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Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands is scheduled to be in the Second Round of Sprint Network Vision/LTE Deployment in 2012...or is it sooner???


S4GRU

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blog-0683333001331427583.jpgby Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Saturday, March 10, 2012 - 5:05 PM MST

 

Today, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is prepared to tell you about another Round Two market in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. More specifically, Sprint's PR/VI market.

 

Sprint's schedule calls for this market to be a Round Two market. But is it actually a Second Round market? Sprint's original deployment plan from last year had the Puerto Rico market in the first round. This made a lot of sense because the PR/VI market is rather small and there are a lot of characteristics of this market that would make it ideal to start an early deployment and gain a learning curve from.

 

However, sources within Sprint have told us that the Puerto Rico market was moved to the Second Round deployment some time in the last quarter of 2011. We have been prepared to report the PR/VI market in the second round for awhile now. However, now we are getting word that Samsung may be working to start deployment to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands this month. So in the worst case scenario, Puerto Rico would start work this Fall, but now it could be starting even sooner. Maybe it really never left the First Round at all?

 

Sprint's PR/VI market

 

Sprint's PR/VI market basically covers the entirety of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes the Puerto Rican cities of San Juan, Mayaguez, Ponce, Bayamon, Caguas, Carolina, Aguadilla, Arecibo, Fajardo and the islands of Vieques and Culebra. In the U.S. Virgin Islands it includes St. Thomas and Charlotte Amalie, and the islands of St. Croix and St. John.

 

After Network Vision is complete, there will be 266 sites in this market. The main island of Puerto Rico will have (249) sites. The Puerto Rican islands will have (2) sites at Vieques and (1) site at Culebra. The Virgin Islands will have (8) sites at St. Thomas, St. Croix (5) sites and St. John (1) site.

 

One item of note though. Sprint plans to only deploy Network Vision/LTE on PCS 1900 in this market. Sprint does have 800MHz spectrum holdings in Puerto Rico. It appears that Sprint does not have rebanding of the 800MHz spectrum underway in this market. At the earliest it seems conceivable that Sprint could start deployment of 800MHz spectrum here is 2014.

 

gallery_1_5_2260.jpg

Sprint's PR/VI Market. There are 260+ Network Vision sites shown for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in this map. Click on image to enlarge.

 

We won't stop digging for you!

 

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. We hope to bring you more details about Sprint's plans in Puerto Rico. Once we know more, we will deliver the info to you.

 

With the release of the PR/VI market today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 24. We have created a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List.

 

Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Monday we will be announcing the next two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time. Come join us!

 

Patillas_Puerto_Rico.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.

 

Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Puerto Rico Market map! Thank you!

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Kind of disappointing to read that 800MHz won't be included, at least in the initial deployment. There is a large gaping hole in their Puerto Rico coverage as well as two smaller holes. The CDMA800 would help to shrink those gaps (though obviously the larger Puerto Rico gap also needs more cell sites). The CDMA800 would probably ensure total or near total coverage of the smaller islands with low cell site densities such as Vieques (2 sites), Culebra (1 site) and the USVI islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John (1 site).

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Good points. I have had a lot of interaction with Puerto Ricans in the past few weeks. They would really appreciate more coverage.

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@Rawvega, not sure if you are from puerto rico or if you have ever been there but those holes you see are areas that are sparsely populated areas with lots of mountains peaking at almost 4400 feet. The coverage you see on that map covers I would say about 95% of the population of the island.

 

On a personal note, even though I am confident that puerto rico will be upgraded soon my main issue is with the virgin islands. Even though they are part of the puerto rico market they always get treated and I mean always get treated like the red headed stepchild. So if I was a betting man I would say puerto rico will be completed within the next 12 months but at least not for another 2 years for the virgin islands and thats being generous.

 

In either case though if its all true then this will be excellent for me since I fly to either island at least once a month on business, not to mention I am currently in St. Thomas as I type this.

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No, I am not from PR, but you are correct, of course-those areas are sparsely populated. However, it appears that AT&T covers those sparsely populated areas better no doubt due to their 850MHz spectrum. Even the old Centennial Wireless covered those areas better even though they only had PCS spectrum. In fact, even though AT&T bought them out, I'm pretty sure that they've left the CDMA network up for Sprint (and probably other CDMA carriers) to roam off of in those interior areas of the island. However, I suppose for a cash strapped company like Sprint, that can't be a priority right now. I'm wondering when the other shoe will drop and AT&T decides to shut down their CDMA network. I wonder what roaming alternatives there are for those sparsely populated areas. Open Mobile? Does Claro still operate their old CDMA network?

 

As far as the USVI, it seems like the cell sites they have *should* provide adequate georaphic coverage for St. Croix and St. Thomas especially after CDMA800 is eventually added (St. John appears to need at least one more cell site for the east end no matter what). However, what about capacity? Five cell sites for @ 50K people on STX seems a bit thin capacity wise. Eight sites for @ 51K people on STT is a bit better I suppose. I wonder what AT&T and T-Mobile's cell density is like in the USVI for comparison.

 

themuffinman, how is the coverage and quality of service there in St. Thomas as of right now?

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well they should do it sooner ,local provider open mobile will start lte at the end of this month and claro(formerly verizon) will do it in the next weeks plus att already begun with about 50 percent of the island covered.

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No, I am not from PR, but you are correct, of course-those areas are sparsely populated. However, it appears that AT&T covers those sparsely populated areas better no doubt due to their 850MHz spectrum. Even the old Centennial Wireless covered those areas better even though they only had PCS spectrum. In fact, even though AT&T bought them out, I'm pretty sure that they've left the CDMA network up for Sprint (and probably other CDMA carriers) to roam off of in those interior areas of the island. However, I suppose for a cash strapped company like Sprint, that can't be a priority right now. I'm wondering when the other shoe will drop and AT&T decides to shut down their CDMA network. I wonder what roaming alternatives there are for those sparsely populated areas. Open Mobile? Does Claro still operate their old CDMA network?As far as the USVI, it seems like the cell sites they have *should* provide adequate georaphic coverage for St. Croix and St. Thomas especially after CDMA800 is eventually added (St. John appears to need at least one more cell site for the east end no matter what). However, what about capacity? Five cell sites for @ 50K people on STX seems a bit thin capacity wise. Eight sites for @ 51K people on STT is a bit better I suppose. I wonder what AT&T and T-Mobile's cell density is like in the USVI for comparison.themuffinman, how is the coverage and quality of service there in St. Thomas as of right now?

 

The coverage here is ok for the most part. When I am here I do suffer from dropped calls on a daily basis but that has a lot to do with some tower damage from the last couple hurricane seasons. Before that though service was excellent.

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So the deployment of the CDMA/LTE modernization program is underway. A few things to note - there is no 800MHz spectrum for Sprint in PR or USVI, the upgrade is a consolidation of legacy CDMA and integration of LTE into one Multi-modal Base Station (MMBS) and one antenna that covers the 1.9MHz spectrum that replaces the legacy CDMA/EVDO network. Part of the challenge with the islands is that up until now, 98% of the backhaul was via microwave only and that will definitely continue - specifically for USVI - as fiber had been lacking but is gaining ground quickly, especially with the recent Centennial/AT&T acquisition, which Sprint is now looking to leverage even though it sounds counterintuitive. The fact is that regardless of the carrier or location, the throughput required to provide LTE data speeds can only be accomplished via microwave or fiber. I mention this only because I've noticed other posts curious as to why and where LTE gets deployed and the part of the answer is because it's where the backhaul either exists or can be built quickly. In order to "upgrade" a network, you have to maintain the existing or "legacy" network and the challenges there are many... existing RAD (antenna) heights, lease space for co-locating equipment, renegotiation for lease space with rooftop/tower owners, etc., the list goes on... needless to say, everyone will benefit from the Sprint modernization effort from end users looking for new LTE speed access to many local businesses that provide support services to a major wireless provider as this build continues and by default creates demand, jobs and all the rest that goes with the wonderful world of technology evolving... just my two cents ;)

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According to AJ, our in house Sprint spectrum resource, he said this about 800 licensing in Puerto Rico... "Regarding SMR 800 MHz in PR/VI, this is what I have dug up. It is still in the process of rebanding. Sprint does hold licenses, so Sprint may be able to deploy CDMA1X 800 and/or LTE 800 sometime in the future, but obviously not during initial Network Vision roll out. (Additionally) there is an iDEN 800 carrier in PR/VI: North Sight Communications. And it holds 3 MHz x 3 MHz of contiguous SMR 800 MHz spectrum." http://wireless2.fcc...se.jsp?licKey=6

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Wow, the Territories before CONUS. I bet Guam is next up for NV.

 

While I'm sure that you're being facetious, since Sprint doesn't have native coverage there (though they do have spectrum licenses in Guam as well as American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands) I seriously doubt that Guam is next up for NV.

 

As far as PR & USVI, Sprint's customers there pay their $$ for service just like their customers in the CONUS so why should they automatically be relegated to the end of the list?

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According to AJ, our in house Sprint spectrum resource, he said this about 800 licensing in Puerto Rico... "Regarding SMR 800 MHz in PR/VI, this is what I have dug up. It is still in the process of rebanding. Sprint does hold licenses, so Sprint may be able to deploy CDMA1X 800 and/or LTE 800 sometime in the future, but obviously not during initial Network Vision roll out. (Additionally) there is an iDEN 800 carrier in PR/VI: North Sight Communications. And it holds 3 MHz x 3 MHz of contiguous SMR 800 MHz spectrum." http://wireless2.fcc...se.jsp?licKey=6

 

To that end, I found this article which seems to be related to what's going on with the 800MHz situation down there: http://urgentcomm.com/briefs/puerto-rico-800mhz-plan-20110308/

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While I'm sure that you're being facetious, since Sprint doesn't have native coverage there (though they do have spectrum licenses in Guam as well as American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands) I seriously doubt that Guam is next up for NV.As far as PR & USVI, Sprint's customers there pay their $$ for service just like their customers in the CONUS so why should they automatically be relegated to the end of the list?

 

I was being facetious. Thanks for catching it.

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Puerto Rico's population density of 1,100 people per square miles is among the world's highest - only Bangladesh, The Maldives, Barbados, Taiwan, South Korea and the city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore are more crowded. And that my friends is a fact. There are 3.8 million people in this small, beautiful island. I'm really hope that Sprint get it together in puerto Rico, since they are loosing a lot of customers. All my family used to have Sprint, and they used to love it!! But the whent with AT&T because they have more coverage in and around the island. They would love to go back to Sprint if coverage and data gets better. Bileave me, they are not the only ones tire of the high prices of AT&T. There are a lot of people in Puerto Rico willing to switch if Sprint improve coverage.

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March 15 is the day. The vice or president of Sprint will come to Puerto Rico next week. This visit is confirmed!!!

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What does the numbers on the map means? Are they expanding coverage to areas they are not currently cover like the center of the island?

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What does the numbers on the map means? Are they expanding coverage to areas they are not currently cover like the center of the island?

 

There are numbers on our map?

 

Robert

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What does the numbers on the map means? Are they expanding coverage to areas they are not currently cover like the center of the island?

 

I think those are highway numbers.

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WELL SOME MANAGER TOLD ME TODAY THAT SAMSUNG IS ALREADY WORKING IN PUERTO RICO DUE TO A PROBLEM WITH DROP CALLS THEY DECIDE TO IMPLEMENT NETWORK VISION FOR ONCE ....ANY LIGHT ON THAT? SGRU...

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Not light yet :-/ Yesterday I saw a workers in a tower at Bo. Guayabal, Villalba, PR. Maybe PR is not complete at %100 yet.

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Not light yet :-/ Yesterday I saw a workers in a tower at Bo. Guayabal, Villalba, PR. Maybe PR is not complete at %100 yet.

 

They have not even mobilized to Puerto Rico yet to start Network Vision. I confirmed this a week ago. I am planning an update article soon. I have the start date now.

 

Robert

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s4gru, thanks for this news. Glad to see it's not an ignored market. I hope to see more news soon!!!

 

p.s. Kendog, are you the kendog from sprintusers? I'm seeing a lot of folks from there here.

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