by Ian Littman Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 14, 2012 - 9:35 AM MDT
In the past, Apple’s iPhone wasn’t quite the ideal Sprint phone from a network perspective; it lacked 4G of any sort and didn’t include support for Sprint’s nascent SMR-800 1x CDMA network (in place of Nextel iDEN). The situation could be worse (for example, CricKet iPhones can’t get native service in many of the company’s newer, AWS-only markets), but as a flagship phone it was odd to see the iPhone lacking one core piece of Network Vision support that every other Sprint phone released in the past year has had.
That issue has now been solved...sort of. I’m Ian Littman, standing in for AJ (aka WiWavelength) with an analysis of the non-AT&T edition (A1429) of the iPhone. I’ll focus on the pieces that Sprint subscribers will use, as the phone supports a cornucopia of bands and technologies (quad-band GSM/EDGE, quad-band HSPA+ including dual-carrier, EvDO Rev. B with up to 3 carriers in the cellular band) in addition to CDMA 1x, EvDO and LTE (in 2100MHz and 1800MHz, which Sprint won’t use).
So, without further ado, the rundown:
On the surface it looks like the iPhone is a very capable device; it can realistically hit 100 Mbps on LTE, using both its antennas to receive (but not send) the signal on a 20MHz channel (which a number of Sprint phones don’t support, my Galaxy SIII included). It supports a ton of bands (my bet is that even the “GSM version” of the A1429 has CDMA built in, but it is not certified/disabled in non-CDMA countries) and technologies. However the good news ends there.
For example, several Sprint phones now have SVDO and/or SVLTE support; you can make a call on 1x while maintaining a data connection. The Sprint/Verizon versions of the iPhone, to our knowledge, can’t do that. The best it can do is VoIP over LTE or EvDO...garden-variety VoIP, not the more robust VoLTE variety. Being able to transmit LTE on only one antenna isn’t terribly surprising...most current phones are 1x2 MISO (Multiple In Single Out), however Apple’s attention is obviously directed at carriers with HSPA networks when it comes to delivering a high-quality wireless experience. Another example of this is Apple’s HD Voice ability; Sprint will be the first US carrier to support the technology, but not on the iPhone, which can only use HD Voice over WCDMA.
Apple’s ability to pack a ton of bands into a single, super-slim phone is definitely a technological marvel, particularly in conjunction with a wide-channel LTE network (since the iPhone’s WiFi is SISO, it may be able to pull down data more quickly on LTE than on 802.11n, given ideal conditions on both). However a tailor-made Sprint phone it most definitely is not, though the inclusion of SMR CDMA softens the blow a bit.
As an aside, the AT&T edition of the iPhone supports LTE in the PCS (without G), AWS and Cellular bands, in addition to AT&T’s current 700MHz lower-B/lower-C network (band classes 2, 4, 5 and 7, respectively). So the AT&T edition of the phone is actually a better fit for providers like CricKet, MetroPCS and US Cellular...if not for the glaring omission of those carriers’ 3G network technologies (and VoLTE).
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 9:45 AM MDT
S4GRU members in the Indianapolis market have been wondering if something is up recently. Seeing a little activity at Sprint sites in the area. The past couple of days, flickerings of Sprint LTE have been discovered in the NE and East Indy suburbs. Network Vision/LTE deployment is now confirmed under way in the Indianapolis market.
As you can see in the map at the bottom, diligent S4GRU members have been out scouring the city trying to find spots of live Sprint LTE. And they have found them. But it is definitely early in the deployment. The signals come and go throughout the day in these locations. Undoubtedly, Samsung's subcontractors are testing the signals, and often turn them off when they leave the site for the day.
We are quite happy to see work is definitely occurring in the Indianapolis market. And it is starting right on time, as the first LTE sites were expected around early October. Given a few rough starts to LTE deployment, it seems Sprint is starting to get things under control and maybe they will start hitting their stride with their OEM's and subcontractors soon.
Preliminary Speed Test and Tower Phots. S4GRU Members hit the streets to find and document the LTE signals around Indy. The speed test is rather slow compared to other Sprint LTE deployments with a good signal. But they only just have begun testing in this market. Images from S4GRU member newboyx.
This is the first evidence of Network Vision/LTE deployment we have discovered in the Indy market. Deployment is likely occurring over the entire market and will soon be in many other communities in the vicinity. Sprint is targeting several cities in this market for launch before the end of the year. The following Indianapolis market communities were listed in Sprint's next 100 city list, including Anderson, Columbus, Carmel, Muncie, and of course, Indianapolis. At this point, it seems that other communities in this market will likely not have enough LTE service to constitute the service launched until some time after the New Year.
In the interim, LTE signals may come and go around Indy. They are just in the infancy of deployment. Sprint has been pretty consistent in blocking LTE connections at completed sites after they accept the improvements from the Network Vision OEM/subcontractors. Also, it may not be surprising to see isolated LTE signals appear in other Central Indiana Sprint communities.
Sensorly.com LTE coverage map in Indianapolis, Indiana. Some S4GRU members hit the road and plotted LTE signals using the Sensorly Android map to illustrate some of the coverage by the newly active sites. Click on Map to Enlarge.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 28, 2012 - 5:15 AM MDT
S4GRU received a tip from one of our members in Northern Indiana ten days ago Network Vision was spotted underway in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. He was able to take some photos (below) to show that new Network Vision panels indeed have been added at Site #CH03HO119 located on the south west side of Elkhart, Indiana.
Yesterday, S4GRU members found Sprint LTE signals in this vicinity, reaching all over the south side of Elkhart out toward Goshen. Hurrah! Several members went out and started adding this coverage to Sensorly.com coverage maps. Sensorly has an Android app that people can download which can be used to upload 4G LTE coverages of wireless carriers to Google maps for tracking (and 3G/2G signals too).
This is welcome news to Sprint customers in Northern Indiana. This work is also a little early based on the Network Vision schedules S4GRU has. Some of our members have joked in the past that this market gets preferential treatment from Sprint, because the Sprint CEO Dan Hesse went to school at Notre Dame. Although we have no evidence of any favoritism involved here, we are always happy to see any Network Vision progress and report it back to you.
Site #CH03HO119 in Elkhart, Indiana. The new Network Vision panel that contains LTE is in the middle of the bottom rack on the tower. The legacy PCS panels are on both sides. Photos from S4GRU member C.A.R.
This is the first evidence of Network Vision/LTE deployment we have discovered in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. Deployment is likely beginning over the entire market and will soon be in all corners, even the Fort Wayne area. However, only the communities of South Bend/Elkhart, Warsaw and Marion were included in the next 100 city list Sprint released a few weeks ago containing names of communities expected to have a launchable amount of LTE service before the end of 2012. At this point, it seems that other communities in this market will likely not have enough LTE service to constitute the service launched until some time after the New Year.
In the interim, LTE signals may come and go around the South Bend/Elkhart area. They are just in the infancy of deployment. Sprint has been pretty consistent in blocking LTE connections at completed sites after they accept the improvements from the Network Vision OEM/subcontractors. Also, it may not be surprising to see isolated LTE signals appear in other Northern Indiana Sprint communities.
This market also contains a remarkable amount of 1x sites. Sites that essentially only have 2G speeds, never receiving 3G EVDO upgrades. It is believed that these sites will go from 1x service only to 3G and 4G LTE at the same time. Essentially skipping the entire 3rd generation of wireless service. There are thousands of rural customers looking forward to having a 3G network finally, at the same time they get 4G wireless broadband.
Sensorly.com LTE coverage map in Elkhart, Indiana. Several S4GRU members hit the road and plotted LTE signals using the Sensorly Android map to illustrate some of the coverage by the new site.
by Ian Littman Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 7:05 AM MDT
At around $100 with a contract (before the inevitable wave of promotional offers that have already hit its big brother, the Galaxy SIII), the Samsung Galaxy Victory falls under the definition of a midrange smartphone. It has specs somewhat reminiscent of the old Epic 4G: a 5 megapixel rear camera with 720p video recording, a front camera, a 4-inch 800x480 screen and a not-particularly-slim profile.
However it differs from that older device by dropping the keyboard, upping the battery to the same-capacity (but, compared to my SIII, not the same model) 2100 mAh unit found in the SIII, pushing the Android version to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and swapping WiMAX for LTE as its 4G technology.
But that’s information you can get anywhere. What about the phone’s maximum output powers, simultaneous-data-and-voice capabilities, and antenna placement? You’ve come to the right place. Spoiler: this device looks solid.
This phone isn’t nearly as hot of an item as the iPhone 5 (nor does it have the specs...or the price to give the Apple product a run for its money), however the iPhone happens to be a very fair device to compare the Victory to in terms of radio performance. On CDMA the iPhone marginally wins out on PCS (by 0.31 dB), however it’s trounced by the Victory in SMR with a 4.69 dB lead in transmit EIRP, showing the difference between a jack-of-all-trades and a purpose-built Sprint phone. On the LTE side, the iPhone wins out by around 3.3 dB on the EIRP front, however this number decreases to fall in line with the Victory if the iPhone’s upper antenna is used (the Victory only transmits EvDO and LTE with its upper antenna). Plus, the Victory can hold a voice call on 1x while utilizing EvDO or LTE for data.
iPhone comparisons aside, the Victory is a phone very obviously made with Sprint in mind. Radio figures actually look better across the board than either the Evo 4G LTE or the Galaxy SIII, though these numbers only describe the device’s transmit power, not how well it can receive a signal in a marginal area. Still, as midrange phones with LTE go, the strong radio characteristics of the Victory (or, as Sprint calls it, the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE) add to the list of reasons to get this phone over something else of the same ilk.
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 5, 2012 - 8:00 AM MDT
Unless you have been under a telecom rock the past 48 hours -- or stuck in the boonies with only a GSM device (I kid, I kid) -- you have read that T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS have agreed in principle to a complicated reverse merger arrangement that would create a combined carrier, at least provisionally called NewCo. Now, Sprint has jumped back into the fray, this after Sprint's executive leadership had readied a bid for MetroPCS earlier this year but was vetoed by the board of directors. Sprint's motivations for pursuing a counter bid could be multifold.
Sprint could actually be trying to acquire MetroPCS, feeling a sense of urgency that it did not this spring. Plus, Sprint's perception on Wall Street has improved dramatically during the past few months, making a merger a more financially palatable prospect.
Sprint could be attempting to force T-Mobile to sweeten its offer for MetroPCS, potentially costing competitor T-Mobile additional financial resources.
Sprint could be trying to gain some concessions in order to allow the merger to proceed.
That last possibility is what this article will explore, namely, that NewCo would agglomerate an egregious amount of PCS 1900 MHz spectrum in several markets in which Sprint also happens to be a bit PCS spectrum shy. By throwing its own hat into the ring, Sprint should pressure NewCo to divest excess PCS spectrum to Sprint voluntarily. Alternatively, Sprint could lobby the FCC, oppose the merger and its transfer of spectrum licenses, and try to get some mandated divestitures that way.
To illustrate, MetroPCS currently operates in at least some PCS spectrum in 10 major markets. The linked spreadsheet below compares NewCo's potential PCS A-F block spectrum holdings to Sprint's current PCS A-F block spectrum holdings in those 10 markets.
In those 10 markets, Sprint holds 20-30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, while NewCo would have 35-60 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, including 50-60 MHz in four of the markets. Considering that 60 MHz represents fully half of the total 120 MHz bandwidth of the traditional PCS band, that is an outrageous amount of PCS spectrum -- especially for a carrier that is hitching its LTE wagon to AWS, not PCS. Even AT&T would blush at acquiring that much spectrum within a given band. Keep in mind, too, that this analysis does not take into account the 40-60 MHz of AWS 2100+1700 MHz spectrum that NewCo would hold in those same 10 markets, including 50-60 MHz in all but Atlanta. And that 50-60 MHz would be even more than half of the total 90 MHz bandwidth of the AWS band.
Furthermore, T-Mobile has made it known that it intends to pare down its exclusively PCS GSM/GPRS/EDGE spectrum utilization to 10 MHz per market, refarming its remaining PCS spectrum to W-CDMA/HSPA+ in a desperate attempt to attract unsubsidized iPhone users. The Dallas Region Case Study graphic from the NewCo investor presentation corroborates this plan. Moreover, the graphic shows how NewCo plans to operate DC-HSPA+ (20 MHz) for at least the next three years in parallel on both PCS and AWS plus 15-20 MHz FDD LTE on AWS -- an unnecessarily redundant, inefficient strategy.
In short, NewCo does not need as much PCS spectrum as it is set to acquire. Otherwise, it is just as much a spectrum glutton as are VZW and AT&T. So, here is the solution. In Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Sacramento, and San Francisco, NewCo should preemptively choose to or be required to divest 10 MHz of its accumulated PCS spectrum. Sprint would be the obvious buyer, as that would increase its PCS A-F block assets to 30 MHz in those markets. Meanwhile, NewCo would still retain 35-50 MHz of PCS in those same markets, plenty of spectrum for 10 MHz of GSM, 10 MHz of HSPA+ or even 20 MHz of DC-HSPA+, and 10 MHz of CDMA1X/EV-DO for MetroPCS legacy.
Sources: FCC, MetroPCS
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, October 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM MDT
Today, Sprint announced in four separate Press Releases that they have brought 4G LTE Service to the Chicagoland area, as well as Wichita Falls Texas, Hutchinson and McPherson Kansas, New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts. It is probably no accident that Sprint selected to use the phrase "Sprint brings 4G LTE" in lieu of "launched." Don't misunderstand though that this is good news.
LTE service in these newly announced areas has actually been active for awhile (in some places several months). Sprint only announced the outer suburbs of Chicago as being live, but actually Sprint LTE service is live over 80% of the metro area. However, the more urban sites in Chicago need to have service bolstered up even greater before Sprint sticks their neck out and claim the service is live. Even in non launched areas of the Chicago market, LTE service is still usable where sites have been completed.
Chicago Sprint LTE Coverage Map. This is the LTE coverage map showing in Chicago as of today. Coverages shown are a little generous with their modeling. This map would indicate coverage is nearly total, but we think it's more like 80%, using a very liberal estimate.
In both Hutchinson and McPherson, Kansas, each of those cities now has two LTE sites operable. For McPherson, that covers most of the area, only leaving one more site to upgrade. In Hutchinson, they have two of five sites broadcasting LTE, which covers most of the city pretty well. Service will get even better when full LTE density is achieved.
Over in Wichita Falls, Texas, Sprint LTE is usable from three sites out of sixteen. So site density is very thin at this point. Sprint overly optimistically shows very good coverage on their maps saturating the entire Wichita Falls area. Service should be decent when near these three sites, otherwise you will likely only be able to get coverage outside. LTE performance will drastically improve as more and more coverage is added in the next few months.
In Southeast Massachusetts, Sprint LTE is also live around Fall River and New Bedford. The first New Bedford LTE site went online about five weeks ago, and the service has been growing since. Currently both New Bedford and Fall River have three LTE sites a piece working. Which is about one third of the total sites in the area. So coverage is OK now, but will get even better over the next few months.
On another note, our members discovered the new coverages show up Friday night on the Sprint website and figured out Sprint would be making these announcements on Monday. Clever group we have here at S4GRU.
NOTE: In our Sponsor Section, we have interactive maps that show all the completed sites to date, including the sites in the markets referenced in this article. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 12:05 PM MDT
Over the past six months, Apple's iPad 3 has racked up millions of sales, yet Google's (and Asus') Nexus 7 and Microsoft's Surface tablets have grabbed the headlines over the summer and into the fall. Yesterday, Apple struck back by not only rolling out iPad 4 the same year as iPad 3 but also introducing the long rumored iPad mini. S4GRU readers will recall that Sprint was left out of the iPad 3 sweepstakes, Sprint's nascent LTE network making its debut a few months after iPad 3's announcement. Certainly, some will bemoan that iPad 3 has been replaced in only half the usual yearly upgrade cycle, but Sprint users definitely benefit, as Sprint is fully in the fold this time with LTE support on the VZW/Sprint/global versions of both iPad 4 (A1960) and iPad mini (A1955).
As soon as Apple's announcement event concluded yesterday, authorization filings for the new Sprint compatible iPads (iPad 4, iPad mini) started popping up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. So, joining our series of articles on on the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, and soon to be released LG Eclipse and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an RF capability focused look at Sprint's first two iPads:
CDMA1X/EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800)
EV-DO Rev B Multi Carrier (i.e. 2xEV-DO, 3xEV-DO)
LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25 (i.e. LTE 2100+1900/1800/850/750/1900)
LTE 1900 1.4/3/5/10/15/20 MHz FDD carrier bandwidths
W-CDMA bands 1, 2, 5, 8 (i.e. W-CDMA 2100+1900/1900/850/900)
DC-HSPA+ (i.e. Dual Carrier)
Wi-Fi hotspot (2.4 GHz only) support for all cellular airlinks
Maximum RF ERP/EIRP (iPad 4): 23.10 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 22.90 dBm (EV-DO 850), 30.12 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 29.08 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 23.30 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 23.40 dBm (EV-DO 800), 29.78 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna gain (iPad 4): -1.58 dBi (Cellular 850 MHz), 2.44 dBi (PCS 1900 MHz), -2.24 dBi (SMR 800 MHz)
Antenna locations (iPad 4): (see FCC OET diagram below)
The inclusion of EV-DO Rev B Multi Carrier and the imposed limitations -- Cellular 850 MHz only, no 64-QAM -- are a bit curious. But these limitations will have no ramifications for use in North America, where EV-DO Rev B has not been deployed. All told, though, both iPad 4 and iPad mini look to be solid RF performers. Not surprisingly, since they share the same Qualcomm MDM9615 modem with iPhone 5, both iPads carry over basically the same airlink capabilities from the Sprint compatible iPhone 5 -- see S4GRU writer Ian Littman's article. And it should be noted that iPad mini, despite its diminutive size, does not lag behind its larger sibling. All ERP/EIRP figures are within ~1 dB between both iPads. In fact, for both EV-DO 1900 and LTE 1900 maximum EIRP, iPad mini trumps iPad 4 by ~0.5 dB. Furthermore, both iPads in their high ERP/EIRP outputs are less like power and size constrained handsets, more like mobile hotspots. Indeed, both iPads appear to be very capable hotspot devices.
Sources: FCC, Apple
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:33 AM MST
Today we feature text from internal correspondence that was distributed to Sprint employees regarding the state of the Network Vision deployment and addresses key points that employees often encounter with the public. It is from a Q&A session with Chad Elliott, Sprint's Director of Strategic Technology Programs.
Although there aren't really points in the memo that will be surprises for S4GRU Members who follow deployment closely, it is helpful to get some sort of official documentation from Sprint that we can now point to explain what is going on. It is a good and concise reference of many key challenges that have impacted Network Vision, with some vague outlook for 2013.
Some things discussed in the memo include that production is ramping up and with more launches more frequently, why smaller towns/cities seem to be being upgraded first, issues going on that are slowing down deployment in some areas, etc. Take a look at the memo below:
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 1:13 AM MST
Often you may see us refer to a GMO site around S4GRU. But, what is a GMO site? GMO stands for Ground Mount Option. Or sometimes, it will be referred to as a GMR (Ground Mount RRU) site. In this article we will explain many points about the Ground Mount Option.
In the most basic explanation, a Ground Mount site is one where they are doing a partial Network Vision conversion instead of a full build conversion. A full build site is one where they upgrade all the hardware at a site, including the base station equipment (RBS/MBS), install new multi-mode antenna panels on the tower, add Remote Radio Units (RRU’s, sometimes also called RRH’s), and run new fiber optic lines from the base station equipment up to the RRU’s on the tower. These are the ones most people who follow along Network Vision deployment are familiar with.
However, a GMO site will install new base station equipment, with the RRU’s mounted down at the Ground Level, near the new base station cabinets. Then the existing lines running up the tower and the existing panels are reused. These are not to be confused with full build sites with Ground Mounted RRU’s. Those are not Ground Mount Option sites, because they still offer full Network Vision panels, and complete 800MHz and LTE services (where possible). They just are required to mount the RRU’s away from the panels for logistical reasons.
How did Sprint determine which sites were to receive the Ground Mount Option instead of a full Network Vision rebuild?
I have had the privilege of talking with several Sprint and OEM employees about the Ground Mount Option the past few weeks. Every one of the 38,000+ Sprint sites in the country had a site survey visit in 2011 to establish logistics and planning for the Network Vision upgrade. Each site is broken down to three priorities, largely based on the traffic and carrier count. See the priorities below:
High Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If site cannot support RRU's and new panels, engineering is done and structure modifications will be made and the site is fully upgraded.
Moderate Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If the site requires minor modifications to support RRU's and NV panels, then it gets fully upgraded. If it requires major attention with full engineering, then a ground mount solution is implemented.
Low Priority...low priority sites only get a full NV upgrade with new NV panels and tower mounted RRU's if no structural modification is necessary. If anything is required at a low priority site, the Ground Mount Option is deployed. Also, some low capacity/low priority sites get GMO installs, no matter if the site can support a full install now.
At the site survey time back in 2011, each survey team made a judgment call based on their review of the site whether to go full build or GMO, taking into account the priority. And there are anomalies that just do not make any sense. Some markets have no GMO sites at all. And some markets have all GMO sites, like Western Pennsylvania. Also, some site owners will not allow NV full build for various reasons. In these instances, a Ground Mount Option was selected.
What are the advantages of a Ground Mount site?
The biggest advantage of a GMO site is these sites are being worked on now and getting Network Vision benefits in the middle of the NV program, instead of at the end of the build out. Many 3rd Round Markets have started earlier because of GMO conversions. 1st and 2nd round markets have mostly full build sites with only a few GMO’s, or none at all. This allows some love for customers that would have been pushed off to the very end of Network Vision to see some improvements now.
GMO sites are much faster to deploy with no tower work required. Most GMO sites will require minimal permitting from local authorities, or often no permitting at all. Also, GMO's require less negotiation with the site owner, as it does not materially change the site. GMO site conversions are already under way all around the country, and all of them should be completed before the end of this Summer. There are already 100’s of them with 3G upgrades in place.
Ground Mount Option sites also will bring LTE much sooner at many locations. Because LTE 1900 can be run on most GMO sites if the appropriate backhaul is available and Sprint has the OEM install the appropriate number of RRU’s or RRU type. The first LTE capable GMO’s are coming online now. Alcatel Lucent has two live, one in New Bern, North Carolina and another one in the Shentel market in South Central Pennsylvania. Samsung has one live in Dayton, Minnesota. This is just the beginning.
What are the cons of a Ground Mount Option site?
There are a few. The first con with the Ground Mount Option, is there will not be any 800MHz service deployed. Sprint is in the process of adding CDMA 800 voice service to full build Network Vision sites. Sprint will also begin deploying LTE 800 service to full build NV sites before the end of 2013. However, GMO sites cannot support 800MHz service, as the existing tower mounted panels do not support 800MHz. In some rural areas, this is a big disappointment as customers have been waiting for 800 MHz signal propagation benefits in the boonies (like me).
The second issue, is the availability of LTE. All full build sites get LTE, but some GMO sites will not be getting LTE deployments. Most GMO sites can support LTE through existing panels, so long as there are not too many CDMA carriers installed. However, some higher capacity GMO sites will not get LTE. Also, some of the most backhaul challenged sites in the Sprint network are GMO sites. They will not get LTE initially because Sprint is unable to get sufficient backhaul to the site to support LTE performance requirements, or in some instances Sprint does not want to go through the difficulty of equipping some sites that are a low priority.
The last negative detriment of a GMO site is signal propagation benefits of panel mounted RRU’s. A Network Vision full build site with panel mounted RRU’s can achieve up to a 20% signal gain at 1900MHz. However, the full 20% is only realized at very tall boomer sites with little downtilt. Most sites get more like a 5% signal increase. And these GMO’s will not get that extra signal benefit.
Are Ground Mount Options this way forever?
Furthermore, at sites where the GMO is implemented, supposedly they will come back at the end of NV and do the engineering and structural modifications. At that time 800 service will be added when the new panels are installed, as well as LTE to sites that can secure appropriate backhaul.
I have heard that in some instances (maybe a few hundred), they are using GMO's where they could not come to an agreement with the site owner. Whether financial agreement or logistical/structural. In those instances, Sprint is identifying other adjacent sites that they may move the site to at the end of NV. If no other options can be achieved, it may permanently stay a GMO and never have NV panels and 800 service.
My understanding has grown tenfold in the past 2 weeks between talking to the Ericsson tech that's been on site and a long conversation I had with an OEM deployment manager. The most recent conversation I had, the source said they recently heard that more funding is being identified that could go ahead and do more work with GMO sites. Which may include converting them to full builds earlier, or at least changing out legacy panels to NV panels to add support for 800MHz.
Differences between vendors
Not all GMO sites are the same. Sprint is using three different vendors to deploy Network Vision. Ericsson, Samsung and Alcatel Lucent. Each of these three OEM’s have their own proprietary equipment. Different base station equipment and different RRU’s.
Samsung has two types of RRU’s. 800MHz and 1900 MHz RRU’s. Each of the two Samsung RRU types can do both CDMA and LTE from the same unit, supporting up to four carriers each. At a Samsung GMO site, only one RRU is needed per sector, as the RRU can do LTE and CDMA on the same unit.
However, Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent do not have it so easy. These two OEM’s cannot run CDMA and LTE on the same RRU. They need a separate RRU for CDMA and LTE on each sector. This is more work and more cost.
S4GRU has been told that Ericsson is finalizing a new RRU that can handle CDMA and LTE on the same unit, but they are not in production yet. These are referred to around the forums as RRUS12. Many Ericsson GMO sites have been spotted with only a single RRU per sector. Unfortunately, these have all been RRUS11 units, which cannot support CDMA and LTE together, only in separate RRU’s. Hopefully many of these will get a second RRU still to support LTE, or maybe be switched out with an RRUS12 unit when they start to hit the streets.
Some of our members have been quite disappointed to learn that their site was selected for a Ground Mount Option. And I have to admit, I too initially was disappointed myself. Especially since my site is one of the GMO’s that will not receive LTE. At least, at first.
The thing that we have to keep in mind is these are sites that are either very low priority or very difficult to upgrade. These were always going to be the very last sites to be touched at all, if at all. The majority of GMO sites probably wouldn’t have started until Spring/Summer 2014.
For these sites to receive partial upgrades now is a very good thing. Many of us want everything, and we want it yesterday too. This is not practical though. All things considered, the Ground Mount Option is an elegant solution to the problem. Sprint just needs to push the envelope and install LTE on every one where it is physically possible.
Oh and Dan, please add LTE to my GMO site (EP03AL506). It just will take two more RRUS11 units, or possibly a prototype RRUS12 unit. Just imagine the good S4GRU publicity you’d get. I will even arrange the backhaul for you!
Ericsson GMO site photo. New Ericsson NV base cabinets in the back and ground mount RRU's on the left. Three CDMA RRU's present here, one for each sector. No LTE at this site initially.
Samsung GMO site photo. New Samsung NV base cabinets at the left and ground mount RRU's directly in front. Three RRU's present here, one for each sector. Samsung GMO sites can run CDMA and LTE if set up that way.
Alcatel Lucent GMO site photo. New AlcaLu NV base cabinets on the right and ground mount RRU's on the center. Six CDMA RRU's present here, two for each sector (one behind each also). AlcaLu GMO LTE sites will require two RRU's per sector.
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:10 AM MDT
Update: The Samsung review embargo has been lifted overnight, and Galaxy S4 reviews are being published around the Web today. Thanks to one of our favorite, highly thorough reviewers, Brian Klug at AnandTech, we can confirm that the Galaxy S4 follows the recent HTC One in providing a removable micro-SIM. So, while two data points do not necessarily a trend make, the One and Galaxy S4 do suggest that removable SIMs for Sprint LTE handsets are here to stay.
Arguably the most hotly anticipated handset of the year, rivaling even the next iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 in its Sprint variant popped up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database late yesterday, meaning that the next Galaxy is now authorized to operate in the US and is likely just a few weeks away from a Sprint street date. Not a revolutionary overhaul of the very successful Galaxy S3 platform of last year, the Galaxy S4 maintains a strong family resemblance to its older sibling but does generally and for Sprint specifically add a number of evolutionary enhancements, such as a larger 1080p display, world roaming capability, wireless charging cover functionality, and some transmit power increases.
Thus, adding to S4GRU's long standing series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and HTC One is our run through of the RF capabilities of the Galaxy S4:
CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
LTE UE category 3
W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850)
802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth
802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth
SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 25.39 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.25 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 24.62 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.83 dBm (LTE 1900)
NFC antenna integrated into battery cover
CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity
Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)
Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)
Breaking down the RF specs, honestly, the Galaxy S4 may come across as a disappointment to many. That is primarily, though, because the reality could hardly live up to the expectations.
First, the Galaxy S4 does not support band 26 LTE 800 nor band 41 TD-LTE 2600. Reports are that Sprint will not release any dual band LTE devices and will skip straight to tri band. Those devices, however, are still at least six months off, so like all Sprint LTE devices before it, the Galaxy S4 is limited to band 25 LTE 1900 on the native Sprint network.
Additionally, the Galaxy S4's band 25 LTE 1900 is limited to 5 MHz FDD bandwidth. This seems to be largely a Samsung quirk, as Sprint LTE devices from other OEMs are tested and authorized for 10 MHz FDD (or greater) as well. That being said, this will likely be of no consequence, as all Sprint LTE FDD deployment for at least the next several years is apt to remain based on 5 MHz FDD carriers.
Also, unlike the recent HTC One, the Galaxy S4 does not appear to be particularly optimized for the Sprint LTE network. Using the FCC OET authorization documents, we can gauge a device's RF prowess by examining its maximum transmit ERP/EIRP and at what frequency that max occurs. This is by no means a perfect simulacrum for both transmission and reception, but we can say that Galaxy S4 LTE is at its max RF wise in the traditional PCS A-F blocks, not the PCS G block 1912.5 MHz center frequency where Sprint is deploying its initial LTE carrier nationwide.
Staying on ERP/EIRP discussion, the Galaxy S4 looks to be a rather strong performer on roaming CDMA1X/EV-DO 850 and the now being deployed Sprint native CDMA1X 800. Both show quite high ERP. On the flip side, the EIRP for CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 is good, too, but oddly less than the ERP of the CDMA2000 airlinks below 1 GHz that enjoy significant propagation advantages. With most other handsets, the transmit power relationship is reversed, CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 transmit power being greater to compensate for its greater path loss.
Furthermore, ERP/EIRP was tested with both the standard battery cover and the wireless charging cover. A definite caveat, the wireless charging cover reduces ERP/EIRP by up to 6 dB. Most likely, the induction coil in the wireless charging cover absorbs some of the transmitted RF, thus reducing the radiated power. For some users, the convenience of wireless charging may outweigh the hit to wireless performance. But S4GRU cannot generally recommend wireless charging due to its inefficiency (much power is wasted as heat) and detriment to RF.
As for simultaneous voice and data, the Galaxy S4 does support SVLTE but is the latest in a long line of Sprint LTE handsets now to forgo SVDO. Realistically, this comes as no great surprise, as we have not seen SVDO capability in any new handset since last summer. Either this is a limitation of the Qualcomm MDM9615 baseband modem that has become standard equipment or SVDO is no longer a strong priority as Sprint LTE coverage grows weekly. Regardless, CDMA1X and EV-DO share a transmit path (indicated in the FCC OET diagram above); hence, simultaneous CDMA1X voice and EV-DO data is not supported.
As S4GRU has reported in the past, the FCC OET authorization documents are not required to disclose world phone capabilities because those bands are not in use in the US. However, the presence of GSM 850/1900 and W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) is strongly indicative of the inclusion of international roaming capabilities, too. Indeed, other outlets are reporting that all variants of the Galaxy S4 include at a minimum quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and W-CDMA bands 1, 2, 5, 8 (i.e. W-CDMA 2100+1900/1900/850/900) -- the latter supporting DC-HSPA+ on the downlink and HSUPA on the uplink. While we cannot confirm these reports at this time, they certainly do seem plausible. What also remains unconfirmed at this point is the SIM situation: embedded or removable. As soon as this info comes to light, we will update the article.
by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:19 PM MDT
On April 5, the mysterious Samsung SPH-L500 passed thru the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology), indicating that it is now authorized for use in the US on the Sprint network. S4GRU can report only the details that are currently available, but we will update the article as more info emerges.
The phone measures roughly 5.24 inches tall by 2.68 inches wide, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S3 and S4 and slightly larger than the Galaxy S3 mini that it was originally rumored to be based off of, and comes with a 1.4 GHz dual core processor. As was previously noted from the Bluetooth SIG report in November, this phone has support for Bluetooth 4.0 and the following profiles: HFP1.5, HSP, OPP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP, PAN, PBAP, HID, and MAP.
As you can see from the antenna diagram, CDMA1X and EVDO share the same antenna path, so SVDO is not possible, but SVLTE is possible. The phone also supports simultaneous LTE and Wi- Fi tether on 2.4 GHz, but not on 5 GHz. Lastly, it is not capable of supporting simultaneous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as they also share the same antenna path.
CDMA1X + EV-DO bands 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5 MHz FDD channel bandwidth
SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi tether
Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.45 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.11 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.12 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.20 dBm (LTE 1900)
LTE antenna configuration 1 uplink, 2 downlink (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO)
802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
NFC with antenna built into battery
According to the HTTP header from cloud4sites.com, the SPH-L500 has Android 4.1.2. SXTPdevelopers.com member “sextape” rumored the specs on the phone to be a 4.65” screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, 8 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP front facing camera, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB built-in memory, and microSD Card slot supporting up to 64 GB cards. The chipset is said to be the Qualcomm MSM8930AA, which is apparently the same chipset found in the new HTC First by Facebook and HTC. If the SPH-L500 is released with these specs, they are pretty decent for a mid-range phone, considering all mid-range Sprint LTE phones up until now have only had 5 MP rear cameras and 4” 480 x 800 resolution displays.
Sources: FCC, cloud4sites, SXTP
by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 9:35 AM MDT
Last year, LG released a mid-range device that made its way from one CDMA carrier to another. This year appears to be no exception. The LG LG870 recently passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) with Sprint LTE and band 10 CDMA2000 on board.
If the LG Viper (LS840) last year is any indication, it was released as the Connect (MS840) on MetroPCS, and then as the Lucid (VS840) on Verizon before it came to Sprint. In January of this year, MetroPCS released the Spirit (MS870), and earlier this month, Verizon released the Lucid 2 (VS870). Now, it seems to be Sprint’s turn again.
However, it currently appears that Sprint is releasing this handset on its Boost brand under the codename FX1, as the model number is LG870, not LS870. (As of now, the name and that it may be released only on Boost has not been confirmed.) But all previous Sprint LG phones from last year have model numbers beginning with LS.
The Bluetooth 4.0 profile supports HSP, HFP 1.6, A2DP, AVRCP 1.3, OPP, FTP, PBAP, SPP, HID, GAVDP, SDAP, PAN, and MAP, according to the Bluetooth SIG, which also lists the phone as “(LG870 (for Sprint/Wholesale)).” Sprint wholesale partner Ting, anyone?
As for specs, if this phone is like its 870 model counterparts, it will have a 1.2 GHz dual core processor (possibly Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960) with 1 GB RAM, 5 MP rear camera with 1080p HD video recording, and 1.3 MP front facing camera.
According to the FCC authorization docs, LG sent the handset to testing with Android 4.0.4 on board, but according to cloud4sites mtest, it has Jelly Bean 4.1.2 on board. So, hopefully it will be released with 4.1.2.
CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band class 25 (LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 3, 5, 10 MHz FDD channel bandwidths
SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi tether
Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 26.60 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 26.26 dBm (EV-DO 850), 26.53 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 26.16 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 25.06 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 25.20 (EV-DO 800), 25.11 dBm (LTE 1900, 3MHz FDD), 24.93 dBm (LTE 1900, 5MHz FDD), 24.70 dBm (LTE 1900, 10 MHz FDD)
In their FCC OET authorization filings, OEMs customarily request temporary confidentiality regarding internal and external photos of their devices. But in an unusual move, LG has requested permanent confidentiality for, among other things, antenna distance and simultaneous scenarios for SAR analysis. So, no antenna diagram is available at this time, nor maybe ever unless a teardown review is forthcoming.
Sources: FCC, Bluetooth SIG, Cloud4sites mtest
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:35 PM MDT
Welcome back to S4GRU's continuing series focused on understanding many of the signal metrics displayed on your devices' engineering screens. If you missed part one a few weeks ago, that is a good place to start for background info.
Last time out, we covered 3GPP2 band class 1 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint has long operated its CDMA2000 network, and 3GPP band 25 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint is currently deploying its LTE network.
Today, let us begin with the last of Sprint's current native spectrum usage -- 3GPP2 band class 10 SMR 800 MHz. This is what 3GPP2 also calls the "Secondary 800 MHz band," and we will understand why when we finish up with band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz a bit later today.
First, take a look at the following CDMA1X engineering screenshot:
This handset is camped on Sprint's brand new band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay, which is replacing iDEN 800 and is currently available in select markets around the country.
Now, as we did last time, we can take into account the band class and carrier channel number, then use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:
uplink center frequency (MHz) = 806 + (0.025 × carrier channel)
downlink center frequency (MHz) = 851 + (0.025 × carrier channel)
In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 10 is 0.025 MHz (or 25 kHz). This is due to the SMR 800 MHz band's legacy of dispatch and iDEN, both of which conform to 25 kHz channelization. And the band class 10 range of channel numbers extends from 0-719.
So, using our formulas, band class 10 carrier channel 476 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 817.9 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 862.9 MHz. This is the one and only band class 10 carrier channel that Sprint will employ across most of the country. In parts of the Southeast where SouthernLINC also operates in rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum, Sprint users will instead see band class 10 channel 526, which has uplink and downlink center frequencies of 819.15 MHz and 864.15 MHz, respectively, just as S4GRU detailed in an article a year ago.
As for band 26 LTE 800, well, that should be coming online in the next several months, but no devices are yet available. So, for both of those reasons, we cannot post any engineering screenshots. What we can anticipate, however, based on SMR 800 MHz spectrum constraints, is that Sprint's 5 MHz FDD LTE 800 carrier likely will be centered somewhere in the 821.1-821.5 MHz x 866.1-866.5 MHz ranges, translating to uplink and downlink EARFCN ranges of 26761-26765 and 8761-8765, respectively.
I will be out in the field with my spectrum analyzer in the coming months, ready to capture and publish a first peek at the LTE 800 carrier. And expect a follow up article on LTE 800 engineering later this year.
Now, let us conclude with a look at Sprint roaming service in 3GPP2 band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz. Or this is what 3GPP2 has traditionally referred to as the "800 MHz band." And that, as I piqued earlier, is why the "Secondary 800 MHz band" name comes into play for band class 10 SMR 800 MHz.
In more recent years, the "800 MHz" nomenclature has become problematic, as it makes distinguishing between band class 0 and band class 10 difficult for less informed users. For a good example of this, see the iPhone 4S tech specs, which mislead many into thinking that it supports Sprint's band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay. For this reason, I have long advocated using "Cellular 850 MHz" as distinct terminology.
That background aside, let us examine a CDMA1X engineering screen of a Sprint device roaming on VZW:
This handset is idling on channel assignment 425. Again, we can use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:
uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + (0.03 × carrier channel)
downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + (0.03 × carrier channel)
So, that VZW channel 425 is centered at 837.75 MHz x 882.75 MHz, which is toward the bottom of the Cellular B block license, as we will see in just a moment.
First, in the Cellular 850 MHz band, channelization is 0.03 MHz (or 30 kHz), as that dates back to the original analog AMPS standard, which used 30 kHz FM channels and got us all started on this cellularized wireless network journey.
Second, we encounter a complication with band class 0. The above formula works only for a subset of channel assignments, 1-799. For channel assignments 991-1023, we have to use slightly modified formulas:
uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)]
downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)]
The reason for this complication is complicated itself. When the FCC originally created the Cellular 850 MHz band plan in the 1980s, it was 825-845 MHz x 870-890 MHz, divided into two equal 10 MHz FDD (10 MHz x 10 MHz) licenses: Cellular A block (825-835 MHz x 870-880 MHz) and Cellular B block (835-845 MHz x 880-890 MHz). Each block consists of 333 AMPS channels, A block covering 1-333, B block running 334-666.
Not long after, the FCC expanded the Cellular 850 MHz band, but it could not do so by simply adding spectrum exclusively at the bottom or the top of the band plan. Because of spectrum constraints and equal license bandwidth, the FCC had to add a sliver at the bottom of the band plan and two at the top of the band plan. The additions became known as "A low," "A high," and "B high." See my band plan graphic below:
Since "A high" (1.5 MHz FDD) and "B high" (2.5 MHz FDD) continue as upper end extensions of the band plan, they follow the original center frequency formula, adding channels 667-799. "A low" (1 MHz FDD) tacked on at the bottom of the original plan is the anomaly. It requires its own center frequency formula and adds channels 991-1023. Also, note the missing channels 800-990. Those are a mystery, unbeknownst even to me.
Additionally, because it is only 1 MHz FDD, "A low" is not frequently used for CDMA2000 carrier channels, which are always 1.25 MHz FDD in bandwidth. So, many of the carrier channel assignments in "A low" are invalid, since they would cause the CDMA1X or EV-DO carrier to extend off the lower edge of the band. If "A low" is utilized, the only permissible channel assignments are 1013-1023, all of which cause the CDMA2000 carrier to extend into the original A block. So, if you ever encounter a band class 0 channel assignment in the 1013-1023 range, you have found something of a rare bird.
Well, that covers the relationships among bands, band classes, carrier channel assignments, EARFCNs, and center frequencies. Next time, we will turn our attention to another signal metric. I am thinking maybe SIDs and NIDs or PN offsets but have not decided yet. See you then...
Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2, FCC
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, April 26, 2013 - 6:29 AM MDT
A significant piece of S4GRU's educational mission is helping our readers understand what goes on behind the scenes and underneath the hood in the operation of a wireless network. This often requires getting readers to access internal engineering (or debug) screens on their handsets to view numbers and metrics, such as PN offset, Ec/Io, cell identity, etc., as we track the progress of Sprint's Network Vision deployment around the country. So, S4GRU staff thought it long overdue to publish a tutorial on what all of those engineering screen numbers and metrics actually mean. And in this first part of what will hopefully be a long running series, we will examine frequencies, namely center frequencies.
First, let us kick things off with CDMA2000 (e.g. CDMA1X/EV-DO).
CDMA2000 is divided into band classes. Those band classes basically represent spectrum bands of operation. Some common CDMA2000 band classes familiar to Sprint users include: band class 0 (Cellular 850 MHz), band class 1 (PCS 1900 MHz), band class 10 (SMR 800 MHz), and band class 15 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz).
Then, each band class is further divided into carrier channels. These carrier channel numbers represent the actual RF locations -- center frequencies -- of the carrier channels that we use for voice and data services.
To illustrate, see the EV-DO engineering screenshot below, specifically the "Channel Number" and "Band Class" fields:
Taking into account the band class and carrier channel number, we can use the following formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:
uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + (0.05 × carrier channel)
downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + (0.05 × carrier channel)
In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 1 is 0.05 MHz (or 50 kHz). And the band class 1 range of carrier channel numbers extends from 0-1199.
So, using our formulas, the band class 1 carrier channel 100 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1855 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 1935 MHz. This FDD paired set of center frequencies falls toward the lower end of the PCS A block 30 MHz license, which is 1850-1865 MHz x 1930-1945 MHz.
Next, we can shift over to the 3GPP (e.g. LTE) side, which does things a bit differently.
3GPP sets forth bands, instead of band classes, but otherwise, the functions of bands and band classes are the same. In the US, common 3GPP bands for LTE include: band 4 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz), band 13 (Upper 700 MHz), and band 17 (Lower 700 MHz). But we are most interested in band 25 (PCS 1900 MHz + G block), the band in which Sprint is initially deploying LTE.
As with carrier channel numbers in CDMA2000 band classes, 3GPP bands are subdivided into Evolved Absolute Radio Frequency Channel Numbers (EARFCNs). And like carrier channel numbers, EARFCNs indicate center frequencies. However, EARFCNs do so separately for uplink and downlink, as LTE allows for different pairings of uplink and downlink via carrier aggregation.
Now, see the LTE engineering screenshot below for its "Band," "UL channel," and "DL channel" fields:
Per band 25, we can enter the "UL/DL channels" (i.e. EARFCNs) into the following formulas to determine again both uplink and downlink center frequencies:
uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + [0.1 × (uplink EARFCN - 26040)]
downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + [0.1 × (downlink EARFCN - 8040)]
In this case, spacing between EARFCNs is 0.1 MHz (or 100 kHz). Additionally, the uplink EARFCN range is 26040-26689, the downlink EARFCN range 8040-8689, both for band 25.
And in the end, EARFCN 26665 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1912.5 MHz, while EARFCN 8665 has a downlink center frequency of 1992.5 MHz. This is an FDD paired set of center frequencies, not a carrier aggregated set, and it resides exactly in the middle of the PCS G block 10 MHz license, which is 1910-1915 MHz x 1990-1995 MHz.
In part two, we will take a similar look at center frequencies in the PCS 1900 MHz band's lower frequency cousins, SMR 800 MHz and Cellular 850 MHz. So, stay tuned.
Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2
by Christina Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 3:10 AM MST
Travel back with me a few weeks ago. It’s a cold Saturday afternoon, and I am standing and staring into a gated area near a cell phone tower. My date for this outing is frantically taking pictures and discussing the exciting upgrades to the equipment which have occurred since our last visit. I have no idea what he is talking about, all the mechanical stuff looks exactly like it did a few weeks ago. To me, it happens to look exactly like the 3 other sites we visited today. Not wanting to look totally stupid, I just smile and nod.
Yep, this is what I do for fun for my 17th wedding anniversary. I am officially married to a cell phone dork.
Since May 2011, I have had many a romantic dinner which usually includes at least a drive-by various cell towers. I have smiled and nodded through countless conversations which are dominated by the words, “LTE”, “Wi-Max” and “backhaul”. I still have no idea what any of this means.
I have taken vacations based on the availability of 4G coverage. This past summer our family ended up in Waco, Texas. Not exactly the place one would call a cosmopolitan vacation destination. At least we got to go to the Baylor football season opener. We ran tests in between plays, and my husband would constantly grab my phone to look at an Engineering screen. I have changed hotel and restaurant reservations based on cell tower locations.
My kids can spot a cell tower from 5 miles away. Family outings generally include a visit to one. My oldest son understands which panel is which on the cell tower. He also understands the secret language of cell phone technology which my husband speaks. I just continue to smile and nod.
Many friends ask me in wonder why I allow my date nights to be interrupted by visits to cell phone towers and discussions about things I don’t understand. The answer is simple; I have the best husband in the world. S4GRU is my husband’s passion. He loves all things Sprint, cell phone, and the technology that goes with it. He is passionate about the site and getting the information to its members. He gives unselfishly to it while still honoring all his work, home and community obligations. When he isn’t working on this site; he is being an awesome dad, devoted husband, faithful employee and a good citizen. The only sacrifice I make is that I occasionally have to smile and nod, so I don’t look like I have no idea what is going on. He sacrifices his sleep, his free time and sometimes his sanity to make sure we are all happy. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Today is Valentine’s Day, the day of romance. I am looking forward to a romantic dinner at my favorite restaurant and maybe a box of Godiva chocolate. There are two things I am pretty sure of. There will be at least one stop at a cell tower during the night, and I will probably be doing a lot of smiling and nodding.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 5:37 PM MST
Clearwire. Clearwire. Clearwire! Clearwire!!! And Dan Hesse wakes up.
Clearwire has often been the bain of Sprint’s existence. Once hopeful adopted child. Then run amok with its own plans, disregarding everything its Daddy taught them. And then prodigal child returning home. And now Clearwire is out of wireless rehab with its new CEO Eric Prusch and trying to get things turned around. And its future is looking more promising than its past.
Come on? Really? An iPhone that runs on Clearwire? Stop joshing me…
Clearwire is attempting to get its LTE feet under them and transition into a high performance TD-LTE network from its previous 4G WiMax attempt. This is seen as very good news to most. Now there are even rumors of a chance to host the new LTE iPhone that’s anticipated.
Is it possible the next iPhone LTE could support Clearwire’s TD-LTE network? Clearwire CEO Eric Prusch told CNET that there would be no inherent difficulties for Apple to include support for its TD-LTE network in the iPhone 5 LTE. Prusch stopped short of saying whether he knew that the next iPhone would support running on Clearwire’s upcoming network. Of course Sprint and Apple have declined to comment.
Sprint and Clearwire are collaborating to seamlessly integrate Sprint’s FD-LTE network with Clearwire’s TD-LTE network. There are several chipsets on the market that support both together, and more expected. This coming together in a new iPhone LTE product is now becoming more plausible.
TD-LTE is gaining deployment momentum globally
Clearwire isn’t going it alone this time with TD-LTE. They certainly weren’t the only WiMax adopters in the world, but in the American wireless industry they sure felt like odd ducks on their own. This time, Clearwire is working together with several TD-LTE carriers internationally in the GTI (Global TD-LTE Initiative). Most notably, China Mobile.
China Mobile is rapidly building out its first 20,000 TD-LTE sites this year. China Mobile and Clearwire are working together to ensure interoperability between the networks. TD-LTE networks are also under way in India and Japan this year. More to follow.
A majority of new LTE deployments slated to start in the next few years are TD-LTE networks like Clearwire. This is because much of the left-to-be-exploited spectrum globally tends to be higher unpaired frequencies, which TDD is designed for.
Clearwire in turn gets to save Sprint, after Sprint saved it
Sprint is deploying its own FD-LTE network nationwide on 1900MHz PCS spectrum and later adding 800MHz SMR spectrum. However, Sprint’s new LTE network will not provide enough capacity it will need for its customers when they start to migrate to LTE en masse in dense subscriber environments.
Sprint needs Clearwire for additional LTE capacity. Some estimate that Sprint could feel the pinch on their new LTE networks in as soon as 12 months after initial deployment in dense urban areas. This makes use of Clearwire for additional LTE capacity crucial for Sprint in the long term in places where Sprint’s two native 5x5 FD-LTE carriers on 800MHz and 1900MHz start to suffer from reduced performance due to congestion.
Retail model out, Wholesale to the future
Clearwire started to transition away from a full retail model in 2011, as they started shuttering its stores nationwide. Clearwire continues to pare down its retail business strategy, choosing to only pursue an online presence for this category. They also recently started pulling back from its old generation Pre-WiMax Expedience network. Now only leaving a static WiMax network they have left to Ericsson to maintain until 2015 and the build out of their new TD-LTE network for their future.
Clearwire’s future revenue generation is largely squared with a revised wholesale business model. Currently, that is almost solely dependent on Sprint. However, Clearwire wants to diversify its wholesale business model and take on several new customers. And it will take having its new LTE network up and running to do that on a large scale. The wholesale LTE business climate has definitely improved with the sudden demise of LightSquared. Many speculated whether the market could support two LTE wholesale companies.
Looking for a LTE partner to do-si-do?
Clearwire is aggressively seeking new LTE partnerships. They would likely partner with anyone needing a supplemental LTE network. At first thought, it may be easy to conclude that Clearwire would be a good fit as a LTE partner roaming for second tier and regional wireless carriers. These were LightSquared’s bread and butter. But LightSquared was looking to build a nationwide network on 1600MHz. Clearwire does not have those luxuries, it will neither be nationwide anytime soon, nor will its coverage even be comprehensive across any single market.
Clearwire will not be a good fit for roaming deals, expanding 4G coverage nationally for smaller networks. However, Clearwire could be a good fit for those same wireless carriers in markets where they both are already co-located. For instance, let’s take San Francisco for example. MetroPCS has good coverage from its LTE network there. But Metro PCS has pretty low 4G speeds and low capacity. Clearwire is likely to deploy its TD-LTE network in a market like San Francisco early. So when Clearwire gets its SFO coverage well deployed, it will be on hundreds of sites around Frisco.
The Clearwire coverage from these 100’s of sites will look like reverse swiss cheese, though. There will be a whole bunch of cheesy holes of LTE coverage all over. Each one of these Clearwire crop circles of LTE coverage will be blazing fast and support a lot of users with all the spectrum that Clearwire sits on. But in going from crop circle to crop circle, you need LTE in between them on the native network. So Clearwire will not be much help to those wireless carriers or MVNO’s who have no LTE network of their own to cover those notable gaps between Clearwire cells.
Companies like MetroPCS would do very well in a Clearwire TD-LTE wholesale environment, where Clearwire was providing additional capacity in markets that Metro PCS already serves with their own LTE network. Clearwire would not be a good fit for a wireless company that has no LTE network at all. Because the customer would then constantly be going in and out of LTE coverage within a market. This will not create a positive customer environment.
But wait, there is a catch!
Another potential issue with a wireless carrier like MetroPCS partnering up with Clearwire, is how do they handle non-native areas? Should Metro PCS LTE customers only be allowed to use Clearwire TD-LTE in markets where there is a Metro PCS native LTE network? What if that SFO customer traveled to Seattle?
MetroPCS does not have a native LTE network in Seattle. In this case, MetroPCS would have to decide whether to let their customers use the Clearwire TD-LTE in non-native LTE areas and have frustratingly spotty service, or to just block that Clearwire service ever from even being used. This is kind of an uncomfortable choice to make. The issues with smaller wireless companies using Clearwire for an out of market LTE roaming experience are starting to be highlighted and magnified with this instance.
Yeah, there is a work around for that…Sprint
One solution to the problems above is to set up a wholesale or roaming deal with Sprint and Clearwire together, or even a MVNO with both companies. Or better yet, Sprint earned the ability to wholesale Clearwire’s TD-LTE network in the past round of negotiations with Clearwire. So smaller carriers could just go straight to Sprint to negotiate a LTE wholesale, roaming or MVNO solution, and skip trying to set up two separate deals with each.
These are possible comprehensive solutions for wireless carriers that are in pursuit of LTE wholesale options. The biggest challenge to this really becomes devices that will run not only on several Sprint and Clearwire LTE frequencies, but their own native networks too. And for some small wireless companies, this may even be an insurmountable obstacle for them.
The best suited wholesale customers for Clearwire is the Big Dogs
Clearwire is pretty well suited for additional capacity to 4G wireless carriers that already share markets with Clearwire nationwide. These are more likely to be Sprint’s direct competitors. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
Although this wouldn’t make Sprint very happy, Clearwire would be just fine and dandy supplementing Sprint’s competitiors with more 4G LTE capacity…if they can make money at it. They are not in the position to be to choicey at this time. (the typo is intentional)
The engagement is back on, but a wedding date has not been scheduled
The future for Clearwire is starting to look a little clearer and a little more optimistic. There are many forks in the road ahead, and there will be many dips and twists in the direction it heads toward. In the foreseeable future, Sprint and Clearwire will be well entwined. Sprint needs Clearwire’s spectrum for capacity to supplement their infant LTE network, and Clearwire needs Sprint to keep playing the sugar daddy.
And probably just as Clearwire starts to get legs and starts earning enough revenue to support itself, Sprint will likely sweep in and buy out the rest of the company. To keep it from changing course and possibly damaging Sprint’s future…once again.
by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 4:45 PM MST
Clearwire released its fourth quarter and full year 2011 results in a conference call with investors, analysts, and the media this afternoon. S4GRU was on the call to bring you this report.
Clearwire highlighted its 8-K report with the following statistics:
Record Fourth Quarter 2011 Revenue of $361.9 Million, Up 107% Year Over Year From $175.2 Million
Full Year Revenues of $1.25 Billion, Up 134% Year Over Year From $535.1 Million
Full Year Wholesale Revenues Up 876% Year Over Year to $493.7 million
2011 Total Ending Subscribers of 10.4 Million, Up 140% Year Over Year from 4.3 Million
Achieves Positive Quarterly Adjusted EBITDA For the First Time of $22.5 Million
Average Smartphone 4G Usage Increased 88% Year Over Year in Fourth Quarter 2011
Much of the rest of the report is focused on business metrics that may not be of particular use to anyone without an investment in Clearwire. But we did pore over the report to glean the following numbers of interest to S4GRU readers:
BRS 2500-2600 MHz licensed spectrum valuation remained steady at $4.3 billion
EBS 2500-2600 MHz spectrum lease costs totaled $309 million for 2011
WiMAX covered POPs increased year over year from 112 million to 132 million but plateaued at that level by the end of the second quarter
Wholesale (e.g. Sprint) churn almost doubled from 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent during the fourth quarter
To provide some analysis of the four points above, first and second, Clearwire holds an average of ~160 MHz of BRS/EBS spectrum bandwidth in the top 100 markets. However, as noted above, some of this spectrum (EBS) is leased from educational institutions, not licensed directly to Clearwire. Additionally, higher frequency spectrum is generally less valuable than is lower frequency spectrum. Otherwise, Clearwire's ~160 MHz of spectrum would be valued in the tens of billions of dollars.
Third, as Robert has detailed in a forum post about "protection sites," Clearwire faced a May 1, 2011 FCC deadline to demonstrate at least minimum coverage in numerous Basic Trading Areas (BTA) across the country. As a result, Clearwire lit up numerous license "protection sites" around the country during the first few months of last year, leading to the 20 million POPs increase that then stalled for the remainder of the year, as Clearwire made the decision to cease WiMAX deployment and switch to LTE.
Fourth, Sprint is Clearwire's largest wholesale partner. Any Sprint retail subscriber who has a WiMAX capable device is technically also counted as a Clearwire wholesale subscriber. While Clearwire churn remained relatively flat through the first three quarters, it spiked in the fourth quarter. Clearwire attributed the increase in wholesale churn in large part to Sprint offering the iPhone 4S, which is not WiMAX capable.
Lastly, Clearwire addressed some of its plans for its TD-LTE 2500-2600 overlay. Clearwire reiterated its commitment to the TDD "ecosystem," alongside strategic partners China Mobile, et al., and to TDD/FDD interoperability that will allow for seamless roaming on both types of LTE networks. Clearwire expects to start build out on its LTE Advanced ready TD-LTE overlay in the second quarter, spending $400 million this year and $200 million next year, keeping costs low because much of the WiMAX infrastructure can be reused for TD-LTE. Build out goals in phase one include 8000 TD-LTE sites, at least 5000 of which are to be live by June 2013. In the WiMAX build out, Clearwire selected its own independent site locations, and this led to great inconsistencies between Clearwire and Sprint coverage. But in the TD-LTE build out, Clearwire and Sprint will work together to identify sites within the Sprint portfolio that exhibit the "highest 4G data usage potential" with fallback to the Sprint FDD LTE 800/1900 network outside of those Clearwire data "hotspots." Finally, both Clearwire and Sprint project multi-band, multi-mode TDD/FDD LTE devices that can utilize the Clearwire TD-LTE overlay to be available by June 2013, by the same time that the first 5000 sites should be online.
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 1:05 PM MST
Clearwire has announced that they are beginning trials of their new upcoming TD-LTE network, in conjunction with their GTI (Global TD-LTE Initiative) partner, China Mobile. Clearwire will deploy their TD-LTE in Phoenix, Arizona and Herndon, Virginia. China Mobile will deploy theirs in Beijing and other Chinese communities.
As part of the interoperability testing, devices from each others networks will be used to confirm compatibility. The goal of the GTI partnership is to create a device and network ecosystem in which TD-LTE deployed globally between 2.3GHz and 2.7GHz will be fully compatible. To allow for global LTE roaming capabilities and also create one large marketplace for manufacturers to develop chipsets and devices that will work on these frequencies.
Also, a collaboration and creation of such a large LTE worldwide band will provide for the ability of these carriers to benefit from economies of scale. If all these carriers go it alone and try to get manufacturers to support just their small frequency set for their limited number of customers, the costs are much higher and also the number of devices available to them will be more limited. Creating such a large interoperable LTE band will be a significant advantage for carriers working in these frequency sets the world over.
Clearwire beginning TD-LTE trials is deemed as quick progress given that Sprint just chipped in LTE funding for them in the past 30 days. Sprint will be utilizingClearwire’s TD-LTE network for additional LTE capacity. Sprint will be calling onClearwire to add additional TD-LTE carriers to its Network Vision towers as Sprint’s new LTE carriers start to reach capacity. Sprint’s LTE carriers will probably start filling up in dense markets as soon as 2013/2014. Sprint is not expected to release devices that support TD-LTE on Clearwire frequencies until 2013.
Clearwire will be deploying its own TD-LTE as well, separate from additional capacity for Sprint. That deployment is expected to begin before the end of 2012. Clearwire has said in the past they will begin a TD-LTE rollout in existing WiMax cities first. However, they will not likely be rolling out TD-LTE to every WiMax market. Preferring to focus on key primary markets first.
It is also anticipated that Clearwire will deploy its LTE in 20MHz TDD carriers. In early testing, this provided download speeds above 60MB, with some results over 90MB. It will be interesting if this kind of carrier deployment actually occurs, but would give Clearwire some potent bragging rights.
Currently, Clearwire has WiMax on three carriers in most of the communities it serves. It’s believed that they will reduce the number of carriers to two or one in areas as they rollout TD-LTE. The remaining WiMax carriers will stay in operation through 2015. The final details regarding carrier deployment, carrier sizes, frequencies, etc. will likely not be cemented until after successful trails are completed in Phoenix, Herndon and China.
Photo courtesy of PhoneDog.com
by Tim Yu and Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sunday, December 6, 2015 - 2:55 AM MST
S4GRU staff is burning the well past midnight oil for our readers. Overnight, Sprint has unofficially updated its network coverage map tool to include LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming acquired via its participation in the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) Roaming Hub and its own Rural Roaming Preferred Partners (RRPP) program. The coverage tool LTE roaming update clearly is a work in progress -- more on that later. But LTE roaming is finally here.
So, what is the difference between LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming?
A simple explanation is that LTE Roaming+ is pseudo native coverage. Sprint users will access certain other LTE networks without roaming restrictions and can treat them as native. Usage does not count against any roaming cap, the only restrictions being the plan type ("unlimited" vs data allotment).
LTE Roaming is non native, off network coverage. Usage is counted against Sprint plan roaming caps. Older plans, such as the Everything Data, have a 300 MB limit, while newer plans, like Framily, are limited to 100 MB.
For a specific LTE roaming footprint example, see this coverage tool screenshot centered around Sprint's headquarters in the Kansas City metro. From the LTE roaming legend, the dark green LTE Roaming+ in western Kansas is Nex-Tech Wireless, and you can catch a glimpse of the same LTE Roaming+ from C Spire south of Memphis. The light green is LTE Roaming, all of which appears to be USCC at this point. Elsewhere, you will find LTE Roaming on USCC in its Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and New England regions. There is still map work to do -- note the LTE Roaming legend "@TODO will we have a description here?" More LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming operator coverage may be added in the coming hours or days.
Due to Sprint's unique LTE Band 25-26-41 network configuration, not all Sprint LTE capable devices will be able to roam on partner networks, which may use different bands, such as Band 2 (PCS 1900 MHz A-F blocks), Band 4 (AWS-1 1700+2100 MHz), Band 5 (Cellular 850 MHz), and Band 12 (Lower 700 MHz)
As such, a CCA/RRPP compatible Sprint triband device, of which many were released in the past year, is the best bet for full network compatibility with partner LTE networks. A CCA/RRPP device will have LTE Band 2-4-5-12-25-26-41 support, which basically covers all of the standard LTE bands in use in the US -- minus VZW Band 13 and AT&T Band 17. No matter, VZW and AT&T presently are not LTE roaming partners with Sprint.
If Multi Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI) is active at the network level, a regular Sprint triband device (Bands 25-26-41) may be able to access some partner networks -- due to Band 25 (PCS 1900 MHz A-G blocks) and Band 26 (eSMR 800 MHz + Cellular 850 MHz) being supersets of Band 2 and Band 5, respectively. However, these triband devices will not roam if the partner network uses Band 4 or Band 12.
An older single band Sprint LTE Band 25 device will be even more restricted. If it can roam at all, it will be limited to partner networks that use Band 2, again assuming MFBI.
A few months ago, Sprint upgraded much off network coverage for most accounts from only CDMA1X to EV-DO. Now, a lot of that same roaming footprint gets elevated a second time to LTE. Sprint LTE, eHRPD/EV-DO, and CDMA1X coverage still will hold highest priority. Whether LTE Roaming+ or LTE Roaming, it will not supersede Sprint eHRPD/EV-DO or CDMA1X signal. But outside of all Sprint native coverage, roaming gets another boost.
LTE roam, roam if you want to.
Sources: Sprint, S4GRU thread
Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates January 12, 2018 - 5:30 PM PST
"New year, new me. Am I right?"
~ signed Samsung
Samsung has decided that the beginning of the new year is a great time to change. Samsung has decided its newest flagship Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus devices must meet with the FCC OET for certification far earlier than usual. With ever watchful and prying eyes, S4GRU staff discovered the twin filings for two devices with FCC IDs of A3LSMG960U and A3LSMG965U which follows the previous Samsung numeration of the Galaxy S8 / 8+ (950u/955u) and Galaxy S7 (930u/935u) respectively. In addition, previous leaks for purported international Galaxy S9 variant have captured the ID of 960F and 965F respectively.
To keep this short and simple, the Galaxy S9, to date, is the most technologically powerful device we've seen at least for Sprint and possibly other entities and the following technical specifications should demonstrate why.
CDMA BC: 0 / 1 / 10 GSM: 850 / 1900 WCDMA Bands: 2, 4 , 5 LTE Band: 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 25 , 26 , 29, 30, 38, 41, 66, 71
Downlink Carrier Aggregation (DL CA) 5xB41 (up to 5 B41 carriers aggregated) B25+41CA (up to 2 B41 carriers - 3 total carriers aggregated ) B26+41CA (up to 2 B41 carriers - 3 total carriers aggregated ) B25+26CA (up to 2 B25 carriers - 3 total carriers aggregated )
Uplink Carrier Aggregation (UL CA) 2xB41
This phone supports up to 100 MHz of LTE spectrum being aggregated together from 5 individual Band 41 carriers!
To add to that, it also supports FDD and TDD LTE carrier aggregation by utilizing Band 25 1900 MHz or Band 26 800 MHz as the primary component carrier which would contribute to downlink and uplink while Band 41 is aggregated to it would be downlink only secondary component carriers. Remember the saying of having B25 or B26 uplink with Band 41 downlink, anybody?
Plus there is expansion of FDD carrier aggregation to that of between Band 25 and Band 26. This will help a ton in areas where Band 41 and its oodles of capacity does not reach. As the recent CDMA refarming nationwide on PCS spectrum has allowed Sprint to fire up an additional Band 25 carrier, this means in many Sprint markets there currently exists two Band 25 carriers in addition to a Band 26 carrier. This additional carrier is not forgotten and can now be used alongside the other Band 25 and Band 26 carrier for carrier aggregation.
Last but not least, this phone is "Gigabit Class" by having up to 12 spacial streams means that 4x4 MIMO can be used for 3 separate B41 carriers when aggregated together instead of 2 in the previous generation which supports only 10 spacial streams. Though it was a moot point as the entire generation of Samsung flagships from this past year did not support 4x4 MIMO on Band 41, until now!
A phone this size should not be able to pack so many technologies...but yet it does! A splendid phone and surely a must have for the S4GRU and other tech adept users!
by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:01 AM MST
Hold the corn and pass the pork chops! Des Moines is back on the map!!! Clearwire rolled out several 4G Protection Sites for Sprint and Clear WiMax customers back in Spring 2011 in the Des Moines area. However, after only showing for just over a month, they disappeared off coverage maps. And haven't been seen since.
The service continued to be live after it disappeared from coverage maps. And we changed the status of the towers to Phantom Protection Sites. However, today it was discovered that the coverage is back showing at clear.com/coverage.
In the past few weeks it was reported to me that at least one of the towers was down in the Des Moines area. Hopefully, it's back up now. If anyone can confirm, sound off in the comments below.
Want your new iPhone 4S to run on WiMax? It's not too far of a stretch. It's already been done in Korea. Maybe Sprint will churn out something like this (and hopefully a lot smaller).
Originally posted on S4GRU Facebook page on October 4, 2011
There are conspiracy theorists who still are holding on to hope that Sprint is going to announce on Friday an iPhone 5. I'm just flabbergasted trying to argue reason into these folks. Am I crazy for thinking that's so fantastical that it can't possibly happen? Maybe I'm just too jaded? I want to hear thoughts from our 500+ fans. Is this crazy? Or do you think this is plausible? Weigh in, now...
Link to S4GRU Facebook comments (28)
Here is Part Two of the Chat Transcripts from today's 4G Strategy Update Conference. Click here for Part One. Thanks for those of you who joined in the chat. It's been removed from the wall to remove the "pollution." LOL
It works in chat format, so it's backwards in time...
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
FARED ADIB: Most 2011 and all 2012 devices will support 800MHz CDMA voice
Daves Williams No nexus s.... ?
Jason Reuschlein Most except.. Nexus, Photon.. oh and that iPhone thing
Daves Williams Then that only leaves the EVO 3D
Joshua McDaniel Does that include the Evo Shift 4G? It is a 2011 device.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Photon uses 800...http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile-Phones/ci.MOTOROLA-PHOTON-4G-US-EN.alt
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates So does Samsung Epic Touch... http://www.samsung.c...710ZKASPR-specs
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Supposedly, Evo Shift has 800: http://www.phonearen...Shift-4G_id4979
Jason Reuschlein That isn't the ESMR band though. Compare the FCC docs (you can look them up on phonescoop.com) on the Photon vs. the EVO 3D for example. There are 2 800MHz bands on the 3D, 1 on the Photon
Jason Reuschlein In fact, the 3D and other ESMR devices have a different PRL due to that fact
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
FARED ADIB: Sprint has received approval from 3GPPP to use and run LTE on 1900. First network to do it.
Johnny Berti Is 1900 good?
Danny Cooper Somebody needs to explain the difference between these frequencies...
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I will at the end, if no one else does
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
FARED ADIB: I will not be talking specifically about devices. So this is going to be disappointing...
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Generic speak about devices only. Snoozeville!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates FARED ADIB: We are very happy about getting the iPhone
Danny Cooper About to bring out the iPhone 5!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates FARED ADIB: (Paraphrased) Our customers don't know jack about 4G
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tell me about it Fared. We'd have to experience it to know it!!!!
Jason Reuschlein 1X Advanced!
Greg Rowland Yup, saw that too. Wonder if they'll announce when it'll actually be out in the wild?
Sam DiPiazza Iphone.... Snoozeville is right
Jeff Keyseear Wow, i guess that is how they will justify selling 4g devices that will never use 4g... "just tell the customer they need a better device to use it... they wont know any better!"
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Jeff - Expect WiMax device sales to instantly stagnate.
Jason Reuschlein I thought even the original EVO supported 1X advanced?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates All 1xRTT are at least backwards compatible with 1xA. But that was surprising to me too.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
ATTENTION NEW FANS! Wondering why there are so many posts popping up on your wall? We are live blogging the Sprint 4G Strategy Update Conference in New York, New York. This doesn't happen all the time. MORE LIVE BLOGGING AFTER THE BREAK!
Eric Puddy So are they going to have a market lists that will be covered like other carriers?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I hope so. Verizon posted a list of markets for the year, without dates. And then when a city gets within 30 days or so, they announced the specific cities dates. I want Sprint to do the same!
Harold Achong Yea Eric, Tulsa Oklahoma was going to be the 1st market city. lol wishful thinking.
Harold Achong Not yet, but hopeful.
Joshua McDaniel Wow, Clearwire has taken a brutal beating today.
Eric Puddy why didn't we just appoint more of the board and be done with it?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
20 Minute Break...wasn't that talk from the Network Vision partners a break??? LOL
Rodney Greene What is this music? Jeeez!
Greg Rowland ...lol, listen Rodney, hey can't be spending all sorts of cash after the massive cash dump to Apple, and their new, more aggressive rollout plan.
Robert Kent Are they talking about phones yet?
Greg Rowland *all sorts of cash on music that is.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Robert...I think Devices are at the end of the agenda.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Rodney...sounds like a cheap casino cabaret fill in artist, eh?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Greg...very true!!!
Kendrick Allen was the cash dump to apple true?
Barry Zeringue No mention of Rev. B yet, and I am very confident there won't be any at all.
I love my Android phone I don't see the Iphone doing as well as they predict.
Jason Robinson So not much gonna. Happen in till mid 2012 but what then we has to upgrade new device when LTE is active
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Kendrick...I think so. But still unconfirmed beyond the WSJ.
Jason Robinson EVO 4g is or is gonna be waste now for me
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates ILMAP...I don't know. Part of me wants it to for Sprints sake. Part of me is doubtful that it will the panacea everyone thinks.
Jason Robinson Since Wimax is out for Rhodes that have evo 4g in no area of 4g is pretty much screwed over
Daves Williams If there's a Rev b it wont be till IDEN is completely dead
Daves Williams EVO4g was EOL not to long ago.
Jason Robinson Sad day for me then
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I don't think we're going to hear Revision B uttered today, unless someone asks about it on Q&A. They are banking on LTE. And they will refarm EVDO spectrum for LTE over time. That's where they are going.
Jason Robinson What about evdo a
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates EVDO-A is getting better coverage and faster speeds. It will be on every Sprint tower with Network Vision. No more 1x data only towers...eventually.
Jason Robinson So will EVO 4g see 4g LTE
Jeff Keyseear Its weird that theyre going to be eol wimax devices currently being released (like the g2) less than a year after their release. Unless of course they will work on lte, which the device teardown should have revealed and did not (sigh)
Chris Lenton people getting screwed out of their upgrades and having it pushed back to April 1, 2012 makes a bit more sense now.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Network Vision Corporate Partners: Alcatel/Lucent, Samsung and Ericsson on stage. Not much meat being discussed. Stay tuned...
Brad Moses looks like samsung is doing iowa, hopefully they don't create networks like they do phones.... *shakes fist at my old transform*
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates New Mexico is Ericsson.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I hope they don't say anything important here. I'm having a hard tiem paying attention. Need to run to my Keurig for more caffeine!
Brad Moses and 20 minute break, go get that caffeine!!!!!!!!!
Danny Cooper 20 minute break now...
Jerald Whitaker 20 min break
Richard Reyna San Diego is alcatel-lucent! I got to love it because they were the ones that set up Cox's "test" LTE network in San Diego. I hope they learned a thing or two so that deployment will be smooth.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates What did I ever do before I bought a Keurig? I love instanta coffee. Ahhh...now I'm better.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
I will try to make Summary Narrative at the end. I will also be doing Q&A and responses to Users. Stay tuned.
Michael Yim Did you capture the coverage map from earlier in the presentation?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
BOB AZZI: There will be LTE markets in 2012 that currently do not have WiMax. ME: Phoenix, Detroit, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City San Diego, maybe?
Richard McGee Hope so.
Daves Williams New orleans I know...CITA 2012 is in new orleans in may
Barry Zeringue New Orleans?
Jason Russ Holy s**t!!
Jason Robinson What about us herkimer ny
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sorry I missed New Orleans in my hypothesis. Trying to think and type fast.
Brian Jones still have to wait for Bakersfield Ca how SAD
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Nothing specific yet to markets, Brian. Stay tuned.
Brian Jones ya im listening to it now still nothing
Kendrick Allen 3G speeds are horrible in New Orleans right now!
Kendrick Allen Oh, coupled with a very small 4G foot print!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Kendrick...true, true.
Justin Cate Oh, the mention of Detroit was just a postulation? =(
Brad Trimmer Hopefully Dayton/Springfield Ohio!
Brad Moses cough*des moines*cough
Ryan P. Burkhead Louisville!
Brad Trimmer If the Lions win the Super Bowl and the Tigers win the world series. then they should be first.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Brad...I can support that thinking!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Justin...the second sentence was mine. Drawing conclusions.
Daves Williams Lions wont win the Super Bowl.....Detroit can't have 2 champs in one year. Sports gods wont allow it.
Brad Trimmer I'm a Bengals fan, I'm a dreamer...lol
Steven Fernández Puerto Rico?
Sam DiPiazza Huntsville, AL?!?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I think San Juan will likely be in the first 120 markets. Sprint loves Puerto Rico...as do I!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates If they go in size order (which I am guessing they are), Huntsville would likely be beginning 2013 for LTE. I want more details, though!
Jeff Wolfe We will see if it comes to Milwaukee in 2012. I won't hold my breath because they said wimax would be here Feb. 2011 & it's not.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
BOB AZZI: We used WiMax to get out to market early. But now don't worry, LTE is better. It's the next step. LTE is faster. Can get broader coverage in NV. Seamless 3G/4G handoff.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates LTE is not faster, Bob. I'm sick of this tag line.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates The Network Vision 4G slide of New York is impressive.
Jason Russ WOW!!!
Jason Russ Bring on some more!!!
Brad Moses he said "most advanced latest LTE" but he didn't say "LTE Advanced".... wonder which one it is
Brad Moses also looks like they will be going to more new markets with LTE before going back to current wimax markets
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Yeah, the overlapping slide, says it all, huh?
Eric Chan @Brad Most likely Release 8 since that is what is currently deployed right now on verizon and att
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Eric - I'm with you. That's my guess.
John Sorrenti I'm going shopping at the Verizon store I'm sick of sprints crap maybe even get a bionic
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
BOB AZZI: I'm going to get deep in your basement! (with deep penetrating 800MHz action) LOL
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Kind of creepy, Bob!
Jason Russ Ya buddy!!!!
Rai Diaz No comment.....
Jason Robinson Wow what this mean
Ryan Baughn Yikes.some of ua might like that...so keep it clean lmao
Jason Russ Lower spectrum better penetration in buildings
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates He said it, not me.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Maybe I paraphrased a tad little bit. >
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
3G IMPROVEMENTS: Better signal coverage, faster data speeds, better in building penetrations, better coverage. 800 MHZ CDMA expansion
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Important to iPhone users...LOL
Rob Hilton I'll believe it when it happens..
Danny Cooper Wow, that map is amazing.
Merl Bonham When?
Jason Russ Love it man love it!!!
Carlten Green Columbia, South Carolina here....any chances its coming here soon?
Jason Reuschlein FYI: the iPhone 4S does NOT support the 800MHz ESMR band!
Jeremiah Wenzel Hope this effects my area as the 3g connections have been really crappy in many parts of my home town
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Jason Reuschlein...that is what is appears at the moment. The specs are very vague and say 800 CDMA, which is believed to be 850 Cellular for Verizon. If true, the deep basment penetration won't be happening for iPhone customers.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Carlten...Columbia's position in all this is still unknown. Stay tuned.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Merl...some things (like backhaul improvements) are starting to happen now. Other points will happen as Network Vision gets to your market in 2012 or 2013.
Richard Owens 3G speds have definitely increased across GA. Albany, GA's 3G was down for the past 6 months. Tried it the other day and got 1.5 MBPS! You couldn't even use Sprint for data. It would always time out. I mainly forced roam all the time I was working down there so I could use Alltel or Verizon's 3G.
John Sorrenti Yeah my 3g has been sucking too in Columbia SC.....after all I've heard today the big V looking good
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
REMINDER: During Live Blog of conference, wall posts by users are being blocked and removed.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sprint Direct Connect has virtually same performance for PTT that iDEN has.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Getting really good feedback from beta customers.
4 hours ago ·
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates PTT on CDMA will go to 2.7M miles from 900k miles
4 hours ago ·
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Square miles, that is
4 hours ago ·
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
BOB AZZI: Work on 22,000 towers already under way.
Steven Fernández My bet is we don't see anything real till end of 2012.
Danny Cooper Side note: Sprint stock is up almost 8.5% already this morning.
Andy Robinson which ones?!?
Abram Wenevermet Dennis 2015
Brad Moses and clearwires stock is dropping
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I bet it is. Sprint has written them off as a loss.
Jason Russ Yes man!!!
Danny Cooper Up almost 11% now... damn, should have bought some Monday
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Danny Day Trader?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
BOB AZZI: 4G LTE will be on our own spectrum.
Johnny Berti and 2 others like this.
Daves Williams 4g LTE test calls?
Daves Williams VoLTE?
Enrique Evangelista V huuumm.....they field tested equipment, prototype sprint lte phone
Cameron Spraguey locations for lte?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates No specific locations mentioned. However, it;s going with Network Vision deployment. Which we know starts with the 8 Largest Metros. But Sprint says it's going to 120 markets next year. That's darn fast for Sprint. Finally, something to measure by!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sprint trying to secure more spectrum for long term.
ME: Maybe some 700-D block action?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sounds like a big middle finger for Clearwire!!!
Jason Robinson Wow no Wimax then
Rai Diaz More like 2 - One from Sprint and one from Lightsquared
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Rai...Clearwire's stock is taking a pummeling.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sprint tried negotiating with them, but their terms were unreasonable having Sprint front everything for them. Looks like Sprint told them to pound sand.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
STEVE ELFMAN: We are leaving T1 backhaul and going to fiber and microwave. Chosen site by site, depending on conditions.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
STEVE ELFMAN: We believe we can handle iPhone on our network. Offloading, more efficient devices. The iPhone is more efficient on the network. Continue our network investment and capacity. Especially through Network Vision.
Steven Fernández I wonder that being more efficient means? Sounds like marketing speak.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates A little, probably. Some details of how wold be nice.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
WIMAX: You're out. Just got the boot! Will be supported. WiMax devices through June 2012. Then no more.
Merl Bonham WOW!!!! Only until June? That's aggressive.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Will be supported for years. But don't expect anything meaningful new.
Jason Malone So no more rollout of 4g or what? I mean wtf? Investors will be pissed.
Brad Moses not looking good for REV B either
Jason Malone I am pissed
Richard Owens Works for me, lol. My contract with my Epic is up in June, just in time to get a LTE device!
Danny Cooper I wonder what the Wifi offload technology will be?
Jason Malone Well when I say 4g, I am referring to my 4G, WiMax...
Steven Fernández No need to switch to sprint at this point.
Jason Malone @Richard Owens... Not good for me I just bought a new 4G Device... WoW!!!!!!
Sam DiPiazza So, me and my evo are up the creek here in Huntsville?
Nate Burger I guess so, like me and my Evo in Dayton, OH. I should have known I was being bullpooted when I signed up and they said 4G was coming to my area "really soon". Sigh.
Richard Ruffner @Nate I was surprised that Dayton never got 4g, since we got EVO rev b pretty quickly
Joe Lienau Has there actually been a rollout of Wimax in any meaningful markets this year? I live in one of the most populated suburban areas in the country outside of NYC, and have nothing.
Jason Malone RIDICULOUS!
Justin Cate That is ridiculous... Having just bought an Evo 3D and finding out Detroit is up the creek without a paddle...
Daves Williams THe thing is clear can is still roll out wimax if it wants, its just sprint doesn't care how they do it. They've moved on.
John Sorrenti Hmmmmm evo3d thought it would continue on as a flagship......looks like it just sunk in places like Columbia SC
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
NETWORK VISION: Moved up to 24 months, from the previous discussed 3 to 5 years.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
LTE DEPLOYMNET: It is going to be rapid. First markets Mid-2012. Largely complete by end of 2013.
Enrique Evangelista V w00t!
Andy Robinson By the time i am up for handset upgrade, LTE - MIGHT- be here!yea!
Rai Diaz Sprint:120 markets in 6 months? Challenge accepted!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Lots for us to cover here, Rai!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates The Sprint 4G Rllout Updates page will be hopping with updates for the next 24 months...hopefully.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
STEVE ELFMAN: 800 LTE, hopefully in the future!!!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I guess they are waiting for the complete decommissioning of iDEN.
Brad Moses looks like wimax and clearwire getting the boot, mentioned lightsquared and the 1600 spectrum they have
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Yes Yoda, I think you're right.
Jason Robinson Yayy
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
STEVE ELFMAN: Network Vision breaks into 2 categories. Multi-mode towers, and multi-technology chipsets for devices
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates INtegrated chipsets! Brign 'em on!!!
Barry Zeringue He mentioned LTE at 1.6 Lightsquared???
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
STEVE ELFMAN: LTE is certianly what we're announcing here today...on our 1900 spectrum! No mention of 800!
Rai Diaz LTE on 800 will be available in the future
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
DAN HESSE: We will be utilizing 800/1900 networks to the maximum of their ability.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Details! I want details about 800 ESMR!!!
Rai Diaz I would like to know as well
Brad Moses LTE on 1900 spectrum
Jason Reuschlein LTE on 1900!?
Enrique Evangelista V 1900 LTE
Daves Williams integrated device chipset
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
DAN HESSE: iDEN Network going away. But PTT is going to be a part of the new single network. Button pushers are going to be moved to a world class PTT network.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates No new news here.
Danny Cooper Did audio just go dead for anyone else?
Mark H. Tyler For us HomeGamer's, what is iDEN and PTT, because I'm on 3g right now and it isn't clear to me what a world class PTT does.
Mark H. Tyler ...although I am glad it is a world class PTT of course.
Rai Diaz PTT is Push to Talk
Mark H. Tyler thx for that!
Merl Bonham PTT= Push To Talk
Daves Williams sprint direct connect was launched sunday
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
DAN HESSE: Taking Sprint to the next level...the iPhone
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Yes, subsidies are higher on the iPhone.
Rai Diaz I knew he was going to mention the iPhone in some way.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates The iPhone "will be the most profitable device" for Sprint.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates iPhone will contribute to our cash flow
Danny Cooper iPhone = high profit. Means that Android phones do use more network capacity
Brad Moses didn't know boost ran on iden O_O
Brad Moses lol, utilize existing assets before going after others
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates You mean they haven't been maximizing their existing network? LOL
Donna Guffee Appleget Is there a recording of this somewhere?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sorry folks...we are covering this. But Dan Hesse is rambling about brand. Stay tuned. I'm posting meaningful threads. I'm waiting for some meat!
Danny Cooper Dan needs to watch some old Steve Jobs keynotes... this babbling is awful.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Exactly! Steve was convincing because he lived it. He knew every decision. He was directly apart of it. He loved it. It was his life. This is something else...
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I guess we have to remember he's talking to investors.
Brad Moses well at least it shows they are improving with adding customers....
Devin Wilson Also remember this is an investor call. That said, i agree with you guys.
Brian Jones where is the live feed that you are watching
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Listening...http://investors.sprint.com/GenPage.aspx?IID=4057219&GKP=1073745942
Brad Moses and here comes the iphone ?
Jason Reuschlein Hesse admitted the iPhone is higher in initial cost
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
DAN HESSE: Sprint brand stands for simplicity and value!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Simplicity costs less. Thus Network Vision.
Enrique Evangelista V *agree
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates I'm here for the value. OTW, I'd go to Verizon.
Steven Fernández I'm here for fast 4g.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Brand, brand, blah, blah. Let's talk about Network!!!
Jason Reuschlein Gary Kelly smiles
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates DAN HESSE: I like to over simplify.
Well that sure explains a lot about Sprint's missteps!
Eric Puddy sorry to bother, should there be video instead of just sound?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Nope. Sprint isn't offering video, just audio. Their network can't handle it...yet.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates LOL
Rai Diaz I see what you did there.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Here we go!!!
Danny Cooper No video? Boo!
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates SEC disclaimer live! Too funny
Jason Reuschlein Remember.. Actual results may vary. lol
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Dan Hesse coming on stage now...
Rai Diaz No video?
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Detroit Tigers joke...
Jason Reuschlein Go Brewers! btw
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
2 Minute Warning...Get to your seats!!!
Rai Diaz Got mine!
Steven Fernández I can only find room in the back.
Anthony Evans Jr Dan hesse has horrid jokes
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
THIS IS HOW IT'S GOING TO WORK...I will post highlights as new threads so people following along at work and on mobile devices do not have to keep scrolling through threads to find out what's going on. They can just hit refresh on the Main Page and get a list of what's going on.
During the conference, user posts will be blocked/removed from the Wall. However, feel free to comment in the threads below the posts. 7 Minutes before the fun begins!!!
Eric Puddy what site is the release on
Ryan Baughn cant wait!!! just wanna know more about wimax!!!
Brandon Gleaton Please keep us posted on ur page. I can't watch it live. I'm in class. Pleaseeeeeeee lol.
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates We are. Stay tuned. Just 20 more minutes!
Excellent work on finding 10 Clear Triband Conversion sites!!
I like your offer of free sponsorship for those who help to find more! Most people don't realize that 1/2 of our finds are from people with android phones just going about their everyday lives with SCP Pro logging enabled which just records the lat long of the best signals. Then you just send in the log every so often.