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So as my curiosity got the best of me, i figured id run down the basics of Sprint`s future plans to deploy LTE on the 800Mhz band. This topic is for anyone new to the site, and individuals who want to know the difference between lower, and higher frequency networks.

 

Lower radio bands:

 

Becomming a golden standard for most mobile network companies today, network carriers recently started to use the lower bands of spectrum, mainly for their LTE networks.

 

Why is a lower band better:

*Wider Geographical coverage(Better in-building access)

*Faster speeds(Depending on the distance of the tower, and other factors that may influence the signal, and or speed of the network connection.)

 

How a lower band can be hurtful:

*The network on the lower band(800Mhz for example) is more affected by weather, and or other interfearences.

 

Higher radio bands:

 

Used mainly for 3G networks, as well as some LTE networks(Not very common for LTE networks).

AT&T is one of the carriers who runs thier 3G/HSPA+ network on the 1800/1900 Mhz band. Although the numbers may seem pleasing, which at times they can be, everything has its ups and downs.

 

Why a higher band is better:

*Less affected by weather

*Allows more spectrum for smaller cities

*More efficient(Since the higher bands have less geographical reach, towers need less power to operate the networks.

 

How higher bands can be hurtful:

*Poor in-building coverage(Depending on the location of the serving cell site)

*Less geographical range(towers that may be 3 miles away would not be accessable, as to where towers with lower bands at the same distance would be accessable.)

 

Wrapping that bit of information up, we now get to sprint`s future plans to deploy their LTE network on the 800Mhz band, which was previously occupied by sprints iDEN network(Push to talk service).

Not too long ago, sprint gloated about thier WIMAX network, which was deployed on the 2500Mhz band from the internet provider Clearwire. As we all know here, the speeds with wimax were not that bad when it all began, but then came a list of operating fees, maitenance, and poor speeds due to the available amount of spectrum. We also know that wimax did not work well at times in structures, mainly due to the high frequency band it was deployed on. From my guess, sprint does not want a repeat of the terror their WIMAX network brought them, so this time around, sprint is going to do things the right way. With LTE being on a lower band, more users with LTE capable devices will be able to access it, because of its wider geographical range. Also, since lower bands offer faster speeds, users can enjoy even faster downloads and youtube browsing. Also, due to the wider geographical range of lower frequency networks, less towers wil exist in areas, since one single tower running a lower frequency network can cover as much as two towers can that operate a higher frequency network, which leads to lowered operating costs, and better management. Do you guys think sprint is doing something right this time around?

Edited by rwhittaker13
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I don't really have time to rebut this but much of it is wrong. Lower frequency does not mean greater speeds, it means greater signal strength. That would technically be shared by more people but Sprint is not removing towers, they are keeping their 1900mhz density. Also lower frequencies are less prone to weather interference. Lastly, 2500mhz will be used as an overlay of hotspots to offload users to.

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I don't really have time to rebut this but much of it is wrong. Lower frequency does not mean greater speeds, it means greater signal strength. That would technically be shared by more people but Sprint is not removing towers, they are keeping their 1900mhz density. Also lower frequencies are less prone to weather interference. Lastly, 2500mhz will be used as an overlay of hotspots to offload users to.

Thank you for correcting me. Still learning. Sorry for the inconvienence
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I don't really have time to rebut this but much of it is wrong. Lower frequency does not mean greater speeds, it means greater signal strength. That would technically be shared by more people but Sprint is not removing towers, they are keeping their 1900mhz density. Also lower frequencies are less prone to weather interference. Lastly, 2500mhz will be used as an overlay of hotspots to offload users to.

 

he is not entirely wrong. i am interested in 2500mhz LTE from clear and how that will affect LTE users.

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he is not entirely wrong. i am interested in 2500mhz LTE from clear and how that will affect LTE users.

 

I didn't say it was entirely wrong, let me elaborate... Regarding the 800mhz band, it penetrates buildings better and travels farther, that much is true. It is also less affected by weather than the higher bands. Conversely it is more prone to interfere with itself due to the distance it travels.

 

Now to the higher bands, Sprint is using 1900mhz and eventualy 2500 mhz. We all know 2500 mhz doens't travel as far but this is good for intereference reasons. 2500 mhz will be used as an overlay so that if you are in range, you will be bumped to this (ideally, this is assuming Sprint owns Clearwire, if Sprint is paying clearwire based on usage, I would not bet on this) to remove load from the lower two bands.

 

Before even approaching this however, it seems increasingly likely Sprint will be able to purchase the H-Block within the PCS spectrum from the FCC giving them another 10mhz. Sprint's site density was originally intended for PCS and it appears they would like to stick with PCS for the bulk of their network traffic, which makes sense since no lower frequency spectrum is available and 2500mhz has its own issues. Essentially though, they will have a 3 tiered network which has users on 2500/1900/800 depending on location. You are correct however that 2500 mhz will never be a network unto its own. Also, Clear has stated they have a "light" core which will allow seamless handoffs between frequencies.

 

EDIT - Also regarding 800 mhz and site density. Sprint is not removing towers from their network to lose density. 800mhz will be used with the current desnity and I assume more downtilt to give much greater in-building coverage in the areas it covers. The main savings from NV will be incurred due to much cheaper backhaul, i.e. many T1's vs fiber/microwave/AAV as well as shutting down most of the Nextel towers. Right now Sprint is paying to operate two wholly different networks. The use of 800mhz will also reduce roaming costs incurred.

 

DOUBLEEDIT - You mention that WiMAX speeds dropped due to available spectrum, CLWR owns an average of 160mhz across markets. I believe they deployed 20mhz carriers and in some areas 2 20mhz carriers per sector but they have more than enough spectrum. I would imagine they didn't deploy additional carriers due to cost and backhaul, not lack of the resource.

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I didn't say it was entirely wrong, let me elaborate... Regarding the 800mhz band, it penetrates buildings better and travels farther, that much is true. It is also less affected by weather than the higher bands. Conversely it is more prone to interfere with itself due to the distance it travels.

 

Now to the higher bands, Sprint is using 1900mhz and eventualy 2500 mhz. We all know 2500 mhz doens't travel as far but this is good for intereference reasons. 2500 mhz will be used as an overlay so that if you are in range, you will be bumped to this (ideally, this is assuming Sprint owns Clearwire, if Sprint is paying clearwire based on usage, I would not bet on this) to remove load from the lower two bands.

 

Before even approaching this however, it seems increasingly likely Sprint will be able to purchase the H-Block within the PCS spectrum from the FCC giving them another 10mhz. Sprint's site density was originally intended for PCS and it appears they would like to stick with PCS for the bulk of their network traffic, which makes sense since no lower frequency spectrum is available and 2500mhz has its own issues. Essentially though, they will have a 3 tiered network which has users on 2500/1900/800 depending on location. You are correct however that 2500 mhz will never be a network unto its own. Also, Clear has stated they have a "light" core which will allow seamless handoffs between frequencies.

 

This.

 

EDIT - Also regarding 800 mhz and site density. Sprint is not removing towers from their network to lose density. 800mhz will be used with the current desnity and I assume more downtilt to give much greater in-building coverage in the areas it covers. The main savings from NV will be incurred due to much cheaper backhaul, i.e. many T1's vs fiber/microwave/AAV as well as shutting down most of the Nextel towers. Right now Sprint is paying to operate two wholly different networks. The use of 800mhz will also reduce roaming costs incurred.

 

Just something I might have mis-read, but I thought Robert said somewhere that only about 80% of Sprint’s towers are going to get LTE on 800MHz. It would be absolutely killer if all of them did, though!

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This.

 

 

 

Just something I might have mis-read, but I thought Robert said somewhere that only about 80% of Sprint’s towers are going to get LTE on 800MHz. It would be absolutely killer if all of them did, though!

 

I believe that is accounting for the portion of hte country where Sprint doesn't own 800mhz licenses in SoutherLINC territory.

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Just something I might have mis-read, but I thought Robert said somewhere that only about 80% of Sprint’s towers are going to get LTE on 800MHz. It would be absolutely killer if all of them did, though!

 

Yes indeed. The 20% that will not get LTE 800 are largely redundant urban sites in tight spacing where the site already gets an abundant LTE 800 signal from adjacent sites and they are designing to minimize interference. Also, sites that cannot handle RRU's and need ground based radios were not originally slated to get LTE 800. But this may change by the time LTE 800 FIT is complete and equipment goes into production.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

 

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I believe that is accounting for the portion of hte country where Sprint doesn't own 800mhz licenses in SoutherLINC territory.

 

 

Ahh, gotcha, thanks! So it’s going to be more like a large, contiguous swath across part of the U.S. missing 800MHz LTE rather than an evenly-distributed 4 out of 5 towers across the whole country.

 

EDIT: Oh, er... not?

 

Yes indeed. The 20% that will not get LTE 800 are largely redundant urban sites in tight spacing where the site already gets an abundant LTE 800 signal from adjacent sites and they are designing to minimize interference. Also, sites that cannot handle RRU's and need ground based radios were not originally slated to get LTE 800. But this may change by the time LTE 800 FIT is complete and equipment goes into production.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

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Yes indeed. The 20% that will not get LTE 800 are largely redundant urban sites in tight spacing where the site already gets an abundant LTE 800 signal from adjacent sites and they are designing to minimize interference. Also, sites that cannot handle RRU's and need ground based radios were not originally slated to get LTE 800. But this may change by the time LTE 800 FIT is complete and equipment goes into production.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

Never realized sites without RRU's wouldn't get 800 LTE. What would be the reason for this? If a site can't get RRU's woulnd't it already be at a natural disadvantage for 1900mhz LTE? I always viewed a large reason for using RRU's was due to the gaps in coverage which would arise from LTE vs. EVDO signal strength required.

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Ahh, gotcha, thanks! So it’s going to be more like a large, contiguous swath across part of the U.S. missing 800MHz LTE rather than an evenly-distributed 4 out of 5 towers across the whole country.

 

EDIT: Oh, er... not?

 

Haha learn something new every day on here. It is true however that Sprint doesn't own 800mhz spectrum in SoLINC markets, correct Robert? Or they only own a sliver?

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Never realized sites without RRU's wouldn't get 800 LTE. What would be the reason for this? If a site can't get RRU's woulnd't it already be at a natural disadvantage for 1900mhz LTE?

 

Robert will correct me if I am wrong, but most of the sites that cannot utilize RRUs are in high density urban areas, hence SMR 800 MHz propagation is fortunately less of a concern.

 

AJ

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Never realized sites without RRU's wouldn't get 800 LTE. What would be the reason for this? If a site can't get RRU's woulnd't it already be at a natural disadvantage for 1900mhz LTE? I always viewed a large reason for using RRU's was due to the gaps in coverage which would arise from LTE vs. EVDO signal strength required.

 

I've never heard the reason why. I assume it's an equipment issue. As in the market for 800 radios is so thin, it didn't make economic sense to have OEM's develop LTE 800 ground and remote radios. But I have seen several notes that say, no LTE 800 at sites with Ground Based Radios. And I have also seen site lists that say (Ground Based Radios, no LTE 800) at certain sites.

 

Also, Sprint internally has said they are targeting 80% of their sites in each market to get LTE 800, on average. What I have seen so far supports that goal. However, the SoftBank investment could have impacts on the final LTE 800 deployment, as well as the FIT. All very preliminary at this point.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

 

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Haha learn something new every day on here. It is true however that Sprint doesn't own 800mhz spectrum in SoLINC markets, correct Robert? Or they only own a sliver?

 

No, Sprint controls plenty of SMR 800 MHz spectrum in the Southeast, but not quite as much as the 7 MHz x 7 MHz that it controls across much of the country. For that reason, Sprint may deploy 3 MHz FDD LTE in Atlanta, Birmingham, etc.

 

However, I am hopeful that SouthernLINC -- despite how omnipotent and omniscient the Southern Company reportedly is -- will see that it faces an iDEN dead end and will strike a spectrum sharing agreement with Sprint to deploy 5 MHz FDD LTE.

 

AJ

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No, Sprint controls plenty of SMR 800 MHz spectrum in the Southeast, but not quite as much as the 7 MHz x 7 MHz that it controls across much of the country. For that reason, Sprint may deploy 3 MHz FDD LTE in Atlanta, Birmingham, etc.

 

However, I am hopeful that SouthernLINC -- despite how omnipotent and omniscient the Southern Company reportedly is -- will see that it faces an iDEN dead end and will strike a spectrum sharing agreement with Sprint to deploy 5 MHz FDD LTE.

 

AJ

 

Thanks for correcting me. So Sprint will have 800mhz nationwide outside of PR and some border areas?

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I've never heard the reason why. I assume it's an equipment issue. As in the market for 800 radios is so thin, it didn't make economic sense to have OEM's develop LTE 800 ground and remote radios. But I have seen several notes that say, no LTE 800 at sites with Ground Based Radios. And I have also seen site lists that say (Ground Based Radios, no LTE 800) at certain sites.

 

Also, Sprint internally has said they are targeting 80% of their sites in each market to get LTE 800, on average. What I have seen so far supports that goal. However, the SoftBank investment could have impacts on the final LTE 800 deployment, as well as the FIT. All very preliminary at this point.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

I always just assumed they would ground mount the RRU's, not that the radios were entirely different. Pretty much any assumption I make ends up being wrong! :o

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Thanks for correcting me. So Sprint will have 800mhz nationwide outside of PR and some border areas?

 

To be clear, Sprint controls its usual full complement of 14 MHz of rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum in border markets. However, not all of that may be usable for LTE because of international channel coordination that is based on iDEN 25 kHz channelization. So, the issue in border markets is not lack of SMR 800 MHz spectrum but potential inability to use some of that spectrum without violating international agreements.

 

AJ

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To be clear, Sprint controls its usual full complement of 14 MHz of rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum in border markets. However, not all of that may be usable for LTE because of international channel coordination that is based on iDEN 25 kHz channelization. So, the issue in border markets is not lack of SMR 800 MHz spectrum but potential inability to use some of that spectrum without violating international agreements.

 

AJ

 

Agreed, I should have specified but from what I've read, Sprint doesn't own 800mhz licenses in PR and in border areas it may not be able to be used due to interference crossing the border. Does that also affect other bands such as PCS?

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Does that also affect other bands such as PCS?

 

PCS 1900 MHz is unaffected. Those international agreements are based on field strength at the international boundaries, not on narrowband channel coordination. And from personal experience, I have used native Sprint voice and data at my aunt's house roughly two miles into British Columbia.

 

AJ

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I saw some partial corrections, but let me go over it, since none were fully laid out.

 

Throughput is almost solely determined by channel size and modulation used (assuming there is sufficient SNR). Larger channel sizes and more complex modulations result in better throughput.

 

Attenuation is almost solely determined by the inverse of the frequency. If all else is the same, 800 MHz will penetrate better than 5800 MHz. 5800 MHz can be made to penetrate better than 800 MHz, but it would take extraordinary power on 5800 and little power on 800 to accomplish this. Not always true, however, as 80 GHz has lower free space loss (attenuation in the air) than 60 GHz because 60 GHz is an oxygen absorption layer. The more oxygen you're going through, the more signal you lose.

 

Technologies such as diversity and MIMO can accomplish more penetration or more throughput compared to a standard setup.

 

Traditionally, less attenuation is desired for maximum coverage. As cells become smaller to support higher throughput, attenuation becomes your friend to prevent self-interference. You don't want one tower interfering with the next tower's ability to provide service. This is an advantage of the MMDS\ITFS (I forget their new names... EBS and something?) band that Clear uses is that they are good for small cell deployments.

 

Traditionally, bands are larger the higher you go in frequency because the frequencies are more similar. 1900 MHz is more than double 800 MHz and they both act very differently. 60 GHz is more than double 24 GHz and they both act very differently. The 80 GHz band is actually a pairing of 5 GHz chunks at 80 GHz and 90 GHz. That's 5 GHz in one band for one purpose. At the lower end of the spectrum, the first 5 GHz contains almost every form of wireless communication you experience other than satellite. It is easier to provide 100 MHz wide channels at 24 GHz than 20 MHz wide channels at 1900 MHz or 10 MHz wide channels at 800 MHz simply because there is more room to work.

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...

 

Also, Sprint internally has said they are targeting 80% of their sites in each market to get LTE 800, on average. What I have seen so far supports that goal. However, the SoftBank investment could have impacts on the final LTE 800 deployment, as well as the FIT. All very preliminary at this point.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

So I have a couple of questions that I've been sitting on for a while, but I think that my questions are only valid assuming that I've pieced the following information together right:

 

Based off of what I've read on S4GRU, it seems that Sprint has a greater site density than the other carriers. This is, at least in part, due to Sprint running only on 1900MHz for 3G which does not travel or penetrate as far as AT&T’s 850MHz or Verizon’s 800MHz (both also use 1900MHz for 3G). We know that Sprint has roughly 38,000 towers and T-Mobile has about 35,000. T-Mobile also uses 1900MHz in addition to 1700/2100MHz for 3G.

 

1.) Do Verizon and AT&T have lower density, but an overall equal or greater number of towers since they seem to cover rural areas better than Sprint and T-Mobile?

 

2.) If Sprint has more towers in a given market, then would outfitting 80% of those towers with 800MHz LTE still give them the same number of towers that other carriers have that transmit LTE on 700MHz LTE in that market? I also remember you stating that Sprint’s 800MHz LTE would still have 97% of the distance/penetration characteristics as the other carriers' 700MHz LTE, so we can assume they're about equal in that regard.

 

3.) Will Verizon and AT&T deploy LTE on all of their frequencies (700, 1700/2100MHz for both) across all of their towers at some point? Do they have a Network Vision-like strategy?

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So I have a couple of questions that I've been sitting on for a while, but I think that my questions are only valid assuming that I've pieced the following information together right:

 

Based off of what I've read on S4GRU, it seems that Sprint has a greater site density than the other carriers. This is, at least in part, due to Sprint running only on 1900MHz for 3G which does not travel or penetrate as far as AT&T’s 850MHz or Verizon’s 800MHz (both also use 1900MHz for 3G). We know that Sprint has roughly 38,000 towers and T-Mobile has about 35,000. T-Mobile also uses 1900MHz in addition to 1700/2100MHz for 3G.

 

1.) Do Verizon and AT&T have lower density, but an overall equal or greater number of towers since they seem to cover rural areas better than Sprint and T-Mobile?

 

2.) If Sprint has more towers in a given market, then would outfitting 80% of those towers with 800MHz LTE still give them the same number of towers that other carriers have that transmit LTE on 700MHz LTE in that market? I also remember you stating that Sprint’s 800MHz LTE would still have 97% of the distance/penetration characteristics as the other carriers' 700MHz LTE, so we can assume they're about equal in that regard.

 

3.) Will Verizon and AT&T deploy LTE on all of their frequencies (700, 1700/2100MHz for both) across all of their towers at some point? Do they have a Network Vision-like strategy?

 

I know Verizon is planning on deploying LTE in the AWS band in the near future although no phones support this band yet. ATT has stated they will be using the WCS band around 2.3ghz

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Agreed, I should have specified but from what I've read, Sprint doesn't own 800mhz licenses in PR

 

Though this seems to persist, I don't believe it to be the case unless they were sold off. Nextel (and thus Sprint) own SMR spectrum licenses in PR and the USVI (as well as Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands though I doubt they'll ever utilize those).

 

Page 62 of 63 shows the 800MHz spectrum licenses that were purchased at auction 36: http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/36/charts/36cls3.pdf

 

Nextel also purchased the 800MHz SMR B block for PR & USVI in auction 16: http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/default.htm?job=auction_summary&id=16

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