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Sprint Marketing Releases a 4G LTE City List where work is under way

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, September 10, 2012 - 8:05 AM MDT   This morning, we received a Press Release from Sprint Marketing that shows some of Sprint's plan in their LTE deployment through the end of the year. In this Press Release, Sprint officially names 12 more markets that have received/starting to receive LTE deployments currently, and names more than 100 communities names. None of these are any surprise to people who follow S4GRU closely, especially those with access to Sponsor content. In fact, this Press Release is a big confirmation of all of our data to date. This will be an exciting update to the millions of Sprint customers in these areas and now makes many more markets official. Stay with S4GRU to plot the progress!  

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint Marketing Updates 4G LTE City List where work is under way and adds 36 more communities including Louisiana market start

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:20 AM MST   In the latest news from Sprint, they have added another 36 additional communities that they anticipate having at least a prelaunch amount of service available to use by its LTE customers in the "coming months." We were not able to confirm any dates for these cities with any of our sources this morning, but I would imagine there will be a usable amount of service in these areas by the end of March. Most of these markets will not be a surprise to S4GRU members, with the exception of the Louisiana market. As this is a new market that we have never announced. In this announcement, Sprint did not identify that these communities will be in a prelaunch stage. However, this will be the case. We here at S4GRU appreciate that Sprint is opening up LTE sites to be used as soon as they are complete. Even though it creates a patchy and non cohesive LTE network over cities that they have prelaunch service, I for one, enjoy being able to use LTE when and where it is available. Most markets will take a long time from prelaunch phase until they have ubiquitous coverage over the whole area. A few months to a year, depending on the market size and deployment rate. See the city list below and their corresponding markets: Abbeville, LA (Louisiana market) Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX (Louisiana market) Blytheville, AR (Arkansas market) Brainerd, MN (Minnesota market) Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT (Southern Connecticut market) Brownsville/Harlingen, TX (South Texas market) Crowley, LA (Louisiana market) Dalton, GA (Nashville market) Duluth, MN (Minnesota market) Dunn, NC (Raleigh/Durham market) Durham/Chapel Hill, NC (Raleigh/Durham market) Eau Claire, WI (Minnesota market) Greenwood, SC (South Carolina market) La Crosse, WI (Minnesota market) Jackson, TN (Memphis market) Lafayette, LA (Louisiana market) Lawton, OK (Oklahoma market) Little Rock/North Little Rock/Conway, AR (Arkansas market) Mankato/North Mankato, MN (Minnesota market) Muskogee, OK (Oklahoma market) New Haven/Milford, CT (Southern Connecticut market) New Iberia, LA (Louisiana market) North Wilkesboro, NC (Charlotte market) Oklahoma City, OK (Oklahoma market) Palm Coast, FL (Orlando market) Pine Bluff, AR (Arkansas market) Ponca City, OK (Oklahoma market) Raleigh/Cary, NC (Raleigh/Durham market) San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA (South Bay market) Salinas, CA (South Bay market) Santa Cruz/Watsonville, CA (South Bay market) Searcy, AR (Arkansas market) Springfield, MA (Boston market) St. Cloud, MN (Minnesota market) Stillwater, OK (Oklahoma market)   EDIT: There seems to be a lot of confusion out there, especially among Facebook readers, that cities have been removed from Sprint's LTE deployment list. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! The list above are "additional" cities being added to the list. Sprint has now announced approximately 150 cities total where work is under way. No cities have been removed. In fact, Sprint will start work in every market in 2013. Sprint is deploying LTE nationwide as a part of its Network Vision upgrades.  

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Nexus 5 and LG G2 experience temporary Sprint LTE connectivity issues due to Circuit Switched Fallback technology

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, November 11, 2013 - 11:55 PM MST S4GRU Staff and Members have been anxiously waiting for over a year for smartphones that would support all three of Sprint’s LTE bands. Since April 2012, Sprint LTE devices have been limited to only one band. Band 25 (1900MHz in the PCS Band). Subsequently, Sprint closed down the Nextel network and picked up another LTE band (Band 26). Also, Sprint purchased Clearwire and picked up another LTE band that they had started to use (Band 41). So Sprint now has use of three LTE bands which will allow it to provide more capacity, better maximum LTE speeds and coverage. With now three LTE bands, Sprint needs Triband LTE phones. S4GRU and our members really became excited in Mid 2013 when we learned through sources that the first Triband LTE smartphones would be out in late September. Shortly after that, we learned that the upcoming LG G2 would be able to support all three Sprint LTE bands via FCC reports. Rejoicing and happy tears filled all of us wireless nerds in anticipation of the first Sprint Triband LTE devices. Then we learned through a source that Sprint Triband LTE devices would not support SVLTE (Simultaneous Voice and LTE). To some this was a setback, but the hard core wireless enthusiast was not distracted. We all wanted Triband LTE at any cost. Besides, nerds don’t spend much time on the phone talking with people. We waited and waited, but nothing released. A few more Triband LTE devices came through the FCC, including the Nexus 5, Samsung Mega 6.3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Then we found out that the Sprint versions of these device would not launch at the same time as their competitor counterparts. Many of our members were screaming about the delays. And we knew there had to be good reason. We just didn’t know what. The dam finally broke with Google’s release of the Nexus 5 on Halloween. And Sprint finally broke down and released the LG G2 about a week later. S4GRU and dozens of our core members quickly got their hands on their new Triband Nexus 5’s and G2’s and all was happy. For a few minutes. Until they tried to use Sprint’s LTE network where they used to on previous LTE devices. Some of our members reported that both the G2 and N5 had extremely strong LTE signals in Band 25. The best they have ever encountered. However, there was a very vocal group who were reporting that they could not stay connected to LTE for more than a few seconds. Something was very wrong. We tried to troubleshoot and figure out the problem with our members. But there were no clear common denominators among the problems that we could ascertain. We could not figure it out. And then we received heads up from internal memos within Sprint as to the problem. Sprint Triband LTE devices use Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network.   Sprint Triband LTE phones dropped SVLTE for eCSFB/CSFB Up until these new Triband devices, previous Sprint LTE devices supported simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE). It could do so with two separate transmission paths from the antennas to the chipset. Voice/texting could run via 1xRTT on one transmission path. LTE could run a separate path, allowing data and voice to be used simultaneously. In contrast, Sprint Triband LTE devices do not support two separate transmission paths. They have one path, shared by voice/SMS and data. We were alerted to this months in advance. However, we did not realize that the network would have to run on Circuit Switched Fallback in order for this to work and what the ramifications of this would be. S4GRU was told by a source this past summer that Sprint and the OEM’s came to the conclusion that these new Triband LTE devices could not use SVLTE in the conventional way they used to, and it would require a lot of engineering, testing and cost to even attempt such a design change. It was decided to release Triband LTE devices without SVLTE. It may seem that the only drawback for doing that is Sprint Triband LTE devices would not be able to run simultaneous LTE data while on a phone call or when actively transmitting a text. But there is another. And it’s why many early adopters of these new Triband LTE smartphones no longer are being able to connect to Sprint LTE in many places that they used to.   How it works In previous Sprint LTE phones, when a device was in Sprint LTE coverage it would park in both the LTE and CDMA Sprint networks at the same time. When a voice call came in, it would just go straight through to the device. And signal to the LTE network would be maintained the whole time while the call was active. In contrast, a Sprint Triband LTE device can only stay on one technology at a time. CDMA or LTE, not both. So when a Sprint LTE Triband device is in Sprint LTE coverage it parks only in LTE. And doing so means it cannot transmit calls without Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network side. CSFB and eCSFB (Enhanced Circuit Switched Fallback) are network controls that will allow a single mode/single path network to operate in two modes, both CDMA and LTE. Here is how it works in the simplest way I can describe. When your Triband LTE device has an LTE signal, it cannot receive or make calls on its own. It is just using LTE data happily. However, what if someone calls you? How does it get through the CDMA network to your device? Via CSFB. When the Sprint network tries to forward a call to your device but cannot see it via CDMA, it then checks for an LTE connection to your device. If it sees one, it tells your device to disconnect from LTE for a moment and reconnect to CDMA. Your device then jumps over to take the call on Sprint CDMA and the LTE session is interrupted. This happens very fast and seamlessly. Except for the loss of data availability. If you receive a text, the Sprint network is able to route it to your device via LTE. Circuit Switched Fallback is a great solution to the issue of Sprint Triband LTE smartphones. But the problem here is that the Sprint network is being upgraded in Network Vision, and not all Sprint parts of the Sprint network can currently support CSFB. And it affects all Sprint Triband LTE phones, not just the Nexus 5 and LG G2.   Why it’s not working and impacting LTE in some places As everyone reading this article probably knows, Sprint is in the middle of a network modernization program nationwide called Network Vision. It upgrades every piece of network hardware, site equipment, radios, software and network backhaul to every one of Sprint’s nearly 40,000 CDMA sites. And much of Sprint’s legacy network either doesn’t support Circuit Switched Fallback or doesn’t support it in cases where the legacy network equipment is by a different manufacturer than the new Network Vision equipment. The problem that these early adopters of Sprint Triband LTE devices are encountering is that when their phones connect to the Sprint network they try to connect to LTE. And when it cannot see the CDMA network through CSFB, it then reverts back to Sprint CDMA and stays there. It does this in order to preserve device connectivity for the user to Sprint voice capability. When forcing these devices into LTE Only mode, the LTE works very well ruling out a device problem. They just are unable to use LTE in default mode without being able to have access to CSFB on the Sprint network.   How and when is this problem going away? The good news is that most of the Sprint network is capable of supporting CSFB in some form or another now. Some markets are not having any problems at all, like Ft. Wayne/South Bend, Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, most of Chicago and Indianapolis. eCSFB is complete or very close to complete in these markets. Upgrades to the Sprint network are being handled nationwide by three different OEM’s. Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson. They are in various stages of deployment and are currently impacted differently by region. In places where CSFB is in place and operational, there are no problems with using LTE on a Sprint Triband device. And Sprint and their OEM’s are scrambling to get CSFB operational in all the other places. Some of the existing networks are capable of supporting CSFB and Sprint is working to get software upgrades in place for these networks to get it operational on them. However, some of the Sprint network has unsupported equipment from Motorola and these cannot be upgraded and will need to be replaced with their new Network Vision equipment to allow LTE and voice to work together via CSFB. Currently, just over 60% of Sprint sites have their sites upgraded to new Network Vision 3G standards which allow Circuit Switched Fallback capability. However, not all 60% of these sites are currently allowing LTE to work on a Triband device. These all should be capable of using LTE on a Triband device now, or in the next few weeks. Many of these markets will need to have their MSC Switch Center’s software upgraded too for CSFB to work. Beyond this, Sprint also has another 10% of their sites that have LTE operational but not the 3G upgrades that support CSFB. These 3,000 sites currently have Sprint LTE live, but it cannot be used by Triband devices without CSFB active. But there is hope for these locations. These sites do already have all the hardware needed to install upgraded 3G that will work with CSFB on the network. Sprint is scrambling with their OEM’s to get 3G up and running on these sites as soon as possible. Many have been upgraded recently and they will continue to be upgraded over the next weeks and months. I was told by an unnamed Sprint source that half of these will be CSFB capable in a month and the other half will be between 2-3 months additional beyond that. Sprint should be in a position that in the next 3 months that their entire LTE network will be CSFB capable and this will go away. As each site gets CSFB capable, Sprint LTE Triband device owners will be able to connect to LTE. And some S4GRU Members have already experienced this and are now reporting some sites reappearing to be used by their Triband LTE devices. This is likely do to a recent enabling of CSFB at the connected site.   What about the last 30%? The last 30% of the Sprint network is not currently affected by this problem because they have yet to be upgraded with Network Vision or LTE. These sites are in various stages of being upgraded. In internal correspondence, Sprint says they will now take into account CSFB availability before launching new markets. Network Vision deployment will continue as normal, but OEM’s will now try to launch LTE and CDMA upgrades together at each site whenever possible and install CSFB capability at the network level for all the remaining sites. In cases where they cannot happen together, Sprint will continue to allow the LTE site to go live. But the site will only be discoverable initially to Sprint SVLTE devices. But by the time Sprint is ready to launch the whole market, CSFB will need to be operating before they issue the Press Release so customer expectations are met for all LTE device holders.   Conclusion The bottom line here is that there are thousands of Sprint Triband LTE early adopters that are currently not able to connect to LTE sites that do not have a CDMA network connection that support Circuit Switched Fallback. But the problem is temporary, and improvements will go live every day around the nation reducing the number of affected sites. It will get better and better every day. However, we do not know how different markets will fare and when. It will be highly variable. There are many advantages of being an early adopter. However in this instance, for those who are very dependent on their new found Sprint LTE service, this may be too big of a burden to bear. These folks will need to use a Sprint single LTE band device until CSFB is working in their area or, as some have threatened, use another wireless carrier. At S4GRU, we believe that knowledge is power. This is the explanation of what’s going on, and what is being done about it. Now use the info to determine what’s best for you. Most of our members will likely just endure it and then reap the rewards once CSFB can be brought online in their area. A parting point in all this is Sprint is promising some advantages to a single transmission path with Circuit Switched Fallback. Sprint says in their memo that Sprint Triband LTE devices with CSFB will have improved battery life and better edge of cell radio performance. We’ll be glad to enjoy those benefits when they are fully realized. EDIT: Since the initial publishing of this article, it was discovered that Triband LTE devices were capable of sending/receiving texts via LTE. It is only voice calls that require Triband LTE devices to shunt back to the CDMA network via CSFB. The article has been edited to make this clarification. Initial LTE devices were data only (like USB dongles and MiFis), then LTE devices with voice/text services use either SVLTE or CSFB. Finally, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be enabled in the coming years that will allow simultaneous voice and data without need of falling back to 3G/CDMA networks. But VoLTE is still at least 18 months or more from being instituted on a large scale.     Sprint Internal Memo regarding Circuit Switched Fallback issues:

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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

Sprint planning large network expansion adding 9,000 new LTE sites nationwide

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 2:45 PM MST   Sprint is embarking on a significant expansion of its network. The first major addition of compatible sites to its network in a decade. Past expansion has been limited to buyouts of Nextel and Clearwire, both of which included networks of different technologies. Organic growth has not been on the table for Sprint in some time. Sprint is expected to announce these plans in the not too distant future, once finalization of details and funding is complete.   Since the beginning of the year, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has hinted to this network expansion in social media and in pep talks to various Sprint employees. Some of whom have contacted S4GRU after hearing Marcelo’s vague references in meetings about the upcoming expansion. But this is the first time we have received specific information from inside Sprint.   The purpose of these 9,000 new sites is to expand coverage into new markets, add critical rural coverage where high roaming occurs, capture lost coverage from the shutdown of the old Nextel iDEN network, extend coverage to new suburban areas, and densify the network within existing coverage.   This plan is very targeted by market and includes a significant capital spend investment. The affected areas are seen as critical to Sprint for future growth and reduction of operating expenses in key roaming areas.   With the useable area of Sprint’s low frequency spectrum in the SMR 800 band about to expand even to the border areas, thus allowing nationwide coverage, the buildout of new markets and new rural areas has never been more practical or obtainable to Sprint. Allowing for new areas to have a less tight buildout requirement in site density in small towns and along highways and increase signal strength indoors in cities. The new management of Sprint sees this as the point at which they can move forward and accomplish these once seemingly lofty goals.   The juicy details   S4GRU recently received some details of the project from an internal Sprint source, speaking off the record. The current details of the plan breakdown as follows: 1,100 - Decommissioned iDEN sites converted for new Sprint CDMA/LTE coverage and increased density in some key under served areas (Dualband and Triband) 1,600 – New coverage expansion sites targeting high roaming areas and key identified market expansion areas (Dualband and Triband) 800 – New Dualband sites in exurban and new suburban areas places with new or projected population growth 500 – New Triband sites in Urban and Suburban areas to infill coverage where 1900 and 2600 currently do not reach or reach well and 800 capacity would also be improved 5,000 – New Urban and Suburban TDD-LTE 2600 “Spark” only sites infilling existing coverages for better signal quality, indoor performance, and capacity. It is not known the mix of macro sites and small cell sites. One exciting part of this addition to S4GRU is capturing decommissioned iDEN sites. This is something that we have long advocated. In a takeoff I did of the iDEN sites back in 2012, I estimated that Sprint needed only approximately 1,000 of the iDEN sites to equalize coverage for the CDMA/LTE network and densify some critical areas of some lacking markets. Like Baton Rouge and Grand Rapids. Perhaps decision makers at Sprint read S4GRU after all? I am happy to see my estimate was quite close to theirs.   Interestingly, there is no mention of Clearwire only sites that are in good locations for Sprint to expand or densify Network Vision CDMA and LTE. Not to mention also the 700+ Clearwire Protection Sites. Many of which are in places Sprint does not currently offer service. Like my corner of the Dakotas.   Project Ocean   In addition to this new Expansion Project, Sprint also already has two existing projects under way for targeted regional expansion based on recent acquisition. In Missouri and Central Illinois, Sprint is working on Project Ocean, which involves adding more than 100 former U.S. Cellular sites. Some of these sites are already online with many more coming online within the next 6-8 months.   The bulk of these adds are in Suburban St. Louis. However, there are a couple dozen rural USCC sites that are also being captured in the Project Ocean program. Sites where demographics are supportive to expansion or high roaming costs make the additional sites worthwhile.   Project Cedar   A thousand miles to the northwest, Sprint is embarking on Project Cedar in Montana. A plan to add 230 sites to the Sprint network in the Treasure State. Sprint purchased the defunct network assets from Chinook Wireless back in August of 2014. Chinook Wireless operated their service under the Cellular One name in Montana. Project Cedar takes the Chinook Wireless decommissioned sites and adds Network Vision DualBand and TriBand sites in their place.   We assume Project Cedar is being done by Samsung, as past geographic maps from Sprint show this area to be Samsung. There was a Field Implementation Test (FIT) for LTE Band 26 (SMR 800MHz) done by Samsung in Montana back in 2013. We never did find out where in Montana this FIT was conducted, and it may even be live for commercial traffic now. S4GRU members travelling in Montana, be on the look out for B26 LTE signals and new Samsung equipment being installed.   In my cursory review, it appears that the footprint offered by Chinook would have been served by 120-140 sites at best using PCS 1900 spacing. Since Sprint is looking to do 90-110 more than that, it’s possible Sprint could be extending service well into the Dakotas and Wyoming under this project. Beyond the reach of the old Cellular One coverage area.   I could see them covering all the Chinook coverage plus I-25, I-90, I-94 in Wyoming and the Dakotas as well as Casper, Gillette, Rapid City, Pierre, Williston and Bismarck with 230 sites. Heck, convert Swiftel’s 50 sites in Eastern South Dakota while you’re at it! Swiftel is a sore subject with us, and we will save that for another day.   Funding and implementation   According to the source, Project Ocean and Project Cedar are already funded. The additional 8,000 site expansion with unknown project name has funding earmarked for its planning and initial start. However funding sources and final scope are being worked out. It is likely Sprint will make no comment on the matter until these last two items are resolved probably next quarter.   However, Sprint is already moving on initial planning and key sites as they come available. No good opportunity will be lost during the planning process. And maybe there are some more regional plans in play?  

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Looks like EVO LTE launch back on...for May 23rd

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 12:06 PM MDT   It appears Sprint is moving forward with a revised launch date of the EVO LTE on Wednesday, May 23rd. Our source yesterday said that Sprint was working toward the 23rd. The blog Inside Sprint Now is reporting that the 23rd appears to be a go. In an e-mail to one of our Sprint sources for more information, he did confirm that May 23rd is being said internally, but he has no details about the specifics of the authorizations from Customs or the supply chain. We will release more details with updated information about the EVO LTE deliveries as we know more. However, S4GRU Members who purchased from Best Buy are starting to get updates about a May 23rd delivery. Fingers crossed...   Source: Inside Sprint Now, Sprint Internal Source   UPDATE 12:30 PM MDT: Inside Sprint Now is reporting that they are working on shipping pre-orders earlier to arrive prior to the revised launch date of May 23rd. Our source was unable to confirm that at the time of this update.

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S4GRU

Sprint Marketing Updates 4G LTE City List where work is under way and adds 9 more communities

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 12, 2012 - 12:39 AM MDT   In the latest news from Sprint, they have added another nine additional communities that they anticipate having at least a prelaunch amount of service available to use by its LTE customers in the next few months. Based on a source, these are expected to have usable service by the end of January, barring any unforseen conditions.   What's exciting in this list, is it includes not only areas where Sprint is already working (like Oakland/East Bay, Michigan City/LaPorte, Bloomington and Key West), but it also includes some starts in new markets like Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Texas. We have already had S4GRU members seeing activity in the Minnesota market recently. S4GRU has announcedg that work would begin in the Oklahoma market this Winter several months ago. However, the work in Arkansas and South Texas markets represent a move up in the schedule. This is welcome news.   It is no accident that Sprint outlines that the LTE signals that are discovered in these areas are "prelaunch." Sprint is trying to set expectations that these are advance LTE signals that will be usable to customers. It's great that Sprint will allow these sites to be usable pretty quickly after they are complete. But as we have seen around our forums and our social media pages, there is a pretty vocal part of their customer base who expects to have wall to wall coverage immediately upon receiving their first LTE signal. It is important that these people understand that they are getting to use their LTE sites really early, before the whole network is ready. And this is a good thing.   Most markets will take a long time from prelaunch phase until they have ubiquitous coverage over the whole area. A few months to a year, depending on the market. See the city list below and their corresponding markets: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (Minnesota market) Fort Smith, AR (Arkansas market) Ardmore, OK (Oklahoma market) Oakland/Fremont/Hayward, CA (SF Bay market) Michigan City/La Porte, IN (Chicago market) McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, TX (South Texas market) Key West, FL (Miami/West Palm market) Bloomington, IN (Indianapolis market) Eau Claire, WI (Minnesota market)    

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EDITORIAL: C'mon people, you really do want access to the LTE network early, right?

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 5:01 PM MDT   I am taking a moment and breaking from our normal Network Vision news and educational pieces to write an editorial. I try not to bloviate, but I feel like I am at a breaking point here. This weekend was a moment of great joy for many of us Sprint Network Enthusiasts as 4G LTE started going live at hundreds of sites across the country in a few select markets. However, our geek party was frequently interrupted by incessant whining. One of the chief frequent whines I heard around S4GRU was related to LTE coverage. And it still is populating our forum posts, my e-mail box and our social media sites. You folks need to wake up and get a grip. The world is not ending. S4GRU has been out there building expectations among our members and readers from the beginning. We have written hundreds of articles on Network Vision/LTE deployment. Anyone who actually reads our content knows that Sprint is targeting 40% market completion at market launch. 40%. That means 60% of the sites within a market do not have LTE at the time a market is planned to launch. Sprint did not quite even get to 40% with these July 15th markets, but proceeded any way based on demand from customers wanting access.   You hypocrites! You know, I find it very interesting that so many people were pushing Sprint to stop blocking LTE connections. There was a large battle cry from most Sprint LTE device holders in active deployment areas for Sprint to stop blocking completed LTE sites. "Let me use my LTE, darn it!" This was heard over and over again. We even were championing for Sprint to open up their LTE network at completed sites for customers to use. Finally, Sprint does exactly that. Instead of rejoicing, there was whining en masse. "I live in the San Antonio market. And the block where I live behind the Piggly Wiggly doesn't have LTE right this very second. Sprint sucks. I'm leaving!" Really? Are people that messed up??? Many of you should be ashamed of your self-centered ridiculous tantrums that you posted, publicly embarrassing yourself. You act as if Sprint actually went through maps and hand picked who would win and who would lose in early deployments. This is far from reality.   Early access or comprehensive coverage? Pick one, you can't have both The question I have for you folks is this... Should Sprint have waited until these markets were 100% complete later this year to allow the completed LTE sites to be used, or should they open up the markets now where at least the completed sites can be used? This is a no-brainer! Open them up now and every additional site that goes live every week, as they are complete! These markets that have launched are not done. They are still active deployment zones and additional sites will come live every week until completed. And we will update the progress here at S4GRU. This ridiculous moaning and complaining will just make it more likely that Sprint will not allow other markets to go live early. If all they hear from their customers are the whiny bunch, then they will think their customers don't want LTE until it is completely ready, with no bugs and completely 100% deployed. You may not like it, but the complainers are speaking for all of us.   Time to stand up and go on the offensive If you want to continue to have access to the LTE network early, then you need to stand up and start posting out there the counter story. The tech sites, blogs and forums are being inundated with these people speaking on your behalf. Complaining about all the problems of an early launch and early access to LTE. You may even have to go to the Sprint Community Forums and help defend the intelligent decision to open up LTE early. The counter point needs to get out there. It's time for the Wireless Nerds to take our rightful place. We want access to the network early. We would rather live with a few bugs and limited coverage than to not have access to Sprint's LTE network at all. Sprint needs to continue opening up their LTE network even in more places where they can. And they will be afraid to do that in the next markets if we don't take a stand. I know this editorial may be a little over the top for some of you. But I am mad as hell, and I'm not going to let the whiners speak over our voices any more. We are Sprint, not them!   Signed, Robert Leader of the Nerds   EDIT: Changed the two references to bitching. I violated my own rules.

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S4GRU

Sprint LTE is now discoverable in the DFW, Houston, San Antonio & Austin markets

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 8:46 AM MDT   It's been quite a beehive of activity around the S4GRU forums as members proclaim that 4G icons are appearing live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, Houston, San Antonio and in isolated spots around the Austin market (most notably around Waco). 4G LTE is appearing in these markets. I have now received confirmation from sources within Sprint, that they have indeed stopped blocking LTE connections in the DFW, Houston, San Antontio and Austin markets. LTE is now discoverable for Sprint LTE devices in these locations where LTE sites have been completed. Every fully configured and signed off LTE site in these markets is now live. Currently, this leaves only th Atlanta market to be lit up of the July 15th announced cities. Our sources do not know when that is yet, but feel like it may even still be later today. There is a flurry of activity occurring. There have also been reports of some LTE sites appearing in the Chicago market by S4GRU members. But these are very scattered and inconsistent. Please note that the live LTE sites in the Austin market is very limited. Mostly around Waco. But there are a very few isolated sites live in the Austin metro area. We are awaiting details on locations.   Live DFW LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live Houston LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live San Antonio LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live Waco LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting, even a few around the City of Austin. But more coverage will be added weekly.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Minnesota Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 7:30 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Minnesota. The Minnesota market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Minnesota market encompasses most of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. This includes the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul and suburbs), Duluth/Superior, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato, Brainerd, Bemidji, Winona, Eau Claire and La Crosse. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in late August. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in September.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, 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 yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Minnesota. 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 April 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 65 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a big chunk to complete monthly, but is doable with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Downtown Minneapolis 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

 

CONFIRMED: Network Vision/LTE deployment is under way in the Austin market

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 7:45 AM MDT   S4GRU has received a tip that Network Vision was spotted underway in the Austin metro area. We were able to send out a core member to verify. We are happy to report that Sprint is indeed under way with Network Vision/LTE deployment in the Austin market.   S4GRU Member ATX4G first reported the work at the site. Later S4GRU Member boomerbubba, went out to verify for this article. While at Site #SA14XC087, Boomerbubba was able to actually talk with one of the field techs working at the site, and offered this report:     There you go. Verification of the first Austin site. Most likely, there are many more currently under active deployment all around greater Austin at this moment. We also reported this weekend more activity in the Austin market with a new site at Ft. Hood Medical Center.   It looks like the Austin market is no longer being delayed and back on track with an active deployment. The original Network Vision schedule had work starting in the Austin Metro Area in June. So, it appears like it is starting 2-1/2 months later than originally planned. So perhaps we can expect an end of November launch and a January/February completion? By the end of September, they should be hitting their stride and we can better evaluate then. Stay tuned.  

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

EVO LTE shipments are confirmed delayed

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 6:59 PM MDT   Earlier today, S4GRU.com reported that shipments of the new EVO LTE are being delayed. We took a lot of heat from folks that thought we were full of it. But I had so much faith in my source that I ran the story anyway taking the shots on the chin. Not 100% sure even myself, but knew this source was solid. So I pulled the trigger and hoped it panned out. And now The Verge is reporting the cause of the delay...customs. Those sneaky bastards at Apple have apparently been able to get customs to hold the EVO LTE and the HTC One X from getting through customs. The grounds for holding the devices are due to them possibly infringing on Apple patents. Supposedly, the hold is indefinite. This may take weeks to resolve. Sprint is now taking down the Pre-Order ability on their site. However, it is possible that if the devices are not found to be in violation, that they make it back into the supply chain with just a few days delay. And it's not known if all are being held, or if some made it through. According to our internal Sprint source that told us about the delay this morning, Sprint management is meeting first thing tomorrow morning to come up with a mitigation plan and what and how they will communicate this to the public. However, now, and until further notice, Sprint employees are no longer allowed to reference the May 18th launch date. Sorry folks for being the bearer of bad news. But once again, S4GRU.com broke the story first. We just had it so early, that we didn't know all the details.   Source: Internal Sprint Source, The Verge   EDIT: Fixed a typo...evidently, deplayed is not a word. Thanks Odell!

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Network Vision/LTE Deployment is starting now in East Kentucky, North LA, Upstate New York East and VT/NH/ME Markets ahead of schedule

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 7:00 AM MDT   Four Sprint markets that were slated to begin Network Vision/LTE deployments in 2013 are beginning early. Good news for Sprint customers in the East Kentucky, Upstate New York East, North LA and Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine Sprint markets.   S4GRU has been able to confirm that Network Vision is now under way in these blessed locations. Three of these markets are being deployed by Alcatel Lucent (Upstate NY East, North LA & VT/NH/ME) and the East Kentucky market is being deployed by Ericsson. In fact, AlcaLu already has completed 3G upgrades in a small handful of sites in these markets, with 4G yet to come. Ericsson is just now beginning in the East Kentucky market and do not quite have any sites complete yet.   We currently do not have detailed schedules for these markets, so we will not be able to offer projected launch dates or completion dates at this time. However, near some of the first to be converted sites, Sprint customers will start to see improved 3G speeds and possibly even some prelaunch LTE signals.   You can join us here at S4GRU and track these depoyments. We have a thread we titled the Network Vision Deployment Running List where you can see a summary of all the Sprint markets currently under deployment. Additionally, we offer even more info where we track the completed sites to date on Interactive Maps in our Sponsor section. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship   Sprint's East Kentucky Market. Ericsson is starting Network Vision/LTE deployments in the East Kentucky market. Cities that will be a part of this deployment include Lexington, Frankfort, Danville, Somerset, London, Corbin. With only 119 sites, the market may wrap up relatively quickly. Click on Map to Enlarge.   Sprint's North LA Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the North LA market. The market includes Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. 219 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.   Sprint's Upper NY East Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the Upper NY East market. The market includes the Albany metro area and Saratoga Springs. 216 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.   Sprint's VT/NH/ME Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the VT/NH/ME market. The market includes all of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and NE New York. 362 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

(UPDATED) All for HTC One, HTC One for all?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 22, 2013 - 2:55 PM MST   Update: Many hands on reviews of the HTC One are emerging this week. Courtesy of Engadget, we can report that the Sprint variant is one of the very first Sprint LTE handsets to include a removable micro-SIM. Removable SIM cards have long been part of the Network Vision roadmap for 2013, so it looks like that time may have arrived.   S4GRU welcomes you to the first major Sprint handset announcement of 2013. Earlier this week, the upcoming HTC One was revealed at an event in New York City. Not to be confused with last year's HTC One X, the HTC One is the new flagship of the line and will be offered by dozens of carriers around the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. Last year, Sprint got essentially a customized version of the HTC One X in the HTC EVO 4G LTE. This year, however, another EVO handset is not currently in the offing, and Sprint is joining its fellow carriers in standardizing around a universal HTC One platform. The only notable customization is for Sprint's specific CDMA2000 band classes and LTE band. And that Sprint variant had its authorization documents uploaded to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today.   If you have followed our series of articles on the EVO LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, then you know what is at hand. Here is an RF focused breakdown of the HTC One coming to Sprint: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band class 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
LTE UE category 3
802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth
802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth
SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
NFC
Antenna 0 max RF ERP/EIRP: 20.10 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 19.23 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 12.30 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna 1 max RF ERP/EIRP: 13.78 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 13.58 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 14.27 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 23.63 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)
Simultaneous transmission modes: (see FCC OET diagram below)
    As for analysis of the specs, the HTC One is the world's first handset to include the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. But let us address right away another potential first that has become the so called elephant in the room. The Sprint version of the HTC One is limited to band 25 LTE 1900. It does not support either of Sprint's upcoming LTE bands -- band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600. One or both of those bands are expected to be incorporated in new handsets sometime this year, but the HTC One will not be the first.   The other notable absence is SVDO support for simultaneous CDMA1X voice + EV-DO data, though its omission is growing less and less notable as time goes on. SVDO requires separate RF paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO. The first few Sprint LTE handsets did support SVDO, utilizing separate paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO/LTE. But the last nine Sprint LTE handsets have foregone SVDO, combining CDMA1X/EV-DO on a single path, so SVDO was likely just a temporary measure or a fringe benefit of the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset and will not be a common Sprint handset feature going forward.   In its press release earlier this week, Sprint calls its HTC One an "international" smartphone, and that could be interpreted to mean world roaming capabilities. The FCC authorization documents show no evidence of this, but they are not required to do so, since the FCC is a US authority. What is lacking, though, is any GSM 850/1900 or W-CDMA 850/1900. So, if the HTC One is world roaming capable, it will most likely be limited to GSM 900/1800 and band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900.   Since the HTC One is really the de facto successor to the EVO LTE, a little bit of comparison would be in order. In our RF rundown article on the EVO LTE last spring, we stated that it "does not look to be a stellar RF performer" based on its low to moderate ERP/EIRP figures. And our prediction proved quite prescient, as the EVO LTE has not been noted for its performance with weak signals. The good news is that, on paper, the HTC One looks to be a notable improvement in this regard.   First, the dual antenna system is optimized for CDMA1X/EV-DO on antenna 0 and LTE on antenna 1. But as long as only one antenna is in use (i.e. SVLTE is not active), the dual antennas can be switched at will to combat an RF fade at one antenna but not the other. Second, LTE max EIRP has been increased by 4 dB over that of the EVO LTE. Furthermore, LTE EIRP has been maximized around the 1912.5 MHz center frequency, 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth configuration that Sprint is currently deploying nationwide in its PCS G block spectrum. In short, the Sprint variant of the HTC One has been tweaked specifically for the Sprint LTE network.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Sprint LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation Discovered Live Today in Atlanta (B41 2xCA)

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 5:20 PM MDT   It's finally happening. 2x Carrier Aggregation was found in the wild today on the Sprint network! We have been receiving reports for the past several months that second B41 channels were appearing all over Sprint-land, but nothing about finding them being aggregated together. That changed this afternoon.   It was discovered today by an S4GRU Member in the Atlanta market that Carrier Aggregation is live on LTE Band 41 (TDD LTE 2600). S4GRU Member Camcroz was able to get his Samsung Galaxy S6 to connect to two B41 carriers simultaneously. Even with a medicore -108dBm signal while moving highway speeds, he was able to get nearly 90Mbps. Theoretical maximum for 2xCA on 20MHz TDD LTE channels in the time configuration Sprint is using is 160Mbps in ideal circumstances.   We do not know the extent of how much is live in Atlanta or other markets. This may only have been a test and will be taken offline soon. Or it's possible that it is going live today in other Nokia markets, or maybe even Sprint-wide where two B41 channels are live.   Camcroz reported to S4GRU he was able to keep B41 2xCA while travelling down Highway 400 near Avalon Mall in Alpharetta all the way across most of Atlanta, losing it as he approached the Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport where he ended up on Clear B41 single carrier.   The picture below represents the member's findings. He reports that he had 94Mbps Down in his best test. He had to manually enable Carrier Aggregation himself on his GS6 using ##DATA#. Sprint devices currently have it disabled automatically. They will likely push an update in the future to enable it for customers.     This is two 20MHz TDD-LTE B41 carriers connected together via Carrier Aggregation (noted as 2xCA). Sprint says it will not be until 2016 before they have devices released and the network prepared for 3xCA (three 20MHz carriers aggregated together).   Let us know if you are able to find any 2xCA in your neck of the woods. Report your findings in the comments below or in an appropriate S4GRU forum thread. Viva la Carrier Aggregation!!!

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Washington, D.C. Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

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

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint Marketing Updates 4G LTE City List where work is under way and adds 20 more

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 12, 2012 - 8:19 AM MDT   On this Friday morning, Sprint's marketing cranked out a new Press Release adding 20 additional communities that Sprint anticipates having at least a prelaunch amount of service available to use by its LTE customers before the end of the year.   All of these appear to be in areas where Sprint is already working. But just expanding out to other communities within those markets. A couple are a repeat from the previous 100 city list from Sprint, like Warsaw, Marion and South Bend, Indiana and Sebring, Florida. However, I know there are a lot of Ft. Wayne customers who are now happy to see they will not get left behind their Hoosier State counterparts in South Bend.   It is no accident that Sprint outlines that the LTE signals that are discovered in these areas are "prelaunch." Sprint is trying to set expectations that these are advance LTE signals that will be usable to customers. It's great that Sprint will allow these sites to be usable pretty quickly after they are complete. But as we have seen around our forums and our social media pages, there is a pretty vocal part of their customer base who expects to have wall to wall coverage immediately upon receiving their first LTE signal. It is important that these people understand that they are getting to use their LTE sites really early, before the whole network is ready. And this is a good thing.   Most markets will take a long time from prelaunch phase until they have ubiquitous coverage over the whole area. A few months to a year, depending on the market.   EDIT 8:44 AM MDT: After further review, Joplin, MO is the first city in the Missouri market. So there is one new market where deployment is now expanding to. This should be taken as good news that work will also be starting in St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia and Jefferson City in the not-too-distant future.    

S4GRU

S4GRU

Teaser: Megalith, megahertz...Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 13, 2013 - 3:15 PM MDT   The teaser articles continue. But this is a big one -- in a quite literal way.   The presumed Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy Note 3 passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) on Wednesday this week. We have an article already started on it, so look for that full length rundown soon.   But since that SM-N900P variant hit the FCC OET, the cries about it being single band 25 LTE 1900 have been strong among the S4GRU faithful. Well, here is something potentially to make the disappointed forget those concerns.   Just within the last hour or two this Friday afternoon, another Samsung handset has revealed itself at the FCC OET. But this is no Galaxy Note 3. It is even larger than that. The model number SPH-L600 and dimensions (see the diagram below) suggest that this is a Galaxy Mega 6.3 headed to Sprint. The size exceeds that of the Galaxy Note 3, and in an interesting twist, the FCC OET filing even refers to the device as a "phablet."   The grand pronouncement, though, is that this Samsung "phablet" is indeed a tri band LTE device: band 25 LTE 1900, band 26 LTE 800, band 41 TD-LTE 2600 -- plus the usual Sprint CDMA2000 band classes.       In conclusion, the "SPH" model number and the specs add up. This is a huge handset for Sprint, it is tri band LTE, and it may render the Galaxy Note 3 irrelevant.   Enjoy! And know that there is more detailed RF info to come...   Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4368-samsung-galaxy-mega-tri-band-sph-l600/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

[PSA] Carrier Aggregation Now Officially Live

by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 3:17 PM MDT   Consider this just a public service announcement. Sprint Spark Band 41 Carrier Aggregation (2x CA) now is officially live according to a Sprint internal announcement leaked on Reddit today by a verified Sprint employee in the Sprint subreddit. Late last month, S4GRU found evidence of 2x CA being live in Atlanta, but this now is a formal notice that Sprint has sent to its employees.   This is the present lineup of 2x CA capable devices: Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung Galaxy Note Edge LG G Flex 2 LG G4 HTC One M9 ZTE Hot Spot Edit: S4GRU has been fielding numerous questions on other devices. To make this very clear, the above are the only devices right now capable of 2xB41 Carrier Aggregation because they have the hardware (category 6 modem) that is required. Any other phones that were released previously are not compatible because their modems are not category 6 (or higher).   As detailed in the internal document (posted below), the seven devices may receive automatic profile updates this week to enable 2x CA. Alternatively, as some S4GRU users have discovered, 2x CA may already be enabled or can be enabled manually via the hidden Data programming screen.   Next, these are the initial markets in which Sprint is rolling out 2x CA: Boston New Jersey Long Island Philadelphia Metro Providence Southern Connecticut Baltimore Cincinnati Columbus East Michigan West Michigan Indianapolis Washington DC Austin Dallas Fort Worth Houston Kansas Missouri San Antonia Atlanta / Athens Miami / West Palm Orlando South West Florida Tampa Chicago Colorado Milwaukee Minnesota Oregon / SW Washington West Washington Utah LA Metro Las Vegas North LA Orange County Riverside / San Bernardino San Diego SF Bay South Bay For reference, here is a S4GRU map of all Sprint markets:     Finally, this is the internal document posted on Reddit:     Source(s): Reddit

lilotimz

lilotimz

 

Boston Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 5:03 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Boston, Mass. This market has not been announced by Sprint, but appears to be on the way for a late August launch, and work is already well under way in this market.   The Boston market essentially covers the entirety of the Bay State, from Pittsfield to the end of Cape Cod. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent has been actively deploying in the Boston market since late February and has a lot of sites up and running. As of this week, there are approximately 150 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are pretty spread out around the market, from Springfield to Suburban Boston and way out to New Bedford and Cape Cod!   Complete Network Vision Sites in the Boston market. Approximately 150 Network Vision sites are complete in the market. The map on the left showing sites with 3G on-air and the map on the right showing 4G LTE on-air.   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 Boston, 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 Boston market, it would make the launch month to be October (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.   Until recently, Sprint was not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites in Boston have 4G LTE complete, only 3G EVDO. But this weekend, 4G LTE sites started to go on-air in the Boston market. The 140 or so 3G only Network Vision sites will likely start coming live with 4G LTE very soon.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Boston 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, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles around the time of the first launch.   Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 148 Network Vision sites complete. Alcatel/Lucent is plotting continual progress from here with production increasing up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. 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 are several sites that will linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, AlcaLu is right on time, and should have no problem meeting or exceeding the schedule.   Photo of Boston 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

Deal worked out for Japan's SoftBank to purchase 70% stake in Sprint Nextel forming a "New Sprint"

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, October 15, 2012 - 2:39 AM MDT Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank and Sprint Nextel formally announced a new venture called "New Sprint" that includes the foreign carrier taking a 70% stake in Sprint. The $20 Billion deal was revealed in the middle of the pre-dawn morning here in the United States as it was timed to be better for the business day where the event announcement was held in Tokyo. The stage was co-hosted by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Notably absent in remarks during the announcement or from the Press Releases is clarity for the outcome of Clearwire. There has been speculation about how Clearwire would shake out of this deal. Clearwire's fate is not yet, clear (sorry for the pun). Some believe that Sprint will take it's large cash infusion from SoftBank and purchase Clearwire outright to make their spectrum apart of the SoftBank/Sprint long term strategy. Formally in the Press Release, it says that Sprint is not required to take any action. But the door is left open that they indeed could do that with proceeds. The boards of both SoftBank and Sprint have approved the transaction. The deal is anticipated to close in Mid 2013 and will be subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals. It seems to us that regulatory approval in the U.S. should be relatively easy. Japanese companies have not received the scrutiny that Chinese companies have in the past. Most often citing security concerns. The New Sprint will stay headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and Dan Hesse will stay on as the CEO of the new venture. Only three existing Sprint board members will be on the new 10 person New Sprint board. S4GRU Members have been discussing this in our forums for the past week since the rumors first surfaced that SoftBank and Sprint were in talks. The Press Release with more details is below:    

S4GRU

S4GRU

Teaser: Is the LG D820 the Nexus 5???

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 5:33 PM MDT   About a month ago, our FCC OET reporter, Josh McDaniel, noted that a mystery handset, the LG D820, came and went from the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology). Its authorizations were uploaded, then quickly rescinded, citing confidentiality reasons.   Well, today, the LG D820 authorization documents are back. And we are looking at a 3GPP/3GPP2 handset that runs nearly the full North American wireless airlink gamut: GSM 850/1900 W-CDMA 1900/2100+1700/850 (band 2, 4, 5) CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800 (band class 0, 1, 10) LTE 2100+1700/850/700/1900/800 (band 4, 5, 17, 25, 26) TD-LTE 2600 (band 41) The only notable omission is LTE 750, VZW's currently boutique band 13 -- possibly left out for political reasons, since VZW has a strained relationship with Nexus devices, or for technical reasons, as band 13 has an inverted FDD uplink/downlink duplex. But in a nutshell, this handset looks like it could be headed to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, covering all of their bases.   Here is the kicker, though. One of our moderators, Tim Yu, noted a significant resemblance between the back plate in the FCC OET filing and the back plate of a mystery Nexus device in a widely circulated photo recently from the Google campus.         So, you be the judge. Based on the specs and pics, does the the LG D820 look like it could be the upcoming Nexus 5???   More to come...   Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4366-lg-d820-google-nexus-5/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

Chicago Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT     Chicago. Network Vision is nearly infamous among Chicagoans. Chicago has not been an easy market for Sprint so far. We reported in a previous article about some of the challenges Sprint has faced in its Windy City deployment. Even though this market has yet to be announced by Sprint, we are happy to report to you that Chicago appears to be on track for a September launch.   The Sprint Chicago market covers most of Northern Illinois and the adjacent suburbs of NW Indiana. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung has been actively deploying in the Chicago market since December and is making good progress. As of this week, there are over 300 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are located throughout the market. But all outside the Loop.   Network Vision Sites in the Chicago market. More than 300 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 Chicago, 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 Chicago market, September would be the launch month should Samsung stay on schedule. It is believed that Sprint will launch the market earlier, with less than 50% coverage. 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 September, 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 Chicago 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.   We are getting reports though of S4GRU members in the Chicago area, especially in the Merrillville and Hammond areas, who have been able to connect to 4G LTE for brief intermittent periods. So there are sites that are starting to get LTE capabilities working. They just have not been turned over to Sprint yet from Samsung.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have the formal "launch" date for the Chicago market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of September based on reports internally within Sprint. After reviewing the schedule, we can see a path to get there. Sprint will likely announce a launch date for this market, and a few others like Austin, Boston, Washington DC and Los Angeles around the time of the first launch.   Sprint's schedule for this market currently has 307 Network Vision sites complete, which is almost one third. Samsung is progressing very well. It appears that Sprint and Samsung are speeding up the schedule, as it looks like they are now ahead of schedule in this market.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by December 2012. However, there are a few sites that will likely linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, Samsung should have no issues meeting Sprint's schedule completion date.   Photo of Chicago 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

Marcelo declares A New Day For Sprint and changes Band 41 priorities

. by Seth Goodwin Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 11:20 AM MDT   Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has only been on the job for 3-1/2 weeks, but dramatic changes have already been made. Claure took part in Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference this morning in New York City. During the course of an approximately 35 minute onstage interview, Claure’s strategy for Sprint going forward was publicized for the first time.   Claure started by noting the advice he received as a first time CEO of a publicly traded company was “don’t make any changes for the first 100 days.” He continued “I just couldn't help myself. On day 4 we changed everything we do from the time we go to market.” In his first meeting with Sprint’s vice presidents in Overland Park, Claure asked a simple question. Why would anyone buy a Sprint phone?   The question itself was somewhat rhetorical. As Claure noted to the audience “really there wasn't really any compelling value proposition [at Sprint]." He noted that Sprint was more expensive than some of their competitors while still “coming out of a pretty traumatic network experience.” As to Framily, Claure discussed that even he himself had a hard time understanding how the plan worked, and was less than thrilled that “We were marketing with a hamster talking to people."   The Way Forward   Insight into Claure’s strategy can be traced back to his time at Brightstar. Over a 15 year period, Marcelo transformed a company from selling cellphones out of the trunk of his car in Miami, to a full scale cellular logistics corporation with over $10 billion in revenue in 2013. This entrepreneurial spirit and underdog mentality is what he is seeking to replicate at Sprint.   Plans   In the wake of complicated plans and the success of family share plans at Verizon and AT&T, Claure identified this as Sprint’s first target. Within his first four days on the job, Sprint’s post-paid plan offerings were drastically overhauled. He emphasized Sprint’s commitment to match or beat AT&T and Verizon on price as well as surpassing them by doubling the data offered on comparable competitor’s plans. By the end of Week 1, a competitive individual plan was also released.   By essentially concentrating plan offerings to two simple to understand plans, Claure sees the ability to market and sell these plans to consumers being easier going forward. He told store employees forget about the rule book “just go out there and be an entrepreneur… It is incredible when you empower your employees and allow them to be entrepreneurs the type of things that start to happen.”   Network   Claure is aware of the importance of the network. He specifically noted that he monitors network performance daily. Even with that, he is optimistic about where he's taking Sprint into the future. “The network is our product…We provide connectivity and the network needs to be good in order for customers to come.” He also was gracious towards what former CEO Dan Hesse had already accomplished on the network side before leaving. “He made a pretty bold move,” Claure said. “We basically went and did a whole rip and replace of our network.”   Marcelo noted that most of the network hardware replacement is done. Something the S4GRU sponsor site statistics bear out. Without providing details, Claure underscored something we have been hearing out of Sprint for the past several months...that the deployment of LTE Bands 25 and 26 are being accelerated with 255 million POP's now covered by Sprint LTE.   As we have discussed on this site numerous times, Spectrum is ultimately one of Sprint’s key differentiators. “We have over 160MHz in the 2.5 band. Our majority shareholders entire secret sauce in Japan was based on their 2.5 network.” Marcelo said 60 million POP's are currently covered by Band 41 LTE. These are former Clearwire WiMax sites that have been converted to Sprint’s Spark LTE. One of the more interesting aspects of this morning’s event was the change in Sprint’s 8T8R Band 41 deployment strategy.   Marcelo elaborated, “We are going to move to a smarter model in terms of how we deploy our equipment” going forward. He discussed that when he arrived, Sprint’s plan was simply to deploy new Band 41 8T8R equipment across their over 30,000 sites. Which is essentially all their existing full build Network Vision sites. The problem with this strategy according to Claure is that this “takes us too long to be good anywhere.” The new strategy has 2.5 LTE (Band 41) deployments being concentrated in areas where the existing network is overburdened.   In the second wave of the Band 41 8T8R deployment attack, Sprint will be “going strong after a few cities...focusing on a few critical markets and deploying an experience that hasn't been seen yet in the U.S.”   Shifting the focus to areas that need the extra capacity first is strategically important. If implemented properly, getting Band 41 LTE sites deployed across all markets where they are absolutely needed for extra capacity will help make the network more usable for end users. “There is no need for us to plaster the nation with 2.5, because it is going to take too long,” Claure said. “Rather we’d like to get some wins early on.”   The Near-Term Plan   To Claure, ultimately price and the network is Sprint’s winning value proposition. He noted in the wireless industry, you can either compete on price as T-Mobile has been aggressively doing as of late, or you can compete on the quality of your network as Verizon or AT&T does. That left Sprint in a precarious position, “we were the most expensive and our network is a work in progress.” Claure added, “You are going to see us now be the value driver… And potentially in the market for a really strong advertisement network.” Claure concluded, “If you can have price and the really strong network; you have a winning value proposition."   To compete on value in the near-term, expect Sprint to aggressively counteract competitor’s moves. Claure gave the example of T-Mobile announcing a guaranteed best price on a device buyback or trade-in. Later that afternoon Sprint countered, offering to do better than T-Mobile. Sprint was in part able to make this play due synergies with Claure’s former company Brightstar, now fully owned by Softbank.   Brightstar is the largest player in the phone trade-in market in the world. Claure noted synergies between Sprint and the over 1,000 companies Softbank owns or does business with are a competitive advantage. He noted that the value proposition is Sprint’s optimal strategy at this point and concluded by saying Sprint must be the ultimate disruptor in the industry.   You can say what you want about Sprint's past. But the future is changing. It's squarely in Marcelo's hands. And he's gaining momentum.

Mr.Nuke

Mr.Nuke

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