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Houston Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

S4GRU

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by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Sunday, June 10, 2012 - 11:59 PM MDT

 

In our continuing Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU presents to you the latest regarding Houston, Texas. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the Houston market would be one of their first LTE launches. Sprint committed to a Mid 2012 LTE launch in Houston at the beginning of the year.

 

Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been steadily deploying around the Greater Houston/Galveston area. As of this week, there are approximately 60 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market.

 

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Network Vision Sites in Houston. Sixty sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint.

 

60 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint

 

Despite the good news of these live LTE sites, Sprint is still actively blocking LTE connections. They 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.

 

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 markets already announced like Houston. If they waited for 50% now, it would delay launch until September. In the case of Houston, should Sprint launch by Mid July, they would only be complete with approximately 30% to 35% of all NV sites. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.

 

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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 in Mid July, these are the

anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good

LTE coverage over many parts of the market.

 

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 well performing 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 Houston market. We believe they are targeting a launch date in July based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are quite a few active LTE sites that can be used now in this market.

 

Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 58 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production ramping up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees a February 2013 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, it appears that Ericsson is slightly behind in the market. But with the rate the schedule is supposed to pick up in June, Ericsson has ample opportunity to finish on time.

 

For the time being, your brains are being bombarded with Sprint LTE all over the Houston market. But you just cannot connect. We hope Sprint soon lifts the blockade and allows all of us who have purchased LTE devices to be able to use the network.

 

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Photo of Houston 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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Oyi... paying extra for data when i'm stuck on 3g sucks. Lets hope the LTE deployment moves soon.

 

It's under way now. There are 60 sites live at the moment, more being added every week.

 

Robert

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no sites in Baytown! :o . Damn i was hoping they would at least do one. well i see and upgrade next to U of H where i spend most my time anyways..

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When will we get LTE in Las Vegas?

 

Deployment will not begin in Vegas until 2013.

 

Robert

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Is the Beaumont / Port Arthur TX area in the Houston market? If not do you have any info?

 

Beaumont and Port Arthur are part of the Sprint Louisiana market. They will not come live with the Houston Market.

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Is the Beaumont / Port Arthur TX area in the Houston market? If not do you have any info?

 

Beaumont and Port Arthur are part of the Sprint Louisiana market. They will not come live with the Houston Market.

 

4GHoward is correct. The Louisiana market will not begin until 2013.

 

Robert

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Any word when Orlando will be Network Vision upgraded?

 

We are working on an Orlando schedule update article. It should publish in the not too distant future. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com.

 

Robert

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I was in Friendswood, TX this afternoon and had LTE coverage. I seemed to be limited to the FM 518@FM 528 area. I lost it as I approach I-45. I ran some speed tests and was able to achieve about 22 MBit down and 10MBit up. The ping time was down around 50 ms. Not sure if they made a mistake, or if they are beginning to bring towers online in preparation for the EVO 4G LTE launch.

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So looking forward to LTE in Houston. Then I will be able to stop carrying around my Thunderbolt as a glorified hotspot!

 

Although with the extended battery (I picked it up on Amazon for $14 bucks) it lasts all day with LTE on, and I don't think the EVO LTE will be able to manage that.

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