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FCC ready to give Sprint official go ahead on SMR 800 MHz wideband operation

WiWavelength

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blog-0601841001331317069.pngby Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 1:15 PM MST

 

Sprint may soon be gaining some clarity regarding its Network Vision plans to deploy CDMA1X Advanced to replace Nextel iDEN in its rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum. The FCC today announced a proposed rulemaking that would explicitly allow SMR 800 MHz licensees (e.g. Sprint, SouthernLINC, and a few others) to utilize greater than 25 kHz channel spacing.

 

Currently, Part 90 SMR 800 MHz rules and regulations could be interpreted to prohibit channel spacing exceeding 25 kHz, effectively disallowing any airlink other than iDEN, which is designed to operate in 25 kHz channelization. Meanwhile, Sprint has petitioned that Part 90 does not automatically bar larger channel bandwidths in contiguous channel blocks and that it has enacted improved filtering techniques to satisfy out of band emissions concerns due to wideband operations.

 

To reconcile the current rules and regulations with Sprint's contentions, the proposed rulemaking would amend Part 90 as follows:

 

Economic Area (EA)-based licensees in frequencies 813.5-824/858.5-869 may exceed the standard channel spacing and authorized bandwidth listed in paragraph (b5) of this section in any National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee Region when all 800 MHz public safety licensees in the Region have completed band reconfiguration. In any National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee Region where the band reconfiguration is incomplete, EA- based licensees in frequencies 813.5-821/858.5-866 MHz may exceed the standard channel spacing and authorized bandwidth listed in paragraph (b5) of this section. Upon all 800 MHz public safety licensees in a region completing band reconfiguration, EA-based 800 MHz SMR licensees in the 821-824/866-869 MHz band would also be allowed to exceed the channel spacing and authorized bandwidth. Licensees authorized to exceed the standard channel spacing and authorized bandwidth under this paragraph must provide at least 30 days written notice prior to initiating service in the bands listed herein to every 800 MHz public safety licensee with a base station in the affected National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee Region, and every 800 MHz public safety licensee within 113 kilometers (70 miles) of the affected Region.

 

More simply put, Sprint would be able to use its lower band SMR 800 MHz spectrum below 821 MHz x 866 MHz right away to deploy CDMA1X and/or LTE. Then, after all public safety relocation in a region has been completed, Sprint could utilize its upper band SMR 800 MHz spectrum 821-824 MHz x 866-869 MHz for further wideband operations.

 

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:

 

800bandplan1X.png

 

Sources: FCC, Sprint, author's graphic

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From what I reading from googling about 1X advanced, this would benefit, not only voice, but data as well, correct?

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Would this mean Sprint could launch LTE in a bigger 800mhz channel instead of 5x5?

 

Nope. Even after public safety is completely relocated, Sprint will still only have 14MHz of 800MHz SMR spectrum. Once CDMA is gone, I'm guessing that they could launch a supplemental 1.4MHzx1.4MHz LTE carrier alongside the 5x5 LTE carrier.

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Hopefully the FCC will allow this change as it is a minor one (almost more of a clarification) and will be of tremendous help to Sprint Nextel and it's customers...

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This is kinda old news now. The attached PDF waiver letter was submitted with all the handsets tested for EVDO use in ESMR. I doubt they'll run more than a single 1xAdvanced carrier in ESMR (assuming it is truly has 4x the capacity of a 1xRTT carrier). Running 2 1xA carriers would be like running 8 1xRTT carriers-- not even Verizon does this with all their subs. I would expect a couple EVDO carriers in ESMR as they make room (by slowly phasing out iDEN channels). This will give great relief in many markets since there are already a number of handsets operating today that will support the EV carriers here.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3sIg9NfNZx3MDdWVVc0c0lUSmlHUk04dnpiTFBOUQ

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I was also mildly amused at AT&T's attempt at delaying Sprint knowing that the FCC, by virtue of being a government agency, does nothing quickly.

 

MSI and AT&T state that a

rulemaking proceeding is warranted to ensure adjacent services are protected from potential

interference.

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This is kinda old news now. The attached PDF waiver letter was submitted with all the handsets tested for EVDO use in ESMR. I doubt they'll run more than a single 1xAdvanced carrier in ESMR (assuming it is truly has 4x the capacity of a 1xRTT carrier). Running 2 1xA carriers would be like running 8 1xRTT carriers-- not even Verizon does this with all their subs. I would expect a couple EVDO carriers in ESMR as they make room (by slowly phasing out iDEN channels). This will give great relief in many markets since there are already a number of handsets operating today that will support the EV carriers here.https://docs.google....HUk04dnpiTFBOUQ

 

Sprint is not going to run EVDO at 800 Mhz. The most we will see is a single 1xA carrier and a 5x5 LTE block deployed in 2013 once reconfiguration is done. Sprint is not going to waste deploying EVDO at 800 Mhz and then real quickly turn around again and deploy LTE at 800 Mhz.

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This is kinda old news now.

 

Agreed, this news is not a great revelation; it comes as no surprise. I do not know of anyone nor any entity (not even AT&T) that thought SMR 800 MHz wideband operation would be rejected or could be prevented. More a formality than anything else, approval was always just a matter of time.

 

That said, do not discount that official approval via a proposed rulemaking is finally imminent. As you note, Sprint has been testing band class 10 CDMA1X under FCC waiver and/or STA in the following call signs: WPLM660, WPLM661, WQNX442, WQNX443, WQNX444, WQOQ770, WQOQ771, WQOQ772, and WQOU823. The docket has been dragging out for nearly a year and could have gone on unresolved for much longer. But now the proposed rulemaking is out for public comment, then ready for publication in CFR 47 Part 90. The end is nigh.

 

I would expect a couple EVDO carriers in ESMR as they make room (by slowly phasing out iDEN channels).

 

You frequently bring up the likelihood of band class 10 EV-DO carriers. But Robert has been very forthright; Sprint Network Vision 3G documents indicate no plans to deploy EV-DO 800. So, unless Sprint changes those plans or classifies EV-DO Rev B as "4G" (hence it falls under Network Vision 4G plans), there will be no EV-DO in SMR 800 MHz, just CDMA1X Advanced soon, followed by LTE later.

 

The device certifications for EV-DO 800, honestly, do not indicate very much. Sprint has a precedent of including then ignoring certain capabilities in its branded devices. For example, band class 14 PCS G block CDMA1X/EV-DO support has been incorporated in numerous handsets over the past few years, but that capability will remain dormant, will never be commercially realized now.

 

AJ

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You frequently bring up the likelihood of band class 10 EV-DO carriers. But Robert has been very forthright; Sprint Network Vision 3G documents indicate no plans to deploy EV-DO 800. So, unless Sprint changes those plans or classifies EV-DO Rev B as "4G" (hence it falls under Network Vision 4G plans), there will be no EV-DO in SMR 800 MHz, just CDMA1X Advanced soon, followed by LTE later.The device certifications for EV-DO 800, honestly, do not indicate very much. Sprint has a precedent of including then ignoring certain capabilities in its branded devices. For example, band class 14 PCS G block CDMA1X/EV-DO support has been incorporated in numerous handsets over the past few years, but that capability will remain dormant, will never be commercially realized now.AJ

 

Completely agree. Sprint should on all future devices do FCC testing for both CDMA/EVDO and LTE on all bands and frequencies available. By testing on all bands and frequencies this provides Sprint more flexibility in terms of where they can reallocate CDMA/EVDO and LTE carriers to different frequencies and bands if need be without having to be locked down to operating on only certain frequencies. You never know when Sprint will need to reallocate spectrum to support additional carriers for both voice and data.

 

The best time to do all this FCC testing is before the initial launch of a device instead of trying to do post launch FCC testing to add more frequency band capability. I am not sure how many times Sprint or other wireless carriers have done that though. In my case, the Photon 4G chip has the capability to support 800 Mhz CDMA but it was not FCC tested for whatever reason so therefore it can't operate at 800 Mhz. I don't expect Sprint to go back and do FCC retesting to allow 800 Mhz CDMA on the Photon 4G.

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Does anyone know if there is an opportunity for Sprint to be able to acquire additional 800 MHz spectrum that is contiguous to what they have now? It seems to me what they have now is sandwiched between the public safety spectrum and the cellular (850) spectrum that Verizon and AT&T own

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Does anyone know if there is an opportunity for Sprint to be able to acquire additional 800 MHz spectrum that is contiguous to what they have now? It seems to me what they have now is sandwiched between the public safety spectrum and the cellular (850) spectrum that Verizon and AT&T own

 

I don't think so at this point. Sprint and the FCC are in the process of rebanding the 800 Mhz spectrum so I don't see that happening for a while or if ever. I would love for public safety to move to another band and free up the remaining lower 800 Mhz for wireless use. Sprint owns 817-824 Mhz and 862-869 Mhz.

 

The remaining lower 800 Mhz runs from 806-816 Mhz and 851-861 Mhz owned by public safety/non cell SMR and if there was an opportunity to snatch up that spectrum, I would want Sprint to do whatever it takes to get it so that they could have an 18 Mhz contiguous band for both downlink and uplink for a total of 36 Mhz of 800 Mhz spectrum. That would be so awesome and would really help with better coverage all around and be on par with Verizon and AT&T.

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