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AT&T Refarming 2G spectrum to boost 3G in NYC


Deval
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It was announced months ago that they were going to do this. I'm surprised it took them this long to finally start working on it.

 

Cingular was a conglomeration of multiple wireless companies owned by SBC and Bell South. They merged them all into one and split the new company 55% to SBC and 45% to Bell South. Most of the assets were TDMA based and a few markets were GSM/GPRS/EDGE. It took them a number of years to transition to all GSM. When they acquired at&t wireless, they also gained their first UMTS holdings with even a phone or two. However, from what I read somewhere, they shut the 3G off (don't hold me to that, because I don't remember where I read it). I will re-read the Cingular history and post more later.

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I would call this more "news" than actual news, as AT&T announced over two months ago that it would be taking some GSM 1900 out of service in New York in order to deploy at least one additional W-CDMA carrier.

 

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/att-looks-refarm-2g-spectrum-urges-customers-upgrade/2012-03-05

 

Furthermore, AT&T has already refarmed some Cellular 850 MHz spectrum in many markets. In fact, see my RF sweep below in which two W-CDMA 850 carriers now occupy ~10 MHz of the downlink, while GSM 850 has been pared down to the remaining ~2.5 MHz of the downlink:

 

10rtvmo.png

 

As for "history of the other carriers and how they built out their networks," please elaborate. I am uncertain what type of information you are seeking.

 

AJ

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Which brings me back to my question: Why is Sprint not doing the same for 1900PCS? In 95% of the nation they are not using but maybe 5Mhz+5MHz of their spectrum. Are they waiting for carrier aggregation? They could still have two 1900Mhz channels even without carrier aggregation. Does carrier aggregation require new hardware?

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Which brings me back to my question: Why is Sprint not doing the same for 1900PCS? In 95% of the nation they are not using but maybe 5Mhz+5MHz of their spectrum. Are they waiting for carrier aggregation? They could still have two 1900Mhz channels even without carrier aggregation. Does carrier aggregation require new hardware?

 

I am confused by what you mean by 95% of the nation is using maybe 5 MHz x 5 MHz? Are you saying most Sprint towers are using only 10 MHz total for CDMA and EVDO?

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I am confused by what you mean by 95% of the nation is using maybe 5 MHz x 5 MHz? Are you saying most Sprint towers are using only 10 MHz total for CDMA and EVDO?

 

That's exactly what I'm saying.

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Which brings me back to my question: Why is Sprint not doing the same for 1900PCS? In 95% of the nation they are not using but maybe 5Mhz+5MHz of their spectrum. Are they waiting for carrier aggregation? They could still have two 1900Mhz channels even without carrier aggregation. Does carrier aggregation require new hardware?

 

First off how do you know 95% of the nation is only using 10 MHz of PCS spectrum? Also I am totally fine with Sprint starting off with just a 5x5 MHz carrier for LTE. I honestly don't think it will be a big deal if the speedtests are not like Verizon's where its like 30 Mbps. At the end of the day, its all about user experience and I think most of us are just concerned with whether we can stream Youtube HD or Netflix consistently without dropping connection like we do with Wimax at times. If Sprint LTE can provide that with just a 5x5 MHz carrier, then I think most people will be fine with it. Speedtests are only good if you are under a tower but that's about it.

 

For me, I like the fact that Sprint has some spare spectrum in its back pocket that they could deploy LTE at any time. They don't need to go guns blazing with two 5x5 MHz LTE carriers at launch even if it was available nationwide. Just start off with one 5x5 MHz LTE carrier at 1900 MHz and use the 800 MHz LTE carrier to supplement next year.

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First off how do you know 95% of the nation is only using 10 MHz of PCS spectrum? Also I am totally fine with Sprint starting off with just a 5x5 MHz carrier for LTE. I honestly don't think it will be a big deal if the speedtests are not like Verizon's where its like 30 Mbps. At the end of the day, its all about user experience and I think most of us are just concerned with whether we can stream Youtube HD or Netflix consistently without dropping connection like we do with Wimax at times. If Sprint LTE can provide that with just a 5x5 MHz carrier, then I think most people will be fine with it. Speedtests are only good if you are under a tower but that's about it.

 

For me, I like the fact that Sprint has some spare spectrum in its back pocket that they could deploy LTE at any time. They don't need to go guns blazing with two 5x5 MHz LTE carriers at launch even if it was available nationwide. Just start off with one 5x5 MHz LTE carrier at 1900 MHz and use the 800 MHz LTE carrier to supplement next year.

 

I travel all over the country for work so chalk it up to personal experience. I usually check the channel assignments and I don't see more than two voice channels or data channels in most of the places I have been. Now in Manhattan, I'm sure they have more than 2 voice and data channels but definitely not out in suburbia.

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As for "history of the other carriers and how they built out their networks," please elaborate. I am uncertain what type of information you are seeking.

 

AJ

 

That's what happens when I think faster than I type. :)

 

What I was inquiring about was the deployment of the 4 major carriers of their networks, from the ground up. For example, Sprint purchased their PCS licences in a partnership with the cable companies (if I remember correctly), where as Verizon came about through the merger of Bell Atlantic Mobile, GTE, AirTouch.

 

Since the majority of the our members are technical, and have a curiousity in Network, and development, I figured it would be a great conversation and learning excerise.

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Which brings me back to my question: Why is Sprint not doing the same for 1900PCS? In 95% of the nation they are not using but maybe 5Mhz+5MHz of their spectrum. Are they waiting for carrier aggregation? They could still have two 1900Mhz channels even without carrier aggregation. Does carrier aggregation require new hardware?

 

Really? Now that's interesting, need to find out more.

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Which brings me back to my question: Why is Sprint not doing the same for 1900PCS? In 95% of the nation they are not using but maybe 5Mhz+5MHz of their spectrum. Are they waiting for carrier aggregation? They could still have two 1900Mhz channels even without carrier aggregation. Does carrier aggregation require new hardware?

 

I do not quite have the energy tonight to organize this response into a coherent whole, so I will try to string together just a series of bullet points.

  • Due to guard bands, 10 MHz of deployed spectrum allows for only three carriers.
  • Sprint's internal data on deployed spectrum does not bear out your "95%" figure, which seems a gross exaggeration. In the Kansas market, for example, approximately 225 out of 600 sites have four or greater deployed carriers.
  • The smartphone revolution on Sprint started in earnest only two years ago with the release of the EVO 4G. Prior to that, Sprint did not need greater than one or two EV-DO carriers per site.
  • Sprint expected WiMAX to absorb much of the increased smartphone data demand, but Clearwire badly dropped the ball.
  • Sprint has been trying to clean up Clearwire's mess by deploying additional carriers even in advance of Network Vision roll out. If you are watching carrier channel assignments, you will notice carriers added on many sites over the past year.
  • Sprint has ~10 MHz of available PCS A-F block spectrum in many markets and plans to deploy a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE 1900 carrier on high traffic sites by next year.

AJ

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  • Sprint has ~10 MHz of available PCS A-F block spectrum in many markets and plans to deploy a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE 1900 carrier on high traffic sites by next year.

 

Are those "high traffic sites" only going to be in major cities, or even in smaller cities and towns with a large number of Sprint customers?

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I do not quite have the energy tonight to organize this response into a coherent whole, so I will try to string together just a series of bullet points.

  • Due to guard bands, 10 MHz of deployed spectrum allows for only three carriers.
  • Sprint's internal data on deployed spectrum does not bear out your "95%" figure, which seems a gross exaggeration. In the Kansas market, for example, approximately 225 out of 600 sites have four or greater deployed carriers.
  • The smartphone revolution on Sprint started in earnest only two years ago with the release of the EVO 4G. Prior to that, Sprint did not need greater than one or two EV-DO carriers per site.
  • Sprint expected WiMAX to absorb much of the increased smartphone data demand, but Clearwire badly dropped the ball.
  • Sprint has been trying to clean up Clearwire's mess by deploying additional carriers even in advance of Network Vision roll out. If you are watching carrier channel assignments, you will notice carriers added on many sites over the past year.
  • Sprint has ~10 MHz of available PCS A-F block spectrum in many markets and plans to deploy a second 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE 1900 carrier on high traffic sites by next year.

AJ

 

I know, until last year they only had 1 1x channel and 1 EVDO channel in the majority of cities I visited, Again, this is a just my own experience and not scientifically based. In my hometown, they used channel 350 for 1x and 425 (I think) for years. In some of the sites that have added a second 1x channel. They have definitely added a second EVDO channel (1125).

 

Now in some places they only have a 5x5 A-F channel and there's not much they can do. Other places they can. That was the gist of my question.

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There is so much variability site to site in Sprint carrier deployment that it becomes very difficult to make any broad sweeping statements. When we look at data about carrier deployment at any specific Sprint site and then look at the next one and the next one and the next one, there are few patterns to detect.

 

Number of carriers is very dependent on localized cell and sector density. So even in the same neighborhood, you could have three carriers at one site, six at the next site and nine on the one after. I didn't realize how variable carrier deployment was until I seen the data myself.

 

Robert via Kindle Fire using Forum Runner

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I know, until last year they only had 1 1x channel and 1 EVDO channel in the majority of cities I visited,

 

How are you determining carrier channel assignments? Unless you do so diligently, you can easily miss one or more carriers, especially on the EV-DO side, as EV-DO channel hashing is more complex than is CDMA1X channel hashing.

 

AJ

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How are you determining carrier channel assignments? Unless you do so diligently, you can easily miss one or more carriers, especially on the EV-DO side, as EV-DO channel hashing is more complex than is CDMA1X channel hashing.

 

AJ

 

Very well could be. I tried to do my drive arounds during high traffic hours in what I perceived to be high traffic areas (highways, downdowns, shopping centers, etc. I definitely did not claim it is scientific.

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Thoughts on this?

 

http://www.phonescoo...cle.php?a=10485

 

Raises an interesting question...does anyone have a history of the other carriers and how they built out their networks?

 

I think it would make for an interesting conversation.

 

AT&T is notoriously unreliable in the NYC market, its absolutely needed.

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AT&T is notoriously unreliable in the NYC market, its absolutely needed.

 

That I know, my friend has the iPhone on AT&T, and she can't get service in the Hard Rock Cafe bar right across the street from the AT&T store in Times Square.

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