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AT&T proposes deploying LTE in WCS 2.3 GHz band


bigsnake49
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AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sirius XM made a joint proposal to the FCC regarding the 2.3 GHz Wireless Communication Service (WCS) band that would open up a portion of it for LTE use, giving AT&T another band for its 4G efforts.

The proposal would change the rules governing WCS spectrum while protecting Sirius XM from interference. AT&T is the largest holder of WCS spectrum, followed by spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless. The proposed changes could give AT&T the ability to deploy LTE covering roughly 40 percent of the country.

In May 2010 the FCC voted unanimously to approve an order that changes rules governing the 2.3 GHz WCS band. The FCC said the spectrum can be made available for mobile broadband use, and mandated that rules be put in place to avoid interference issues. However, AT&T and many others took issues with the new rules.

Doesn't Sprint also have some WCS spectrum?

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AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sirius XM made a joint proposal to the FCC regarding the 2.3 GHz Wireless Communication Service (WCS) band that would open up a portion of it for LTE use, giving AT&T another band for its 4G efforts.

The proposal would change the rules governing WCS spectrum while protecting Sirius XM from interference. AT&T is the largest holder of WCS spectrum, followed by spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless. The proposed changes could give AT&T the ability to deploy LTE covering roughly 40 percent of the country.

In May 2010 the FCC voted unanimously to approve an order that changes rules governing the 2.3 GHz WCS band. The FCC said the spectrum can be made available for mobile broadband use, and mandated that rules be put in place to avoid interference issues. However, AT&T and many others took issues with the new rules.

Doesn't Sprint also have some WCS spectrum?

 

Yes but it's non-contiguous and widely scattered.

 

Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk 2

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I wasn't even trying to imply that they should deploy anything on it. They can either sell it or trade it for some PCS spectrum.

 

If I recall Sprints WCS Spectrum isn't worth a cup of coffee

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ATT wanting to deploy on high frequency spectrum?

 

Quick' date=' someone make up a Clear rumor and drive up their stock price.[/quote']

 

Haha, good idea.

 

Sent from my LG Viper 4G LTE using Forum Runner

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And the four national carriers grow farther apart. We will never see the day where a sprint phone will work on ATT or a Tmobile phone will work on Verizon. They will be using the same technology, but completely different bands. I am kinda thinking roaming is not likely to happen on lte either.

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And the four national carriers grow farther apart. We will never see the day where a sprint phone will work on ATT or a Tmobile phone will work on Verizon. They will be using the same technology, but completely different bands. I am kinda thinking roaming is not likely to happen on lte either.

 

They are getting close to having chips that can support 7 bands of LTE. It might not be that far fetched. I agree though, they just keep diverging...

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They are getting close to having chips that can support 7 bands of LTE. It might not be that far fetched. I agree though, they just keep diverging...

 

Then the fun part is making all the antennas and preamps for the various frequencies fit in the phone without blowing out the battery.

 

Sent from my C64 w/Epyx FastLoad cartridge

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And the four national carriers grow farther apart. We will never see the day where a sprint phone will work on ATT or a Tmobile phone will work on Verizon. They will be using the same technology' date=' but completely different bands. I am kinda thinking roaming is not likely to happen on lte either.[/quote']

 

Hence sprint's decisions with 1xAdvanced instead of just waiting out volte... considering many of us would flee if sprint's native footprint became the boundaries of our usability, roaming is a big part of the package. Their decision to keep voice and data separate for now helps the ecosystem.

 

Anyways, I think verizon and att will do all in their power to complicate future roaming ability

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Sprint's WCS spectrum is crap and they only have a small amount in the Texas, Louisiana area. Unless its nationwide coverage, there is no purpose of deploying LTE on that spectrum.

 

If Sprint had to enter into a new LTE band, I would rather see Sprint enter the AWS band since that band continues to grow and there are Band classes already available for LTE deployment. There are even talks right now of making some spectrum available in the 1700 MHz range to extend the AWS band range as part of the 300 MHz of spectrum that is suppose to be made available in the next few years.

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Sprint's WCS spectrum is crap and they only have a small amount in the Texas' date=' Louisiana area. Unless its nationwide coverage, there is no purpose of deploying LTE on that spectrum.

 

If Sprint had to enter into a new LTE band, I would rather see Sprint enter the AWS band since that band continues to grow and there are Band classes already available for LTE deployment. There are even talks right now of making some spectrum available in the 1700 MHz range to extend the AWS band range as part of the 300 MHz of spectrum that is suppose to be made available in the next few years.[/quote']

 

Crap for Sprint to deploy but not for Sprint to sell to ATT ;-) .

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They are getting close to having chips that can support 7 bands of LTE. It might not be that far fetched. I agree though, they just keep diverging...

Then the fun part is making all the antennas and preamps for the various frequencies fit in the phone without blowing out the battery.

 

No problem. To go along with the software defined radios, we just need some software defined antennas and some software defined RF amps. Oh, and Robert requests some software defined chicken.

 

AJ

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No problem. To go along with the software defined radios' date=' we just need some software defined antennas and some software defined RF amps. Oh, and Robert requests some software defined chicken.

 

AJ[/quote']

 

Mmm! What is the programming code for spicy?

 

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No problem. To go along with the software defined radios, we just need some software defined antennas and some software defined RF amps. Oh, and Robert requests some software defined chicken.

 

AJ

Software defined chicken?

Mild or Spicy?

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Oh, and Robert requests some software defined chicken.

 

 

Let's define the first batch as something crispy and spicy fried. Emmmm....

 

Robert

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Crap for Sprint to deploy but not for Sprint to sell to ATT ;-) .

 

Instead of selling the WCS spectrum to AT&T, how about Sprint and AT&T spectrum swap the WCS spectrum for PCS spectrum. I would rather have that then cash. Its not like the small amount of spectrum is going to yield much cash anyways.

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Instead of selling the WCS spectrum to AT&T, how about Sprint and AT&T spectrum swap the WCS spectrum for PCS spectrum. I would rather have that then cash. Its not like the small amount of spectrum is going to yield much cash anyways.

 

Sprint's biggest play would be to swap/sell its Dallas MEA (which also includes Austin) WCS A block 10 MHz and B block 10 MHz licenses. The WCS A and B blocks are what AT&T and SiriusXM propose to make viable for wireless broadband usage. And Sprint entirely controls that spectrum in the Dallas MEA.

 

The WCS C and D blocks (each of which is 5 MHz unpaired) may end up as guard bands or with heavy restrictions in order to protect the SDARS band, which exists in between what is now the WCS uplink and downlink segments.

 

http://wireless.fcc....ans/wcsband.pdf

 

AJ

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AT&T may not be willing to work wtih Sprint, but Dallas and Austin are big markets so they may be willing to deal anyway.

 

In return for the 20MHz on the Dallas MEA, Sprint could get 10MHz in Houston for starters, bringing their holdings outside the G Block up to 30 MHz (and AT&T's down to 30MHz...they have 20 + 10 + 10 there). AT&T sell off the license with 1890-1895 uplink freqs, which would abut Sprint's 1885-1890 license, giving Sprint the ability to do a 10x10 LTE channel on non-G-Band PCS in the future (I assume that, for compatibility reasons with 5x5-only LTE phones, that the G Block will stay as its own 5x5 carrier). A 10x10 carrier would have to be a ways down the raod, since that only leaves space for four 1x carriers, spread between voice and data, but it could happen eventually.

 

The second place where AT&T could trade Sprint PCS for WCS is Chicago. Sprint is limited to 20MHz there as well, and AT&T has 40MHz (30+10). AT&T is a bit more capacity-constrained there (10MHz AWS, 12+6 MHz 700) but assuming SpectrumCo/Verizon goes through AT&T will very likely get the lower B block from Verizon, giving the company enough bandwidth to do a full 10x10 LTE channel in 700. This leaves AT&T with enough spectrum that selling their 10MHz PCS license in Chicago (leaving them with 30MHz and Sprint with 30MHz) wouldn't be so bad.

 

According to my rough estimates (aka rounding to the nearest thousand, more or less, when adding FCC license data population numbers), Sprint's Dallas MTA holdings in the WCS spectrum cover a total of about 10 million people with 20 MHz of bandwidth. The 10MHz licenses from AT&T cover around 9.5 million (Chicago) and 6.3 million (Houston). If a swap of these two bands went thorugh, AT&T would be getting 200 million MHz-pops at 2.3 GHz, in return for parting with 132 million MHz-pops at 1.9 GHz.

 

It sounds like AT&T is getting a better deal than Sprint here, but it may take that skewed a pop-count to get the deal done. One plus on the Sprint side is that it has to do very, very little once NV is online to integrate additional PCS spectrum into its network, whereas WCS would require new handsets, base station equipment and even tower spacing for AT&T, to the point that the company might use the spectrum more as a "hot zone" solution (a la Clearwire) than as a full network overlay, as opposed to Sprint's use of new-found PCS spectrum in a full-overlay fashion.

 

That said, if the spectrum exchange seemed to be too much in AT&T's favor in terms of MHz-pops covered, they could throw in their 10MHz Austin-area PCS license (16 million MHz-pops, leaving them with 30MHz of PCS and Sprint with 40MHz). They could also throw in 20MHz in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area (around 9 million MHz-pops) since Sprint only has 15MHz of spectrum there right now in A-F PCS, and swapping out 20MHz of PCS would still leave AT&T with 35MHz. With those two additional swaps, Sprint would get 157 million MHz-pops of PCS in exchange for 200 million MHz-pops of WCS, which is reasonable since WCS is higher frequency than PCS.

 

So, how about it, AT&T?

 

As a side note, Sprint owns WCS in other areas than the DFW MEA. They have 20MHz in Charlotte-Greensboro-Raleigh (MEA007), Atlanta (008), Tampa/Orlando (010), Louisville-Lexington (023), Nashville (025) and New Orleans/Baton Rouge (027), and 10MHz in Birmingham (024), Memphis (026) and Jacksonville (009). If anyone is intensely curious about how many people those licenses cover, I could spend some more time running numbers, or you can go to the FCC website and do the addition yourself.

 

One thing's for certain though: Sprint's WCS licenses are more valuable to AT&T (who has 77 A-D WCS licenses, 56 of which are in the paired A and B bands), while I daresay that PCS spectrum in the markets I mentioned above is more valuable to Sprint than it is to AT&T. So, as much as I dislike how the 700MHz mobile broadband spectrum is divided into "the Verizon block" and "the everyone else block", making roaming on LTE more onerous, a swap like the one above would help everyone out (since I can't imagine that Sprint would ever use their WCS spectrum when it's only available in a fraction of its footprint and BRS spectrum is right nearby).

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As a side note, deploying LTE in WCS could leave AT&T in a situation similar to SPrint regarding LTE, except with different bands.

 

AT&T

Low frequency - 700

Medium frequency - AWS 1700/2100

High frequency - WCS 2300

 

Sprint

Low frequency - SMR 800

Medium frequency - PCS 1900

High frequency - EBS/BRS 2500

 

I am aware that AT&T hasn't deployed LTE on AWS yet, and that a lot of their AWS holdings are going to T-Mobile as a result of the failed merger. However all AT&T LTE devices out now support LTE on AWS, so my bet is that AT&T does roll out LTE there, at least in some areas (are there any areas where AT&T is giving /all/ their AWS spectrum to T-Mobile, or are most areas still covered by 10MHz? Haven't checked that).

 

What makes the situation more entertaining is that, assuming WCS and AWS both go live, AT&T will be using five distinct bands on its own network: GSM/HSPA on CLR 850 and PCS 1900, LTE on 700, AWS and WCS. It makes Sprint's three bands (plus CDMA 850 for roaming), Verizon's eventual four bands (CDMA on 850/1900, LTE on 750/1700), and T-Mobile's two bnds (PCS for GSM and HSPA, AWS for HSPA and LTE, plus GSM/HSPA 850 roaming) seem quite efficient in comparison! And that's not even counting international bands for worldwide roaming (HSPA 2100/900 and GSM 900/1800 for now, at least LTE 1800 and 2600 later).

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I am aware that AT&T hasn't deployed LTE on AWS yet, and that a lot of their AWS holdings are going to T-Mobile as a result of the failed merger. However all AT&T LTE devices out now support LTE on AWS, so my bet is that AT&T does roll out LTE there, at least in some areas (are there any areas where AT&T is giving /all/ their AWS spectrum to T-Mobile, or are most areas still covered by 10MHz? Haven't checked that).

 

AT&T has never held as much AWS 2100+1700 MHz spectrum as you might think. It has always been scattershot. For example, even before the transfer to T-Mobile, AT&T held no AWS in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc. See graph and map linked below:

 

https://twitter.com/...2/photo/1/large

http://img.phonescoo...g/a/m/17532.gif

 

And, yes, AT&T divested all of its AWS spectrum to T-Mobile in numerous markets, including Boston, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, etc. In those markets, AT&T has zero AWS remaining.

 

I believe that AT&T's AWS holdings have been so diminished that it has lost the economy of scale to deploy LTE in that band.

 

AJ

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