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FCC gives AT&T a Christmas gift after scrooging them out of T-Mobile, at the expense of 700MHz Interoperability (but there is a silver lining)

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:19 PM MST   Thursday night, the Federal Communications Commission blessed AT&T by approving their $1.93 Billion purchase of Qualcomm 700MHz spectrum holdings. AT&T originally worked out a deal to purchase this spectrum over a year ago, but this purchase was lumped in with the T-Mobile merger by the FCC. The FCC only recently re-separated the deal. Most of the approval conditions placed on the deal were relatively minor. Both AT&T and Qualcomm were pleased with this outcome. Several smaller spectrum license holders in the lower 700MHz blocks were calling on the FCC to require interoperability as a condition of approval of this action. And this seemed reasonable to me, and I was hoping the FCC was going to require it. These carriers have been handicapped by what appears as AT&T and Verizon trying to control chipset manufacturers into creating chips that would only run on their portions of 700MHz spectrum. Whether intentional or not, that has been the result. And AT&T and Verizon sure are not complaining. These carriers asked the FCC to consider requiring AT&T to start selling devices that ran on their A-Block 700 spectrum too. This way chip manufacturers would essentially have to make chipsets that run on the entire Lower 700 band, and thus these carriers would finally be able to secure chipsets for OEM's to start making devices that run on their spectrum. However, the FCC conditions only went so far as to require that AT&T not set up it's network in a way that would prohibit roaming, should other carriers sell devices that were capable of using this spectrum. In essence, AT&T (and Verizon too) are benefitting from their competitors being shut out from using their 700 spectrum. Because these small carriers cannot get chipsets that run on their frequencies. AT&T and Verizon are large enough that they can guarantee numbers of chipsets high enough that will get chip manufacturers to create custom units that run on their frequencies only. The smaller carriers cannot do that. AT&T has claimed in the past that they aren't being anti-competitive and throwing their weight around. They want us to believe it's just a coincidence that comes to their benefit. But AT&T went as far as to say they would cancel their deal with Qualcomm for this spectrum if interoperability was required. This appears to support the idea that AT&T is manipulating every advantage it can to essentially shut out their competition. Also, if the lower 700 holders cannot use their spectrum, it may mean they will have to sell it. And probably for less than it could be worth with full interoperability. And AT&T would certainly be there and ready to try to scoop it up. For those of us who really want to see 700MHz interoperability for the sake of meaningful wireless competition, do not fret. The FCC says that they are aware of the problem, but could not solve the problem with this deal. "Even if we assume that the lack of Lower 700 MHz interoperability causes significant competitive harm, such harm already existed independent of the license transfer applications before us," said the FCC in the order. "We believe the better course would be to consider the numerous technical issues raised by the lack of interoperability through a rulemaking proceeding, and we plan to begin such a proceeding in the first quarter of next year."

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Seeking Alpha: How Sprint & Clearwire Can Use AT&T to Unlock Billions in Value

An article was posted on the Seeking Alpha website titled, "How Sprint & Clearwire Can Use AT&T to Unlock Billions in Value." It's a very interesting read that went over details why it would be wise for Sprint to buy Clearwire out right. This is something I never would have ever recommended before reading the article. It's a long read, but raises some very interesting points. If Sprint could master a Clearwire buy out in a way exactly as mentioned in the article, it could work and be very beneficial for the company. However, even the best laid plans... UPDATE: The article was taken down by Seeking Alpha for some reason. Conspiracy, perhaps? Either way, I was able to get the data from the article in a Google Search cache, thankfully. I have reposted below.   Posted on Seeking Alpha website, December 22, 2011 at 2:46 PM. Submission by Helix Investments.   Source (now taken down):  http://www.seekingal...llions-in-value

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Forbes: Cellphone Manufacturers Solved GPS Interference Problem

Forbes is out with a story about how cellphone GPS is unaffected by LightSquared's terrestrial LTE signals. But traditional and high precision GPS units are affected. Short answer...interference shielding. It's a good read, for those inclined and following the LightSquared drama. And supports LS2's arguments, to some extent.           Article: http://www.forbes.co...erence-problem/

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Sprint deploys first Network Vision cluster in Kankakee, Illinois and promises LTE deployment info early in 2012

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 11:29 AM MST In a press release today, Sprint discusses some Network Vision updates, including that they have completed their first Network Vision cluster of upgrades in the Northern Illinois city of Kankakee. This makes the first community in the U.S. with a full Sprint LTE deployment (as far as we know). Although, there will be no devices available for customers to use these LTE signals until approximate Midyear 2012. Bob Azzi, a Sprint Senior Vice President of Networks, even raised the ante when he said, "we expect to maintain and even accelerate this momentum in 2012." Eluding to a possible further acceleration of deployment. In this latest Kankakee deployment, Sprint has installed several Network Vision towers over the community, and using this area as a test bed for final network configuration and future devices. This is an important step to make sure that devices will be able to not only transfer from tower to tower on the same frequencies, but also from frequency to frequency and from technology to technology (EVDO to LTE, etc.). Also of note, is there is a WiMax protection site in Kankakee deployed by Clearwire in the Summer of 2011. So this location can also be used to test transferring between WiMax and other technologies, also.     In a review of the Sprint Network site, nothing really stands out to help identify this work as being associated with Network Vision in the Kankakee area. The Kankakee launch was successful and went as anticipated. This is likely the last hurdle to make sure that no final adjustments would need to be made for devices as ordered from OEM's, or if adjustments would need to be made at the towers for devices. Testing associated with this Kankakee deployment is likely the last hurdle before Network Vision starts to go full bore ahead. If you are in the Kankakee area, or will be in the near future, take your Sprint devices down there and let us know what you encounter. Especially devices that run on 800MHz. Since this was a testing deployment, 800MHz may even be a part of the mix there. Would love to hear some confirmation of that. Sprint said, "(We are) on track to offer LTE devices by mid-year 2012 and complete the majority of its Network Vision rollout in 2013. Sprint expects to make additional announcements about the timing of LTE markets and devices early next year." We will be waiting for updates with baited breath! Also in the press release, Sprint said they are in the process of "validating rapid LTE deployment schedule." Maybe they can release it upon validation???   Kankakee, Illinois as seen at the network.sprint.com website.   UPDATE 12/28/2011 11:01 AM MST: There were 14 FIT towers in the test. Only two were technically in the Kankakee area just to the east of town. The rest are to the east in Western Indiana.   Source:  http://newsroom.spri...article_id=2152

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Forbes provides realistic assessment of Sprint's future

Forbes is out with an article today that paints a more realistic view of Sprint’s current financial situation. Sprint has taken a beating in the financial press since October. The stock has slid to new lows, now causing the stock to be undervalued relative to it’s assets. It’s finally nice to see a realistic view, instead of the exaggerated negative reports we’ve seen. The past year has not been rosy for Sprint, especially financially. But the future looks like it can be very good. Sprint is taking all the right steps for it’s future. There is only one road out of the predicament Sprint finds itself currently in. And it’s charted course through the iPhone, Network Vision and LTE is the best one it can take at this juncture. Will it pay off? Time will tell. Jump to the Forbes article by clicking the image above or the link below. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts as well.   Forbes Article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/12/29/sprint-still-worth-4-25-despite-iphone-deal-debt-concerns/

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2011 Year in Review...Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

A letter to all our fans and supporters:   As we get to the final business day of 2011, I can't help to think back on the past year. Some of you know my background, and others of you just joined along for the ride at some point in the past few months, or weeks. At the beginning of 2011, there was no S4GRU. I was just another Sprint customer with his Evo 4G, waiting for 4G service to come to his tertiary market. I bought the Evo on opening day, June 4, 2010. I had been an AT&T customer since they bought out Cingular a few years before. AT&T had great coverage in California and Nevada. But in early 2010, I moved to Northern New Mexico. And AT&T asked me to leave, because I was killing them in roaming costs in my new location. So in May 2010, I started looking for a new wireless carrier. Sprint had good coverage in my area and I heard they were coming out with a 4G phone. It also appeared like they were aggressively deploying their 4G network. Even before the phone started selling, they already had dozens of markets up and running though Clearwire. I thought it was smart to buy a 4G phone, since my contract would be for two years. I figured it would be crazy to buy a 3G-only phone for a two year commitment. So I chose Sprint and the Evo. All throughout 2010, Sprint and Clear announced 4G expansions quite readily. So I was largely happy with deployment progress. But just hoping it would pick up a little pace and start getting to secondary markets. However, 2011 started, and the announcements stopped. February, March...nothing. Then one day in late April, I am sitting at a stop light in Santa Fe, New Mexico and my Evo decides to randomly reboot (which it occasionally did before I installed a custom MOD). When it came back online, the 4G antenna came on and locked on to a signal. What??? So, I pulled into a parking lot and tried using it. First speedtest, and I got 9.1Mbps download. Whoa! This is the real deal. I've got 4G!!! WooHoo!!! This event caused me to be optimistic that 4G WiMax expansion must be alive and well. But I am a curious guy and wanted to know what was going on. If Sprint and Clear are still expanding service, why aren't they announcing it to their customers? I could see on forums that people were getting angrier and angrier about the state of Sprint's 4G rollout. Why aren't they trumpeting the expansion? I come across Clear's coverage maps and see little light green blobs in hundreds of locations all across the country. Are these test signals? What's going on? I drove to all the new service areas in my region and tried the signals. They all were up and running, but with varied results. In Las Vegas, New Mexico I couldn't get 4G speeds higher than 1.3Mbps, and in Albuquerque I was able to even get over 10Mbps. I started hitting about a half dozen forums and proclaiming to everyone who would listen, "turn on your 4G antennas and scan for service! Sprint has unannounced coverage all over the place!" By May 20th, I started posting service updates in assorted forums, telling folks about where Sprint and Clear had unannounced service. And that's when I started to learn the story of Protection Sites. That these sites were deployed by Clearwire to meet FCC buildout requirements for the spectrum and protect from losing it's FCC license. And then it all made sense. Regardless of why, these signals were usable. And millions of customers would be able to find a meaningful use for them. So I continued my quest to bring updates to the masses, letting them know where new Protection Sites were popping up. In July, we started our Facebook page, and that's when we really took off. In October we added Twitter. In November we added Google+. We really stuck our necks out there on November 10th when we started our own web page. Not just a simple static page, but a full online social community. A place where I can blog original stories and we can interact with them. We are still in the beta stage. So, now we are up to the New Year. 2012 lays mere hours away. And there has never been a more exciting time to be a Sprint customer. Granted, it is a painful process. 3G Data rates have been especially excruciating for many Sprint customers. But with Network Vision beginning and LTE deployment under way, 2012 promises to be a rocking year. One thing is for sure, not matter the outcome, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will be along for the ride. Bringing you information as fast or faster than even most tech websites. And you won't have to sift through dozens of articles that are not relevant to the Sprint Network and 4G. Straight to the point stories and fast. That's our mission. And lots of geeky details that other websites won't report (or Sprint for that matter). Don't be surprised if we start selling advertising or do things to help pay for the costs to keep this thing running. But I'm now committed to this experiment for the long haul. I'm very excited to bring this info to you in the most dynamic way I can. And Dan Hesse, if you should happen to read this, when can I get my exclusive interview? Our fans have a few questions for you!   Happy New Year,
Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates     Follow link for my predictions for 2012: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-109-2012-predictions-from-sprint-4g-rollout-updates/   And a special thanks to my wife Christina. She is the most loving, patient and loyal life partner a man could ever ask for. I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on S4GRU the past six months. Thanks for your support.   2011 QUICK STATS: Total Fans & Supporters, all media: 1522 Facebook Fans...726 Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Unique Visitors, not Members*...512 Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Website Members...133 Twitter Followers...81 Google+ Subscribers...70 S4GRU Member Breakdown 87% Male 13% Female Top 20 Most Popular Cities S4GRU unique visits from: Phoenix, AZ Indianapolis, IN San Diego, CA Chicago, IL Tucson, AZ Virginia Beach, VA Milwaukee, WI Wichita, KS Tampa, FL Lexington, KY Louisville, KY Des Moines, IA Tulsa, OK Dayton, OH Lincoln, NE Detroit, MI Knoxville, TN Troy, OH Elkhart, IN Oshkosh, WI Languages site viewed in: 91% English (US) 4% English (UK) 2% Spanish 1% Arabic 1% English (Pirate) 1% German Biggest External Referrers to Website: Facebook Twitter community.sprint.com google.com goodandevo.net sprintusers.com Yahoo Mail engadget.com forums.androidcentral.com howardforums.com s4gru.herronweb.com Gmail theverge.com ask.com Sprint 4G Rollout Articles in 2011: 180 Top 20 Most popular articles: 2,360 Page Views
New Network Vision and LTE Deployment info released in Sprint Webinar today 2,109 Page Views
Sprint deploys first Network Vision cluster in Kankakee, Illinois and promises LTE deployment info early in 2012 1,344 Page Views
New Sprint Network Enhancements & Upgrades Site 1,196 Page Views
Sprint announces first Network Vision tower with CDMA & LTE live 541 Page Views
New Samsung commercial stirring controversies. Really? Get a life. 422 Page Views
Sprint Announces Exclusive Event at CES in January 421 Page Views
Sprint releases slides from today's Network Vision Strategy Update 396 Page Views
Clearwire is Abandoning it's Legacy Pre-WiMax Service 357 Page Views
BREAKING NEWS: Sprint rolling out Network Vision in Chicago right now! 347 Page Views
Sprint not beginning LTE deployment necessarily in WiMax area first 332 Page Views
Sprint 4G Strategy Update Conference - Our Facebook Wall Comments 317 Page Views
Clearwire throws hail mary and ends up with $700+ Million for new TD-LTE network 299 Page Views
Sprint changes LTE device due date from Mid 2012 to Q3/Q4 2012 and controversy ensues 293 Page Views
BREAKING NEWS: Clearwire announces funding deal with Sprint 289 Page Views
Sprint to Offload Commercial Airave's at Your Work and Favorite Destinations 255 Page Views
Seeking Alpha: How Sprint & Clearwire Can Use AT&T to Unlock Billions in Value 251 Page Views
Clearwire's future LTE network and the equity funding it needs to build it 240 Page Views
Sprint VP talks up LTE-Advanced, VoLTE and HD Voice in new video 215 Page Views
Jay Leno Mocks Sprint iPhone on Tonight Show 208 Page Views
Sequans ties with Fujitsu for LTE chips * These are unique IP addresses who visited more than twice, and the IP addresses are not connected to any known registered Member

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2012 Predictions from Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, December 30, 2011 - 1:39 PM MST   OK, OK! I can't resist the ridiculous speculations of what 2012 will bring. Some of these are things that I think will happen, some I think may happen, some are just fun guesses to stir up discussion and controversy. It was once said that, "Only fools, charlatans and liars try to predict earthquakes." I think the same can be said for those who make predictions for the upcoming year. I think the quote above is even fitting in our instance. You can decide for yourself which one of three I am. Here we go with nine bold and foolish predictions...   1. LightSquared gives up and folds shop LightSquared fails to get the FCC off the dime, and stalled bureaucracy takes it toll. Without the ability to raise more money because of the bureaucratic limbo they are stuck in, LightSquared runs out of cash to keep operating. What happens to the spectrum and their satellite in orbit? I could see a wireless carrier picking up that satellite for a steal. And that satellite functions on LightSquared frequencies without interfering with GPS. Could be very interesting. Maybe a Verizon roaming satellite? Sprint? It could be juicy to offer nationwide coast to coast phone and data via satellite for any national carrier.   2. Dish works out a deal with Sprint to host their spectrum I think Dish plays out a three way negotiations for the best deal it can get. Playing AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile against each other to score the best deal possible for itself and it's LTE ambitions. I think Dish Network wants to partner with Sprint the most, because it will be able to deploy their network nationwide the least expensive and fastest on Sprint with Network Vision. But Dish's CEO Charlie Ergen is so clever (so I hear) that he will make everyone think that's he's willing to make a deal with any of these carriers or even go it alone. And for this, Sprint will give up the farm in these negotiations. But in the end, Sprint and Dish both win from the agreement. Even if Dish gets it from Sprint at the lowest price ever imagined. And Wall Street will be pissed at Dan Hesse, as always.   3. Sprint Network Vision deployment stays on schedule Contrary to what the loud naysayers say about Sprint, I believe Sprint will stay on schedule with Network Vision. I will predict that LTE will be live in 30 markets by the time devices get released. Progression of deployment will stay fast. Sprint will even slightly exceed it's 123 Million LTE POP's by the end of 2012. Yep, I said it. I'm believing the hype!   4. Sprint LTE devices release after a slight delay Sprint's LTE device development will stay largely on schedule. However, devices don't come out until late summer. Maybe USB or a MiFi come out a little earlier, but no smartphones until Labor Day or early October. First device, HTC Evo LTE. A quadcore ICS device based on the HTC Edge (which will have already released on other carriers). A new Samsung Epic with an Unnecessarily Long and Awkward name (with LTE somewhere in the title) will also release soon after the Evo, and it will be based on the Samsung Galaxy SIII, which will also already have been released by other carriers months previously. The early smartphones will only support LTE on 1900 and possibly 800, but will not support Clearwire's TD-LTE on 2500. The first Sprint Android smartphones with 2500MHz TD-LTE capability will not be sold until 2013. One caveat for the iPhone with LTE, see below.   5. iPhone LTE comes out but does not support Sprint's LTE frequencies In the one scandal of the year (and we will have to give the Sprint naysayers at least one), the iPhone with LTE comes out in October. It will have a new form factor, a larger screen (around 4") and the world will be stoked. However, in a shocking and deeply saddening turn of events for Sprint customers, it won't support LTE on 800 or 1900. But it will on 2500 (because of China Mobile). And chaos ensues because Sprint customers will only be able to use LTE on Clearwire spectrum, and not on Sprints LTE. Pressure mounts for Clearwire to start deploying it's LTE, which is likely just beginning. And never will provide the coverage that will be acceptable. BTW, I sure hope this doesn't happen. But it's something I fear, since Sprint is the only carrier planning LTE on 800 and 1900 in the world in the near future, AFAIK. And it may be one of the reasons why Sprint has buried the hatchet with Clearwire, because Sprint has already been given a heads up about the frequency issue. Just sayin'...   6. Clearwire deploys first TD-LTE tower By October, Clearwire starts testing a few towers of TD-LTE on 2500. A slow but steady TD-LTE rollout begins in November/December time frame. Clearwire sets up a two-prong approach for it's LTE deployment. The first goes around and adds LTE to existing primary markets, starting in the largest cities and completely ignoring the many tertiary markets (like Abilene and Modesto). The second goes around adding hotspot LTE capacity where Sprint needs it. But this will start slow, because I believe the only Sprint device that will support Clearwire TD-LTE in 2012 is the new iPhone (and possibly some USB and MiFis). This will deploy on a tower by tower basis, and only on Network Vision converted towers.   7. Third Party WiFi roaming deals catch on for Wireless Carriers As carriers start feeling the spectrum crunch for data, large full city WiFi deployments become an answer. The company Towerstream, and possibly other startups, gain traction with their business model of city-wide WiFi. Carriers work out roaming deals with Towerstream (and others) that their customers devices can roam on their WiFi network. This is actually a genius idea and carriers need to get on board. It's a great idea in dense primary markets, where most of the network strain occurs. And TV white space is not going to be an option in the largest markets. If you can get 20MB download speeds off Towerstream WiFi all over the city included in your wireless carrier's service...well, I think we'd all be happy with that.   8. TV White Spaces start to gain momentum for Wireless So many people are putting hopes on TV White Spaces. And they are very exciting for the thought for use in wireless. TV White Space frequencies, from 100MHz to 600MHz carry far distances and penetrate everything except for earthen concrete bunkers (slight exaggeration). Can you imagine a 100MHz LTE tower? Living in rural New Mexico, I sure can. Although it will take years to develop networks and devices to run in white spaces, 2012 will be the year where it really starts to get traction. Each TV channel is 6MHz wide. So it takes two contiguous TV channels to place one 5x5 LTE carrier, and it takes 4 contiguous TV channels to place one 10x10 carrier. Separate carriers, aggregated with LTE Advanced could also be a solution. However, this will not be a solution for primary markets, as most do not have 2 to 4 free TV channels to use. Some secondary markets will have some available, especially west of the Mississippi. However, the big winner in TV White Space are tertiary and rural markets, especially in the West and Midwest. Lots of TV White Space to be had. And given that it's the tertiary and rural markets who need access to wireless broadband the most, and will benefit most from the vast distances of 100MHz and 200MHz signals propagation, well it's going to be a winner. But since devices that run on TV White Spaces will need to be able to run on the whole frequency set from 54MHz to 699MHz, and are not interfered with from adjacent TV broadcasts (whichbroadcast at much higher power limits). It's going to be a little bumpy developing devices and chipsets that do this all seamlessly and without killing device batteries quickly. However, the thought of setting up giant 200MHz towers out in rural Western states that reach 30 miles radius out from the tower really get me excited. No more dead spots in the boonies!   9. AT&T gets very aggressive trying to secure more spectrum This is kind of a no-duh prediction. But AT&T will have to get creative and aggressive to get the spectrum it needs for data. It will either grossly overpay and drive up spectrum costs for any spectrum that ends up out there on the market, or they may even get down in the trenches and make a deal with their sworn enemies Sprint and Clearwire for some EBS/BRS spectrum. But there will be a lot of news about AT&T's pillaging quest for spectrum in 2012.

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Sprint gives 30-Day Extension to LightSquared to secure FCC approval

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, January 2, 2012 - 10:38 AM MST   The original deal struck between Sprint Nextel and LightSquared was contingent on the FCC granting approval of LightSquared's request to terrestrial wireless service on the L-band spectrum by December 31, 2011. Today, it was announced that Sprint is allowing a 30-day extension to LightSquared to get approval from the FCC. Political storm clouds have been steadily gathering against LightSquared in the past few months in its battles against the FCC and the GPS industry. And in December, things started to look even more ominous for LightSquared approval. LightSquared in the past week is near demanding the FCC give a ruling right away. Whether the answer is yes, or no, LightSquared wants to get on with the business of what it's going to do next. They have been stuck in bureaucratic purgatory. Sprint is also stuck in limbo with LightSquared. They would love for LightSquared to get approval and host their terrestrial LTE network. Sprint stands to gain billions from a functioning LightSquared terrestrial network hosted on their Network Vision. However, Sprint cannot stand by and wait with LightSquared indefinitely. And that's what this new deadline will hopefully do. It will give LightSquared a little more time to get a definitive answer from the FCC. It is possible that Sprint will extend the deadline again after this one expires. But it would probably require some movement be made on the issue. If things do not improve for LightSquared's position in this extension period, Sprint may be tempted to just let the deadline pass without another extension. And just go back to the negotiating table should LightSquared ever get federal approval. However, I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. It's an election year now, by golly!   Source: Wall Street Journal

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Sequans ties with Fujitsu for LTE chips

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
October 21, 2011   This is an exciting article about new System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets coming out for LTE that will run on all frequencies between 700MHz and 3.5GHz. If Sprint used something like this, it would allow for a lot of LTE flexibility in the future. Currently, Sprint has only announced LTE on 1900 only. However, Sprint can be running LTE on as many as 8 different frequencies in the next few years (700, 800, 900, 1500, 1600, 1900, 2000, 2500). If they released phones with LTE chips that ran on 1900 only, those device holders would have to upgrade their device yet again when Sprint added another LTE band. But with these chips, a new device would not be necessary. Additionally, this would start to open up the possibility for worldwide LTE roaming. Lots of other issues to work out, like antennas. But an exciting first step. Article: http://www.rethink-wireless.com/2011/10/21/sequans-ties-fujitsu-lte-chips.htm     Originally published on S4GRU's Facebook Page on October 21, 2011

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BREAKING NEWS: Sprint rolling out Network Vision in Chicago right now!

BREAKING NEWS!!! Samsung lets the cat out of the bag and announces in foreign press that Sprint is rolling out LTE and Network Vision in Chicago right now!!! This is two months ahead of schedule. LTE is a coming, folks! Hold on!!!   Article: http://www.indiatele...m/archives/7249     Originally Posted on S4GRU's Facebook Page on October 28, 2011

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Sprint VP talks up LTE-Advanced, VoLTE and HD Voice in new video

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 12:39 PM MST   A 12 minute video from the VP of Network Development/Engineering of Sprint. It's interesting for wireless dorks interested in Network Vision. It's very dry for the Average Joe.  

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Where do all the S4GRU Fans come from???

S4GRU FAN MAP:   Last Friday I asked you all where you are from. Today I created a map of all the places you represent. We definitely have fans from all over the United States, from Metro Seattle all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico.     Here are the final rankings of cities with the most fans: Milwaukee
(approx. 5% of all fans are from the Milwaukee/Waukesha Area). Phoenix (missed the mark by only one fan!) Detroit Indianapolis San Diego County Oklahoma City Columbia, South Carolina Lexington, Kentucky Dayton & Springfield, Ohio South Bend, Indiana (I included Niles in here too) New Orleans New York City, Louisville, Tulsa and Minneapolis/St. Paul   Do you notice a trend here? The Top 11 do not have full 4G Deployments from Sprint/Clearwire. Also, Number 12 all were tied with three fans each. Thanks for all your support!!!   A map indicating where all the S4GRU Facebook fans come from. Click to Enlarge.

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Looking for 50 Hardcore Beta Testers for the new S4GRU Community

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, November 10, 2011   If you are here reading this, you now are experiencing Beta Version 1.0 of the S4GRU Community. It's designed to be a full community, including unique sign-in and forums. THIS IS ONLY A BETA. In the beginning, I am only looking for serious testers. Everyone is open to peruse the site. However, I only want people who regularly participate to register for membership. The first trial is limited to just 50 members. If it works out, I will add more. The more I add, the more it costs me. And I'm willing to front the cost if the Betas are successful. The possibilities are very exciting, including live chat. We will not be opening that up on day one, but maybe in the future we will open up chats once a month or once a week, etc.   We will start with one category of registration in the beginning, “Member.” Members will be able to comment on The Wall, start forum threads and comment on forum threads. If the Beta is successful, we will add Premium Members, which will be able to post on the Wall and start chats. Then if the S4GRU community really starts to take off, we will add Moderators and Contributors.   Again, I just want to ask only those who are serious about participating to join in the beginning. Feel free to check things out and visit the pages, but in the beginning we are limited to only 50 members. So I’m looking for the very serious and hardcore. I wanna see if there is any potential in this.   The sky is the limit, and it’s all up to you. I have really enjoyed interacting with all of you on Social Media. It’s because of you that I do all of this. It’s very exciting, and I hope that this is something that will be useful and fun. Hope to see you soon at the S4GRU Community!

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HTML5 is going to change Everything. Soon, there WON'T be an app for that!

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sunday, November 13, 2011   I've been having this discussion a lot lately with fellow wireless dorks. About HTML5. How it's going to transform the mobile computing experience. On smartphones and tablets. In the current scheme of things, most of us use apps on our smartphones and tablets. In fact, one of the most important things that most people consider before selecting a mobile operating system is the app selection available. Most shoppers only consider iOS and Android because of their app selections. How many more of us would consider a BlackBerry (RIM) OS, or Windows Phone, or Ubuntu if you could run all your favorite apps? Or maybe WebOS wouldn't have died so prematurely? And that's exactly what HTML5 can do. It allows for app developers to build in HTML5, and then it can run in any smartphone. Design it in one platform, and just port it over in all OS'es. And eventually, even though it seems somewhat degressive, we will all be going into our favorite apps via the web browser in coming years. There will be no need for the apps to be installed on your phone again. This will be a very good thing for consumers and smaller operating systems. To allow them to better compete in the app based world we now live in. But as these advantages for their competitors become more pronounced, expect Apple and Google begin to push back. Apps are big business to them. Not just in sales, but in differentiation from competitors.  

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Sprint to offload Commercial Airaves at your work and favorite destinations

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, November 14, 2011 - 12:36 PM MST   Many Sprint customers are all too familiar with personal at-home femtocells called "Airaves." These plug and play devices connect to your home router and use your internet service to provide extended 1x Voice and 3G EVDO data services in your home. These are great for folks who live at the edge of service or live in subterranean homes. Or like many here in New Mexico, people that live in adobe. But now, Sprint is working with AirWalk Communications to create a commercial Airave product, designed to be deployed in offices, schools, government buildings, stores and shopping malls, etc. All of those public places that just don't have very good Sprint reception, or need additional capacity. The new Airave Pro Connect allows up to 32 simultaneous data users and 29 voice users on 1xRTT and 3G EVDO-A. No word yet on where and how Sprint will plan to deploy these. However, it appears that Sprint's network manager, Ericsson will be deploying and installing them. I can think of 36,214 places they can start with tomorrow!   Source: FierceWireless, Sprint

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New Li-ion batteries being developed offer 10x life and faster recharge

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 15, 2011   This is a product development that all dorks will unite and embrace for. Longer lasting device batteries! There have not been any significant efficiency improvements on the battery side for many years. The improvements to battery life in smartphones and tablets the past few years have been largely only related to bigger batteries and smarter and more battery efficient devices and operating systems. And with the push for battery hungry 4G devices and larger screen sizes, it is getting harder and harder for device manufacturers to keep ahead of the battery life curve. But that's about to change. Researchers at Northwestern University have now developed a Lithium-Ion battery that will provide 10x the life of equivalent sized Li batteries on the market today. Not only will the hold a charge longer, but they will charge faster and will be more reliable...enduring more charge cycles with less charge capacity loss over time. Can you imagine only having to charge your power hungry device only once per week? Or, even the most inefficient 4G device could get you easily through 24 hours, even with non-stop usage. I don't know about you, but this is one of the things I have been waiting a long time for. But we are going to have to wait a while longer. Production is at least three years off.

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IMOD Mirasol Displays Coming in 2012 will dramatically improve battery life

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, November 16, 2011   Yesterday, we told you about new Lithium-Ion Graphene batteries that will last 10 times longer than current smartphone and tablet batteries. Today we bring to you Interferometric Modulator Displays (IMOD). Qualcomm is now finishing up their product of IMOD's branded as Mirasol. And these displays are promising battery consumption efficiency increases approximately ten times over current LCD's. Mirasol displays are now in development for release in the second half of 2012. The thought of smartphones with batteries that last ten times longer and have large screen that sip one tenth the energy are very exciting. This blogger, for one, is looking forward to having a quad core 4.5 inch (or bigger) screen with LTE that runs several days between charges, even with moderate to heavy usage. Oh, what an exciting time to be a dork Oh, BTW, there may be a small picture quality tradeoff. Maybe a little more grainy, like a Motorola Photon. Out of curiosity, is that something you could live with for such superior battery life? Sound off below in the comments...   Source: http://androidandme....d-half-of-2012/

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S4GRU

Qualcomm Developing 4G LTE Push to Talk

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 12:09 PM MST   Qualcomm announced this week it has a program under way to develop Push to Talk (PTT) technology to run over Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. As we all know, Sprint is migrating to a LTE network for it's 4G technology in Network Vision. Qualcomm's current development schedule for LTE PTT is several years, with a commercial release in 2015 or 2016. In case you are wondering what PTT is, it's the walkie-talkie style telephones that have been offered from Nextel for years. This seems like a natural migration path for Sprint's CDMA Direct Connect services which are IP based and largely dependent on network ping times for performance. The LTE network will have much improved and more consistent low ping times than their current CDMA network. According to Qualcomm, not only are they targeting the commercial PTT sector, but they want to expand it to a large section of the smartphone market. If your smartphone had 4G PTT technology built into it, and Sprint allowed you to add it to your plan for no cost, would you use it? Sound off below...

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Amazon Kindle Smartphone in the Works

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 3:26 PM MST   Can you believe it? The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet just came out and there is already talk of a smartphone offering from Amazon. But you can't let grass grow under your feet in this business. Everyone saw how quickly RIM fell from grace by waiting around and not jumping in and taking risks. Amazon is reportedly working with mega Chinese phone/tablet manufacturer Foxconn for a release in the fourth quarter of 2012. Preliminary estimates of a build cost for Amazon are between $150 and $170. And some are holding on to the belief that Amazon will sell these with little or no markup. Can you imagine buying a smartphone for $200 cash price? Granted, it is not going to be a high end flagship device. But it could remarkably transform the bottom market. No word on GSM, CDMA and/or LTE capabilities, yet. But it will probably be sold by Amazon and brought to the carrier of your choice to be activated. Many believe that Amazon is aiming directly at Apple. At this price point, it has a very good chance at being successful.

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New Sprint Network Enhancements & Upgrades Site

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 11:50 AM MST
There has been an exciting new development over at the Sprint website. If you go to https://network.sprint.com/, you can enter in your city, zip code, or select a major metro area and observe Sprint's network upgrades for the past six months, or planned for the next 6 months. You can scroll around all over the place and click on towers for more info. This is a great idea, and a much more transparent approach of upgrades than we have ever seen before from Sprint. Hopefully, we will see upcoming 4G LTE information rolled out in such the same fashion. How does you area fare? You can see Santa Fe, New Mexico below...   For a little clarity, I have provided these definitions for you to help understand: Voice Capacity Upgrades means they are adding another 1x Voice Carrier. This will reduce dropped calls and allow for more calls to be carried by the tower. Data Capacity Upgrades means that are adding another 3G EVDO data carrier to the tower. It will allow more simultaneous users. Too many users per tower carrier means slower data. Data Speed Upgrades means that Sprint is upgrading the backhaul (or connection to the internet) with more T1 lines. This will allow users faster and more consistent data speeds. NOTE: Special thanks to Spence Southard for the tip! Good job!

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Clearwire Considers Skipping $237M Debt Payment

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 1:12 PM MST   Here we go! Clearwire, has found itself in a cash flow crunch. According to the Wall Street Journal, the struggling WiMax carrier and Sprint 4G partner is now considering skipping its debt payment of $237 Million dollars that is due December 1st. With only $698 Million currently available to fund it's entire operation, skipping the payment sure would give them a little breathing room. "It's a very expensive payment that we have," Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch said to the Wall Street Journal. "It would be a significant drain of our cash, so we have to evaluate everything in terms of our decision of where we're going." Of course, the market is not accepting this news well and Clearwire's stock has been punished today on the news. Down over 30% at the time this article was published.   Source: http://online.wsj.co...=googlenews_wsj

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Jay Leno Mocks Sprint iPhone on Tonight Show

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 18, 2011   I received lots of messages and e-mails today showing a parody that Jay Leno featured last night on the Tonight Show where he took some good digs at the Sprint iPhone. It's pretty funny. You can fast forward to 3:10 seconds if you don't want to watch the whole skit. Click on image to follow the link to the video...  

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AT&T and T-Mobile Merger approval odds have slid below 50% according to analysts

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, November 21, 2011 - 6:21 PM MST   News is getting more and more bleak for the approval of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. This weekend, and in to today, there have been several articles painting a more dire outlook on the merger getting the necessary government approvals. The Financial Times is reporting that most analysts now think that the $39 billion merger has less than a 50/50 chance of being approved. Some being so dire as giving chance of approval at 20%. It appears that it seems that most people gave AT&T the best shot at the time of the announcement. But as time has gone by, opinion has slipped lower and lower. And AT&T's case has largely been to attack Sprint directly and through surrogates. Largely ignoring the grounds of the antitrust case as presented by the DOJ that was filed to stop the merger. Just walking away is not likely though, at this point. Given that AT&T has $6 billion in cash and other incentives it is on the hook to pay to T-Mobile should the deal fall through. And the longer this drags out and the deal should be rejected, what will that leave of T-Mobile? The delay and dragging out of this deal is very bad for their subscriber counts. Leaving magenta girl and all her friends left to do the limbo. But now the rumors are starting suggesting T-Mobile could join forces with Dish Network, or even a buy out from Dish, in a post apocalypse merger failure. What are your thoughts on the merger?     Sources: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2e731b6c-116f-11e1-a95c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1eOJgqYyh (Free subscription required) http://www.dailywireless.org/2011/11/21/attt-mobile-merger-unlikely/ http://androidandme.com/2011/11/news/at-leaves-t-mobile-customers-in-a-tight-spot/

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FCC now provides latest Snag for AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 2:35 PM MST   BREAKING NEWS: The FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is now reported to believe that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is not in the public interest and will call for an agency judge to set up a hearing on the anti-competitive nature of the deal. This is different from the Dept, of Justice who filed a lawsuit earlier this year in opposition. The fact that the FCC is now taking this position does not bode well for the merger. This situation would result in an Agency Judge to oversee the case with the FCC as plaintiff recommending rejection of the merger and AT&T/T-Mobile acting as defendants. This is not a good position to be in. It's basically fighting the FCC for approval against their request to merge. It seems like an extremely difficult, if not impossible, barrier for the merger to overcome. Fighting both the FCC and the DOJ. Not to mention many states, consumer groups, an AT&T customer lawsuit and Sprint. AT&T is said to be reviewing it's options in the case. This is seen as a huge blow to the merger and it's advocates. The last time this occurred was when EchoStar and DirecTV requested to merge in 2002. Eventually those parties decided to cancel the deal. The information came from a leaked source, and has yet to be formalized. We will have to see if the information plays out publicly with the same spin as it came out in leaked form. Even if AT&T were eventually triumphant in it's court battle, it'll waste lots of money and time. This could lead to even another year's delay at worst case. With no guarantee of success.   Edited with more details at 2:42 PM MST and 5:35 PM MST.

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Sprint Announces Exclusive Event at CES in January

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 4:01 PM MST   Sprint announces an "Exclusive Event" for CES 2012. Scheduled for January 10th at 6:00PM. Exciting stuff. I'm as anxious as a little school girl. What do you think will be announced? LTE devices? Some new exotic 5 core tablet? Some juicy Network Vision details? Sound off below...     Thanks to S4GRU Member Steven Cote for the heads up!!!

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