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S4GRU

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  1. Sprint is now officially announcing the Galaxy Nexus LTE! Also, in the link Sprint announces it's second LTE device, the LG Viper LTE. Exciting. http://www.sprint.com/landings/lte/index.html?ECID=MA:AB:20120109:CES:GLX:NXS:300x1050 Click on image to enlarge
  2. Sascha Segan of PC Mag is out with a quick hands-on review of the new Sprint LTE/WiMax/3G EVDO hotspot that was announced at CES. Here are some excerpts from the review: Source: http://www.pcmag.com...,2398744,00.asp
  3. Sprint Nextel Schedules Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2011 Results Announcement OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 11, 2012 - Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE: S) will release its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2011 on Wednesday, February 8. The results will be posted at www.sprint.com/investors at approximately 7 a.m. ET. Sprint Nextel management will host a conference call at 8 a.m. ET to discuss the results. Sprint Nextel Conference Call Information Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 Time: 8 a.m. ET Call-in Numbers: Toll free: 800-938-1120 (US/Canada) – ID required: 40556064 International: 706-634-7849 – ID required: 40556064 Please plan on gaining access 10 minutes before the start of the call. A simultaneous webcast will be available at www.sprint.com/investors. Please note that questions may only be submitted through the conference call option. Replays of the conference call will be available shortly afterward by calling 800-585-8367 and entering the code: 40556064. About Sprint Nextel Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
  4. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:49 AM MST On Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas, Sprint VP of Product Development, David Owens declared that Sprint "won't be introducing anymore WiMax smartphones." Sprint will be focusing its product development efforts from here forward on it's LTE line up. Mr. Owens further went on to say, "April, May, June, July, August, those will be very aggressive times for us". Is this some indication that we can expect LTE devices to start selling in April? Let's hope so! Although the end of WiMax device releases is not a surprising move, there have been rumors of at least one more WiMax device hitting the market. Perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Note. Now those rumors have been squelched. Although the Note still may appear on the Now Network this year, it would likely be an LTE variant. Sprint will continue to roll out future hotspots with WiMax support in tandem with 4G LTE, like the Sierra Wireless hotspot unveiled this week at CES. However, the end of the road has been reached for WiMax and smartphones. It's kind of sad to consider, but we all have high hopes for Sprint's future LTE network. Except for maybe some of you haters! :azn: David Owens went on to say that Sprint is not wild about Windows Phone at the moment saying that Microsoft is not doing enough to promote the product. He said that Sprint may carry Windows Phone products in the future as the OS matures, but not in the very near future. My guess is this has more to do with Sprint trying to make sure that they don't further divide up sales that could go to the iPhone. Sprint has a lot of iPhone sales to make in the next four years. In perhaps the best news of all, Mr. Owens said that Sprint is being more cautious in its announcements for Network Vision and LTE build out. Instead of under delivering on it promises like in the past with 4G WiMax, Sprint is focusing on under promising and over delivering with its new 4G LTE network. The first few markets are going to be announced slowly in the first half of 2012, with a ramp up in the second half of the year. Photo Courtesy of Engadget
  5. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates- Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 11:21 AM MST In a conference call yesterday with investors, Sprint Regional Affiliate, Shenandoah Telecommunications (aka Shentel) provided a little more clarity with their Network Vision and LTE plans for the next 24 months, as well as some details of their new agreement with Sprint Nextel. "The amendment creates a win-win situation for both Sprint Nextel and Shentel and allows us to upgrade our network in accordance with Sprint’s Network Vision plans," stated Christopher French, Shentel President and CEO Network Vision in Greater Shenandoah... "Planning and preconstruction work is already underway, and we expect to start our deployment late in the second quarter," continued Mr. French. Shentel also stated that new Network Vision sites will start to come live in their service areas in the 3rd Quarter 2012. This will include LTE on 1900 PCS G-block. 800MHz deployment will begin at some point after iDEN is decommissioned in Shentel service areas, improving in building service and overall coverage. Shentel is planning for additional capacity, as they anticipate growing subscriber growth from iDEN conversions and increased customer demand response from improving network conditions. Alcatel/Lucent is the Network Vision partner for Sprint in the region and will also provide NV services and equipment to Shentel. Shentel will be able to purchase network equipment and services from Alcatel Lucent at the same price they are sold to Sprint. Shentel is upgrading backhaul at every one of their 510 cell sites to microwave or fiber, allowing considerably more backhaul than they need at the moment. This will allow the backhaul to be scalable for future expansion. At some tower sites, where possible, Shentel will even provide their own fiber connection. Estimating possibly as high as 30% of their sites will be connected to their own fiber network. Shentel actually has been slowly upgrading their sites to fiber for the past few years within their past capex schemes. All this work, costs lots of money... Shentel estimates that Network Vision upgrades will cost the Sprint regional affiliate approximately $115 Million through 2013. Mr. French loosely committed, "Shentel will use our best efforts to complete the upgrade by December 31, 2013." Shentel is planning to get over half of their network converted this year. Just under 300 sites are identified for conversion in 2012, with the remaining 200 to be completed in 2013. "Our current contract has limits on the level of capital expenditures that Sprint can require Shentel to make in our network. Those limits remain in effect." I'm sure that Shentel needs to have some sort of limit in place, but this quote caused me pause. What is the limit? It was not disclosed in this call. The new agreement allows Shentel to actively convert existing Sprint Nextel iDEN customers directly over to Shentel CDMA customers. And at a later date this year, Shentel Direct Connect (based on Sprint Direct Connect). Mr. French clarified, "Shentel will benefit from the migration of adding customers in our service area. Sprint will have a migration plan to move the postpaid and prepaid customers currently on the iDEN network, and we anticipate this will begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2013." The new agreement also allows Shentel to host companies like LightSquared. Should Sprint ever make a hosting agreement with another company, or if LightSquared should ever get legs under it, then Shentel will be able to also host and get paid for this hosting as well. The newly implemented affiliate contract extends the Shentel/Sprint agreement through 2024, with provisions in place for two ten year contact extensions. Thanks to S4GRU Member Rawvega for tipping me off to the transcripts of this conference call. Source: http://seekingalpha....ment-transcript
  6. by Scott Johnson Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 2:00 PM MST The iPhone is something many people see as a status symbol. Many who have never owned one, long for their upgrade date so they can go out and buy the "exclusive" iPhone that they have been denied access to for years. Even some who had the iPhone, and then switched carriers, long to repurchase another. Yes, the iPhone is a well made smartphone with access to a loaded app store, and has many desirable features. But is it really better than Windows Phone, Blackberry or Android models? When Apple entered into a contract with AT&T, they remanufactured the RAZR craze and how the artificial scarcity of the device created such huge demand. The RAZR was a good device, and you may argue it was well ahead of other phones at the time of its release, but the other manufacturers caught up quickly. Apple used a similar strategy and it has paid off immensely. The iPhone is now available on the top 3 carriers in the U.S., but is still seen as a status symbol in many circles. As if only a few people have access to it. One could make a strong argument that the Samsung Galaxy SII is a superior smartphone, but still many customers line up to get the iPhone instead, because their inner hoarder says they NEED it, and the products perceived coolness and limited availability only add to the whole experience. The concept of artificial scarcity is simple. You take a product that is plentifully available to manufacture in mass, but limit distribution to a limited time, limited area, or in the case of the iPhone, limited retail outlets. The strategy has worked perfect for Disney. Why let your movies make the gradual descent to the $3.99 Wal-Mart bargain bin? Just keep "taking them out of the vault" and offering them at full price for a few months every couple years and people pull their credit cards out to pay $17.99 for an 85 year old movie and thank Disney for "allowing" them the opportunity to purchase Snow White. Oh, and you get to be a part of a limited privileged club. Another notable example is McDonald's McRib. If it was on the menu full time, many people either wouldn't bother going to McDonalds or would order something else, but artificial scarcity commands us to rush in to McDonalds and get several McRibs at a time because we won't have another chance at it for another year. What do we end up with, besides a belly ache and a reason why we don't normally eat at McDonalds? We should be immune to this form of advertising by now, as we are constantly inundated with limited time availability and special edition products all around us. However it is still alive and well here on Planet Earth, because it still works. Big time. Can Apple keep the air of exclusivity over its iPhone as it continues to broaden its distribution? Or will smartphone buyers move on to other devices? Only time will tell. But many doubt that Apple will play its hand as well in an era post Steve Jobs. Photos Courtesy of iPhone5rumor.net
  7. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 3, 2012 - 1:15 AM MST Last month, Sprint announced that Network Vision and LTE Deployment is under way in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates can confirm that Network Vision and LTE Deployment is well underway in Chicago also. As well as a few communities in Northeast Iowa. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates was able to receive information from internal Sprint documents that have not been released to the public. Unfortunately, the documentation will not be released here at the request of the source. The fact that Sprint is actively deploying Network Vision and LTE in Chicago isn’t a complete surprise. Sprint 4G Rollout Updates announced this on October 28th when a Samsung VP let the cat out of the bag that they were beginning LTE deployment that day in Chicago for Sprint. But we stood amazed when Dan Hesse announced the first four LTE cities last month and did not mention Chicago. What gives, I remembered thinking. Network Vision/LTE being deployed in Chicago in clusters We can confirm that Samsung is indeed actively working throughout Chicagoland on Network Vision and LTE Deployment, as well as many things in preparation. Network Vision is occurring in the Greater Chicago area in clusters, instead of one citywide deployment. This could be the reason why Chicago has not been announced with the other cities, as the deployment may not be totally complete in the whole area for some time. One of the issues in Chicago for Sprint is new fiber optic backhaul. CenturyLink is providing a new OC-48 fiber optic link for Sprint Network Vision cell sites. This fiber optic link is anticipated in Mid-February. After this is in place, many DS-3 subfeeds to the cell sites will need to be placed, and this will take another 60 days to complete. In some places the enhanced backhaul may arrive before Samsung overhauls the cell site with Network Vision, in other places afterwards. At sites where the backhaul arrives before Samsung, the enhanced backhaul may stay there unused until the site is overhauled. Even as Network Vision is underway, additional capacity is still being added Even though Sprint is actively working to bring enhanced backhaul to cell sites in Chicago, they are still deploying additional T1 backhaul to augment existing sites to help improve performance prior to Network Vision rework. Some orders for T1’s placed for other sites that are performing acceptably may be reallocated to underperforming locations. Significant performance improvements should be noticed in February as T1 lines that have been backordered for months will start occurring en masse. A large focus of capacity adds are in the Loop Area. Other things noted in the documents include, 3G-EVDO performance has improved where additional carrier and backhaul upgrades have been recently completed. However, some problem areas still exist and will not be fixed when the sites in the area are converted to Network Vision. Chicago is a Capacity Constrained Market for Sprint. Nearly 50% of all the Sprint cell sites in the Chicago area have carrier deployment exhausting all the available licensed spectrum. More specifically, many locations in Downtown Chicago, Aurora, Elgin and Des Plaines will likely require additional cell site deployments in order to increase performance. There are too many users in these cells to accommodate with additional carriers and backhaul alone. Smaller cells will be the only solution in these areas. The Downtown Loop is specifically highly strained due to its density. In the Loop, not only will additional cells be required, but Sprint has also identified 5 locations to deploy Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to increase capacity. Sprint deploying several things to relieve data burden, including forced WiMax offload Other items Sprint is pursuing to help alleviate data speed and performance issues in Chicago are commercial Femtocells, WiFi and forced WiMax data offload. Femtocells are being deployed at Willis Tower for United Airlines. Each Femtocell will accommodate up to 200 users, but can only hand off to the external macro Sprint network. They can cannot ‘hand-in’, so to speak. Sprint is working with Cisco on deploying WiFi in several key identified locations. However, the most notable solution that Sprint is looking to employ is forced WiMax offload. In Sprint devices that have WiMax capability, Sprint may force the devices to run in 4G WiMax mode. The details of how they would do it were not disclosed. Would they push a device update that would give them this capability? The forced WiMax offload would only occur when the device tries to use data. Presumably the devices would stay in a WiMax hibernation state until needed. For you Sprint customers in Chicago, the Cavalry is coming. It may be late, in many respects, but it is going to be thorough and comprehensive. Sprint isn’t just throwing up Network Vision on every tower and hopes it fixes the experience for its customers. Sprint is actively throwing everything it has to improve its network. And all these different solutions are what it’s going to take. Stay tuned! EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market map. EDITED 5/4/2012: Strike out of NE Iowa communities. When this first draft of this article was written, it did not include any info about Northeast Iowa. It was only about the Chicago market based on documents we seen. However, just prior to publishing, we were contacted by a source about Network Vision equipment deliveries that were occurring in several communities in NE Iowa and St. Cloud, Minnesota. At that time, not knowing as much about NV deployment as we do now, S4GRU made the assumption that Network Vision was beginning in those markets and chose to add NE Iowa to the article. We have since learned that NV Equipment deliveries (especially by Samsung) are happening far, far in advance in many locations. NV Equipment deliveries have very little bearing on the actual NV schedule. Also since the date this article was published we have seen national NV schedules and local NV schedules. We know definitively that even though equipment has landed in NE Iowa for Samsung to use in the future, NV has not begun in that market (to date). Planning, permitting and design are not even complete in that area. There will likely not be any NV deployment in any of the Iowa markets until 2013. Minnesota will start sooner, though. This point is one of the reasons why we no longer publish anything anymore based upon verbal communication, but only on things we see ourselves. Sorry for the confusion and disappointment this causes. S4GRU is committed to bringing you the most accurate information. I hope you appreciate the fact that we correct and update our articles when we learn of more accurate info. Thanks.
  8. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 7:51 PM MST Tim Godsil wants you to sign his petition. What petition do you ask? The petition he started on the Change.org website to motivate Sprint to carry the mega-sized Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone. The Android powered, not-quite tablet, not-quite smartphone is making many waves this season. If all the hype turns into sales, Samsung has the making of a new iconic smartphone series. And dozens of knock-offs will occur. The Galaxy Note has been announced for the AT&T network here in the United States. However, Samsung and Sprint have yet to announce a model for the Now Network. The blogosphere has been active with rumors of the Galaxy Note coming to Sprint, and possibly Verizon as well. Maybe even with a different name, like the Journal. Most likely the decision for Sprint to carry the Note has already been made months ago, whether for, or against. And it may be too late for Sprint to get the Note if the process has not already been started. If product development of the Note for the Now Network should just get started now, it would likely be obsolete by the time it got to Sprint store shelves. It never hurts to sign the petition, though, right? I signed it. Decisions to make big changes can occur from the grassroots from folks like us. So, if the thought of a Samsung Galaxy Note (especially if it has LTE) gets your motor started, then follow this link to the petition and sign yourself up. Heck, even if you don't want a Note for yourself, go and sign the petition anyway. More device choices is good for all of us. And maybe the next petition will be for a device you want. And we will be there to sign yours too. Join the rebellion...sign the petition! Source: https://www.change.o...roid-smartphone
  9. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 10:13 PM MST LightSquared has now been in the tech news headlines for two days in a row. Yesterday, it was announced that the FCC is opening up a public comment period for the LightSquared Terrestrial LTE network and today it was announced that Sprint extended LightSquared’s deadline by another 45 days. Both are seen as good news for the beleaguered would-be 4G LTE network wholesaler. Dan Hesse has ordered a 45 day stay of execution for LightSquared Agreement Sprint’s original deadline with LightSquared was for them to get FCC approval to run a terrestrial LTE network that runs on satellite L band frequencies no later than December 31, 2011. However, when LightSquared could not meet the deadline, Sprint agreed to extend the deadline to January 31, 2012. As the clock on the previous extension neared expiration today, Sprint has now announced another 45-day extension for LightSquared to get FCC approval. The new deadline is March 15, 2012. Although, there is not much harm in Sprint extending the deadlines for LightSquared. Sprint previously announced that they put the LightSquared LTE integration into Network Vision on hold. Sprint’s Network Vision and their own LTE deployment is proceeding without LightSquared at this point. Since Sprint would have to restart a LightSquared integration program in the future should the FCC finally give approval, it doesn’t really much matter whether the FCC approves on March 14th, April 22nd or May 31st. It, of course, would matter a lot to LightSquared when the approval comes, though. LightSquared is steadily bleeding its remaining funds and is in a difficult position that it will likely not be able to raise new funding until the FCC grants the approval it desperately seeks. Why wouldn’t Sprint extend it, again? The only reason why Sprint would not offer further extensions to LightSquared is because they either have a new partner to host with (possibly Dish Network?), or they think they can renegotiate an even better deal in the future should LightSquared finally get FCC approval and raise the appropriate funding. This is a risky proposition though, because LightSquared may start to negotiate with a new partner and leave Sprint out in the cold. LightSquared is a potential cash cow for Sprint, and a place for additional LTE network capacity. And now given that LightSquared will now need to be integrated after Network Vision is half or nearly completely deployed, why not keep extending LightSquared indefinitely? Sprint stands to make a lot of money hosting LightSquared’s network. If the FCC ever comes around, just wipe the dust off the plans and get down to business. That is, should LightSquared ever survive long enough to get FCC approval. FCC Opens up Public Comment Period on LightSquared Terrestrial LTE Network In one of the few pieces of good news that LightSquared has received in the past few months, the FCC has moved forward with a Public Comment period. The public comment period will be open until February 27th, with follow up responses due by March 13th. The public comments are not likely to produce any positive points for LightSquared directly. However, it will run the clock out farther and gives LightSquared more time and opportunity to work to solve the problems and persuade more folks about their proposed solutions. LightSquared continues to battle the GPS industry and connected politicians for its survival on all fronts. If it can get the approvals and negate the GPS interference concerns, LightSquared’s wholesale LTE network is seen as a very critical piece in keeping mobile broadband competitive for consumers. A LightSquared LTE network allows smaller national and regional carriers the ability to have a nationwide LTE network for their customers to roam on. Giving these smaller wireless carriers a better opportunity to compete with the Big Two.
  10. S4GRU

    Sprint Galaxy Nexus Plus?

    by Jeff Foster Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 7:46 PM MST Since last fall, there had been talk of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus launching on American carriers other than Big Red. Sprint has finally announced several weeks ago that it is the another vendor slated for release in the U.S. Suffice to say, many of us out there, especially those adverse to heading to Verizon and paying its premium prices, are excited about the impending release. The good news is that Google could be working on an updated version of the Galaxy Nexus. It has unofficially been dubbed the Galaxy Nexus Plus. There is much anticipation that it will be released before Sprint turns on LTE this summer. It’s not the first time an OEM has refreshed a device and re-released it to the market place, which works to our advantage. It’s rumored that the new Galaxy Nexus will have either a 1.5 or 1.8 GHz Texas Instrument OMAP4670 dual core processor. This would be a significant upgrade from the 1.2 GHz dual core processor found in the current Verizon version. We don’t know anything about official specs, but it’s also rumored to have an 8 MP camera. This is a noteworthy upgrade to the 5 MP shooter on the Verizon model (which has been lauded by many techies). We already know that the Sprint model will come installed with Google Wallet, per previous announcements. Some rumors also point to a beefier battery as well. The phone should have all the other features that’s on the current Galaxy Nexus, so now all we have to do is wait. Source: http://androidandme....era-on-the-way/
  11. 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
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    Other

  14. 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. Source: http://www.bizjourna...get-better.html
  15. 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! Source: http://www.howardfor...ion-Tower-plans
  16. 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. Source: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021753533
  17. 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!
  18. 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. Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/icahn-said-to-purchase-lightsquared-debt-in-bet-on-collapse.html Thanks to legion125 for the post in the forums and the link!
  19. S4GRU

    Anonymous on the Rampage!

    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!
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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 http://investor.shentel.com/. 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. Source: http://investor.shen...eleaseID=645935
  23. 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.
  24. 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. April 2012 New Orleans (completes) Atlanta Baltimore/DC Minnesota Denver Pacific Northwest May 2012 Northern California Southern California New England Philadelphia St. Louis Syracuse Detroit Phoenix June 2012 Tennessee Texas New York Chicago Ohio Carolinas Florida Will not be thinned in advance Hawaii
  25. 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. Mark: 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! Robert and the S4GRU Team! I would encourage everyone to stop by and thank Mark for his service! Source: http://www.sprintfee...come-to-an-end/
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