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S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 2:50 PM MDT

 

Four more Sprint markets that were slated to begin Network Vision/LTE deployments in 2013 are beginning early. Good news for Sprint customers in the Providence, Upstate NY Central, Southern Jersey and Delaware markets.

 

S4GRU has been able to confirm that Network Vision is now under way in these four markets, all of them being deployed by Alcatel Lucent. This past week, AlcaLu has completed 3G upgrades in a small handful of sites in each of these markets, with 4G yet to come. First LTE signals should start appearing sporadically in these markets in the next 30-60 days.

 

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 can look forward to seeing improved 3G speeds and maybe even some testing/prelaunch LTE signals a few months earlier than originally planned.

 

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

 

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Sprint's Providence Market. Alcatel Lucent is starting Network Vision/LTE deployments in the Providence market. Cities that will be a part of this deployment include Providence, Newport, Cranston and Warwick. With only 144 sites, the market may wrap up relatively quickly. Click on Map to Enlarge.

 

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Sprint's Upstate NY Central Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the Upstate New York Central market. The market includes Syracuse, Utica, Rome, Binghamton, Elmira, Ithaca and Watertown. 257 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.

 

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Sprint's Southern Jersey Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the Southern Jersey market. The market includes Trenton, Camden, Atlantic City, Princeton, Cherry Hill, Vineland, Millville and Cape May. 302 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.

 

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Sprint's Delaware Market. Alcatel Lucent has begun Network Vision/LTE deployments in the Delaware market. The market includes Wilmington, Dover and the entire state of Delaware, and the small NE corner of Maryland. 139 sites total. Click on Map to Enlarge.

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM MDT

 

Today, Sprint announced in four separate Press Releases that they have brought 4G LTE Service to the Chicagoland area, as well as Wichita Falls Texas, Hutchinson and McPherson Kansas, New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts. It is probably no accident that Sprint selected to use the phrase "Sprint brings 4G LTE" in lieu of "launched." Don't misunderstand though that this is good news.

 

LTE service in these newly announced areas has actually been active for awhile (in some places several months). Sprint only announced the outer suburbs of Chicago as being live, but actually Sprint LTE service is live over 80% of the metro area. However, the more urban sites in Chicago need to have service bolstered up even greater before Sprint sticks their neck out and claim the service is live. Even in non launched areas of the Chicago market, LTE service is still usable where sites have been completed.

 

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Chicago Sprint LTE Coverage Map. This is the LTE coverage map showing in Chicago as of today. Coverages shown are a little generous with their modeling. This map would indicate coverage is nearly total, but we think it's more like 80%, using a very liberal estimate.

 

In both Hutchinson and McPherson, Kansas, each of those cities now has two LTE sites operable. For McPherson, that covers most of the area, only leaving one more site to upgrade. In Hutchinson, they have two of five sites broadcasting LTE, which covers most of the city pretty well. Service will get even better when full LTE density is achieved.

 

Over in Wichita Falls, Texas, Sprint LTE is usable from three sites out of sixteen. So site density is very thin at this point. Sprint overly optimistically shows very good coverage on their maps saturating the entire Wichita Falls area. Service should be decent when near these three sites, otherwise you will likely only be able to get coverage outside. LTE performance will drastically improve as more and more coverage is added in the next few months.

 

In Southeast Massachusetts, Sprint LTE is also live around Fall River and New Bedford. The first New Bedford LTE site went online about five weeks ago, and the service has been growing since. Currently both New Bedford and Fall River have three LTE sites a piece working. Which is about one third of the total sites in the area. So coverage is OK now, but will get even better over the next few months.

 

On another note, our members discovered the new coverages show up Friday night on the Sprint website and figured out Sprint would be making these announcements on Monday. Clever group we have here at S4GRU. :tu:

 

NOTE: In our Sponsor Section, we have interactive maps that show all the completed sites to date, including the sites in the markets referenced in this article. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU
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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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
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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.

 

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The Press Release with more details is below:

 

Sprint Nextel Corporation has posted the following release to its Newsroom website:

 

SoftBank to Acquire 70% Stake in Sprint

 

TOKYO & OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 15, 2012 - SOFTBANK CORP. (“SoftBank”) (TSE: 9984) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”) (NYSE: S) today announced that they have entered into a series of definitive agreements under which SoftBank will invest $20.1 billion in Sprint, consisting of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet. Through this transaction, approximately 55% of current Sprint shares will be exchanged for $7.30 per share in cash, and the remaining shares will convert into shares of a new publicly traded entity, New Sprint. Following closing, SoftBank will own approximately 70% and Sprint equity holders will own approximately 30% of the shares of New Sprint on a fully-diluted basis.

 

SoftBank’s cash contribution, deep expertise in the deployment of next-generation wireless networks and track record of success in taking share in mature markets from larger telecommunications competitors are expected to create a stronger, more competitive New Sprint that will deliver significant benefits to U.S. consumers. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both SoftBank and Sprint. Completion of the transaction is subject to Sprint stockholder approval, customary regulatory approvals and the satisfaction or waiver of other closing conditions. The companies expect the closing of the merger transaction to occur in mid-2013.

 

SoftBank Chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, said, “This transaction provides an excellent opportunity for SoftBank to leverage its expertise in smartphones and next-generation high speed networks, including LTE, to drive the mobile internet revolution in one of the world’s largest markets. As we have proven in Japan, we have achieved a v-shaped earnings recovery in the acquired mobile business and grown dramatically by introducing differentiated products to an incumbent-led market. Our track record of innovation, combined with Sprint’s strong brand and local leadership, provides a constructive beginning toward creating a more competitive American wireless market.”

The SoftBank transaction is expected to deliver the following benefits to Sprint and its stockholders:

  • Provides stockholders the ability to realize an attractive cash premium or to hold shares in a stronger, better capitalized Sprint
  • Provides Sprint with $8.0 billion of primary capital to enhance its mobile network and strengthen its balance sheet
  • Enables Sprint to benefit from SoftBank’s global leadership in LTE network development and deployment
  • Improves operating scale
  • Creates opportunities for collaborative innovation in consumer services and applications

Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, said, “This is a transformative transaction for Sprint that creates immediate value for our stockholders, while providing an opportunity to participate in the future growth of a stronger, better capitalized Sprint going forward. Our management team is excited to work with SoftBank to learn from their successful deployment of LTE in Japan as we build out our advanced LTE network, improve the customer experience and continue the turnaround of our operations.”

Transaction Terms

  • SoftBank will form a new U.S. subsidiary, New Sprint, which will invest $3.1 billion in a newly?issued Sprint convertible senior bond following this announcement. The convertible bond will have a 7-year term and 1.0% coupon rate, and will be convertible, subject to regulatory approval, into Sprint common stock at $5.25 per share. Immediately prior to the merger, the bond will be converted into shares of Sprint, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Sprint.
  • Following Sprint stockholder and regulatory approval, and the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions to the merger transaction, SoftBank will further capitalize New Sprint with an additional $17 billion and effect a merger transaction in which New Sprint will become a publicly-traded company and Sprint will survive as its wholly-owned subsidiary. Of the $17 billion, $4.9 billion will be used to purchase newly issued common shares of New Sprint at $5.25 per share. The remaining $12.1 billion will be distributed to Sprint stockholders in exchange for approximately 55% of currently outstanding shares. The other 45% of currently outstanding shares will convert into shares of New Sprint. SoftBank will also receive a warrant to purchase 55 million additional Sprint shares at an exercise price of $5.25 per share.
  • Pursuant to the merger, holders of outstanding shares of Sprint common stock will have the right to elect between receiving $7.30 per Sprint share or one share of New Sprint stock per Sprint share, subject to proration. Holders of Sprint equity awards will receive equity awards in New Sprint.
  • Post-transaction, SoftBank will own approximately 70% and Sprint equity holders will own approximately 30% of New Sprint shares on a fully-diluted basis.
  • SoftBank is financing the transaction through a combination of cash on hand and a syndicated financing facility.
  • The transaction does not require Sprint to take any actions involving Clearwire Corporation other than those set forth in agreements Sprint has previously entered into with Clearwire and certain of its shareholders.

After closing, Sprint’s headquarters will continue to be in Overland Park, Kansas. New Sprint will have a 10-member board of directors, including at least three members of Sprint’s board of directors. Mr. Hesse will continue as CEO of New Sprint and as a board member.

 

The Raine Group LLC and Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. acted as lead financial advisors to SoftBank. Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Deutsche Bank AG, Tokyo Branch acted as mandated lead arrangers to SoftBank. Deutsche Bank also provided financial advice to SoftBank in connection with this transaction. SoftBank’s legal advisors included Morrison & Foerster LLP as lead counsel, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto as Japanese counsel, Dow Lohnes PLLC as regulatory counsel, Potter Anderson Corroon LLP as Delaware counsel, and Foulston & Siefkin LLP as Kansas counsel.

 

Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Rothschild Inc. and UBS Investment Bank acted as co-lead financial advisors. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP acted as lead counsel to Sprint. Lawler, Metzger, Keeney and Logan served as regulatory counsel, and Polsinelli Shughart PC served as Kansas counsel.

 

About SoftBank

 

SoftBank was established in 1983 by its current Chairman & CEO Masayoshi Son and has based its business growth on the Internet. It is currently engaged in various businesses in the information industry, including mobile communications, broadband services, fixed-line telecommunications, and portal services. In terms of consolidated results for fiscal 2011, net sales increased 6.6% year on year to ¥3.2 trillion, operating income increased 7.3% to ¥675.2 billion, and net income rose 65.4% to ¥313.7 billion.

 

About Sprint Nextel

 

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

 

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements

 

This document includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The words “may,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “target,” “plan,” “providing guidance” and similar expressions are intended to identify information that is not historical in nature.

 

This document contains forward-looking statements relating to the proposed transaction between Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”) and SOFTBANK CORP. (“SoftBank”) and its group companies, including Starburst II, Inc. (“Starburst II”) pursuant to a merger agreement and bond purchase agreement. All statements, other than historical facts, including statements regarding the expected timing of the closing of the transaction; the ability of the parties to complete the transaction considering the various closing conditions; the expected benefits of the transaction such as improved operations, enhanced revenues and cash flow, growth potential, market profile and financial strength; the competitive ability and position of SoftBank or Sprint; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon current plans, estimates and expectations that are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The inclusion of such statements should not be regarded as a representation that such plans, estimates or expectations will be achieved. You should not place undue reliance on such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such plans, estimates or expectations include, among others, that (1) one or more closing conditions to the transaction may not be satisfied or waived, on a timely basis or otherwise, including that a governmental entity may prohibit, delay or refuse to grant approval for the consummation of the transaction or that the required approval by Sprint’s stockholders may not be obtained; (2) there may be a material adverse change of SoftBank or Sprint or the respective businesses of SoftBank or Sprint may suffer as a result of uncertainty surrounding the transaction; (3) the transaction may involve unexpected costs, liabilities or delays; (4) legal proceedings may be initiated related to the transaction; and (5) other risk factors as detailed from time to time in Sprint’s and Starburst II’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including Sprint’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 and the proxy statement/prospectus to be contained in Starburst II’s Registration Statement on Form S-4, which are (or will be, when filed) available on the SEC’s web site (www.sec.gov). There can be no assurance that the merger will be completed, or if it is completed, that it will close within the anticipated time period or that the expected benefits of the merger will be realized.

 

None of Sprint, SoftBank or Starburst II undertakes any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which the statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements.

 

Additional Information and Where to Find It

 

In connection with the proposed strategic combination, Starburst II plans to file with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will include a proxy statement of Sprint, and that also will constitute a prospectus of Starburst II. Sprint will mail the proxy statement/prospectus to its stockholders. INVESTORS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE BECAUSE IT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The proxy statement/prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Sprint, SoftBank and Starburst II, will be available, free of charge, from the SEC’s web site (www.sec.gov). Sprint’s SEC filings in connection with the transaction also may be obtained, free of charge, from Sprint’s web site (www.sprint.com) under the tab “About Us – Investors” and then under the heading “Documents and Filings – SEC Filings,” or by directing a request to Sprint, 6200 Sprint Parkway, Overland Park, Kansas 66251, Attention: Shareholder Relations or (913) 794-1091. Starburst II’s SEC filings in connection with the transaction (when filed) also may be obtained, free of charge, by directing a request to SoftBank, 1-9-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7303, Japan; telephone: +81.3.6889.2290; e-mail: ir@softbank.co.jp.

 

Participants in the Merger Solicitation

 

The respective directors, executive officers and employees of Sprint, SoftBank, Starburst II and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the transaction. Information regarding Sprint’s directors and executive officers is available in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Other information regarding the interests of such individuals as well as information regarding SoftBank’s and Starburst II’s directors and executive officers will be available in the proxy statement/prospectus when it becomes available. These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above. This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

 

 

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S4GRU
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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.

 

 

Sprint Nextel Corporation has posted the following release to its Newsroom website:

 

Sprint Adding 4G LTE to More Than 20 Additional Cities in Coming Months

 

Millions of power data users in several major cities will soon enjoy a 4G LTE experience with the only truly unlimited 4G LTE plans from a national carrier

 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 12, 2012 - Continuing its aggressive push to deliver an enhanced top-tier network experience for customers, Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today that its 4G LTE network build is progressing in more than 20 additional cities within its nationwide 3G footprint.

 

The 4G LTE Network build is under way in the following additional areas:

  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
  • Cape Coral-Ft Meyers, FL
  • Dyersburg-Union City-Martin, TN
  • Emporia, KS
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Greenwood, MS
  • Joplin, MO
  • Kokomo, IN
  • Lafayette/West Lafayette, IN
  • Lexington Park, MD
  • Marion, IN
  • Napa, CA
  • Naples-Marco Island, FL
  • Ottawa-Streator, IL
  • Punta Gorda, FL
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
  • Sebring, FL
  • South Bend-Mishawaka, IN
  • Terre Haute, IN
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
  • Warsaw, IN

“We’re committed to providing improved 3G and 4G LTE as quickly as possible, and keeping our customers informed as to when and where they can experience the new network’s superior performance and speed,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint. “Our customers depend on their mobile devices as their primary source of communication, business connectivity and entertainment. We’re delivering all of that functionality at a very competitive price.”

 

During the pre-launch phase, Sprint customers with capable devices may begin to see 4G LTE coverage in these areas and are welcome to use the network even before it officially launches. Sprint plans to announce commercial availability of 4G LTE in these cities in the coming months, followed by continued enhancements in coverage, performance and reliability. Ultimately, Sprint’s 4G LTE coverage is expected to largely match the existing nationwide 3G footprint.

 

Last month, Sprint announced more than 100 cities where Sprint 4G LTE is on its way, including Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C. The network build out has begun in these cities in addition to those announced In September. The LTE build out is part of Network Vision, an investment program that will also deliver an improved 3G experience to Sprint customers.

 

Today, Sprint offers the new 4G LTE service in 24 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Ga.; Athens, Ga.; Baltimore; Barnstable-Hyannis/Mid-Cape, Mass.; Calhoun, Ga.; Carrollton, Ga.; Gainesville, Ga.; Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas; Granbury-Hood County, Texas; Houston; Huntsville, Texas; Lawrence, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.; Manhattan/Junction City, Kan.; Newnan, Ga.; Rome, Ga.; San Antonio, Texas; Sedalia, Mo.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; Waco, Texas; Waukegan-Lake County, Ill.; and Wichita, Kan.

 

As part of its overall network strategy, Sprint is also doing a complete overhaul of its 3G infrastructure so that customers can enjoy better wireless signal strength, in-building coverage, and fewer dropped/blocked calls. These enhancements are now available to customers in several markets across the country, with significant deployment in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C., and will continue to improve in the weeks and months ahead.

Unlimited + Sprint 4G LTE = Game-changing wireless offer for customers

 

In today’s competitive wireless market, the value of unlimited has never been more apparent and Sprint is clearly a leading choice in wireless. Customers with capable devices can combine Sprint’s all-new 3G and 4G LTE networks and enjoy unlimited data while on the Sprint network. Data usage continues to increase and consumers value Truly Unlimited data because it’s simple and straightforward – no metering, no throttling, and no need to share data, which increases the likelihood of a surprise monthly bill because of overage charges.

 

Coupled with unbeatable plans and fast devices, Sprint has been working hard to deliver the best customer experience in the past few years. The 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries measured, over the last four years. And Sprint has been ranked Highest in Satisfaction with the Purchase Experience among Full-service Wireless Providers three times in a row by J.D. Power and Associates.

 

For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, please visitwww.sprint.com/4GLTE.

 

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

WiWavelength
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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, October 5, 2012 - 2:00 PM MDT

 

Earlier this week, the Samsung SPH-L900 authorization filing hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. Judging by the handset's expansive 150 mm x 80 mm dimensions, S4GRU firmly expects this device to be the upcoming Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 "phablet." In keeping with our previous articles on the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, and yet to be released LG Eclipse, here is an RF focused breakdown of the presumed Note 2's FCC disclosed tech specs:

  • CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
  • LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
  • LTE 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
  • LTE UE category 3
  • W-CDMA/HSPA band 2 (i.e. W-CDMA/HSPA 1900)
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/1900
  • GPRS/EDGE multislot class 10 (i.e. max 4 downlink, 2 uplink, 5 total timeslots)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether (2.4 GHz only)
  • SVDO support absent
  • Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 20.03 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 24.46 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 20.25 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 28.35 dBm (GSM 850), 25.05 dBm (EDGE 850), 29.44 dBm (GSM 1900), 24.13 dBm (EDGE 1900), 21.41 dBm (W-CDMA 1900), 19.63 dBm (LTE 1900)
  • NFC antenna integrated into battery cover
  • CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity
  • Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)

11ghtfs.png

 

Besides the incorporation of GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/1900 and W-CDMA/HSPA 1900 capabilities, the most notable feature of the Note 2 is the lack of SVDO capability. That absence appears to be related to the inclusion of W-CDMA/HSPA, which coexists on a transmit path with LTE. In typical SVDO capable handsets, CDMA1X/EV-DO has one transmit path, but EV-DO has a second possible transmit path that it shares with LTE. That is not the case with the Note 2, as can be seen in the antenna locations and simultaneous transmission paths diagrams:

 

2ynh5xl.png

 

Within each transmission path, only one airlink can be active at any given time. This is a hardware restriction that precludes SVDO but allows SVLTE. Additionally, some other simultaneous transmission scenarios that are technically supported by the hardware (e.g. CDMA1X voice + W-CDMA data) are locked out in software. For all of the possible and permissible simultaneous transmission scenarios, see the included table from the FCC filing:

 

34o28wm.png

 

In conclusion, if SVDO truly was sacrificed in order to include W-CDMA, that is a curious compromise, especially for a handset otherwise geared (e.g. band class 10 CDMA1X, band 25 LTE) specifically for Sprint.

 

Source: FCC

WiWavelength
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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, October 5, 2012 - 8:00 AM MDT

 

Unless you have been under a telecom rock the past 48 hours -- or stuck in the boonies with only a GSM device (I kid, I kid) -- you have read that T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS have agreed in principle to a complicated reverse merger arrangement that would create a combined carrier, at least provisionally called NewCo. Now, Sprint has jumped back into the fray, this after Sprint's executive leadership had readied a bid for MetroPCS earlier this year but was vetoed by the board of directors. Sprint's motivations for pursuing a counter bid could be multifold.

  • Sprint could actually be trying to acquire MetroPCS, feeling a sense of urgency that it did not this spring. Plus, Sprint's perception on Wall Street has improved dramatically during the past few months, making a merger a more financially palatable prospect.
  • Sprint could be attempting to force T-Mobile to sweeten its offer for MetroPCS, potentially costing competitor T-Mobile additional financial resources.
  • Sprint could be trying to gain some concessions in order to allow the merger to proceed.

That last possibility is what this article will explore, namely, that NewCo would agglomerate an egregious amount of PCS 1900 MHz spectrum in several markets in which Sprint also happens to be a bit PCS spectrum shy. By throwing its own hat into the ring, Sprint should pressure NewCo to divest excess PCS spectrum to Sprint voluntarily. Alternatively, Sprint could lobby the FCC, oppose the merger and its transfer of spectrum licenses, and try to get some mandated divestitures that way.

 

To illustrate, MetroPCS currently operates in at least some PCS spectrum in 10 major markets. The linked spreadsheet below compares NewCo's potential PCS A-F block spectrum holdings to Sprint's current PCS A-F block spectrum holdings in those 10 markets.

 

akxx8y.png

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArY31Mr219-ydE1tRVdJS19ocjBZXzVibk01Wm5wLWc&usp=sharing

 

In those 10 markets, Sprint holds 20-30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, while NewCo would have 35-60 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, including 50-60 MHz in four of the markets. Considering that 60 MHz represents fully half of the total 120 MHz bandwidth of the traditional PCS band, that is an outrageous amount of PCS spectrum -- especially for a carrier that is hitching its LTE wagon to AWS, not PCS. Even AT&T would blush at acquiring that much spectrum within a given band. Keep in mind, too, that this analysis does not take into account the 40-60 MHz of AWS 2100+1700 MHz spectrum that NewCo would hold in those same 10 markets, including 50-60 MHz in all but Atlanta. And that 50-60 MHz would be even more than half of the total 90 MHz bandwidth of the AWS band.

 

Furthermore, T-Mobile has made it known that it intends to pare down its exclusively PCS GSM/GPRS/EDGE spectrum utilization to 10 MHz per market, refarming its remaining PCS spectrum to W-CDMA/HSPA+ in a desperate attempt to attract unsubsidized iPhone users. The Dallas Region Case Study graphic from the NewCo investor presentation corroborates this plan. Moreover, the graphic shows how NewCo plans to operate DC-HSPA+ (20 MHz) for at least the next three years in parallel on both PCS and AWS plus 15-20 MHz FDD LTE on AWS -- an unnecessarily redundant, inefficient strategy.

 

25z0d1c.png

 

In short, NewCo does not need as much PCS spectrum as it is set to acquire. Otherwise, it is just as much a spectrum glutton as are VZW and AT&T. So, here is the solution. In Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Sacramento, and San Francisco, NewCo should preemptively choose to or be required to divest 10 MHz of its accumulated PCS spectrum. Sprint would be the obvious buyer, as that would increase its PCS A-F block assets to 30 MHz in those markets. Meanwhile, NewCo would still retain 35-50 MHz of PCS in those same markets, plenty of spectrum for 10 MHz of GSM, 10 MHz of HSPA+ or even 20 MHz of DC-HSPA+, and 10 MHz of CDMA1X/EV-DO for MetroPCS legacy.

 

Sources: FCC, MetroPCS

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 9:45 AM MDT

 

S4GRU members in the Indianapolis market have been wondering if something is up recently. Seeing a little activity at Sprint sites in the area. The past couple of days, flickerings of Sprint LTE have been discovered in the NE and East Indy suburbs. Network Vision/LTE deployment is now confirmed under way in the Indianapolis market.

 

As you can see in the map at the bottom, diligent S4GRU members have been out scouring the city trying to find spots of live Sprint LTE. And they have found them. But it is definitely early in the deployment. The signals come and go throughout the day in these locations. Undoubtedly, Samsung's subcontractors are testing the signals, and often turn them off when they leave the site for the day.

 

We are quite happy to see work is definitely occurring in the Indianapolis market. And it is starting right on time, as the first LTE sites were expected around early October. Given a few rough starts to LTE deployment, it seems Sprint is starting to get things under control and maybe they will start hitting their stride with their OEM's and subcontractors soon.

 

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Preliminary Speed Test and Tower Phots. S4GRU Members hit the streets to find and document the LTE signals around Indy. The speed test is rather slow compared to other Sprint LTE deployments with a good signal. But they only just have begun testing in this market. Images from S4GRU member newboyx.

 

This is the first evidence of Network Vision/LTE deployment we have discovered in the Indy market. Deployment is likely occurring over the entire market and will soon be in many other communities in the vicinity. Sprint is targeting several cities in this market for launch before the end of the year. The following Indianapolis market communities were listed in Sprint's next 100 city list, including Anderson, Columbus, Carmel, Muncie, and of course, Indianapolis. At this point, it seems that other communities in this market will likely not have enough LTE service to constitute the service launched until some time after the New Year.

 

In the interim, LTE signals may come and go around Indy. They are just in the infancy of deployment. Sprint has been pretty consistent in blocking LTE connections at completed sites after they accept the improvements from the Network Vision OEM/subcontractors. Also, it may not be surprising to see isolated LTE signals appear in other Central Indiana Sprint communities.

 

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Sensorly.com LTE coverage map in Indianapolis, Indiana. Some S4GRU members hit the road and plotted LTE signals using the Sensorly Android map to illustrate some of the coverage by the newly active sites. Click on Map to Enlarge.

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, September 28, 2012 - 5:15 AM MDT

 

S4GRU received a tip from one of our members in Northern Indiana ten days ago Network Vision was spotted underway in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. He was able to take some photos (below) to show that new Network Vision panels indeed have been added at Site #CH03HO119 located on the south west side of Elkhart, Indiana.

 

Yesterday, S4GRU members found Sprint LTE signals in this vicinity, reaching all over the south side of Elkhart out toward Goshen. Hurrah! Several members went out and started adding this coverage to Sensorly.com coverage maps. Sensorly has an Android app that people can download which can be used to upload 4G LTE coverages of wireless carriers to Google maps for tracking (and 3G/2G signals too).

 

This is welcome news to Sprint customers in Northern Indiana. This work is also a little early based on the Network Vision schedules S4GRU has. Some of our members have joked in the past that this market gets preferential treatment from Sprint, because the Sprint CEO Dan Hesse went to school at Notre Dame. Although we have no evidence of any favoritism involved here, we are always happy to see any Network Vision progress and report it back to you.

 

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Site #CH03HO119 in Elkhart, Indiana. The new Network Vision panel that contains LTE is in the middle of the bottom rack on the tower. The legacy PCS panels are on both sides. Photos from S4GRU member C.A.R.

 

This is the first evidence of Network Vision/LTE deployment we have discovered in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. Deployment is likely beginning over the entire market and will soon be in all corners, even the Fort Wayne area. However, only the communities of South Bend/Elkhart, Warsaw and Marion were included in the next 100 city list Sprint released a few weeks ago containing names of communities expected to have a launchable amount of LTE service before the end of 2012. At this point, it seems that other communities in this market will likely not have enough LTE service to constitute the service launched until some time after the New Year.

 

In the interim, LTE signals may come and go around the South Bend/Elkhart area. They are just in the infancy of deployment. Sprint has been pretty consistent in blocking LTE connections at completed sites after they accept the improvements from the Network Vision OEM/subcontractors. Also, it may not be surprising to see isolated LTE signals appear in other Northern Indiana Sprint communities.

 

This market also contains a remarkable amount of 1x sites. Sites that essentially only have 2G speeds, never receiving 3G EVDO upgrades. It is believed that these sites will go from 1x service only to 3G and 4G LTE at the same time. Essentially skipping the entire 3rd generation of wireless service. There are thousands of rural customers looking forward to having a 3G network finally, at the same time they get 4G wireless broadband.

 

gallery_1_2_35757.jpg

Sensorly.com LTE coverage map in Elkhart, Indiana. Several S4GRU members hit the road and plotted LTE signals using the Sensorly Android map to illustrate some of the coverage by the new site.

S4GRU
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by Ian Littman

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 7:05 AM MDT

 

At around $100 with a contract (before the inevitable wave of promotional offers that have already hit its big brother, the Galaxy SIII), the Samsung Galaxy Victory falls under the definition of a midrange smartphone. It has specs somewhat reminiscent of the old Epic 4G: a 5 megapixel rear camera with 720p video recording, a front camera, a 4-inch 800x480 screen and a not-particularly-slim profile.

 

However it differs from that older device by dropping the keyboard, upping the battery to the same-capacity (but, compared to my SIII, not the same model) 2100 mAh unit found in the SIII, pushing the Android version to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and swapping WiMAX for LTE as its 4G technology.

gallery_1_2_9248.jpg

But that’s information you can get anywhere. What about the phone’s maximum output powers, simultaneous-data-and-voice capabilities, and antenna placement? You’ve come to the right place. Spoiler: this device looks solid.

 

  • CDMA 1xRTT/1xAdvnced/EvDO Rev. 0/A in SMR 800, Cellular 850 and PCS 1900 (band classes 0, 1, 10)
    • 26.89 dBm EIRP in SMR (BC10), 24.50 dBm, in Cellular (BC0), 28.09 dBm in PCS (BC1)
    • Highest EIRP at the bottom of the band for BC0 and BC1; EIRP decreased by roughly 1.2, and 2.28 dB between the bottom and top of BC0 and BC1, respectively
    • Highest EIRP at the top of the SMR band, but only by a margin of 0.5 dB

    [*]LTE in band class 25 (PCS 1900 + G)

    • 5MHz channels
    • Two receive antennas, one transmit antenna (MISO)
    • 23.92 dBm EIRP at 16QAM modulation, 24.08 dBm at QPSK, with the best performance at the middle of the band (20.75 and 21.92 dBm, respectively, when transmitting in the G block)

    [*]802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, including 40MHz channel support in 5GHz (one antenna; SISO)

    [*]Bluetooth and NFC (antenna in the battery, includes Google Wallet support)

    [*]Three separate radio paths (1x, EvDO+LTE, WiFi+BT), allowing SVDO, SVLTE and voice + hotspot functionality

    • 2.4GHz-only for the hotspot, due to software limitations
    • Transmit power may be reduced on the data side when voice and data are simultaneously used, down to ~19 dBm for EvDO or LTE when the 1x radio is transmitting at 25 dBm
    • Dedicated 1x Tx/Rx antenna (lower-right corner of the device, looking at the front)

 

This phone isn’t nearly as hot of an item as the iPhone 5 (nor does it have the specs...or the price to give the Apple product a run for its money), however the iPhone happens to be a very fair device to compare the Victory to in terms of radio performance. On CDMA the iPhone marginally wins out on PCS (by 0.31 dB), however it’s trounced by the Victory in SMR with a 4.69 dB lead in transmit EIRP, showing the difference between a jack-of-all-trades and a purpose-built Sprint phone. On the LTE side, the iPhone wins out by around 3.3 dB on the EIRP front, however this number decreases to fall in line with the Victory if the iPhone’s upper antenna is used (the Victory only transmits EvDO and LTE with its upper antenna). Plus, the Victory can hold a voice call on 1x while utilizing EvDO or LTE for data.

 

iPhone comparisons aside, the Victory is a phone very obviously made with Sprint in mind. Radio figures actually look better across the board than either the Evo 4G LTE or the Galaxy SIII, though these numbers only describe the device’s transmit power, not how well it can receive a signal in a marginal area. Still, as midrange phones with LTE go, the strong radio characteristics of the Victory (or, as Sprint calls it, the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE) add to the list of reasons to get this phone over something else of the same ilk.

 

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S4GRU
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by Ian Littman

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, September 14, 2012 - 9:35 AM MDT

 

In the past, Apple’s iPhone wasn’t quite the ideal Sprint phone from a network perspective; it lacked 4G of any sort and didn’t include support for Sprint’s nascent SMR-800 1x CDMA network (in place of Nextel iDEN). The situation could be worse (for example, CricKet iPhones can’t get native service in many of the company’s newer, AWS-only markets), but as a flagship phone it was odd to see the iPhone lacking one core piece of Network Vision support that every other Sprint phone released in the past year has had.

 

That issue has now been solved...sort of. I’m Ian Littman, standing in for AJ (aka WiWavelength) with an analysis of the non-AT&T edition (A1429) of the iPhone. I’ll focus on the pieces that Sprint subscribers will use, as the phone supports a cornucopia of bands and technologies (quad-band GSM/EDGE, quad-band HSPA+ including dual-carrier, EvDO Rev. B with up to 3 carriers in the cellular band) in addition to CDMA 1x, EvDO and LTE (in 2100MHz and 1800MHz, which Sprint won’t use).

 

So, without further ado, the rundown:

  • CDMA 1xRTT, 1xAdvanced, EvDO rev. A in band classes 0 (Cellular 850), 1 (PCS 1900) and 10 (SMR 800)
  • LTE in a variety of bands, including the US-compatible...
    • Band 5 - Cellular 850 (1.4, 3, 5, 10MHz)
    • Band 13 - Verizon upper-C 700MHz (5, 10MHz)
    • Band 25 - PCS 1900, including G Block (1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20MHz)

    [*]No VoLTE or SMR LTE support (as expected)

    [*]Three antennas: two for cellular, one for WiFi/Bluetooth (so WiFi is still 1x1 SISO)

    • 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth can’t co-transmit; 5GHz WiFi and Bluetooth can
    • Wireless tethering only available in 2.4GHz
    • Only one cellular antenna can be used to transmit at a time
    • Only one cellular technology can be used to transmit at a time (so no SVLTE, and very likely no SVDO)
    • Either cellular antenna can be used to transmit, but the antenna-switching process includes a period where no transmission is made
    • EIRP of 22.00 dBm on CDMA in SMR, 22.81 in Cellular, 28.40 in PCS for the primary (bottom) antenna, 17.00/18.57/24.61 for the secondary (top) antenna
    • EIRP of 22.12/22.57/27.36 dBm in 700/Cellular/PCS for LTE on the lower antenna, 21.54/17.32/23.96 on the upper antenna
    • Antenna gain of -1.73/-0.86/1.04 dBi for the lower antenna on SMR, Cellular and PCS, respectively, and -5.47/-4.33/-2.9 for the upper antenna*

* 16QAM modulation, 5MHz channels on Cellular/PCS, 10MHz channels on 700MHz; QPSK adds another 1-1.5 dB of output power, as does switching to 5MHz channels on 700MHz

 

On the surface it looks like the iPhone is a very capable device; it can realistically hit 100 Mbps on LTE, using both its antennas to receive (but not send) the signal on a 20MHz channel (which a number of Sprint phones don’t support, my Galaxy SIII included). It supports a ton of bands (my bet is that even the “GSM version” of the A1429 has CDMA built in, but it is not certified/disabled in non-CDMA countries) and technologies. However the good news ends there.

 

For example, several Sprint phones now have SVDO and/or SVLTE support; you can make a call on 1x while maintaining a data connection. The Sprint/Verizon versions of the iPhone, to our knowledge, can’t do that. The best it can do is VoIP over LTE or EvDO...garden-variety VoIP, not the more robust VoLTE variety. Being able to transmit LTE on only one antenna isn’t terribly surprising...most current phones are 1x2 MISO (Multiple In Single Out), however Apple’s attention is obviously directed at carriers with HSPA networks when it comes to delivering a high-quality wireless experience. Another example of this is Apple’s HD Voice ability; Sprint will be the first US carrier to support the technology, but not on the iPhone, which can only use HD Voice over WCDMA.

 

Apple’s ability to pack a ton of bands into a single, super-slim phone is definitely a technological marvel, particularly in conjunction with a wide-channel LTE network (since the iPhone’s WiFi is SISO, it may be able to pull down data more quickly on LTE than on 802.11n, given ideal conditions on both). However a tailor-made Sprint phone it most definitely is not, though the inclusion of SMR CDMA softens the blow a bit.

 

As an aside, the AT&T edition of the iPhone supports LTE in the PCS (without G), AWS and Cellular bands, in addition to AT&T’s current 700MHz lower-B/lower-C network (band classes 2, 4, 5 and 7, respectively). So the AT&T edition of the phone is actually a better fit for providers like CricKet, MetroPCS and US Cellular...if not for the glaring omission of those carriers’ 3G network technologies (and VoLTE).

 

 

 

 

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S4GRU
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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!

 

 

Sprint Nextel Corporation has posted the following release to its Newsroom website:

 

Sprint 4G LTE Available in More Than 100 Additional Cities in the Coming Months

 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 10, 2012 - Continuing its aggressive momentum in delivering a top-tier network experience for customers, Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today that the 4G LTE network build is under way in more than 100 additional cities within its existing nationwide 3G footprint. Some of the major metropolitan areas in which Sprint 4G LTE is expected to be available in the coming months are Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C.

 

“We are committed to delivering a cutting-edge network as quickly as possible, one that provides a greater level of reliability and speed to our 3G and 4G customers,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint. “We know our customers depend on their mobile devices as their primary source of communication, business connectivity and entertainment. We want to deliver a network that delivers mobile access, productivity and entertainment at a highly competitive price point.”

 

The 4G LTE Network build is under way in the following areas:

  • Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
  • Albermarle, N.C.
  • Anderson, Ind.
  • Asheville, N.C.
  • Athens, Tenn.
  • Athens, Texas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Barnstable Town (Hyannis/Midcape), Mass.
  • Baton Rouge, La.
  • Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.
  • Boston
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Chicago
  • Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Cleveland, Tenn.
  • Coamo, Puerto Rico
  • College Station, Texas
  • Columbia, Tenn.
  • Columbus, Ind.
  • Cookeville, Tenn.
  • Crossville, Tenn.
  • Daytona Beach-Deltona-Ormond Beach, Fla.
  • Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.
  • Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla.
  • Gainesville, Fla.
  • Gary, Ind.
  • Goldsboro, N.C.
  • Greenville, N.C.
  • Greeneville, Tenn.
  • Guayama, Puerto Rico
  • Hammond, La.
  • Harriman, Tenn.
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.
  • Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La.
  • Hutchinson, Kan.
  • Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Johnson City, Tenn.
  • Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Kankakee-Bradley-Bourbonnais, Ill.
  • Kerrville, Texas
  • Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Texas
  • Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.
  • Kinston, N.C.
  • Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
  • Lancaster, S.C.
  • Lawrence, Kan.
  • Lincolnton, N.C.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.
  • Lumberton, N.C.
  • Marion, Indiana
  • McPherson, Kan.
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.
  • Michigan City-La Porte, Ill.
  • Morgan City, La.
  • Morristown, Tenn.
  • Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  • Muncie, Ind.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • New Orleans
  • New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.
  • Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Va.
  • Ocala, Fla.
  • Ocean Pines, Md.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Ottawa-Streator, Ill.
  • Palatka, Fla.
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.
  • Palm Coast, Fla.
  • Peabody/Lawrence-Methuen/Gloucester, Mass.
  • Philadelphia
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
  • Rochelle, Ill.
  • Rockford, Ill.
  • Rocky Mount, N.C.
  • Salina, Kan.
  • Salisbury, Md.
  • Salisbury, N.C.
  • San German-Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Sebring, Fla.
  • Sevierville, Tenn.
  • Shelby, N.C.
  • Sherman-Denison, Texas
  • Southern Pines-Pinehurst, N.C.
  • South Bend, Ind.
  • Springfield, Mass.
  • Statesville-Mooresville, N.C.
  • St. Thomas, USVI
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
  • Topeka, Kan.
  • Tullahoma, Tenn.
  • Tupelo, Miss.
  • Warrensburg, Mo.
  • Warsaw, Ind.
  • Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.
  • Waukegan-Lake County, Ill.
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, Fla.
  • Wichita, Kan.
  • Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Wilson, N.C.
  • Worcester-Fitchburg-Leominster, Mass.
  • Yauco, Puerto Rico

During the pre-launch phase, customers with capable 4G LTE devices may begin to see 4G LTE coverage in these areas and are welcome to use the network even before it officially launches. Sprint plans to announce commercial availability of 4G LTE in these cities in the coming months, at which point we expect coverage, performance and reliability to get even better. Eventually, the markets will fill in until coverage largely matches the existing nationwide 3G footprint. By the end of 2013, Sprint expects to have completed the nationwide build out of the all new 3G and 4G network.

Currently, Sprint offers the new 4G LTE service in 19 metropolitan areas: Atlanta; Athens, Ga.; Baltimore; Calhoun, Ga.; Carrollton, Ga.; Newnan, Ga.; Rome, Ga.; Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas; Gainesville, Ga.; Granbury-Hood County, Texas; Houston; Huntsville, Texas; Kansas City, Mo./Kansas City, Kan.; Manhattan/Junction City, Kan.; San Antonio, Texas; Sedalia, Mo.; Waco, Texas; and St. Joseph, Mo.

 

According to management consulting firm Chetan Sharma Consulting, mobile data is expected to comprise 95 percent of the global mobile traffic by 2015. Sprint’s network strategy, known as Network Vision, is designed to meet these growing demands. With Network Vision, customers can expect to benefit from an updated 3G network and new 4G LTE network, enabling expanded coverage, improved network reliability, better voice quality, and faster data speeds as the improvements are rolled out across the country.

 

“The mobile industry is going through an incredible change – smartphones, connected devices, and the seemingly unlimited supply of new applications and services are changing consumer behavior in dramatic ways,” said Chetan Sharma, founder and president at Chetan Sharma Consulting.

As part of its overall network strategy, Sprint is also doing a complete overhaul of its 3G infrastructure so that customers can enjoy better wireless signal strength, in-building coverage, and fewer dropped/blocked calls. These enhancements are now available to customers in several markets across the country, with significant deployment in Baltimore, Boston and Washington, D.C., and will continue to improve in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Sprint was the first national wireless carrier to introduce 4G on the WiMAX network in 2008 and began rolling out 4G LTE to customers on July 15 in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and surrounding cities

.

Unlimited + Sprint 4G LTE = Game-changing wireless offer for customers

 

In today’s competitive wireless market, the value of unlimited has never been more apparent and Sprint is clearly the best choice in wireless. Customers with capable devices can combine Sprint’s all-new 3G and 4G LTE networks and enjoy unlimited data while on the Sprint network. Data usage continues to increase and consumers value Truly Unlimited data because it’s simple and straightforward – no metering, no throttling, and no need to share data, which increases the likelihood of a surprise monthly bill because of overage charges.

 

Coupled with unbeatable plans and fast devices, Sprint has been working hard to deliver the best customer experience in the past few years. The 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries measured, over the last four years. And Sprint has been ranked Highest in Satisfaction with the Purchase Experience among Full-service Wireless Providers three times in a row by J.D. Power and Associates.

 

Sprint’s Network Vision project expects to be largely complete with the all-new network by the end of 2013. For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, please visitwww.sprint.com/4GLTE.

 

About Sprint Nextel

 

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

S4GRU
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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:

 

This tower is definitely under active construction for NV. These guys are installing new panels and stuff. I chatted with one guy from the crew, who said they were a subcontractor working for Ericsson on 180 sites in the area. He confirmed that there will be new panels, remote radios up top, fiber run up the tower, etc. According to him, this tower will be live with 4G in a week. Actually, he said, "You'll have 4G in a week," which I take to mean the LTE signal will be ready for acceptance testing by somebody up the project chain.

 

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.

 

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S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 7:20 AM MDT

 

Today, Sprint announces they have launched service in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as in Gainesville, Georgia (in the Atlanta/Athens market) and Manhattan, Kansas and Sedalia, Missouri (in the Kansas market).

 

However, S4GRU members have been reporting LTE service has been usable for weeks in these locations. Additionally, coverage showed up at coverage.sprint.com last Thursday. Service around Baltimore is pretty patchy, but better than some of the other launch markets on Launch Day. Additionally, there is a lone site in Annapolis for Sprint LTE customers to use while in Maryland's Capital City.

 

S4GRU Writer, AJ Shepherd, was in Manhattan, Kansas last Friday and reported good to spotty coverage. Good performance was observed in areas with good signal.

 

See the Sprint Press Release below:

 

 

Sprint continues nationwide 4G LTE expansion, adding four more cities to broaden its coverage

 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), August 29, 2012 - Sprint (NYSE:S) today introduced its 4G LTE high-speed data network to customers in Baltimore, Md., Gainesville, Ga., Manhattan/Junction City, Kan., and Sedalia, Mo. Additionally, Sprint customers in Baltimore, Boston and Washington, D.C., are beginning to enjoy the benefits of Sprint’s all-new 3G service – which is expected to deliver an exceptionally clear signal, better in-building coverage and fewer dropped/blocked calls.

Sprint was the first national wireless carrier to introduce 4G service in 2008, and today’s 3G/4G network improvements mark another step forward in the company’s overall network strategy, known as Network Vision.

 

According to a CTIA survey of wireless customers, wireless data traffic increased 123 percent from 2010 to 2011. Network Vision is specifically designed to meet the growing 3G and 4G LTE network demands of wireless subscribers. People want to use their smartphones, tablets and wireless hotspots where they live, work and play.

 

“Our customers are enjoying new applications and devices that increase the demand for mobile data,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint. “The network build-out – that today is playing out in four new cities – will provide nothing less than a state-of-the art network platform for the next generation of customers. Customers across the country will begin to experience better 3G service on their devices and will be able to take advantage of 4G LTE on cutting-edge devices as we continue to launch more cities.”

 

In Baltimore, customers will begin to see 4G LTE signals in the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Federal Hill and Pikesville areas – with more sites being turned on in the days and weeks ahead. With the addition of 4G LTE and the upgrades to 3G service, the Sprint network in these areas can handle more voice and data traffic. Today’s network upgrades are expected to make sending text messages, surfing the Web, sharing photos, and streaming music and videos easier, faster and more reliable.

 

As consumers all over the country are becoming more dependent on their smartphones, network quality is becoming more important. In addition to Baltimore, Sprint is aggressively improving the 3G experience city by city. Today, customers in Boston and Washington, D.C., should also notice improved 3G cell coverage, reduced roaming and faster data speeds. The work to build Sprint’s all-new network will continue in other markets across the country. Sherman-Dennison, Texas, is expected to see 4G LTE service in the weeks ahead.

 

In today’s competitive wireless market, the value of unlimited has never been more apparent. Sprint’s Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM includes unlimited data, texting and calling to and from any mobile phone in America while on the Sprint network, starting at just $79.99 per month for smartphones (pricing excludes taxes and surcharges).

 

During the past several years, Sprint has been working hard to deliver the best customer experience. The 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Building an all-new network is the linchpin to make Sprint the company customers want to do business with.

 

Sprint 4G LTE made its debut in 15 cities on July 15, and the company plans to introduce more markets to the network in 2012. By the end of 2013, Sprint expects to have largely completed the build-out of its all-new 4G LTE and 3G nationwide network. For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, please visit www.sprint.com/4GLTE.

 

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

WiWavelength
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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, August 17, 2012 - 1:14 PM MDT

 

CDMA1X and EV-DO carrier channels are shared resources. In CDMA1X, many subscribers share the same carrier channel, their individual traffic kept theoretically orthogonal by code division. Likewise, in EV-DO, individual traffic is separated by time division. But what happens when Sprint (or any other CDMA2000 network provider) has deployed greater than one CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel on a given cell site? How does your handset determine which carrier channel to utilize?

 

You might like to think that your handset would automatically choose the least loaded CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel. But that is not really the case. Instead, when multiple carrier channels are available, each cell site broadcasts a channel list message of the available carrier channels on that site. Upon receiving this list of multiple carrier channels, each handset then invokes a hashing algorithm to select which carrier channel to use. Think of it like a multi lane highway, but each car must choose a particular lane based on the car's license plate number.

 

For CDMA1X, the hashing algorithm -- which is a kind of pseudo random number generator -- is seeded with the handset's ESN or the subscriber's MDN/MSID (i.e. phone number). Unless the subscriber changes devices or phone numbers, these values remain static, hence the carrier channel hash is quite predictable. And Sprint, for reference, seems to use MDN/MSID based hashing. Nearly a decade ago, I built a spreadsheet that emulates the CDMA1X hashing algorithm, downloadable as an XLS file.

 

However, for EV-DO, the carrier channel hash is not quite so outwardly predictable. To seed the hashing algorithm, EV-DO uses a session number, which obviously varies from data session to data session. Each time that a handset powers up, crosses a SID/NID boundary, or even toggles airplane mode, for example, generates a new EV-DO data session, hence a new session number. And it is this session number that determines the output of the hashing algorithm.

 

To demonstrate this process, I positioned myself in one location about a quarter of a mile distant from the north sector of a local cell site. Over the course of several minutes, I grabbed three screen caps of the EV-DO engineering screen on one of my handsets. In between each screen cap, I cycled airplane mode at least once, each cycle generating a new data session. In the span of four minutes, I was able to get my handset to hash to each of the three EV-DO carrier channels deployed on this site. When I arrived at the site, my handset hashed to PCS 0175, which is the third EV-DO carrier channel (F3) in the channel list message. The second and third hashes after toggling airplane mode several times were to PCS 0150 (F2) and to PCS 0100 (F1). See the Channel Number field depicted in the screen caps:

 

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In addition, here is a raw RF look with a spectrum analyzer at the seven CDMA2000 carrier channels deployed on this cell site sector:

 

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The four CDMA1X carrier channels are PCS 0050, PCS 0075, PCS 0125, and PCS 0200. As is oft the case, the three aforementioned EV-DO carrier channels -- PCS 0100, PCS 0150, PCS 0175 -- are distinguishable by their slightly higher RF power output. Furthermore, for those curious, PCS 0025 (at the far left of the graph) and PCS 0225, PCS 0250, and PCS 0275 (at the right of the graph) are fallow spectrum on this site. If deployed, PCS 0025 would be the next EV-DO carrier channel (F4), PCS 0275 the final EV-DO carrier channel (F5), while PCS 0225 and PCS 0250 would be additional CDMA1X carrier channels.

 

Back to the hashing algorithm, while it attempts to distribute users more or less evenly among available EV-DO carrier channels, it does not take into account several other factors, such as loading and backhaul. For example, if you are stuck on a carrier channel and sector with a few data hogs who have stronger signal than you do, your data speeds will likely suffer as the "fair and proportional" scheduler integral to the EV-DO airlink attempts to maximize total throughput by allocating greater time slots to the users with better signal quality. Additionally, backhaul may not be distributed evenly among deployed carrier channels, so it is possible that some carrier channels may have inherently greater data capacity than others do.

 

Another benefit of rehashing to a different carrier channel is that you may be able to connect to a closer cell site. Because not all cell sites have the same number of deployed EV-DO carrier channels, carrier channel hashing is an imperfect process. To illustrate, the cell site (call it cell site "A") that I detailed above for this trial has three EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2, F3), as duly noted. But the adjacent cell site to the north (call it cell site "B") has only two EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2). A handset that hashes to F3 on cell site "A" will cling to carrier channel PCS 0175 even as it moves north well into the coverage area of cell site "B." Interference will not be a problem, as cell site "B" does not transmit PCS 0175, but signal strength (and data speeds) will diminish until cell site "A" drops below a network defined threshold, at which point the handset will handoff to cell site "B" and hash to PCS 0150. This can require substantial movement and/or time. So, if you always want the most crisp EV-DO handoffs, you can try to ensure that your handset always hashes to F1, the EV-DO carrier deployed on essentially every site in the market.

 

To conclude, by no means is airplane mode a panacea for slow 3G data ills. EV-DO carrier channel deployment and backhaul can vary from site to site, while loading can also vary from site to site, even from minute to minute. And EV-DO networks in some cities are just generally overloaded. But if you are at work, in a restaurant, at a park, etc., and find yourself with unbearably slow 3G data or lower than usual signal strength for that location, try toggling airplane mode. A 30 second on/off cycle of airplane mode will start a new data session and could get your handset to rehash to another EV-DO carrier channel that is on a closer site, has better backhaul, and/or is currently less loaded.

 

Sources: Qualcomm, author's field data

WiWavelength
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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:54 PM MDT

 

Update: The previously dubbed LG Eclipse is being released November 11 as the Optimus G. Additionally, the LTE 1900 EIRP figures that were missing from the original FCC filing were added six weeks later in a Class II Permissive Change application. Max LTE 1900 EIRP is 23.51 dBm -- though with substantial variability (up to 4.5 dB) due to differences in carrier frequency, bandwidth, and modulation (QPSK/16-QAM). Furthermore, CDMA1X/EV-DO 800 max ERP has been increased by approximately 2 dB to 23.17 dBm.

 

To quote the inimitable Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu all over again." And here we go again. S4GRU is happy to announce yet another breakdown of an FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filing for a major device headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Since this spring, we have analyzed the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, and yet to be released Motorola Photon Q 4G. Today, the expected LG Eclipse 4G hit the FCC database under the model number LG LS970, and here are the RF facets that we have been able to glean:

  • CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
  • LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
  • LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz carrier bandwidths
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel)
  • SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether
  • SVDO support absent
  • Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.86 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 25.33 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 21.68 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800)
  • NFC antenna integrated into battery cover
  • Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagrams below)

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Notably missing from the presumed LG Eclipse's FCC filing are two things: SVDO capability and LTE band 25 EIRP test results.

 

Rumor has it that the Eclipse will utilize Qualcomm's upcoming and highly anticipated APQ8064 quad core 28 nm "Krait" processor. The quad core difference is noteworthy compared to the dual core MSM8960 chipset that has proven very successful in the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, et al. But the MSM8960 incorporates a multimode modem, while the APQ8064 is a naked processor. If rumor has it right, then the Eclipse will also have to utilize at least one separate modem chipset. And it would seem that LG has chosen at least one CDMA1X/EV-DO modem that is not capable of voice "Fusion," which would enable SVDO with a second modem. So, like its Viper predecessor, the Eclipse appears to be a multiple chipset design. But unlike the Viper, the Eclipse is absent SVDO.

 

Furthermore, the FCC OET filing includes requisite CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800 ERP/EIRP figures but lacks LTE 1900 EIRP figures. So, do not hold your breath for a release date. We will leave it to other sources to speculate/report on the ergonomics and other technical attributes of the upcoming LG device. But we expect that LG and its authorized testing lab will have to file supplemental results before the supposed Eclipse makes its way into the hands of eager Sprint subscribers.

 

Source: FCC

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 9:39 AM MDT

 

S4GRU has recently been apprised of some additional Network Vision information. As you may recall, when Sprint originally announced Network Vision details and explained their change to LTE for its 4G technology, Sprint also said that planning/design/permitting is under way at the first 22,000 sites. S4GRU was able to obtain the information about these first 22,000 sites last Spring and we have received several updates since. Now we have planning information on the first 24,000 sites.

 

In perusing the last update we received, we noticed a new market that we have not discussed before. That is West Kentucky. So now it appears that Louisville and the West Kentucky market are making a play for an earlier start.

 

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Louisville/West Kentucky. There are over 360 sites in the West Kentucky

Sprint market.

West Kentucky

 

The West Kentucky market is included in Sprint's initial 24,000 sites planning. However, in a cross check with the NV schedule, this market has all its dates as "TBD." It's quite possible since all the planning and permitting for this market will be done in advance, it may actually be moved up to the end of the second round.

 

I would interpret that TBD means that they are finalizing the Network Vision schedule for this market. We cannot say with any certainty at this time. This should be seen as good news though for the folks living in the West Kentucky market.

 

We do not have any more details than this to report at this time. S4GRU will keep pushing for all the latest information for you on Sprint's Network Vision and LTE Depolyment. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for breaking Network Vision news.

 

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Photo of Downtown Louisville courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, August 3, 2012 - 4:25 PM MDT

 

There has been a lot of discussion around our forums, and certainly in many other places, how Sprint's LTE coverage maps of launched markets have been pretty overly optimistic. To say it nicely.

 

Today I decided to create some LTE coverage maps for St. Joseph, Missouri for our members usage, and for grins, I pulled up the Sprint LTE coverage map for the same area. The difference is pretty noticeable.

 

In our map, we used data that we have from Sprint about each of the live sites, including tower height and downtilt. So we can enter in as accurate information as possible. We use the coverage creators that are provided from our friends at CloudRF.com. You can see the differences below.

 

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S4GRU St. Joseph LTE Coverage Map. In the map above, you can see the LTE coverages for Sprint from the live sites in the area. This was produced by S4GRU using CloudRF.com. Green denotes Sprint 4G LTE Coverage area.

 

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Sprint St. Joseph LTE Coverage Map. In this map you can see the LTE coverage as reported from coverage.sprint.com over the same area. Orange denotes Sprint 4G LTE Coverage area.

 

We recognize that this is far from a scientific analysis. The data used to create our map is accurate, however we are dependent on the modeling used by the coverage generator at CloudRF. We feel that CloudRF though has been very accurate in previous analyses we have conducted including our own field verification tests. So we feel pretty confident in our results posted here.

 

It appears that Sprint has indeed posted very flattering LTE coverage in its maps so far. At least in regards to St. Joe. However, this was already supported by dozens of comments by our members as well. For the time being, I would not consider using Sprint's LTE coverage maps for very defined coverage of a specific neighborhood or street, but rather just to know if they have some live sites in a general area.

 

EDIT 6:30 PM MDT: S4GRU Writer, A.J. Shepherd, was in St. Joe this evening and reported a new live site that was not on our maps. We have added it and changed the coverages to reflect this recent addition.

 

 

FURTHER READING FOR S4GRU SPONSORS: We have an interactive version of our St. Joseph coverage map in our Sponsor section, and have a discussion thread posted there.

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 7:35 AM MDT

 

The final market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Fort Wayne/South Bend. This market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.

 

The Sprint Ft. Wayne/South Bend market covers most of Northern Indiana, except for the NW corner which is in the Chicago market. This includes Fort Wayne, South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, Marion, Logansport, Warsaw and Plymouth. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in November. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online before the end of that month.

 

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Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.

 

Schedule details and the bottom line

 

Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Northern Indiana. 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 February 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 25 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a below normal production rate when compared to other markets. They shouldn't have any schedule issues 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 April 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.

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Photo of Fort Wayne provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of

Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Sprint Nextel revealed their second quarter 2012 corporate earnings in a conference call to their investors today and S4GRU was covering for news on Network Vision.

 

Network thinning of the iDEN network is complete, taking 1/3 of Nextel towers off air. The Nextel network was built to support 20 million subscribers, but was only supporting 4.4 million subscribers, so it could easily be thinned without [much] noticeable change in street coverage. Sprint also converted 60% of the Nextel subscriber loss into their Sprint subscriber base. Interestingly, they stated that Verizon has been the biggest poacher of subscribers leaving Nextel, grabbing 50% of former subscribers in the last 4 1/2 years. In that same timeframe, Sprint has grabbed 25%, AT&T 20% and T-Mobile 5%.

 

On the Network Vision topic:

 

4 additional cities will launch, including Baltimore, by the end of August.*Edit* Cities were disclosed VIA press release following the conference call. They are:

Baltimore, MD

Gainesville, GA

Manhattan/Junction City, KS

Sherman-Denison, TX

 

Over 2,000 sites are currently online with 12,000 sites to be online by the end of the year

 

Network Vision towers are seeing 10-20% additional voice minutes usage per tower, overnight after activating Network Vision. This will equal roaming savings for Sprint, and ESMR will only increase that savings.

 

CEO Dan Hesse confirmed that Sprint will be releasing the Motorola Photon Q "in the very near future." It will be a QWERTY slider "with robust business and consumer features." It will also be sporting world phone capability.

 

Several hundred Network Vision sites are waiting for backhaul, and will turn on when the backhaul is installed, several hundred more sites have birds nesting on them and Sprint won't be able to turn them on until the birds leave, according to the conference call.

 

Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter, even though other carriers saw slowing of sales with rumors ramping up that the new iPhone would support LTE. 40% of the iPhone sales were to new customers. They also stated that iPhone customers require less customer support and are expected to churn less than customers on other phones.

 

Mr. Hesse confirmed that Sprint is not looking to change plans in the near future.

 

Things are looking up for Sprint. This quarter saw their highest ARPU and their lowest churn rate to date. They posted a larger loss than Q1, but beat their revenue goals for Q2. For more detailed financial information, check the source link below.

 

Source: http://investors.spr...spx?iid=4057219

http://finance.yahoo...-141200985.html -Thanks to S4GRU sponsor marioc21 for finding this link!

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 12:59 PM MDT

 

As many of you already know, the ability to connect and keep connected to LTE signals in Sprint's launch markets has been problematic for Sprint customers. What's going on?

 

Here at our forums at S4GRU, we have been busy talking with our members and trying to figure out the issue since LTE markets started going live last Thursday. Some members were able to connect early and often. Some had problems and were able to eventually connect. Some have been unable to stay connected. Some have never connected, even standing right next to a live LTE site.

 

We have now complied a lot of data from our members and have drawn some observational conclusions. There are two main issues, connecting to LTE can be a challenge on some devices (especially the EVO LTE), and the signal thresholds are not optimum to keep connected to LTE before getting pushed back to the 3G EVDO network.

 

I am in a confirmed LTE area with a strong signal but cannot connect

 

Some LTE devices just do not want to connect to LTE. With the EVO LTE, some of our members have complained that they even stood next to a confirmed operating LTE site and the 4G icon would not appear. For most of these folks though, cycling from CDMA/LTE mode, back to CDMA only mode and then back to CDMA/LTE mode forces the phone to look for a LTE signal. This has worked for most people I have talked with who have an EVO LTE and know they are in a strong LTE signal area. This also seems to help some other LTE devices sometimes.

 

There most likely is an issue where these devices are not scanning for LTE service like they should be. When you go out of CDMA/LTE mode and then come back in, the first thing the device does is scan for LTE service. Hopefully, Sprint will get an OTA out that fixes this issue soon.

 

I can connect to LTE but it goes back to 3G EVDO

 

Other members have discussed how they can connect to 4G LTE, whether automatically or by forcing it (as described above), but it goes back to 3G EVDO. They cannot keep a Sprint LTE connection. This may happen right away, or this may happen as they drive down the road, or after they pick up the device.

 

By the best we can tell, this is being caused by the LTE signal thresholds programmed in the device(s). When your device is in CDMA/LTE mode, it seeks LTE first. If it finds LTE, it should connect, but if it doesn't have a strong enough signal, it shunts the user off to 3G, sometimes in seconds. The devices have a minimum LTE signal programmed in them (it appears to be somewhere in the midrange and could be slightly different between devices).

 

If the LTE minimum signal that is programmed is maintained, the device stays connected to LTE, no problems in most instances. So if you have a strong LTE signal after you connect, you will most likely keep it. However, if you have a midrange LTE signal, you will likely get bumped back down to 3G EVDO if you should move farther away from the signal, or maybe even pick up the device. Most devices will drop a few dBm of signal when being held, and it could be enough to move you back down to 3G.

 

If you have a weak LTE signal, then you are almost doomed. You will not likely be able to stay connected to LTE for very long and most likely be shunted back to 3G pretty quickly. An exception to this we noted is if you are also in a weak 3G area. But if you have a strong 3G signal and a weak LTE signal, you are most likely not going to be able stay connected with the current thresholds programmed.

 

What can Sprint do?

 

I know this is very frustrating for most of you. We all want it to work flawlessly. But this is part of the process. Sprint needs our constructive feedback so they can make changes. There are drawbacks to being early adopters.

 

That is the point of this article. To wrap up some meaningful and thoughtful feedback from our members into a single comprehensive piece and give to Sprint for them to work on. As well as educate our members and readers into some of the information we have been able to determine.

 

Sprint, please work with your OEM's right away on OTA's to adjust the thresholds for keeping LTE signals, as well as addressing the cycling through CDMA only mode to get devices to make initial LTE connection. One key point that I hear over and over again is that LTE customers would rather have a weak LTE signal than a strong 3G signal. Weak LTE still performs better than even good 3G in most instances.

 

If anyone from Sprint would like to reach out to me and provide any updates of what they are doing to address the problem, I would love to receive a PM, email or Direct Message on Twitter. I will then be happy to provide an update for our members and readers.

 

What can we do now?

 

With WiMax devices, we could actually change the WiMax signal threshold ourselves. However, we have not been able to locate anywhere in the LTE devices where that can be done. So we are in a waiting position to see if Sprint will help us.

 

If you absolutely cannot connect to LTE or stay connected to LTE, you can force your device into LTE only mode. If you do this, you will lose access to 3G EVDO and 1x services while in this mode. But it is reversible at any time. It requires your device's MSL code, though. You can get your MSL code by using some apps like MSL Reader, or by using a Terminal Emulator with some models. You can search the web for ways to get your MSL code of your particular device. Some people can even get it from Sprint CSR's.

 

Once you have your MSL code, go into your phone dialer and enter ##DATA# (*#*#DATA#*#* on the Galaxy Nexus). A menu will open and ask you to select Edit or View. Select Edit. Enter your MSL number. Now in each device, there may be some variability in the next steps. Select the Others button, then choose HDR/1X selection. Select LTE Only mode. Now you will only be able to connect to LTE, no 3G or 1x. However, you will not be able to make/receive phone calls or text in this mode. Data only.

 

Once in LTE Only mode, you will only be able to connect to LTE signals. Even weak LTE signals. And you will not have to worry about getting shoved off into 3G. This will allow you to test your LTE, and make sure your LTE is indeed working in your device. You could stay parked in this mode if you wanted to. You just wouldn't be able to use the phone or text. To restore to normal, just go back in the same way and select LTE/CDMA or LTE/CDMA/EVDO, depending on your device.

 

If going into LTE only mode you are still unable to connect to LTE, then you are either not in LTE coverage like you thought you were, or your device has a problem.

 

This is all we know at this time. We will update with more information as we learn it. Thank you to all who helped gather this information from the field. You guys are what make S4GRU an awesome place!

 

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S4GRU
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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.

WiWavelength
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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, July 16, 2012 - 1:40 AM MDT

 

As Sprint LTE 1900 has become live and discoverable in numerous markets over this past weekend, some of our readers, especially those who are using Android 4.0 ICS based ROMs, have expressed concern at the seemingly low signal levels that they have encountered. For example, see this screenshot from an HTC EVO 4G LTE (under Settings > About > Network):

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Note the -102 dBm signal level. If this were measuring CDMA1X or EV-DO, then, yes, -102 dBm would be nearing the margin of usable signal. But -102 dBm is actually relatively healthy LTE signal level. To understand why, we need to learn the differences between two types of signal measurement: Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) and Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP).

 

First, an LTE downlink is divided into subcarriers. A 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, which is the configuration that Sprint is deploying, contains 300 subcarriers. And of those subcarriers, one in three carry LTE reference signals. In other words, of the 300 subcarriers, 100 transmit periodic reference signals.

 

To illustrate, I captured this power vs frequency sweep with a spectrum analyzer. The LTE downlink graph comes from a Sprint site in the Kansas City area in late April, well before Sprint stopped blocking devices from live LTE sites. So, the sector depicted here exhibits no data traffic; it is transmitting only the periodic reference signals on 100 subcarriers, which you can clearly count in the graph:

 

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Now, RSSI is the more traditional metric that has long been used to display signal strength for GSM, CDMA1X, etc., and it integrates all of the RF power within the channel passband. In other words, for LTE, RSSI measurement bandwidth is all active subcarriers. If we take the above RF sweep of a Sprint 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, RSSI measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in yellow:

 

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RSRP, on the other hand, is an LTE specific metric that averages the RF power in all of the reference signals in the passband. Remember those aforementioned and depicted 100 subcarriers that contain reference signals? To calculate RSRP, the power in each one of those subcarriers is averaged. As such, RSRP measurement bandwidth is the equivalent of only a single subcarrier. And using our graph once more, RSRP measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in red:

 

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Since the logarithmic ratio of 100 subcarriers to one subcarrier is 20 dB (e.g. 10 × log 100 = 20), RSSI tends to measure about 20 dB higher than does RSRP. Or, to put it another way, RSRP measures about 20 dB lower than what we are accustomed to observing for a given signal level. Thus, that superficially weak -102 dBm RSRP signal level that we saw previously would actually be roughly -82 dBm if it were converted to RSSI.

 

To conclude, here are a few takeaways about RSSI and RSRP as signal strength measurement techniques for LTE:

  • RSSI varies with LTE downlink bandwidth. For example, even if all other factors were equal, VZW 10 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI would measure 3 dB greater than would Sprint 5 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI. But that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user.
  • RSSI varies with LTE subcarrier activity -- the greater the data transfer activity, the higher the RSSI. But, again, that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user.
  • RSRP does a better job of measuring signal power from a specific sector while potentially excluding noise and interference from other sectors.
  • RSRP levels for usable signal typically range from about -75 dBm close in to an LTE cell site to -120 dBm at the edge of LTE coverage.

Sources: 3GPP, author's graphs

S4GRU
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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 10:44 AM MDT

 

Launch day is here. Sprint has launched 4G LTE in the 5 markets and more than a dozen cities as they announced a few weeks ago. 4G LTE is available now in:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Ft. Worth, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Athens, Georgia
  • Rome, Georgia
  • Waco, Texas
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Conroe, Texas
  • Huntsville, Texas
  • Corsicana, Texas
  • Greenville, Texas
  • New Braunfels, Texas
  • Mineral Wells, Texas
  • Gainesville, Texas
  • Freeport/Lake Jackson, Texas
  • St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Manhattan, Kansas
  • Wichita, Kansas (isolated locations)

More coverages to be added every week. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for all the latest.

 

And now, for the launch day video:

 

 

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Live Atlanta/Athens 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.

S4GRU
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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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