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Sprint to join Rural Operators Roaming Hub (CCA and RRPP thread)


marioc21

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So Sprint is joining up with small rural operators to start a roaming hub.  

 

Sprint is teaming up with rural carriers to create a virtual 4G LTE wireless network in a move that will help them compete more aggressively against AT&T and Verizon. And T-Mobile is considering a similar move.

 

On Thursday, the Competitive Carrier Association will announce at its conference in San Antonio, Texas the launch of a new Data Access Hub, which creates a one-stop shop for voice and data roaming among carriers that will allow operators large and small to create a virtual nationwide network to compete directly against AT&T and Verizon. Sprint, along with a handful of rural and regional wireless operators, are expected to be among the hub's first participating mobile carriers. And T-Mobile said it's also exploring whether to participate.

"US Cellular and Sprint have already tested the hub," said CCA president Steve Berry. "And it's working. We have other carriers signing up to participate as well. Both Sprint and T-Mobile are on the steering committee."

The announcement of the hub and the fact that national operator Sprint has agreed to participate and the fact that T-Mobile is also considering membership is important because it could change the dynamic of the wireless industry. In short, the hub will give Sprint and T-Mobile, if it joins, as well as dozens of rural operators, access to a nationwide 4G LTE wireless footprint via a patchwork of networks. For Sprint and T-Mobile, which are primarily confined to metro markets, it gives them access to true nationwide coverage, even in rural and suburban markets where they typically don't have coverage. And for rural operators, it finally gives them easy access to 4G LTE roaming partners in big cities.

 

 

The key parts about how this will work:

 

The way the hub works is that wireless operators are able to sign a single agreement and connect to every carrier signed up to the hub. Rates can be negotiated separately, but the business relationships are done through the hub. It allows Sprint or T-Mobile to instantly connect to hundreds of smaller wireless carriers across the US, and it allows these smaller carriers to connect to Sprint and T-Mobile as well as to each other.

 

The hub can connect all generations of wireless networks from 2G and 3G networks to 4G LTE networks. Berry said the true promise of the hub is in the next generation 4G LTE networks that are being built. Companies like Qualcomm are already designing chipsets that allow every LTE frequency band deployed in the US to operate on a single device, Berry said. This breakthrough coupled with the emergence of voice over LTE technology, will eventually allow true roaming from any LTE network in the US to another. This will also pave the way to a more robust device ecosystem that will allow many smaller carriers to get access to the same devices as larger carriers.

 

 

 

http://www.cnet.com/news/sprint-to-join-rural-operators-in-nationwide-roaming-hub/

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I like the idea.  What really will matter is if a useful LTE roaming data allotment is provided.  100 or 300MB is not useful for LTE.  Might as well just continue with 1X.  If it were 1GB, that would be useful.

 

Robert

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I like the idea.  What really will matter is if a useful LTE roaming data allotment is provided.  100 or 300MB is not useful for LTE.  Might as well just continue with 1X.  If it were 1GB, that would be useful.

 

Robert

 

Not sure if you posted your reply before or after I updated my OP.  Sounds like that is up to each individual carrier and how much they want to charge for/pay for.  My hope is rates will probably be fairly low since the point is to expand the reach of every carrier without having to built out additional infrastructure. 

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Not sure if you posted your reply before or after I updated my OP.  Sounds like that is up to each individual carrier and how much they want to charge for/pay for.  My guess is rates will probably be fairly low since the point is to expand the reach of every carrier without having to built out additional infrastructure. 

 

Yeah, I get that.  I'm just hoping that very reasonable roaming rates will equate into larger roaming allowances by Sprint.  My way and Framily plans are only currently limited to 100MB of roaming.  100MB of LTE roaming is almost useless.  But I'd take it over nothing, I suppose.

 

Robert

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Yeah, I get that.  I'm just hoping that very reasonable roaming rates will equate into larger roaming allowances by Sprint.  My way and Framily plans are only currently limited to 100MB of roaming.  100MB of LTE roaming is almost useless.  But I'd take it over nothing, I suppose.

 

Robert

 

True, it's not explained in the article whether roaming onto hub partners would be treated as roaming or as as native coverage.  I would like to think the latter, but who knows. Lots of details still needed. 

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True, it's not explained in the article whether roaming onto hub partners would be treated as roaming or as as native coverage.  I would like to think the latter, but who knows. Lots of details still needed. 

 

It's possible it will be treated as native.  But it kept repeating "roaming" ad nauseum.  Also, it's quite possible that these roaming partners will have their customers on Sprint's network more often than Sprint customers on their networks, it could actually cost Sprint very little or nothing out of pocket for this.  It could be a revenue generator for Sprint.  So they may be very generous with LTE roaming allotments if not treated native.

 

Robert

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It's possible it will be treated as native.  But it kept repeating "roaming" ad nauseum.  Also, it's quite possible that these roaming partners will have their customers on Sprint's network more often than Sprint customers on their networks, it could actually cost Sprint very little or nothing out of pocket for this.  It could be a revenue generator for Sprint.  So they may be very generous with LTE roaming allotments if not treated native.

 

Robert

 

This is great way for Sprint to expand the map against Verizon. I'm sure they would love to neutralize those Verizon adds about their coverage maps.  Sprint might be willing to forgo the revenue from this just for the marketing benefits.  

 

Also, from doing a little research I've realized that the hub is not really new.  It was started last year by the CCA.  The fact that Sprint and TMobile are joining it is the big news. 

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Yeah, I get that.  I'm just hoping that very reasonable roaming rates will equate into larger roaming allowances by Sprint.  My way and Framily plans are only currently limited to 100MB of roaming.  100MB of LTE roaming is almost useless.  But I'd take it over nothing, I suppose.

 

Robert

 

I'm almost hoping for the opposite. I want carriers to exit the roaming business entirely -- they're incentivized to do bad things to users in that business. (like charge a premium for very slow service with tiny data caps)

 

I'd love to see carriers allow open subscriptions. We should be able to pay the CCA $6/month for a phone number, and then pay for any package we want, on any provider, simultaneously.

 

It works this way in most other industries. I don't need to carry two wallets to have two credit cards, you have one wallet, and you use your Visa or Mastercard or Amex, whichever you prefer, whenever you want. I can use both cards simultaneously if I wanted. If I hop on a plane, I'm not locked into using Delta for my whole trip. I can take one trip as one person with one piece of luggage, but start on Delta and end on United, and my luggage is routed accordingly in between. My person, or luggage isn't arbitrarily tied to any one airline.

 

But my phone, and number, are. They shouldn't be. I should be able to sign up for a plan with Sprint, and T-Mobile, and US Cellular, all on one line with the one device and one phone number. I should use whichever plan I'm subscribed to, on whichever network I'm on. This way, there is no "roaming". If I walk from Sprint coverage to US Cellular coverage, my phone stops using my (native) Sprint plan, and starts using my (native) US Cellular plan. I never pay Sprint for access to US Cellular. I pay Sprint for access to Sprint, and I pay US Cellular for access to US Cellular.

 

The CCA could even bundle it together for people to make it easy. Call it the "Traveler Plan" and for an extra $15/month, you get 1GB of access on any CCA-member network anywhere in nation. Sprint stores could brand this plan on their own, and sell it right in their store (so you never have to deal with some third-party-billing scenario).

 

- - 

 

I certainly don't expect this to happen (because profits). But there's no technological reason this can't happen. I'd love to see it happen.

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Roaming just stinks period, if I know I am going into a non Sprint native coverage area, I use my AT&T prepaid phone at least I get 3G or in some spots HSPA+ BUT I only do this when I am up at camp in the Adirondacks and its only during the summer months, Sprint's tower too much of a stretch for data to be usable, I forced it to be on Sprint Only and even with NV its just too far away and it goes to 1X.  Vzw is there too but they are just too expensive (and 1X only roaming stinks!).... However reading the past month or two AT&T and Vzw are just about the same in price anymore.... 

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The carrier will still ultimately control what we access. Sprint maintains the most expansive roaming coverage of all carriers. This does not imply our data roaming limit is increasing or the roaming symbols are going away. This creates plenty of goodwill for sprint with the little guys though and probably generates even more revenue than some of their individual private agreements.

 

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

 

 

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It would be nice to see a roaming allowance increase if LTE is allowed. As it is with 100MB I'm perfectly fine with 1X. Its way too easy to go over even with just EVDO.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Let's say it is treated as native coverage, any idea how many more covered lte pops that would give sprint or any one access to maps that might give us an idea of the expanded geographical regions covered?

 

Thanks

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Some more info for this new venture. Sprint will add band 12 to some it's devices next year. Additionally, it will license it's 800 and 1900 mhz spectrum to rural carriers in places it doesn't have network coverage.

 

Edit: slight correction. The spectrum licensing is part of another program called NetAmerica Alliance.

 

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-add-700-mhz-band-12-capabilities-some-new-devices-starting-next-year/2014-03-26

 

Sent from my LG-LS980 using Tapatalk

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Some more info for this new venture. Sprint will add band 12 to some it's devices next year. Additionally, it will license it's 800 and 1900 mhz spectrum to rural carriers in places it doesn't have network coverage.

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-add-700-mhz-band-12-capabilities-some-new-devices-starting-next-year/2014-03-26

 

Sent from my LG-LS980 using Tapatalk

 

They should add Band 4 too.  ;)

 

Robert

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Interesting. T-Mobile has this Band 12 correct?

 

Yes.  But many of the CCA members have Band 12.  Sprint devices would need Band 12 to roam on their networks.  Tmo will not begin to start rolling out some limited Band 12 at the end of 2014.

 

Robert

 

NOTE:  I merged your thread into this one, since this is already being discussed.

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I expected this program to take off last year. It will be interesting to hear timing details tomorrow.

 

I believe its no coincidence T-Mobile's leadership has talked up LTE roaming on regionals in 2015. I attribute that to T-Mobile's rural buildout. They will want to wait until they've covered their existing footprint before allowing LTE roaming (potentially very expensive otherwise).

 

Maybe Sprint will allow band 2 and band 5 LTE roaming sooner?

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Just curious if anyone has a legend or list of what bands/freqs goes to what band class goes where:

 

For example:

 

Band 0 is the cellular band

Band 1 is the PCS band A-F

 

I and who knows would like to know of the breakdown of them.

 

Thanks

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Just curious if anyone has a legend or list of what bands/freqs goes to what band class goes where:

 

For example:

 

Band 0 is the cellular band

Band 1 is the PCS band A-F

 

I and who knows would like to know of the breakdown of them.

 

Thanks

 

LTE Frequency Bands

 

UMTS Frequency Bands

 

GSM Frequency Bands

 

Cellular Frequencies

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There was also the other announcement today: Sprint has formed a strategic partnership with the NetAmerica Alliance:

 

From cnet: "Under this new partnership with NetAmerica, Sprint won't be roaming onto rural networks. Instead, it will allow these operators to use its 800MHz and 1900MHz spectrum and leverage its device ecosystem in order to build a 4G LTE wireless network that connects to and operates as an extension of Sprint's own network...The way it will work is that Sprint will provide its unused spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands to the rural operators, which can combine that spectrum with their own assets...As for the benefit to Sprint, it gives the carrier access to a much wider 4G LTE footprint without having to spend billions of dollars to build the network.

 

As is the case with many large operators, some of Sprint's spectrum licenses in these bands included rural regions the company never had any intention of building a network for...Through its relationship with the NetAmerica Alliance, Sprint can make that spectrum available to rural operators who will build out the network for them. These operators can combine the spectrum with their own spectrum to provide even more capacity to their customers. And because they are building their networks as extensions of Sprint's network, their customers will also gain access to Sprint's 4G LTE network in urban markets.

 
Another benefit of this tight integration is that the rural carriers will also have access to the Sprint device ecosystem that is supporting both Sprint's frequency bands as well as the 700MHz sliver of spectrum these rural operators are using."
 
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There was also the other announcement today: Sprint has formed a strategic partnership with the NetAmerica Alliance:

 

From cnet: "Under this new partnership with NetAmerica, Sprint won't be roaming onto rural networks. Instead, it will allow these operators to use its 800MHz and 1900MHz spectrum and leverage its device ecosystem in order to build a 4G LTE wireless network that connects to and operates as an extension of Sprint's own network...The way it will work is that Sprint will provide its unused spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands to the rural operators, which can combine that spectrum with their own assets...As for the benefit to Sprint, it gives the carrier access to a much wider 4G LTE footprint without having to spend billions of dollars to build the network.

 

As is the case with many large operators, some of Sprint's spectrum licenses in these bands included rural regions the company never had any intention of building a network for...Through its relationship with the NetAmerica Alliance, Sprint can make that spectrum available to rural operators who will build out the network for them. These operators can combine the spectrum with their own spectrum to provide even more capacity to their customers. And because they are building their networks as extensions of Sprint's network, their customers will also gain access to Sprint's 4G LTE network in urban markets.

 
Another benefit of this tight integration is that the rural carriers will also have access to the Sprint device ecosystem that is supporting both Sprint's frequency bands as well as the 700MHz sliver of spectrum these rural operators are using."
 

 

 

I was waiting to hear that announcement for a year. I wonder what took them so long. As long as they monitor the deployment and don't let it fall by the wayside, this is a good program.

 

Part of that announcement is the fact that Sprint will add band 12 to some but not all of its handsets.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--Sprint (NYSE:S) announced new partnerships with the Competitive Carriers Association and the NetAmerica Alliance that the carrier hopes will encourage rural wireless carriers to build LTE networks that Sprint's customers will be able to roam onto. Importantly, Sprint said it will add 700 MHz Band 12 capabilities to some of its devices starting next year--spectrum that the carrier itself doesn't own.

 

Read more: Sprint to add 700 MHz Band 12 capabilities to some new devices starting next year - FierceWireless http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-add-700-mhz-band-12-capabilities-some-new-devices-starting-next-year/2014-03-26#ixzz2xAEcWjXg 

 

Edited by bigsnake49
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