by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 9:59 PM MST
On AT&T’s Public Policy Blog recently, AT&T Senior Vice President Bob Quinn makes some bold claims about Sprint "disinvestment" in rural areas. But, at best, AT&T has failed to do its homework. And, at worst, the AT&T blog piece is an old fashioned hatchet job. The claims of Sprint "disinvestment" in rural areas in this case are largely contradictory to the facts. And the disparagement from AT&T is hypocritical, as it conveniently ignores AT&T’s own neglect of rural areas, especially those where it holds only PCS 1900 MHz spectrum.
The rural coverage in question in Kansas and Oklahoma was constructed and is managed by Cellular Network Partnership d/b/a Pioneer Cellular. Sprint, as part of its Sprint Rural Alliance program, assigned portions of its PCS 1900 MHz spectrum seven years ago to Pioneer so that Pioneer could greatly expand its services to adjacent rural areas.
Sprint Native Coverages with Pioneer Cellular, and then after native service ends and converting to roaming coverage. Click on image to enlarge.
And here is an excerpt from the
Sprint-Pioneer spectrum assignment application that the FCC approved in 2005:
So, Sprint enabled increased investment – not "disinvestment," as Quinn incorrectly claims – improved wireless coverage, and enhanced competition in underserved areas in Kansas and Oklahoma. Rural residents benefited, Pioneer benefited, even Sprint benefited. It was a win-win all around.
In a quid pro quo for that spectrum investment, Sprint was able to offer Pioneer footprint as pseudo native Sprint coverage. Obviously, that arrangement is coming to an end, with a more traditional roaming agreement to follow. Why? Only Sprint and Pioneer know for certain. But Pioneer has inked a pact with Verizon Wireless now, having joined VZW's LTE in Rural America program. So, that change in allegiance probably played a big role in the decision to end the Sprint-Pioneer arrangement.
Regardless, AT&T’s criticism is misplaced. Sprint's infusion of spectrum has allowed a small carrier over the past seven years to expand rural coverage and deliver 3G mobile broadband to communities in Kansas and Oklahoma that generally lack choices in wireless or even wired Internet access. That type of universally beneficial cooperation in the industry should be cheered, not derided.
And has the irony been lost on AT&T that it, too, relies upon roaming coverage in several counties in southern Kansas where Sprint-Pioneer have coverage? (see image above).AT&T lobs criticism at Sprint for soon to be roaming on Pioneer where Sprint has its own spectrum, but the same is true for AT&T. AT&T holds spectrum in these counties but has not built it out.
Moreover, if AT&T truly wants to talk about "disinvestment" in rural areas, then Quinn really should turn the mirror upon his employer. For example, AT&T and its predecessors have held PCS 1900 MHz licenses for several quite rural Basic Trading Areas in North and South Dakota for the past 15 years. The FCC five year construction requirement deadlines for those licenses came up in 2002. AT&T met its five year benchmark by deploying typically single cell site "license protection" coverage in only the largest city in each BTA, often just barely meeting the minimum 25 percent population coverage. And AT&T proceeded to stand pat on that token coverage for the better part of a decade.
To illustrate, compare an AT&T 2009 coverage map to the Aberdeen, SD and Minot, ND
BTAs buildout coverage maps filed with the FCC in 2002. In the intervening years, AT&T failed to invest beyond the minimum coverage required to retain its licenses in the Dakotas and, instead, relied upon roaming for better than 90 percent of its coverage. Yet, Quinn has the temerity to castigate Sprint for strategically using roaming partners. (Story continues below...)
AT&T Dakotas 2009 Coverage Map. Click on image to enlarge.
AT&T Aberdeen, SD 2002 Buildout Coverage Map. Click on image to enlarge.
AT&T Minot, ND 2002 buildout Coverage Map. Click on image to enlarge.
It was only once VZW acquired Alltel and was required to divest numerous properties – AT&T conveniently was the acquirer of divested Cellular 850 MHz spectrum with superior propagation characteristics and an already constructed network across the Dakotas – that AT&T finally took an active interest in both states about 18 months ago. AT&T knows all too well that PCS 1900 MHz propagation is a challenge, both technically and economically, to make work in highly rural areas. For AT&T to hold Sprint and its PCS 1900 MHz spectrum to a higher standard is really quite disingenuous.
Furthermore, the situation in the Dakotas is not an isolated occurrence. Rather, it is really a microcosm of AT&T's approach to rural deployment in general. AT&T started its 3G W-CDMA network overlay more than six years ago. And, believe it or not, AT&T still is not even close to finished. A glance over an AT&T coverage map from late 2011 shows that large swaths of 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE coverage (unstriped orange on the map) linger in Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, South Carolina, Texas (AT&T's home state, no less), Wisconsin, Washington, etc. Why has AT&T been so slow to bring the benefits of 3G W-CDMA to these areas and their residents? That is a very good question, and one that AT&T should be made to answer, especially after AT&T made such audacious claims that its failed merger with T-Mobile would have emboldened AT&T to expand rural 4G LTE deployment to 98 percent of the population. AT&T’s slow and selective 3G W-CDMA roll out would seem to suggest just the opposite. (Story continues below...)
AT&T National 2011 3G/4G Coverage Map. Click on image to enlarge.
In the end, this rebuttal is intended primarily to bring a more complete set of facts to the discussion. Nearly all wireless carriers are at least sometimes guilty of putting their own financial interests ahead of the public interest by deploying minimal “license protection” coverage, passing over low population density areas, etc. But, additionally, AT&T, in its failed T-Mobile merger bid and otherwise, has shown a disturbing corporate willingness to play fast and loose with the truth in order to achieve its aims. And, sadly, the trend continues with Quinn’s recent AT&T Public Policy Blog post. That is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Sources: FCC, AT&T, Sprint, Howard Forums
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, January 20, 2012 - 1:09 PM MST
It's a slow Sprint 4G news day. So I have been saving this write up for just such a moment. We don't want to get stale and boring here at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. Even if it means delving into the hysterical world of fantastical rumors.
A week ago, the Kansas City Business Journal broke with a story about the possibility of Sprint getting an exclusive shot to first carry the iPhone 5 with LTE. Of course, this is all rumor and conjecture. However, if you listen to the analyst Shing Yin of Guggenheim Partners he may be able to convince you otherwise. But there are many Art Bell supporters who believe in aliens too.
One of the key points cited to help support such a wild claim is the incredibly high price Sprint is paying for the iPhone. Many folks cannot fathom Sprint would pay so much without an opportunity of an exclusive release at some point. Yet the idea of Sprint getting an exclusive Apple launch product is just too much for many to even begin to comprehend.
Given the immature state that Sprint's LTE network will be in come October when the iPhone 5 is anticipated to be released, it just seems very implausible that Apple would chose Sprint as an iPhone LTE launch customer alone.
That all being said, just prior to release of the iPhone 4S, there were rumors abounding about an iPhone 5 with LTE coming out being exclusive to Sprint. There were some mock-up pictures, case photos, etc. Is it possible the sources were right, but were talking about something a year away? Stay tuned!
Thanks to S4GRU member pyroscott for posting the links in the S4GRU forums.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 10:59 PM MST
Drawings were discovered and posted in the Howard Forums this evening showing permit sets of drawings for Network Vision improvements to towers in Lawrence, Kansas. These drawings show detailed before Network Vision, transition configurations and final layouts. This gives a good technical review of exactly how the towers will modified under Network Vision.
Interestingly, it includes 1600MHz antennas shown on the plans. These were for LightSquared's LTE. When these drawings were produced over the summer, LightSquared was a part of the mix. LightSquared pre-paid Sprint $900 Million to include early planning and engineering. However, last week Sprint announced they have put all work integrating LightSquared into the Network Vision deployments on hold.
In the 10 towers shown in these permit drawings, nearly all types of towers are shown. Monopole, self supporting tower, guyed tower, rooftop/building mount, water tower, etc. Gives a good broad view of what these final Network Vision towers will look like.
The drawings show that 800MHz and 1900MHz will be deployed in the same antenna/radio combos. This was a surprise to me. Long live LTE!
Network Vision Sites - Lawrence, Kansas:
Clinton Lake Tower (SS)
Delvin Tower (SS)
Douglas County Law Enforcement Center Tower (MP)
Lawrence Hill Tower (SS)
Lecompton Tower (GT)
Plaza Storage Tower (MP)
Presbyterian Manor Tower (RF)
Spectrasite Baldwin Tower (GT)
Wakarusa Tower (MP)
Fire Water Tower (WT)
I had some problems opening links in my Chrome browser, but it was fine in Firefox, IE and Safari. Special thanks to digiblur for sending me the links!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 4:09 PM MST
Embattled LTE wholesale upstart LightSquared has written a letter to Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) and filed with the FCC blasting how Phase 1 testing was conducted on destructive interference trials between their terrestrial LTE network and high precision GPS systems.
In the letter, LightSquared starts in the first paragraph, with guns a-blazing, “As you know, from the outset, LightSquared found serious anomalies in NPEF’s test process.” Further claiming that testing was not carried out in a scientifically accurate, fair and unbiased manner.
LightSquared Executive Vice President Jeffrey Carlisle complained further in the letter that “We now know that many of the worst performing devices in the test were manufactured years ago, in some cases over a decade; in some cases are testing modules that are not sold to the general public; and in others are niche devices that would rarely, if ever, come close enough to a LightSquared base station to suffer any kind of impact.”
LightSquared requested that any future testing needs to be conducted with:
Only using the Lower 10MHz channel that LS2 is requesting use of, and
Testing needs to be at power levels not exceeding -30dBm
In its conclusions, LightSquared said that they hired their own independent testing laboratory. In the letter they claimed, “These test results demonstrate conclusively that LightSquared’s proposed mitigation solution works flawlessly for high precision (GPS) devices.” The test results will be sent to the FCC in the near future (and hopefully made public).
And this matters to Sprint, because…
LightSquared (LS2) has a LTE spectrum hosting agreement with Sprint. Where LightSquared’s LTE network will be deployed on Network Vision towers. LightSquared would pay Sprint billions for Sprint deploying and hosting LS2’s LTE network. Also under the deal, Sprint can use up to 50% of LightSquared 4G LTE capacity as a wholesale customer. Sprint has said they would only use LS2’s LTE network as additional capacity where needed and rely primarily on its own LTE network.
Sprint said last week that they have suspended any work associated with LightSquared until they can get the appropriate federal regulatory approvals. Sprint is not in the position to delay Network Vision deployment for even days at this point. Network Vision, full speed ahead. LightSquared be damned!
Things are not looking good for LightSquared. Even if science and technology are on their side. But politics are just not working to their favor at the moment. Can the underdog prevail? Stay tuned.
Sprint has currently extended LightSquared’s deadline to get federal approval until the end of January. Which is virtually impossible. We will have to see if Sprint provides another extension.
Thanks to @StevenJCrowley for Tweeting the letter.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 2:29 PM MST
OK. I'm gonna stick my neck out there, and I know there are going to be a lot of naysayers that say it can't be done. But I think I may have a solution for LightSquared that could solve their terrestrial LTE network problem.
Currently, LightSquared is trying to gain approval to deploy and operate a FD-LTE network on its L-Band spectrum. This L-Band is paired spectrum that has downlink allocated at 1525 to 1559 MHz and uplink allocated at 1625 to 1660MHz. It's in the lower section, the downlink section, where LightSquared is running into all the problems with interference with GPS.
In a FDD network, or in LightSquared's case, a FD-LTE network needs paired uplinks and downlinks. Both are needed to have two-way communication in a FDD network. However, LightSquared has run into what seems to be insurmountable resistance in the downlink section of its L-Band spectrum because of lingering GPS interference issues.
LightSquared has even offered to use only the lower portion of its downlink spectrum in order to offer more of a buffer from GPS broadcast transmissions. However, this also has not been an acceptable solution to the GPS industry, bureaucrats and many political leaders.
So here we are, LightSquared offers solution after solution that has not been accepted. And I won't get into the details and merits of LightSquared case. But what I do want to offer is a possible backup solution. TD-LTE.
TD-LTE a viable solution for LightSquared?
Everything that I have heard and read to date is that the interference issues are solely located on LightSquared's lower downlink bands. I've heard that the uplink bands are not an issue. So if 1625 to 1660MHz is available without interference, why not use that as unpaired spectrum utilizing TD-LTE?
This would not be a quick and easy solution to implement. The FCC will have to approve this unpaired spectrum for use with a TD-LTE network. Although, I can't think of why the FCC would object. It just would take a little bit to get the bloated and inefficient government moving quickly. However, the FCC may be willing to expedite, review and approve this given the difficulties LightSquared has encountered to date.
Moving to TD-LTE will cost LightSquared money and time up front. But it will likely be easier to get moving this route than the route they are going. And once things start looking good with the FCC, they would have a much easier go at raising money. It could seriously change the momentum for them, just by even making the decision.
I'm sure there are a lot of ramifications. Like getting the LTE consortium to prepare TD-LTE standards at these frequencies. There are probably a lot of device ramifications too. Some of their LTE wholesale partners may not be in favor of it, especially considering how it may affect their device plans.
However, Sprint, LightSquared's largest customer and network hoster is already planning on having TD-LTE capable devices in 2013 in conjunction with Clearwire. So this helps.
Maybe it's too late for LightSquared to make the switch? Maybe it's too complicated? Maybe it's too practical?
Or maybe, it just might work!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 3:29 PM MST
Bloomberg is reporting that billionaire Carl Icahn (with two other investors) has bought out $300 Million worth of bonds from LightSquared bondholders.
This begs the question? Icahn coming in as Savior or as a cold hearted liquidator? It seems like an odd time to all of a sudden get faith in the fledging start up that is LightSquared. So motives have to be in question, here.
Icahn is reportedly picking up the bonds on the cheap. And as bondholder, he would stand to pick up LightSquared's assets, like its state-of-the-art data satellite and beleaguered spectrum, should the company ever go belly up. However, if the FCC doesn't grant permission for LightSquared's spectrum ever to be used for a terrestrial LTE network, the spectrum is going to be worth much. The spectrum already can be used by less powerful satellite communications, like the satellite that LS2 currently has orbiting the earth.
Thanks to legion125 for the post in the forums and the link!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 4:09 PM MST
Anonymous is on the rampage! It appears that the famous (or infamous) hacking consortium is displaying its displeasure of the FBI raiding and arresting the head of MegaUpload today.
Anonymous is believed to be responsible for taking down the websites of the DOJ, White House and FBI in retaliation.
Additionally, just for good measure, Anonymous has also attacked the sites of the Universal Music, MPAA, RIAA, Copyright.com and Senator Chris Dodd's website to apparently demonstrate that it is not pleased at attempts to censor the web through efforts like the SOPA and PIPA bills.
Is it just me, or does anyone else picture the creepy record exec from South Park shouting, "I am above the law!" every time I think of SOPA and PIPA? And I don't know about you, but I use MegaUpload all the time for legitimate and legal purposes. A very high number of Android ROM and Theme developers use MegaUpload. There are probably more links to MegaUpload from the XDA website than anywhere. They better leave XDA alone!
This site definitely benefits from the ability to exercise free speech. So, here, here, I say!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, January 30, 2012 - 4:45 PM MST
In a new graphic BriefMobile.com has released (see at bottom), Sprint is claiming to begin retuning iDEN towers in Louisiana (presumably in February) and the rest of the country starting in April. But what is retuning in this instance, really?
In the graphic they are prepping Sprint CSR’s with info of what to tell iDEN PTT customers. It also mentions who can get out of ETF’s (Early Termination Fees) and when. It also mentions that there will be some loss in signal propagation and that indoor coverage may suffer after retuning. Obviously, this is much more than retuning. Retuning makes it sound like they are making changes that will have positive results.
In the long term, Sprint is going to completely decommission the iDEN system and repurpose the 800MHz ESMR spectrum it currently uses for iDEN and re-use it for 1x Advanced voice and LTE carriers. However, in the past, Sprint has said they will not even begin iDEN decommissioning until 2013. But is this graphic telling us otherwise if we read between the lines? Are they really beginning now in Louisiana and moving on to the rest of the country in April?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates has been critical in the past of Sprint for waiting until 2013 to begin iDEN decommissioning. We have said several times here and on numerous forums that it makes more sense to roll out CDMA and LTE on iDEN 800 spectrum now in Network Vision. Sprint can really benefit from expanded coverage that 800MHz will bring them, as well as having double the LTE capacity from day one. Also, there are some financial efficiencies gained for doing all this at once.
iDEN subscriber numbers are plummeting very consistently. It does not need the full 800 spectrum assets now for the iDEN network. And maybe even not at all. Sprint could possibly shunt their current iDEN subscribers off to their small 900MHz holdings to tie them over as their numbers continue to diminish. If Sprint planned the migration right, they could repurpose its entire 800MHz holdings right now in Network Vision. No need to wait until 2013 to begin.
And perhaps that’s what this graphic is telling us. Has Sprint finally got hip to a smarter strategy for Network Vision, iDEN decommissioning and 800MHz CDMA/LTE deployment? I sense an urgency in this image from Sprint. They are pushing heavily for CSRs to incentivize iDEN subscribers into either jumping over to Sprint Direct Connect (SDC) for their PTT needs, conventional Sprint CDMA or even leaving altogether without an ETF. They want these customers to scram off the iDEN network, and quickly. That much is clear.
We would love some more juicy dorky details. Like, are they just leaving a few iDEN carriers operating on 800 and allowing some re-use of 800 spectrum? Are they moving all iDEN traffic to 900 spectrum, completely? Are they doing something else that makes absolutely no sense? When can we expect 800 CDMA deployment to begin? Has it already begun? If you are a reader and you know, feel free to e-mail me, send me a private message…anything!
Although, I would love to have a Sprint to English dictionary and find out how they define “retuning.”
Special thanks to xcharles718 for posting the lead in the S4GRU forums and all our member comments.
Photos Courtesy of Sprint and BriefMobile.com
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 12:50 AM MST
On Monday of this week, we published a story about Sprint ‘retuning’ its iDEN network. We pondered what retuning meant. We now have been given a few more details. An internal source from Sprint sent us information on a slide regarding iDEN decommissioning.
Retuning basically entails complete decommissioning of many iDEN sites. Basically the iDEN towers being removed from the network are excess capacity sites added many years ago when a much larger Nextel iDEN network was planned for. With the removal of many iDEN sites, the remaining sites will need to be “retuned” to increase coverage area to try to capture the same square mileage. This is the cause of why indoor performance may suffer, because a lot of signal overlap that exists today will be lost. And many users may find themselves farther from a signal, that by the time they get indoors they are sufficiently far enough away that the signal could be unusable or nonexistent. And these customers will be able to get out of their contracts, ETF free.
Sprint will begin decommissioning these excess iDEN sites in the New Orleans area at the end of February at the conclusion of Mardi Gras. This will be the test market for this decommissioning plan. Then after NOLA’s iDEN is retuned, they will take that information nationwide and begin decommissioning iDEN towers in the rest of the country in April.
CNS (Custom Network Solution) donor sites and towers deemed critical for potential disaster recovery efforts will not be decommissioned. Sprint listed one of the chief reasons for the early decommissioning of these excess sites is to reduce operating costs and allow Sprint to be more competitive.
Sprint is also creating an “iDEN War Room” to support the iDEN Decommissioning project. This War Room will handle customer service fallout resulting from the significant iDEN network upheaval that is anticipated.
Even though this transition is welcome news (except by perhaps iDEN customers), it sadly doesn’t sound like it includes any 800MHz refarming for post Network Vision uses, like 1xA voice and LTE carriers. Many of us were excited at this possibility. But now our hopes are dashed for the near future.
But no matter how you slice it, the end of iDEN is nigh!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 11:03 AM MST
Regional Sprint affiliate, Shenandoah Communications (Shentel) and Sprint Nextel have completed their agreements to bring Sprint's Network Vision and 4G LTE to the Shentel service areas. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates initially reported back on November 29th that Shentel committed to Network Vision and LTE build out. Shentel also has been actively recruiting for Network Vision related employment positions the past few months. So this announcement today is not a surprise.
This announcement does make it official now and all eyes will be on the small regional carrier to see how they deploy Network Vision and LTE. Alcatel/Lucent will be deploying for Shentel, just like they are for Sprint in the Mid-Atlantic region.
As part of the agreement, Shentel will be able to use Sprint's licensed spectrum holdings on 800 ESMR and 1900 PCS for its network, installed on the Network Vision system architecture. Sprint users would use Shentel's new NV network as native coverage. This agreement extends the Shentel/Sprint partnership through 2024.
May it be a model for Sprint to pursue other build outs of Network Vision and LTE in other tertiary and rural markets. Verizon is actively pursuing similar LTE deployment deals with rural wireless companies.
Shentel may release additional details on its February 6th earnings call.
Shentel Press Release:
Shenandoah Telecommunications Company Announces New Agreement With Sprint Nextel and Plans for 4G LTE Buildout
EDINBURG, Va., Feb. 2, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)
-- Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) (Nasdaq:SHEN - News) announced today the Company has signed Addendum XII to its Affiliate Agreement with Sprint Nextel that paves the way to building a 4G LTE network in the Company's service area. Shentel will mirror Sprint's Network Vision architecture using Alcatel Lucent equipment.
In addition to adding 4G services to the Company's network, the Addendum gives the Company access to additional 1900 and 800 MHz spectrum, extends the initial term of the contract five years from 2019 to 2024 and increases the cap on the Net Service Fee from 12% to 14% on July 1, 2013.
The Company will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on February 6, 2012. The webcast can be accessed from the "Investor Relations" section of the company's website at
Instructions for dialing in follow:
Replays of the conference call will be made available after the conclusion of the call and can be accessed by dialing (855) 859-2056.
About Shenandoah Telecommunications
Shenandoah Telecommunications Company is a holding company that provides a broad range of telecommunications services through its operating subsidiaries. The Company is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "SHEN." The Company's operating subsidiaries provide local and long distance telephone, Internet and data services, cable television, wireless voice and data services along with many other associated solutions in the Mid-Atlantic United States.
This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of unforeseen factors. A discussion of factors that may cause actual results to differ from management's projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations is available in the Company filings with the SEC. Those factors may include changes in general economic conditions, increases in costs, changes in regulation and other competitive factors.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 10:15 PM MST
Sprint has gone live with a new Nextel iDEN network page. A graphic on the launch page states, "Important news about Nextel network coverage. We're making changes to the Nextel network. Find out how this might impact you."
From this page you can enter in a zip code and it will take you to a map showing iDEN network towers in the area of the zip code you entered. In an article yesterday, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates provided some details about Sprint's iDEN Decommissioning. In the article, we explain how the first iDEN sites being decommissioned are in the New Orleans market.
In the graphic below, you can see the iDEN sites that are under consideration for decommissioning in New Orleans. Currently, only the New Orleans/Baton Rouge market is shown with detailed towers slated for decommissioning. Other Nextel markets are identified that changes are being evaluated for future impacts. Sprint will update other towers for impacts on a 30-day rolling basis.
Thanks to Andrew J. Shepherd (WiWavelength) for the info. And thanks to rickie546's post in Howard Forums.
Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Update Monday, March 26, 2012 - 6:41 PM MDT
Sprint continues its iDEN thinning plan that it announced a few months ago in full force. It is wrapping up the removal of 83 sites in the Nextel New Orleans market and readily preparing to mobilize nationwide in 20 of 21 remaining Nextel markets to do the same.
Based on newly obtained internal documents, from mid April 2012 through the end of June, Sprint plans on decommissioning over 9,000 of Nextel's approximate 32,000 total site count. Just under one third the total Nextel iDEN network. This will save Sprint a lot of operational dollars in 2012.
Might as well save a few bucks...
It has been in the plans for some time now for Sprint to fully decommission the entire Nextel iDEN network in 2013. Sprint will be reusing the 800MHz SMR spectrum that Nextel's iDEN network currently uses and reallocate that to be used on its new Network Vision platform. The new uses will include CDMA voice (1xAdvanced) and 4G LTE for high speed data. These are seen as critical for mid and long term capacity, as well as helping Sprint customers with building penetration.
It is no secret that Sprint is shedding Nextel subscribers at a high rate. And since the epitaph for the iDEN network has already been written, it makes a lot of financial sense for Sprint to start taking down many iDEN sites now, leaving a minimum amount of coverages left for the remaining Nextel subscribers.
Sprint has said in the past that the Nextel network capacity was significantly over built in most urban areas in order to allow for future subscriber growth. The high growth rates never materialized post Sprint and Nextel merger. Sprint is largely identifying these extra sites for removal. These provide significant operational costs without much advantage. However, there have been anecdotal reports already that thinning in the New Orleans market has created reduced amounts of coverage.
Those waskily wabbits!!!
Sprint originally created a iDEN Thinning site to help customers understand what was going on. However, competing wireless carriers were using this data to try and specifically target affected customers in order to gain subscribers. Sprint has had to take the information offline because of the exploitative nature their competitors engaged in.
Nextel's 22 Markets. Each Nextel market is shown with a number in blue listing number of sites before the 2012 Thinning and the number in green showing the number to remain after thinning. A total of 9,775 sites being taken offline. Click on image to enlarge.
The select iDEN site decommissioning (thinning) has already started occurring in the New Orleans market and should be wrapped up completely by the middle of April. The rest of Nextel's market will begin in earnest in April. See market break downs below.
New Orleans (completes)
Will not be thinned in advance
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 11:10 AM MDT
Mark Hearn, the founder, editor and daily operator of SprintFeed.com is closing shop and heading on to new opportunities as an Editor at TechnoBuffalo. We will be sad to see him go from the daily news makings at Sprint. I personally visited SprintFeed.com several times per day.
I have enjoyed my interactions with Mark talking about Sprint and about personal issues. We even share a similar faith.
Thank you for your contributions to the online community and for Sprint fans. We wish you the best of luck with your new endeavors at TechnoBuffalo. We look forward to seeing you in your new role and we rejoice with you at this wonderful opportunity!
and the S4GRU Team!
I would encourage everyone to stop by and thank Mark for his service!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 12:29 PM MDT
Yesterday, the site TechnoBuffalo.com ran a story about the possibility of discovering more Network Vision and LTE markets that appeared to them to be on the horizon. It was also picked up by several major tech sites, including CNET and The Verge. Since I have seen the document in question before, and I know what it is that we are looking at, I thought I would explain clearly what you are seeing.
First, let me start out by saying this is not a Sprint market list, and not a list of cities getting Network Vision upgrades or LTE coverage. That is not what this document is about. This is a schedule of Sprint 4G LTE DDC's, or 4G Cores. They are essentially 4G LTE data centers.
Every 4G LTE site is connected to a specific Sprint LTE data center via backhaul. This is where the data is processed and put out into the internet. Sprint has approximately 20 of these 4G cores around the country. And each of their 38,000 LTE sites is/will be connected to one. For those of you who are familiar with CDMA switch centers, this is a similar concept managing 4G LTE data. These DDC's need to be in place before the LTE sites that are connected to them will be able to operate on the network.
I'm sorry to rain on anyone's parade, if you are excited that your city may be getting LTE sooner than you thought. But our deployment list still stands. However, if you are interested in knowing about the dates of these 4G LTE DDC's, then the image below from TechnoBuffalo.com is legit. These are real dates regarding real LTE data centers. S4GRU does not publish these types of images to protect our sources.
We were contacted about this information from another leading tech site and were able to vet the information for them. I am happy to do that for anyone needing to verify any source documents in the future. Confidentially, of course.
Image from TechnoBuffalo.com's article
Reference: TechnoBuffalo, CNET, GottaBeMobile, The Verge
Click on Images Above to View Photo Album
Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 10:49 PM MDT
S4GRU Member Cpeatridge follows along with all the latest information at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates, and then noticed one day that we were claiming that a site near him in Beverly, Massachusetts was updated. So Chris did what any other S4GRU follower would do...go investigate.
Chris was able to get several good shots of the site, including screen shots of performance tests. In the photos above the article, you can see the Sprint section of the tower, at the very top. In the photos, you can see the remote radio units (RRU's) and a new 800/1900 combined Network Vision panel, one per sector (side of the tower). The old legacy panels are still visible and not yet removed at this point. Chris performed some performance tests and was able to get consistent 100ms pings and download speeds over 2Mbps, with it slowing down to a still respectable 1.4Mbps at peak times. These are good improvements over the legacy 3G EVDO that was in the area.
We love bringing you stories of Network Vision improvements. Chris has shared his experiences. We cannot wait until Network Vision comes to you too!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:59 AM MDT
Last week we brought you a live LTE coverage map from Sprint sites in the Atlanta/Athens, Georgia area, and now we are bringing you a Sprint LTE coverage map from Waco, Texas.
Waco is in the Sprint Austin market. The coverage you see below is from a 4G LTE FIT (Field Implementation Test) that Sprint and Network Vision Partner Ericsson created. It was put together to begin testing and training LTE deployment, as well as a field testing zone for LTE devices.
This coverage is live now. If any of you folks down Waco way get your hands on a Sprint 4G LTE device in the next couple of days, let us know what you find when scanning for a LTE signal. Speed test from Ericsson field test reports look mighty fine, with speeds over 20Mbps when you have a strong LTE signal.
Sponsors have access to interactive versions of these maps and can zoom in and pan around. More LTE coverage maps are coming soon. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for all the latest Sprint Network Vision/LTE news and information.
P.S. - Full Network Vision deployment in the rest of the Austin market will begin in June!
4G LTE Coverage Map near Waco, Texas. Coverage maps were generated in collaboration with CloudRF.com. Click on Map to Enlarge.
by Rickie Smith Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 23, 2012 - 9:01 AM MDT
The LG Viper is one of Sprint’s first 4G LTE capable phones, and was launched along side with the GNEX LTE. When you first take it out of the box the phone is very light and thin and may lead you to believe that this phone can’t be all too powerful and great, but it is, just like its name suggests. The phone's casing is 50 percent recycled plastic and the package is made from 87 percent recycled material, and it comes with an "energy-efficient" charger that essentially turns itself off when not in use.
The Viper boots very fast, around 45 seconds, with its 1.2GHz dual-core processor and is quick to scan storage. But its speed does not stop there. While I don’t have much downloaded yet to the phone, its smoothness between functions is very outstanding. Hardly any lag time at all which is great for a so called entry level LTE phone. It comes with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but we are awaiting for announcements to upgrade it to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the coming months. But how does it perform on the network? We will get to that a bit later.
A display that exceeds expectations
Many may wonder about the clarity of the display, as its not HD, but its 4” screen is very bright and crisp. On Friday I stopped into my local Sprint store. And the employees there were quite jealous because even they had not received their stock of Vipers yet. These Sprint employees commented they thought it was one of the clearer displays they have seen.
The first glaring omission to me is the Viper does not sport a dedicated camera button. But the Viper’s 5 megapixel camera is commendable. Very fast and sharp, even in low light the outcome is very good. Using the video camera side is quite good as well. Notable is the focus is a bit slow to respond. Overall camera performance I would say is quite acceptable for this level of phone.
The phone's big differentiator is Google Wallet. The integrated NFC chip, along with the Google Wallet app, allows you to "tap and pay" (with a PIN code) at stores that accept MasterCard PayPass, which includes a lot of small and large shops (major chains include CVS, Walgreens, Macy's and Gap). It comes with $50 prepaid when you activate the account, yet in the day I have had it, not been to a place that takes PayPass here in our small city of Hutchinson, Kansas. I will have to comment in the future as to how NFC and Google Wallet perform.
Device in hand and headed to a known Network Vision site…
Sprint's Sandhill site, north of Hutchinson, Kansas.
Ok…what many have you have been waiting for, speed. I do have a partially completed Network Vision site close to my home. The Sprint Sandhills Site #WT03XC022 is here just north of Hutchinson. So once I got the phone activated, one of my first courses of business was to visit this site to check for LTE. Sprint did install an option so you could turn on and off the LTE mode until the network was more wide spread. This is done to help preserve your battery. So once all of that was completed I waited for it to scan for LTE at this site. No success. So cycled thru the steps taking it back to EVDO only then back to EVDO/LTE, and still nothing, so after all the wait I’m sorry to say I have no LTE speed test. S4GRU reported this site as only NV-3G active. So this is confirmed. No LTE yet deployed at the Sandhills site.
The battery on the phone is a 1700mAh, which has a quoted talk time of 5.3 hours. Under 1 day a moderate use (downloading apps, texting and some phone calls) battery is down to 60% remaining. So overall battery life does seem quite well. However, how it performs under LTE conditions is going to be the real question.
So my overall take away from my experience with the LG Viper so far, even without the LTE speeds…the phone is very powerful and does not miss a beat. I know a lot of people might not justify getting a phone that won’t live up to its full potential is understandable. But I think anyone who is in the markets Sprint has already said is getting LTE (or as we know more than what Sprint has said as S4GRU members) it would be a great buy to start testing things out as the network comes around. But if you’re in the market for a powerful, yet economical smartphone (and maybe a tad greener than average), then I would recommend the LG Viper for you.
OS: Android 2.3
Dimensions: 4.59" Tall x 2.44" Wide x 0.46" Thick
Weight: 5 ounces
Display: 4.0" 480x800 LCD TFT (non-HD)
Processor: 1.2GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8660
Memory: 1024MB RAM (1GB)
Internal Storage: 4GB
Additional Storage: MicroSD card expansion slot supporting up to 32GB (comes with 4GB MicroSD card)
Camera: Two total, rear facing 5MP, front facing 0.3MP VGA
Networks Supported: 800MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A);1900MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A); 1900MHz LTE; 850MHz CDMA Roaming (1x and EVDO)
WiFi: 802.11b/g/n supported
Mobile Hot Spot: Yes
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 23, 2012 - 6:14 PM MDT
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is keeping track of all the live LTE sites in the country. And as of last Friday, there are now approximately 200 LTE sites that are "On-Air." S4GRU's AJ Shepherd even has verified some of these LTE sites are live using his spectrum analyzer. Sprint is indeed broadcasting LTE on PCS G-Block, just as we are indicating.
S4GRU.com is now able to confirm why new Sprint LTE device holders are unable to connect to live LTE sites in Waco, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Atlanta, Athens, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio. Sprint is intentionally blocking LTE access at this time. The reasons why they are doing this aren't totally clear.
LTE Testing mode is not for you, folks
Sprint is keeping sites that are on the air, but identified as "testing" from being discoverable by Sprint LTE devices. As they deem each site is ready to carry commercial traffic, they will change the LTE site from testing mode to commercial mode. At that time, they will become discoverable to LTE device holders.
Sprint recently considered two different ways to block their customers from accessing the LTE network. Either by creating a special PLMN ID, or by modifying the SIB 1 message to notify the LTE device the "Cell is Reserved for Operator Use." Using the PLMN method was figured to be too problematic, because the network only is capable of two PLMN ID's currently, which would limit other PLMN ID uses in the future. So Sprint is blocking your LTE devices from cruising the 4G LTE network by modifying the SIB 1 message being broadcast from the LTE site to "Reserved." When your device gets that message, it will not try to authenticate with the network. And you are none the wiser that your device is getting a 4G LTE signal that it is not allowed to use. When Sprint is ready to allow a LTE site to be discoverable, they will remove the reserved classification from the SIB 1 message...and voila!
I guess the big question in all this is...WHY? Why not make these LTE sites discoverable and usable for Sprint customers with LTE devices right now? I cannot tell you with certainty. In some instances, it could be backhaul related. In some instances, it could be related to the 4G LTE core. In some instances, it could be related to eHRPD integration. It may be that the customer experience is not where they think you will tolerate. I have seen errant comments regarding all of these issues. But none being specifically outed as the culprit in not allowing LTE discoverability now.
However, one thing that is known, our source says that their Strategic Marketing and Network Management are working together now to establish the criteria for when a site is eligible to be discoverable. When that criteria is established here in the very near future, and a site meets the agreed to criteria, the sites will become live. Until then, this is the steadfast rule for Sprint LTE site availability, "Site will remain hidden from customer use until directed by business teams to be made commercially available."
There are very widely scattered reports that a site here or a site there has active LTE available to customers. Including one report this weekend in Kansas City. These may be valid. It's possible that some sites are incorrectly configured and not blocking traffic as they should. Or, it's possible these few select sites are ready to go and are now "discoverable." Please make sure you notify S4GRU and provide the screen shots should you get access to a Sprint LTE site.
Live LTE sites as of Friday, April 20, 2012. Almost 200 sites. Sprint is not allowing access at this time. Click on map to enlarge.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 2:00 AM MDT
Rumors are spreading like wildfire that the EVO LTE is going to be launching early...maybe even as soon as the middle of May. However, S4GRU.com has received internal documentation from a source in Sprint's Product Development division that reconfirms the June 10th launch date for the new HTC EVO 4G LTE.
In fact, the EVO LTE is currently finishing up its stay in the Sprint Lenexa labs and was scheduled to complete lab testing on April 27th. However, there are problems with the device that are occurring. It is being reported to S4GRU that "LTE device connectivity in lab testing continues to be problematic due to under defined processes and complications around provisioning and SIM UICC profiles. Escalation of this issue is in progress."
This is not believed to hinder the previous schedules that S4GRU received from Sprint and reported to you. Sprint is still proceeding with a May 7th Pre-Order start and device launch on June 10th. And Sprint did take the EVO LTE pre-order site live last night.
Given this latest information about lab testing issues, the rumored Mid May launch seems all but impossible. Once the device can leave the lab, it will still take approximately 4 weeks for production runs and distribution. Although some of you may be inclined to say that the EVO LTE has slipped from schedule and is now running late, S4GRU was the first to name a launch date for this device, and we said it was June 10th the first time. So it sounds like even with the lab setback, it's still right on time.
Image shown on the Sprint EVO LTE Pre-Order Web Page.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, May 7, 2012 - 10:14 AM MDT
Good news, everyone! As most of you already know, the HTC EVO 4G LTE pre-order is under way. And you can reserve yours by following this link to the Sprint Pre-Order page. I ordered one for my wife. This is a quality phone, no doubt. And the legions of fans are lining up for their shot at one of the first units. The iconic EVO name will be living on with a superior device worthy of its heritage.
Screenshot of my order showing shipping starts May 15th.
S4GRU is ecstatic that the device is coming out so soon, even after our recent report that the device was scheduled to launch as late as June 10th, according to documents we were shown from a source in Sprint's Product Development divison. This morning, the same source contacted me and asked for S4GRU to release screen shots of the actual documents where our reporting came from.
This is an unprecedented move, as we have only one other time received a request from a source to show documents. We typically do not release source documents to protect our sources. The source does not believe the documents that we are disclosing here represent a security risk to him.
Screenshot of a Sprint lab document showing the EVO LTE with a launch date of June 10th.
In this screenshot you can see the LTE Connectivity issue that was suspected to cause delay of the EVO LTE. It is in the upper right hand corner section.
In these documents you can see the foundation from our reporting about the June 10th launch date and the information about LTE Connectivity issues in the lab, which could have been a source of delay. These are just two pages in a 100+ page Lab Report. S4GRU has seen several of these lab reports since February, each one building more and more on the last one.
To me it seems when you marry the May 15th shipping dates of pre-orders with the source documents listed above, they may not be in conflict. Just differences in snap shots in time. It seems to be that Sprint has decided to proceed with distributing the EVO LTE before the LTE connectivity issues are solved. They probably will be correcting the issue via an OTA (Over-the-Air) Update. Notice that the EVO LTE timeline is marked in yellow, meaning "Risk with Mitigation." Could the mitigation employed be a future OTA?
If this is the case, this seems to be a smarter solution than to delay the shipment of the EVO LTE. After all, if the only issue with the device is maintaining a connection to LTE signals. And if that can be corrected with a software update, why not push them out now? 99% of their customers are not located within coverage of On-Air LTE sites at the moment. And Sprint is blocking access to LTE now at any rate, as we have reported. In fact, it may be the very reason why Sprint is blocking access to the LTE network.
I asked all of this speculation with the source, and he said he only knows what he sees in reports (which is all we know, too). And the last report he has seen says the LTE connectivity issue will be resolved with a software fix. But he is unsure how and when it will be implemented. But he is skeptical that the fix is already in the devices scheduled to be shipped next week based how he just learned that a fix was discovered the end of last week.
When you consider the importance of the new generation EVO and how it is supposed to help retain millions of old generation EVO customers that will start coming off contract June 4th, it seems like a Sprint decision to roll with the new EVO LTE immediately with possible LTE connectivity issues is a no brainer. It will be interesting to see if there is a EVO LTE OTA that comes out around the same time as the LTE network goes live. You may even be prompted with an OTA at activation. That would be very timely.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 6:59 PM MDT
Earlier today, S4GRU.com reported that shipments of the new EVO LTE are being delayed. We took a lot of heat from folks that thought we were full of it. But I had so much faith in my source that I ran the story anyway taking the shots on the chin. Not 100% sure even myself, but knew this source was solid. So I pulled the trigger and hoped it panned out. And now The Verge is reporting the cause of the delay...customs.
Those sneaky bastards at Apple have apparently been able to get customs to hold the EVO LTE and the HTC One X from getting through customs. The grounds for holding the devices are due to them possibly infringing on Apple patents. Supposedly, the hold is indefinite. This may take weeks to resolve. Sprint is now taking down the Pre-Order ability on their site. However, it is possible that if the devices are not found to be in violation, that they make it back into the supply chain with just a few days delay. And it's not known if all are being held, or if some made it through.
According to our internal Sprint source that told us about the delay this morning, Sprint management is meeting first thing tomorrow morning to come up with a mitigation plan and what and how they will communicate this to the public. However, now, and until further notice, Sprint employees are no longer allowed to reference the May 18th launch date.
Sorry folks for being the bearer of bad news. But once again, S4GRU.com broke the story first. We just had it so early, that we didn't know all the details.
Source: Internal Sprint Source, The Verge
EDIT: Fixed a typo...evidently, deplayed is not a word. Thanks Odell!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 11:12 AM MDT
I just received information from a very reliable internal Sprint source that there is a delay occurring with the shipments of the EVO LTE pre-orders. According to the source, the delay is being caused by HTC and may impact shipments going out as late as May 25th. This may be the cause of the EVO LTE pre-order statuses being changed yesterday for many customers to "back-ordered."
What is not clear yet at this time, if this affects all the pre-orders, or some of the pre-orders. It may be related to the quantities that Sprint will receive from HTC and when. We will bring you more information as we learn it.
UPDATE 11:40 AM MDT: The source believes this will delay the launch to be as late as May 25th. Therefore, it affects stores and third parties as well. Will update with more info as we learn it.
UPDATE 6:41 PM: The source of the delay is customs due to alleged infringements of Apple patents. S4GRU article here: http://s4gru.com/ind...firmed-delayed/
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 12:06 PM MDT
It appears Sprint is moving forward with a revised launch date of the EVO LTE on Wednesday, May 23rd. Our source yesterday said that Sprint was working toward the 23rd. The blog Inside Sprint Now is reporting that the 23rd appears to be a go.
In an e-mail to one of our Sprint sources for more information, he did confirm that May 23rd is being said internally, but he has no details about the specifics of the authorizations from Customs or the supply chain. We will release more details with updated information about the EVO LTE deliveries as we know more. However, S4GRU Members who purchased from Best Buy are starting to get updates about a May 23rd delivery. Fingers crossed...
Source: Inside Sprint Now, Sprint Internal Source
UPDATE 12:30 PM MDT: Inside Sprint Now is reporting that they are working on shipping pre-orders earlier to arrive prior to the revised launch date of May 23rd. Our source was unable to confirm that at the time of this update.
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:58 PM MDT
Update: Sprint has scheduled an exclusive Samsung event for the evening of June 12 in Boston. It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3 coming out party has been set.
Just as the HTC EVO 4G LTE is setting up for its delayed national street date tomorrow June 2, it may sooner than expected be getting another high profile cousin in Sprint's burgeoning line up of Network Vision ready, LTE capable devices.
First, word leaked this afternoon that Sprint is prepping landing and pre-order web pages for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Then, this evening, S4GRU uncovered the Samsung SPH-L710 (aka Galaxy S3) exhibits that had hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today. So, the ball seems to be rolling toward an imminent launch for the Galaxy S3. And, as we did with the EVO 4G LTE a few weeks back, here is an RF focused technical rundown of the upcoming Samsung flagship Sprint handset:
CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5 MHz carrier bandwidth
LTE UE category 3
SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
Maximum RF ERP: 17.78 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 20.77 dBm (EV-DO 850), 24.05 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 23.85 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 17.21 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 17.56 dBm (EV-DO 800), 22.01 dBm (LTE 1900)
NFC antenna integrated into battery
LTE antenna configuration: 1 Tx, 2 Rx (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO)
All in all, the Galaxy S3 does not present any really big technical surprises. As RF capabilities go, it follows very closely in the footsteps of the EVO 4G LTE. One of the few notable differences is that the Galaxy S3, like its Galaxy Nexus sibling, supports only 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE carriers, while the EVO 4G LTE can do both 5 MHz x 5 MHz and 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE bandwidths. However, Sprint has no definite plans to deploy 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE during the typical lifespan of either of these handsets. And, otherwise, the Galaxy S3 does appear to have the general edge in RF transmit power.
Sources: FCC, Inside Sprint Now
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 3:33 PM MDT
S4GRU received some sad news today when we found out that Sprint is experiencing delays in their preorders of the popular Samsung Galaxy S III. 16GB models will not arrive early of the June 21st national launch as originally planned, and at best, will arrive on June 21st. Some may even experience delays of a day or two.
However, if you bought the 32GB model (like me), your delay will be until next week...well after the national launch of the device. So much for pre-order.
See Sprint's comments below:
Special thanks to S4GRU Member Adrian28 who tipped me to the story in our forums.
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.