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.
Live 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.