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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 do not know how much time I will have today to contribute to this thread, but I appreciate its intent. Keep the exchange of information flowing as a learning/teaching exercise for everyone.

 

AJ

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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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Southern Company marches to the beat of their own drummer. That said, if they want a PTT solution for the future, they can deploy Qchat over LTE.

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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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      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 S4GRU
      by Jeff Foster
      Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
      Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 7:46 PM MST
       
      Since last fall, there had been talk of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus launching on American carriers other than Big Red. Sprint has finally announced several weeks ago that it is the another vendor slated for release in the U.S. Suffice to say, many of us out there, especially those adverse to heading to Verizon and paying its premium prices, are excited about the impending release.
      The good news is that Google could be working on an updated version of the Galaxy Nexus. It has unofficially been dubbed the Galaxy Nexus Plus. There is much anticipation that it will be released before Sprint turns on LTE this summer. It’s not the first time an OEM has refreshed a device and re-released it to the market place, which works to our advantage. It’s rumored that the new Galaxy Nexus will have either a 1.5 or 1.8 GHz Texas Instrument OMAP4670 dual core processor. This would be a significant upgrade from the 1.2 GHz dual core processor found in the current Verizon version.
      We don’t know anything about official specs, but it’s also rumored to have an 8 MP camera. This is a noteworthy upgrade to the 5 MP shooter on the Verizon model (which has been lauded by many techies). We already know that the Sprint model will come installed with Google Wallet, per previous announcements. Some rumors also point to a beefier battery as well. The phone should have all the other features that’s on the current Galaxy Nexus, so now all we have to do is wait.
       
       
      Source: http://androidandme....era-on-the-way/
    • By S4GRU
      by Rick Layton
      Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
      Monday, June 25, 2012 - 4:27 PM MDT
       
      As technologies advance, the equipment to use the technology must advance as well. With the upcoming release of 4G LTE in our area (Houston), new equipment will be required to be able to use it. Although Sprint will have numerous data devices to handle the usage by the end of the year, only the Sprint Tri-Band Modem will be available at the rollout of the 4G LTE service.
      Due to the enormous dependence my business has on accessing data in a mobile environment, plus the great increases in data speed available with 4G LTE, this makes getting access to 4G LTE imperative to me. I depended heavily on the Sierra Wireless data devices when I started this business 7 years ago for my source of a reliable method of mobile data transmission. This relationship continued on until the release of the original Hotspot with the 4G service in my area.
      At one point, I was so displeased with past models, that I had sworn I would never buy another Sierra Wireless device as long as I live. This conclusion was reached after having numerous issues with previous hotspot models. There were so many problems that it seemed as if the device was never even tested on the networks it was to be used on. Also Sprint actively blocked reviews of the device, likely to not hinder sales in spite of the problems.
      My need for a new device with both WiMax and LTE capability outweighed my outright dislike of Sierra Wireless products. I proceeded against better judgment, and the Tri-Band modem was ordered even though the possibility of getting a substandard unit once again was always at the forefront of my mind.
       
      On with the show
       

      The official part number of the Tri-Band Modem is 803S. Along with the modem, I also ordered the SSX7077-V desktop cradle. I had to dig through a lot sites to find the information necessary to make this decision for my business. Much to my surprise, even though I was told the cradle was not available yet, I got a Sprint telesales person who was able to use the part number and find they had it in stock.
      Upon arrival I unpacked the unit and cradle...while holding my breath. The device that came out of the box was a pleasant departure from the previous Hotspots I had owned. Above is a picture of the device as it was shipped with all components. There was a small user guide as well but to get the real instructions the user guide must be downloaded from Sprint.
       
      Gone was the one piece blow molded plastic case which allowed no air circulation and caused the prior Hotspots to overheat quickly. Although the display is still too small for my aging eyes (it is actually the same display size as prior units) the change to the case makes it much easier to see in the interior of my van where the device will mostly be used.
      In this picture of the front you can see that there is a new button arrangement as compared to the older Hotspots. Also in the picture is the USB cable for use with the charger or to connect a computer, the AC to USB adapter, the battery and the battery cover. I opened the cradle, which was surprisingly inexpensive, and was delighted to find an additional AC to USB adapter which meant the cradle could be left in place without having to move the adapter around.
      As you look at the modem from the side you can see the antenna ports (the covers are open), the USB connector in the middle and the slot for the memory card. The round hole just right of the left antenna port is the reset button for the unit.

      Here is the same view with the battery and cover installed. Notice that the SD card slot is covered by the
      battery cover.
       

      The opposite side has two switches. The one on the left is a WPS setup button while the one on the right is a slider to mute the unit.
       

       
      The unit sits nicely in the cradle and looks to me to be a solution to help keep the USB port for the charger/interface cable from failing. This has been a major issue with the prior Hotspots. The case of the unit also helps support the USB port to take some of the load off of the circuit board.
      It took quite a bit of digging on the Sierra Wireless site to find out that the antenna ports are for the 4G WiMax band only. The cradle contains 2 5dbi omnidirectional antennas to allow full use of the WiMax network architecture.
       
      Initial testing

      The initial testing of the unit looks promising. The antennas in the cradle for 4G WiMax actually seem to get 3 – 5dBm gain in all conditions tested. The new unit has the ability to search the other bands for signals while staying connected. This allows less downtime between band changes. I notice a lot less disruption when switching bands.
      This unit has better reception on 3G and 4G WiMax than the previous hotspots and even the U600 USB modem I use as well. 4G WiMax is able to connect quickly even at 10% and the cradle has improved stability of WiMax and decreased ping times. For a short time I had access to Sprint 4G LTE as they were testing the towers in my area. The speeds were incredilbly faster. A 10% 4G LTE signal averaged 8.12Mbps download and 1.85Mbps upload. An 80% signal was able to get 35.8Mbps down on my best test and 22.1Mbps up.
      The upload speeds was very unexpected, and much higher than Sprint LTE smartphone devices have reported. This is likely due to much stronger transmit capabilities of the hotspot. I also discovered that when the modem is tethered the cable limits the bandwidth to approximately 20Mbps total speed. It will be interesting to see how it works in the 12 to 14 hour days of hot Houston Weather.
       
      First week in the field
      The Tri Band Modem got pressed into service a little quicker than planned, as my main unit went down with a bad transmission and the U600 USB modem with a Cradlepoint that was in this unit appears to have been damaged by the wrecker’s radio which runs on the edge of the WiMax frequency at 5 watts. The units have been sent in to determine cause of failure and for repairs but I think next time I will make sure all electronics are powered off before getting that close to a transmitter (OUCH!!).
      I am running the same routes in a rental van with the Tri-Band Modem that I normally use the other units on. There is less downtime in the signal gaps I am familiar with and areas where I have had signal problems in both 3G and 4G WiMax are much improved. I have yet to encounter any more 4G LTE signals but am looking forward to the service coming online soon. The unit seems to be running hotter than I would like with a fully charged battery but is actually cooler that the previous Hotspots. The temperature is supposed to soar over the next few days without the cloudiness we have had this past week. So it will be interesting to see if the overheating problems of previous models still occur.
       
      Week 2 – The True test
      The unit is getting worked really hard this week with temperatures outside up near 100 degrees. The GPS is useless with this kind of sun load as the unit will overheat if left in direct sunlight (as the instructions state) in about 20 minutes. The good news is that this is about twice as long as my original Hotspot will last. How anyone can make a unit that requires a clear view of the sky for GPS but can’t handle sunlight is beyond comprehension. A quick check of the Tri-Band’s temperature specs shows that the unit is only rated for 95 degrees. The prior Hotspot was rated well above the century mark but couldn’t even handle 90 degrees for any length of time. The crappiest laptop on the market will handle 105 degrees plus all day long. The true test will be my afternoon calls when the temperatures are high. Battery life has been about 8 to 9 hours which is far better than the prior Hotspots.
      The unit started overheating one afternoon. I can’t say I’m a bit surprised at that, but what is surprising is that it will run steadily as long as the air temp is below 98 degrees. This is a first for Hotspots as they always overheated well before the rated temperature spec. The bad news is the crappy overheat shutdown doesn’t turn off the unit before damage starts to occur, nor does it turn the unit off completely.
      Removing the battery cover seems to help air circulation and overheating some. The button lights are flickering after one overheating but the unit seems to be working fine other than this. It will be interesting to see what happens when it really gets hot here.
      According to the specs 4G LTE takes the least amount of wattage to run so it may not overheat as fast when using 4G LTE. I had the chance to try the modem in the old school 3G EVDO mode as one of my locations is 40 feet underground and that is all that is available at this location. I shut the unit down after 30 minutes as the unit was so hot you could barely handle it even though the temperature underground is around 70 degrees. I would not recommend trying to use this for any length of time if you want the Tri-Band to not overheat!!
       
      My Opinion
      Although Sierra Wireless has made some major improvement in the 3rd generation Hotspot, this is still a unit for the casual user. It is not designed to handle heavy use or outdoor summer temperatures for any length of time. It will be going in my climate controlled cabinet to protect it from the heat next week. I will let you know how it works when the temperature stays below 85 degrees. The improvements in connectivity, reception and stability are worth the investment. As long as you know and adjust your usage for the limitations of the unit.
    • By pyroscott
      Sprint Nextel revealed their second quarter 2012 corporate earnings in a conference call to their investors today and S4GRU was covering for news on Network Vision.
      Network thinning of the iDEN network is complete, taking 1/3 of Nextel towers off air. The Nextel network was built to support 20 million subscribers, but was only supporting 4.4 million subscribers, so it could easily be thinned without [much] noticeable change in street coverage. Sprint also converted 60% of the Nextel subscriber loss into their Sprint subscriber base. Interestingly, they stated that Verizon has been the biggest poacher of subscribers leaving Nextel, grabbing 50% of former subscribers in the last 4 1/2 years. In that same timeframe, Sprint has grabbed 25%, AT&T 20% and T-Mobile 5%.
       
       
      On the Network Vision topic:
      4 additional cities will launch, including Baltimore, by the end of August.*Edit* Cities were disclosed VIA press release following the conference call. They are:
      Baltimore, MD Gainesville, GA Manhattan/Junction City, KS Sherman-Denison, TX  
      Over 2,000 sites are currently online with 12,000 sites to be online by the end of the year
      Network Vision towers are seeing 10-20% additional voice minutes usage per tower, overnight after activating Network Vision. This will equal roaming savings for Sprint, and ESMR will only increase that savings.
      CEO Dan Hesse confirmed that Sprint will be releasing the Motorola Photon Q "in the very near future." It will be a QWERTY slider "with robust business and consumer features." It will also be sporting world phone capability.
      Several hundred Network Vision sites are waiting for backhaul, and will turn on when the backhaul is installed, several hundred more sites have birds nesting on them and Sprint won't be able to turn them on until the birds leave, according to the conference call.
      Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter, even though other carriers saw slowing of sales with rumors ramping up that the new iPhone would support LTE. 40% of the iPhone sales were to new customers. They also stated that iPhone customers require less customer support and are expected to churn less than customers on other phones.
      Mr. Hesse confirmed that Sprint is not looking to change plans in the near future.
      Things are looking up for Sprint. This quarter saw their highest ARPU and their lowest churn rate to date. They posted a larger loss than Q1, but beat their revenue goals for Q2. For more detailed financial information, check the source link below.
       
      Source: http://investors.spr...spx?iid=4057219
      http://finance.yahoo...-141200985.html -Thanks to S4GRU sponsor marioc21 for finding this link!
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