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Uh, oh...AT&T's Network Deployment hits a major snag :)


bigsnake49
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AT&T’s second quarter slowdown in spending hit some contractorshard, but the carrier itself has also felt the pain. Sources tell RCR that AT&T has had to cut jobs, delay site builds and pay vendors for incomplete work. They say that one contributor to the slowdow has been major cost overruns related to AT&T’s “cell site of the future.”

The company declined to comment on the cell site of the future, but industry sources say it was envisioned as a way to integrate the 700 MHz, 850 MHz, 1.9 MHz and 2.3 MHz spectrum bands.

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One individual who worked on these sites said that the radio heads AT&T initially wanted to put on top of its towers weighed as much as 500 pounds each. Engineers assigned to work on these sites started circulating a picture of a truck stuck in a tree to symbolize the cell site of the future.

Sources say that AT&T wanted to put 27 or 28 radio heads onto each tower, and that the cost turned out to be much higher than projected. One former AT&T employee said that in the New York metro area, the carrier set out to build 479 new sites, at an estimated cost of $140,000 each. But as the work got underway, he says the cost per site was coming in at $380,000. Now the number of planned site upgrades in the New York metro area has fallen to 62.

http://www.rcrwireless.com/article/20140717/infrastructure-2/att-cell-site-future-hits-speed-bump/

 

Will that happen to Sprint and T-Mobile if they are to merge? Will the weight of all the radio heads start having an impact? Will they be able to slim them down?

 

Well AT&T's loss will be Sprint's gain. They will have crews available to finish their buildout quicker!

Edited by COZisBack
Edited quote box for copyright credit.
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Meanwhile, I still have no AT&T LTE. They did two sites in Western South Dakota and bailed. :td:

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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industry sources say it was envisioned as a way to integrate the 700 MHz, 850 MHz, 1.9 MHz and 2.3 MHz spectrum bands.

Hmm. I wonder where I've heard that line before... ;)
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Edited Title from AT&T's Network Vision to AT&T's Network Deployment.

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How can AT&T, with all of its money frak up their Network development/deployment when Sprint is 50% complete with their Network Vision execution with a lot less money?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

They are scared of their shareholders. They have enough cash and access to cash if they wanted to take the hit. And this is at a time when their original network is filling up, they have the least 10MHz+ contiguous spectrum and desperately need to deploy CA to compete on performance and Sprint is starting to outperform them in some key cities, like NYC. They need to just do it.

 

Not that I'm losing sleep because AT&T is making bad decisions. But I'd prefer to keep them over VZW.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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They are scared of their shareholders. They have enough cash and access to cash if they wanted to take the hit. And this is at a time when their original network is filling up, they have the least 10MHz+ contiguous spectrum and desperately need to deploy CA to compete on performance and Sprint is starting to outperform them in some key cities, like NYC. They need to just do it.

 

Not that I'm losing sleep because AT&T is making bad decisions. But I'd prefer to keep them over VZW.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

It looks like Verizon has turned on AWS in Rapid City. Maybe they are better now than they used to be.

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They've been hurting in NYC market over the past 6 months. 10MHz Band 17 has been very congested, 5MHz Band 2 has been live since november, but certainly didn't improve user experience by much, and their HSPA+ performance during peak hours has been slow for years now. Sprint's LTE network has actually been performing much better than AT&T's, at least in NYC market.

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It looks like Verizon has turned on AWS in Rapid City. Maybe they are better now than they used to be.

Rapid City was an early Band 4 market for Verizon. They installed a 15MHz carrier here last October. It was needed as VZW has a whopping 70 share here.

 

Before the new Band went live, VZW LTE 750 was suffering. At times well below 1Mbps at busy sites. Since coming online, VZW LTE 750 runs about 7-8 Mbps steadily. VZW Band 4 started out between 40-60 Mbps around here. But now has settled around 20-30Mbps.

 

I don't use VZW because I prefer the open device ecosystem on AT&T. I really like being able to pop in a AT&T, Tmo or Sprint SIM into my Nexus 5 as needed. And AT&T meets my needs for the most part. And it's much cheaper. I can have an AT&T, Sprint and Tmo service for the cost of Verizon.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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AT&T crews have continued here in Southern Illinois, because of the ATNI transaction. The penalties of AT&T stopping here are far more punitive than just buckling down and finishing up.

 

There was a crew at an old Alltel tower on Willy Gully Lane outside of my home town a few weeks ago installing all new base stations in the hut , new wiring up the tower, and new antenna panels and RRU's at the top of the tower. Apparently AT&T is feeling the heat, because this would normally be one of the first areas for AT&T to cut as they don't have a large share of users here even if you count Alltel users not yet switched off CDMA.

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u7uvume6.jpg

 

This is the pic that accompanied the article.

 

For what it's worth, the install on Willy Gully Ln. had one RRU on each panel. This tower is over 300 feet tall, the tallest structure in Randolph County. I tried flagging down a AlLu van as it drove off from Walmart, but I didn't catch it in time.

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I wonder what kind of impact this will have in the long run, considering how long they've spent re-building their reputation and people just now starting to catch on I'm betting they have awhile to ride on that.

I seriously wonder what they expect to happen and plan to do from this move though...

 

 

I have an uncle that works for one of the companies that does cell tower upgrades and he did say those RRU's are putting a huge strain on the racks.

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I call bull.  They may be slowing down deployment based on cost, but I'm sure there is more to the story. 

 

Sprint is deploying 3 bands on the same site, successfully.   In May, ATT execs made statements indicating they would add 1500-3000 new sites yearly, both macro and micro.  I suspect those numbers are now being reduced and someone is interpreting more long term discussions within ATT about "network overhaul" as why in-progress work is being slowed.  If true, it doesn't sound like something that couldn't be solved with multi-mode panels. And that can't be the end of the world from a $$ perspective. 

 

Is the existence of delays a surprise? 

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Well...that was unexpected. At the AT&T site nearest my office in Box Elder, South Dakota I spotted a work crew while out on my lunch break. It's an AT&T only site, so I drove down to it and checked things out. A new RRU and panel have been added to each sector. In just 48 hours.

 

The truck at the site had a Velocitel logo on it and MN tags. I walked up to the guy who looked to be in charge and asked what he was working on. He said they were adding AT&T LTE.

 

I asked him if he was affected by the AT&T slow down. He said he had heard about that, but they were still hiring for AT&T jobs all over the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. He mentioned they have two other crews working in Western South Dakota.

 

I told him that I was glad to hear that as this is the site I use most often. And it has one WCDMA channel that is dog slow. He explained they have the contract for all the West River sites except rooftop and flagpole sites. He said they'd be done in less than a month with all of it. But he said Alcatel Lucent is way, way behind on integrating their work. Could be months before I start seeing LTE.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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I call bull.  They may be slowing down deployment based on cost, but I'm sure there is more to the story. 

 

Sprint is deploying 3 bands on the same site, successfully.   In May, ATT execs made statements indicating they would add 1500-3000 new sites yearly, both macro and micro.  I suspect those numbers are now being reduced and someone is interpreting more long term discussions within ATT about "network overhaul" as why in-progress work is being slowed.  If true, it doesn't sound like something that couldn't be solved with multi-mode panels. And that can't be the end of the world from a $$ perspective. 

 

Is the existence of delays a surprise? 

 

This not their regular LTE deployment on 700MHz. This the equivalent of Sprint's Network Vision where they rip out any legacy sites, panels etc and replace them with an integrated modern basestation with RRH, MIMO, etc. They have to accommodate multiple low frequency bands and also support all 4 bands.

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The band 12 Lower 700 MHz deployment had to be significantly finished last year because of FCC construction requirement deadlines.

 

AJ

If only all the spectrum had deadlines. Some squatters sitting on spectrum forever needs to stop.
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The fcc should put a 1-2 year grace period out, and notify all unused spectrum holders they have that time to construct or lose their license.

 

From bottom to top of the licensed spectrum, and including all public, private and governmental licensees.

 

Call it the 'use it or lose it' mandate.

Edited by dedub
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In another observation I have recently discovered about AT&T LTE, at least in my area, the LTE GCI Hex equals the AT&T Site Number + Two Digit Sector Number.  I sure wish that was the case for Sprint!  Makes LTE signal spotting painless and precise.  I don't know if this is only true of my market or AT&T Alcatel Lucent markets, or all AT&T markets.  But I like it.  Take note of that, John Saw.  :tu:

 

Robert

 

 

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