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What’s going on with Android's Jelly Bean?

by Jeff Foster Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 6:44 AM MST   Everyone’s heard about Androids fragmented ecosystem, well we’re about to get some more. Jelly Bean, the new Android version 5.0 is coming, and soon. Some rumors suggest that Google’s next update may be coming out as soon as this summer.   The first word about Jelly Bean was back in September 2011. There was just the announcement of the name and little else. In fact, so little information was released that it led many to believe that it may have been a hoax. Questions also arose if this was going to be an incremental upgrade or a big one?   More recently, there was a tip that this new upgrade of Android would be Android 5.0 and would be released in the 2nd quarter of this year, and it would have features similar to Motorola’s desktop mode. This function would allow the phone when plugged in or attached via dock to simply adjust its user interface to desktop mode, although nothing has been confirmed. With the impending purchase of Motorola, there seems plausible.   This leads us to believe that this upgrade may be more than some bug fixes and multitasking enhancements. Android 4.0 was designed to be the OS’s push into tablets, and so far has made little impact in the market. This isn’t surprising since its first announcement was just five months ago. Google reports that Ice Cream Sandwich holds 1% of Android market share.   It appears that at first blush, Jelly Bean is possibly going to be tablet specific, which would indicate that Google is backing off its commitment to have a “one size fits all” OS like iOS for the iPhone/iPad. Again, this is just speculation at this point. Android Advice reports that Jelly Bean devices will have some nice new features, including the ability to switch between operating systems without the need to restart.   The rumor of an early release could be to counter the unexpected rave reviews from upcoming Windows 8 tablets and the expectation of the impending iPad 3 release. If Google was to announce a big change to Androids core functionality, it would be more likely the announcement of Jelly Bean aka Android 5 would be at the yearly I/O conference in June. The likelihood of Google releasing new software this early is far-off. The desktop mode would be a nice feature added to Android but don’t expect to see it until late fall.   S4GRU EDIT 9:36 AM MST: Computer World released an article this morning that says a Google Exec is claiming a Fall 2012 release for Android 5.0 Jelly Bean.         Source: Slash Gear, Android Community, Android Advices

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Could tax relief legislation allow Sprint to add an "H" to its PCS alphabet?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 4:20 PM MST   While the name of the bill might seem to suggest otherwise, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 currently working its way through Congress contains several provisions that have direct bearing on the wireless industry.   One, it assigns directly to public safety the Upper 700 MHz D block 10 MHz (5 MHz x 5 MHz) nationwide license—which had been intended for a public-private national network partnership but failed to reach its reserve price at FCC auction in 2008—and provides financing for the construction of a national public safety network.   Two, it authorizes the FCC to conduct incentive auctions in which UHF TV broadcasters can voluntarily give up their broadcast channels in exchange for compensation so that their spectrum may be repurposed for wireless broadband.   Three, it directs the FCC to auction within the next three years additional spectrum between 1600 MHz and 2200 MHz, including the creation of yet another PCS 1900 MHz block, the ostensibly named PCS "H" 10 MHz (5 MHz x 5 MHz) block. See the relevant portion of the draft bill:   REALLOCATION AND AUCTION.— (1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding paragraph (15)(A) of section 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), not later than 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall, except as provided in paragraph (4)— (A) allocate the spectrum described in paragraph (2) for commercial use; and ( through a system of competitive bid- ding under such section, grant new initial li- censes for the use of such spectrum, subject to flexible-use service rules. (2) SPECTRUM DESCRIBED.—The spectrum de- scribed in this paragraph is the following: (A) The frequencies between 1915 mega- hertz and 1920 megahertz. ( The frequencies between 1995 mega- hertz and 2000 megahertz.   Recall that, in the 800 MHz public safety reconfiguration order, Sprint (Nextel) was awarded newly created PCS G 10 MHz (5 MHz x 5 MHz) licenses nationwide to compensate for the SMR 800 MHz spectrum it gave up in the reconfiguration effort and that Sprint plans to deploy 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE in its PCS G spectrum as part of the Network Vision initiative over the next two years. The PCS "H" block would be of particular interest to Sprint and to S4GRU readers because it would be adjacent to the PCS G licenses that Sprint holds nationwide. See a snapshot of the band plan (the PCS "H" block would take the place of the Proposed AWS-2 Block adjacent to the Nextel allocation):       Prior to auction, the PCS "H" block would most probably be divided into geographic licenses, and any current or future wireless carrier could bid on one or all licenses. So, Sprint would not be guaranteed to win any PCS "H" spectrum. But Sprint would gain the greatest utility from PCS "H" spectrum because it could be most easily combined with Sprint's existing PCS G spectrum for 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE. Thus, consider this a brief, early look at how Sprint could likely augment its spectrum portfolio in the coming years.   Sources: US House of Representatives, FCC, author's notes; special thanks to TMF Associates, Public Knowledge

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

Quarterback controversy? HTC One to replace the iconic HTC Evo nameplate!

by Jeff Foster Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, February 27, 2012 - 2:21 AM MST   Earlier this year, both HTC and Samsung stated in reports that it will be slimming down its product lines in order to reduce expenses, concentrate on higher quality and to lessen the effects of diluting similar product lines. Samsung has hinted that the Galaxy S lll will be launched simultaneously in many markets, and would eliminate the U.S. carriers from individual looks and independent features. Now HTC has introduced its "One" (several discussions are taking place on individual phones already) brand which appear to cover the entry, mid and high level markets.   The new "One" phones will be equipped with Android 4.0, Beats Audio and a "toned down" Sense UI. This new Sense will be more Android like and less resourse intensive. It appears like HTC was listening to customer complaints of Sense UI taking too much memory and interfering with performance.   HTC appears it has taken its cues from Samsung and its success from the GSll series of devices that boosted Samsung's bottom line. HTC is hoping that this new strategy and new Ice Cream Sandwich devices will help HTC climb back towards the top spot and return to a position of reporting record profits.   So are you sad, angry or relieved that the Evo badge may be no more? S4GRU members have been commenting and speculating since October 7th on the next Evo LTE device anticipated. Sound off with your thoughts below.     Source: CNET

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

What you've all been waiting for...Pics from a Network Vision site in Marengo, Illinois

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:01 PM MST   "Ladies and Gentlemen - We got him!"   That is assuming Network Vision sites are masculine. What you all have been waiting for. Real, true, bona fide Network Vision site photos! S4GRU Member runagun drove out to Marengo, Illinois in the Sprint Chicago market to check out some Network Vision action for himself. He had been seeing the reports on S4GRU.com about Network Vision in his area, and maybe even a tad skeptical, so he drove to a site to investigate for himself.   Marengo was touted as getting NV work this month in our S4GRU article, Samsung Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule & details for Sprint's Chicago Market. And we are relieved to find our information confirmed by the site visit! Samsung is actively working on clusters as reported in the article.   Our keen spy was able to investigate and photograph the site with a subcontractor actually present. Who was very helpful and answered questions. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!   Special thanks to S4GRU member runagun for the photos! Good job!

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Mo Money! Mo Money! Sprint is looking to sell $2 Billion in debt to help fund Clearwire and other notable expenses

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, February 27, 2012 - 6:01 PM MST   Our beloved Sprint today announced that it is putting up for sale $2 Billion in notes to help pay its struggling partner in crime, Clearwire. Sprint also plans to refinance some other debts coming due and pay additional unnamed network upgrades with the proceeds.   Sprint only recently raised $4 billion in the debt markets in early December to pay for up front Network Vision costs and to help pay some Clearwire bills, err, uhh, provide initial payments for long term WiMax and LTE usage. This move to the debt markets is critical for Sprint, as it needs billions to initiate and complete the build out of its Network Vision program ($10 Billion) and to fulfill its contract obligations with Apple to carry the iPhone ($15 Billion). These moves are seen as the most critical elements for a Sprint renewal and resurgence to profitability and sustainability.   This newest run for more money is an optimistic sign that Sprint believes the market will provide them with cash they need. Sprint will sell notes due in 2017 and 2020. The sale is to be completed March 1st and includes the five-year notes at 9.13% and eight-year debt at 7%, which will be guaranteed by units in Sprint.   Source: Business Week

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Could Amazon build on the success of the Kindle Fire and move into the phone market?

by Scott Johnson Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 4:09 AM MST   The Kindle changed the way many of us purchased and read books. Amazon may have seen the way iTunes and iPods changed the way consumers purchased their music. Consumers were moving away from physical CDs and towards digital media that could be delivered electronically without the trip to the store or even the trip to Amazon.com to have the CD shipped to their house.   Amazon created an ecosystem, complete with free 3G on certain models to access their purchased books in “the cloud” at any time. Now the Kindle Fire has thundered in and added music and video to its arsenal. Amazon has carefully built an app store, mp3 store and instant video streaming to add to its digital bookstore. Amazon also modified the open sourced Android platform to give consumers a user friendly interface that brings their digital content delivery to the front line. Then Amazon changed the way electronics were sold by selling their Kindle’s and Kindle Fire’s at or around cost.   The result of their work was a tablet that some analysts estimate sold 5-6 million units in Q4 2011. Analysts also estimate that Amazon generates $136 in revenue from their app, music, video and book stores per Kindle Fire. Furthermore, possibly due to the simplicity and ease of use, Fire users purchase over two and a half times the apps than other Android tablet users.   Developers are loving the Fire, the current fastest growing platforms for developers is the Kindle Fire and Windows Phone platforms. Amazon has done what the wireless carriers, and Google to a certain point, have struggled mightily to do with their digital marketplace. They have even introduced Amazon Prime, which gives subscribers access to a Netflix-like video streaming service, a Kindle book lending library, and free two day shipping on all their Amazon.com orders. All of this makes the wireless carriers attempts to generate revenue from their digital media marketplaces look like a failure.   What's next for the Popular Kindle Fire Series?   Amazon is rumored to be placing orders with Foxconn for a 10 inch Fire. Could this be a sign of things to come? Citigroup’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst Kevin Chang believes “an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12.” With their ability to sell units at a low profit margin or even a loss and make money on content delivery, they could be a major player in the low end smartphone market.   On the major carriers, the subsidy could easily bring an Amazon Fire Phone to free on contract. The prepaid world would be another market that Amazon could exploit. Prepaid carriers thrive on the low end and low cost smartphones. The app store would likely still see plenty of use, but with a smaller screen, the amount of books and video purchases could tail off.   There is no question that Amazon has built their platform into a success. They have designed a marketplace that is easy to use, motivates users to buy additional content and wraps nicely into their existing business promoting users to buy household goods from their online marketplace. While Amazon has a Kindle app, music app, app store etc., they don’t work nearly as well as standalone apps as they do when they are all wrapped into one user friendly package. Amazon could remove itself from the device building industry and license the “Fire” platform to device companies like HTC or LG to build devices while still retaining the content delivery profits. They would most likely need to remove the traces of Android from their new operating system, or work out a patent licensing deal with Google for use of their version of Android.   Could Amazon boldly become a Quasi-Wireless Carrier?   Still another option for the retail giant would be to purchase large amounts of mobile data from wireless providers or wholesalers and bundle it with the digital delivery to provide “free” downloads of music or video. There is already a cost difference between SD and HD digital video; the additional bandwidth cost could be built right into the price of the video. It wouldn’t be the first time that they provided free data for downloading purchased content.   Several models of Kindle have included a 3G radio for downloading books onto the device (but any other data usage was limited to WiFi only.) They could even start a MVNO with their device lineup. Customers of Amazon are normally looking for a bargain from a reputable name; just the Amazon name behind a prepaid or postpaid MVNO would sell plans thanks to their clout in the marketplace.   Whatever direction Amazon decides to travel, they have struck success with a first generation device. This is a very difficult thing to do with the competition level as fierce as it is today. Apple owns the tablet market currently, but Amazon has certainly inserted itself near the top of the Android platform and has shown that their Fire platform is a major player in the tablet market.       Sources: ReThink Wireless, ReThink Wireless, AllThingsD, IntoMobile.com   Photos courtesy of CBS interactive and PC World.

pyroscott

pyroscott

 

Sprint proclaims new SDC Push-To-Talk Network virtues over iDEN

by Rickie Smith Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 1:01 PM MST   Sprint announced yesterday that in recent testing conducted in 17 markets, that their new CDMA-based Sprint Direct Connect met or exceeded all measurements. Sprint Direct Connect, or SDC, is the successor push-to-talk network that Sprint is implementing to replace its aging iDEN network it inherited from its merger with Nextel.   This come on the heels of recent developments of how the Nextel iDEN PTT sites are currently being reduced in some areas, in preparation of next years shut down. Sprint Network Senior VP Bob Azzi said of the results, "(this is) conclusive validation of Sprint's sustained push-to-talk leadership."   Sprint Direct Connect PTT will offer a much expanded footprint over the current Nextel iDEN legacy PTT network. Most of the expansion is due to the ability of the SDC devices being able to roam on other CDMA 3G networks. This roaming ability is expected to start opening up to current Sprint Direct Connect customers in the next few months.   The data experience for SDC customers is being touted as much improved over the 2G like speeds endured on Nextel's iDEN. Being CDMA based, the EVDO network will be seen as a much improved data solution for Sprint's PTT customers. Although, in some areas in the short term, Sprint's EVDO will perform at 2G like speeds. No surprise that Sprint didn't mention this point. However, the 3G EVDO data experience will demonstrably improve through Network Vision upgrades.       Source: Sprint

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

New Early Upgrade Promo in select Sprint markets, all devices including the iPhone

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 5:40 PM MST   Sprint 4G Rollout Updates has been notified of a covert new upgrade promotional titled "Upgrade Now Promotional - Trial." This is similar to one leaked a few weeks ago, but eligibility is a little less stringent this time. However, it is only limited to 21 out of the 97 Sprint markets, from now through April 14, 2012.   The markets included: Atlanta / Athens, GA
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
East Kentucky
East Michigan
Ft. Wayne / South Bend
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL
Miami / West Palm, FL
Milwaukee, WI
Minnesota
Nashville, TN
Orlando, FL
Raleigh / Durham, NC
Tampa, FL
West Kentucky
West Michigan
Winston / Salem, NC
Only customers with a RLOF (Rebate Life on File) between 9 to 21 months are eligible and will need to pay a prorated fee to upgrade. Customers must go to a Sprint corporate store and be willing to sign a new 2 year service agreement. All devices are eligible, including the iPhone!   An Upgrade Now Fee must be paid to to qualify for this upgrade promotion. The amount of the Fee is dependent on the remaining term left on your contract. See upgrade pricing below: Fee is based on how long it has been since the last upgrade on that line
9-11 months RLOF = $165
12-14 months RLOF = $125
15-17 months RLOF = $95
18-21 months RLOF = $55
Customers pay the lowest promotional price for the phone, the Upgrade Now fee and $36 activation fee.   This is a covert thing, and Sprint will not likely be advertising it out. Sprint Customer Service Reps are not allowed to proactively share. But if a customer calls and asks, they are to be directed to a Sprint corporate store for the sale. This program will be managed at the store level, most likely to help retain customers unhappy with the fact that they are not eligible to upgrade at this time.   Source: E-mailed From Sprint Source

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

"Two if by LTE!!!" declares Sprint 4G Rollout Updates as Boston is named as a Network Vision/LTE city for 2012

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, February 20, 2012 - 1:33 AM MST   OK, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is prepared to name the second city that Sprint's Network Vision vendor Alcatel/Lucent is deploying during 2012...Boston, Massachusetts. Bean Town, and soon to be LTE Town for Sprint. On Friday, we announced that Sprint is working on Network Vision/LTE Deployment in the San Francisco Bay Market. And now we can tell you that the Sprint Boston market is also about to begin work.   Sprint's Boston market is essentially the entire state of Massachusetts and includes 940 sites to be converted to Network Vision. Alcatel/Lucent is preparing for mobilization and work should begin soon. The entire market will take approximately 7 months to complete, wrapping up before years end. But in the interim, the market will be brought online one site at a time, tower by tower. So there will be some usable locations in Greater Bostonia by the time LTE devices start to be sold in the next few months.     S4GRU currently does not have many more details about the rollout in Boston at this time. Hopefully in the not too distant future, we can provide a neighborhood by neighborhood analysis of this deployment like we have been able to do in Chicago.   Sprint 4G Rollout Updates can bring you this information about 2012 deployment markets because we have received extensive Network Vision engineering information from inside sources. We have information on all of Sprint's 97 markets nationwide. With this information we are able to reasonably conclude how and when Sprint intends to deploy Network Vision and LTE in every market in the country. The information is not a neat and orderly list, showing markets in deployment order from 1 to 97. If it were only so easy!   We will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to do so in a series of articles over the next few weeks. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear tentative and subject to change. With the many variables between now and 2013, Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans. Based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc.   With the release of Boston today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to nine. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Baltimore and Kansas City as announced by Sprint. Chicago, San Francisco and Boston announced by Sprint 4G Rollout Updates.   Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Wednesday we will be announcing another Network Vision/LTE market that Alcatel/Lucent will be working to bring online for Sprint in 2012. Check in at S4GRU.com for all the latest updates! Become a member today. Membership is free and easy.   Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   Information about the source: The information for the Boston deployment and all of our Network Vision information has been obtained by several internal sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. The documents will not be released to protect source anonymity.   EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market map.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

SNL mocks Verizon's 4G LTE Campaign

In a YouTube video I saw this morning lighting up all over Twitter, Saturday Night Live has spoofed Verizon's 4G LTE commercials. It would be even funnier if they mocked their LTE network outages. Maybe that's next week?   To view the video, click on the image below. The original YouTube embed was taken down because NBC Universal complained to YouTube about Copyright infringement. Now the image below links you directly to the non-infrnging video on the NBC Universal site. You will have to endure a short commercial to watch it, though.   - Robert, S4GRU    

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Network Vision Drawings for a site in Overland Park, Kansas

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 8:59 PM MST   Another set of Network Vision drawings have appeared, and of course we have to post them up here at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. There isn't anything earth shattering in these drawings that weren't really in the drawings S4GRU published a month ago in Lawrence, Kansas.   The new drawings show a roof mounted cell site on top of the Hillcrest Bank at the corner of W. 95th and Nieman Road in Overland Park, Kansas. These drawings are a little newer than the Lawrence drawings posted, with the most recent revision date of 12/5/2011. These drawings show detailed before Network Vision, transition configurations and final layouts. This gives a good technical overview of exactly how a roof mounted cell site is modified under Network Vision. LightSquared antennas are still shown.   You can click on this link to view and/or download the PDF file of the Hillcrest Bank NV drawings.   Special thanks to Rickie546 for sending me the links!

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Spectrum Analysis Part Two...Sprint and T-Mobile spare PCS spectrum would pair nicely for a LTE Partnership

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 10, 2012 - 12:22 PM MST     In part one of this series, we discussed how Sprint could theoretically leverage its long held PCS A-F block spectrum to deploy a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel in many markets alongside the 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel that Sprint plans to roll out in its unused, nationwide PCS G block 10 MHz spectrum. Here is the rundown:   . Verizon Wireless (VZW) and AT&T Mobility (AT&T) have the Upper/Lower 700 MHz spectrum right now to deploy 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE in most/all markets and gain a significant leg up on the LTE competition.
Sprint cannot match that LTE bandwidth in its PCS G 10 MHz license alone.
Sprint’s hosting agreement with and wholesale access to LightSquared LTE bandwidth is all but dead.
Sprint will not likely be able to utilize its SMR 800 MHz spectrum for LTE nor Clearwire’s BRS/EBS 2500-2600 MHz spectrum for TD-LTE until 2013-2014.
Sprint can and does operate many of its CDMA2000 markets (e.g. Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, etc.) in only 20 MHz of licensed PCS A-F block spectrum.
Sprint has numerous markets in which it holds 30 MHz of licensed PCS A-F spectrum, thus could potentially set aside that “surplus” 10 MHz for a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel in those 30 MHz markets.
And that is just about where we left off at the end of part one.   To continue, in the top 100 markets, Sprint holds 30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in 54 of those markets. Those are the markets in which Sprint could most readily utilize a 10 MHz “surplus” for a second LTE channel. See the graph of Sprint markets with “surplus” spectrum and note those markets which hit 10 MHz:     So, Sprint ostensibly could augment capacity with a second LTE channel in only about half of all top 100 markets (including just 11 of the top 20 markets). That could be a problem for those other major markets necessarily left out. But, as hinted at the end of part one, that problem would be solvable through a spectrum and LTE network sharing agreement with another carrier. And, yes, that other carrier would be T-Mobile. To be clear, it would not be a merger. Both carriers would continue to operate separately, but they would share the same LTE network on Sprint’s Network Vision platform. So, let us focus on “how” such an arrangement could be possible through Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s compatible spectrum holdings.   First, T-Mobile, too, holds “surplus” PCS A-F block spectrum. T-Mobile operates its 2G GSM network exclusively in its PCS spectrum, reserving its AWS 2100+1700 MHz licenses for its 3G/4G W-CDMA network overlay. Similar to Sprint, T-Mobile can and does operate its (GSM) network in only 20 MHz of spectrum in many very large markets (e.g. New York, Los Angeles, Boston, etc.). Also similar to Sprint, T-Mobile is licensed 30 MHz (or more) of PCS spectrum in many top 100 markets. See the graph of T-Mobile “surplus” PCS A-F spectrum; again, note the 10 MHz (or more) markets:     Something interesting happens when we combine the first two graphs. If Sprint and T-Mobile were to have joint access to their “surplus” PCS A-F spectrum, the number of markets in which a prospective LTE network partnership would have at least 10 MHz of spectrum for a second LTE channel rises to 81 markets (including all top 10 markets and 18 of the top 20). See the combined graph:     Better yet, because of the particular combinations of PCS A-F licenses that Sprint and T-Mobile hold and the oft symbiotic ways that those licenses line up, a Sprint-T-Mobile partnership could actually roll out a 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE channel in top 20 markets Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle – matching or even exceeding the LTE deployments of VZW and AT&T in those markets.   Furthermore, T-Mobile subscribers are increasingly adopting W-CDMA capable devices, thereby shifting much of their usage to the W-CDMA overlay and reducing the load on the GSM network. As a result, if T-Mobile could pare down its GSM spectrum utilization to 10 MHz per market, then T-Mobile could contribute 20 MHz of “surplus” spectrum in its 30 MHz (or more) PCS markets. And the Sprint-T-Mobile spectrum complement would go through the roof. The LTE partnership would then have sufficient spectrum to launch a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel in all top 100 markets. And the markets in which it could deploy a 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE channel would swell to include the eight aforementioned top 20 markets plus Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Buffalo, New Orleans, Portland, Salt Lake City, Austin, et al. Again, see the combined graph (now with T-Mobile “surplus” at greater than 10 MHz):     The numbers largely speak for themselves. Together, Sprint and T-Mobile could take advantage of their complementary spectrum to build a broader, higher capacity LTE network than either could alone. So, that is “how” a partnership could materialize. Next time, we will delve into “why” a Sprint-T-Mobile spectrum and LTE network sharing agreement would make a lot of sense for both carriers. A preview of one very big reason “why” – yes, the impending LTE iPhone.   Sources: FCC, author’s notes

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Spectrum Analysis...Does Sprint have more options for additional LTE carriers?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 10:01 AM MST   Within the wireless industry and among wireless enthusiasts, it is fairly common knowledge that Verizon Wireless (VZW) and AT&T Mobility (AT&T) have landed Boardwalk and Park Place, respectively, in terms of wireless spectrum for LTE deployment. (Pardon the Monopoly…er, duopoly pun.) VZW has huge Upper 700 MHz C block 22 MHz licenses that it holds nationwide. And AT&T has a not quite as consistently strong but still substantial collection of Lower 700 MHz B block 12 MHz and C block 12 MHz licenses that it can span together in many markets for a similarly large bandwidth LTE network.   In order to compete with VZW’s and AT&T’s LTE deployments, Sprint has put together a multi-pronged course of action. Sprint is rolling out its Network Vision platform this year, utilizing its “green field” PCS G block 10 MHz nationwide licenses to deploy an initial 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel.
Sprint has inked a deal to host LightSquared’s L-band Ancillary Terrestrial Component LTE bandwidth on the Network Vision platform.
Sprint plans to “refarm” its rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum for LTE as the former Nextel iDEN network is shut down over the next two years.
Sprint expects to gain TD-LTE capacity in major markets once Clearwire starts to shift its focus from WiMAX to LTE.
  However, the LightSquared agreement appears to be living on borrowed time, since LightSquared has failed to solve the ATC interference issues required to satisfy its FCC waiver. And neither SMR 800 MHz spectrum nor Clearwire TD-LTE is likely to be widely available until 2013 or 2014.     Sprint LTE Deployment to Earn an A, B, or C?   So, Sprint could stand pat with its planned 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE roll out (while VZW launches 10 MHz x 10 MHz in all of its LTE markets, AT&T in most of its LTE markets). Or, better yet, Sprint could add a fifth prong to its plan of attack: Sprint leverages its existing PCS A-F block spectrum assets for an additional LTE channel in many top markets.   At the first FCC PCS 1900 MHz auction that ended almost 17 years ago in early spring 1995, Sprint and its partners came away the big winners, acquiring PCS A block 30 MHz or B block 30 MHz licenses across an overwhelming majority of the 49 MTAs that make up the 50 states. Today, Sprint retains its full 30 MHz allotment in greater than 24 major markets, including seven of the top 10 markets. Furthermore, Sprint has acquired additional spectrum in six other major markets to increase its licensed PCS A-F bandwidth in those as well to 30 MHz. And, finally, Sprint has three other major markets in which it retains or has acquired just under 30 MHz of PCS spectrum. I call these three groups, respectively, “original,” “accumulated,” and “borderline” 30 MHz PCS A-F bandwidth markets.   For a rundown of these Sprint markets and their PCS spectrum holdings, view the linked spreadsheet. Or click here to download Excel version.     What is the magic amount of spectrum needed?   So, you might ask, “Why is 30 MHz the magic number?” Well, actually, 20 MHz is the greater figure of merit, while 30 MHz represents a latently important 10 MHz above and beyond that core 20 MHz bandwidth.   If you examine Sprint’s PCS A-F spectrum holdings nationwide, you find that the minimum bandwidth that Sprint holds in almost any major market is 20 MHz, which is sufficient spectrum for six (or, in some cases, seven) CDMA2000 carrier channels plus guard bands. Such 20 MHz bandwidth markets include Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, etc. With Sprint’s cell site density achieved over the last 15 years, 20 MHz seems to represent a sufficient bandwidth “floor.”   For example, on a recent trip to Chicago, I noted that Sprint is operating at or near the maximum carrier channel capacity of its 20 MHz of spectrum. I encountered three CDMA1X and two EV-DO channel assignments out of a possible total of six channels. Moreover, my own empirical observations in 30 MHz markets seem to corroborate the 20 MHz bandwidth “floor.”   Kansas City is one such market, a PCS A block 30 MHz “original” market. Of course, it is Sprint’s home market, in which Sprint is a close number two in market share, thus should be a reasonably demanding market for Sprint. Even though Sprint has 30 MHz (up to 11 carrier channels) to play with in Kansas City, I encounter most regularly three CDMA1X and three EV-DO channel assignments. And those six carrier channels plus guard bands occupy 17.5 MHz out of Sprint's 30 MHz license.     Just because not all markets can do it, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done   To summarize, Sprint has demonstrated that it can successfully operate many, if not all of its CDMA2000 markets in no greater than 20 MHz of deployed bandwidth. In the 24 aforementioned “original” PCS A-F 30 MHz markets, as well as the six “accumulated” PCS A-F 30 MHz markets, Sprint thus has 10 MHz of spectrum that it could ostensibly put to use for a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE channel. Better yet, in four markets (including high tech hot beds Seattle and Austin), Sprint has “accumulated” the right combination of PCS C block and G block contiguous licenses that Sprint could actually deploy a 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE channel to match VZW and AT&T.   Even in the three “borderline” markets where Sprint holds 25-27.5 MHz of PCS A-F spectrum, Sprint might still be able to operate CDMA1X and EV-DO within 15-17.5 MHz bandwidth, once more freeing up 10 MHz for a second LTE channel. Not to mention, once Sprint launches one LTE channel, the demands on existing EV-DO channels start to ease, thereby reducing the load on the limited CDMA2000 bandwidth.   Of course, Sprint does not have enough PCS A-F block spectrum to carve out a second LTE channel in all of its markets. But there is an elegant, collaborative solution to that problem. So, stay tuned for the next article in this three part series to learn how and why a PCS LTE spectrum and network sharing agreement would fit both Sprint and its prospective network partner to a “T”…   Click link for next article     Link to Excel Spreadsheet for download   Sources: FCC, author’s notes

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Riverside/San Bernardino is scheduled to be in the Second Round of Sprint Network Vision/LTE Deployment in 2012...Good news for the Inland Empire

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, March 18, 2012 - 5:05 PM MST   Going inland to the empire! We are now prepared to tell you about another Round Two market in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012...   Riverside/San Bernardino!   Sprint's Riverside/San Bernardino market   Sprint's R/SB market basically covers all of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It also includes a portion of Imperial County that is on the north and west side of the Salton Sea. This includes the cities of Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Pomona, Palm Springs, Redlands, Indio, Yucaipa, Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Murietta, Temecula, Moreno Valley, Hemet, Perris, Barstow, Needles and Blythe. After Network Vision is complete, there will be 555 sites in this market.   Sprint's Riverside/San Bernardino Market. There are 550+ Network Vision sites shown for the R/SB market in this map. Click on image to enlarge.   We would love to give you the date, but...   There is absolutely no way for S4GRU to be able to provide a start date for this market, or any of the Second Round 2012 markets that will be announced after these. We are announcing these markets to you for your information, to give Sprint customers a rough idea of when these second round markets can be anticipated.   There is absolutely no guarantee of the order in which these markets come live, because there is a lot of variability in the plan. The most significant variable being how quickly the preceding market before it wraps up. If things go quickly in the preceding market, work may start early. Things go late, these would likely start late. And to complicate start dates in each market, Sprint has said they may elect to slow down Network Vision in future quarters if cash flow becomes strained.   Sprint has three different OEM vendors, with several different crews in many markets at once. There could be final permitting and design delays, some vendors and/or crews will work at different speeds, weather issues and any number of unforeseen circumstances to complicate matters even further. First round market starts are much easier to predict, but second round and third round markets starts are increasingly difficult to predict and put dates to. This is likely the reason why Sprint has elected not to announce these markets themselves at this time. But we know you don't want to wait for Sprint to tell you! With these caveats understood, we are releasing the Network Vision second round markets in the order that they are anticipating to start deployment, based on the schedules as they exist to date. Photo of Riverside skyline courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   We won't stop digging for you!   Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to do so in a series of articles over the next few weeks. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear very tentative and subject to change. With the many variables to sort out between now and 2013. Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc.   With the release of the Riverside/San Bernardino market today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 31. We have have a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List.   Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Monday we will be releasing the next two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about it in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time on Sunday evening. Come join us!   Photo of Downtown San Bernardino courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.   Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Riverside/San Bernardino Market map! Thank you!

S4GRU

S4GRU

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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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