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lilotimz

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  1. lilotimz

    [Teaser] Life's Good with VoLTE?

    by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 9:13 PM MDT Authors Edit (8/25/16): According to a report, the LG G5 (and HTC 9) is indeed capable of 3xCA specifically for Sprint due to the intraband contiguous setup Sprint utilizes. The spotlight may have been largely on the Samsung Galaxy for the past few weeks, but from behind the red moon, a new contender has revealed itself. To keep it short, as per typical of a S4GRU teaser article, the model LS992 Sprint variant LG G5 had its FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filings uploaded earlier this week. This is the 2016 flagship from LG for Sprint that will be available to subscribers soon. In keeping with S4GRU interests, we will take a look at the cellular technology side of the phone. Supported Technologies LTE Band: 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 12 / 25 / 26 / 41 CDMA Band Class: 0 / 1 / 10 GSM: 850 / 1900 WCDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5 Pretty typical for a Sprint device of this time. It supports the standard Sprint LTE setup of Bands 25/26/41 and CCA/RRPP Bands 2/4/5/12. The FCC filings did not disclose international band support. What many are interested in though, especially after the Samsung Galaxy S7 S4GRU article, is carrier aggregation combinations. Is the G5 a 3x CA device for Sprint? Well, the following excerpt from the FCC OET filing tells the story. The LG G5 LS992 is not 3x CA B41 capable -- unlike the Sprint variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The G5 supports 2x CA intraband contiguous Band 41 and 2x CA intraband non contiguous Band 25. This is somewhat surprising, as both the G5 and the Galaxy S7 have the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, which has the Snapdragon X12 LTE baseband and 3x CA capability on die. Most likely, though, the RF transceiver is limited to 2x CA and/or the modem configuration is different. Barring a Class II Permissive Change filing or a refresh model for the G5, it appears the Galaxy S7 variants still hold the crown for the first and only 3x CA B41 capable devices on the Sprint network. But the G5 does hold one advantage over the Galaxy S7 variants for Sprint. Note the S4GRU highlighted portion of the FCC OET filing. Yes. This is the first VoLTE certified device for Sprint. VoLTE will not work right out of the box, however. It is a latent capability until the Sprint network activates VoLTE. Consider this is a hint, though, that VoLTE may become a user option this year. To begin the wrap up, the FCC OET filings do grace us with an antenna diagram -- something that is increasingly hidden behind a shroud of confidentiality. There you have it: an initial look at the cellular tech side of the soon to be released Sprint variant LG G5. Source: FCC ZNFLS992
  2. by Josh McDaniel, Tim Yu, and Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 11:50 PM MST Update: Further inspection of the FCC OET authorization filings has shown that while Samsung will produce only one "US" hardware variant each for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, it still will delineate operator specific "V," "A," "T," "P," and "R4" variants via firmware. That firmware on the Sprint "P" variant, for example, will enable CCA/RRPP compliant bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 but disable VZW band 13, AT&T bands 29/30, and VoLTE. Similar segmentation applies to the other domestic variants, such as the AT&T "A" variant and T-Mobile "T" variant, both of which disable CDMA2000 and Sprint bands 25/26/41. Thus, the single SKU aspect for the "US" hardware variants of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be limited to their respective FCC IDs. At the retail and end user levels, separate SKUs and model numbers still will exist for the operator specific airlink/band firmware packages. S4GRU hopes, however, that Samsung will use this consolidated hardware platform now as means also to sell unlocked BYOD versions of both handsets that will have full airlink/band firmware across all domestic operators. Per Samsung Galaxy astronomy, the "V" suffix has been for VZW, the "A" suffix for AT&T, the "T" suffix for T-Mobile, the "P" suffix for Sprint, and the "R4" suffix for regional operators. But what does the "US" suffix mean for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge? Both handsets A3LSMG930US and A3LSMG935US bearing the "US" suffix in their model numbers were intentionally/unintentionally outed today in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database -- weeks in advance of their supposed official reveals at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. Okay, the seventh generation of Samsung Galaxy handsets is a big deal. That said, what is so special about these two device authorizations? Well, these two authorization filings with the FCC cover the entire gamut of supported LTE bands for every single US operator -- and include downlink three carrier aggregation support. Even before Apple, Samsung appears on the verge of single SKU handsets for the US. VZW band 13. Sure. AT&T bands 29 and 30. Right on. T-Mobile band 12. Absolutely. Sprint bands 25, 26, and 41. Positively. Carrier aggregation. Yup. Furthermore, as both Samsung handsets support CDMA2000, that is strong indication Samsung has reversed course from the the sixth generation of Samsung Galaxy handsets and included Qualcomm baseband modems in all domestic handsets. Almost assuredly, the chip of choice is the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. That detail, though, is not yet available. On a similar count, tested RF ERP/EIRP figures are beyond the purview of this teaser. However, S4GRU may follow up later on all of the above. In the meantime, here are the nitty gritty Galaxy S7 domestic airlink specs. The FCC filings did not disclose -- nor are they required to disclose -- international airlink support. Samsung Galaxy S7 GSM / GPRS / EDGE: 850 / 1900 W-CDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5 CDMA Band Class: 0 / 1 / 10 LTE Band: 2 / 4 / 5 / 12 / 13 / 25 / 26 / 29 (downlink only) / 30 / 41 LTE Carrier Aggregation: 2xCA 2+4 / 2+5/ 2+12 / 2+13 / 2+29 / 2+30 4+2 / 4+4 / 4+5 / 4+12 / 4+13 / 4+29 / 4+30 5+2 / 5+4 / 5+30 / 12+2 / 12+4 / 12+30 13+2 / 13+4 25+25 30+2 / 30+4 / 30+5 / 30+12 / 30+29 41+41 3xCA 2+4+12 / 2+4+13 / 2+5+30 / 2+12+30 / 2+29+30 4+2+12 / 4+2+13 / 4+4+12 / 4+5+13 / 4+5+12 / 4+5+30 / 4+12+30 / 4+29+30 5+2+30 12+4+2 / 13+2+4 30+2 +5 / 30+2+12 / 30+2+29 / 30+4+5 / 30+4+12 / 30+4+29 41+41+41 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge GSM / GPRS / EDGE: 850 / 1900 W-CDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5 CDMA Band Class: 0 / 1 / 10 LTE Band: 2 / 4 / 5 / 12 / 13 / 25 / 26 / 29 (downlink only) / 30 / 41 LTE Carrier Aggregation: 2xCA 2+4 / 2+5 / 2+12 / 2+ 13 / 2+29 / 2+30 4+2 / 4+4 / 4+5 / 4+12 / 4+13 / 4+29 / 4+30 5+2 / 5+4 / 5+30 / 12+2 / 12+4 / 12+30 13+2 / 13+4 25+25 30+2 / 30+4 / 30+5 / 30+ 12 / 30+29 41+41 3xCA 2+4+12 / 2+4+13 / 2+5+30 / 2+12+30 / 2+29+30 4+2+12/ 4+2+13 / 4+4+12 / 4+5+13/ 4+5+12 / 4+5+30 / 4+12+30 / 4+29+30 5+2+30 12+4+2 / 13+2+4 30+2 +5 / 30+2+12 / 30+2+29 / 30+4+5 / 30+4+12 / 30+4+29 41+41+41 Note in bold text the Sprint relevant 2x CA combinations each for band 25 and band 41, then 3x CA combinations for band 41. One SKU, one "US" device variant for all in the US, just like or better than iPhone and Nexus? By all appearances, yes. And while S4GRU is a Sprint centric blog and web site, this Samsung development has ramifications for millions of VZW, AT&T, T-Mobile, USCC, et al., users, too. You heard it here first -- at S4GRU. Sources: FCC
  3. by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 25, 2015 - 5:44 PM MDT Update 2: S4GRU's technical editor here again. It is Monday, October 19, and today is the day. Many of the Nexus 5X first preorders started shipping this morning for delivery later this week. You also may have caught the Nexus 5X television commercial that Google ran multiple times during the NFL broadcasts yesterday. In light of the first handsets shipping today, S4GRU wants to publish a second update to this article, confirming the correct Sprint SIM card and covering fully the tested FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) ERP/EIRP RF figures, which recently received a Class II Permissive Change filing. As we speculated a few weeks ago, the correct Sprint SIM for the Nexus 5X is the same 4FF nano SIM as for the 2015 Moto X aka Style aka Pure Edition. It is the latest version Sprint CSIM, so network activation for both LTE and CDMA2000 will be via the SIM. The SIM can acquired for free at a Sprint corporate store with repair center or from Sprint International support online chat. As unlocked, third party handsets are still somewhat rarities on Sprint, some S4GRU users have reported difficulties in obtaining the correct SIM from those official Sprint channels. Your mileage may vary. If you prefer to purchase the correct SIM yourself, you typically can do so at Best Buy Mobile. More detailed info about SIM procurement is available in our newly opened Nexus 5X user thread. In our original publication of this article almost a month ago, I included a sidebar with some brief discussion of RF power output. It hit just the highlights. As the Nexus 5 still to this day has been known for its solid RF performance on the Sprint network, S4GRU wanted to do a full LTE ERP/EIRP rundown of its Nexus 5X younger sibling in this update. This is especially true in light of the aforementioned Class II filing -- disclosing some "Antenna/PCB adjustments" to the Nexus 5X -- subsequent to the original filing and our original publication. Interestingly, none of the peak antenna gain figures have changed, but perhaps small tweaks below the peak gain or in the body of the handset appear to have affected ERP/EIRP slightly. For easy readability, I have put together a table to compare ERP/EIRP and antenna gain across the original filing and the Class II filing. See below: All of the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance and uplink versus downlink apply. The figures represent my best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink ERP/EIRP test results provided to the FCC OET in the authorization filings for the device. My previous RF analysis in the originally published article below stands. The Nexus 5X is relatively powerful in low and mid band spectrum, in which we like to see at least 17-18 dBm and 22-23 dBm, respectively. But it is not quite as powerful as we would hope in high band spectrum, which ideally should be 23 dBm or greater. However, the physical changes that warranted the Class II filing do appear to have reduced low and mid band output by a subtle degree -- possibly in exchange for higher and more consistent output in band 41. The RF figures seem to suggest that. To conclude, if you have ordered the Nexus 5X, watch your mailboxes and doorsteps this week. In the meantime, you can watch the Nexus 5X television commercial on YouTube. Update: S4GRU's technical editor here. We now have the full Nexus 5X tech specs released from Google, thus can comment on a few issues not disclosed in the FCC OET authorization filings last week. Namely, international band support and SIM card form factor. In addition to the tested domestic bands listed below, the Nexus 5X also supports the following international bands: GSM 900/1800 W-CDMA band 1/8 LTE band 1/3/20 For those unfamiliar, band 1 is IMT 1900+2100 MHz, band 3 is DCS 1800 MHz, band 8 is GSM 900 MHz (or what SoftBank calls the "Platinum Band"), and band 20 is EU Digital Dividend 800 MHz. With those band capabilities, the Nexus 5X will be usable on LTE, W-CDMA, or at least GSM in almost every country on the planet -- though that may require a local SIM card. Speaking of SIM cards -- which are technically UICC now, but most still call them the colloquial SIM -- the Nexus 5X as expected has a 4FF nano SIM slot. Your 3FF micro SIM from the Nexus 5, for example, will not fit. From a Sprint perspective, since S4GRU is primarily a Sprint focused educational site, this does raise another issue. USIM vs CSIM. For activation and network authentication, USIM is 3GPP only (i.e. LTE/W-CDMA/GSM), while CSIM also incorporates 3GPP2 (i.e. CDMA2000). So, on Sprint, a handset that requires a USIM needs a separate CDMA2000 activation process, but a handset that requires a CSIM activates both LTE and CDMA2000 via the SIM. At this point, we do not have any info from LG, Google, or Sprint whether the Nexus 5X will require a USIM or CSIM for activation on Sprint. My educated guess is a CSIM -- just like the 2015 Moto X aka Style aka Pure Edition a few weeks ago. But that remains to be seen. Expect some uncertainty for the first few days, but rest assured, it will all get sorted out shortly. And S4GRU will be here to provide information as it emerges. If warranted, we may write another update to this article. You also can follow along in The Forums in our Nexus 5X thread. Original article: Two years ago, on a September day forever historic for S4GRU, we discovered and announced to the world the then unrevealed 2013 LG Nexus 5, as its FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization documents made a surprise reappearance, and we noted that the backplate photos included in the filings matched up remarkably well with recent images of a mystery device being used at Google. Indeed, we proved to be right about the LG-D820 and got a nice scoop on the rest of the tech press. Today, S4GRU comes forth to herald what appears to be the long anticipated successor to the 2013 Nexus 5. The authorization filings for the LG-H790 have been uploaded late today in the FCC OET database. For the write up on the Nexus 6P, click here. Dimensions: Overall (Length x Width): 146.9 mm x 72.5 mm Overall Diagonal 159 mm Display Diagonal: 133 mm Supported Domestic Airlink Technologies: GSM 850 / 1900 W-CDMA Band 2 / 4 / 5 CDMA2000 Band Class 0 / 1 / 10 LTE Band 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 12 / 13 / 17 / 25 / 26 / 29 (Rx only) / 41 A Category 6 UE with support for 2x carrier aggregation on the downlink. And the supported Carrier Aggregation profiles are as listed (Band #+Band #): Inter band: 2+13 4+13 13+2 13+4 2+4 4+2 2+17 17+2 4+17 17+4 2+29 4+29 2+5 5+2 4+5 5+4 2+12 12+2 4+12 12+4 4+7 7+4 Intra band: 2+2 4+4 41+41 Carrier aggregation on Verizon? Check. Carrier Aggregation on ATT? Check. Carrier Aggregation on T-Mobile? Check. Carrier Aggregation on Sprint? Yup! To follow up with some brief RF analysis, let us bring in S4GRU's technical editor... This expected Nexus 5X is clearly tuned for low and mid band spectrum. That would be primarily Cellular 850 MHz, SMR 800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and AWS-1 1700+2100 MHz. For Sprint purposes, only PCS and SMR are relevant, comprising the CDMA2000 band classes 1 and 10, the LTE bands 25 and 26, respectively. Since LTE is the going concern, know that band 25 maximum EIRP at 26 dBm is excellent, the same for band 26 maximum ERP at 23 dBm. Unfortunately, high band spectrum does not fare quite as well. The high band antenna covering BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum has a disappointingly low gain of -2.6 dBi. And that seems to be reflected in the band 41 maximum EIRP of 19 dBm, which is low to average, at best. As this almost obviously is the Nexus 5X -- that we know will be a very interesting device to our readership -- we may do a complete RF testing analysis article down the road. But S4GRU wanted to get the highlights out to everyone right away. With Google's September 29 reveal event just four days away, this FCC OET authorization comes right on time. The recent Amazon India leak of the Nexus 5X indicated an identification of LG-H791, and now we have an LG-H790. The 2013 Nexus 5 North American variant was LG-D820 and international model was LG-D821, so the number correlation is there. Should S4GRU be 5X certain that the LG-H790 is the 2015 Nexus 5X? Our track record on these matters is established. But we will let you decide... FCC: ZNFH790
  4. lilotimz

    Sprint enters the Relay race

    by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, January 25, 2016 - 8:30 AM MST For the past year, Sprint has commented a lot about its coming "Next Generation Network" deployment that aims to improve greatly Sprint's network capacity and coverage. Much of that speculation has been over how Sprint intends to feed backhaul to the "tens of thousands" of small cells it plans to deploy -- given Sprint's past history on getting backhaul delivered to its own macro cell sites as part of Network Vision. Last summer, Sprint began talking up its "treasure trove" of 2.5 GHz spectrum as wireless backhaul for its small cells. Many speculated on exactly how this would be done -- with some online netizens theorizing Sprint actually would use part of its 2.5 GHz spectrum in a setup like microwave backhaul. So, how exactly is Sprint going to use its 2.5 GHz spectrum as backhaul? The answer is a simple yet not often spoken about LTE Advanced technology: LTE UE Relay Over the past half a year, S4GRU staff repeatedly were told by Sprint employees that 2.5 GHz was going to be used as wireless backhaul. But there was not a lot of explanation on the technical side on how Sprint would accomplish that. That is until we discovered exactly what it was on a document sent to us almost a year ago that described several then ongoing projects being tested internally by Sprint. LTE UE Relay is a fairly recent technology introduced in 3GPP Release 10. Courtesy of a Nokia Siemens Networks white paper on the topic of LTE Relay, the following is a well made depiction of a network utilizing relay nodes in action. So, how does LTE UE Relay work? A way to think of a Relay Node or LTE UE Relay (i.e. a small cell using 2.5 GHz as backhaul) is as a cell repeater. Yet, there is a significant difference in how a relay node and a repeater operate. Whereas a repeater increases coverage simply by amplifying a specific frequency range -- including all accompanying noise and interference -- a relay node demodulates and remodulates the signal, then transmits its own signal. To put it in simple terms, one can think of a relay node being something akin to a Wi-Fi hotspot utilizing the LTE network for its data connection-- except in this case, the relay node is not transmitting a Wi-Fi signal but an LTE signal. Thus, wherever there is even a speck of Band 41 coverage available, Sprint can plop down a relay node and use the existing LTE signal as backhaul for a small cell unit to increase local area coverage and capacity. This is because the small cell unit transmits a crisp, clean, new LTE signal in the area it is designed to cover, and UEs in that area would connect to this stronger signal. As per the above image, an LTE Relay setup is quick to deploy and provides both an immediate impact on the local network and increased coverage/capacity for all compatible UEs in its coverage area -- without the need to wait for traditional backhaul, which could takes many weeks or months and be dependent on variables outside of Sprint's control. But what about downsides of using LTE UE Relay as a backhaul setup? For one, the speed of the LTE signal that is transmitted by the relay nodes is only as fast as that of the donor site -- be it a relay node (relay nodes can be serially chained), a fiber or microwave backhaul fed small cell, or a macro cell. If there is heavy congestion on the donor site sector, then the relay will also be just as "fast" as the connections that other UEs on the donor sector get. So, if the LTE carriers on the donor site is congested and running say 2-3 Mbps, connections to the relay node would go as fast as that. Another potential issue is that a relay node may expand coverage into a hugely populated area with high load demands and by itself congest the LTE carrier that is providing the backhaul connection to the site. Even though the LTE carrier from the donor site could be running well at 20-30 Mbps speeds originally, the extra loading from the relay node could be just enough to congest that entire sector. In such a case, using a relay may be problematic, and it might be better instead to utilize more traditional backhaul like fiber, Ethernet, or microwave. So, what is the point of writing all that? Recently, an attentive S4GRU member discovered a post on LinkedIn, and an attached image caught the attention of S4GRU staff. Image Credit: Omar Masry It is not that it is a small cell setup that caught our eye but that subsequent comments noted there were no fiber connections at all, it utilizes a Nokia Flexi Zone pico cell, and it resides in the Boston, MA region. Among the major operators in the US, there are only two users of Nokia Networks equipment: Sprint and T-Mobile. T-Mobile only recently has commenced talk about deploying small cells of such type. To deploy a small cell without traditional fiber backhaul while utilzing a relay antenna and not even talk about it would be a departure for T-Mobile, which is known for issuing many press releases on new LTE Advanced technologies being implemented on its network. Furthermore, the Northeast is an Ericsson vendor region for T-Mobile. Nokia has no business doing anything there, leaving the other potential user as Sprint. There was some speculation on why Nokia would be deploying their LTE Band 41 small cell equipment in an Alcatel-Lucent vendor region -- considering Alcatel-Lucent and its partner AirSpan have their own Band 41 equipment designs. But Sprint has said that the deployment would be unconventional and utilize non traditional methods of deployment, so this must have been part of that strategy. Nokia Networks also is in the process of acquiring Alcatel-Lucent. That may be a factor but is a topic for another day. [Edit: Nokia has completed their purchase of Alcatel-Lucent so mystery solved.] What was discovered is that Mobilitie has been applying for permits to deploy wooden poles in Salem, MA and presumably other cities as part of the Next Generation Network small cell densification project. The ever watchful eyes of an S4GRU Ohio based sponsor group member base quickly went to work and discovered an application by Mobilitie that gives a full rundown of what exactly the company seeks to install. Note the permit application engineering details and the pictures from the LinkedIn post. See the similarities? In addition to the near exact matching of details from the proposed setup in the filing and the pictures in the LinkedIn post, the application by Mobilitie, which is widely rumored to be Sprint's primary small cell deployment partner, also provided a site cascade ID: BS90XS933. As per S4GRU sponsor maps detailing nearly all of Sprint's macro sites across the nation, here are a few examples of Sprint macro cell cascade IDs in the Boston market: BS03XC063, BS23XC461, BS60XC325. Gee whiz! I wonder for whom Mobilitie could be deploying these wooden poles and smell cell setups. Here is the LinkedIn image labeled according to details found in the application by Mobilitie. As with everything Sprint does, this relay technology is not one magical fix it all for Sprint's network. Sprint has much to do to continue to improve its network and brand image. LTE UE Relay is a very new technology not without its cons. Yet, it is an interesting direction Sprint is going with regards to backhaul to the projected tens of thousands of small cells deployed as part of the Next Generation Network. Of course, what is more important than the theoretical talk is the discovery above of practical setup and engineering documentation. There is solid proof now that Sprint has started at least one portion of the long awaited and much talked about Next Generation Network deployment. So, keep an eye out for such local permit applications by Mobilitie and potentially other unnamed partners, and observe your surrounding environments. One or more such small cell setups just may pop up near you without warning soon... Sources for tech talk: 1, 2, 3
  5. by Tim Yu and Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 6:25 AM MST Call it a comeback. The band, the PCS band is getting back together. Pun intended. You will understand soon. After a two year absence, the popular one, two, three part "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" article series is back for an encore. For full comprehension, refer back to those articles -- and others linked throughout this article. We will lead you in the direction of learning. No worries. But now with a lead writer duo and a change in artistic direction, the topic of this article has shifted from engineering screens to band 25 expanded bandwidth primary carriers. The frequency focus, though, remains the same. Perhaps also long overdue, Sprint finally has entered the spectrum alignment game of musical chairs that VZW, AT&T, and T-Mobile have been playing for a while in the AWS-1 and PCS bands. In this case, Sprint and AT&T are the dance partners. More on that after some PCS band background. The PCS 1900 MHz spectrum alphabet is not quite what might be expected to the uninitiated. Sequentially, the band runs A, D, B, E, F, C, G. Without delving too much into the 25 year old history and politics of the band, that alphabet is a product of block sizes -- PCS A/B/C blocks are 30 MHz (15 MHz FDD), PCS D/E/F blocks are 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) -- and spectrum caps at the time of FCC auctions in the 1990s that allowed licensees to obtain up to 45 MHz of total spectrum in urban markets, 55 MHz of total spectrum in rural markets. The spectrum cap, by the way, is long gone, replaced with a spectrum screen by a free market frenzy FCC administration over a decade ago. For the time being, set aside the PCS G block, which is 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD). It was created much later, never auctioned. Rather, it was compensatory to Nextel for spectrum losses incurred in rebanding Public Safety SMR 800 MHz. Sprint now holds all PCS G block licenses nationwide. So, back to the 1995-2003 era, a Cellular 850 MHz incumbent with a Cellular A/B block 25 MHz (12.5 MHz FDD) license in Chicago, for example, could not acquire also a PCS A/B/C block license -- that would push it over the 45 MHz urban market total spectrum cap. But that incumbent could acquire also a PCS D/E/F block license and stay under the cap. Along the same lines, a new entrant into a market could acquire one PCS A/B/C block license and one PCS D/E/F block license for 40 MHz of total spectrum that could be contiguous within the convoluted A, D, B, E, F, C, G alphabet. That possibility, though, did not come to pass much at FCC auction 20 years ago. Spectrum contiguity was not all that important for GSM, IS-136 TDMA, and cdmaOne/CDMA2000, not even so much for W-CDMA. But with LTE, circumstances have changed. That is a lot of abstract information. To put a face to the name, see a visual representation of the entire PCS band plan, followed by three exploded views of just the adjacent PCS C and G blocks: The uplink runs 1850-1915 MHz, the downlink 1930-1995 MHz, separated by an 80 MHz FDD offset. In the figures below the full PCS band plan, see the three exploded views of the PCS C and G blocks -- soon to be the focus of this "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" article. The first of the three exploded views above shows the intact PCS C 30 MHz (15 MHz FDD) block -- this is relatively rare among licenses. Long story somewhat short, most PCS C block licenses had to be auctioned by the FCC multiple times, as many original Designated Entity entrepreneur/minority class winners found that they ultimately could not afford their licenses and construct networks. A quote from a previous S4GRU article: So, for reauction, most PCS C block licenses were disaggregated into smaller, easier to afford blocks. Note the PCS C1/C2 15 MHz (7.5 MHz FDD) blocks and PCS C3/C4/C5 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) blocks in the second and third exploded views of the PCS C and G blocks. That whole PCS C block medley will come into play up next. Just be sure to note in the band plan diagrams the spectrum contiguity of the PCS C + PCS G, PCS C1 + PCS G, or PCS C5 + PCS G block combinations. A few weeks back, S4GRU received whispered word and saw PRL change indications that Sprint internally was discussing and prepping for spectrum swaps, whereby Sprint would trade some less strategic PCS holdings in return for PCS C block spectrum that is contiguous with its PCS G block. This type of deal would grant Sprint contiguous PCS holdings to expand LTE from a 5 MHz FDD carrier to a 10 MHz FDD carrier -- or even beyond to a 15-20 MHz FDD carrier in the future when CDMA2000 is significantly pruned or decommissioned. For a visual depiction of one previous example of LTE in the PCS G block expanded into the contiguous PCS C block, thus going from 5 MHz FDD to 10 MHz FDD, see a graphic of what already has happened with earlier, unrelated spectrum transactions in Columbus, OH: Compare to the exploded views earlier in this article of the PCS C and G blocks. And read our Columbus 10 MHz FDD discovery article for further background. Then, for those aforementioned spectrum rearrangement rumors to come to fruition, we did not have to wait long at all. In what may be the first of many such spectrum deals, Sprint and AT&T filed with the FCC last week applications to swap PCS spectrum in several Basic Trading Area (BTA) markets: In summary, both Sprint and AT&T make out pretty well in this deal. Both parties will be able to improve their respective PCS spectrum contiguity. It is a quid pro quo. All spectrum Sprint acquires will be PCS C block, while all spectrum AT&T acquires in exchange will be PCS A, B, D, or F block. The important takeaways are that Sprint will be able to expand LTE from the PCS G block into the PCS C block for a 10-15 MHz FDD carrier -- but that Sprint will have to eliminate or relocate CDMA2000 operations in the aforementioned blocks shipped off to AT&T. For Sprint, all of the listed markets then will have 20 MHz (10 MHz FDD) of contiguous PCS spectrum, quite a few 30 MHz (15 MHz FDD) or even 40 MHz (20 MHz FDD) of contiguous PCS spectrum. Sprint will be able to expand LTE carrier bandwidth -- instead of adding a 5 MHz FDD band 25 second carrier -- as well as reduce CDMA2000 carrier guard band spectrum usage to a minimum. The FCC approval of these applications is in zero doubt. It will be a rubber stamp. All transfers are relatively even spectrum swaps and in the public interest. But carrier reconfiguration will not happen right away. Sprint and AT&T have set up spectrum leases for each other in the interim. For Sprint, it will have to pare down and/or relocate CDMA2000 carriers to the acquired PCS C block spectrum. That is the reason behind the PRL updates, which will aid CDMA2000 acquisition once any carriers change frequencies. S4GRU loves to encourage engineering screen watching -- just as we have done in the previous "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" articles. The more you know. See the three articles linked at the beginning of this article. Now, for those in markets listed in this transaction, watch for LTE EARFCNs to switch from 8665/26665 to 8640/26640. The latter is a clear sign of 10 MHz FDD. S4GRU tracks these in its EARFCN thread, which we update periodically. Additionally, original CDMA carrier channel assignments will vary considerably, but watch for any carriers in band class 1 to shift to the 900-1200 range. Full disclosure, not all counties in the listed BTAs will be affected the same -- because of existing spectrum partitions and disaggregations. Those in outlying areas may not benefit, but all titular BTA cities will gain 20-40 MHz (10-20 MHz FDD) of contiguous PCS C block + PCS G block spectrum and should deploy at least 10 MHz FDD band 25 in the coming months. With that said, Sprint finally gets back into the game of horse trading spectrum with a competitor -- instead of sitting on the sidelines watching the others do these deals to their own benefit all the time. T-Mobile defines its band 4 "wideband" LTE as 15-20 MHz FDD. Sprint already has plenty of band 41 at 20 MHz TDD, more and more everyday with the WiMAX shutdown. But soon, Sprint also may have "wideband" LTE in band 25. We shall see. Expect to hear it here first. S4GRU had the heads up on previous 10 MHz FDD possibilities already four years ago -- exactly four years to the date of the Sprint-AT&T spectrum transfer applications at the FCC last week. Coincidence? For a more detailed look at the pluses and minuses of the spectrum swaps in the noted markets, see our S4GRU spreadsheet. Source: FCC
  6. by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, March 4, 2016 - 8:25 AM MST A little over two weeks ago, S4GRU published an article detailing a multi-market PCS 1900 MHz swap between Sprint and AT&T that increased spectrum contiguity for both operators in several markets. In that article, we mentioned how that spectrum swap might be the first of many, as there are numerous other markets in which Sprint and other licensees could mutually benefit by realigning disparate spectrum holdings into larger contiguous stretches for more efficient LTE spectrum utilization. And late last week, that expectation came to the fore. It was discovered that AT&T was not the only dance partner. Rather, T-Mobile and VZW also entered the fray, as Sprint and both operators had contemporaneously filed PCS spectrum assignment applications with the FCC. Results of the Latest Spectrum Swap As seen in the embedded screenshot, Sprint primarily is targeting additional spectrum in the PCS C block. Detailed in our last article, the PCS C block is adjacent to the PCS G block in which Sprint's existing 5 MHz FDD Band 25 LTE carrier is deployed. These swaps pave the way in a greater number of markets for expansion from that 5 MHz FDD carrier to a 10-15-20 MHz FDD carrier and subsequent higher maximum speeds in Band 25. In total, about 50 million POPs so far will be affected by the spectrum transactions in these pending agreements among Sprint and AT&T, T-Mobile, and VZW. Furthermore, this may not be where the story ends. Once the FCC approves these applications, other PCS spectrum realignment among the big four operators may follow. Sprint also may pursue spectrum deals with smaller operators. Stay tuned. S4GRU will have the scoop. Source: FCC (VZW), FCC (T-Mobile), S4GRU (AT&T), S4GRU Spreadsheet
  7. by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, April 8, 2016 - 3:40 PM MDT Over the past week, S4GRU members in multiple Sprint markets have discovered new EARFCNs and corresponding GCI endings that identify new Band 41 LTE carriers. The EARFCN is the center frequency of an LTE carrier that, along with the carrier bandwidth, identifies the carrier placement and occupied spectrum. As Sprint is doing intraband contiguous/adjacent carrier aggregation -- 20 MHz TDD Band 41 carriers are lined up right next to one another with no gaps -- Band 41 EARFCNs are highly predictable in a given market by knowing the location of at least one carrier. Say the ever popular EARFCN 40978 is the first carrier. You add 198 (19.8 MHz) to it to get EARFCN 41176, which is the second Band 41 carrier. Thus, it stands to reason if you add 198 to that EARFCN, you will get the third Band 41 carrier so 41176 + 198 = 41374, the EARFCN for the third Band 41 carrier. Or, in some other markets, 41078 is the first Band 41 carrier. In this case, it goes like this: 41078 + 198 = 41276 + 198 = 41474 Alternatively, say a market has EARFCNs 40056 and 40254. Adding 198 would bring us to EARFCN 40452, but that is not possible due to the BRS/EBS 2500-2600 MHz band plan -- there are spectrum gaps around 2570 MHz and 2610 MHz that Sprint cannot utilize. See the band plan: Thus, in the case of EARFCNs 40056 and 40254, not addition, but use subtraction: 40056 - 198 = 39858, which would be the third Band 41 carrier. The GCI is the unique cell sector identifier of a LTE carrier. Generally speaking, Sprint's GCI patterns are standardized market by market and network wide, making for an easy method to identify each LTE carrier within a given band. In the case of Band 41, GCIs ending in 00/01/02 (Samsung) or x1/x2/x3 (ALU/NSN) indicate a connection to the original and first Band 41 carrier. GCIs ending in 03/04/05 (STA) or x9/xA/xB (ALU/NSN) denote the second Band 41 carrier. It stands to reason that -- if this second carrier pattern were to continue to the third Band 41 carrier in Samsung markets -- we would expect to see GCIs possibly ending in 06/07/08. Long story short, this theory is supported by evidence. See below SignalCheck Pro logs and numerous in app screenshots: This log is from my Nexus 5x. I traveled for a hour around Sacramento, searching for the third Band 41 carrier. Note the GCI endings for the Sprint Band 41 entries: The following is from site member bmoses in Des Moines. Note the 07 GCI ending and EARFCN: Below is from a S4GRU member in the Colorado market: One more from the Cincinnati, Ohio Market: The following is from yours truly in Sacramento: And these below are from Fremont, CA, near San Jose: See those EARFCNs and GCI endings? Look at the calculations from the top of this PSA. Everything is as we would have predicted for a third carrier. With the end of the WiMAX injunction and the decomissioning of the last active Clearwire WiMAX markets that held up huge swaths of leased EBS and licensed BRS spectrum, Sprint finally has the capability to show off its deep spectrum pockets in numerous markets. This has been long awaited and should definitely give a huge boost to Sprint data speeds in numerous markets where spectrum for additional Band 41 carriers now is available. Of course, there still is the issue of actually connecting to and using this third Band 41 carrier. From firsthand reports and personal use, this third Band 41 carrier is not currently carrier aggregation enabled. Thus, 2x/3x CA devices may not connect to it to use data right now. By default, these devices will have CA enabled, causing them to utilize only the first and second carriers that they can aggregate. For the time being, in order to reliably connect to this third carrier, a non CA triband device or a 2x/3x CA setting disabled triband device may be required. Regardless, this appears to be just a minor issue from the initial rollouts that should be resolved soon. Source: S4GRU member reports
  8. lilotimz

    [Teaser] Life's Good with the V30

    Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates September 5, 2017 - 6:45 PM PDT It is that time of the year for flagship phablets and LG has returned to us with their brand new V30 smartphone. Unlike the LG G6, LG was not conservative with the specifications on this one. Many other tech sites and forums have already broken down the V30 but here at S4GRU we are more interested in network technologies and the V30 is definitely no slouch in this regard. Supported Technologies GSM 850 / 1900 WCDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5 LTE Band: 2 / 4 / 5 / 12 / 13 / 17 / 25 / 26 / 41 4x4 MIMO on Band 25 and Band 41 up to 10 streams 256 / 64 QAM DL-UL HPUE 2xCA B25 2xCA B41 3xCA B41 4xCA B41 That is right. The LG V30 is the first device confirmed to support 4 carrier aggregation on Band 41. No other device out there, including the ever more popular Galaxy S8 or Note 8, are confirmed to at least technologically support 4 carrier aggregation for Band 41 (though maybe a re-certification & software update can fix that). In addition, the LG V30 is also a "Gigabit Class" device that supports 4x4 MIMO over Band 41 for up to 10 total MIMO streams which the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 does not support (the GS8 and Note 8 are not "Gigabit Class" devices on Sprint). Furthermore, note the inclusion of LTE Band 13. One may think this mean LTE roaming on Verizon may be in the cards, but recently Sprint consummated a partnership with Open Mobile based in Puerto Rico who holds Band 13 750 MHz spectrum. As the Puerto Rico market lacks SMR 800 spectrum needed for CDMA 1x 800 and LTE 800 Band 26, it seems likely that it may be a boutique Sprint market that will utilize 10x10 Band 13 750 MHz for low band coverage. An interesting development. So network wise, the V30 sure seems like one heck of a device that supports just about every technology Sprint is poised to utilize right now in select markets and most of the network in the near future. A potentially splendid device for the Sprint network enthusiast. FCC ID: LS998
  9. Just think. That single Band 13 carrier is double the spectrum Sprint has on air in most of PR (5 MHz G) which is in essence doubling Sprints capacity... Open Mobile has another 20 MHz that Sprint now can use too..... So from just 5x5 B25 G they can go to 10x10 B13 + 10x10 B25 + 5x5 B25.... 4x more capacity than before.
  10. lilotimz

    Network Vision/LTE - San Diego Market

    What Sprint could've done in sooooo many 40 MHz contig markets instead of waiting for contiguous CA or expanded BWs aka Seattle...Pittsburgh..etc...
  11. lilotimz

    Network Vision/LTE - San Diego Market

    @RAvirani
  12. Nice find! It's pretty typical for a COLT or COW to be deployed as a semi permanent solution until the final entitlements are procured and equipment are deployed on the macro site. @S4GRU
  13. Up to you to figure out. It's likely dual band or triband with the other equipment not yet live.
  14. This is what happens when you try and be productive while sick. AL68XC004 Here
  15. Nextel conversion @ 12010 Chandler Drive? Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
  16. By the time that NR replaces LTE (decade+ away), I sure hope something better than the existing LTE Magic Box's is out there. Sure wouldn't mind a MMR MB equivalent..
  17. The RRUS are there on the ground. It's an all in one eNB. Not airspan, Nokia, Ericsson, or Samsung as far as I can tell. Could be a WISP or another broadband provider using more obscure equipment... Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
  18. Phone must have B13 enabled / active and the eNB must allow connections to it. Seeing as it's on the neighbors list means the signal and physical equipment is ready. Possibly try and visit your local Sprint sites and see which one has the hardware upgrade (new 4 port 750 radio) and then check every now and then if it becomes available to connect to. Also expect an added 10-15 MHz B25 LTE carrier too in the near future due to the PCS the OM deal brings forth alongside 750.
  19. Nice find! That's Sprints 10x10 750 MHz B13 network they're deploying in PR / VI due to the OpenMobile deal.
  20. Chicago = Samsung Dallas = Ericsson Los Angeles = Nokia
  21. I mean it's not hard to find FCC entries tbh especially if you search by specific vendors. Also... tossed this together:
  22. Oh looky looky. Ericsson. Posted it right in after i did my morning check. Now the wait for Samsung and Nokia! Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
  23. From what I understand, this type of setup is achieved by doing a software config to virtually combine the radios so that it operates as if it's one unit. I don't recall coming across C2PCs for low band radios ATT, TMO, and VZW use that does the same type of software configuration for 4x4 on their low band radio configs. I'm assuming it's because there isn't any alterations to transmit modes of the individual radio units (both units still are individually 2T2R) but I could be very wrong... Edit: Airspan casually mentions it for their equipment "AirHarmony-4000 is a 2T2R solution that enables a flexible deployment scenarios, but can achieve higher coverage and throughput by combing multiple eNodeBs enabling the support of 4T4R, 4T8R, and 8T8R" and they've deployed a few 4T4R setups Chicago... I assume it's similar to other vendors equipment.
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