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Dallas/Ft. Worth Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, June 11, 2012 - 10:01 AM MDT   In our continuing Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU brings you the latest information for Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the DFW market is one of their first LTE launches. Sprint boasted to the world that the Dallas area would be enjoying LTE and Network Vision enhancements by Mid 2012.   Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been steadily deploying around the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. As of this week, there are approximately 40 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market from Waxahatchie to Sherman.   Network Vision Sites in DFW. Forty sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.   40 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint   Despite the good news of these live LTE sites, Sprint is still actively blocking LTE connections. They originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced...like Dallas. If they waited for 50% now, it would delay launch until September. In the case of the DFW market, should Sprint launch by Mid July, they would only be complete with approximately 30% to 35% of all NV sites. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market on Mid July, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances.   And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Dallas/Ft. Worth market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of July based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are quite a few active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.   Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 39 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production ramping up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees a November 2012 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, it appears that Ericsson is slightly behind in the market. But with the rate the schedule is supposed to pick up in June, Ericsson has ample opportunity to finish on time.   You Sprint LTE device holders will have to ride it out there in North Texas for a little while longer. Hopefully Sprint will lift the LTE Blockade soon. LTE everywhere, but not a bit to spare...from Sprint at any rate.   Photo of Dallas skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Houston Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, June 10, 2012 - 11:59 PM MDT   In our continuing Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU presents to you the latest regarding Houston, Texas. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the Houston market would be one of their first LTE launches. Sprint committed to a Mid 2012 LTE launch in Houston at the beginning of the year.   Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been steadily deploying around the Greater Houston/Galveston area. As of this week, there are approximately 60 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market.   Network Vision Sites in Houston. Sixty sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.   60 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint   Despite the good news of these live LTE sites, Sprint is still actively blocking LTE connections. They originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets already announced like Houston. If they waited for 50% now, it would delay launch until September. In the case of Houston, should Sprint launch by Mid July, they would only be complete with approximately 30% to 35% of all NV sites. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in Mid July, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances.   And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Houston market. We believe they are targeting a launch date in July based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are quite a few active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.   Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 58 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production ramping up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees a February 2013 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, it appears that Ericsson is slightly behind in the market. But with the rate the schedule is supposed to pick up in June, Ericsson has ample opportunity to finish on time.   For the time being, your brains are being bombarded with Sprint LTE all over the Houston market. But you just cannot connect. We hope Sprint soon lifts the blockade and allows all of us who have purchased LTE devices to be able to use the network.   Photo of Houston skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

San Antonio Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 9:14 PM MDT   In our continuing Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU would like to bring you up to speed in San Antonio, Texas. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the San Antonio market would be one of their first LTE launches. Dan Hesse announced that we can expect it to be launched by Mid 2012.   Since the announcement last December, Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been steadily deploying around San Antonio and environs. As of this week, the are more than 30 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market.   Network Vision Sites in San Antonio. Over 30 sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.   30 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint   Despite the good news of these live LTE sites, Sprint is still actively blocking LTE connections. They originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in San Antonio. If they waited for 50% now, it would delay launch until August. In the case of San Antonio, should Sprint launch prior to the end of June, they would only be complete with approximately 35% to 40% of all NV sites. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market on June 30th, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide pretty good LTE coverage over the market.   At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances.   And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the San Antonio market. We believe they are still targeting a launch date before the end of the month based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are quite a few active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.   Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 32 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production ramping up to a rate of almost 40 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees an October 2012 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, it appears that Ericsson is behind in the market. However a production rate of 40 sites per month is achievable, but a much greater pace will need to start to occur in June to see this to conclusion.   In the mean time, San Antonians are bathing in a Sprint LTE signal that they cannot use. Hopefully, Sprint will soon end your misery and allow you to connect your brand spanking new LTE devices in high speed!   Photo of San Antonio provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Atlanta/Athens Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 8:44 AM MDT   In the first article of our new Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU brings you to Atlanta, Georgia. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the Atlanta/Athens market would be one of their first LTE launches. Slated for the end of June 2012.   Since the announcement last December, Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been busy with deployment. As of this week, the Atlanta/Athens market has over 150 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market.   Network Vision Sites in Atlanta/Athens Market. Over 150 sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.   150 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint   Despite the good news of so many live LTE sites, Sprint is currently blocking LTE connections, as most of our S4GRU readers already know. Sprint has put the decision of when to allow their LTE signals that are currently being broadcast over Northern Georgia in the hands of their "Business Teams." Now with the EVO LTE apparently selling like gangbusters and with the announcement of the new LTE capable Samsung Galaxy S-III, hopefully Sprint will allow their LTE network to open to connections soon.   Sprint originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion.  Sprint did start releasing 4G LTE sites initially after they started coming online in April, but soon changed their mind about allowing customers to connect to them. Several S4GRU members were able to use 4G LTE and were posting impressive 30Mbps download speeds. However, since then Sprint decided to shut down access to LTE and started actively blocking. Now it is believed that Sprint may hold all LTE connections in a market until formal launch. We hope they allow it sooner.   It seems to be a terrible waste to have a LTE signal being broadcast all around you that your device is not allowed to connect to. There have been many speculations why Sprint may be blocking access, including possible LTE connectivity issues with the new EVO LTE, but none have been confirmed at this time. Sprint can end this conjecture by just opening up their LTE network to existing LTE device holders.   Market Launch and Remaining Schedule   In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch. In the case of Atlanta, should Sprint launch prior to the end of June, they would only be complete with approximately 35% to 40% of all NV sites. And even though this sounds like very few, keep in mind that Sprint's Atlanta/Athens market is all of Northern Georgia. With over 1,000 sites total.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market on June 30th, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide pretty good LTE coverage over the market.   Verizon did not get 100% of their total market coverage complete before launching in Atlanta. Maybe a hundred sites at first, then adding more incrementally. Sprint will do something similar. At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of 3G EVDO in most instances.   And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.   The bottom line...   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Atlanta market. We believe they are still targeting a launch date before the end of the month based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are so many active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.   Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 152 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here until the last ones complete around Mid December 2012. Production is ramping up to turn over approximately 150 sites per month through the end. Although it was difficult for S4GRU to quantify looking at this complex schedule, it appears that Ericsson is a little behind schedule in the market, but not more than can be made up before scheduled market completion in December.   Pretty much the last piece of the puzzle unknown at this time is when is Sprint going to light this thing up for customers? C'mon Sprint, we are waiting!   Photo of Atlanta skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

(UPDATED) Samsung Galaxy S3 passes FCC muster, launch imminent?

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:58 PM MDT   Update: Sprint has scheduled an exclusive Samsung event for the evening of June 12 in Boston. It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3 coming out party has been set.   Just as the HTC EVO 4G LTE is setting up for its delayed national street date tomorrow June 2, it may sooner than expected be getting another high profile cousin in Sprint's burgeoning line up of Network Vision ready, LTE capable devices. First, word leaked this afternoon that Sprint is prepping landing and pre-order web pages for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Then, this evening, S4GRU uncovered the Samsung SPH-L710 (aka Galaxy S3) exhibits that had hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today. So, the ball seems to be rolling toward an imminent launch for the Galaxy S3. And, as we did with the EVO 4G LTE a few weeks back, here is an RF focused technical rundown of the upcoming Samsung flagship Sprint handset: 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 carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 3 SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP: 17.78 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 20.77 dBm (EV-DO 850), 24.05 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 23.85 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 17.21 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 17.56 dBm (EV-DO 800), 22.01 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC antenna integrated into battery LTE antenna configuration: 1 Tx, 2 Rx (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO) All in all, the Galaxy S3 does not present any really big technical surprises. As RF capabilities go, it follows very closely in the footsteps of the EVO 4G LTE. One of the few notable differences is that the Galaxy S3, like its Galaxy Nexus sibling, supports only 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE carriers, while the EVO 4G LTE can do both 5 MHz x 5 MHz and 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE bandwidths. However, Sprint has no definite plans to deploy 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE during the typical lifespan of either of these handsets. And, otherwise, the Galaxy S3 does appear to have the general edge in RF transmit power.   Sources: FCC, Inside Sprint Now

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

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

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

S4GRU

S4GRU

EVO LTE shipments are confirmed delayed

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

S4GRU

S4GRU

Looks like there is a delay on the EVO LTE pre-order shipments

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 11:12 AM MDT   I just received information from a very reliable internal Sprint source that there is a delay occurring with the shipments of the EVO LTE pre-orders. According to the source, the delay is being caused by HTC and may impact shipments going out as late as May 25th. This may be the cause of the EVO LTE pre-order statuses being changed yesterday for many customers to "back-ordered." What is not clear yet at this time, if this affects all the pre-orders, or some of the pre-orders. It may be related to the quantities that Sprint will receive from HTC and when. We will bring you more information as we learn it.   UPDATE 11:40 AM MDT: The source believes this will delay the launch to be as late as May 25th. Therefore, it affects stores and third parties as well. Will update with more info as we learn it.   UPDATE 6:41 PM: The source of the delay is customs due to alleged infringements of Apple patents. S4GRU article here: http://s4gru.com/ind...firmed-delayed/

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

New Flagship 4G LTE Device in Sprint Lenexa Labs for testing

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 12:12 PM MDT   We let the cat out of the bag a little early yesterday in a screen shot from another article, but Sprint 4G Rollout Updates can report to you that a new mystery device (currently codenamed NDA #105) has entered Sprint's Lenexa Labs for testing. S4GRU has actually known about this device since February, but now that the source has approved the release of the documents, we are reporting it to you.   What we know is that the device must be a high end flagship device, because it sports the uber powerful Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon MSM8960 dual-core chipset, like what is in the new EVO 4G LTE. This chip is often touted to be equal or better than their upcoming quad core competitiors. We also know that it was scheduled to begin Sprint lab testing yesterday. And we also know it is targeted for a late summer launch. Most likely in September.   Screenshot of the Lab Schedule. These are the LTE capable devices scheduled in the lab through summer as of 4/11/2012.   The device most likely is either the Sprint variant of the Samsung Galaxy S-III (which is being rumored that the American LTE version will have the S4), or possibly a new successor to the Motorola Photon with LTE (which is also persistent in the rumor mill). Some even speculate it could be a new Windows Phone, based on the new Apollo platform.   The timing feels pretty good to speculate on the Galaxy S-III. However, it's interesting that credible rumors of a new Sprint Moto product started breaking around the time that engineering samples of this device were showing up at Sprint Corporate campus. We may be able to rule out the Samsung soon should it be confirmed that the American LTE version gets a quad core. So if I were forced to wager a bet, I'd go with the new Motorola Photon LTE at this point. But that's just speculative on my part.   Also of note is that Sprint is also planning to release a Data Card in September that is capable of running on both Sprint 4G networks, WiMax and LTE, in addition to 3G EVDO.   All we know definitively at this point is what is in the images here. Our source cannot even shed any further light than this. Stay tuned.        

S4GRU

S4GRU

EVO LTE Pre-Order under way with ship dates as soon as May 15th

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, May 7, 2012 - 10:14 AM MDT     Good news, everyone! As most of you already know, the HTC EVO 4G LTE pre-order is under way. And you can reserve yours by following this link to the Sprint Pre-Order page. I ordered one for my wife. This is a quality phone, no doubt. And the legions of fans are lining up for their shot at one of the first units. The iconic EVO name will be living on with a superior device worthy of its heritage.   Screenshot of my order showing shipping starts May 15th.   S4GRU is ecstatic that the device is coming out so soon, even after our recent report that the device was scheduled to launch as late as June 10th, according to documents we were shown from a source in Sprint's Product Development divison. This morning, the same source contacted me and asked for S4GRU to release screen shots of the actual documents where our reporting came from. This is an unprecedented move, as we have only one other time received a request from a source to show documents. We typically do not release source documents to protect our sources. The source does not believe the documents that we are disclosing here represent a security risk to him.   Screenshot of a Sprint lab document showing the EVO LTE with a launch date of June 10th.       In this screenshot you can see the LTE Connectivity issue that was suspected to cause delay of the EVO LTE. It is in the upper right hand corner section.   In these documents you can see the foundation from our reporting about the June 10th launch date and the information about LTE Connectivity issues in the lab, which could have been a source of delay. These are just two pages in a 100+ page Lab Report. S4GRU has seen several of these lab reports since February, each one building more and more on the last one. To me it seems when you marry the May 15th shipping dates of pre-orders with the source documents listed above, they may not be in conflict. Just differences in snap shots in time. It seems to be that Sprint has decided to proceed with distributing the EVO LTE before the LTE connectivity issues are solved. They probably will be correcting the issue via an OTA (Over-the-Air) Update. Notice that the EVO LTE timeline is marked in yellow, meaning "Risk with Mitigation." Could the mitigation employed be a future OTA? If this is the case, this seems to be a smarter solution than to delay the shipment of the EVO LTE. After all, if the only issue with the device is maintaining a connection to LTE signals. And if that can be corrected with a software update, why not push them out now? 99% of their customers are not located within coverage of On-Air LTE sites at the moment. And Sprint is blocking access to LTE now at any rate, as we have reported. In fact, it may be the very reason why Sprint is blocking access to the LTE network. I asked all of this speculation with the source, and he said he only knows what he sees in reports (which is all we know, too). And the last report he has seen says the LTE connectivity issue will be resolved with a software fix. But he is unsure how and when it will be implemented. But he is skeptical that the fix is already in the devices scheduled to be shipped next week based how he just learned that a fix was discovered the end of last week. When you consider the importance of the new generation EVO and how it is supposed to help retain millions of old generation EVO customers that will start coming off contract June 4th, it seems like a Sprint decision to roll with the new EVO LTE immediately with possible LTE connectivity issues is a no brainer. It will be interesting to see if there is a EVO LTE OTA that comes out around the same time as the LTE network goes live. You may even be prompted with an OTA at activation. That would be very timely.

S4GRU

S4GRU

S4GRU reconfirms June 10th Launch of the EVO 4G LTE

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 2:00 AM MDT   Rumors are spreading like wildfire that the EVO LTE is going to be launching early...maybe even as soon as the middle of May. However, S4GRU.com has received internal documentation from a source in Sprint's Product Development division that reconfirms the June 10th launch date for the new HTC EVO 4G LTE. In fact, the EVO LTE is currently finishing up its stay in the Sprint Lenexa labs and was scheduled to complete lab testing on April 27th. However, there are problems with the device that are occurring. It is being reported to S4GRU that "LTE device connectivity in lab testing continues to be problematic due to under defined processes and complications around provisioning and SIM UICC profiles. Escalation of this issue is in progress." This is not believed to hinder the previous schedules that S4GRU received from Sprint and reported to you. Sprint is still proceeding with a May 7th Pre-Order start and device launch on June 10th. And Sprint did take the EVO LTE pre-order site live last night. Given this latest information about lab testing issues, the rumored Mid May launch seems all but impossible. Once the device can leave the lab, it will still take approximately 4 weeks for production runs and distribution. Although some of you may be inclined to say that the EVO LTE has slipped from schedule and is now running late, S4GRU was the first to name a launch date for this device, and we said it was June 10th the first time. So it sounds like even with the lab setback, it's still right on time.   Image shown on the Sprint EVO LTE Pre-Order Web Page.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint intentionally blocking new LTE devices from accessing live LTE sites

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 23, 2012 - 6:14 PM MDT   Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is keeping track of all the live LTE sites in the country. And as of last Friday, there are now approximately 200 LTE sites that are "On-Air." S4GRU's AJ Shepherd even has verified some of these LTE sites are live using his spectrum analyzer. Sprint is indeed broadcasting LTE on PCS G-Block, just as we are indicating. S4GRU.com is now able to confirm why new Sprint LTE device holders are unable to connect to live LTE sites in Waco, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Atlanta, Athens, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio. Sprint is intentionally blocking LTE access at this time. The reasons why they are doing this aren't totally clear.   LTE Testing mode is not for you, folks Sprint is keeping sites that are on the air, but identified as "testing" from being discoverable by Sprint LTE devices. As they deem each site is ready to carry commercial traffic, they will change the LTE site from testing mode to commercial mode. At that time, they will become discoverable to LTE device holders. Sprint recently considered two different ways to block their customers from accessing the LTE network. Either by creating a special PLMN ID, or by modifying the SIB 1 message to notify the LTE device the "Cell is Reserved for Operator Use." Using the PLMN method was figured to be too problematic, because the network only is capable of two PLMN ID's currently, which would limit other PLMN ID uses in the future. So Sprint is blocking your LTE devices from cruising the 4G LTE network by modifying the SIB 1 message being broadcast from the LTE site to "Reserved." When your device gets that message, it will not try to authenticate with the network. And you are none the wiser that your device is getting a 4G LTE signal that it is not allowed to use. When Sprint is ready to allow a LTE site to be discoverable, they will remove the reserved classification from the SIB 1 message...and voila!   Why??? I guess the big question in all this is...WHY? Why not make these LTE sites discoverable and usable for Sprint customers with LTE devices right now? I cannot tell you with certainty. In some instances, it could be backhaul related. In some instances, it could be related to the 4G LTE core. In some instances, it could be related to eHRPD integration. It may be that the customer experience is not where they think you will tolerate. I have seen errant comments regarding all of these issues. But none being specifically outed as the culprit in not allowing LTE discoverability now. However, one thing that is known, our source says that their Strategic Marketing and Network Management are working together now to establish the criteria for when a site is eligible to be discoverable. When that criteria is established here in the very near future, and a site meets the agreed to criteria, the sites will become live. Until then, this is the steadfast rule for Sprint LTE site availability, "Site will remain hidden from customer use until directed by business teams to be made commercially available." There are very widely scattered reports that a site here or a site there has active LTE available to customers. Including one report this weekend in Kansas City. These may be valid. It's possible that some sites are incorrectly configured and not blocking traffic as they should. Or, it's possible these few select sites are ready to go and are now "discoverable." Please make sure you notify S4GRU and provide the screen shots should you get access to a Sprint LTE site.     Live LTE sites as of Friday, April 20, 2012. Almost 200 sites. Sprint is not allowing access at this time. Click on map to enlarge.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Sprint battling Network Vision deployment woes in the Windy City

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 23, 2012 - 1:59 PM MDT   Can you hear me now? No, I mean really? This isn't some Verizon TV commercial joke.   This is really the situation in Sprint's Chicago market. Many of you, especially in outer Chicagoland, like in Joliet, Aurora, Elgin, Addison, Rochelle and Morris are getting dropped calls like crazy. And other performance issues. As any of you who closely follow S4GRU.com, you know that Samsung is rolling out Network Vision in the area in a big way. First starting in the outer market and working their way in.   A problem started occurring quickly after Network Vision sites started to go live in Chicago at the end of February. Calls started dropping, at a much higher rate than normal. And the complaints started rolling in. It took awhile to actually isolate the issue and discover the cause. Which Sprint and Samsung now well understand. However, the solution will not be easy, and maybe not even implemented.   What's your problem???   Courtesy of verydemotivational.com The problem, as many already know, exists at handoff between Network Vision sites and Legacy sites (existing sites). But this problem so far is only really happening in the Chicago market, and not the other markets actively deploying Network Vision upgrades at this time. Something unique is happening in Chicago. The new equipment being deployed is from Samsung. The existing legacy equipment is from Motorola. It is only in Chicago, so far to date, where this problem occurs.  Also, Sprint/Samsung has discovered that the site handoff problems only occur when transferring to the same channel. For instance, if you are on Channel 325 when on a Network Vision site, and your device gets handed over to Channel 325 on a legacy site, you may get dropped. However, if you get handed over to Channel 375, then you are safe and will not likely get dropped. The problem does not exist when being handed off to a new site on the same channel if both sites are NV sites, or both are legacy sites. Only the same channel transferring from a NV Samsung site to a legacy Motorola site.   The problem is exacerbated in rural and in less dense suburban areas, because most sites in these areas only have one, or possibly two, voice carriers. And in places where only one or two carriers are deployed, they were most often deployed on the same exact channel. Making it much more likely that you will be transferring to the same channel between NV and legacy sites in these areas. Since Network Vision work in the Chicago market started in more rural and exurban areas, this problem is occurring more often than it will when Samsung starts working in the Loop and there are multiple voice carriers (on different channels) at each site.   Solution options are slim   Sprint is working with Samsung and their network manager Ericsson to try to resolve the problem. However, no easy answers have been discovered. The first thought that comes to my mind, is to start trying to mix up voice carrier channels at legacy sites, so the number of transfers to NV sites on the same channel could be reduced significantly. However, this would involve a "truck roll" to every site and would likely be cost prohibitive.   If Sprint does nothing, the problem will work itself out in time. Since sites are being converted from Legacy systems to Network Vision every day, it's only a matter of time before the whole market is complete and there are no more handoffs between legacy and NV sites on the same channel. The areas where the drops occur are shifting every day as new sites come online.   Even if a solution is not figured out before Network Vision is completed in Chicago, it would still be important for Sprint and Samsung to solve this problem. Chicago is not the only market where Samsung is working on Network Vision and the legacy equipment was by Motorola. Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus are also in this position, but are not actively receiving Network Vision upgrades, yet.   We will bring you more info as we learn of it.

S4GRU

S4GRU

My take with the new LG Viper 4G LTE from Hutch, Kansas

by Rickie Smith
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 23, 2012 - 9:01 AM MDT   The LG Viper is one of Sprint’s first 4G LTE capable phones, and was launched along side with the GNEX LTE. When you first take it out of the box the phone is very light and thin and may lead you to believe that this phone can’t be all too powerful and great, but it is, just like its name suggests. The phone's casing is 50 percent recycled plastic and the package is made from 87 percent recycled material, and it comes with an "energy-efficient" charger that essentially turns itself off when not in use. The Viper boots very fast, around 45 seconds, with its 1.2GHz dual-core processor and is quick to scan storage. But its speed does not stop there. While I don’t have much downloaded yet to the phone, its smoothness between functions is very outstanding. Hardly any lag time at all which is great for a so called entry level LTE phone. It comes with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but we are awaiting for announcements to upgrade it to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the coming months. But how does it perform on the network? We will get to that a bit later.   A display that exceeds expectations Many may wonder about the clarity of the display, as its not HD, but its 4” screen is very bright and crisp. On Friday I stopped into my local Sprint store. And the employees there were quite jealous because even they had not received their stock of Vipers yet. These Sprint employees commented they thought it was one of the clearer displays they have seen. The first glaring omission to me is the Viper does not sport a dedicated camera button. But the Viper’s 5 megapixel camera is commendable. Very fast and sharp, even in low light the outcome is very good. Using the video camera side is quite good as well. Notable is the focus is a bit slow to respond. Overall camera performance I would say is quite acceptable for this level of phone. The phone's big differentiator is Google Wallet. The integrated NFC chip, along with the Google Wallet app, allows you to "tap and pay" (with a PIN code) at stores that accept MasterCard PayPass, which includes a lot of small and large shops (major chains include CVS, Walgreens, Macy's and Gap). It comes with $50 prepaid when you activate the account, yet in the day I have had it, not been to a place that takes PayPass here in our small city of Hutchinson, Kansas. I will have to comment in the future as to how NFC and Google Wallet perform.   Device in hand and headed to a known Network Vision site… Sprint's Sandhill site, north of Hutchinson, Kansas. Ok…what many have you have been waiting for, speed. I do have a partially completed Network Vision site close to my home. The Sprint Sandhills Site #WT03XC022 is here just north of Hutchinson. So once I got the phone activated, one of my first courses of business was to visit this site to check for LTE. Sprint did install an option so you could turn on and off the LTE mode until the network was more wide spread. This is done to help preserve your battery. So once all of that was completed I waited for it to scan for LTE at this site. No success. So cycled thru the steps taking it back to EVDO only then back to EVDO/LTE, and still nothing, so after all the wait I’m sorry to say I have no LTE speed test. S4GRU reported this site as only NV-3G active. So this is confirmed. No LTE yet deployed at the Sandhills site. The battery on the phone is a 1700mAh, which has a quoted talk time of 5.3 hours. Under 1 day a moderate use (downloading apps, texting and some phone calls) battery is down to 60% remaining. So overall battery life does seem quite well. However, how it performs under LTE conditions is going to be the real question.   In conclusion So my overall take away from my experience with the LG Viper so far, even without the LTE speeds…the phone is very powerful and does not miss a beat. I know a lot of people might not justify getting a phone that won’t live up to its full potential is understandable. But I think anyone who is in the markets Sprint has already said is getting LTE (or as we know more than what Sprint has said as S4GRU members) it would be a great buy to start testing things out as the network comes around. But if you’re in the market for a powerful, yet economical smartphone (and maybe a tad greener than average), then I would recommend the LG Viper for you.       Specifications: OS: Android 2.3 Dimensions: 4.59" Tall x 2.44" Wide x 0.46" Thick Weight: 5 ounces Display: 4.0" 480x800 LCD TFT (non-HD) Battery: 1700mAh Processor: 1.2GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8660 Memory: 1024MB RAM (1GB) Internal Storage: 4GB Additional Storage: MicroSD card expansion slot supporting up to 32GB (comes with 4GB MicroSD card) Camera: Two total, rear facing 5MP, front facing 0.3MP VGA Networks Supported: 800MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A);1900MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A); 1900MHz LTE; 850MHz CDMA Roaming (1x and EVDO) Bluetooth: 3.0 WiFi: 802.11b/g/n supported Mobile Hot Spot: Yes

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Spectrum Shortages - Why it's happening and what can be done

by Jeff Foster
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, April 20, 2012 - 11:31 AM MDT   Is there a "spectrum shortage?" Those two words send shivers down the spines of wireless industry executives. New services demand ever more spectrum, and, the story goes, there simply isn't enough spectrum available. An Internet search engine will easily find hundreds of thousands of links to the term "spectrum shortage." Many claim that it will be the downfall of America. The dwindling availability of a finite resource that can't be seen or touched threatens to possibly disrupt the mobile lifestyle that virtually every American has embraced. Dropped cellphone calls, delayed text messages and choppy video streams could become more frequent occurrences because the airwaves on which that data travel are nearing capacity at a time when mobile usage shows no signs of slowing. Federal regulators and industry players are searching for ways to fend off the supply-and-demand collision. Dish Network recently acquired a large block of vacant wireless spectrum that pending regulatory approval could be used for mobile broadband services.   Short-Term Plan AT&T tried to merge with T-Mobile to solve its own capacity problem. It wanted to get its hands on T-Mobile spectrum. Still, that would have been only a temporary fix at best. Remember all the terrible stories about the quality of AT&T's wireless data network over the last few years? They say they simply don't have enough. The reason is that during the last few years, smartphones like the Apple iPhone and the many devices running Android emerged, and wireless data traffic grew like crazy. This problem jumped up and bit AT&T in the rear end. Suddenly, so many people were sucking so much data that the network could not handle it, due to spectrum shortage. Spectrum is like the size of the hose, and a wider hose is needed to carry more data for more customers. A couple good things are suddenly happening that may give carriers a little time to solve this increasing problem. Perhaps Verizon starting to sell the iPhone last spring has something to do with it. If so, then now with Sprint selling the iPhone, AT&T will have more breathing room, at least temporarily. That's the good news. However, that reprieve will only last a short while before the exploding smartphone and wireless data growth catches up. Then the other carriers will be faced with the same problem that's confronting AT&T. In the first quarter of 2011, the amount of data the average smartphone user consumed each month grew by 89 percent to 435 megabytes from 230 MB during the same quarter in 2010, according to Nielsen research. That's up from about 90 MB in 2009. For reference, the average size of an MP3 music file is about 4 MB. "Texting has always been traditionally viewed as a lightweight consumer of bandwidth, but if I start adding videos and pictures to my texts, that also starts consuming more bandwidth," said Tom Cullen, an executive vice president with Dish. But the primary growth driver will be video. Consumers can go through 5 gigabytes a month simply by streaming 10 minutes of standard definition video daily, he said.   Data use is skyrocketing Data from the FCC indicate that more Americans are looking at their phones rather than talking on them. In 2009, 67 percent of available spectrum was utilized for voice and 33 percent for Internet data. Those percentages are now at 75 percent for data and 25 percent for voice. With each new iPhone release, data consumption grows. The iPhone 4S eats up twice as much data as the iPhone 4 and three times as much as the iPhone 3G, according to a study by network services firm Arieso. The new iPhone features Siri, a bandwidth-heavy voice recognition feature. The FCC estimates the U.S. will face a spectrum deficit of 90 MHz in 2013 and 275 MHz in 2014. To address the crunch, the federal government hopes to unleash 500 MHz of spectrum currently used for other purposes for wireless broadband by 2020. To put that figure in perspective, there is currently 547 MHz of spectrum allocated for mobile services, and AT&T and Verizon each own about 90 MHz. The government plans to hold so-called incentive auctions, which will try to lure spectrum owners such as TV broadcasters to sell their licenses. Verizon Wireless has agreed to purchase spectrum from a group of cable-TV companies. Sprint has expressed interest in working with Dish, which acquired the bulk of its 45 MHz of spectrum through two deals for bankrupt satellite technology companies. Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has said that the satellite-TV provider would prefer to partner with an existing wireless carrier on a high speed, 4G network. In response to recent comments by Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer about the company's interest in working with Dish, Cullen said other wireless carriers are in the same situation. After failing to acquire T-Mobile, analysts expect AT&T to make a play for Dish, a long-rumored merger partner. As for T-Mobile, perhaps the most logical buyer is CenturyLink. T-Mobile's German-based parent company has indicated that it might exit the U.S. market. CenturyLink, which acquired Denver-based Qwest last year, is the third-largest landline phone company but does not own a wireless service, unlike the top two, AT&T and Verizon. Carriers are trying to offload as much traffic as they can to Wi-Fi networks, which ride on unlicensed spectrum. In some areas, they're installing picocells, which are smaller cell sites that can help boost capacity in dense areas. Finally, they're spending billions of dollars on LTE networks that use the airwaves more efficiently. Verizon and AT&T already have 4G LTE networks in place, and Sprint is moving to the technology. Dish says it hopes to enter the mobile broadband market with advanced LTE technology by late 2014 or early 2015. If Dish were to also offer voice service, it would come through VoLTE, which is similar to Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone services. Dish still needs the FCC to drop a condition tied to its spectrum that requires devices to have the ability to communicate with satellites, not just ground-based cell sites. The rule-making process that will likely remove the requirement is underway and could be completed by summer's end.   Is there really a shortage problem? The problem, analysts argue, is that the operators that control the greatest amount of unused spectrum may be under-capitalized or unwilling to build out networks to use the spectrum. "We do not believe the U.S. faces a spectrum shortage," Jason Bazinet and Michael Rollins wrote in their Citigroup report. "Too much spectrum is controlled by companies that are not planning on rolling out services or face business and financial challenges. And of the spectrum that is being used, 90 percent of it has been allocated to existing 2G, 3G, and 3.5G wireless services by larger wireless carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA. In total, U.S. operators have licenses for about 538MHz of wireless spectrum. Only about 192MHz of that spectrum is currently being used. Most of the unused wireless spectrum is owned by companies such as Clearwire, LightSquared, and Dish Network. But so far, LightSquared has been stopped and the other companies have been slow to build networks using their available spectrum. "There is definitely a mismatch when it comes to spectrum in the wireless industry," said Paul Gallant, an analyst with MF Global in Washington, D.C. "There are some companies that have spectrum, but they're struggling financially. Or they aren't quite sure what to do with the spectrum. And others that have the money and business model, but need the spectrum." The move to 4G is very important for these operators because it offers them a more efficient way to deliver service. 4G LTE uses the available spectrum roughly 700 percent more efficiently than the 3G wireless technology EV-DO. Carriers will soon be refarming 3G spectrum to 4G LTE in several years. A key factor in encouraging efficient use of spectrum has been largely overlooked in carrier boardroom discussions. Wireless providers can add capacity, without obtaining more spectrum, by adding more and more cell sites. Additional cell sites in spectrum constrained areas allow the same spectrum to be used by even more consumers, as well as adding picocells and microcells to denser population areas. So far, the carriers have not expressed too much interest in this method due to additional capital expenditures and overhead. Their strategy is like what Microsoft, Apple and Google have used. It's just cheaper to buy what you need than to invest the time and energy to do the actual work. So what can the wireless companies do? To some extent, re-farming their existing networks will help. But so will finding ways to use other spectrum. For example, only T-Mobile lets users make phone calls using Wi-Fi, yet most of the mobile devices available from carriers have this capability; the carriers just don't enable it. Allowing Wi-Fi calling could unload millions of voice and data users on to alternative networks and ease the spectrum crunch, at least to some extent. Encouraging VoIP use would also help for two reasons. VoIP doesn't require a lot of bandwidth, and it means that the phone in question uses only the data spectrum, not both voice and data while this is going on. These points illustrate that the carriers do have options beyond just buying up spectrum. They can offload more wireless traffic than they do now, build more cell sites into their networks and they can allow the use of other types of communications. While the spectrum crunch isn't going away, that doesn't mean that the process can't be slowed.   Sensational graphic extolling the dire spectrum crisis. Maybe a tad exaggerated???     Images courtesy: Spectrum Bridge, iqmetrix.com   Source: FierceWireless.com, Denver Post, Ecommercetimes.com, CNET

legion125

legion125

Sprint LTE Coverage Map of live sites around Waco, Texas

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:59 AM MDT   Last week we brought you a live LTE coverage map from Sprint sites in the Atlanta/Athens, Georgia area, and now we are bringing you a Sprint LTE coverage map from Waco, Texas. Waco is in the Sprint Austin market. The coverage you see below is from a 4G LTE FIT (Field Implementation Test) that Sprint and Network Vision Partner Ericsson created. It was put together to begin testing and training LTE deployment, as well as a field testing zone for LTE devices. This coverage is live now. If any of you folks down Waco way get your hands on a Sprint 4G LTE device in the next couple of days, let us know what you find when scanning for a LTE signal. Speed test from Ericsson field test reports look mighty fine, with speeds over 20Mbps when you have a strong LTE signal. Sponsors have access to interactive versions of these maps and can zoom in and pan around. More LTE coverage maps are coming soon. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for all the latest Sprint Network Vision/LTE news and information.   P.S. - Full Network Vision deployment in the rest of the Austin market will begin in June!   4G LTE Coverage Map near Waco, Texas. Coverage maps were generated in collaboration with CloudRF.com. Click on Map to Enlarge.

S4GRU

S4GRU

New Network Vision Photos and Performance Info from a new site in Beverly, Massachusetts

Click on Images Above to View Photo Album     Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 10:49 PM MDT   S4GRU Member Cpeatridge follows along with all the latest information at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates, and then noticed one day that we were claiming that a site near him in Beverly, Massachusetts was updated. So Chris did what any other S4GRU follower would do...go investigate. Chris was able to get several good shots of the site, including screen shots of performance tests. In the photos above the article, you can see the Sprint section of the tower, at the very top. In the photos, you can see the remote radio units (RRU's) and a new 800/1900 combined Network Vision panel, one per sector (side of the tower). The old legacy panels are still visible and not yet removed at this point. Chris performed some performance tests and was able to get consistent 100ms pings and download speeds over 2Mbps, with it slowing down to a still respectable 1.4Mbps at peak times. These are good improvements over the legacy 3G EVDO that was in the area. We love bringing you stories of Network Vision improvements. Chris has shared his experiences. We cannot wait until Network Vision comes to you too!    

S4GRU

S4GRU

Clarification on Reported New Sprint 4G LTE Cities

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 12:29 PM MDT
Yesterday, the site TechnoBuffalo.com ran a story about the possibility of discovering more Network Vision and LTE markets that appeared to them to be on the horizon. It was also picked up by several major tech sites, including CNET and The Verge. Since I have seen the document in question before, and I know what it is that we are looking at, I thought I would explain clearly what you are seeing. First, let me start out by saying this is not a Sprint market list, and not a list of cities getting Network Vision upgrades or LTE coverage. That is not what this document is about. This is a schedule of Sprint 4G LTE DDC's, or 4G Cores. They are essentially 4G LTE data centers. Every 4G LTE site is connected to a specific Sprint LTE data center via backhaul. This is where the data is processed and put out into the internet. Sprint has approximately 20 of these 4G cores around the country. And each of their 38,000 LTE sites is/will be connected to one. For those of you who are familiar with CDMA switch centers, this is a similar concept managing 4G LTE data. These DDC's need to be in place before the LTE sites that are connected to them will be able to operate on the network. I'm sorry to rain on anyone's parade, if you are excited that your city may be getting LTE sooner than you thought. But our deployment list still stands. However, if you are interested in knowing about the dates of these 4G LTE DDC's, then the image below from TechnoBuffalo.com is legit. These are real dates regarding real LTE data centers. S4GRU does not publish these types of images to protect our sources. We were contacted about this information from another leading tech site and were able to vet the information for them. I am happy to do that for anyone needing to verify any source documents in the future. Confidentially, of course.   Image from TechnoBuffalo.com's article   Reference: TechnoBuffalo, CNET, GottaBeMobile, The Verge

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Sprint Galaxy Nexus available for pre-order now...physically available on April 22nd

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 16, 2012 - 8:29 AM MDT   I woke up this morning to AndroidCentral.com proclaiming to us all that Sprint's Galaxy Nexus is now available for pre-order. Talk about a soft launch!   Pricing is $199 on contract, as has been said the past few weeks. Looks like the device will be available in stores on April 22nd. It sounds like pre-orders can get into the hands of customers even slightly earlier by their language. Seems consistent with our story we broke back a month ago. This is a good day.   Anyone planning to be one of the first with GNex?     Thanks to S4GRU Member newboyx for the notification.   Source: AndroidCentral.com

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

HTC EVO 4G LTE tech details revealed in FCC OET filing

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 2:55 PM MDT     A few weeks ago, S4GRU was the first to bring you the news of the HTC codenamed "Jet" that was recently unveiled as the HTC EVO 4G LTE headed to Sprint this summer. Today, the EVO 4G LTE applications hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. S4GRU brings you the technical rundown, including some important revelations.     CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band class 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz channel bandwidths
LTE UE category 3
SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
Maximum RF ERP: 20.43 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 18.74 dBm (EV-DO 850), 22.98 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 18.44 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 20.01 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 18.75 dBm (EV-DO 800), 19.85 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna gain: -2 dBi (CDMA1X 850/1900/800), -3.5 dBi (EV-DO 850/1900/800 and LTE 1900)
LTE antenna configuration 1x2 (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO)
    Prima facie analysis, no LTE 800 nor TD-LTE 2600 support comes as no surprise. But SVDO is a nice perk, as internal Sprint documents had not indicated its inclusion. Furthermore, SVDO/SVLTE plus simultaneous Wi-Fi tether capability really covers all of the connectivity bases. Most disappointing, however, is the rather low ERP output. While the EVO 4G LTE has a plethora of radio capabilities, it does not look to be a stellar RF performer, perhaps the consequence of the aluminum unibody in place of the polycarbonate unibody used in the more direct members of the HTC One X family of handsets.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

Is Sprint going to show up "Sooner" in the Show Me State?

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 1:31 AM MDT     Sprint 4G Rollout Updates has completed announcements on the first two rounds of Network Vision, naming just over 40 of Sprint's 97 markets as slated to begin deployment before the end of 2012. Sprint's Network Vision and LTE Deployment are in full swing with First Round markets cranking out production. Even some Second Round markets will begin deployment as soon as May.   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 has now been able to see information on those initial 22,000 sites. Sprint originally said that these sites were the first sites to receive Network Vision upgrades.   In the data for all these sites, there were not many surprises. But two things immediately jumped out. Or, I should say, two markets. All of the markets comprising the 22,000 sites are in the first two announced rounds, except two. There are two markets that it appears Sprint is proceeding with complete site planning and design that have not been announced to date by S4GRU.   Missouri and Oklahoma   Missouri/Oklahoma. There are over 1,175 sites in the Missouri and Oklahoma Sprint markets. The Missouri and Oklahoma markets are included in Sprint's initial 22,000 sites planning. However, in a cross check, these two markets are not in the Sprint schedule for the first two rounds. It's quite possible since all the planning and permitting for these two markets will be done in advance, they may actually be moved up in to the second round. We cannot say with any certainty at this time. This should be seen as good news though for the folks living in these two markets.  We do not have any more details than this to report on these two markets currently. 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.     Photos Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

S4GRU first to capture Sprint LTE live in the wild!

by Andrew J. Shepherd and Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, April 6, 2012 - 2:20 PM MDT   Today, S4GRU brings you the wireless equivalent of the much sought after paparazzi photo of the newborn celebrity baby. In an S4GRU exclusive, here is the first published look at a live Sprint LTE signal.   Sprint recently lit up a cluster of Network Vision sites in Olathe, KS within Sprint's Kansas market. With trusty spectrum analyzer in tow, S4GRU staff ventured to Olathe this morning and captured a snapshot of Sprint's PCS G block 1990-1995 MHz allocation, clearly showing the up and running LTE OFDMA downlink coming from Sprint's completed Network Vision site (KC60XC009) in Black Bob Park. See below our PCS G block downlink frequency domain analysis:     Additionally, S4GRU has mapped the live Network Vision cluster in Olathe and projected its RF footprint. See the approximated current LTE coverage map:     Finally, we have also compiled an ongoing map of completed Network Vision sites as they go live. Come back and visit S4GRU.com often as work is completed on many more Network Vision sites in markets around the country, and see below for the most recent update:     The old cliché says that a picture is worth a thousand words. So, we will keep this brief and let the images tell the story. But we are very excited to bring you this first inside look at PCS G block spectrum as it springs to life with Sprint's nascent LTE network.   Sources: Sprint, author's spectrum analysis, author's RF map

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

Network Vision Schedule Update for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 1:41 AM MDT   ¡Hola mis amigos en Puerto Rico! Aquí está su información...I finally am able to bring you a schedule update for Isla del Encanto and the Virgin Islands. Samsung and their subcontractors are indeed beginning work in the PR/VI market this month and will get started on the first 22 sites.   NV Schedule Map of Puerto Rico. Click on image to enlarge.   The Network Vision schedule for the entire market will run from April, out into November. We have included several maps of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the this article. In these maps you can get an idea of how and when they will be deploying throughout the islands.   The entire PR/VI market deployment does not start in one city and then spread out across to other areas. Rather, each part of the market gets more towers month after month until the whole market is complete. If this schedule holds, Sprint will likely announce the market as live in August. The San Juan area will be largely complete by the end of September. NV Schedule Map of San Juan. Click on image to enlarge.   One thing that is not for certain at this time, is whether 4G LTE will be complete and live in conjunction with these dates. Some of the source information appeared as if 4G LTE was being deployed later. However, we cannot confirm this information at this time. As we know more specificity about LTE deployment in Puerto Rico, we will bring that information to you. As always, stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates for all the latest Network Vision news.   NV Schedule Map of the Virgin Islands. Click on image to enlarge.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

HTC EVO 4G LTE Announced, and We're Impressed

by Danny Bullard Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 9:45 PM MDT   Earlier today, HTC and Sprint announced the highly anticipated next generation EVO, dubbed as the EVO 4G LTE. Kinda of a long name huh? Well it's not about the name, it's about the device itself. The EVO 4G LTE has a HUGE 4.7" 720p screen with a Super LCD2 display.   Powering this device is ICS covered with SENSE 4.0 with Qualcomm's S4 chip. This device is basically Sprint's version of the ONE X, so it has an impressive 8MP camera that can record up-to 1080p video. Along with those fancy specs, this device will run on Sprint's soon to debut 4G LTE network.   Other specs include a NFC chip, Micro SD Card slot, Beats audio, red kickstand and a 2000mAh battery. This device will also be the first device to feature HD VOICE (I will go into detail in another article). When most devices are announced, release dates and prices are left out. Well, Sprint was so kind/sarcasm to tell us when we can pre-order this monster and how much this will cost us. Preorder for the EVO 4G LTE will begin on May 7th and it'll only cost you $199.99! Pretty reasonable, eh?   So, will you be purchasing this bad boy once it hits Sprint stores? Sound off in the comments. Also, EVERYTHING you need to know about the device is listed in the PR below the photos.                   Photos courtesy of HTC.    

JustAGeekHere

JustAGeekHere

 

Are Microsoft and Nokia brewing up “the perfect storm” for Apple and Android’s smartphone market share?

by Scott Johnson Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 2, 2012 - 12:29 PM MDT   Microsoft entered the modern era of smartphone operating systems with the release of their Windows Phone 7 (WP7) platform. The first WP7 handsets went on sale October 21st 2010 with Sprint receiving their lone WP7 offering 5 months later with the HTC Arrive. The HTC Arrive suffered from slow sales numbers and Sprint brass quoting a poor “user experience” for returns of the device. There was recently evidence that Sprint may have rejected a follow-up to the Arrive, the HTC Maaza, when a tester prototype phone showed up for sale on ebay.   The WP platform still has not gained as much as a 5% market share as Microsoft continues to lose market share. Ratings giant Nielsen saw such a small market share for WP that they did not even include WP as a separate platform and inserted their statistics in the “other smartphone” category.     Even though the HTC Arrive has failed to generate a whole lot of buzz at Sprint, many of the consumers who purchased the device think very highly of it. The user rating of the HTC Arrive currently stands at 4.6 out of 5 stars and 91% of those who purchased the phone would recommend it to a friend. This stands out in comparison to the highly vaunted Apple iPhone 4S which currently boasts a 4.4 rating out of 5 stars with 86% of consumers who would recommend it to a friend. Windows Phone fans at Sprint are so passionate that they have started a petition to Sprint to procure more WP devices that currently has over 2,400 signatures.   Partnership with Nokia gives Windows Phone a partner committed to the OS   Microsoft began their campaign to gain ground on the US smartphone market by announcing that they would partner with one of the largest phone makers who has been longing for a reentry into the US market. On February 11th 2011, Nokia announced that they had established a partnership with Microsoft to make their mobile platform the primary operating system for Nokia phones. In Nokia, Microsoft found a partner to not only build flagship devices that are designed to pull the most possible functionality out of the WP operating system; they also found a partner to help them market the phones and operating system. Nokia is set to release the first LTE enabled phone running the Windows Phone operating system on April 8th in the form of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T’s network for a mere $99.99.   Customers are unfamiliar with the operating system   Microsoft has learned from the past, while the operating system may be able to compete with the likes of iOS and Android, unless the sales staff can highlight the strong points of the OS, is familiar with the phone and has incentive to sell the phone over other models, the phone will not sell in the quantities they desire. This is why Nokia is spending upwards of $25 million to provide the Lumia 900 to AT&T for “company use” allowing the sales staff to trade in their iPhones and Androids in exchange for a free Nokia Lumia 900. This move will allow the customer to see the phone as more desirable because the sales staff always seems to have the “cool, cutting edge” phones. Additionally, this will extend the sales staff’s familiarity with the OS well beyond the training that AT&T provides them.   Microsoft has also given AT&T sales staff a financial incentive to sell WP models. A $200 million program has been initiated by Microsoft, through AT&T to pay a $10-15 commission for every windows phone that an employee sells to a customer. If the AT&T test bed pays off in increased sales of WP handsets, the promotions will likely spread to other carriers like Sprint when they begin receiving shipments of their WP flagship later this year.   Customers want apps on their smartphone   As it stands, the Windows Phone Marketplace has about 65,000 apps, this number pales in comparison to the nearly half a million apps in iTunes and nearly as many in Google Play. Even more concerning, is the lack of some of the most popular apps. Pandora, Bump, Skype, Dropbox and Google Maps are all missing from the WP platform trumping an argument that WP has quality apps and not merely a large quantity of apps.   Microsoft and Nokia have contributed $12 million each to develop a mobile app development program. They also plan to spend $10 million on an advertising campaign to promote the competitors of the top apps that are absent from the WP Marketplace. Apps also tend to cost more on the WP Marketplace than other app stores due to the developers needing to charge extra to make up for smaller sales numbers since the OS has such a small portion of market share. Without apps, the platform will have a tough time catching on with customers, and without customers, the platform will have a hard time attracting developers.   Advertising can make consumers more receptive to Windows Phone   The Nokia Lumia 900 is reported to be the benefactor of a $100 million “hero” advertising campaign. It is not known how Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T will split up the advertising costs, but that much money will certainly bring customer awareness up for the operating system and for Nokia’s brand recognition. Sprint customers will no doubt see these ads and become more familiar with WP and Nokia (should Nokia build a device for Sprint’s network) so when a WP device is released on Sprint’s network, it will also benefit from the ad campaign.   Another Windows Phone flagship is rumored for a late 2012 release to capture sales during the holiday season, with another “hero” advertising campaign; this could bring Sprint and Verizon customers into the fold nicely if it is a Nokia model released on all three carriers.   Consumer perception must be that Windows Phones are “flagship” devices   Many would-be buyers of WP7 handsets such as the HTC Arrive could have been turned off by the combination of lackluster stats and lower price and confused the device with a mid-tier offering. If someone were to compare AT&Ts offering of Samsung handsets today, you would see the Galaxy Note coming in at $300, the Galaxy SII coming in at $200 and the Focus Flash at $1, there is also a newly released Focus S at $200.   The Nokia Lumia 900 would have no such comparisons, and even at a lower price, could be perceived as a flagship at a value price. The Windows Phone OS has been designed to run smoothly on less system resources. The dual core processors, large amounts of memory and larger screens of the Android competition tend to wash out the stats of the Windows Phone lineup. That shortcoming is being remedied with the next WP offerings it seems. Sprint is set to receive a WP with a Qualcomm MSM8960 dual core 1.5GHz and LTE connectivity   [float right][/float]One of the best ways for an operating system to gain new customers is by “smartphone envy.” Friends, family and coworkers tend to show other people some of the more advanced features that their phone has and some of the best apps. In order to spur this type of referral, Microsoft needs to gain market share, and quickly. Windows phone will gain functionality with the release of Windows 8, which will tie the phone OS and PC OS closer together.   The OS can also gain significant ground by integrating further with the popular XBox 360 platform, but they can't afford to lose any ground on Android and iOS. By infusing money into different methods of marketing and into application development, Microsoft is hoping that they can sell handsets and gain market share. They won’t continue throwing money at the platform if it never catches on, but thanks to the moves that they have made, most notably bringing Nokia on board, they may just have the right recipe. They will undoubtedly watch carefully what happens with AT&T as a “test bed” when they start planning their marketing campaigns for Sprint and Verizon.   Maybe someday Windows Phones will “sell themselves” as Android and Apple phones seemingly do, requiring smaller marketing budgets, but for now Microsoft and Nokia need to launch a full scale marketing attack on the market to secure their place in the future.   Sources: Android Authority WPCentral betanews phonenews

pyroscott

pyroscott

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  • COMMENTS FROM THE WALL

    • to me rural coverage matters most....because i like being able to make phone calls and send texts in remote areas of the country ...i dont care about speeds i just care about per square mile coverage and over all usability and reliability
    • Tell us how you really feel @MrZorbatron!

      I think that most cellular players exaggerate their coverage. Yes, I suspected a long time ago that T-Mobile was one of the most egregious. Now according to the merger presentation, they will end up with 85,000 macro sites. That will be enough to match the coverage of pretty much everybody.

      Like you, I appreciate not having dropped calls or undelivered texts. In my area on my T-Mobile MVNO, I don't get any but can't say it won't happen elsewhere. Once Charter offers service via their Verizon MVNO, I think I will move my 4 personal lines there. My business line will stay on Sprint/T-Mobile, well, because I can't control that.
    • I do not welcome any part of this.  I don't think T-Mobile really cares about doing anything they say they care about.  I have seen how truly bad their network is in the ways that matter for essential communication, and I want nothing to do with it.  Say what you want about Verizon, but the one thing they have in common with Sprint is that they have historically built out a solid network before trying to make it extremely fast.  I don't care about 50 Mbps to my phone.  I care about calls that don't get disconnected constantly.  I care about that stock trade getting through when I send it, even if carried by EVDO, because EVDO still gets it through. Sprint's "Outdoor coverage" maps might seem exaggerated to some, but T-Mobile's maps are a complete joke.  Maybe Michigan is a bubble, the only state where this is true, but it really is very true here.  T-Mobile is the network of dropped and undelivered calls, mysterious disconnection, and "call failed" error messages. If this goes through, look for me at the nearest Verizon store because price to me is absolutely irrelevant.  I see two things happening if this merger goes through:  1:  Sprint spectrum is used to bolster capacity at T-Mobile sites, and 2:  As much of the current Sprint network as possible goes away, even if it means losing sites that would provide valuable fill-in density.  I saw the latter happen with Sprint and Nextel, after they insisted that all Nextel sites that could serve to increase Sprint coverage would be used.  Similarly, there were locations T-Mobile could have used MetroPCS locations to improve their own coverage but didn't, even where it left holes in their network.
    • Not when Verizon just bought 1GHz of mmwave spectrum. Those were the policies of the past. If it does not get approved, it would the loss of jobs and the fact that it might not be good for consumers. Although when I look at the table on this page, comparing unlimited plans, it is already evident that the other three are not really competing and Sprint's lower prices are not working since they did not manage to steal anybody from the other other three. To me it is evident that were Sprint to remain independent they need massive investment in their network since competing on price is not enough anymore and low prices just deprive their network of investment.
    • And I would definitely say that merger probably or probably not won't be approved. If not I would have to say it would be on the grounds of cellular asset divestiture.
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