by Jeff Foster
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, April 20, 2012 - 11:31 AM MDT
Is there a "spectrum shortage?" Those two words send shivers down the spines of wireless industry executives. New services demand ever more spectrum, and, the story goes, there simply isn't enough spectrum available. An Internet search engine will easily find hundreds of thousands of links to the term "spectrum shortage." Many claim that it will be the downfall of America.
The dwindling availability of a finite resource that can't be seen or touched threatens to possibly disrupt the mobile lifestyle that virtually every American has embraced. Dropped cellphone calls, delayed text messages and choppy video streams could become more frequent occurrences because the airwaves on which that data travel are nearing capacity at a time when mobile usage shows no signs of slowing.
Federal regulators and industry players are searching for ways to fend off the supply-and-demand collision. Dish Network recently acquired a large block of vacant wireless spectrum that pending regulatory approval could be used for mobile broadband services.
AT&T tried to merge with T-Mobile to solve its own capacity problem. It wanted to get its hands on T-Mobile spectrum. Still, that would have been only a temporary fix at best. Remember all the terrible stories about the quality of AT&T's wireless data network over the last few years? They say they simply don't have enough.
The reason is that during the last few years, smartphones like the Apple iPhone and the many devices running Android emerged, and wireless data traffic grew like crazy. This problem jumped up and bit AT&T in the rear end. Suddenly, so many people were sucking so much data that the network could not handle it, due to spectrum shortage. Spectrum is like the size of the hose, and a wider hose is needed to carry more data for more customers.
A couple good things are suddenly happening that may give carriers a little time to solve this increasing problem. Perhaps Verizon starting to sell the iPhone last spring has something to do with it. If so, then now with Sprint selling the iPhone, AT&T will have more breathing room, at least temporarily. That's the good news. However, that reprieve will only last a short while before the exploding smartphone and wireless data growth catches up. Then the other carriers will be faced with the same problem that's confronting AT&T.
In the first quarter of 2011, the amount of data the average smartphone user consumed each month grew by 89 percent to 435 megabytes from 230 MB during the same quarter in 2010, according to Nielsen research. That's up from about 90 MB in 2009. For reference, the average size of an MP3 music file is about 4 MB.
"Texting has always been traditionally viewed as a lightweight consumer of bandwidth, but if I start adding videos and pictures to my texts, that also starts consuming more bandwidth," said Tom Cullen, an executive vice president with Dish. But the primary growth driver will be video. Consumers can go through 5 gigabytes a month simply by streaming 10 minutes of standard definition video daily, he said.
Data use is skyrocketing
Data from the FCC indicate that more Americans are looking at their phones rather than talking on them. In 2009, 67 percent of available spectrum was utilized for voice and 33 percent for Internet data. Those percentages are now at 75 percent for data and 25 percent for voice. With each new iPhone release, data consumption grows. The iPhone 4S eats up twice as much data as the iPhone 4 and three times as much as the iPhone 3G, according to a study by network services firm Arieso. The new iPhone features Siri, a bandwidth-heavy voice recognition feature.
The FCC estimates the U.S. will face a spectrum deficit of 90 MHz in 2013 and 275 MHz in 2014. To address the crunch, the federal government hopes to unleash 500 MHz of spectrum currently used for other purposes for wireless broadband by 2020. To put that figure in perspective, there is currently 547 MHz of spectrum allocated for mobile services, and AT&T and Verizon each own about 90 MHz.
The government plans to hold so-called incentive auctions, which will try to lure spectrum owners such as TV broadcasters to sell their licenses. Verizon Wireless has agreed to purchase spectrum from a group of cable-TV companies. Sprint has expressed interest in working with Dish, which acquired the bulk of its 45 MHz of spectrum through two deals for bankrupt satellite technology companies. Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has said that the satellite-TV provider would prefer to partner with an existing wireless carrier on a high speed, 4G network. In response to recent comments by Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer about the company's interest in working with Dish, Cullen said other wireless carriers are in the same situation. After failing to acquire T-Mobile, analysts expect AT&T to make a play for Dish, a long-rumored merger partner.
As for T-Mobile, perhaps the most logical buyer is CenturyLink. T-Mobile's German-based parent company has indicated that it might exit the U.S. market. CenturyLink, which acquired Denver-based Qwest last year, is the third-largest landline phone company but does not own a wireless service, unlike the top two, AT&T and Verizon.
Carriers are trying to offload as much traffic as they can to Wi-Fi networks, which ride on unlicensed spectrum. In some areas, they're installing picocells, which are smaller cell sites that can help boost capacity in dense areas.
Finally, they're spending billions of dollars on LTE networks that use the airwaves more efficiently. Verizon and AT&T already have 4G LTE networks in place, and Sprint is moving to the technology. Dish says it hopes to enter the mobile broadband market with advanced LTE technology by late 2014 or early 2015. If Dish were to also offer voice service, it would come through VoLTE, which is similar to Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone services. Dish still needs the FCC to drop a condition tied to its spectrum that requires devices to have the ability to communicate with satellites, not just ground-based cell sites. The rule-making process that will likely remove the requirement is underway and could be completed by summer's end.
Is there really a shortage problem?
The problem, analysts argue, is that the operators that control the greatest amount of unused spectrum may be under-capitalized or unwilling to build out networks to use the spectrum. "We do not believe the U.S. faces a spectrum shortage," Jason Bazinet and Michael Rollins wrote in their Citigroup report. "Too much spectrum is controlled by companies that are not planning on rolling out services or face business and financial challenges. And of the spectrum that is being used, 90 percent of it has been allocated to existing 2G, 3G, and 3.5G wireless services by larger wireless carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA.
In total, U.S. operators have licenses for about 538MHz of wireless spectrum. Only about 192MHz of that spectrum is currently being used. Most of the unused wireless spectrum is owned by companies such as Clearwire, LightSquared, and Dish Network. But so far, LightSquared has been stopped and the other companies have been slow to build networks using their available spectrum.
"There is definitely a mismatch when it comes to spectrum in the wireless industry," said Paul Gallant, an analyst with MF Global in Washington, D.C. "There are some companies that have spectrum, but they're struggling financially. Or they aren't quite sure what to do with the spectrum. And others that have the money and business model, but need the spectrum." The move to 4G is very important for these operators because it offers them a more efficient way to deliver service. 4G LTE uses the available spectrum roughly 700 percent more efficiently than the 3G wireless technology EV-DO. Carriers will soon be refarming 3G spectrum to 4G LTE in several years.
A key factor in encouraging efficient use of spectrum has been largely overlooked in carrier boardroom discussions. Wireless providers can add capacity, without obtaining more spectrum, by adding more and more cell sites. Additional cell sites in spectrum constrained areas allow the same spectrum to be used by even more consumers, as well as adding picocells and microcells to denser population areas. So far, the carriers have not expressed too much interest in this method due to additional capital expenditures and overhead. Their strategy is like what Microsoft, Apple and Google have used. It's just cheaper to buy what you need than to invest the time and energy to do the actual work.
So what can the wireless companies do? To some extent, re-farming their existing networks will help. But so will finding ways to use other spectrum. For example, only T-Mobile lets users make phone calls using Wi-Fi, yet most of the mobile devices available from carriers have this capability; the carriers just don't enable it.
Allowing Wi-Fi calling could unload millions of voice and data users on to alternative networks and ease the spectrum crunch, at least to some extent. Encouraging VoIP use would also help for two reasons. VoIP doesn't require a lot of bandwidth, and it means that the phone in question uses only the data spectrum, not both voice and data while this is going on.
These points illustrate that the carriers do have options beyond just buying up spectrum. They can offload more wireless traffic than they do now, build more cell sites into their networks and they can allow the use of other types of communications. While the spectrum crunch isn't going away, that doesn't mean that the process can't be slowed.
Sensational graphic extolling the dire spectrum crisis. Maybe a tad exaggerated???
Images courtesy: Spectrum Bridge, iqmetrix.com
Source: FierceWireless.com, Denver Post, Ecommercetimes.com, CNET
By Andrew Revering
My original post was intended to just be a question about the upcoming S8's dual-sim possibility... however this thread ended up being the main S8/S8+ thread, so I'm modifying my original post to include some main points that we've gathered about the device and provide some useful resources: Misc FYIs ------------------------------------ All MSLs appear to be 000000 To force band 41 only (thanks Terrell352): ##DATA# MSL 000000 then go to LTE and turn off b25 and b26. ##debug# works on this device (thanks nexgencpu)Cleaner way to look at carriers,CA and signal strength etc.. Want Root permissions? This will trip KNOX and you won't be able to use Samsung Pay or other KNOX features
Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+
Carrier/Dual Sim Info ------------------------------------ I have Sprint (obviously), but I have property where the only carrier is AT&T. FreedomPop now has a free AT&T SIM you can buy for limited voice, data & texting, which is perfect for my limited needs when I'm at my cabin. Converting the phone to a Dual-SIM phone then becomes convenient for me with the FreedomPop SIM + Sprint. With that in mind, here is some useful info (including a solution below): See what frequencies/networks your phone supports: https://www.frequencycheck.com/ All networks are shipping the 'U' version which has support for all US networks but are software-locked. Once unlocked they will work on any US network. Dual Sim version not available in US or UK. The International Dual Sim model S8+ is SM-955FD. You can convert your single-sim US model into a dual sim by 1) unlocking and 2) add a $50 dual-sim adapter from magic-sim or simore (I bought the Simore one and it ripped before I could even try it once. They would not refund) If you are within a contract and/or didn't pay full price for your phone and don't want to wait, you can unlock your phone: https://theunlockr.com/unlock-my-phone/ usually for something like $20. Correction: These unlockers don't work for CDMA Sprint phones. You have to either buy an Unlocked phone or get Sprint to unlock it for you. Correction2: There is at least one guy who knows how to do it! See 'Solution' below. You can convert it into a Dual-SIM by adding one of these: http://www.magic-sim.com/ or http://www.simore.com/ (don't recommend simore, mine tore easily) I found a ---> SOLUTION <--
----------------------------- Info from mmark27 Remember only buy stuff that's been approved by Benson Leung, the Google Engineer that tests tons of USB-C items. You can search him on Amazon. USB-C crappy products can fry your phone and start fires. From what I (mmark27) understand, the phones are only Quick Charge 2.0 compliant officially. They may pick up QC 4.0 compliance at some point as the chip supports it, but for now QC2.0 is the safe bet. choetech fast charging pads don't work Seneo fast wireless charger do work micro-female to male USB-C USB-3.0 to USB-C Wireless charging pads that look just like the ones at Best Buy from Samsung Pleson fast charging pads work with S8 and S8+ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRXM473/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_Kv5-ybKG6TSZP
Noteworthy Specs -------------------------------
Only difference between S8 and S8+ is screen size and battery size. Bezel free, all screen design No physical home button 5.8" & 6.2" Plus Version 'Infinity' QHD Amoled Display 12mp f1.7 rear, and 8mp f1.7 front cameras, auto focus Wifi Calling Dual Edge Only Display Bluetooth 5.0 for double speed and four times the range 3000mAH (S8) & 3500mAH (S8+) battery, fast charging 4 GB RAM Waterproof 64 GB built in storage Bixby Artificial Intelligence, dedicated button Iris Scanner Pressure Sensitive "3D" Touch home button Wireless Charging Can see screen with polarized glasses, unlike with LCD screens (HTC 10, etc) Always On Display PC Replacement (DEX) Fingerprint sensor on back DOES have a headphone jack USB Type C MicroSD Expansion HPUE compliant, which means it will extend existing signal range by 30%, including indoors!In my limited experience with the device, HPUE DOES work. Maybe it doesn't help speeds, I don't know -- but in 2 locations (in two different states) where I normally have no signal, I can now make phone calls and transfer data with a weak signal that I never had before.
I'm planning to upgrade to the Galaxy S8 when it's available on April 21st...
I would really like a Dual SIM version and have Sprint as my primary carrier and use a FreedomPop ATT SIM as a 2nd option when I'm up at my land which is only covered by ATT.
After some research, it seems that the Dual SIM version is the 'International Unlocked' version which does not have the capability of CDMA/CDMA2000 for the 3G/1X portion of Sprint coverage. Since LTE is actually a GSM protocol it has the capability of doing Sprint's LTE, but other services may be limited.
Is this correct?
If so, that probably means I just want to buy the Sprint version and get one of those little dual sim adapters you can now get like this one: http://www.magic-sim.com/
Also, in order to use a SIM from a GSM provider, the phone needs to be unlocked, which outside of contract means I'd either have to wait 2 years, or just buy the full-price phone outright, and then get it unlocked.
Then I can use my ATT SIM, but again coverage may be limited because the radios are tuned for Sprint, not ATT. But I think it may be possible for some of their services to work.
... does this understanding sound correct? Is there another way I can go about what I'm trying to accomplish?
UPDATED: --> SOLUTION <--
The next front in the prepaid wars: Ting is adding support for GSM/WCDMA/3GPP devices (apparently as a MVNO of T-Mobile, directly or indirectly, if the coverage map is to be believed) and will allow you to have GSM and CDMA devices on the same account, apparently going a step further than the Straight Talk empire. LTE data is apparently included, but not depicted on the maps.
Now a real Ting coup would be to allow access to both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks on a single line without a SIM swap if you have a device that works on both (like Nexus 5/6 etc.). Technically devices without a firmware lockout of domestic competitor networks, like the Nexus 5 and 6 and the new devices coming in a few months, should be able to do it.
Marcelo Claure, Town Hall Meetings, New Family Share Pack Plan, Unlimited Individual Plan, Discussion ThreadNegative, West KY is a Sprint Corporate market. To my knowledge Shentel isnt anywhere around here, except for the far eastern parts of KY. That would fall closer to East KY market which covers Lexington and most of eastern KY.
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