WiWavelength Posted May 2, 2013 Share Posted May 2, 2013 A frequent point of contention here at S4GRU is Sprint rural buildout. Some argue that Sprint needs to add more rural coverage to compete with the VZW and AT&T duopoly. Others counter that doing so would not pass the cost benefit analysis test. Well, an impending regulatory issue may partly satisfy both camps. I am not sure why this did not occur to me until just the other day, but as a side effect of its acquisition of Nextel, Sprint will have to deploy, at a bare minimum, some additional "license protection" footprint within the next three years. To explain, Nextel's PCS G block 10 MHz licenses are nationwide but geographically divided by BEA. See the map linked below: http://wireless.fcc....ata/maps/ea.pdf The FCC chose a BEA licensing scheme because that corresponds with the licensing scheme used for Nextel's SMR 800 MHz spectrum, some of which Nextel agreed to relinquish in the Public Safety 800 MHz rebanding arrangement. The PCS G block is, thus, compensatory spectrum designed to align with Nextel's remaining SMR 800 MHz spectrum. Now, Sprint's traditional PCS A-F block licenses are all based on MTA or BTA geographic divisions. The 30 MHz MTA and BTA based licenses require one third POPs coverage within five years and two thirds POPs coverage within 10 years. The 10 MHz and 15 MHz BTA based licenses require one fourth POPs coverage within five years. Sprint satisfied those construction requirements roughly a decade ago. See those maps linked below: http://wireless.fcc....ta/maps/mta.pdf http://wireless.fcc....ta/maps/bta.pdf But here is the regulatory issue that Sprint faces in the next three years. Sprint holds PCS G block licenses in BEAs where it never had to construct a network because Sprint satisfied its PCS A-F block buildout requirements in the more densely populated areas of several very large MTAs. For example, see Sprint's PCS G block license for the Great Falls, MT BEA: http://wireless2.fcc...?licKey=3130353 The first buildout deadline, requiring "substantial service," is just a little bit less than three years from now. And Sprint currently has no native footprint anywhere in Montana. The same deadline and requirement hold for all PCS G block licenses across the country. So, the likes of Great Falls, Billings, and Missoula, MT; Minot, ND; Rapid City, SD; and Scottsbluff, NE, etc., are apt to see, at the very least, a few PCS G block LTE 1900 "license protection" sites in the coming years. And, by that time, SMR 800 MHz should be completely unencumbered outside of the IBEZ. Thus, Sprint may even use the PCS G block construction requirement as a means to deploy CDMA1X 800 and LTE 800, too. This may even help to explain why Sprint has chosen Montana as the location for its LTE 800 FIT area. AJ 43 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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