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Sprint "Open World" plan (replaces International Value Roaming)

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LTE roaming is likely far far more expensive. I don't expect to see that with any kind of reasonable price tag for a while.

 

 

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1 megabyte over LTE vs 1 megabyte over GPRS are the same to most companies…and every other major national carrier offers international LTE roaming - T-Mobile even does for free. Sprint just is dropping the ball here.

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1 megabyte over LTE vs 1 megabyte over GPRS are the same to most companies…and every other major national carrier offers international LTE roaming - T-Mobile even does for free. Sprint just is dropping the ball here.

You'd figure LTE roaming would be cheaper to begin with. LTE is more efficient than HSPA or WCDMA.

 

But then again, it all comes back to reciprocal data usage. Most international providers don't use CDMA (thus foreign subscribers can't access Sprint's voice and 3G data). Sprint also has some very unique LTE bands not seen in many places. This leads to many foreign carriers not having the necessary hardware to roam on Sprint.

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You'd figure LTE roaming would be cheaper to begin with. LTE is more efficient than HSPA or WCDMA.

 

But then again, it all comes back to reciprocal data usage. Most international providers don't use CDMA (thus foreign subscribers can't access Sprint's voice and 3G data). Sprint also has some very unique LTE bands not seen in many places. This leads to many foreign carriers not having the necessary hardware to roam on Sprint.

Well, all models of the iPhone 7 and 6S support B25, B26 and B41 and all iPhone 6 models are triband except one which is limited to B25/B26 only, so the large majority of Apple users would be fine to roam on Sprint. I cannot list off every other flagship phone but would be comfortable saying that the large majority of them support B2 LTE. If Sprint set up MFBI on their PCS LTE, they could run Band 2 (in most markets) and allow roaming on that. The coverage wouldn't be stellar, but if it were cheaper than AT&T and T-Mobile, I'm sure other carriers would love to place their users on Sprint where PCS LTE was available (or other bands if devices are compatible). The only thing Sprint is missing is VoLTE...

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1 megabyte over LTE vs 1 megabyte over GPRS are the same to most companies…and every other major national carrier offers international LTE roaming - T-Mobile even does for free. Sprint just is dropping the ball here.

That is completely untrue. LTE roaming is far more expensive because of the different levels of usage. If 90 percent of your traffic happens over lte it forces you to invest more in LTE capacity. This the marginal cost of add one more LTE user is greater than adding one more 3G user. T-Mobile has certain scale advantages being part of Deutsche telecom internationally. That would be my guess as to why they are able to pull it off.

 

Vzw and ATT charge a grip for their international roaming.

 

 

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Well, all models of the iPhone 7 and 6S support B25, B26 and B41 and all iPhone 6 models are triband except one which is limited to B25/B26 only, so the large majority of Apple users would be fine to roam on Sprint. I cannot list off every other flagship phone but would be comfortable saying that the large majority of them support B2 LTE. If Sprint set up MFBI on their PCS LTE, they could run Band 2 (in most markets) and allow roaming on that. The coverage wouldn't be stellar, but if it were cheaper than AT&T and T-Mobile, I'm sure other carriers would love to place their users on Sprint where PCS LTE was available (or other bands if devices are compatible). The only thing Sprint is missing is VoLTE...

That would be true for the North American iPhone 6/6s. Unfortunately, not everybody uses an iPhone and Android is currently the most popular OS in the world. This would hinder any foreign carrier from offering a uniform roaming package if only a handful of phones had roaming in the US. Also, the new iPhone isn't as universal as it's predecessor. Only the Sprint/Verizon iPhone 7 variant offer CDMA. Everyone else is getting a non-CDMA variant that isn't able to access voice services on Sprint.

 

Sprint could run Band 2, but it's not available in most markets yet and it's not their ultimate plan. Sprint is trying very hard to pair their PCS spectrum with their G block in order to make 10x10+ blocks. It's not their intention to leave islands of spectrum away from their nationwide G block. And once Sprint pairs their spectrum, Band 2 MFBI becomes impossible. Band 2 would only realistically work in very few markets, and that by itself is not enough to make true reciprocal roaming agreements.

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You also have to consider that Sprint won't be touching VoLTE anytime soon as much as we want them to. It would be nice if they turned it on and allowed beta testing to a few users.

 

It's a shame that I can talk and browse the web when I roam internationally but can't when I use Sprint's native network.

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That would be true for the North American iPhone 6/6s. Unfortunately, not everybody uses an iPhone and Android is currently the most popular OS in the world. This would hinder any foreign carrier from offering a uniform roaming package if only a handful of phones had roaming in the US. Also, the new iPhone isn't as universal as it's predecessor. Only the Sprint/Verizon iPhone 7 variant offer CDMA. Everyone else is getting a non-CDMA variant that isn't able to access voice services on Sprint.

 

Sprint could run Band 2, but it's not available in most markets yet and it's not their ultimate plan. Sprint is trying very hard to pair their PCS spectrum with their G block in order to make 10x10+ blocks. It's not their intention to leave islands of spectrum away from their nationwide G block. And once Sprint pairs their spectrum, Band 2 MFBI becomes impossible. Band 2 would only realistically work in very few markets, and that by itself is not enough to make true reciprocal roaming agreements.

 

I was referring to all models of the iPhone 7/6S/6 in my last post.  All devices mentioned are compatible (See http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ for more details).  Sprint cannot expect international roamers to come with CDMA ready devices, of course, hence my mention of the necessity of VoLTE (any international roaming offering made by Sprint would have to be exclusively LTE).  

 

Spectrum contiguity, although important now, will become irrelevant in the coming months as B25 CA is enabled.  Even if Sprint swaps for spectrum contiguous with the PCS G block (the PCS C block), there is no need to run a single wide carrier.  Rather, Sprint can preserve its 5x5 PCS G block and run CA between that and its whatever other spectrum it has, whether that happens to be the C block or not.  Carrier aggregation would only be available to devices that support B25 while B2 only devices could sit on the other spectrum.  

 

Yes, this offering would require that international roamers have a B2 capable device, but B2 is one of the most widely used bands in the Americas and if an international roamer's device doesn't support B2, chances are it doesn't support any bands used in the Americas (by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile).

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I was referring to all models of the iPhone 7/6S/6 in my last post. All devices mentioned are compatible (See http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ for more details). Sprint cannot expect international roamers to come with CDMA ready devices, of course, hence my mention of the necessity of VoLTE (any international roaming offering made by Sprint would have to be exclusively LTE).

 

Spectrum contiguity, although important now, will become irrelevant in the coming months as B25 CA is enabled. Even if Sprint swaps for spectrum contiguous with the PCS G block (the PCS C block), there is no need to run a single wide carrier. Rather, Sprint can preserve its 5x5 PCS G block and run CA between that and its whatever other spectrum it has, whether that happens to be the C block or not. Carrier aggregation would only be available to devices that support B25 while B2 only devices could sit on the other spectrum.

 

Yes, this offering would require that international roamers have a B2 capable device, but B2 is one of the most widely used bands in the Americas and if an international roamer's device doesn't support B2, chances are it doesn't support any bands used in the Americas (by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile).

Your plan has a huge hole in that VoLTE is nowhere near ready for Sprint OR most foreign carriers. Forget VoLTE! LTE itself is still a new concept for most of the world. Some of Sprint's current roaming partners don't even have LTE deployed yet. I just cannot see Sprint turning on VoLTE only to see their bread and butter (reliability) go down the drain, especially if their partners can't even take advantage of it to begin with.

 

As far as "Band 2", it's not as simple as you think. In the markets where Sprint successfully pairs up its spectrum (C block+G block pairing is still ongoing), the G block will be used to make wider LTE carriers. That would kill any chance of B2 MFBI in most markets.

 

CA is a nice feature to have in markets they won't be able to swap spectrum, but swapping spectrum will always be first priority. Whenever VoLTE arrives to most of the world (I guarantee it won't be anytime soon), Sprint will be able to do MFBI for Band 2, but it won't be on a national scale (which is what matters during roaming negotiations).

 

Sprint just doesn't have the assets to offer true reciprocal roaming agreements today or in the near future. This may be the best Sprint will be able to do when it comes to international roaming.

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Your plan has a huge hole in that VoLTE is nowhere near ready for Sprint OR most foreign carriers. Forget VoLTE! LTE itself is still a new concept for most of the world. Some of Sprint's current roaming partners don't even have LTE deployed yet. I just cannot see Sprint turning on VoLTE only to see their bread and butter (reliability) go down the drain, especially if their partners can't even take advantage of it to begin with.

 

As far as "Band 2", it's not as simple as you think. In the markets where Sprint successfully pairs up its spectrum (C block+G block pairing is still ongoing), the G block will be used to make wider LTE carriers. That would kill any chance of B2 MFBI in most markets.

 

CA is a nice feature to have in markets they won't be able to swap spectrum, but swapping spectrum will always be first priority. Whenever VoLTE arrives to most of the world (I guarantee it won't be anytime soon), Sprint will be able to do MFBI for Band 2, but it won't be on a national scale (which is what matters during roaming negotiations).

 

Sprint just doesn't have the assets to offer true reciprocal roaming agreements today or in the near future. This may be the best Sprint will be able to do when it comes to international roaming.

First paragraph: The whole point of this offering would be to receive reciprocal LTE roaming agreements - this service would not be offered to partners without LTE networks. Yes, VoLTE is an obstacle today but it will be here be ready to use soon.

 

Second and third paragraph: I get the feeling you didn't actually read my previous post but where Sprint swaps for the C block, they have no obligation to set up a single 10x10 or 15x15 carrier. They can leave the C block carrier separate from the G block carrier and aggregate the two carriers (5x5 + 5x5 or 10x10 + 5x5).

 

Fourth paragraph: I definitely agree that today, Sprint does not have the necessary assets to offer roaming to international carriers, but I think that after the next year or two they will be in a very different place.

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Second and third paragraph: I get the feeling you didn't actually read my previous post but where Sprint swaps for the C block, they have no obligation to set up a single 10x10 or 15x15 carrier. They can leave the C block carrier separate from the G block carrier and aggregate the two carriers (5x5 + 5x5 or 10x10 + 5x5).

 

They can, but they aren't doing that. The G block is currently being used with portions of the C block to make 10x10 carriers. I'd imagine that their goal is to eventually deploy 20x20 carriers (with G block) once they decide to turn off CDMA. It will prevent MFBI B2 in most spectrum constrained markets (<40 MHz).

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They can, but they aren't doing that. The G block is currently being used with portions of the C block to make 10x10 carriers. I'd imagine that their goal is to eventually deploy 20x20 carriers (with G block) once they decide to turn off CDMA. It will prevent MFBI B2 in most spectrum constrained markets (<40 MHz).

I know Sprint isn't doing that now - hell, I'm in a market where Sprint holds the C5 block and they're running a single 10 mhz FDD carrier centered at EARFCN 8640. My point is that they could split it up in the future, and possibly make/save some money off of it. A 5x5 carrier aggregated with another 5x5 carrier has the same capacity as a single 10x10 carrier so there wouldn't be any real sacrifice in terms of network quality. I don't see any downsides - just obstacles (VoLTE).

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I know Sprint isn't doing that now - hell, I'm in a market where Sprint holds the C5 block and they're running a single 10 mhz FDD carrier centered at EARFCN 8640. My point is that they could split it up in the future, and possibly make/save some money off of it. A 5x5 carrier aggregated with another 5x5 carrier has the same capacity as a single 10x10 carrier so there wouldn't be any real sacrifice in terms of network quality. I don't see any downsides - just obstacles (VoLTE).

A single wide carrier is always better than two aggregated contiguous carriers.

 

 

 

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A single wide carrier is always better than two aggregated contiguous carriers.

 

 

 

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Why so?

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Why so?

Overhead and performance decrease. There are tons of white papers regarding this.

 

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Data point for Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST). Turkcell UMTS faithfully throttled to 64kbps.

 

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6c470607d799c2b7dea0b83b5bbd040b.jpg

 

 

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Actually, I think TT is Avea, not Turkcell.

 

ef80a3d5297f38b8eeabf85363f02c41.jpg

 

 

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Airtel @ Mumbai airport (BOM).

BTW, these are all with an iPhone 7 Plus.

 

4b7c0e9277e899ad083dececedec4a45.jpg

 

 

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Edited by etirkca
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Airtel @ Mumbai airport (BOM).

BTW, these are all with an iPhone 7 Plus.

 

4b7c0e9277e899ad083dececedec4a45.jpg

 

 

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Is that with open world or global roaming?

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Is that with open world or global roaming?

I assume global roaming, since they said throttled to 64 kbps as expected. From my experience, 64 kbps is just too low and I just opt for Open World and pay the roaming fees if applicable. Most of the time traveling, if you're not streaming or anything (ie casual usage, looking things up, Uber, sending/posting the occasional picture, etc), it's under 1GB used for a couple weeks. Well worth it for the convenience of fast data and better battery life (radio goes to sleep faster) in my opinion. If I intend to use more than 1GB, I just get a local SIM. But even in those cases where I had 5-10GB, I was rarely able to use more than 1-2GB. It just comes down to how long you'll be in the country (and how much data you'll use), how much of a pain it is to get a local SIM, and how much a prepaid plan costs. For a prepaid local SIM, once you factor in the SIM and minimum data bucket over 1GB, it's like $15-$30 anyway (but you probably get like 5GB of data).

 

I'll also note that for some countries, there's value in being able to change carriers at a whim using Open World vs a local SIM. In Peru for example, everyone roams on Movistar, which has great coverage. However, since everyone roams on them, in tourist areas it was unusable. So then I'd switch to another Sprint roaming provider (Entel / Nextel) and have fast speeds. When I needed coverage, I'd swap back to Movistar.

 

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I assume global roaming, since they said throttled to 64 kbps as expected. From my experience, 64 kbps is just too low and I just opt for Open World and pay the roaming fees if applicable. Most of the time traveling, if you're not streaming or anything (ie casual usage, looking things up, Uber, sending/posting the occasional picture, etc), it's under 1GB used for a couple weeks. Well worth it for the convenience of fast data and better battery life (radio goes to sleep faster) in my opinion. If I intend to use more than 1GB, I just get a local SIM. But even in those cases where I had 5-10GB, I was rarely able to use more than 1-2GB. It just comes down to how long you'll be in the country (and how much data you'll use), how much of a pain it is to get a local SIM, and how much a prepaid plan costs. For a prepaid local SIM, once you factor in the SIM and minimum data bucket over 1GB, it's like $15-$30 anyway (but you probably get like 5GB of data).

 

I'll also note that for some countries, there's value in being able to change carriers at a whim using Open World vs a local SIM. In Peru for example, everyone roams on Movistar, which has great coverage. However, since everyone roams on them, in tourist areas it was unusable. So then I'd switch to another Sprint roaming provider (Entel / Nextel) and have fast speeds. When I needed coverage, I'd swap back to Movistar.

 

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Actually, 12.4kBps is 99.2kbps, which is over the Global Romaing throttle, hence my question.

 

As to you other points, I completely agree. $30 per gig of 3G speed data on Open World is convenient, easy and cheap. Plus, the 64 kbps that Global Roaming offers is way too slow to get anything done in today's world. It would be nice if they bumped the throttle up to 128kbps like T-Mobile or maybe even higher, but past 128kbps, they would probably start paying enough in roaming fees that they wouldn't be able to offer the plan for free anymore.

 

Flexibility between carriers is great too. I wish they would partner with Bell or Telus in Canada though because Rogers wasn't all that great when I was in Edmonton a few weeks back.

 

I personally think Sprint should probably merge the plans for the sake of making things easier, simpler and less of a hassle for average customers. Average people just want for their phone to work and to spend as little as possible. Additionally, a consolidated Open World and Global Roaming would be very similar to T-Mobile's international offering (the throttled data would just be a little slower).

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$30 per gig of 3G speed data on Open World is convenient, easy and cheap. Plus, the 64 kbps that Global Roaming offers is way too slow to get anything done in today's world. It would be nice if they bumped the throttle up to 128kbps like T-Mobile or maybe even higher, but past 128kbps, they would probably start paying enough in roaming fees that they wouldn't be able to offer the plan for free anymore.

 

I personally think Sprint should probably merge the plans for the sake of making things easier, simpler and less of a hassle for average customers. Average people just want for their phone to work and to spend as little as possible. Additionally, a consolidated Open World and Global Roaming would be very similar to T-Mobile's international offering (the throttled data would just be a little slower).

I believe that my mobile devices should just work in as many places as possible without me having to do anything special or charging me a huge cost.  This ability to use my mobile device where ever I am is something that I expect to be included in every plan with no need to buy something special or go online and add a global roaming feature.  I need voice calling, SMS messaging and at least a slow data connection to be able to send and receive iMessages, MMS, send and receive email, and navigate me through unfamiliar places in other countries.  These are things that I think are important for my personal safety and to get me to where I need to be when traveling.  I really do not want to be in a situation where I am getting no service where I am traveling but there is mobile service available that Sprint has not made a roaming agreement with.

 

I can wait while some of my apps refresh their data slowly or if it takes a while to download my email or send a new email.  If I need any type of streaming or other higher bandwidth functionality, I can use WiFi or pay additional for 1GB of higher speed.  I would like Sprint to make paying for that higher data speed easy so that I can do that when necessary. It should default back to low speed automatically when the additional amount of high speed data that I paid for has been used up or expires.

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I believe that my mobile devices should just work in as many places as possible without me having to do anything special or charging me a huge cost.  This ability to use my mobile device where ever I am is something that I expect to be included in every plan with no need to buy something

I can wait while some of my apps refresh their data slowly or if it takes a while to download my email or send a new email.  If I need any type of streaming or other higher bandwidth functionality, I can use WiFi or pay additional for 1GB of higher speed.  I would like Sprint to make paying for that higher data speed easy so that I can do that when necessary. It should default back to low speed automatically when the additional amount of high speed data that I paid for has been used up or expires.

 

Yep - that's exactly what I meant when I said combining Open World and Global Roaming.  Sprint could give us the free gigabyte of 3G data we get (in select countries) from Open World and default to 2G speeds when you use the gigabyte up or are in a non-included country while maintaining the option to buy gigabytes of 3G data at $30 per gig.  It wouldn't be much different from what they already offer but it would make everything a lot easier and simpler for the average customer.  

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Yep - that's exactly what I meant when I said combining Open World and Global Roaming. Sprint could give us the free gigabyte of 3G data we get (in select countries) from Open World and default to 2G speeds when you use the gigabyte up or are in a non-included country while maintaining the option to buy gigabytes of 3G data at $30 per gig. It wouldn't be much different from what they already offer but it would make everything a lot easier and simpler for the average customer.

Or the can just use one or the other.

 

 

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Or the can just use one or the other.

 

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See but that's an unnecessary complication for end users. Additionally, switching between plans is not simple. It takes a lot of time and is a big hassle if you, for example, run through your free gigabyte from Open World and want to continue with Global Roaming.

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See but that's an unnecessary complication for end users. Additionally, switching between plans is not simple. It takes a lot of time and is a big hassle if you, for example, run through your free gigabyte from Open World and want to continue with Global Roaming.

No. Sprint could just offer one.

 

 

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