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Norfolk/Virginia Beach Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

S4GRU

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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, June 25, 2012 - 12:08 PM MDT

 

The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is just about to get moving...the Norfolk and the Virginia Tidewater Region. The Norfolk market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches.

 

The Sprint Norfolk market covers basically all of Southeast Virginia and the Hampton Roads, from the Norfolk/Virginia Beach metro area, up through Hampton/Newport News and Williamsburg, on the Virginia portion of the Delmarva peninsula and the Northern portion of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing in this area with its subcontractors this month. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online in July.

 

Market Launch and Remaining Schedule

 

It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Norfolk, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.

 

If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Norfolk market, it would make the launch month to be November (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be October. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.

 

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

 

The bottom line...

 

We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Norfolk market. It is really hard to call at this point, but the schedule as of today would indicate an October or November market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Alcatel/Lucent and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.

 

AlcaLu will only need to hit a production rate of 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This seems like an easy to achieve rate, compared with how other Network Vision markets are progressing. In fact, they may be able to beat this conservative production rate and complete the market early. Here's to hoping!

 

S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by February 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion.

 

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Photo of Norfolk skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of

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



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You coming out with an update for North Jersey also?

 

Yes. All Second Round markets. If you go to this link and look at the Second Round markets, you will see the order in which the Articles will post. The North Jersey article will not be until next week some time at the earliest.

 

Robert

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Are the first round markets articles going to be wrapped up first before the second round market articles begin?

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Yes. All Second Round markets. If you go to this link and look at the Second Round markets, you will see the order in which the Articles will post. The North Jersey article will not be until next week some time at the earliest.Robert

 

Great, thanks. Keep up the good work!

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Are the first round markets articles going to be wrapped up first before the second round market articles begin?

 

No. Articles are posting in launch order, not necessarily in Round Order. Because NYC is so large and SF Bay has had delays in its start, there will be some weaving of First and Second Round articles.

 

Robert

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No. Articles are posting in launch order, not necessarily in Round Order. Because NYC is so large and SF Bay has had delays in its start, there will be some weaving of First and Second Round articles.Robert

 

Ah I see. I thought you were just posting update articles on how progress is doing for all the first round and second round markets. I didn't know that the articles were also being released based on anticipated order of launch date as well.

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No. Articles are posting in launch order, not necessarily in Round Order. Because NYC is so large and SF Bay has had delays in its start, there will be some weaving of First and Second Round articles.Robert

 

So NYC will be launching after some second round markets? :(

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So NYC will be launching after some second round markets? :(

 

Yes. Stay tuned for the NYC market article this week for more info. However, NYC has over 1,100 sites. Some of the early second round markets have between 300 and 500 sites. Even with the head start NYC has, some of these smaller markets will slam out Network Vision in comparison.

 

Robert

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Right now I would just take some improved 3g. In Hampton/Newport News 3g went from bad to worst.

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Yes. Stay tuned for the NYC market article this week for more info. However, NYC has over 1,100 sites. Some of the early second round markets have between 300 and 500 sites. Even with the head start NYC has, some of these smaller markets will slam out Network Vision in comparison.Robert

 

Thanks for the update --

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Thanks for the update.

 

Sprint really needs to get moving in the Norfolk/Va. Beach/Hampton Roads market! It's the largest metro area on the East Coast where they hadn't launched 4G. WiMax deployment in this market was halted about a year and a half ago when Sprint stopped paying attention to Clearwire's network.

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Thanks for the update.Sprint really needs to get moving in the Norfolk/Va. Beach/Hampton Roads market! It's the largest metro area on the East Coast where they hadn't launched 4G. WiMax deployment in this market was halted about a year and a half ago when Sprint stopped paying attention to Clearwire's network.

 

 

I agree. However, this is the very first Non-WiMax market to start LTE deployment. So you folks in SE Virginia must be happy about that. We here in the Albuquerque market are envious. :)

 

Robert

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I agree. However, this is the very first Non-WiMax market to start LTE deployment. So you folks in SE Virginia must be happy about that. We here in the Albuquerque market are envious. :)Robert

 

Yeah, well, granted though the Hampton Roads MSA has about twice the population of the Albuquerque MSA. Sprint's 3G network here in SE Va. is absolutely horrible (since data isn't being offloaded to 4G, except in those tiny spots where there's some 4G coverage now, limited as it may be). Yeah, like I said, right now this is Sprint's largest 4G "hole" on the East Coast so it makes sense for them to built it out sooner rather than later.

 

BTW, do you know if the equipment Sprint is deploying will allow them to also one day light-up LTE in the SMR/iDEN band? And if so, do you know how much channel bandwidth they plan on deploying there? If I recall correctly, in the 1900Mhz band they're only planning on deploying 5x5Mhz.

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Yeah, well, granted though the Hampton Roads MSA has about twice the population of the Albuquerque MSA. Sprint's 3G network here in SE Va. is absolutely horrible (since data isn't being offloaded to 4G, except in those tiny spots where there's some 4G coverage now, limited as it may be). Yeah, like I said, right now this is Sprint's largest 4G "hole" on the East Coast so it makes sense for them to built it out sooner rather than later.BTW, do you know if the equipment Sprint is deploying will allow them to also one day light-up LTE in the SMR/iDEN band? And if so, do you know how much channel bandwidth they plan on deploying there? If I recall correctly, in the 1900Mhz band they're only planning on deploying 5x5Mhz.

 

I was in no way inferring that Albuquerque should be in front of the Norfolk area, only that we are envious. However, the Sprint Albuquerque market includes the entire State of New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. I think the populations of both Sprint ABQ market and Norfolk market are pretty similar in size.

 

That being said, most of the equipment being deployed now is ready for LTE 800. There will be one LTE 800 5x5 LTE carrier, just like on 1900. However, Sprint is planning more than one LTE 1900 carrier in markets that have the spectrum to support it. Also note that Sprint does not have enough 800 spectrum in all markets to deploy a 5x5 LTE 800 carrier. In some they may only be able to do a 3x3 on 800. And in a few cases, none at all.

 

The border areas are problematic for 800 LTE. But Sprint and the FCC have recently announced they are working with Canada and Mexico governing authorities to work out these issues for deployment.

 

Robert

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I spoke with a Sprint representative today and here is my conversation:

 

You: By any chance no if LTE is coming to Virginia Beach anytime soon? If so maybe i'll stick around to see if I get service. Megan: You will expect to have the LTE in Virginia Beach at the end of this month. You: That would be fantastic! Megan: Sorry at the end of this year. You: well that works too I suppose!

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I spoke with a Sprint representative today and here is my conversation: You: By any chance no if LTE is coming to Virginia Beach anytime soon? If so maybe i'll stick around to see if I get service. Megan: You will expect to have the LTE in Virginia Beach at the end of this month. You: That would be fantastic! Megan: Sorry at the end of this year. You: well that works too I suppose!

 

I wouldn't be jumping for joy just yet becuase a. Sprint seems to be somewhat behind in other cities with respect to deployment so it may very well be that they will be behind in VB too. b. note that upon initial launch, according to the map above, there will only be 7 sites active in Virginia Beach (and this is for a very spread out city with nearly half a million residents). So, even when it is launched, don't expect a whole lot of coverage, at least not initially.

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and they turned it off during my bandwidth test!!! 6.16 Mbps down, .1 Mbps up(I'm sure this is when they turned it off)

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My dad told me he was getting 4g LTE at Oceana Naval Air , and down most of Harper's rd. I have yet to see any 4g signals myself, but I don't travel the area like he does for work.

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