Jump to content

Will there be a full migration away from CDMA?

Recommended Posts

Is it known whether sprint is looking to, or has plans to, decommission their CDMA stack eventually in favor of migrating to LTE(-Advanced)/(E-)UTRA?


This would make sense, since data is already being moved to LTE, and voice is presumably in the pipeline (VoLTE), and SMS is surely possible over LTE too? Also, CDMA, while a breakthrough at first, is now seen as an unnecessary complexification (http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki/OpenBTSBackground#GSM-is-Old-and-Boring-Why-Not-CDMA), and Sprint also must pay royalties to Qualcomm when using CDMA technology. And, looking at the Qualcomm website, it would seem that they, too, are pushing LTE as the way forward, and CDMA not as much.


It would seem at first glance that Sprint has lots to gain, and little pain, in fully migrating to LTE and decommissioning its CDMA networks eventually (similarly to the AMPS story).


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would imagine one factor in this would be the significant number of mvno's. Sprint (and to be fair all but vzw) have a lot of mvno's subs and generally these incorporate a lot of cheap phones. All the net10 \ boost et al customers would need to buy new phones and until you can get volte phones for $20 I honestly don't see there being a compelling case for it. Once they can do it relatively cheaply it will be on the cards. 

I'm not all that familiar with cdma, but isn't a single carrier about 1.5 MHz? Keeping a single cdma carrier for servicing all those budget phones isn't a huge spectrum cost. At some point the scales will tip, but I think we are talking closer to a decade than 3 years but there are far more informed folks than me around to give you a better idea :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, thanks for the answers, that makes lots of sense! Seeing that LTE is just starting out for sprint, I could guess it would take a while. I guess that answers what I was wondering, namelay, whether a move off CDMA would ever be considered in the future (since Sprint's been CDMA for a long time (>10 years, I think).


Sprint seems to still be a major Qualcomm consumer (for example, Direct Connect is based off Qualcomm's QChat), but Qualcomm itself seems to be moving to LTE (and away from legacy CDMA too).


So, I suppose it is likely that by the time 5G would roll around, we would have full LTE.


Even with all the bands, I think having everyone on one tech will be a good thing! :-)

Edited by hhm0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think sprint will have 1x on 800 for the next 20+ years. Why (can they even) refarm that 1.25 X 1.25 for LTE? Just keep it up to support older devices, and the coverage boost on CDMA compared to LTE is nothing to shrug off.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would the propagation characteristics be compared to say a 5x5 FDD LTE channel and current CDMA channel?

I'm pretty sure channel size doesn't effect propagation on LTE. However CDMA will certainly be more usable at a further distance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They will eventually move away, it'll just be a looooong time. Think 2025 or so. They just don't have a need to. CDMA is just a good solid voice fallback even when they go VoLTE for all the old handsets. It will be a couple years before VoLTE is even a thing on Sprint and then they can begin to plan the shutdown. Which will not have a lot of urgency as 1xAdvanxef is so spectrally efficient it costs next to nothing in terms of spectrum to maintain.


EV-DO on the other hand...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to the MVNOs, there are a lot of M2M / telemetry devices in the field that would need to be redeployed if / when Sprint moves away from CDMA. Those devices are a major PITA to replace, becuase they're installed in some other peice of equipment, so the customer has to send a technician out to wherever the device happens to be installed (which is often somewhere completely inconvenient, like an oil field out in the middle of Texas) to pull the modem and replace it. I think we'll at least see 1x advanced on 1900 and 800 for quite some time.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Sprint will keep 1x Advanced deployed for a while. It is very efficient with Spectrum for wide voice coverage. LTE is needed to insane data capacity. Just look at Qualcomm's prediction of 1000x data use increase: http://www.qualcomm.com/solutions/wireless-networks/technologies/1000x-data


Qualcomm still seems to have confidence in their 1x and EV-DO technologies. They have it listed along with the GSM techs in their overview pages (which are very neat to read through, BTW) http://www.qualcomm.com/solutions/wireless-networks/technologies/carrier-aggregation It's also included in their roadmap: http://www.qualcomm.com/solutions/wireless-networks/technologies/3g-4g-roadmap

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • large.unreadcontent.png.6ef00db54e758d06

  • gallery_1_23_9202.png

  • Posts

    • Looks like there's a slightly taller building going up next door to where the decommissioned site used to be. Taking a look at StreetView, T-Mobile likely decommissioned the site because the east facing sector would blocked by the new building. If I had to guess, T-Mobile has already agreed to move to the roof of the new building and is just waiting for it to be completed to install the site there. What they should've done is just rearrange the sectors in the meantime but it seems like T-Mobile just bit the bullet and decommed the tower in the short term. — — — — — A permit was issued for a Sprint conversion at 150 Prospect Park West, finally filling in what is T-Mobile's largest coverage gap in Park Slope. Verizon is collocated on that building and AT&T has placed small cells along Prospect Park West to fill in coverage there while T-Mobile struggled using two sites, one at Grand Army Plaza at the far north and another at Bartel Pritchard Square to the far south.  
    • Yep, you can see the site was taken down between Aug 2022 and Apr 2023.
    • Verizon site at Woodbury Commons finally got C-band. I'm seeing upwards of 600Mbps there, a massive improvement over the <1Mbps I used to see. LTE is now at 10-20Mbps which is significantly better than before where speed tests would often fail. My only complaint is that C-band is super inconsistent. Not sure if it's a software issue but sometimes I'm connected to it and get the 600Mbps speeds previously mentioned and other times I connect and only see 15Mbps. Seems like whatever load balancing the network is trying to do is still shoving a ton of people to LTE, even in conditions where I have a strong C-band signal.  — — — — — You're absolutely right. The site on top of Bais Sarah Hall at 6101 16th Ave got decommissioned. Sad that they haven't installed a new site to fill in that coverage gap.  — — — — — In other news a carrier reached out to the board of my grandmother's building in Brooklyn about installing antennas on top of it so she called me today because she knows I map cell towers and she said a lot of people in her building, especially the folks on the upper floors, are worried about the health effects lol. I asked her if she knew what carrier it would be but she said she doesn't know. A quick glance at Cellmapper tells me it's either Dish or AT&T since Verizon and T-Mobile both have sites within a two block radius of her building but AT&T barely builds new sites so I'm leaning Dish. They're asking for a 25-year lease with an option to renegotiate the lease after 10-years. The board of her co-op said that if they do it, maintenance fees will go down since they'll be offset by the rent that the carrier would be paying them. She said she already voted in favor of it but she thinks that a lot of the older people in her building are against it.
    • Galaxy S7 FE most certainly doesn't have the same level of NR CA (if at all), it also looks like it doesn't have SA NR, so it's is inherently going to be much slower since most of the spectrum is now focused on NR rather than LTE. It's likely the same generation radio as the S21 (or maybe S20). Having trouble finding which it would be.
    • T-Mobile seems to be paying close attention to how much of B2 they refarm for NR, as on this trip down to South Padre Island I saw both 20x20 n25 and 20x20 B2 (but not both simultaneously) at various points on the trip. At South Padre itself, seems like someone else has 2.5 GHz licensed so the n41 setup here is 20+80 MHz. Speeds are still decent, but VZW has 100+60 MHz n77 live (and AT&T has some 80+40).
  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...