by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 3:43 PM MDT
BAD NEWS: The majority of BTA's (Basic Trading Areas) that do not have service now, are not likely to get a 4G Protection Site. The reason: Clearwire subleases its EBS spectrum from colleges and school districts. Almost all of the subleased EBS BTA's already meet the FCC Minimum Coverage requirements.
In the ones outstanding, either the Educational Spectrum holder has either, A) Not yet transferred their license to Clearwire, and thus, Clearwire is not subject to the FCC Minimum Coverage requirement yet, or, the Educational Spectrum holder already has a network deployed that meets the FCC Minimum Coverage requirements and thus the license is already protected (which is what I suspect is the case in Columbia, South Carolina).
In the case of a BTA with no coverage at all at this point, you will likely not ever see a Protection Site. Most likely these areas will not see Sprint 4G until Network Vision comes to your market. Hopefully October 7th will shed a little light on this.
Click to Enlarge Map.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 29, 2011
For those of you who have tried to upload Sensorly results on 4G WiMax Protection Sites while Sprint roaming, I now know why your results aren't posting.
Sensorly does not post roaming results. They only post native service. For instance, if your device is posting 3G data, it looks to see what network you are on. If you are on your native network, the results show up on the Sensorly coverage map. If you are on a roaming network, the results don't post. They only want native coverage reflected for carriers because roaming deals change and PRL's revise all the time. Native coverage is more consistent.
When it comes to 4G WiMax reporting, Sensorly is still checking your EVDO connection to Sprint to verify whether you are native or roaming. Therefore, if you connect to a 4G WiMax network while roaming off the Sprint network, Sensorly's servers think you are actually roaming and does not report your results to the coverage map.
This only affects newer WiMax devices, like the Evo 3D, the Epic Touch, Photon, etc. Older WiMax devices like the Epic and Evo currently will not connect to WiMax when off the Sprint network at all. However, according to a Sprint engineer, this will be remedied in a future OTA for older WiMax devices.
Here is the full slideshow from today's Network Vision Strategy Update from Sprint, in PDF form.
Click on Image above to launch slideshow.
The file is also available for download in the S4GRU Download Center.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates October 19, 2011
LTE DEPLOYMENT NOTE: Did you know that Sprint is not necessarily starting their LTE deployment in WiMax areas first? In this slide, it shows that in the first year of LTE deployment there will be 123 Million covered. Only 67 Million overlapping with WiMax.
That means 56 Million with LTE coverage from Sprint in 2012 are in Non-WiMax areas. Presumably places like Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Louisville, New Orleans, Buffalo, Birmingham, Tucson, Tulsa, Albuquerque, Omaha, Dayton and Des Moines!
Rickie Smith Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 8:01 PM MDT
Have you wanted SDC (Sprint Direct Connect), but the phones that it is on doesn’t have the features you want? According to internal Sprint sources revealed to PhoneNews.com, it may be available as an app for select Android phones soon. This would allow you to talk in the walkie-talkie like fashion through your Android based phone to users of SDC or NDC (Nextel Direct Connect).
The app, called Sprint DirectConnect Now, will enable all of the current features found on SDC service without the need for dedicated hardware. Also it may feature the possibility to enable the long-promised Push-to-X features that never materialized on the previous generation of the platform.
Another key element to this version of DirectConnect is that the Android app can be ported easily to other Android devices in Sprint’s lineup. QChat itself is now platform agnostic, meaning that it can be deployed to other smartphone platforms such as BlackBerry, Windows Phone and even iOS, provided carriers that have rolled out QChat show enough interest in providing the service as an app in place of launching dedicated devices. Currently there are some apps out there that are walkie-talkie-like (TiKL, Voxer, etc.) but they are all internet-based. This will bridge it out to older Nextel phones and newer ones alike that aren’t Android based and without the dedicated software.
Qualcomm General Manager of QChat Visha Gupta said to PhoneNews.com last September, "the changes to QChat and the DirectConnect Now Android app is the direct result of the latest changes to the platform which frees it from the previous hardware requirements that were necessary with the version that was shelved in 2009 and turns QChat into a fully functioning push to talk service without the need to develop customized hardware around it, which was the biggest reason manufacturers were hesitant to include support into devices such as smartphones, due to the added expense and cost for integration with the previous version."
Another point of what has leaked is that International Direct Connect over CDMA and SDC will launch around the same time as this app. Could this be what Sprint was waiting for to start marketing SDC to business and pubic safety users as the replacement to the traditional Nextel Direct Connect? All their marketing now is geared around iPhone and unlimited data plans right now to gain shares in that area of the market. The app roll out could be a great way to integrate the rugged phone users to the business driven Android users together and boost Sprint’s subscriber numbers up and also help expedite the transfer of customers off the Nextel IDEN network. Could this come as part of the LTE phone roll out? Will keep an eye on it to see what will come.
More details are said to be released to the public in the coming weeks.
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.
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
by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 7:51 PM MST
According to the thecellphonejunkie.com, prices for the new Sprint Galaxy Nexus LTE is to be $200 and the new LG Viper 4G LTE is to be $100. They will more likely be $199 and $99 respectively.
It looks like Sprint is trying to undercut Verizon's pricing. However, I would fully expect that Verizon will more than likely have lowered it's price to match Sprint's by the time they get their LTE devices released. The source link reports that the model is to be 16GB, however, Sprint confirmed today that they are selling only the 32GB model.
One key differentiator between the Verizon and Sprint models is that Sprint's Galaxy Nexus will have Google Wallet from the get-go. Verizon specifically has ordered their Nexii without Google Wallet. Though workarounds exist for Verizon customers to force it.
Also, it turns out that the reported 1.5GHz dual core processor info leaked last week was a typo. The Sprint model of the galaxy Nexus will be 1.2GHz dual core, just like the Verizon model. This information came out of the Sprint CES Event this evening at the Venetian. Hopefully more juicy info to follow.
Photos courtesy of phonenews.com
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 8:51 PM MST
Today, Sprint's President of Network Operations, Steve Elfman, commented that Sprint is going to bring its new 4G LTE to its Prepaid Divisions in the future. Not only that, but he took a moment at CES to confirm that they plan to keep unlimited into the future as a way for Sprint to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Sprint will likely wait to bring LTE to prepaid when it's LTE network is built out much farther, as well as when the device line up can support it. Especially with entry level LTE devices.
Sprint's first devices expected this summer will be flagship and mid-level price points. However, Sprint has announced that they will be releasing between 12 and 15 new LTE devices in 2012. It's also anticipated that Sprint will release 4G LTE devices to their MVNO partners at some time in the future.
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by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 1:35 PM MST
In the Citi 2012 Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse spoke to investors. In his comments, Mr. Hesse included some breaking news for Network Vision.
Dan Hesse announced that Network Vision will be launched in 10 markets by the end of June. This would include 4G-LTE deployments. He said it will be in 4 primary markets and 6 unnamed smaller markets. He named the primary markets as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta. I wonder what the smaller markets will be?
Mr. Hesse discussed that the LTE Sprint is currently deploying is in the PCS G-Block, where they only have enough spectrum for one 5x5 FD-LTE carrier. He said that Sprint's goal is to get to 10x10 LTE carriers, through carrier aggregation advancements that will be available in 2013/2014 time frame with LTE Advanced.
Sprint will be deploying Voice on 800MHz initially in one carrier with Network Vision deployments now under way. Sprint devices with CDMA capability on 800MHz will be able to use them right away. Later LTE will be added on 800MHz too as iDEN is fully decommissioned. 800MHz voice coverage will significantly expand coverage and reduce burdensome roaming costs to Sprint.
"The technology to do Network Vision just did not exist a few years ago," Mr.Hesse said when speaking about the timing of Network Vision. He reiterated that this is the earliest time all the technological advancements are ready and mature enough to handle a rapid nationwide deployment. And we here at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates are hoping they indeed are going to be rapid!
Mr. Hesse acknowledged that the iDEN network has been a huge financial and resource drain on Sprint and since the merger they "have been kicking the can down the road" with iDEN. He says this philosophy is now coming to an end with Network Vision underway.
He warned investors that churn rates will go up now that they are removing Nextel customers from the iDEN network and trying to get them on to the new Sprint Direct Connect network. But decommissioning iDEN is more core to Sprint's long term strategies in reducing cost, simplifying the network andrepurposing the iDEN spectrum for LTE and voice.
Even though significant post-paid churn is going to result from the removal of the iDEN network, the cost savings are going to more than pay for those lost revenues. Mr. Hesse went on to say that iDEN decommissioning will add $5 Billion of savings that will go to fund the back half of Network Vision.
Mr. Hesse also made some comments about the LightSquared drama. He said that Sprint has put all activity in regards to integration and work on theLightSquared LTE network on hold. He said Sprint is ready and prepared to resume with LightSquared should progress be made. However, as Mr. Hesse proceeded, he played up Sprint's position with Clearwire as its long term spectrum resource.
Dan also mentioned that iPhone financial details will be coming out at the end of the month. In response to a question about Unlimited Data, Mr. Hesse mentioned that Sprint is planning to maintain unlimited offerings for the forseeable future. But warned that after Network Vision is deployed, Sprint may look at ways of identifying and removing unlimited data users who are abusing the system. You folks who tether your phones as your home ISP are on notice!
Sprint Market Maps of the announced markets:
Dallas. DFW Sprint market. Click image for full view.
Houston. Houston Sprint market. Click image for full view.
San Antonio. San Antonio Sprint market. Click image for full view.
Atlanta. Atlanta/Athens Sprint market. Click image for full view.
EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market maps.
SprintFeed.com is reporting a rumor from an internal source that Sprint is getting the massive Samsung Galaxy Note. The slightly awkward and obese brother to the Samsung Galaxy SII series is larger than any smartphone, but smaller than 7" tablets.
What is not known at this time is what kind of network Sprint's model of the Note would support. Would it be 3G only? Would it run on the nearly obsolete 4G WiMax? Perhaps LTE? Yeah, I know that the LTE idea is far fetched, but I had to throw it out there.
Sprint is likely to make this announcement at CES next week in Las Vegas.
Engadget reveals that a Sprint ad has shown up on the CNET website pushing a LTE Galaxy Nexus. Wow. Now I'm excited. That was not expected. And also, it says it has a 1.5GHz dual core processor, beefier than the GSM and Verizon model with 1.2GHz dual core. This seems too good to be true.
Of course, we want some details! When is it going on sale? What frequencies of LTE will it support? Is it not coming out until summer, like previously announced? Is the LTE part a typo? Details, Dan! C'mon!!!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Saturday, January 7, 2012 - 6:51 AM MST
DISCLAIMER: This is unverified. It sounds great, and hopefully true. But I am not vouching for it's validity...
I awoke to the sound of e-mails pinging in my inbox on my Epic 4G Touch on my nightstand. Several S4GRU readers tipping me off to a new YouTube video sporting some Sprint 4G LTE speed tests.
The results are quite impressive. Download speeds over 40MB, and upload speeds around 5MB. The poster says that upload speeds are currently capped at 5MB. This is off a single 5x5 FD-LTE carrier. Even though the results are from a completely unburdened network, what excites me is this is faster than a 5x5 LTE carrier is anticipated to perform.
AT&T has deployed 5x5 LTE carriers in Chicago and is getting 20+MB download speeds from it. And that is with some burden. But even AT&T's LTE network is in its infancy at the moment with not a lot of users.
The poster even goes on to download two large files simultaneously and do a speed test and still got a very respectable 35MB download speed. I cannot even do that with my home ISP. Not even close.
You can expect Sprint's LTE speeds to come down drastically once they start to actually be burdened with real life users. One source says that Sprint is still deciding on speeds to advertise, but said they will likely be 5MB - 10MB download speeds, with bursts over 15MB. Still very respectable. And in comparison to Sprint's 3G network, I think we can all be happy with that.
Also, do not read too much in the Speed Test saying the tester is in Houston. He says he is in San Antonio. And that's believable. When I tether my laptop to my Sprint 3G here in New Mexico, the speed test website says I'm in Dallas or Houston, when obviously I'm in New Mexico.
Sprint officially announces three new 4G LTE devices. The Galaxy Nexus LTE, which was rumored last week is now confirmed. Also another smartphone, the LG Viper 4G LTE and a new MiFi hotspot that will run on 3G, WiMax and LTE. Exciting developments today!
The LG Viper 4G LTE...
The Sierra Tri-Network MiFi Hotpot with 3G, WiMax and LTE
The Galaxy Nexus LTE...
Click image to enlarge
Sprint is now officially announcing the Galaxy Nexus LTE! Also, in the link Sprint announces it's second LTE device, the LG Viper LTE. Exciting.
Click on image to enlarge
Sascha Segan of PC Mag is out with a quick hands-on review of the new Sprint LTE/WiMax/3G EVDO hotspot that was announced at CES.
Here are some excerpts from the review:
Sprint Nextel Schedules Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2011 Results Announcement
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 11, 2012 - Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE: S) will release its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2011 on Wednesday, February 8. The results will be posted at www.sprint.com/investors at approximately 7 a.m. ET. Sprint Nextel management will host a conference call at 8 a.m. ET to discuss the results.
Sprint Nextel Conference Call Information
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Time: 8 a.m. ET Call-in Numbers:
Toll free: 800-938-1120 (US/Canada) – ID required: 40556064 International: 706-634-7849 – ID required: 40556064
Please plan on gaining access 10 minutes before the start of the call.
A simultaneous webcast will be available at www.sprint.com/investors. Please note that questions may only be submitted through the conference call option. Replays of the conference call will be available shortly afterward by calling 800-585-8367 and entering the code: 40556064.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:49 AM MST
On Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas, Sprint VP of Product Development, David Owens declared that Sprint "won't be introducing anymore WiMax smartphones." Sprint will be focusing its product development efforts from here forward on it's LTE line up. Mr. Owens further went on to say, "April, May, June, July, August, those will be very aggressive times for us". Is this some indication that we can expect LTE devices to start selling in April? Let's hope so!
Although the end of WiMax device releases is not a surprising move, there have been rumors of at least one more WiMax device hitting the market. Perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Note. Now those rumors have been squelched. Although the Note still may appear on the Now Network this year, it would likely be an LTE variant.
Sprint will continue to roll out future hotspots with WiMax support in tandem with 4G LTE, like the Sierra Wireless hotspot unveiled this week at CES. However, the end of the road has been reached for WiMax and smartphones. It's kind of sad to consider, but we all have high hopes for Sprint's future LTE network. Except for maybe some of you haters! :azn:
David Owens went on to say that Sprint is not wild about Windows Phone at the moment saying that Microsoft is not doing enough to promote the product. He said that Sprint may carry Windows Phone products in the future as the OS matures, but not in the very near future. My guess is this has more to do with Sprint trying to make sure that they don't further divide up sales that could go to the iPhone. Sprint has a lot of iPhone sales to make in the next four years.
In perhaps the best news of all, Mr. Owens said that Sprint is being more cautious in its announcements for Network Vision and LTE build out. Instead of under delivering on it promises like in the past with 4G WiMax, Sprint is focusing on under promising and over delivering with its new 4G LTE network. The first few markets are going to be announced slowly in the first half of 2012, with a ramp up in the second half of the year.
Photo Courtesy of Engadget
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates- Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 11:21 AM MST
In a conference call yesterday with investors, Sprint Regional Affiliate, Shenandoah Telecommunications (aka Shentel) provided a little more clarity with their Network Vision and LTE plans for the next 24 months, as well as some details of their new agreement with Sprint Nextel. "The amendment creates a win-win situation for both Sprint Nextel and Shentel and allows us to upgrade our network in accordance with Sprint’s Network Vision plans," stated Christopher French, Shentel President and CEO
Network Vision in Greater Shenandoah...
"Planning and preconstruction work is already underway, and we expect to start our deployment late in the second quarter," continued Mr. French. Shentel also stated that new Network Vision sites will start to come live in their service areas in the 3rd Quarter 2012. This will include LTE on 1900 PCS G-block.
800MHz deployment will begin at some point after iDEN is decommissioned in Shentel service areas, improving in building service and overall coverage. Shentel is planning for additional capacity, as they anticipate growing subscriber growth from iDEN conversions and increased customer demand response from improving network conditions.
Alcatel/Lucent is the Network Vision partner for Sprint in the region and will also provide NV services and equipment to Shentel. Shentel will be able to purchase network equipment and services from Alcatel Lucent at the same price they are sold to Sprint.
Shentel is upgrading backhaul at every one of their 510 cell sites to microwave or fiber, allowing considerably more backhaul than they need at the moment. This will allow the backhaul to be scalable for future expansion. At some tower sites, where possible, Shentel will even provide their own fiber connection. Estimating possibly as high as 30% of their sites will be connected to their own fiber network. Shentel actually has been slowly upgrading their sites to fiber for the past few years within their past capex schemes.
All this work, costs lots of money...
Shentel estimates that Network Vision upgrades will cost the Sprint regional affiliate approximately $115 Million through 2013. Mr. French loosely committed, "Shentel will use our best efforts to complete the upgrade by December 31, 2013." Shentel is planning to get over half of their network converted this year. Just under 300 sites are identified for conversion in 2012, with the remaining 200 to be completed in 2013.
"Our current contract has limits on the level of capital expenditures that Sprint can require Shentel to make in our network. Those limits remain in effect." I'm sure that Shentel needs to have some sort of limit in place, but this quote caused me pause. What is the limit? It was not disclosed in this call.
The new agreement allows Shentel to actively convert existing Sprint Nextel iDEN customers directly over to Shentel CDMA customers. And at a later date this year, Shentel Direct Connect (based on Sprint Direct Connect). Mr. French clarified, "Shentel will benefit from the migration of adding customers in our service area. Sprint will have a migration plan to move the postpaid and prepaid customers currently on the iDEN network, and we anticipate this will begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2013."
The new agreement also allows Shentel to host companies like LightSquared. Should Sprint ever make a hosting agreement with another company, or if LightSquared should ever get legs under it, then Shentel will be able to also host and get paid for this hosting as well.
The newly implemented affiliate contract extends the Shentel/Sprint agreement through 2024, with provisions in place for two ten year contact extensions.
Thanks to S4GRU Member Rawvega for tipping me off to the transcripts of this conference call.
by Scott Johnson Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 2:00 PM MST
The iPhone is something many people see as a status symbol. Many who have never owned one, long for their upgrade date so they can go out and buy the "exclusive" iPhone that they have been denied access to for years. Even some who had the iPhone, and then switched carriers, long to repurchase another. Yes, the iPhone is a well made smartphone with access to a loaded app store, and has many desirable features. But is it really better than Windows Phone, Blackberry or Android models?
When Apple entered into a contract with AT&T, they remanufactured the RAZR craze and how the artificial scarcity of the device created such huge demand. The RAZR was a good device, and you may argue it was well ahead of other phones at the time of its release, but the other manufacturers caught up quickly. Apple used a similar strategy and it has paid off immensely. The iPhone is now available on the top 3 carriers in the U.S., but is still seen as a status symbol in many circles. As if only a few people have access to it. One could make a strong argument that the Samsung Galaxy SII is a superior smartphone, but still many customers line up to get the iPhone instead, because their inner hoarder says they NEED it, and the products perceived coolness and limited availability only add to the whole experience.
The concept of artificial scarcity is simple. You take a product that is plentifully available to manufacture in mass, but limit distribution to a limited time, limited area, or in the case of the iPhone, limited retail outlets.
The strategy has worked perfect for Disney. Why let your movies make the gradual descent to the $3.99 Wal-Mart bargain bin? Just keep "taking them out of the vault" and offering them at full price for a few months every couple years and people pull their credit cards out to pay $17.99 for an 85 year old movie and thank Disney for "allowing" them the opportunity to purchase Snow White. Oh, and you get to be a part of a limited privileged club.
Another notable example is McDonald's McRib. If it was on the menu full time, many people either wouldn't bother going to McDonalds or would order something else, but artificial scarcity commands us to rush in to McDonalds and get several McRibs at a time because we won't have another chance at it for another year. What do we end up with, besides a belly ache and a reason why we don't normally eat at McDonalds?
We should be immune to this form of advertising by now, as we are constantly inundated with limited time availability and special edition products all around us. However it is still alive and well here on Planet Earth, because it still works. Big time.
Can Apple keep the air of exclusivity over its iPhone as it continues to broaden its distribution? Or will smartphone buyers move on to other devices? Only time will tell. But many doubt that Apple will play its hand as well in an era post Steve Jobs.
Photos Courtesy of iPhone5rumor.net
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 1:15 AM MST
Last month, Sprint announced that Network Vision and LTE Deployment is under way in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates can confirm that Network Vision and LTE Deployment is well underway in Chicago also. As well as a few communities in Northeast Iowa.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates was able to receive information from internal Sprint documents that have not been released to the public. Unfortunately, the documentation will not be released here at the request of the source.
The fact that Sprint is actively deploying Network Vision and LTE in Chicago isn’t a complete surprise. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates announced this on October 28th when a Samsung VP let the cat out of the bag that they were beginning LTE deployment that day in Chicago for Sprint. But we stood amazed when Dan Hesse announced the first four LTE cities last month and did not mention Chicago. What gives, I remembered thinking.
Network Vision/LTE being deployed in Chicago in clusters
We can confirm that Samsung is indeed actively working throughout Chicagoland on Network Vision and LTE Deployment, as well as many things in preparation. Network Vision is occurring in the Greater Chicago area in clusters, instead of one citywide deployment. This could be the reason why Chicago has not been announced with the other cities, as the deployment may not be totally complete in the whole area for some time.
One of the issues in Chicago for Sprint is new fiber optic backhaul. CenturyLink is providing a new OC-48 fiber optic link for Sprint Network Vision cell sites. This fiber optic link is anticipated in Mid-February. After this is in place, many DS-3 subfeeds to the cell sites will need to be placed, and this will take another 60 days to complete. In some places the enhanced backhaul may arrive before Samsung overhauls the cell site with Network Vision, in other places afterwards. At sites where the backhaul arrives before Samsung, the enhanced backhaul may stay there unused until the site is overhauled.
Even as Network Vision is underway, additional capacity is still being added
Even though Sprint is actively working to bring enhanced backhaul to cell sites in Chicago, they are still deploying additional T1 backhaul to augment existing sites to help improve performance prior to Network Vision rework. Some orders for T1’s placed for other sites that are performing acceptably may be reallocated to underperforming locations. Significant performance improvements should be noticed in February as T1 lines that have been backordered for months will start occurring en masse. A large focus of capacity adds are in the Loop Area.
Other things noted in the documents include, 3G-EVDO performance has improved where additional carrier and backhaul upgrades have been recently completed. However, some problem areas still exist and will not be fixed when the sites in the area are converted to Network Vision. Chicago is a Capacity Constrained Market for Sprint. Nearly 50% of all the Sprint cell sites in the Chicago area have carrier deployment exhausting all the available licensed spectrum.
More specifically, many locations in Downtown Chicago, Aurora, Elgin and Des Plaines will likely require additional cell site deployments in order to increase performance. There are too many users in these cells to accommodate with additional carriers and backhaul alone. Smaller cells will be the only solution in these areas. The Downtown Loop is specifically highly strained due to its density. In the Loop, not only will additional cells be required, but Sprint has also identified 5 locations to deploy Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to increase capacity.
Sprint deploying several things to relieve data burden, including forced WiMax offload
Other items Sprint is pursuing to help alleviate data speed and performance issues in Chicago are commercial Femtocells, WiFi and forced WiMax data offload. Femtocells are being deployed at Willis Tower for United Airlines. Each Femtocell will accommodate up to 200 users, but can only hand off to the external macro Sprint network. They can cannot ‘hand-in’, so to speak. Sprint is working with Cisco on deploying WiFi in several key identified locations.
However, the most notable solution that Sprint is looking to employ is forced WiMax offload. In Sprint devices that have WiMax capability, Sprint may force the devices to run in 4G WiMax mode. The details of how they would do it were not disclosed. Would they push a device update that would give them this capability? The forced WiMax offload would only occur when the device tries to use data. Presumably the devices would stay in a WiMax hibernation state until needed.
For you Sprint customers in Chicago, the Cavalry is coming. It may be late, in many respects, but it is going to be thorough and comprehensive. Sprint isn’t just throwing up Network Vision on every tower and hopes it fixes the experience for its customers. Sprint is actively throwing everything it has to improve its network. And all these different solutions are what it’s going to take. Stay tuned!
EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market map.
EDITED 5/4/2012: Strike out of NE Iowa communities. When this first draft of this article was written, it did not include any info about Northeast Iowa. It was only about the Chicago market based on documents we seen.
However, just prior to publishing, we were contacted by a source about Network Vision equipment deliveries that were occurring in several communities in NE Iowa and St. Cloud, Minnesota. At that time, not knowing as much about NV deployment as we do now, S4GRU made the assumption that Network Vision was beginning in those markets and chose to add NE Iowa to the article. We have since learned that NV Equipment deliveries (especially by Samsung) are happening far, far in advance in many locations. NV Equipment deliveries have very little bearing on the actual NV schedule.
Also since the date this article was published we have seen national NV schedules and local NV schedules. We know definitively that even though equipment has landed in NE Iowa for Samsung to use in the future, NV has not begun in that market (to date). Planning, permitting and design are not even complete in that area. There will likely not be any NV deployment in any of the Iowa markets until 2013. Minnesota will start sooner, though.
This point is one of the reasons why we no longer publish anything anymore based upon verbal communication, but only on things we see ourselves. Sorry for the confusion and disappointment this causes. S4GRU is committed to bringing you the most accurate information. I hope you appreciate the fact that we correct and update our articles when we learn of more accurate info. Thanks.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 7:51 PM MST
Tim Godsil wants you to sign his petition. What petition do you ask? The petition he started on the Change.org website to motivate Sprint to carry the mega-sized Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone. The Android powered, not-quite tablet, not-quite smartphone is making many waves this season. If all the hype turns into sales, Samsung has the making of a new iconic smartphone series. And dozens of knock-offs will occur.
The Galaxy Note has been announced for the AT&T network here in the United States. However, Samsung and Sprint have yet to announce a model for the Now Network. The blogosphere has been active with rumors of the Galaxy Note coming to Sprint, and possibly Verizon as well. Maybe even with a different name, like the Journal.
Most likely the decision for Sprint to carry the Note has already been made months ago, whether for, or against. And it may be too late for Sprint to get the Note if the process has not already been started. If product development of the Note for the Now Network should just get started now, it would likely be obsolete by the time it got to Sprint store shelves.
It never hurts to sign the petition, though, right? I signed it. Decisions to make big changes can occur from the grassroots from folks like us. So, if the thought of a Samsung Galaxy Note (especially if it has LTE) gets your motor started, then follow this link to the petition and sign yourself up.
Heck, even if you don't want a Note for yourself, go and sign the petition anyway. More device choices is good for all of us. And maybe the next petition will be for a device you want. And we will be there to sign yours too. Join the rebellion...sign the petition!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 10:13 PM MST
LightSquared has now been in the tech news headlines for two days in a row. Yesterday, it was announced that the FCC is opening up a public comment period for the LightSquared Terrestrial LTE network and today it was announced that Sprint extended LightSquared’s deadline by another 45 days. Both are seen as good news for the beleaguered would-be 4G LTE network wholesaler.
Dan Hesse has ordered a 45 day stay of execution for LightSquared Agreement
Sprint’s original deadline with LightSquared was for them to get FCC approval to run a terrestrial LTE network that runs on satellite L band frequencies no later than December 31, 2011. However, when LightSquared could not meet the deadline, Sprint agreed to extend the deadline to January 31, 2012.
As the clock on the previous extension neared expiration today, Sprint has now announced another 45-day extension for LightSquared to get FCC approval. The new deadline is March 15, 2012. Although, there is not much harm in Sprint extending the deadlines for LightSquared. Sprint previously announced that they put the LightSquared LTE integration into Network Vision on hold. Sprint’s Network Vision and their own LTE deployment is proceeding without LightSquared at this point.
Since Sprint would have to restart a LightSquared integration program in the future should the FCC finally give approval, it doesn’t really much matter whether the FCC approves on March 14th, April 22nd or May 31st. It, of course, would matter a lot to LightSquared when the approval comes, though. LightSquared is steadily bleeding its remaining funds and is in a difficult position that it will likely not be able to raise new funding until the FCC grants the approval it desperately seeks.
Why wouldn’t Sprint extend it, again?
The only reason why Sprint would not offer further extensions to LightSquared is because they either have a new partner to host with (possibly Dish Network?), or they think they can renegotiate an even better deal in the future should LightSquared finally get FCC approval and raise the appropriate funding. This is a risky proposition though, because LightSquared may start to negotiate with a new partner and leave Sprint out in the cold.
LightSquared is a potential cash cow for Sprint, and a place for additional LTE network capacity. And now given that LightSquared will now need to be integrated after Network Vision is half or nearly completely deployed, why not keep extending LightSquared indefinitely? Sprint stands to make a lot of money hosting LightSquared’s network. If the FCC ever comes around, just wipe the dust off the plans and get down to business. That is, should LightSquared ever survive long enough to get FCC approval.
FCC Opens up Public Comment Period on LightSquared Terrestrial LTE Network
In one of the few pieces of good news that LightSquared has received in the past few months, the FCC has moved forward with a Public Comment period. The public comment period will be open until February 27th, with follow up responses due by March 13th.
The public comments are not likely to produce any positive points for LightSquared directly. However, it will run the clock out farther and gives LightSquared more time and opportunity to work to solve the problems and persuade more folks about their proposed solutions.
LightSquared continues to battle the GPS industry and connected politicians for its survival on all fronts. If it can get the approvals and negate the GPS interference concerns, LightSquared’s wholesale LTE network is seen as a very critical piece in keeping mobile broadband competitive for consumers. A LightSquared LTE network allows smaller national and regional carriers the ability to have a nationwide LTE network for their customers to roam on. Giving these smaller wireless carriers a better opportunity to compete with the Big Two.
by Jeff Foster
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 7:46 PM MST
Since last fall, there had been talk of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus launching on American carriers other than Big Red. Sprint has finally announced several weeks ago that it is the another vendor slated for release in the U.S. Suffice to say, many of us out there, especially those adverse to heading to Verizon and paying its premium prices, are excited about the impending release.
The good news is that Google could be working on an updated version of the Galaxy Nexus. It has unofficially been dubbed the Galaxy Nexus Plus. There is much anticipation that it will be released before Sprint turns on LTE this summer. It’s not the first time an OEM has refreshed a device and re-released it to the market place, which works to our advantage. It’s rumored that the new Galaxy Nexus will have either a 1.5 or 1.8 GHz Texas Instrument OMAP4670 dual core processor. This would be a significant upgrade from the 1.2 GHz dual core processor found in the current Verizon version.
We don’t know anything about official specs, but it’s also rumored to have an 8 MP camera. This is a noteworthy upgrade to the 5 MP shooter on the Verizon model (which has been lauded by many techies). We already know that the Sprint model will come installed with Google Wallet, per previous announcements. Some rumors also point to a beefier battery as well. The phone should have all the other features that’s on the current Galaxy Nexus, so now all we have to do is wait.
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
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.