Sprint has announced it's first Network Vision tower is completed and live in Branchburg, New Jersey. It is broadcasting data over 3G-EVDO and 4G LTE and voice over 1x. The announcement of the first fully live tower in the New York Metro Area brings joy and hope to millions of Sprint customers in the area that they will see a completed Network Vision rollout first in the country.
Even though this is the first one completed and fully operational, you can rest assured this is not the only tower being worked on currently. Sprint has three contractors (Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson) that are deployed nationwide working on Network Vision on hundreds, if not thousands, of towers at the moment. Samsung recently confirmed they are working in Chicago on LTE for Sprint.
"We have our first LTE site up and running. This is really the start of Network Vision," Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "We have the first one up, operational and running just fine."
Furthermore, Mr. Euteneuer yesterday claimed that Sprint's LTE will perform similar to Verizon and AT&T's advertised LTE download speeds of 5MB to 12MB. There has been much concern that Sprint's LTE speeds will be too slow because they are deploying only 5x5 LTE carriers. Half the size of Verizon's 10x10 carriers.
But it is seen as good news that Sprint will deploy it's LTE network in a way to match those speeds. And maintain their network performance to try to keep them there. In an article earlier today we explained how Sprint will partner with Clearwire to add more capacity to keep their LTE speeds up where performance starts to slip.
Granted, Verizon's LTE network is capable of producing speeds much higher than the 5MB to 12MB they advertise. But, Verizon only promises these speeds in a wise overdelivering marketing strategy. However, AT&T cannot be so bold as to boast it's LTE speeds that way. AT&T does not have 700MHz nationwide for LTE. And in many of the places they do have it, they have half what Verizon has.
In one third of the country, AT&T has 24 MHz of 700 spectrum. In those markets, they can offer LTE that performs like Verizon. In another third, they only have 12MHz of 700 spectrum. There they can install one 5x5 carrier. Exactly as Sprint is installing nationwide. And in the last third, AT&T has no 700MHz spectrum at all.
So AT&T has a very mixed bag in the short term for it's LTE. And they will not be in much of a position to brag about it's LTE network over Sprint. Verizon will remain tops in LTE speed and coverage for a long time to come. But Network Vision will bring at a minimum at least LTE on PCS band nationwide over the next 24 to 36 months.
Even though there is tendency to focus on the LTE aspect of Network Vision, we would be remiss if we failed to remind that Network Vision will substantially improve 1x voice coverage and 3G EVDO service as well. In speed, coverage and capacity.
Sprint said in their Press Release that, "Sprint expects to make additional announcements about market deployments early next year." We would love some detailed info that comes out like a steady faucet. Something we can track and disseminate right from this blog, perhaps?
AT&T Map courtesy of PhoneScoop.com