by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 10:50 AM MDT
Update 2: See below for potentially all SMR 800 MHz SIDs.
Two weeks ago, S4GRU reported that the FCC had just issued a proposed rulemaking that would officially allow Sprint to launch non iDEN, wideband operations (CDMA1X and/or LTE) in its rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum. In that article, we referenced Sprint Network Vision internal documents that S4GRU used to determine where in the SMR 800 MHz band Sprint planned to deploy CDMA1X 800 carrier channel(s):
The proposed rulemaking aligns with and helps to explain Sprint Network Vision 3G plans that S4GRU has obtained. Those plans indicate that Sprint intends to deploy at least one CDMA1X Advanced band class 10 carrier channel centered at channel 476 (817.9 MHz x 862.9 MHz) and/or channel 526 (819.15 MHz x 864.15 MHz). This would place one or both CDMA1X carrier(s) within the lower band 817-820 MHz x 862-865 MHz spectrum and leave >1 MHz guard bands between it and 821-824 MHz x 866-869 MHz spectrum, in which public safety reconfiguration is still ongoing in some regions.
To illustrate how Sprint proposes to roll out CDMA1X 800 at the lower end of its SMR 800 MHz spectrum allotment, see our band plan and channel assignment graphic:
Today, in an S4GRU exclusive, we bring you an intriguing follow up to that article.
S4GRU has acquired internal Sprint Network Vision 3G plans for additional markets and confirmed that Sprint will necessarily deploy CDMA1X 800 on a higher carrier channel in those markets in which it shares the ESMR portion of the SMR 800 MHz band with SouthernLINC. Furthermore, Sprint will not reuse its existing PCS 1900 MHz network SIDs but instead will utilize a unique set of new SIDs for its SMR 800 MHz overlay. Both of these developments have important ramifications for band class 10 Sprint network acquisition and custom PRL editing.
In most markets across the country, Sprint is not encumbered by any other ESMR licensees. In those markets, Sprint will deploy a CDMA1X Advanced carrier centered at channel 476. See the band plan graphic (modified for Sprint ESMR single licensee markets):
However, in several markets in the Southeast, Sprint splits ESMR bandwidth with SouthernLINC. In those markets, SouthernLINC's spectrum holdings extend as high as 818 MHz x 863 MHz. As a result, Sprint has shifted its CDMA1X 800 carrier up 50 channels to be centered at channel 526 in order to stay out of the SouthernLINC allotment and provide adequate guard bands. See the band plan graphic (modified for Sprint/SouthernLINC ESMR dual licensee markets):
For CDMA1X 800 network acquisition, therefore, Sprint band class 10 capable PRLs will have to include ACQ indices containing at least channels 476 and 526.
Moreover, as S4GRU has unearthed, band class 10 PRLs will also have to include separate SID entries for SMR 800 MHz. For example, in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Sprint has long used SID 04120, but CDMA1X 800 will fall under new SID 22407. In the Atlanta market, Sprint operates under SID 04274, while CDMA1X 800 will take on SID 22437. NIDs, though, appear to be consistent between PCS 1900 MHz and SMR 800 MHz. Expect Sprint to establish a second SID for each one of its markets, hence just under 50 new SMR 800 MHz SIDs in total.
We surmise that Sprint will use the distinct new SIDs to control access and network loading on the lone CDMA1X 800 carrier channel in each market. By Sprint placing SMR 800 MHz SIDs at lower priority in PRLs, the vast majority of Sprint devices will remain on CDMA1X 1900 in almost all native coverage settings. Devices will seek out CDMA1X 800 only when CDMA1X 1900 is unusable or unavailable. Savvy PRL builders, however, could certainly take advantage of this situation by editing PRLs to invert priority and favor CDMA1X 800 instead, thereby directing devices to remain on SMR 800 MHz wherever possible.
S4GRU will continue to dig up CDMA1X 800 SIDs for additional markets. As we do, we will post updates. So, stay tuned.
Update: We have learned new SMR 800 MHz SIDs for several West Coast markets: San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Portland, and potentially Seattle or Spokane, too. In the Bay Area, Sprint's CDMA1X 1900 network uses SID 04183, while the upcoming CDMA1X 800 overlay will use SID 22431. Similarly, in Portland, Sprint will continue to utilize SID 04174 for PCS 1900 MHz and will add SID 22428 for SMR 800 MHz. Sprint in Seattle and Spokane uses SID 04186 and SID 04188, respectively. S4GRU has discovered SMR 800 MHz SID 22408 linked to rural parts of the Seattle and Spokane MTAs, but we are currently uncertain if this SID will apply to one or both actual metro areas.
Update 2: Special thanks go to S4GRU reader and sponsor autoprime for reminding us of the IFAST national SID list web page, which just so happens to contain all of the SMR 800 MHz SIDs that we have announced, as well as ostensibly all of the other SMR 800 MHz SIDs for Sprint's remaining MTA based markets. The 224xx series SIDs were actually assigned to Sprint for its PCS G block nationwide collection of licenses, spectrum that was assigned to Nextel as compensation for SMR 800 MHz bandwidth it lost during the 800 MHz public safety rebanding effort. Sprint originally intended to deploy band class 14 CDMA1X/EV-DO in that PCS G block 10 MHz spectrum but now will use it exclusively for band class 25 LTE (5 MHz x 5 MHz), the initial LTE carrier that Sprint will launch in its Network Vision initiative. Since band class 14 CDMA1X/EV-DO is now off the table, Sprint appears to have carried over the 224xx series SIDs to its SMR 800 MHz band class 10 CDMA1X deployment. Keep in mind, however, that these remaining SIDs have yet to be verified, so there may be some differences between the list and actual use. S4GRU will endeavor to confirm additional SIDs as we analyze further information from our internal Sprint sources. In the meantime, we have condensed all assigned 224xx SIDs to this Google Docs spreadsheet.
Sources: Sprint, SouthernLINC, FCC, 3GPP, author's graphics, autoprime, IFAST