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Atlanta/Athens Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

S4GRU

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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 8:44 AM MDT

 

In the first article of our new Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU brings you to Atlanta, Georgia. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the Atlanta/Athens market would be one of their first LTE launches. Slated for the end of June 2012.

 

Since the announcement last December, Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been busy with deployment. As of this week, the Atlanta/Athens market has over 150 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market.

 

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Network Vision Sites in Atlanta/Athens Market. Over 150 sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.

 

150 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint

 

Despite the good news of so many live LTE sites, Sprint is currently blocking LTE connections, as most of our S4GRU readers already know. Sprint has put the decision of when to allow their LTE signals that are currently being broadcast over Northern Georgia in the hands of their "Business Teams." Now with the EVO LTE apparently selling like gangbusters and with the announcement of the new LTE capable Samsung Galaxy S-III, hopefully Sprint will allow their LTE network to open to connections soon.

 

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Sprint originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion.

 

Sprint did start releasing 4G LTE sites initially after they started coming online in April, but soon changed their mind about allowing customers to connect to them. Several S4GRU members were able to use 4G LTE and were posting impressive 30Mbps download speeds. However, since then Sprint decided to shut down access to LTE and started actively blocking. Now it is believed that Sprint may hold all LTE connections in a market until formal launch. We hope they allow it sooner.

 

It seems to be a terrible waste to have a LTE signal being broadcast all around you that your device is not allowed to connect to. There have been many speculations why Sprint may be blocking access, including possible LTE connectivity issues with the new EVO LTE, but none have been confirmed at this time. Sprint can end this conjecture by just opening up their LTE network to existing LTE device holders.

 

Market Launch and Remaining Schedule

 

In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch. In the case of Atlanta, should Sprint launch prior to the end of June, they would only be complete with approximately 35% to 40% of all NV sites. And even though this sounds like very few, keep in mind that Sprint's Atlanta/Athens market is all of Northern Georgia. With over 1,000 sites total.

 

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Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market on June 30th, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide pretty good LTE coverage over the market.

 

Verizon did not get 100% of their total market coverage complete before launching in Atlanta. Maybe a hundred sites at first, then adding more incrementally. Sprint will do something similar. At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of 3G EVDO in most instances.

 

And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.

 

The bottom line...

 

We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Atlanta market. We believe they are still targeting a launch date before the end of the month based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are so many active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.

 

Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 152 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here until the last ones complete around Mid December 2012. Production is ramping up to turn over approximately 150 sites per month through the end. Although it was difficult for S4GRU to quantify looking at this complex schedule, it appears that Ericsson is a little behind schedule in the market, but not more than can be made up before scheduled market completion in December.

 

Pretty much the last piece of the puzzle unknown at this time is when is Sprint going to light this thing up for customers? C'mon Sprint, we are waiting!

 

MidtownATLNW.JPG

Photo of Atlanta skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of

Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

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Great info, I take it that we are going to see market updates/articles for everyone?

 

I am going to try to do one every day until all the markets that I have detailed schedules on have been covered.

 

Robert

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Looking forward to hear from those that receive the text message tomorrow in the 4 launch markets. I wouldn't be surprised if Sprint was targeting a June 21st and 22nd LTE launch date since that is when the GS3 comes out. Between now and then this would give Sprint another 2 weeks or so to launch as many NV LTE sites in the 4 launch markets.

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The issue they would have by launching too early would be a perception of poor or limited LTE coverage with just minimal sites up and running.

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Looking forward to hear from those that receive the text message tomorrow in the 4 launch markets. I wouldn't be surprised if Sprint was targeting a June 21st and 22nd LTE launch date since that is when the GS3 comes out. Between now and then this would give Sprint another 2 weeks or so to launch as many NV LTE sites in the 4 launch markets.

 

 

If I was HTC, though, I'd be pissed that Sprint tied the LTE launch to the launch of the GS3. But, the sooner the better. :-)

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The issue they would have by launching too early would be a perception of poor or limited LTE coverage with just minimal sites up and running.

 

I agree that perception is an issue. However, it can be mitigated and turned into a positive. Network Vision is rolling out pretty quickly in most markets they are active in. Sprint could easily keep the market informed and say that there are 150 sites live now and we will be adding approximately 20 to 30 every week. You will have partial coverage in the beginning and service will just get more and more solid week after week.

 

This is what happened in WiMax markets with active deployments (except without any info to the customers). Service just grew and grew. People for the most part didn't complain, because Sprint didn't advertise it was ready. It was just bonus. People didn't start to complain about WiMax until Sprint announced the market was complete and they saw how spotty the service was. LTE will be completely different.

 

In my opinion, to hold out all the early adopters from connecting their LTE devices from the network is a significant mistake. It just is penalizing their most loyal customers, and their best educated customers. The ones who will understand what is going on the most.

 

Robert

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If I was HTC, though, I'd be pissed that Sprint tied the LTE launch to the launch of the GS3. But, the sooner the better. :-)

 

Well if HTC believes they have a superior product in the Evo 4G LTE, they shouldn't have to fear the GS3. Just because there is a lot of hype on the GS3 doesn't mean it will be the superior product. For one thing the display on the GS3 is not super amoled plus so that is step backwards from GS2. The GS3 has got 2 GB RAM but who knows if you really need that much. I think the Evo 4G LTE can stand on its own against the GS3.

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If I was HTC, though, I'd be pissed that Sprint tied the LTE launch to the launch of the GS3. But, the sooner the better. :-)

 

The way I see it, the launch dates are what they are. Sprint decided to launch devices before LTE market launches with the GNex, Viper and EVO LTE. Because they wanted to give contract renewers device options. They would have released the GS3 early if it was possible.

 

I suppose HTC could have waited ahwile to release their EVO. However, I bet HTC would rather be first than to be tied with LTE launch. And I think Sprint wanted them to be first, to capture EVO owners coming off contract.

 

That's my two cents on it. But I bet Samsung will be happy if Sprint does start launching LTE markets with their device launch.

 

Robert

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I was wondering when Chicago market would be launched and have LTE up and running. I am heading to Chicago June 28th to July 2nd and really want to try out LTE!!!

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I was wondering when Chicago market would be launched and have LTE up and running. I am heading to Chicago June 28th to July 2nd and really want to try out LTE!!!

 

The actual market launch for Chicago will not happen by then. However, Sprint may allow for complete LTE sites to start being discoverable early. I have seen some reports in the past week of people being able to get on a tower in Hammond and another one in Merrillville. That area is likely your best bet.

 

Robert

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The actual market launch for Chicago will not happen by then. However, Sprint may allow for complete LTE sites to start being discoverable early. I have seen some reports in the past week of people being able to get on a tower in Hammond and another one in Merrillville. That area is likely your best bet.Robert

Thanks for the info! Sad to hear that it will not be launched by then! ):

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Watching. Tracking. Monitoring. Seeing. Knowing. Hoping. Praying. :)

 

LTE IN THE ATL!!!

 

I can feel it, coming in the air tonight. Hold on.

 

Mav. :cool:

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It's taking all my might to wait until the dust settles because i'm as geeky as they come... I don't want to get burned like I did before when sprint advertised their "Wicked Fast" 4G (WIMAX) network which drove me to buy the OG EVO. We shall see.

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I'm curious, the map shows a large area around Atlanta... do you know if Alpharetta is being blanketed? I live in Alpharetta and work in Lawrenceville. On my way home today I saw an Ericsson truck and thought I'd ask you guys if you know anything. Thanks in advance and for the site!

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I'm curious, the map shows a large area around Atlanta... do you know if Alpharetta is being blanketed? I live in Alpharetta and work in Lawrenceville. On my way home today I saw an Ericsson truck and thought I'd ask you guys if you know anything. Thanks in advance and for the site!

 

There are several sites complete in the Alpharetta area already. S4GRU sponsors can look at an interactive map showing complete sites here: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/517-nv-sites-complete/

 

Robert

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Since July 15, I see a 2% increase to 22% from 20%.

 

Oh boy, they better be super fast. December at 100% complete?

 

Are they on schedule?

 

Do you still believe?

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Since July 15, I see a 2% increase to 22% from 20%.Oh boy, they better be super fast. December at 100% complete?Are they on schedule?Do you still believe?

 

They definitely need to pick up the pace. There are likely many more sites that are complete, but not been accepted by Sprint from the OEM.

 

Robert

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What does this mean:Current Production Rate Completion = August 2013 Are you serious ???

 

It means if they continue to complete sites in the same rate that they have the past 30 days, then it would take until August 2013 to complete the entire market to 100%. I don't believe they will continue at this rate. They were scheduled to pick up the pace back in July. So the pace will probably pick up soon. Then you can watch that date get earlier and earlier.

 

Robert

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