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Clear Site Triband Conversions

Dave Yeager
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, February 8, 2019 - 8:00 AM PST  
Sprint’s tribanding project has reached a new phase -- former Clear LTE 2500 only sites are getting new equipment as reported by nowerlater in Cincinnati, Joski1624 in Cleveland, and here in Columbus. Converting sites from LTE 2500 only to triband LTE 800 MHz, LTE 1900 MHz, and LTE 2500 will significantly improve network performance in the traditional metropolitan areas of markets where Clear sites reside.  Adding LTE 1900, LTE 800, CDMA 1x1900, and 1x800 will mean stronger signal with improved building penetration that will allow surrounding sites to better serve their more immediate coverage areas. This added site density will be a key factor in performance improvements needed for high quality VoLTE (Voice over LTE) service. Upon completion, site density for the non-LTE 2500 bands will increase an astonishing 57% in Franklin County (Columbus) Ohio.  There are currently 162 macro sites not counting factory and private office building sites. There are 93 stand-alone Clear sites.  Hamilton County (Cincinnati) will show a 61% increase in site density for the non-LTE 2500 bands. Additional Clear sites lie outside these counties in both markets.  The level of increase will vary from market to market.   Market wide LTE 1900 performance will improve if this increased site density allows for fewer 1x1900 CDMA carriers per site. This would allow refarming of spectrum to increase the bandwidth for LTE 1900. Minimum LTE bandwidth allowed by many of Sprint’s Remote Radio Units has been increased in recent months according to the FCC.  This will be market dependent.   There will be a 50% or more LTE 2500 capacity improvement at most Clear sites. Mini Macro Clear sites broadcast only one or two carriers, while most metropolitan areas triband sites broadcast three carriers with up to five carriers at some sites.  The tribanded Clear sites go from having Mini Macros to 8T8R remote radio units at most sites, but some sites may retain existing Mini Macros in some markets.  With 8T8R, these tribanded Clear sites will also get improved performance and coverage. Samsung Clear equipment used in portions of the south and east often have three carriers thus will primarily gain benefits from the improved coverage of the 8T8Rs.   Tribanding the Clear Mini Macro sites will also improve the LTE 2500 performance of surrounding triband sites.  If your phone is on the third carrier and you currently drive into an area primarily served by a Clear site your triband site signal will get weaker and weaker until it drops. The LTE 2500 at these existing Triband sites currently carries an extra burden.       Permit Foreshadowing   Let’s dive further into the details.  We have been watching for these site builds for many months.  Permits were first seen in the early fall in Columbus, for example:   ALTC1800834: ANTENNA UPGRADE TO AN EXISTING CELL SITE OF SPRINT. REMOVE (3) ANTENNAS, (3) MM RRUS, AND (3) 15/64" COAX. INSTALL (3) ANTENNAS, (9) RRHS, (3) 1-1/16" HYBRID CABLES, GC SUPPLIED RET CABLES, (3) OPTIC FIBER JUNCTION CYLINDERS, (3) POWER JUNCTION CYLINDERS, (1) SITEPRO SNP-12NP SECTOR MOUNT AND HANDRAIL KIT. REMOVE EXISTING CLEARWIRE GROUND CABINETS AND INSTALL ALL NEW SPRINT ECAB & ICAB COMBINATION CABINET AND PPC ON NEW CONCRETE PAD. REMOVE ALL POWER AND FIBER CABLING TO RRHS.   Permits and drawings were also found in Sacramento by our resident staff Tim (lilotimz), with one site even going from CA to Massive MIMO: The Network Vision plus LTE 2500 using 8T8R LTE 2500, LTE 1900, and Four Port LTE 800,and the much rarer Massive MIMO LTE 2500/5G future, LTE 1900 and Four PORT LTE 800. A big question was whether the sites would have CDMA or just be VoLTE.  Most Sprint phones in use today can only use CDMA. OceanDave picked up the first Clear Triband Conversion signal in his logs recorded on 11/30/2018.  Joski1624 found and confirmed CDMA 1x1900 and 8T8R LTE 2500 at the site once the logs were analyzed in early January. Here is a screenshot from Joski1624 showing LTE 800 and 1x800 from the same Clear conversion site:    Cleveland has confirmed other sites.  Nowerlater has reported similar results covering bands 25 and 26 from other Clear sites converted to Triband in the Cincinnati Market   Here is a photo of a Columbus Clear site being converted to Triband.  You can see that the Clear Band 41(inside red outline) is still wired and was quite functional at the time of the photo. 1) Clear antenna (remove),  2) Mini Macro (remove for most sites), 3) Microwave antenna for redundant backhaul (will likely remain if present). This is becoming a Triband Hexadeacport 16 port Antenna Setup outlined in yellow with 1) 8T8R LTE 2500 Remote Radio Unit, 2) LTE 1900 Remote Radio Unit, 3) LTE 800 four port Remote Radio Unit, 4) 16-Port Triband Antenna.    In this next photo you can see the old cabinet on its metal grate and the new cabinet on new concrete.  The underground conduit needs to be placed then the concrete poured before you will see cabinets. Some of the sites will have double cabinets (permits say Eltek, but observed cabinets do not match catalog).  Note that they are pre-assembled, in this case by Stonecrop Technologies. These sites are also getting new Purcell cable boxes. In Columbus, 86% of the Clear sites have permits. New permits are still being filed.  We began finding permits for Clear conversions last October. Permits are active for one year.  They can be extended, but typically the work will be done in that time period. It is quite possible the FCC will not approve the merger into T-Mobile until December or later based on the Shentel – nTelos merger.  This merger could finish sooner or not at all. If the merger is approved this work would likely stop, but any completed site work would benefit existing Sprint customers during the estimated two to three year transition period (market dependent).     If all Clear sites were converted to triband, here is an image of roughly where the sites would strongly benefit in the traditional Columbus metro area: Please note that actual site coverage areas are not circular but are shaped between a three bladed airplane propeller and a three leaf clover. There would be significant variations from the heat map above. Of course Columbus overall has Network Vision and other Next Generation triband sites.   These Ohio markets mentioned have active S4GRU signal hunters, thus are likely a proxy for what is happening or will happen in other markets with active former Clear LTE 2500 only sites (for clarity we will now refer to them as Clear sites).  Indeed lilotimz has found permits and drawing in Sacramento. Reddit user Marley3456 has confirmed triband Clear sites in Salt Lake City Utah, thus they very likely exist in other parts of the country.  The following cities in state order all had more than 10 Clear sites with LTE in 2014 thus are likely prospects for this type of change:  
  If your city is listed above, how will you know if you will benefit?  Start looking looking at the Clear sites in your city today and be observant of any changes. Help is available here at S4GRU.com if needed. Online guides can help: Nokia Mini Macros on Macro Sites, Samsung LTE 2500 Remote Radio Units and Antennas. It will be worth knowing if your market will benefit from the significant capacity improvements of the Clear site Triband conversions!       Edited 2/8/19 to better cover Samsung Clear Sites.  

dkyeager

dkyeager

[PSA] Sprint Soft Launches VoLTE

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, October 2, 2018 - 9:00 PM PDT Starting right now, October 3,2018 12:01 AM EST, Samsung Galaxy S8, 8+, and S8 Active users can manually download the firmware to remove Calling Plus from their devices and bring forth the VoLTE Opt-In toggle.  Oh yeah. VoLTE is live on the Sprint Network™ as part of the VoLTE Soft Launch in the select markets. The roll out to the soft launch markets will be gradual over the next weeks.  So have at it you folks in the first soft launch markets that are going live! Here are the first 15 initial soft launch markets with more following in the next few weeks.  Atlanta-Athens Chicago Dallas-Ft.Worth Houston Indianapolis Kansas Missouri New York City Oregon-West Washington Philadelphia Pittsburgh San Francisco Bay South Bay Southern Jersey Washington DC And if you're in a soft launch market...
Source: /u/TheButlershrsmn Discuss Sprint VoLTE on on the forums. 

lilotimz

lilotimz

Anatomy of a Sprint Triband Hexadecaport (16 port) Antenna Setup

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
January 26, 2018 - 5:30 AM PST [Edited: 1/28/18 to include additional information on Samsung 4 port 800 MHz radio]
[Edited: 2/2/18 for photograph addition of an Ericsson setup] The Triband Hexadecaport. The newest development of Sprint's recent network expenditures. This is a new triband antenna configuration now being deployed by Sprint that is able to do 4T4R MIMO on both 800 MHz and 1900 MHz in addition to 8T8R MIMO over 2.5 GHz. All in one single antenna. Previously, Sprint typically utilized two different antennas with one from Network Vision days being a hexport dual band unit that supports 800 MHz and 1900 MHz. While 2.5 GHz was an additional antenna and radio unit added on later. Some sites utilized (and may continue to utilize) another triband antenna model.  This older generation triband antenna is a decaport (10 port) triband unit that support 4T4R on both 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz with 2T2R on 800 MHz. This meant that an 8T8R radio would have its capabilities decreased as a result of going from 8T8R to 4T4R.  With the development and deployment of this new 16 port triband antenna, Sprint is now poised to offer 800 MHz 4 antenna transmit and receive diversity alongside 1900 MHz, while 2.5 GHz is able to fully utilize the capability of an 8T8R radio. This means that the full capability of Sprint's 800 MHz, 1900 MHz, and LTE Plus (2.5 GHz) network can be utilized from a single triband antenna panel.  Removing the limitations of the previous go-to triband antenna model. Because of these limitations, Sprint did not deploy the previous triband antenna panel in a wide scale.  Now they are likely to deploy these more commonly.  In fact, we are already seeing this occur in Washington State, Pittsburgh, and other places en masse. Above:  Samsung 4T4R 800 MHz setup via two 800 MHz RRH-C2, 4T4R 1900 MHz RRH-P4 , & 8T8R 2.5 GHz RRH-V3 
Photograph Source: Josh (ingenium) Currently, this type of setup has been found in Samsung vendor regions with two individual 2T2R 800 MHz RRUs to achieve 4T4R MIMO. Samsung and Sprint has a new 4 port 4T4R 800 MHz RRU that will be able to do the job of two existing 2T2R 800 MHz RRUs that will be deployed alongside this new type of antenna. This new Samsung 4 port low frequency radio is also available in Band 13 750 MHz for deployment in the Puerto Rico market due to the Sprint Open Mobile deal.
Photograph Source: Chris92 
Ericsson Setup

Source: mdob07 This type of setup is yet to be seen in Ericsson or Nokia - Alcatel-Lucent territory.  If you discover these in other vendor regions, be sure to post about it!
****If you're in Ericsson or Nokia / former Alcatel-lucent territory then replace the Samsung radios with the relevant Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent CDMA / LTE and Ericsson radios depending on region.***  

lilotimz

lilotimz

 

G. Jason Schnellbacher - Lead Magic Box Sales, Marketing, Distribution, Deployment and Support at Sprint HQ doing a Q&A session on Reddit

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, December 14, 2018 - 11:00 PM PDT Beginning today on the Sprint subreddit, individuals can begin submitting questions in this thread that will be forwarded to Ms. Schnellbacher to answer at his leisure in a few days time.  Who is Mr. Jason Schnellbacher you may ask? So go forth and submit all your questions about Sprint Magic Box's, small cells, and other Sprint related stuff!

lilotimz

lilotimz

 

Sprints preps for VoLTE with Magic Box update & removal of Calling Plus

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, September 28, 2018 - 8:10 PM PDT In the past few day, Sprint began informing its staff and partners that the VOIP application used for LTE Calling on Sprint devices, Calling Plus, will be starting  to be decommissioned beginning with software updates to Android devices on the 29th of September. Sprint updated the Calling Plus FAQ to note this upcoming change to android devices via software updates yet to be rolled out.  The following is allegedly what the UI screen will resemble when the devices are updated to remove Calling Plus.
Photo Credit: Sean
  Yes. That's right. Don't avert your eyes!  The removal of Calling Plus heralds the arrival of the Opt-In VoLTE toggle. 
  Magic Box Connections Enhanced In addition to the removal Calling Plus, existing Magic Box's have already began and will continue to receive firmware updates that will enable the support of VoLTE in the soft launch regions. This firmware update, currently 15.15.50.514 / 60.7.46.0,  also has additional "enhancements" that will improve uplink performance and device handoffs between Magic Box's to and from other Magic Box's or Macro / Micro cells.  This is what the screen appears to be when updated. 
Photo Credits: Jim So with all this work going on it's all on you Galaxy S8 generation users to tell us on your experiences with the the slightly delayed VoLTE soft launch in the coming days!   

lilotimz

lilotimz

Sprint to Begin VoLTE Soft Launch in September

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 12:01 PM PDT It's been a long time coming for Sprint through many trials and tribulations.  Now it's finally here! S4GRU was able to obtain confirmations that Sprint is finally ready and prepared to enable Voice over LTE (VoLTE) for subscribers to manually opt into in select markets across the country this coming September. See list at the bottom.  As a refresher here are some of the essential points about VoLTE applicable to Sprint:  Calls placed over VoLTE will have the QOS tag unlike the current Calling Plus configuration on numerous Sprint devices Like Calling Plus, VoLTE will have no fallback to the legacy 1x voice network. Calls will drop if the LTE signal drops.  The voice codec is AMR-WB which one can experience with Calling Plus calls and matches the other carriers VoLTE setups.  At this point and time S4GRU does not have a list of compatible VoLTE devices though we do speculate that any device currently running Calling Plus should be able to tap into that very same IMS core Calling Plus utilizes via true VoLTE. In addition, recent Apple iPhone's seems like a sure bet as some users have already experienced VoLTE in live field tests conducted by Sprint. For the non Sprint branded BYOD devices like Google Pixels or unlocked Moto devices the future is quite murky indeed.  Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Market Map See this for map of all Sprint market boundaries Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Markets .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;} .tg th{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;} .tg .tg-wk8r{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Atlanta / Athens Austin Baltimore Boston Central Jersey Chicago Cincinnati
Cleveland
Colorado
Columbus
DFW East Kentucky
East Michigan
Ft. Wayne / South Bend
Houston
Idaho
Indianapolis
Kansas
LA Metro
Las Vegas
Long Island
Miami / West Palm
Milwaukee
Minnesota
Missouri
Nashville
New York City
Norfolk
North Wisconsin
Northern Jersey
Oklahoma
Oregon / SW Washington
Orlando
Philadelphia Metro
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
Richmond
San Antonio
SF Bay
South Bay
South Texas
Southern Jersey
Tampa
Toledo
Upper Central Valley
Utah
Washington DC
West Iowa / Nebraska
West Virginia

lilotimz

lilotimz

[PSA] Sprint announces GEN3 (4th iteration) Magic Box

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 12:45 PM PDT [Edit] It has come to the attention of S4GRU that the Magic Box also supports CDMA Voice Today, Sprint announced the newest Magic Box™ to the world. This Magic Box was first spotted in early summer and S4GRU did a quick write up on it here. Today's announcement formally revealed what new technologies this 3rd Generation public release will give to us. The highlights: This is some huge stuff here especially for technology nerds! Previous Magic Box's only utilized LTE UE Relay for backhaul up to 2 carrier aggregation at 2x2 MIMO at 64 QAM modulation. With 3 CA, 256 QAM, and 4x4 MIMO, this new Magic Box has the same capability as a Gigabit Class device on the Sprint™ network! In addition the notes about Wi-FI connection working for backhaul are huge. Sprint Band 25 or Band 41 may not reach indoors or even in some neighborhoods due to macro coverage patterns even though a Magic Box is available to use in a region. By having the option to use locally supplied internet via WiFi as backhaul, this allows Magic Boxes to enter locations where LTE UE Relay does not work. In addition, the ethernet port tidbit may also be a hint that using ethernet backhaul could also be an option. If so, this Magic Box would potentially support 3 choices of backhaul all in one unit; LTE UE Relay, WiFi, and Ethernet! Wow!  With the coming arrival of VoLTE opt in in the near future, LTE coverage indoors is a huge concern. The now expanded reach of this new Magic Box into places previously unreachable is a huge step forward. Exciting! Sprint and Airspan sure loves Magic!

lilotimz

lilotimz

We Welcome Our New Magenta Overlords?

Seth Goodwin
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 5:00 PM PDT   After three previous attempts during the past four years, something many thought may never happen actually did. On Sunday April 29, T-Mobile announced they were effectively acquiring Sprint in an all stock deal, combining the third and fourth largest carriers in the U.S. wireless market. Pending regulatory approval, the merger is targeted for closing in the first half of 2019. The Deal The deal using an exchange ratio of 0.10256 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share valued Sprint at approximately $26.5 billion (plus the assumption of Sprint’s $30+ billion in debt) or $6.62 per share using T-Mobile’s Friday closing price of $64.52. The combined company “New T-Mobile” will be owned 41.7% by Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company. 27.4% of the company will be owned by Sprint's parent company SoftBank, with the remaining 30.9% owned by the general public and institutional investors. According to terms of the deal announced by both companies in a joint press release, the combined T-Mobile will retain two headquarters in Bellevue, Washington and Overland Park, Kansas. Current T-Mobile CEO John Legere will retain that role at the new company. T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert will serve as President and COO. No Sprint executives were announced to the management team at this time. Deutsche Telekom's Timotheus Höttges will serve as chairman of the company's board of directors, and DT will have 9 seats on the board compared to SoftBank's 4. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, and SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son will occupy two of SoftBank’s seats. As opposed to the famous T-Mobile/AT&T attempted tie up several years ago, this deal does not include a breakup fee should the merger fail to pass regulatory approval. Rather, Sprint has independently signed a roaming agreement with T-Mobile for four years that will continue regardless of the outcome of the merger. On the analyst call for the merger announcement Marcelo Claure said this would take effect immediately. As of the time this article was published, specific details pertaining to the roaming agreement and any actual known roaming connections have yet to materialize. The Plan Sprint and T-Mobile will continue operating separately until the conclusion of the merger, something that in and of itself raises multiple questions about this coming year. Hopefully we'll gain some more insights with Sprint's upcoming FY 2017/4th quarter earnings call.  Assuming approval, the companies announced that they intend on spending up to $40 billion in the first three years on capital expenditures and consolidating operations into a single entity. According to the press release, this represents almost 50% more than what Sprint and T-Mobile combined had spent over the past three years. At the time of closing, the companies estimate that Sprint and T-Mobile will have approximately 110,000 macro cell towers. Of these, around 35,000 will be decommissioned due to co-location or other redundancies. 10,000 new sites will be added leaving New T-Mobile with approximately 85,000 macro sites. Within the first three years of a combined company it is also estimated that the carrier will have over 50,000 small cells independent of magic boxes. The two carriers currently have around 10,000 combined. The stated plan is to “use T-Mobile as the anchor network” and use selected Sprint “keep” sites to add coverage and density. At a minimum, Sprint’s BRS/EBS 2.5 GHz spectrum will be added to T-Mobile’s sites and T-Mobile’s “full spectrum portfolio” will be deployed on Sprint’s “keep” sites. At face value, this would point toward mainly decommissioning Sprint sites as part of the 35,000-macro site reduction. In actuality we'll see what they do. For example all things equal, if two sites are co-located the greater synergies are in eliminating the tower rack with less favorable lease terms or worse rack location. VoLTE and Two-dot-Five The conference call noted while the goal is to migrate Sprint's CDMA customers to VoLTE as soon as possible, with 20 million Sprint customers having T-Mobile compatible handsets on day one. The intention is to have the total migration to T-Mobile completed over a three-year period without “degrading experience on Sprint’s network.” This suggests at a minimum keeping Sprint’s 1x800 voice service active during the transition as well as a deliberate coordinated process for overall decommissioning of macro sites. The other thing to watch going forward in this area is that T-Mobile makes no mention in their investor presentation toward utilizing anything other than Sprint’s 2.5 spectrum on their sites. A Sprint T-Mobile merger would create a spectrum behemoth with holdings ranging from T-Mobile’s low band 600 MHz for building penetration and rural coverage all the way through Sprint’s 2.5 GHz for capacity and speed. On Sunday, executives announced they have no intention of divesting any spectrum. However, questions remain on issues like what does a company that already possesses 600 MHz and 700 MHz LTE spectrum do with 800 MHz? How do T-Mobile and Sprint independently spend CapEx this year without diminishing merger synergies? We at S4GRU plan on potentially analyzing a combined company’s significant aggregate spectrum situation in a separate article at a later date. According to the investor information provided, the combined company is estimated to have run rate cost synergies in excess of $6 billion annually or on a net present value basis in excess of $43 billion. $26 billion NPV or $4 billion annually of these annual savings would be derived from network consolidation and CapEx synergies. Additional savings could come from consolidation of operations including store closing and eliminating corporate redundancies. From Sprint’s perspective these savings would be significant. The carrier has not turned a profit in the past 10 years. However, with these savings (even a portion of these savings) the carrier hypothetically would have been profitable all 10 years. Regulatory Hurdles This merger is not a done deal by any means. It faces regulatory scrutiny from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under the administration of former President Barack Obama, AT&T and T-Mobile attempted to merge only to be shot down by the government. Sprint and T-Mobile were reportedly told not to even try four years ago. The prior administration's thinking had constantly been that by allowing any combination of the big 4 U.S. wireless carriers to merge into three, consolidation would negatively impact the average consumer due to lower competition in the market. On the conference call Marcelo Claure noted that regulatory approval is “the elephant in the room.” Claure and Legere are expected to embark on a tour of Washington D.C. to try and gain favor for the merger later this week. Much has changed in Washington since Sprint and T-Mobile’s last attempt at a tie-up, but whether or not a merger is anywhere close to a guarantee to pass remains in limbo. President Donald Trump has positioned himself as a pro-business President, meeting with Masa Son shortly after his election. And while Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai has made comments signaling he may be more open to market consolidation than his predecessors; President Trump’s DOJ is simultaneously attempting to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Claure and Legere noted that they had talked to Pai, but had yet to talk to anyone at the DOJ prior to announcing the merger. The Sell With nothing guaranteed, selling this merger to the government and the public is going to be the key factor on whether or not it ultimately gets approved. Sprint and T-Mobile executives wasted no time in starting on Sunday launching the pro merger site allfor5g.com. Legere and Claure continued touting the merger in a series of interviews and television appearances Sunday night and Monday morning. Based on early results, the argument for the merger is fairly crafted towards its intended audience. The crux of T-Mobile and Sprint’s contention is that 5G is the future, and the future is costly. Both companies maintain a 3rd stronger carrier is better than 4 carriers in a market, two of which are at a capital disadvantage. Claure noted that, “It’s a very simple rule of business---both companies need each other.” Sprint has 2.5 GHz spectrum that will be optimal for 5G but lacks the financial resources to deploy its own. A new T-Mobile benefits from the 2.5 GHz spectrum, a larger combined customer base, financial synergies, and greater economies of scale to effectively deploy 5G. Legere noted their goal to eventually be able to provide 450 Mbit/s speeds consistently everywhere. The 5G argument is significant for a couple of reasons. The first is the current administration has made 5G a quasi-national security issue. The merger of Qualcomm and Broadcom was blocked partially on the grounds of China taking the lead in 5G, and it was widely reported at one point that the Trump administration was considering nationalizing 5G out of security concerns with China. The goal here is that if you let New T-Mobile happen they contend that they will be in a position to deliver 5G rapidly, creating a sense of urgency that a deal needs to be approved sooner than later. If you don’t let them combine they aren’t in the same position to make that happen. They also contended that 5G would allow for the innovators of the future, a not so thinly veiled overall economic development message. The other major 5G argument centers on rural expansion. For a long-time wireless rural cell service and rural broadband have been an important political and economic development issue. Historically rural service has lagged as the infrastructure cost to deliver service far exceeds any revenue operators can hope to recoup. Legere and Claure have immediately been pushing the notion that a merger would allow the combined carrier to bring rural broadband across the nation (as well as creating jobs in rural areas during the network deployment). Lastly, their final argument centers around job creation. Typically, one of the reasons companies merge is that you can save money by eliminating duplicate positions within two separate organizations. Legere on Sunday claimed that this merger would create “thousands of American jobs” with 200,000 people working either directly for or on behalf of a combined entity. This likely faces more regulatory scrutiny than some of the other pro-merger arguments, as again typically mergers result in overall contraction. Furthermore, Sprint on its own announced several hundred layoffs within the past few months. Why now? In the near term, the FCC at some point soon is going to impose a quiet period forbidding anyone that is participating in this fall’s spectrum auction (an auction Sprint and T-Mobile are seeking a waiver for to jointly coordinate bidding strategies) from discussing mergers. Additionally, the longer the wait  is, it is likely some of the merger synergies would be eliminated. Sprint towers that are redundant to T-Mobile are not to Sprint itself. If Sprint's executive team was to be believed, Sprint was poised to spend $5 to 6 billion on Capex each of the next three years. Undoubtedly some of that, a potentially significant portion, would've been on towers T-Mobile has no interest in retaining. Slightly longer term, if there was ever a presidential administration to try this under it is this one. Much like this merger's outcome President Trump's re-election is far from a certainty. If a Democratic administration were to come back to Washington D.C. odds of any merger approval diminish significantly. Longer term yet, Sprint hasn’t turned a profit in 10 years. Marcelo Claure has done a more than admirable job at steering the ship during his four-year tenure: cutting costs, coming up with creative cost-effective network deployment strategies, etc. However, at some point access to traditional borrowing markets may have been cutoff due to Sprint's inability to generate a profit or even consistent free cash flows. It didn’t appear imminent given their two-time borrowing this year, but the company has over $27 billion in debt due over the next 6 years. It is pretty easy to envision a scenario where bond investors said times up. Beyond that, the simple burden of debt may have become so overwhelming that even if it didn't threaten the going concern of the company, it negatively impacted capital expenditures, something we've seen recently. Long-term is actually the story of the past 5+ years. Sprint has incredible spectrum assets, but it needed someone more financially able and willing to deploy them. SoftBank through either inability to act due to debt covenants with Japanese banks lending it money or through deliberate choice—in hindsight was never the savior it seemed. On paper, this merger should seemingly create a financially healthy company that finally is able to leverage Sprint's vast spectrum assets. However, as in the past, time will tell...   Source: 5gforall- https://allfor5g.com/

Mr.Nuke

Mr.Nuke

Not just with AT&T, Sprint swaps spectrum with T-Mobile and VZW, too.

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

lilotimz

lilotimz

[PSA] 4th Iteration "GEN 3" Magic Box Incoming!

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, June 8, 2018 - 3:00 PM PDT It has been a little over a year since the first Magic Box publicly available was announced. In the time since then since the Airunity 545 "GEN 1" was announced, minor revisions were done as "GEN 2" with the Airunity 544 sporting a LCD display and subsequently the Airunity 546 having an more aesthetically pleasing exterior. All LCD display models  are known as "GEN 2" respectively.  Come next week starting on June 11th, 2018, the GEN 2 Magic Box's (AU544/546) will be considered out of stock and a GEN 3 Magic Box will take over the reigns in the beginning of July 2018.  Though information on this new unit is scarce, information attained by S4GRU does suggest the new revision may potentially contain user accessible USB Type A ports and have a slightly lower transmit power.  More to come as S4GRU discovers additional information about this GEN 3 Magic Box.   

lilotimz

lilotimz

Sprint is proceeding with a VoLTE network that focuses on interoperability with Domestic and International VoLTE carriers

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 5:30 PM MDT   Hold the phones! One day, you won’t have to worry about holding the phones as Sprint moves to VoLTE for its voice telephone services. That is because VoLTE (Voice over LTE) will allow customers to do a voice call and LTE data simultaneously. S4GRU is now able to confirm that Sprint is proceeding with Voice over LTE based on detailed information from an anonymous Sprint executive. He was able to confirm some of their plans for the transition to VoLTE for voice. In recent months, Sprint has been quite mum about moving to voice over its LTE network. Maybe even a bit misleading about it. Causing some to believe they may not even move to VoLTE at all. Public quotes from Sprint have reiterated that CDMA will carry its voice needs for the foreseeable future and not being in any rush about going to VoLTE like all their competitors have proclaimed. And based on this new information S4GRU recently obtained, it will certainly not be rushed. But Sprint is moving forward with a solid VoLTE plan that will see the lion share of its voice usage move to LTE. This is a relief to some S4GRU members, as they have been getting anxious as they hear other providers publicly extol their upcoming VoLTE networks. We will discuss some details of the plan as they were shared with us.   The Sprint VoLTE plan Currently, Sprint is in the programming phase of VoLTE. This includes all the design criteria and functionality that can and should be included in their VoLTE system. This includes discussion and feedback from device and network OEM’s about feasibility and hardware support. When this programming phase completes this summer, it will then proceed with an FIT (Field Implementation Testing) phase. During the FIT, they will be able to discover any issues and bugs that need to be worked out before OEM’s start mass producing equipment and VoLTE is instituted nationwide on the Sprint LTE network. Sprint VoLTE FIT’s are planned to be in Kansas, Greater Chicago (Illinois) and Virginia. Key roaming partners will participate to ensure interoperability. An opening up of the VoLTE network to customers will be in a future implementation phase that is yet to be scheduled. The schematic schedule would have that be in Mid 2015, but it could be sooner if everything goes well in the wrap up of Phase 1, the FIT and the availability in the device ecosystem is realized.   Key Points Sprint is proceeding with incorporating VoLTE into its network to capitalize on the following advantages: To support both domestic and global roaming for its customers and customers of other VoLTE providers Reducing the CDMA network (capacity, not coverage) by removing most of the voice burden to allow for spectrum refarming for additional LTE carriers (capacity) VoLTE will allow HD Voice to be interoperable with several other providers by using the 3GPP EVS (Enhanced Voice Service) codec and integrating other networks together Additionally, here are some details about how Sprint will implement VoLTE: The Sprint VoLTE network will be designed to hand off calls to the existing Sprint CDMA network, including HD Voice calls, via the EVRC-NW codec EVS codec standardization may not be achieved by the time Sprint starts deploying a VoLTE network. They will use AMR-WB and EVRC-NW for testing initially. This may limit initial interoperability of HD Voice in the beginning. Sprint to SoftBank Mobile VoLTE calls should be able to use HD Voice from the beginning, and vice versa. Sprint will leave some CDMA voice capacity indefinitely. However, ultimately the goal is to remove CDMA 1X Voice when coverage and quality is equal or better than customers experience today. Additional low frequency spectrum may be required, depending on future voice demand which is steadily declining. VoLTE calls will not be given QoS Priority on LTE initially. Should LTE capacity constraints be experienced during a VoLTE call, the call will be handed over to the 1x network. As the LTE network matures and loads are better balanced, voice on LTE will be given priority over other LTE traffic similar to WCDMA networks. FDD LTE networks will be preferred for VoLTE traffic over TDD LTE. TDD already has the uplink slotted for maximum data download efficiency. Adding additional uplink data demand for voice (which is synchronous in nature) on TDD (which is not synchronous) may cause a noticeable data upload degradation in voice demand scenarios. Due to FDD being synchronous in nature like voice calls operate, Sprint VoLTE will prefer FDD LTE over TDD LTE when possible to provide for the best network operation. Interoperability over getting it installed now One of the key reasons why Sprint is going to be last to the VoLTE race is because of interoperability. The most important attribute to Sprint for VoLTE is roaming with other providers. Early VoLTE networks will either not support interoperability, or will require significant upgrades or network changes to allow it. VoLTE is only now maturing to a state of interoperability where there are enough standards to ensure a system that can work with other providers. Unlike the Duopoly and some other early VoLTE adopters who may not care for an open voice network, and may even be against it, Sprint is making sure that its network is designed with interoperability in mind. So it works with other providers from the beginning. Sprint is likely working with CCA and RRPP members. And this makes sense in context with remarks recently from RRPP partner VTel in Vermont. The Sprint network is being designed from the get go to make sure it can host roaming for other LTE providers around the country and around the world, and also that Sprint VoLTE devices are capable of roaming on partner LTE networks as well. LTE can finally be that bridge to a cohesive global voice and data network among different providers. Since the world is embracing LTE as the de facto standard, it would be a shame to miss out on that level of interoperability. Granted, there will be some band support issues, but OEM’s have made great strides in providing devices to handle a great many bands these days. The current Nexus 5 model supports many LTE bands already. Sprint is banking on the slower and well planned route to VoLTE is going to provide a better network to seamless global interoperability for Sprint customers. Now if the FCC and DOJ will take notice and stop the Duopoly from buying out CCA members. This is the largest threat to competition in the wireless market currently, in my opinion.     CCA Member Coverage Map. This is an illustration of what LTE and VoLTE could look like upon all existing CCA members upgrading to fully interoperable LTE/VoLTE networks.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Clearwire turned the corner? Or just holding its hand out?

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 10:01 AM MST   Clearwire let loose today with a select reporting of Q4-2011 financial results. Of course, these are cherry picked to get the mood about Clearwire's financials prospects reversed into positive light. However, I must admit they look a little better than I was expecting. Clearwire managed to double revenues from the previous quarter reported in 2010. This is attributable to sizable growth in its wholesale business, of which, a whopping majority comes from Sprint Nextel. Their retail business is experiencing significant churn, which is not a surprise given Clearwire's abandoning their retail business model. I was actually expecting churn to be higher. Clearwire's cash and equivalents are notably higher and cushion the company much better than previous quarterly releases. This is most likely do to Sprint's cash infusions announced last quarter. I think it's too soon to get completely bullish on Clearwire. However, these are definitely positive developments for the beleaguered wireless carrier. Clearwire is sitting on massive spectrum reserves, which add a huge value to the company's spreadsheets. Clearwire continues to plan for and develop its new upcoming 4G TD-LTE network. Clearwire will have to integrate and deploy its new LTE network very carefully and thoughtfully. Currently, Clearwire is very dependent on its WiMax network to bring in the revenues. WiMax revenues are likely near their peak and expected to start declining in the next few quarters. Clearwire will need to try to get LTE to generate revenue at a minimum of dollar to dollar as WiMax declines. And that is looking less likely as the LTE network will not likely generate any revenues until Q4-2012 at the earliest. With the exception of perhaps some prepayments from Sprint. Separately, Clearwire offered $300 Million in Senior Secured Notes to raise additional funding for operations. If I were a betting man, I would wager that Clearwire is releasing these cherry picked Q4 results in order to raise these funds. But I would do the same thing, myself. Clearwire is expected to release full 4th Quarter results prior to the February 17th Q4-2011 Results call.   Source: http://corporate.cle...eleaseID=641792

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint VP to provide Network Vision/LTE Update at RCA Expo

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 11:42 AM MST   Bob Azzi, Sprint Network Senior Vice President, will present at the opening keynote address at the RCA Competitve Carriers Global Expo on March 29th in Orlando. In his remarks he is expected to provide a Network Vision deployment update. Let's hope we hear some juicy details long before that! If so, you know you'll hear them rebroadcast at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates!  

S4GRU

S4GRU

RUMOR ALERT: Samsung Galaxy S III may be just weeks away

by Scott Johnson
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 6:09 PM MST   Could the newest Samsung flagship, the highly anticipated Galaxy S III, be weeks away from being announced? That is the claim of Eldar Murtazin, the Russian tech blogger. Murtazin tweeted “HD resolution, 12 mpx camera, sw tweaks, android 4 - i like my new phone. Eager to see official announcement in Barcelona.” By official announcement in Barcelona, he means it will be announced at the MWC in Barcelona in February and if it follows the timeline of the Galaxy S II (which was also announced at the MWC), it could hit shelves by April. No speculation on when the US will see the device, but it was nearly 5 months from the European release to when the Galaxy S II hit US shores. This is one of the more credible rumors that have come out about the device as Murtazin is well connected and seems to frequently find a way to get phones prior to release. Some skepticism can be expected as he has been wrong before (see "Google phone rumor was started by Apple") and the specs he quotes are general expectations of what the phone is assumed to have on board. Murtazin didn't come out and say anything specific about the processor, but hinted at a quad core in the 1.5-1.6 GHz range. A lot of speculation was confirmed with his tweet. A HD resolution screen would follow the progression of phone displays, as would the advancement to a 12 megapixel camera. SW tweaks and Android 4 is most likely referring to Ice Cream Sandwich with a Touchwiz skin. He later said that the phone was "fast" and had good battery life. Murtazin finished breaking news by claiming Nokia would release the Lumia 900 in Europe as the Lumia 910 with a higher megapixel camera in May, but would be too late to compete with the Galaxy S III.   Samsung Galaxy S3 rendering courtesy of Social-Catalog.com.   Source: "Samsung Galaxy S III rumored to go on sale in April: HD screen, quad-core processor, 12-megapixel camera, running ICS"

S4GRU

S4GRU

Will it soon be a crime to Root, Jailbreak or MOD your personal devices?

by Scott Johnson
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 12:01 AM MST   Many of us enjoy the freedom that rooting or jailbreaking our phones gives. Adding custom ROMs, removing “bloatware” or Carrier IQ, and adding additional controls are just the start. We knowingly take the risk that that we may turn our phone into a brick, and our warranty will likely not cover repair or replacement. But will we knowingly commit a criminal act to unlock our phones? Apple has claimed that jailbreaking the iPhone was in conflict with copyright laws. Given the amount of time they spent locking down iOS, it’s no surprise they oppose it. In July 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office eventually decided that jailbreaking and rooting was not a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), as long as it was not done with the intent of circumventing copyright. However, this decision was not permanent. If it is allowed to expire next month, jailbreaking and rooting could be considered breach of the DMCA. Development websites like XDA started out with the public perception that they were underground gatherings of hackers and pirates. Since the U.S. Copyright Office published the finding that jailbreaking and rooting was not illegal, those development websites have become widely popular and have largely changed the public's perception. Even Steve Kondik, aka “Cyanogen”, creator of the widely popular Android ROM CyanogenMod was hired by Samsung. Due to the liberties that millions of us enjoy about to be removed due to the sunseting DCMA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has begun a campaign to keep our phones free. They are undertaking a campaign to convince the U.S. Copyright Office that we should have the right to unlock not only our smartphones, but our tablets and video game consoles. They have a petition that they will send to the U.S. Copyright Office, and they are asking for Concrete examples of legal uses of jailbreaking that “will help show the Copyright Office why they should renew and expand the exemptions for jailbreaking.” You can visit the EFF’s jailbreaking page here: https://www.eff.org/...ee-your-devices   Photo courtesy of iphonefreakz.com   Source: http://www.phonearen...l-again_id26246

S4GRU

S4GRU

Clearwire secures additional $300 Million for TD-LTE network

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, January 27, 2012 - 2:21 PM MST   Earlier this week, Clearwire announced it was seeking $300 Million in additional funding, suspiciously timed with announcing cherry picked results from its 4th Quarter 2011. And now today, Clearwire has announced that they have closed sale on that $300 Million in debt. Clearwire said that these monies were raised “for the deployment of mobile 4G LTE technology alongside the mobile 4G WiMAX technology currently on its network and for the operation and maintenance of its networks and for general corporate purposes.” However, this all comes at a very high price. This funding is at a rate of 14.75% due in 2016. But for many of us, we are looking forward to a Clearwire TD-LTE network. So, whatever it takes to get to the finish line!

S4GRU

S4GRU

Now the FCC allows AT&T to withdraw merger

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 3:50 PM MST   The Federal Communication Commission announced today that they will allow AT&T to withdraw it’s merger application. There were some rumblings coming out the past 24 hours saying that the FCC may prohibit AT&T from withdrawing because they may want to go on record actually denying the merger. AT&T threatened to sue the FCC if it was not allowed to withdraw. In the grand scheme of things, today’s announcement from the FCC that AT&T can withdraw their application is good news for them. AT&T now is in a Hail Mary type of scenario to still get the merger with T-Mobile approved. They know that the FCC is not the best avenue to fight this out right now. Not to mention the cost and resources of fighting two different agencies. AT&T is still planning to proceed with the Dept. of Justice trial in February. The DOJ is using AT&T on anti-trust grounds. Though it may be a long shot, it’s believed if AT&T can be successful in the DOJ trial, then it may re-apply with the FCC to merge. And it will have a powerful ruling backing it up. But everyone admits it’s an uphill battle. Even AT&T. As AT&T has now set aside the funds in 1Q-2012 to pay T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom should the deal fail. Likely not something they would do now if they were optimistic.  

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint accepts Dish Network plan for S-Band LTE

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 5:14 PM MST   Today, Fierce Wireless is reporting that Sprint has signed off and agreed to Dish's use of the S-Band (2 GHz) spectrum. It's is immediately adjacent to Sprint's PCS G-Block, which they plan to deploy LTE on. In October, Sprint filed a complaint to the FCC raising questions about interference, and other issues. So, Sprint and Dish Network started to get heated in their arguments after Sprint's early concerns were filed. However, they seem to have made up nicely and quickly. Perhaps this is a clue that Sprint and Dish Network are working closely on a spectrum hosting deal? Dish Network's LTE network could be relatively easily deployed with Network Vision. And Sprint would love to get some extra LTE capacity out of the deal. And unlike the deal with LightSqaured, regulatory approval of switching S-band from satellite to terrestrial use should be a cake walk. See the link to the story from Fierce Wireless below...   Article: http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-signs-dishs-proposed-wireless-venture/2011-11-30

S4GRU

S4GRU

Rumors abounding that Sprint and Clearwire very close to deal

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 5:14 PM MST   The tech and financial world are abuzz today about new rumors that Sprint and Clearwire are close to a new deal. Confidential sources are saying that they may even be close enough to preliminarily announce a deal by Thursday. As those of you who are following this closely know, Thursday is the due date of Clearwire’s jumbo $237 Million payment that they have threatened to default on. Though, technically, there is a 30 day grace period. However, I remain somewhat skeptical of a quick and hasty announcement tomorrow, as there are many details yet to be worked out. Also, there is no need to be hasty, given the grace period involved. Additionally, all the rumors appear to be coming from inside the Clearwire camp, and not the Sprint side. These leaks could be a means to pressure Sprint to finalize a deal. Shockingly, both Sprint and Clearwire have declined to comment.  

S4GRU

S4GRU

BREAKING NEWS: Clearwire announces funding deal with Sprint

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 8:20 AM MST   This morning Clearwire has come out with a Press Release stating that they have come to an agreement with Sprint on new funding. Up to $1.6 Billion in additional funding in total. This is significantly more than analysts were anticipating if Sprint were to come to the rescue. The deal, as reported from Clearwire on Thursday morning, would include keeping the existing WiMax network operating through 2015. Good news for WiMax device holders living in WiMax coverage areas. It also involves a path forward partnership between Sprint and Clearwire on a new 4G LTE network on Clearwire's EBS/BRS spectrum (2500-2600MHz). This is seen by analysts and Wall Street as necessary for Sprint's future spectrum needs for it's upcoming LTE network. In the short term, this will allow Clearwire to pay it's $237 Million debt payment that is due today. It always had the liquidity available to make the payment, but Clearwire was weighing options of non-payment to help keep it's cash reserves up. This new development should ease these concerns. And as Clearwire considers other means to raise cash, making this payment will help to those ends. Sprint is offering up to $926 Million to Clearwire for it's continued use of the WiMax network for it's 4G through 2012 and then will be transitioning to a usage based model for payment of services. Past deals involved flat per user fees. An extended deal will ensure that customers who purchase new WiMax devices will have access to WiMax networks at least through the completion of their two year contracts. The deal also allows for Sprint to wholesale Clearwire's network to it's MVNO and Enterprise customers. One of the key aspects that this blog is most interested in relates to Network Vision and the LTE network build out. This deal will help to better align Clearwire's spectrum into Network Vision when and where additional LTE capacity is needed and Sprint's owned spectrum will not provide enough capacity. This will ensure a better 4G LTE experience for many years to come and will help to squelch frequent concerns from the blogosphere and Wall Street about Sprint's 4G LTE network capacity that would likely result from only using Sprint owned spectrum. However, in the press release, it appears to be saying that Sprint will not release devices until 2013 that support Clearwire's TDD-LTE network. This likely means that the first LTE devices being released in 2012 will not support these additional frequencies. This may not be well received by LTE customers. And could result in many people delaying the purchase of LTE devices until devices are released that support all Sprint LTE frequencies. Sprint will not be providing funds for Clearwire's LTE network build out at this point. Sprint will provide up to $350 Million in Prepayments to Clearwire for LTE service if Clearwire manages to get funding for their LTE network on their own and meet build out time line requirements. Sprint and Clearwire will also start with a usage based fee model with LTE from day one. Additionally, starting in 2013, Sprint will work with Clearwire to add LTE to it's Network Vision towers where additional capacity is needed. These locations could even be in markets where Clearwire doesn't even offer service. Sprint may even offer additional equity funding to Clearwire. But only if Clearwire can secure other equity funding from other sources. Because Sprint does not want to increase the amount of equity it has in Clearwire greater than 49.6%. So additional funding from other sources would involve more monies from Sprint at a rate to maintain that pro rata basis.     Updated at 9:05 AM MST with more details. Edited at 9:18 AM MST with readability corrections.   Press Release: http://corporate.cle...eleaseID=629282

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint credits Unlimited for high iPhone sales on the Now Network

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:22 AM MST   At a Bank of America investor conference this morning, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said, "We thought (the iPhone) would do very, very well for us, and it has." In fact, Sprint is now estimating it will sell more than one million iPhones before the end of the quarter on December 31st. But more importantly, Euteneur credits unlimited data as the reasons for the iPhone launch success. "We're also getting real gross adds," he said. "I think that one of the reasons they're coming is that it's simplistic. It's one flat rate." For Sprint customers hoping and praying for unlimited smartphone data continuing, this is a glimmer of good hope. If Sprint believes that iPhone success is tied directly with unlimited smartphone data, it's all the reason why they need to keep their business and network plans aligned with unlimited offerings. Euteneur also ceded that Sprint's network has been even further pressured by the success of iPhone sales. But he committed to network upgrades and enhancements to alleviate those concerns. That we continue to wait for. But we have learned not to hold our breath.   Source: http://www.fiercewir...-FierceWireless

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint changes LTE device due date from Mid 2012 to Q3/Q4 2012 and controversy ensues

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 1:28 PM MST   Yesterday, Sprint updated us all that we can expect devices in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2012. Previously, Sprint has used terminology that it expects to release LTE devices in Mid 2012. Of course, because something new was said, the blogosphere and message boards have gone bonkers exclaiming delays. The big deal probably comes from the assumption that many folks have made that Sprint would release LTE devices around June 4th. Sprint never made such a claim. However, many wireless dorks jumped to the conclusion that Sprint would release a LTE device when countless numbers of Evo device holders start coming off contract. The original Evo went on sale on June 4, 2010. And it's initial sales were a blockbuster success. The Evo sold millions of units, as well as the Epic that came out shortly afterward. And Sprint definitely is in a pickle if these device holders have no LTE device to upgrade to. Especially in Non-WiMax markets. It's going to have to start pumping out incentives to keep them. Since many people assumed Sprint was trying to make this early June date, to hear 3rd Quarter sounds like a significant slip. However, Sprint has never said they would make June with LTE devices. Since October 7th, they have been a constant chorus saying the first LTE devices could be expected in Mid 2012. And that they would release approximately 15 LTE devices before the end of 2012. When is Mid-2012, technically? The very middle of 2012 is July 1st. OK...so for the most part Sprint has been saying they will be releasing their LTE devices some time in the period in the rough proximity to July 1st. Now Sprint is saying they are releasing their devices in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2012. And in another quote, they said they second half of 2012. I'm no calendar genius. But I know that the third quarter begins on July 1st. And the second half of 2012 begins on July 1st also. Is this really much of a deviation, if any? Sprint did not specifically say there was delays. In further conversation about the subject, Sprint's Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer said it’s likely that the LTE devices will be released in the third quarter. So even if it was the end of the third quarter, that's the second half of September. Nothing here to suggest the sky is falling, really. And a Sprint spokesperson even confirmed that Mr. Euteneuer's comments don't speak to any delay and are being misinterpreted. And furthermore, even if Sprint is experiencing a delay, I hope it's for good reason. Like they now see it as important to make sure their initial devices support more than one LTE frequency. It would be tragic if Sprint's initial LTE devices only support LTE on 1900. If Sprint is wise, their LTE devices would be dual-band and support LTE on 800 and 1900 right from the gates. And it would be even better if they are LTE tri-band and support 2500 too. That way, new LTE devices will meet Sprint customer needs for years to come. And if delaying the release of LTE devices by 30 to 45 days gets them to dual-band or tri-band LTE support, then it'll be worth the wait. And that's if there really is a delay occurring at all. Joe Euteneuer, Sprint Chief Financial Officer

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint announces first Network Vision tower with CDMA & LTE live

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:05 PM MST   Sprint has announced it's first Network Vision tower is completed and live in Branchburg, New Jersey. It is broadcasting data over 3G-EVDO and 4G LTE and voice over 1x. The announcement of the first fully live tower in the New York Metro Area brings joy and hope to millions of Sprint customers in the area that they will see a completed Network Vision rollout first in the country. Even though this is the first one completed and fully operational, you can rest assured this is not the only tower being worked on currently. Sprint has three contractors (Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson) that are deployed nationwide working on Network Vision on hundreds, if not thousands, of towers at the moment. Samsung recently confirmed they are working in Chicago on LTE for Sprint. "We have our first LTE site up and running. This is really the start of Network Vision," Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "We have the first one up, operational and running just fine." Furthermore, Mr. Euteneuer yesterday claimed that Sprint's LTE will perform similar to Verizon and AT&T's advertised LTE download speeds of 5MB to 12MB. There has been much concern that Sprint's LTE speeds will be too slow because they are deploying only 5x5 LTE carriers. Half the size of Verizon's 10x10 carriers. But it is seen as good news that Sprint will deploy it's LTE network in a way to match those speeds. And maintain their network performance to try to keep them there. In an article earlier today we explained how Sprint will partner with Clearwire to add more capacity to keep their LTE speeds up where performance starts to slip. Granted, Verizon's LTE network is capable of producing speeds much higher than the 5MB to 12MB they advertise. But, Verizon only promises these speeds in a wise overdelivering marketing strategy. However, AT&T cannot be so bold as to boast it's LTE speeds that way. AT&T does not have 700MHz nationwide for LTE. And in many of the places they do have it, they have half what Verizon has. In one third of the country, AT&T has 24 MHz of 700 spectrum. In those markets, they can offer LTE that performs like Verizon. In another third, they only have 12MHz of 700 spectrum. There they can install one 5x5 carrier. Exactly as Sprint is installing nationwide. And in the last third, AT&T has no 700MHz spectrum at all.   So AT&T has a very mixed bag in the short term for it's LTE. And they will not be in much of a position to brag about it's LTE network over Sprint. Verizon will remain tops in LTE speed and coverage for a long time to come. But Network Vision will bring at a minimum at least LTE on PCS band nationwide over the next 24 to 36 months. Even though there is tendency to focus on the LTE aspect of Network Vision, we would be remiss if we failed to remind that Network Vision will substantially improve 1x voice coverage and 3G EVDO service as well. In speed, coverage and capacity. Sprint said in their Press Release that, "Sprint expects to make additional announcements about market deployments early next year." We would love some detailed info that comes out like a steady faucet. Something we can track and disseminate right from this blog, perhaps?   AT&T Map courtesy of PhoneScoop.com

S4GRU

S4GRU

Clearwire's future LTE network and the equity funding it needs to build it

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:39 AM MST   On Monday, Clearwire announced it is planning on offering up two sales of new common stock to raise up to an additional $345 Million in new funding to help build out it's planned TD-LTE network on it's 2500MHz spectrum. Last week, Sprint and Clearwire announced a new funding plan in which Clearwire would receive up to $1.6 Billion in new monies from Sprint Nextel. However, to get all that funding, Clearwire had to meet several milestones and other requirements. Also, separately Sprint offered up an additional $347 Million in additional equity funding. But in order to get those additional funds from Sprint, Clearwire had to find other equity sources to match Sprint's offer. Because Sprint does not want to change it's ownership percentage in Clearwire to be greater than 49.6%. So new equity funding in the these new sales would be matched with Sprint equity funding to maintain the 50.4%/49.6% ratio.   Clearwire to focus equity funding on LTE build out Should the sales be successful and Clearwire receive the maximum funding possible from Sprint, Clearwire says that they intend to use these new equity funds to begin building out a LTE network in 2012. Clearwire has tentatively stated that their LTE plans begin with adding 20MHz TD-LTE carriers at existing WiMax deployed areas. But before you get excited, this almost certainly does not include WiMax protection sites. In most markets, Clearwire has said it is a rather simple upgrade to convert their towers to LTE. But the work involved to convert base stations is more difficult and expensive in the early WiMax markets (like Portland). However, what has not been simple to date for Clearwire has been funding. They are hoping this will be the solution to their short term funding problems. Also, there have been rumors that Clearwire will reduce the number of WiMax carriers from three to one in places they add LTE. But Clearwire has yet to comment on this directly. But this could cause significant WiMax congestion in many urban areas, if true.   Sprint to use Clearwire LTE to enhance it's LTE network It's of great importance to note that Sprint's deal with Clearwire for LTE is for increased capacity on top of Sprint's LTE. Sprint is currently rolling out it's own FD-LTE on 1900MHz PCS G-Block with it's Network Vision upgrades. And will add an additional FD-LTE carrier on it's 800MHz spectrum as soon as the Nextel iDEN network is transitioned off in 2013. Sprint LTE deployment is already under way and the first tower went live in Branchburg, New Jersey yesterday. Sprint's LTE is completely independent of Clearwire's LTE network. Sprint's LTE network is planned to go over it's entire CDMA footprint. Clearwire's network is not planned to ever be so extensive (unlike the aspiring plans of it's WiMax network). And Sprint will not be dependent on it to be extensive. Sprint will use it's own LTE network to be the mobile broadband workhorse, where most of the traffic will run. It will only use Clearwire in places additional capacity is needed. Clearwire will almost certainly not have a LTE market covered that Sprint doesn't. Clearwire is focusing it's LTE build out in two ways. First, to add LTE service to it's existing WiMax network. Probably starting with the largest and most dense markets first. Clearwire may not even try to get LTE over it's entire WiMax coverage area. Instead, just focusing on primary and strategic secondary markets. Places where their wholesale business model will pay off most. I could see them not caring much about places like Abilene, Texas and Modesto, California, etc. Second, Clearwire has committed with Sprint to focus on adding it's TD-LTE on Network Vision towers when and where additional capacity is needed. This will also most likely be in primary and dense secondary markets. This part is very good news for Sprint customers. Provided that Sprint monitors the network in a proactive manner, this will mean that Sprint's LTE should never suffer from consistent capacity issues. Even if unlimited smartphone data remains.   How Sprint will utilize Clearwire TD-LTE network with it's own FD-LTE Here are some examples of how the combined LTE network deal would work. Let's say you live in Downtown San Diego. In 2012, Sprint shows up with LTE service on 1900MHz. You get good speeds and service from day one. And slowly over time Sprint sells more and more devices to customers in your cell. In approximately 12 months or so, the 5x5 FD-LTE carrier you use in Downtown San Diego starts to have reduced performance beyond what the highly sophisticated LTE network can mitigate.     But now Sprint deploys it's 800MHz 5x5 FD-LTE carrier on your tower. And between the two carriers, LTE capacity has doubled. And Sprint adds more and more LTE customers. In another year, the two carriers start reaching capacity, so Sprint asks Clearwire to add a TD-LTE carrier to that tower for more capacity. In another two years, that site starts reaching capacity again, and Clearwire adds another TD-LTE carrier. In many markets, Clearwire can add 5 or more 20MHz TD-LTE carriers. Clearwire will likely only add them at Sprint's request, one base station at a time, as Sprint needs them. Also of note, is that even at towers where Sprint adds Clearwire LTE service for capacity, Sprint customers will likely only be using it when the 800/1900 LTE is maxing out. Like during the evenings. During the day you may be on 800 in your basement and 1900 in your Living Room. But in the evening, you may transition to Clearwire 2500 in your Living Room. But the network controls and your device will make the experience seamless to customers. You just see the same 4G icon and maybe with some minor signal strength variability. Now take this to suburban Indianapolis. Maybe the initial two Sprint LTE carriers don't bog down for three years. But when they do, Clearwire comes in adding carriers tower by tower where additional LTE capacity is needed. And given Sprint's Network Vision architecture, these adds will be relatively inexpensive. And everything should be set up in advance to add them easily and quickly. And in tertiary and rural markets, Sprint will likely never need to add Clearwire TD-LTE carriers to their towers. The 1900MHz will cover most of them sufficiently. But even the ones who eventually get strained on 1900, Sprint's 800MHz FD-LTE carriers will be deployed by the time they would experience any performance loss. Exciting times for Sprint and Clearwire. The only things between them and these future LTE successes is money. But incrementally, this appears to be working out more and more. Let's all hope Clearwire can raise the paltry $350 Million to get Sprint's matching equity bucks.  

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OTA update is rolling out to fix Samsung Epic 4G Touch Loss of Signal Bug

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 10:25 AM MST   An Over the Air (OTA) Update has started rolling out today for owners of Sprint's popular flagship device. The Loss of Signal bug (LOS) has been a popular topic in forums since the Samsung Epic 4G Touch hit the streets in September. But now E4GT owners can breathe a sigh of relief. The bug was purported to cause the device to lose all signal, causing the signal indicator to get a circle with a line through it. Nothing would restore the signal except for a complete device reboot. The issue happened most often when transitioning from towers with weak signals, especially when the 4G antenna was on. It happened to me once when going from roaming to Sprint 3G, both with weak signals. The OTA should get to your devices in the next 10 days to update automatically. Rooted device owners and those with Custom MOD's may or may not receive updates (depending on what you have actually done to your device). You will need at least 50% battery strength to install the update.

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