members at S4GRU have wondered whether these “LTE roaming” deals would count against current very limited roaming allotments, or if something more generous would be provided on partner LTE networks. This has been the source of some anxiety to our members who want to be excited about this, but want to understand the full impact to their usage behaviors.


Drum roll, please…


We recently have received verification from a Sprint executive, who will remain anonymous, that the coverage with the RRPP providers will be treated as native. Fully native. When you are on these rural partner networks, it will be like you are on your Sprint LTE coverage and all your normal account usages will be allowed.


If you have a 1GB data plan with Sprint. Your usage on these other networks counts against your 1GB monthly allotment. And if you have an unlimited plan on Sprint, you can use unlimited smartphone data on these rural partner networks.


The executive said the point of these new coverages is to provide a seamless customer experience travelling from Sprint LTE coverage into these new rural partner coverage areas. To feel like they are on the Sprint network. And maybe even better in many instances given the lightly used rural nature of this additional coverage. They want Sprint customers, and in turn rural partner customers on the Sprint network, to enjoy a cohesive and expanded national LTE footprint. Something that makes them more competitive with the duopoly.


Some of these rural partners already have their own operating LTE networks on varied spectrum holdings. And others are counting on Sprint spectrum to host their LTE networks or supplement them. We are told that existing LTE networks from these RRPP members on frequencies that current Sprint LTE devices support should be open as soon as logistically possible. Maybe even this summer. They continue to work out some network bugs and billing/authentication issues. Additional LTE frequencies in Band 4 and Band 12 are anticipated to be added to new upcoming devices at the end of this year or early next year and will add even more mileage.


This is great news for Sprint customers. This will open up a lot more LTE coverage. Upon full implementation, the coverage will be quite expansive in square miles. When other CCA partner providers coverage comes online, Sprint should be able to handily eclipse AT&T’s LTE network coverage. Which has recently been purported to be mothballed by AT&T, with no timelines in place to restart. We currently do not know the details of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on these partner networks. But a VTel Wireless executive did mention recently in a Fierce Wireless article that they were deploying VoLTE themselves. Sprint has been very mum on their VoLTE plans internally or through partners.


We currently do not know if the LTE coverage that is provided by CCA members outside the RRPP will be counted as native the same way. Though T-Mobile is a member of the CCA, they are not a member of Sprint’s RRPP. So Sprint and its customers may see some unique advantages in both off network usage being counted as native and the availability of many more spectrum bands and more coverage than other standard CCA members experience.


We excitedly watch and discuss the progress in S4GRU forums. Stay tuned.






CCA Partners Sprint referenced this past March:




by Scott Johnson

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 12:01 AM MST



Many of us enjoy the freedom that rooting or jailbreaking our phones gives. Adding custom ROMs, removing “bloatware” or Carrier IQ, and adding additional controls are just the start. We knowingly take the risk that that we may turn our phone into a brick, and our warranty will likely not cover repair or replacement. But will we knowingly commit a criminal act to unlock our phones?


Apple has claimed that jailbreaking the iPhone was in conflict with copyright laws. Given the amount of time they spent locking down iOS, it’s no surprise they oppose it. In July 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office eventually decided that jailbreaking and rooting was not a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), as long as it was not done with the intent of circumventing copyright. However, this decision was not permanent. If it is allowed to expire next month, jailbreaking and rooting could be considered breach of the DMCA.


Development websites like XDA started out with the public perception that they were underground gatherings of hackers and pirates. Since the U.S. Copyright Office published the finding that jailbreaking and rooting was not illegal, those development websites have become widely popular and have largely changed the public's perception. Even Steve Kondik, aka “Cyanogen”, creator of the widely popular Android ROM CyanogenMod was hired by Samsung.


Due to the liberties that millions of us enjoy about to be removed due to the sunseting DCMA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has begun a campaign to keep our phones free. They are undertaking a campaign to convince the U.S. Copyright Office that we should have the right to unlock not only our smartphones, but our tablets and video game consoles. They have a petition that they will send to the U.S. Copyright Office, and they are asking for Concrete examples of legal uses of jailbreaking that “will help show the Copyright Office why they should renew and expand the exemptions for jailbreaking.”


You can visit the EFF’s jailbreaking page here: https://www.eff.org/...ee-your-devices


Photo courtesy of iphonefreakz.com


Source: http://www.phonearen...l-again_id26246




Last Friday I asked you all where you are from. Today I created a map of all the places you represent. We definitely have fans from all over the United States, from Metro Seattle all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico.



Here are the final rankings of cities with the most fans:

  1. Milwaukee
    (approx. 5% of all fans are from the Milwaukee/Waukesha Area).
  2. Phoenix (missed the mark by only one fan!)
  3. Detroit
  4. Indianapolis
  5. San Diego County
  6. Oklahoma City
  7. Columbia, South Carolina
  8. Lexington, Kentucky
  9. Dayton & Springfield, Ohio
  10. South Bend, Indiana (I included Niles in here too)
  11. New Orleans
  12. New York City, Louisville, Tulsa and Minneapolis/St. Paul


Do you notice a trend here? The Top 11 do not have full 4G Deployments from Sprint/Clearwire. Also, Number 12 all were tied with three fans each.


Thanks for all your support!!!




A map indicating where all the S4GRU Facebook fans come from. Click to Enlarge.


blog-0839695001330446552.jpgby Jeff Foster

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 6:44 AM MST


Everyone’s heard about Androids fragmented ecosystem, well we’re about to get some more. Jelly Bean, the new Android version 5.0 is coming, and soon. Some rumors suggest that Google’s next update may be coming out as soon as this summer.


The first word about Jelly Bean was back in September 2011. There was just the announcement of the name and little else. In fact, so little information was released that it led many to believe that it may have been a hoax. Questions also arose if this was going to be an incremental upgrade or a big one?


More recently, there was a tip that this new upgrade of Android would be Android 5.0 and would be released in the 2nd quarter of this year, and it would have features similar to Motorola’s desktop mode. This function would allow the phone when plugged in or attached via dock to simply adjust its user interface to desktop mode, although nothing has been confirmed. With the impending purchase of Motorola, there seems plausible.


This leads us to believe that this upgrade may be more than some bug fixes and multitasking enhancements. Android 4.0 was designed to be the OS’s push into tablets, and so far has made little impact in the market. This isn’t surprising since its first announcement was just five months ago. Google reports that Ice Cream Sandwich holds 1% of Android market share.


It appears that at first blush, Jelly Bean is possibly going to be tablet specific, which would indicate that Google is backing off its commitment to have a “one size fits all” OS like iOS for the iPhone/iPad. Again, this is just speculation at this point. Android Advice reports that Jelly Bean devices will have some nice new features, including the ability to switch between operating systems without the need to restart.


The rumor of an early release could be to counter the unexpected rave reviews from upcoming Windows 8 tablets and the expectation of the impending iPad 3 release. If Google was to announce a big change to Androids core functionality, it would be more likely the announcement of Jelly Bean aka Android 5 would be at the yearly I/O conference in June. The likelihood of Google releasing new software this early is far-off. The desktop mode would be a nice feature added to Android but don’t expect to see it until late fall.


S4GRU EDIT 9:36 AM MST: Computer World released an article this morning that says a Google Exec is claiming a Fall 2012 release for Android 5.0 Jelly Bean.








Tim Yu

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

May 19, 2017 - 8:30 AM PDT


The Sprint Magic Box was announced on Sprint's quarterly earning call earlier this month, and was heralded as the first truly all wireless small cell in the industry. So what is this mystical beast that is purported to increase coverage by up to 30,000 square feet, amplifies data speeds, and "boosts" your data signal?

This is the 1st Generation Sprint Magic Box



In more technical terms, the Magic Box is an Airspan product under their Airunity line. The black colored model that exists in the wild, and which I procured contains the Airspan Airunity 540 small cell eNB. Whereas the white colored Magic Box advertised by Sprint is a newer model that contains the Airspan Airunity 545 small cell eNB. The primarily difference is that the unreleased white Magic Box is able to broadcast at twice the transmit power compared to the black model which results in substantially increased coverage area in addition to the LTE UE Relay Module having HPUE capability.

These are all wireless small cells as there is no requirement of a wired backhaul solution like traditional Femto cells like the pending Sprint Airave 3 LTE, Commscope S1000, or the T-mobile LTE Cellspot.

Instead, the Magic Box (MB) utilizes a technology called LTE UE Relay that is integrated into the overall package. The Magic Box contains an Airunity LTE B41 2500 MHz small cell and a LTE UE Relay device called the ninja module whose only job is to establish a data link to a macro eNB LTE 1900 or 2500 MHz signal and then feed a data connection to the Airunity small cell.

For more on LTE UE Relay: see here

Once the Relay link is connected and data flows to the Airunity eNB, a new LTE 2500 MHz signal is then created and broadcasted from the unit. This signal is unique to the Magic Box and is available to use by any compatible Sprint device that can access the LTE Plus (2500 MHz LTE B41) network.

Unlike a repeater setup, the Magic Box does not simply take an existing signal and amplify it and all the accompanying noise and interference. This is a brand new and very clean LTE signal being broadcasted.

The following screenshot from Network Signal Guru app displays this clearly.


The Magic Box in my location broadcasts a brand new LTE carrier with frequency located on EARFCN 40270 (2558 MHz) while the macro donor eNB signal of 40978 (2628 MHz) is used as backhaul (LTE Band 25 1900 MHz can also be used).

[As of July 2017, the Magic Box had its LTE carrier center frequency switched to 2518.4 MHz or EARFCN 39874. Signal Check Pro screenshot]

This means, instead of a weak edge of cell LTE signal with the accompanying band switching that substantially impact device stand by times and I may lose deep inside the building, a Magic Box allows a Sprint device to connect to a strong and clean LTE 2500 MHz signal which blankets the formerly weak LTE coverage area.

As a side effect, LTE speeds may also be dramatically increased due to the better signal level and quality being broadcasted by the MB whose LTE Relay Module can connect to what may have been previously an unusable 2500 MHz network. Especially when placed by a window as recommended.





Album of Screenshots

Personal Experience

In my more than one month of observations using the Magic Box, I was able to connect to a LTE 2500 MHz signal from inside a suburban family residential building where such a signal was previously unusable. Furthermore, not only did the Magic Box boost the data signal from weak edge of cell service with consistent frequency swapping that had previously killed our devices battery life, but it also increased the LTE data speeds substantially to the tune of 200-300% over what we were previously getting over LTE 800 and 1900 MHz.

Whereas previously the house was a weak coverage area where LTE 800 MHz was predominant with even parts dropping to EVDO 3G, the new LTE signal broadcasted by the MB covers the entire house and then some through multiple interior walls and even an exterior brick wall before handing over back to the macro network.

So what's my view on the Magic Box?

It can't come soon™ enough for more people to use and enjoy.


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:01 PM MST


"Ladies and Gentlemen - We got him!"


That is assuming Network Vision sites are masculine. What you all have been waiting for. Real, true, bona fide Network Vision site photos! S4GRU Member runagun drove out to Marengo, Illinois in the Sprint Chicago market to check out some Network Vision action for himself. He had been seeing the reports on S4GRU.com about Network Vision in his area, and maybe even a tad skeptical, so he drove to a site to investigate for himself.


Marengo was touted as getting NV work this month in our S4GRU article, Samsung Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule & details for Sprint's Chicago Market. And we are relieved to find our information confirmed by the site visit! Samsung is actively working on clusters as reported in the article.


Our keen spy was able to investigate and photograph the site with a subcontractor actually present. Who was very helpful and answered questions. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!


Special thanks to S4GRU member runagun for the photos! Good job!


by Travis Griggs

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 10:15 AM MDT


In Part 1 of the "What is a PRL?" series we covered the the initial basics and building blocks of the PRL which covered the 1X portion of the wireless connection. I encourage you to read the article if you have not already done so.


You may have seen the various claims of receiving faster or even slower speeds with the mysterious PRL update procedure that seems to randomly happen to our devices. In reality it could be possible that nothing changed in regards to EVDO at all in the PRL. After a PRL update is applied to the device, whether it is pushed from Sprint or user initiated, the CDMA radio will reset just like when airplane mode is cycled on and off. This causes the device to reacquire with the network which could change the site and/or channel the device was using previously. AJ wrote an excellent article, "Can toggling airplane mode actually improve your 3G data speeds?" explaining the EVDO acquisition process.


With all that being said let's jump right in and look at a small piece of the PRL to determine how a device connects to the EVDO network.




In a mock scenario, the device scanned and did not find signal for the SIDs 22443, 22430, etc but was able to acquire 4159. The device will then check to see if any data records are associated with the connection. The assn tag field for 4159 is a 5. Any records inside this one geo block are checked for the assn tag of 5. In some Sprint PRL versions, the creators have failed to place the EVDO record in the correct geo creating a type of orphaned EVDO record issue, but this is not the case with this example. Record #279 has an assn tag match for the value of 5. The record is analyzed and it is determined that the device will use acquisition record #59 with a 0084:0AC0 subnet and no roaming indicator. If no EVDO signal can be found in the area with this search criteria, the device will fall back to using 1X for data and periodically scan for EVDO. The EVDO subnet is very similar to a SID, but since it is a 128 bit address scheme it offers more combinations than a SID. If needed, the provider could actually assign different priorities to individual sectors of one cell site using the subnet IDs. You may have already noticed multiple SIDs in this block share the assn tag of 5 along with the same acquisition records. The PRL is designed like a relational database where redundant data is shared to save space. So, how does the device know which channels to scan for EVDO? Let's look at the acquisition records of 2 and 59 used by SID 4159.




The PCS band channels 50, 75, 100, 175, 200, 250, and 25 are used to scan for SID 4159 1X. These are not the only channels that you device will actually use. These are only used to acquire the initial CDMA handshake. The basestation of the site may direct the handset to rest on channel 25 but during an active phone call channel 150 might be used if the other available channels are at capacity.




For EVDO, the device will scan 75, 175, 225, and 250 with a subnet of 0084:0AC0. If another carrier's EVDO signal happens to be on one of these channels it will be ignored as the subnets do not match. Just like on the 1X side and explained in AJ's EVDO article referenced above, the channel scan is only utilized for the initial EVDO handshake. The cell site may have a channel available that is not on the PRL list, which your device could end up using based on the basestation configuration. After attempting to digest all of this material you can see how the new PRL file itself is usually not why the speeds decreased or increased. If the spectrum licenses allowed for it in the area, Sprint could add an additional EVDO carrier channel of 300 to all of the neighboring sites and all of the handsets will be able to use it. The users in this area would probably see faster speeds due to this without a single PRL update.


How does EVDO roaming work?




In this example the device is connected to SID 4160 which is Verizon Wireless. Using the same analysis explained above, we see a data record of 5 is assigned. "Wait! I thought Sprint used data record 5 already?" This is correct. While your device is roaming on 4160 for 1X connectivity it is also scanning for Sprint EVDO. In order to save on roaming costs, Sprint has designed the PRLs this way. One negative impact on the user is additional battery drain due to this scan combined with the already active scan to find a non-roaming 1X signal. In the standard PRL for residential accounts, EVDO roaming on Verizon Wireless is not allowed. You will only find EVDO roaming on smaller regional CDMA carriers in some areas. On certain corporate accounts, Sprint configures devices with PRLs allowing Verizon Wireless EVDO roaming. While roaming, whether it be 1X or EVDO, the Sprint Terms & Conditions state: "Sprint reserves the right, without notice, to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend service if off-network usage in a month exceeds: (1) voice: 800 min. or a majority of minutes; or (2) data: 300 megabytes or a majority of kilobytes."


Stay tuned for part 3 of the “What is a PRL?” series. We will cover the 800SMR SIDS, 800SMR acquisition records, and the coveted MCC/MNC LTE records shown in the PRL screen shots above.


What is a PRL?


by Travis Griggs

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 10:00 AM MST


A PRL file is a Preferred Roaming List. In simple terms, it tells the device how to scan for various wireless cell systems, which ones are native, and which priority to use them in. If there isn't a native Sprint signal available, the PRL defines which roaming partners to scan for, which ones should be used, and in what order of preference to scan for them in. Contrary to belief and what some Sprint reps may tell say, a PRL is not a list of cell sites. You do not need a new PRL update to receive service from a new cell site. Nor will a PRL update result in faster Sprint EVDO (3G) speeds either.


Of course there are a few exceptions to these rules with roaming agreements and/or Network Vision in the picture, but we will explain that later. PRL updates have nothing do with 4G WiMax coverage either. On some 4G LTE chipsets such as Qualcomm, the PRL determines if LTE is enabled for the geographic region you are in.


So how does a PRL really work?


Before I can start to explain the inner workings of a PRL, there are few terms for reference:


A PRL is broken down into a three tier system:

  • GEO - Geographic areas (regions), they are commonly referred to as a GEO.
  • SID - System IDs assigned to the various carriers.
  • NID - Network IDs are assigned by carriers to break a SID up.

Common wireless bands found in US CDMA PRLs:

  • PCS Band - 1900mhz PCS band in the US (A block, B block, etc) - Band Class 1 or 25
  • Cellular band - 850mhz cellular band in the US (A and B side) - Band Class 0
  • SMR band - 800mhz band used previously by Nextel. CDMA 1xA is in active deployment - Band Class 10

Other terms:

  • Channel – assigned frequency within a band (200, 476, 350, etc)
  • Negative (Neg) Network – SID/NID is prohibited (only 911 calls allowed)
  • Preferred (Pref) Network – SID/NID is allowed for acquisition and usage
  • Preferred Only PRL - only the SIDs specified in the PRL are allowed for acquisition

When a device is powered up for the very first time, the phone will start at the top of the PRL and start searching through the list of SIDs for a native Sprint signal. This usually happens very quickly. Once your phone acquires a SID in your GEO, the devices will stay within the GEO for any additional searching for SIDs before it goes out looking in other GEOs again. This gives your phone a quicker response time of finding another SID when it needs to. If you have ever noticed it takes a little longer to find a signal when the flight attendant states you may now use your wireless devices, this is your phone searching the last known GEO, the devices then gives up and starts searching the other GEOs until it finds one to acquire.


The SID/NID records within the GEO have their various priorities and channel/band scans assigned to them. A SID is the regional number assigned to wireless system. A NID is used by a cellular carrier to break up a large SID into smaller pieces for further localizing scans/rules. For instance a SID that has two large metro areas could have a NID of 51 for one area and 52 for the other area. The record would be listed as 4159/51 and 4159/52.


If Sprint needs to apply different rules and/or acquisition channels to either NID it will put a record for each one. If no local rules are needed, the NID is listed as 65535 to encompass all NIDs within the one SID. In the PRL analysis reports, any NID of 65535 is suppressed as it is not needed. It may sound confusing at times but it is a simple three tiered system; GEO area, SID, then NID.




In the PRL example above there are 5 SIDs assigned to Geo #4. The first two have a roaming indicator of 0, meaning a native Sprint signal. 22411 and 4159 have a priority of 1. These two SIDs do not necessarily have a preference in which either is used since they are the same priority but the device will scan for 22411 first. If 4159 is acquired, the device will not actively seek another network to use. During various sleep periods and/or timers the device could scan/acquire 22411 though. Once the device finds itself without a usable signal from 4159 or 22411, the scan will proceed into the next priority group.


The next priority group of 2 has SID 4279 and a roaming indicator presented to the user. The device will acquire 4279 and notify the network carrier of its presence. The device will actively and aggressively continue to search for a non-roaming signal. Due to this continued scanning this may cause the radio chipset to not enter into the power saving sleep modes causing increased battery usage. As long as SID 4279 is available, the device will not search for SID 4160 with the priority of 3. 85 is a NEG network meaning your phone is not allowed to use this network for any reason other than 911 calls.


What happens when Sprint installs a new cell site?


I will say it again and again. You do not need a PRL update to use a new cell site, you do not need a PRL update to use a new cell site. Many Sprint reps will swear up and down that a PRL update is required to use new cell sites. This is incorrect! Many Airaves are activated and deactivated everyday but yet we don't see new PRL updates for these everyday. Using the example above, the phone is attached to Sprint 4159/51 using the same cell sites that were active on the previous day. Today the Sprint crews activated a new cell site to extend coverage a few more miles down the highway. Sprint will configure this cell site with the same licensed channels for the area and also configure it as a 4159/51 site. The devices in this area will use this new site without ever needing any type of PRL update.


I've only scratched the surface of the various inner workings of the PRL file. Stay tuned for part 2 of this article. The next article will take a more in-depth look on EVDO records, MCC/MNC records for LTE, 800mhz SMR for Network Vision, and much more.


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 2:30 PM MDT


The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...West Michigan. The West Michigan market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.


The Sprint West Michigan market encompasses the Western and Central Portions of the Michigan Lower Peninsula, as well as a few isolated Upper Peninsula sites around St. Ignace, Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie. This includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Portage, Muskegon, Holland, Traverse City, Mount Pleasant, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Niles. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung 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 March, 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. There likely will be more in the Grand Rapids Metro area than what is shown here.


Schedule details and the bottom line


Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in West Michigan. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a 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 45 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 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 Lansing 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


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 6:35 PM MDT


Whether you call it the District, DC or simply Washington doesn't much matter. Soon we will be able to call it a Sprint 4G LTE city. The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Washington, D.C.. This market has not been announced by Sprint, but appears to be on the way for a late August launch.


The Sprint Washington DC market covers all of the District Columbia, and the Maryland and Virginia DC suburbs. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent has been actively deploying in the Washington DC market since March and is making good progress. As of this week, there are approximately 50 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are located throughout the market. Mostly in D.C. and the Maryland side, but sites are now starting to come live on the Virginia side.



Network Vision Sites in the Washington DC market. Approximately fifty 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 DC, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 30% - 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.


If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the DC market, it would make the launch month to be September (should AlcaLu stay on schedule). That being said, if Sprint should launch around the third week of August (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 late August, 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 DC market as currently broadcasting 4G LTE, only 3G EVDO. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May 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 Washington DC market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of August based on reports internally within Sprint. However, after reviewing the schedule, it may actually pan out to be late August or the first of September. Sprint will likely announce a launch date for this market, and a few others like Austin, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles around the time of the first launch.


Sprint's schedule for this market currently has 50 Network Vision sites complete. Alcatel/Lucent is continuing to progress and is planning to increase the production rate up to 100 sites per month from here forward. This seems like an impossible production rate to us.


S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by January 2013. However, there are several sites that will linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, AlcaLu is currently right on time, but may have issues meeting this rate identified in Sprint's schedule.



Photo of Washington, D.C. 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


blog-0545798001328154608.jpgby Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 7:51 PM MST


Tim Godsil wants you to sign his petition. What petition do you ask? The petition he started on the Change.org website to motivate Sprint to carry the mega-sized Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone. The Android powered, not-quite tablet, not-quite smartphone is making many waves this season. If all the hype turns into sales, Samsung has the making of a new iconic smartphone series. And dozens of knock-offs will occur.


The Galaxy Note has been announced for the AT&T network here in the United States. However, Samsung and Sprint have yet to announce a model for the Now Network. The blogosphere has been active with rumors of the Galaxy Note coming to Sprint, and possibly Verizon as well. Maybe even with a different name, like the Journal.


Most likely the decision for Sprint to carry the Note has already been made months ago, whether for, or against. And it may be too late for Sprint to get the Note if the process has not already been started. If product development of the Note for the Now Network should just get started now, it would likely be obsolete by the time it got to Sprint store shelves.


It never hurts to sign the petition, though, right? I signed it. Decisions to make big changes can occur from the grassroots from folks like us. So, if the thought of a Samsung Galaxy Note (especially if it has LTE) gets your motor started, then follow this link to the petition and sign yourself up.


Heck, even if you don't want a Note for yourself, go and sign the petition anyway. More device choices is good for all of us. And maybe the next petition will be for a device you want. And we will be there to sign yours too. Join the rebellion...sign the petition!


Source: https://www.change.o...roid-smartphone


Danny Bullard

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 11:39 AM MDT


FreedomPop is a company that aims to provide free broadband, founded by Niklas Zennstrom (Skype Founder). FreedomPop plans on releasing a case for the iPhone 4/4S with an integrated 4G WiMax radio according to a "high level source inside FreedomPop." Not only will it allow your iPhone device to use a 4G signal, but this case will be able to share a WiMax connection with up to eight devices, for 30 hours. At the moment, FreedomPop hasn't committed to a release date.


Each iPhone case user will have a 1 GB of free data starting off. If you go over the 1 gig cap, it'll cost you $10 per gigabyte or 10 cents per MB. According to TechCrunch's sources, you'll have to put down a $100 deposit for this case. The deposit is refundable if the case is in "good" condition.


This case will allow your 3G iPhone 4/4S run on Clearwire's 4G WiMax network. Pretty neat huh? All you have to do is slide your iPhone into the case and BAM you have 4G if you're in a Clear 4G market. We know this case will not beat Verizon's 4G LTE speeds or AT&T's LTE speeds, but it will be a good alternative to 3G (especially on Sprint and Verizon) and users who don't have 4G devices (iPhone users). The Clear 4G footprint covers 130 million POPs. FreedomPop struck their wholesale agreement with Clearwire in February.


This concept isn't entirely new. We saw something very similar to this debut on Sprint in November of 2010. It was a ZTE manufactured peel that gave users access to Sprint's 3G EVDO network. ZTE's peel got decent reviews from buyers. A lot of people liked that the peel brought decent data speeds without a contract. It was a wonderful idea, hopefully FreedomPop can improve on what ZTE started on Sprint's network.


So, is this innovation at it's finest? I'd say not really, but if FreedomPop markets this case enough, it could be a huge hit.





Source: TechCrunch.com, FierceWireless


Scott Johnson

Sprint 4G Rollout Update

Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 4:14 PM MDT


What would you do to get a $20 per line discount on your monthly bill? Would you pay full price for your cellphone? That is what Cole Brodman, T-Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer would like to see happen. In fact, T-Mobile already offers a discounted plan for customers who forego a subsidy on their device. This works out fairly well for T-Mobile’s GSM customers who want to use an unlocked international or AT&T phone instead of T-Mobile’s subsidized offerings, but will it catch on with other carriers? Will customers who have grown accustomed to inexpensive upgrades suffer sticker shock at the prospect of a $650 replacement for their cellphone?


If you think about it, the customer is probably better off using the unsubsidized route, unless they buy one of the highest subsidy phones as soon as they are eligible, every time. Carriers are also protected because they have nothing to lose if the customer walks away from their contract, only an ETF to gain. The only catch is that carriers are more likely to retain their customers if they offer an upgrade 4 months prior to the expiration of the contract, in exchange for a new 24 month contract. Carriers and many customers are addicted to this retention method and it would likely take an industry-wide effort to change the way business is conducted.


[float right]ZTE%2BPEEL.jpg[/float]The customer would win with the increased competition among cell phone manufacturers. If the manufacturers are forced to compete with each other on price, we would likely see prices drop thanks to bargain brands like ZTE and Huawei. Currently the cell phone carrier just adds a different subsidy to the cheaper priced cell phones. Prepaid plans already use this model, but they tend to get the older and cheaper models instead of the flagships to reduce the sticker shock and upfront cost to their customers.


[float left]t-mobile.jpg[/float]T-Mobile is currently offering unsubsidized plans under the “Value” line of plans. An individual value plan with unlimited minutes, text and data (with 2GB of high speed data) currently will run $59.99 plus applicable fees and taxes per month. A comparable plan from the “classic” line with the subsidized handset will cost $79.99. T-Mobile even offers interest free loans that tack on a payment to the monthly bill if a customer elects to not pay the full price up front. $20 per month adds up to $400 over the 20 months that customers normally wait for their next upgrade. The only catch with this plan is that you still sign a 2-year contract, something that customers who buy their phone outright usually detest. It has been noted by T-Mobile sales staff that customers do not understand the difference in plans and customers who receive a subsidized phone complain that there is a lower priced plan and want to be switched over.


[float right]SubsidyPricing.png[/float]A $480 savings on a 2-year agreement trumps almost every device subsidy. The iPhone 4S currently retails for $650, but sells for $199 with a 2-year contract equaling a $450 subsidy which comes close, but not quite. Even the Samsung Galaxy Note only commands a $350 subsidy. Ironically, the HTC Titan retails at $549 and sells for $0.01 making it the most subsidized handset. It is quite possible that a good chunk of that subsidy comes from Microsoft, in an effort to gain market share at the cost of their own profit.


[float left]internet_pipe_small.jpg[/float]Ending carrier subsidies might be seen as a step towards the wireless carrier becoming a "dumb pipe" or the carrier being nothing more than the provider of minutes and data bytes, with no customized services. U.S. carriers have resisted becoming dumb pipes because carriers wouldn't see the end user profits from their additional services and it will inspire less brand loyalty. Carriers have already lost a lot of revenue thanks to iTunes and Google Play, among others. The carriers used to offer their own multimedia offerings to increase their revenue, but much of that is now going to Apple and Google, thanks to the trend towards carriers becoming dumb pipes for smartphone users.


So what do you think? Would you like to see Sprint follow T-Mobile’s lead and reduce prices in exchange for dropping subsidies? Or does Sprint need to keep subsidies to continue the smartphone welfare? Using the customers that choose the cheaper handsets or keep their handset past their upgrade date to offset the higher subsidy on the iPhone or other high subsidy handsets.



Source HotHardware T-Mobile Phonearena


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 4:00 AM MDT


Another double Sunshine State announcement! We are now prepared to tell you about two more Round Two markets in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012...


Tampa and Jacksonville!


Sprint's Network Vision vendor Ericsson is scheduled to begin these markets in the early Second Round. Ericsson and their subcontractors are scheduled to begin mobilization into these markets in July with the first sites starting to come live in August. This is an exciting development because this is the first time we have been able to announce start dates for a newly announced second round market.


Sprint's Tampa market


Sprint's Tampa market covers the whole Tampa Bay and Pinellas Peninsula region. Including the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey, St. Pete Beach, Dunedin, Brandon, Plant City, Apollo Beach, Tarpon Springs, Spring Hill, Brooksville and Zephyrhills. It is bordered by the Jacksonville market to the north, the Orlando market to the east and the Southwest Florida market to the south. The Tampa market will have 302 sites in total after Network Vision is complete.



Sprint's Tampa Market. All 300+ Network Vision sites are shown for the Tampa market in this map. Click on image to enlarge.


Sprint's Jacksonville market


Sprint's Jacksonville market includes most of North Florida and the First Coast. It includes Jacksonville, Gainesville, Ocala, St. Augustine, Palatka, Orange Park, Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Green Cove Springs, Starke, Inverness, Wildwood, Crystal River and Homosassa Springs. It is bordered by the Tampa and Orlando markets to the south and The Panhandle market to the west and the GA/SC Coast market to the north. A total of 356 Network Vision sites.



Sprint's Jacksonville Market. All of the approximately 350+ Network Vision sites are shown for the Jacksonville market in this map. Click on image to enlarge.


Although we know the scheduled start date...


It's exciting that we can tell you the start dates of the Tampa and Jacksonville markets. However, we cannot guarantee at this time that things will not change. Sprint has not officially announced these markets and for good reason.


Sprint has three different OEM vendors, with several different crews in many markets at once. There could be final permitting and design delays, some vendors and/or crews will work at different speeds, weather issues and any number of unforeseen circumstances to complicate matters even further.


The work hasn't started and they are keeping their options open. Sprint has said they may elect to slow down Network Vision in future quarters if cash flow becomes strained. And this could affect these markets.


All of these reasons explain why Sprint likely elected not to announce these markets themselves at this time. But we know you don't want to wait for Sprint to tell you! With these caveats understood, we are releasing the information about these markets as it exists to date.



Photo of Tampa skyline courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


We won't stop digging for you!


Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to release the remaining unnamed markets in the next week. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear very tentative and subject to change. With many variables to sort out between now and 2013. Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc.


With the release of Tampa and Jacksonville markets today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 37. We have have a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List.


Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Monday we will be releasing the next two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about it in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time on Sunday evening. Come join us!


800px-JaxLanding1.JPGPhoto of Downtown Jacksonville courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.


Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Tampa and Jacksonville market maps! Thank you!


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 1:29 AM MDT



From the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes to the gates of Graceland! We are now prepared to tell you about two more Round Two markets in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012...


Memphis and Minnesota!


Sprint's Memphis market


Sprint's Network Vision vendor Ericsson is scheduled to begin the Memphis market early in the Second Round. Ericsson and their subcontractors are scheduled to begin mobilization into Memphis in June 2012 with the first sites starting to come live before 4th of July weekend.


Sprint's Memphis market covers Western Tennessee, Northeastern Arkansas, the little boot of Missouri and Northern Mississippi. Including the cities of Memphis, Jackson, Union City and Dyersburg in Tennessee; Jonesboro, Paragould, Blytheville and Forrest City in Arkansas; Tupelo, Columbus, Starkville, Oxford, and Greenwood in Mississippi. It is bordered by the Arkansas market to the west, the Mississippi market to the south, Alabama and Nashville markets to the east and the Missouri and West Kentucky markets to the north. The Memphis market will have 333 sites in total after Network Vision is complete.



Sprint's Memphis Market. All 330+ Network Vision sites are shown for the Memphis market in this map. Click on image to enlarge.


Sprint's Minnesota market


Sprint's Network Vision vendor Samsung is scheduled to begin the Minnesota market later in the Second Round. Sammy and their bands of merry men are scheduled to begin to start work late in the Fall in Minnesota. This seems like a less than ideal time to start work in a place like the Upper Midwest. But if you live in this market, you have to welcome this over having to wait until Spring thaw. Although the weather this past winter would have been ideal for Winter work!


Sprint's Minnesota market is East Central, Northeast and Southeast Minnesota, as well as Western Wisconsin. It includes Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, Austin, Winona, Grand Rapids and Brainerd in Minnesota; Eau Claire, La Crosse and Superior in Wisconsin. It is bordered by the Dakotas market to the west, North Wisconsin market to the east and Central Iowa market to the south. A total of 807 Network Vision sites.



Sprint's Minnesota Market. All of the approximately 800+ Network Vision sites are shown for the Minnesota market in this map. Click on image to enlarge.


Although we know the scheduled start date...


It's exciting that we can tell you the start dates of the Memphis and Minnesota markets. However, we cannot guarantee at this time that things will not change. Sprint has not officially announced these markets and for good reason.


Sprint has three different OEM vendors, with several different crews in many markets at once. There could be final permitting and design delays, some vendors and/or crews will work at different speeds, weather issues and any number of unforeseen circumstances to complicate matters even further.


The work hasn't started and they are keeping their options open. Sprint has said they may elect to slow down Network Vision in future quarters if cash flow becomes strained. And this could affect these markets.


All of these reasons explain why Sprint likely elected not to announce these markets themselves at this time. But we know you don't want to wait for Sprint to tell you! With these caveats understood, we are releasing the information about these markets as it exists to date.



Photo of Memphis skyline courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


We won't stop digging for you!


Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to release the remaining unnamed markets in the next week. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear very tentative and subject to change. With many variables to sort out between now and 2013. Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc.


With the release of Memphis and Minnesota markets today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 39. We have have a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List.


Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Wednesday we will be releasing our Final two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about it in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time on Tuesday evening. Come join us!


Minneapolis_skyline-20070805.jpgPhoto of Minneapolis skyline courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.


Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Memphis and Minnesota market maps! Thank you!


by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, August 19, 2016 - 2:04 AM MDT


Earlier this week, the two HTC 2016 Nexus handsets -- codenamed "Marlin" and "Sailfish" -- were caught in the net of the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization database.


While Google has yet to reveal them officially as Nexus handsets, that HTC is the manufacturer of choice this year has been a heavily leaked secret the past few months. And the circumstantial evidence now is overwhelming.


The FCC grantee code, NM8G, appends a "G" to the usual NM8 grantee code for HTC branded devices, and the user manual declaration document posits that the final draft manual will be available publicly on the Google web site in the Nexus support section. Neither handset has been identified or named individually, though the 2PW4100 likely is the larger "Marlin," the 2PW2100, the smaller "Sailfish."


Both are at least the domestic variants with airlink support across the board for VZW, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. No international variants have passed through the FCC OET. Unless international variants do get authorized in the coming days/weeks, the two HTC Nexus handsets could end up in uncharted waters as single variants for the world, covering all supported international LTE bands, too. Full disclosure, however, probably will have to wait until the Google announcement event when accompanying tech specs are published.


In the meantime, the domestic RF uplink test results and declarations are out in the world. S4GRU will not run down every last RF capability. But, just to confirm, some of the highlights are...

  • LTE bands 2/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/30/41
  • VoLTE bands 2/4/5/12/13 (for VZW, AT&T, and T-Mobile)
  • Downlink 2x/3x CA
  • Dual, switched WWAN Tx antennas 0 and 1, bottom and top
  • 802.11ac 2x MIMO

The primary purpose of this article is to present a retrospective on the uplink RF powers of the current 2013-2016 era of 3GPP/3GPP2, Sprint compatible Nexus handsets as well as two recent HTC handsets. Those domestic variant Nexus handsets and the Sprint variant HTC One A9 and HTC 10 are the RF and design forebears of the 2016 Nexus handsets. So, how do the new kids on the block hold up to their predecessors?


S4GRU culled relevant data across all eight handsets from thousands of pages of authorization documents in the FCC OET. For the radiated power figures, the usual clauses about lab testing versus real world performance and uplink versus downlink always apply. The figures represent best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink ERP/EIRP test results provided to the FCC OET in the authorization filings for the domestic variant Nexus devices and Sprint variant HTC devices. See below:




The numbers can speak for themselves. The LG, Motorola, and Huawei manufactured handsets generally are more powerful. The HTC handsets are not blatantly deficient -- though the One A9 comes uncomfortably close -- but the 2016 Nexus do spec out typically average or slightly below.


Source: FCC



Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
September 28, 2017 - 2:30 PM PDT


It has been 6 months since I first learned of and received access to what is now called the GEN1 Magic Box. I wrote up my thoughts about it a few months back. Sprint has now evolved to a GEN 2 Magic Box model.  These units are being distributed to customers who preordered after Sprint's announcements.  I've now acquired a GEN2 Magic Box myself.

Upon opening the package, the most immediate and noticeable difference between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Magic Box is the absence of an external portable battery.  This was useful to lug the Magic Box around and test different locations in order to select the best spot for unit placement.  

On the surface this may appear to be a way to decrease unit costs.  This may be true, but the Gen 2 model contains two CR18650 rechargeable lithium batteries integrated inside of the package for the same purpose. No more using a dongle and a hefty battery pack that could be easily lost!


[2nd Generation Magic Box white colored on left, 1st Generation Magic Box black colored on right[

Along with the new internal guts, the external aesthetics and materials were also modified. The Gen 1 model had a super bright LCD display with a black front surrounding by white plastic.  The new Gen 2 model has an eInk display with a touch power button below it on the front with the entire exterior being a reflective polished hard plastic. 

What didn't change is the GEN2 is still an all wireless small cell with no requirement of hard wired backhaul supplied by the user. It still uses LTE UE Relay to acquire an existing Band 25 1900 MHz or Band 41 2500 MHz connection from an existing donor site, which is then fed to the small cell unit and broadcasted as a new LTE Band 41 2500 MHz carrier. The new LTE Relay unit supports up to 3 carrier aggregation on Band 41 to the macro donor site.

Now to the meaty parts. The performance. Let these screenshots tell the story.





[Apps used: Network Signal Guru, Signalcheck Pro, Ookla Speedtest]

The extremely significant data speed and signal improvements that were experienced by the original Magic Box still exist with the 2nd generation unit. The GEN2 matches and exceeds the performance of my original Magic Box, especially in the upload category.  This is due to the newer LTE Relay module design which utilizes a higher gain antenna. A very satisfactory model upgrade.  It upholds the positive impressions I outlined in my original article.  

These units just can't come out fast enough so that more people can enjoy it!

The Magic Box is not a panacea, but is a very good solution in many locations. Now that thousands of these preordered boxes are hitting the streets in countless different deployment scenarios, lots of limitations and bugs are being discovered. With varying impacts. The Magic Box doesn't work for everyone everywhere due to the very nature of its all wireless design. In most places, it works as advertised. Just power up and let it rip. In a few locations there is something lacking which causes units to not fully configure.  This results in errors such as the infamous "20% initialization" or "cannot connect to mobile network" screens that pop up. 

We researched, asked questions and were informed that Sprint's LTE Relay configuration is of the out of band variety. This means that the LTE UE Relay operation and the small cell eNB signal has to operate on different frequencies. So in Sprint's case, a market must have Band 41 High and Low separation in order for a LTE Relay to work. Thus, Sprint must have spectrum in the Band 41 low range (2500-2570 MHz) and the Band 41 high range (2620-2690). If a Sprint market does not have said spectrum with such a separation, the relay link cannot be established and the Magic Box will not work. 

In markets where such spectrum peculiarities exist and areas where the macro 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz  RF signal is not strong enough to establish a LTE Relay backhaul connection for the Magic Box, there exists other alternatives available from Sprint. These alternatives are the Airave 3 LTE and Commscope S1000 NSC which will be offered to subscribers who do not qualify for a Magic Box or in a location where the Magic Box does not work. The subscriber will require a home broadband connection in those instances. 


(Left: Airave 3 LTE, Right: S1000 NSC; credit: ingenium & pwnedkiller)

The Airave 3 LTE is the traditional CDMA  + LTE Band 41 + WiFi femto cell. It is the successor the Airaves of old. The Commscope S1000 NSC is a LTE Band 41 + WiFi only femto cell which is in essence the Airave 3 minus the CDMA capabilities. If a subscriber desires voice and data enhancement then the Airave 3 should be what the subscriber seeks. If the subscriber does not need voice enhancement due to sufficient macro voice coverage but need 4G LTE data enhancement, then the S1000 NSC would be a better fit. 

There is a solution for just about everyone now. There now exists an all wireless self configuring LTE small cell, a state of the art and award winning LTE small cell, and which when paired with a CDMA module produces the newest successor in the Airave family. All of which will bring extreme improvements that Sprint subscribers can realize instantly.

The densification of Sprint's network is now beginning and it all begins with one quite magic(al) box.

Album of the Magic Box


by Jeff Foster

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 1:09 PM MDT


Prior to the rise of smartphones, carrier loyalty was tied more to network coverage – and for many it still is. Consumers don’t want to worry about signal strength or proximity to a cellular tower in order to place a call. At their most basic level, phones have to work for their primary purpose. In the early days of cellular, there wasn’t much difference between most voice-only handsets.


Of course there were fashion and size considerations, or interest in devices that offered a wider range of compatible accessories, but until six to eight years ago, phones were just phones. Then along came the smartphone, and with it more device styles and functions and a greater range of capabilities.


Then there are those one night stand smartphoners...


Smartphone users are among the least likely to stick with their carrier, and 31 percent of U.S. consumers are ready to switch wireless carriers for better or improved services. Even with the rising cost of early termination fees, carrier loyalty is fragile at best, with only 17 percent of consumers claiming their current network provider is the only carrier they will continue to use.


That startling decline in loyalty is causing wireless companies to rethink the way they do business. In 2011, the average length of relationships between carriers and their under-contract customers fell to an all-time low of 48 months. The trend has been building for a few years and what’s surprising is how quickly it accelerated. In 2010, the average customer-carrier relationship was 59 months -- nearly a full year longer.


The biggest decline came among smaller cell phone companies, but large carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint didn't fare much better. Their average relationships with customers under contract lasted just 51 months. If customers are going to cut and run frequently, carriers will need to rethink their pricing models -- particularly when it comes to expensive smartphones.


I'll glad pay you Tuesday, for that high priced smartphone today...



Is that Sprint yellow, or is it just me?

Carriers have been encouraging customers to upgrade to smartphones because the devices bring in a new revenue stream. Most carriers then charge smartphone customers a premium for data usage, with plans averaging about $25 per month. But what carriers didn't anticipate were the incredible costs of keeping smartphone customers satisfied.


To get smartphones down to the magic price point of $200, carriers pay an average subsidy of $280 for each device -- four times as much as the $70 average subsidy on a feature phone. Plus, smartphone customers use data, and a lot of it, requiring wireless companies to spend tens of billions of dollars each year improving their 3G network capacity and building out their 4G networks.


Meanwhile, average revenue per smartphone user is actually declining. As data use grows, people are talking on their phones less. The average consumer used just 638 voice minutes per month in 2011, down from 720 minutes in 2010. Customers are cutting back their voice plans, sending carriers' average revenue per smartphone user down to $83 per month last year. That's a drop from $86 in 2010 and $93 from 2009.


How much longer can the industry afford to subsidize smartphones and not receive a loyalty benefit back?


Less loyalty, growing subsidies, higher infrastructure costs and declining revenues have created an unsustainable dynamic for carriers. Profit margins are falling, and analysts expect the trend to get worse.


That means the business model is changing and carriers have few options. First, they can increase prices on their phones. That's already started to happen. Verizon and AT&T now offer a small selection of 4G phones for more than $200, with some as high as $300.


Another tactic is for them to pressure handset manufacturers to reduce device costs. Some may bargain, but the maker of the single most popular smartphone -- Apple's iPhone -- is no pushover. Carriers are even trying to retain customers by offering incentives, such as device buyback programs and are considering leasing plans. Finally, cell phone companies may switch to the "bring your own device" model that is popular overseas.


North American carriers have embraced the subsidy model for decades for two reasons: incompatible technologies presented steep obstacles to switching, and the subsidy model seemed to build customer loyalty.


"The mobile industry has reached a point where the economics of the current subsidy model associated with acquiring new and upgrading existing customers to costly smartphones have become increasingly difficult to sustain," said Pierre-Alain Sur, PwC's global communications industry leader.


Now, the whole industry is migrating to the 4G-LTE standard. With loyalty going out the window, carriers may drop subsidies and contracts altogether. Whichever option carriers choose, they will have to act fast, Sur thinks.


"They are going to have to determine what's going to be the business model of the future," he said. "Carriers are at an inflection point.".










by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 3:43 PM MDT


BAD NEWS: The majority of BTA's (Basic Trading Areas) that do not have service now, are not likely to get a 4G Protection Site. The reason: Clearwire subleases its EBS spectrum from colleges and school districts. Almost all of the subleased EBS BTA's already meet the FCC Minimum Coverage requirements.


In the ones outstanding, either the Educational Spectrum holder has either, A) Not yet transferred their license to Clearwire, and thus, Clearwire is not subject to the FCC Minimum Coverage requirement yet, or, B) the Educational Spectrum holder already has a network deployed that meets the FCC Minimum Coverage requirements and thus the license is already protected (which is what I suspect is the case in Columbia, South Carolina).


In the case of a BTA with no coverage at all at this point, you will likely not ever see a Protection Site. Most likely these areas will not see Sprint 4G until Network Vision comes to your market. Hopefully October 7th will shed a little light on this.




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