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Leap Signs LTE Roaming Deal with Unnamed Carrier.


marioc21

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Leap reported its 4th quarter financials this morning. Generally it was bad news from the Company. They lost 337,000 net wireless customers.

 

Financially speaking the Company is struggling and is widely considered a takeover target by someone at some point. The most interesting bit was that they announced an LTE roaming agreement with a large wireless carrier. No specific carrier was named and the Company said on the earnings call that further details would be released later. Leap already had a national 3g roaming agreement with Sprint so it's a decent bet that Sprint is the unnamed LTE partner. However, I don't recall what frequencies Leap's existing LTE runs on. Leap said devices that could use the wireless partners LTE network would be available in the second half of this year.

 

 

http://www.fiercewir...rier/2013-02-20

 

Edit:

 

Had completely forgotten that Leap and Clearwire had an agreement in place for LTE roaming in place. I'm not sure if this makes it more or less likely that Sprint is the unnamed carrier.

 

Edit:

 

And after a little searching it looks like Leap's LTE is deployed on 1.7/2.1 AWS spectrum. Which is what TMo uses right? So maybe TMo is the likely suspect in this?

 

http://www.rcrwireless.com/article/20120410/carriers/t-mobile-usa-leap-to-swap-spectrum-prepare-for-lte/

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Leap reported its 4th quarter financials this morning. Generally it was bad news from the Company. They lost 337,000 net wireless customers.

 

Financially speaking the Company is struggling and is widely considered a takeover target by someone at some point. The most interesting bit was that they announced an LTE roaming agreement with a large wireless carrier. No specific carrier was named and the Company said on the earnings call that further details would be released later. Leap already had a national 3g roaming agreement with Sprint so it's a decent bet that Sprint is the unnamed LTE partner. However, I don't recall what frequencies Leap's existing LTE runs on. Leap said devices that could use the wireless partners LTE network would be available in the second half of this year.

 

 

http://www.fiercewir...rier/2013-02-20

 

Edit:

 

Had completely forgotten that Leap and Clearwire had an agreement in place for LTE roaming in place. I'm not sure if this makes it more or less likely that Sprint is the unnamed carrier.

 

Edit:

 

And after a little searching it looks like Leap's LTE is deployed on 1.7/2.1 AWS spectrum. Which is what TMo uses right? So maybe TMo is the likely suspect in this?

 

http://www.rcrwirele...repare-for-lte/

 

It would make sense except, they have absolutely no network right now.

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It would make sense except, they have absolutely no network right now.

 

Wrong. They do. In most markets where Leap operates, there's plenty of LTE tech ready for activation on T-Mobile cell sites. And T-Mobile is certainly working to get as many markets as possible. Neville Ray has already said that they will beat their publicly released numbers of markets (for mid-year and end-of-year 2013) with PCS WCDMA (with HSPA+) and AWS LTE by a large margin.

 

T-Mobile is a very attractive partner to roam with. I wouldn't be surprised if Leap makes a total switch because of the wider compatibility and the VoLTE support built into T-Mobile's network.

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Wrong. They do. In most markets where Leap operates, there's plenty of LTE tech ready for activation on T-Mobile cell sites. And T-Mobile is certainly working to get as many markets as possible. Neville Ray has already said that they will beat their publicly released numbers of markets (for mid-year and end-of-year 2013) with PCS WCDMA (with HSPA+) and AWS LTE by a large margin.

 

T-Mobile is a very attractive partner to roam with. I wouldn't be surprised if Leap makes a total switch because of the wider compatibility and the VoLTE support built into T-Mobile's network.

 

Do you inside info on that or are you just speculating? There is nothing on the public record that they have anything ready to deploy yet. Yes Neville has promised a lot, but that's his job.

Edited by bigsnake49
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Do you inside info on that or are you just speculating? There is nothing on the public record that they have anything ready to deploy yet. Yes Neville has promised a lot, but that's his job.

 

Well, if by inside info, you mean knowing exactly what equipment is installed in each one of those markets, then yes. Every single location you can get UMTS 1900 service is using radio systems that support AWS+PCS WCDMA+LTE. T-Mobile's equipment is configured for AWS+PCS WCDMA and AWS LTE, but the AWS LTE is only accessible to engineers and select testers at this time.

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Well, if by inside info, you mean knowing exactly what equipment is installed in each one of those markets, then yes. Every single location you can get UMTS 1900 service is using radio systems that support AWS+PCS WCDMA+LTE. T-Mobile's equipment is configured for AWS+PCS WCDMA and AWS LTE, but the AWS LTE is only accessible to engineers and select testers at this time.

 

So every one of their panels is AWS and PCS capable. There are RRU's mounted already on the rack. All of their basestations are LTE+HSPA+ capable. All of their switches are LTE capable. All of their network is LTE core capable.

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So every one of their panels is AWS and PCS capable. There are RRU's mounted already on the rack. All of their basestations are LTE+HSPA+ capable. All of their switches are LTE capable. All of their network is LTE core capable.

 

Yep. T-Mobile's network also supports eSRVCC for handover among GSM, WCDMA, and LTE for VoLTE, but there are few phones that can use it.

Edited by Det_Conan_Kudo
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T-Mobile's Network Modernization effort really has two advantages:

  1. T-Mobile already has advanced backhaul in place at many sites.
  2. T-Mobile is upgrading fewer sites.

The second, though, is a double edged sword. T-Mobile has now and will still leave a lot of GSM 1900 only rural sites. If the entity that we know today as T-Mobile ever upgrades those sites, it will take years.

 

In the end, raising new panels and radios is no small task. Not having to wait on backhaul is definitely a luxury. But Network Modernization is no quick walk in the park for T-Mobile.

 

AJ

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Yep. T-Mobile's network also supports eSRVCC for handover among GSM, WCDMA, and LTE for VoLTE, but there are few phones that can use it.

 

So all they have to do according to you is just flick a switch. Should not take them more than a month to deploy LTE on their whole footprint :).

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So all they have to do according to you is just flick a switch. Should not take them more than a month to deploy LTE on their whole footprint :).

 

No, modernized equipment should be able to run it however older AWS HSPA only sites either can't work or t-mobile won't work with them until they move HSPA onto the PCS band.

 

Basically, only modernized sites will support it.

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T-Mobile's Network Modernization effort really has two advantages:

  1. T-Mobile already has advanced backhaul in place at many sites.
  2. T-Mobile is upgrading fewer sites.

The second, though, is a double edged sword. T-Mobile has now and will still leave a lot of GSM 1900 only rural sites. If the entity that we know today as T-Mobile ever upgrades those sites, it will take years.

 

In the end, raising new panels and radios is no small task. Not having to wait on backhaul is definitely a luxury. But Network Modernization is no quick walk in the park for T-Mobile.

 

AJ

 

Considering the number of cell sites being upgraded in under a year, I'm fairly certain that once the metro markets are done (late fall 2013), T-Mobile will move on to upgrade the other areas very quickly. After all, T-Mobile's license review begins in 2016, and T-Mobile definitely wants to keep all of its AWS licenses throughout the country.

 

I know that 2014 will be the upgrade year for cell sites deployed prior to 2012, including many 2G only sites. 2G only zones are a high priority task, considering the equipment is no longer supported and absolutely needs to be replaced. And of course, MetroPCS CDMA1X/EvDO sites will be decommissioned throughout the year as CDMA usage drops. Roughly 1,500 to 2,500 CDMA/LTE sites will be retained and converted, while all DAS nodes will be converted.

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Considering the number of cell sites being upgraded in under a year, I'm fairly certain that once the metro markets are done (late fall 2013), T-Mobile will move on to upgrade the other areas very quickly. After all, T-Mobile's license review begins in 2016, and T-Mobile definitely wants to keep all of its AWS licenses throughout the country.

 

Neal, there is absolutely nothing wrong with T-Mobile doing its public duty ahead of schedule. In fact, it would be admirable. But I do not completely buy what you say. AWS 2100+1700 MHz licenses issued prior to 2010 have a 15 year license term. Thus, the "substantial service" construction requirements do not come due for most/all T-Mobile AWS licenses until 2021. And even "substantial service" is rather vague terminology that T-Mobile has, arguably, already met with its current AWS deployment.

 

AJ

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Neal, there is absolutely nothing wrong with T-Mobile doing its public duty ahead of schedule. In fact, it would be admirable. But I do not completely buy what you say. AWS 2100+1700 MHz licenses issued prior to 2010 have a 15 year license term. Thus, the "substantial service" construction requirements do not come due for most/all T-Mobile AWS licenses until 2021. And even "substantial service" is rather vague terminology that T-Mobile has, arguably, already met with its current AWS deployment.

 

AJ

 

I forgot to mention that PCS licenses are also up for review. There are a lot of PCS licenses that are not actively being used by T-Mobile at the moment, and if they remain that way when the license review starts up in 2016, that could become a problem.

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Well, if by inside info, you mean knowing exactly what equipment is installed in each one of those markets, then yes. Every single location you can get UMTS 1900 service is using radio systems that support AWS+PCS WCDMA+LTE. T-Mobile's equipment is configured for AWS+PCS WCDMA and AWS LTE, but the AWS LTE is only accessible to engineers and select testers at this time.

 

Dumb question but if the sites are done what are they waiting for?

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I forgot to mention that PCS licenses are also up for review. There are a lot of PCS licenses that are not actively being used by T-Mobile at the moment, and if they remain that way when the license review starts up in 2016, that could become a problem.

 

Can you point me to some of these PCS 1900 MHz licenses? I will check them out. However, unless they were newly awarded within the last five years, their five year benchmarks should already have been met, probably long ago.

 

AJ

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Can you point me to some of these PCS 1900 MHz licenses? I will check them out. However, unless they were newly awarded within the last five years, their five year benchmarks should already have been met, probably long ago. AJ

 

I think there are some of the north central US states that have active PCS licenses with nothing deployed on them.

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Here in MN T-Mobile acquired extra spectrum from AT&T through various means, and has actually been working pretty hard to deploy up north.

 

In Wisconsin T-Mobile didn't have as much spectrum and their deployment is pretty close to nonexistent.

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  • 3 months later...

Bumping this because there appears to be some news.  According to this fiercewireless article Sprint may indeed be the roaming partner for Cricket. Cricket is planning on selling phones later this summer that support LTE on Band 25 which would be Sprint.  So I guess the phones will support LTE on AWS for Cricket's native coverage areas and then roam onto Sprint for national coverage.

 

 

Matt Stoiber, Cricket's senior vice president of devices, said that the S4 will support LTE in the AWS bands and Band 25. Sprint uses Band 25 for its existing LTE network on its 1900 MHz spectrum, and Stoiber suggested the S4 will use that network. "We will enable roaming on Band 25 this summer," he said, adding that customers "can roam nationally and use LTE in Band 25." He and other Cricket executives declined to name Sprint as the company's LTE roaming partner; Cricket initially announced the agreement in February. Stoiber said Cricket may look to add support for additional bands in its devices with companies that it has deals with now and with other carriers.

 

 

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/leap-suggests-its-lte-roaming-deal-sprint-hints-more-device-financing-optio/2013-05-22?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Editor&utm_campaign=SocialMedia

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I really wouldn't mind trying Cricket when my contract is up with Sprint.  I'm in Houston and they have LTE here, and their rate plans are pretty cheap. 

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