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Sprint announces first Network Vision tower with CDMA & LTE live



blog-0751906001329842517.pngby Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:05 PM MST


Sprint has announced it's first Network Vision tower is completed and live in Branchburg, New Jersey. It is broadcasting data over 3G-EVDO and 4G LTE and voice over 1x. The announcement of the first fully live tower in the New York Metro Area brings joy and hope to millions of Sprint customers in the area that they will see a completed Network Vision rollout first in the country.

Even though this is the first one completed and fully operational, you can rest assured this is not the only tower being worked on currently. Sprint has three contractors (Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson) that are deployed nationwide working on Network Vision on hundreds, if not thousands, of towers at the moment. Samsung recently confirmed they are working in Chicago on LTE for Sprint.

"We have our first LTE site up and running. This is really the start of Network Vision," Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "We have the first one up, operational and running just fine."

Furthermore, Mr. Euteneuer yesterday claimed that Sprint's LTE will perform similar to Verizon and AT&T's advertised LTE download speeds of 5MB to 12MB. There has been much concern that Sprint's LTE speeds will be too slow because they are deploying only 5x5 LTE carriers. Half the size of Verizon's 10x10 carriers.

But it is seen as good news that Sprint will deploy it's LTE network in a way to match those speeds. And maintain their network performance to try to keep them there. In an article earlier today we explained how Sprint will partner with Clearwire to add more capacity to keep their LTE speeds up where performance starts to slip.

Granted, Verizon's LTE network is capable of producing speeds much higher than the 5MB to 12MB they advertise. But, Verizon only promises these speeds in a wise overdelivering marketing strategy. However, AT&T cannot be so bold as to boast it's LTE speeds that way. AT&T does not have 700MHz nationwide for LTE. And in many of the places they do have it, they have half what Verizon has.

In one third of the country, AT&T has 24 MHz of 700 spectrum. In those markets, they can offer LTE that performs like Verizon. In another third, they only have 12MHz of 700 spectrum. There they can install one 5x5 carrier. Exactly as Sprint is installing nationwide. And in the last third, AT&T has no 700MHz spectrum at all.



So AT&T has a very mixed bag in the short term for it's LTE. And they will not be in much of a position to brag about it's LTE network over Sprint. Verizon will remain tops in LTE speed and coverage for a long time to come. But Network Vision will bring at a minimum at least LTE on PCS band nationwide over the next 24 to 36 months.

Even though there is tendency to focus on the LTE aspect of Network Vision, we would be remiss if we failed to remind that Network Vision will substantially improve 1x voice coverage and 3G EVDO service as well. In speed, coverage and capacity.

Sprint said in their Press Release that, "Sprint expects to make additional announcements about market deployments early next year." We would love some detailed info that comes out like a steady faucet. Something we can track and disseminate right from this blog, perhaps?



AT&T Map courtesy of PhoneScoop.com


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

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

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