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Evidently Dan Hesse left his heart in San Francisco...because Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is announcing this as a Network Vision/LTE city for 2012!


S4GRU

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blog-0441403001329509466.jpgby Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, February 17, 2012 - 1:06 PM MST

 

As many of you have seen and heard, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is preparing a long series of announcements of Network Vision updates. We have been teasing you for over a week now. Well, we are prepared to release one market name to you. S4GRU has been able to obtain information that Sprint’s Network Vision contractor Samsung is actively working on Network Vision and LTE deployment in the Sprint San Francisco Bay Market.

 

The SF Bay Area Market includes nearly 900 sites to be converted to Network Vision. Preparation for deployment is well under way and work will begin soon. The entire market will take approximately 6 months to complete. This means that NV/LTE will not be completely live in the area until approximately October/November. But in the interim, the market will be brought on line one site at a time, tower by tower. So there will be many usable locations in Northern California by the time LTE devices start to be sold in the next few months.

 

Note that Sprint has several markets in Northern California, including South Bay (San Jose area), Upper Central Valley (Sacramento area) and Lower Central Valley (Fresno area). These areas will receive separate deployments and will not be a part of the SF Bay Area Network Vision deployment. You can stay tuned here to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates for more information about these and other markets in the future.

 

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S4GRU currently does not have many more details about the rollout in San Francisco at this time. Hopefully in the not too distant future, we can provide a neighborhood by neighborhood analysis of this deployment like we have been able to do in Chicago.

 

With the release of San Francisco today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to eight. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Baltimore and Kansas City as announced by Sprint. Chicago and San Francisco announced by Sprint 4G Rollout Updates.

 

Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. Early Monday morning we will be releasing another Network Vision/LTE market. This time from Sprint Network Vision partner Alcatel/Lucent. Check in at S4GRU.com for all the latest updates! Become a member today. Membership is free and easy.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

Information about the source: The information for the San Francisco deployment and all of our Network Vision information has been obtained by several internal sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. The documents will not be released to protect source anonymity.

 

EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market map.

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Robert...

 

With regard to spectrum, the Sprint affiliate and Rural Alliance programs operate differently.

 

When Sprint signed up affiliates in the late 1990s to construct and manage secondary markets (e.g. your entire El Paso-Albuquerque MTA market was deeded to Alamosa PCS), spectrum licenses remained firmly in Sprint's hands. Sprint did not even lease the spectrum to affiliates; it merely inked contracts with the affiliates to use Sprint spectrum and operate under the Sprint brand.

 

(The one exception to the above situation was and still is Swiftel. As it is a public utility in Brookings, SD, it ostensibly is legally obligated to control its own spectrum. Thus, Sprint did partition and disaggregate 10 MHz of spectrum to Swiftel.)

 

The affiliate program proved problematic after the Nextel merger when several affiliates sued Sprint over unfair competition from the Nextel iDEN network that overlapped their affiliate markets. Because Sprint had contractually granted them access to Sprint spectrum and brand, Sprint could not just revoke those rights nor just walk away. Essentially, Sprint had little choice but to buy out those affiliates.

 

Now, the VZW LTE in Rural America operates like the Sprint affiliate program did. Correct, VZW does retain control of the Upper 700 MHz C block spectrum but contractually allows smaller carriers access to the spectrum to build out and manage LTE overlay for their benefit and for VZW's benefit.

 

No doubt, this will end much like the Sprint affiliate program did. Sooner or later, VZW will buy out the smaller carriers. But VZW already knows that, accepts that, even intends for that to happen. In fact, I liken the LTE in Rural America program to a VZW "trojan horse." However, I am not sure that the smaller carriers mind. They may be happy just to take a big payout from VZW.

 

Back to the Sprint Rural Alliance, the three primary participating carriers are/were Nex-Tech, United, and Pioneer -- all three in Kansas, Colorado, and/or Oklahoma. Sprint has leased, then partitioned and disaggregated spectrum to all of them. And, until recently, everything had seemingly worked out swimmingly.

 

Nex-Tech and United, in particular, have stellar CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 coverage in western Kansas. Dare I say, it is even better than VZW (former Alltel) CDMA1X/EV-DO 850 and AT&T (former VZW, former RCC) GSM/W-CDMA 850 coverage in the same area because Nex-Tech and United have committed to erecting a cell site in nearly every little town with population greater than 300.

 

Pioneer is the one of the three that has become the problem. I do not know if Pioneer contractually had the option to bail out on Sprint, if Sprint was unwilling to meet Pioneer's financial terms, or if the dissolution was a mutual decision. Regardless, Sprint's plan to help itself by helping Pioneer worked for six or seven years but has now backfired.

 

AJ

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my thoughts too... .theres a legally more intelligent way to enter those alliances..... back in the day, i think sprint entered them with the mindset that there would never be national , far reaching networks that were 'solely owned" by one company, since the networks of the time were cobblings of many different networks. While Sprint didn't give everyone native roaming back then, renewing an agreement with an angry affiliate, when the only thing that you have figure out is voice usage, was certainly a lot easier than trying to figure out a data agreement.. Data costs them the most and is the biggest threat to any network's future, hence, Pioneer's departure.

So anyway, new relationships with affiliates should never transfer spectrum, as was stated. Follow Verizon's example, and you're fine. Think: How many areas of rurual america is sprint going to have 800mhz spectrum in , once nextel is gone, that they won't have the towers or the money to expand service? Thats prime real estate and would surely be ripe for a few tiny rural carriers to use.

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Think: How many areas of rurual america is sprint going to have 800mhz spectrum in , once nextel is gone, that they won't have the towers or the money to expand service? Thats prime real estate and would surely be ripe for a few tiny rural carriers to use.

 

I agree. But think of how many of those regional or rural carriers have already directly/indirectly succumbed to the overtures of VZW or AT&T. Alltel, Centennial, Dobson, Midwest, RCC, WWC, and many even smaller carriers -- long gone. Not that many are left, certainly not enough for Sprint to partner with and cobble together a national rural footprint.

 

So, while SMR 800 MHz has even minutely better propagation characteristics than does Cellular 850 MHz, it lacks the 25 years of build out history of Cellular 850 MHz. VZW and AT&T have largely bought up all of that history. Thus, do not expect Sprint to improve significantly its rural footprint solely due to SMR 800 MHz conversion from iDEN to CDMA1X and/or LTE.

 

For what I think is an apt analogy, the domestic wireless market has become like MLB would be if the Yankees and Red Sox had their way. They would face no salary cap nor luxury tax nor revenue sharing. They would sign all of the desirable free agents, would always win, and would run out of business all of the other teams in the league. So, MLB would be just the Yankees and Red Sox playing each other 162 games per season. And they would see no problem with that.

 

AJ

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I just hope Phoenix and San Diego gets some network vision loving soon because all I hear from reading Sprint forums from Phoenix users is "OMG how can we not have 4G here since we are the 6th largest city" and the same for San Diego "OMG how can we not have 4G here since we are the 8th largest city"

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AJ - Great points. I always appreciate your background and perspective.

 

Eric - Phoenix and San Diego were really shafted in the Clearwire WiMax roll out. Even though PHX and SAN are not going to be in with the very first markets for Sprint LTE, they should be relatively happy about when they are coming online. Although, there are some really ticked off customers in those markets who have already left Sprint, or will in the near future.

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AJ - Great points. I always appreciate your background and perspective.Eric - Phoenix and San Diego were really shafted in the Clearwire WiMax roll out. Even though PHX and SAN are not going to be in with the very first markets for Sprint LTE, they should be relatively happy about when they are coming online. Although, there are some really ticked off customers in those markets who have already left Sprint, or will in the near future.

 

Oh man, Everything has been sounding so promising so far but, I don't know if I like the sound of this. (I live in PHX.)

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So the map in the article shows coverage in Sonoma County/ Santa Rosa. I hope and pray that is accurate.

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The second-round markets are already getting updates and there is still no word on the SF market... It's not looking good...

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