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Will Sprint refarm PCS spectrum?


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Hi everyone,

 

I feel like this has been discussed before and my previous understanding was that Sprint plans to refarm PCS spectrum that is currently 1x/EVDO to LTE as more and more people switch to LTE capable devices. However, now I am not clear on whether or not that is still the plan. Is the plan now to just use B41 for capacity and only use the G block of PCS spectrum for PCS LTE? Or will additional PCS LTE carriers eventually be added? 

 

Thanks!

 

Tommy

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Hi everyone,

 

I feel like this has been discussed before and my previous understanding was that Sprint plans to refarm PCS spectrum that is currently 1x/EVDO to LTE as more and more people switch to LTE capable devices. However, now I am not clear on whether or not that is still the plan. Is the plan now to just use B41 for capacity and only use the G block of PCS spectrum for PCS LTE? Or will additional PCS LTE carriers eventually be added?

 

Thanks!

 

Tommy

Honestly b41 should be enough. They will able to deploy three carriers and have CA. Yes more sites are necessary but that is how sprint will win bc they have so much spectrum to throw at the user

 

 

Sent from my iPhone 6 64GB using Tapatalk

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Capacity is going to be served by B41 for the most part. Adding capacity via PCS refarming basically is just to help Uniband LTE customers. And in the places where B25 goes a little beyond B41.

 

Sprint will basically not do much refarming, per se, in the near future. Like moving existing used PCS carriers somewhere else. Or turning them off. But they will continue to roll out more PCS LTE carriers where they have existing PCS A-F Block spectrum that is not being used.

 

A real push to do actual refarming of PCS for LTE will not really happen for a few years. Most likely after VoLTE is ubiquitous on the network and device VoLTE capability is pervasive. Then they can start removing CDMA capacity without disrupting customers.

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Capacity is going to be served by B41 for the most part. Adding capacity via PCS refarming basically is just to help Uniband LTE customers. And in the places where B25 goes a little beyond B41.

 

Sprint will basically not do much refarming, per se, in the near future. Like moving existing used PCS carriers somewhere else. Or turning them off. But they will continue to roll out more PCS LTE carriers where they have existing PCS A-F Block spectrum that is not being used.

 

A real push to do actual refarming of PCS for LTE will not really happen for a few years. Most likely after VoLTE is ubiquitous on the network and device VoLTE capability is pervasive. Then they can start removing CDMA capacity without disrupting customers.

Sprint was in a bad spot of the rip and replace it really put them behind, although it was worth it I think, now I wish they would get LTE running on all the towers first before worrying about 800 and Spark but I understand thats the demand is just too much. IF they didnt have the rip and replace LTE toll outs I am sure would be been much faster! 

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I don't think Sprint should write off PCS just yet, especially in markets without B26. It will still be a good 1-2 years until we see B41 fully deployed across the entire footprint and see B26 in the IBEZ, so any capacity on PCS that can be added (and even aggregated!) in the sore spots of Sprint's network will still be beneficial and would provide almost immediate results, IMO.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I'm personally in favor of immediate refarming in markets where B25 is completed due to the current issue of deploying band 26 and 41 at a fast enough pace.. Additional carriers would keep the G block carrier uncongested, which means much faster speeds comparable to competitors, which will keep Sprint's name good in such congested markets.

Just my two cents. Anyone who has a better argument, I'd love to hear it!

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Capacity is going to be served by B41 for the most part. Adding capacity via PCS refarming basically is just to help Uniband LTE customers. And in the places where B25 goes a little beyond B41.

 

 

I do hope they do some B25 refarming in the most populated regions and markets as B41 cannot always cover everyone and Sprint has to conserve band 26 as best as they can. 

 

Might also be prudent for them to be a bit aggressive too in Nokia / Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent land due to 2.5 equipment shortages that aren't letting up well into next year. Going to suck for a lot of subscribers in many of those markets where only a handful of 2.5 equipment will be allocated to the most capacity strained sites. 

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In Columbus, they seem to be using b25 second carrier quite sparingly, only in the most congested place that is limited in terms of B26, but then triband sites rule here in the Downtown and southern half of the metro.  Columbus is a Spark area with additional b41 sites continuing to be added.  A second 25 carrier is more likely in the northern portion of the metro because of a self imposed buffer zone for b26 /1x800 related to the IBEZ.

 

In Cleveland they seem to be quickly expanding b25 LTE 1900 second carrier, likely because of the severe  restrictions on B26 LTE and 1x800 because of the IBEZ.

 

Of course in Chicago second carrier b25 seems ubiquitous.

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The iPhone 5s and 5c will also benefit from b25 LTE second carrier since they only support b25/b26 and not b41 like the iphone 6.

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Capacity is going to be served by B41 for the most part. Adding capacity via PCS refarming basically is just to help Uniband LTE customers. And in the places where B25 goes a little beyond B41.

 

Sprint will basically not do much refarming, per se, in the near future. Like moving existing used PCS carriers somewhere else. Or turning them off. But they will continue to roll out more PCS LTE carriers where they have existing PCS A-F Block spectrum that is not being used.

 

A real push to do actual refarming of PCS for LTE will not really happen for a few years. Most likely after VoLTE is ubiquitous on the network and device VoLTE capability is pervasive. Then they can start removing CDMA capacity without disrupting customers.

How much spectrum do 3G and voice really take up now? I'd think fewer carriers of voice and 3G would be needed as voice traffic has taken such a nose dive and 3G only devices are a rarity. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more people using uniband 4G devices now than are using 3G only (other than feature phones). Additional PCS carriers could be a good to help things until 2.5 is decently deployed,

 

Tommy

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How much spectrum do 3G and voice really take up now? I'd think fewer carriers of voice and 3G would be needed as voice traffic has taken such a nose dive and 3G only devices are a rarity. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more people using uniband 4G devices now than are using 3G only (other than feature phones). Additional PCS carriers could be a good to help things until 2.5 is decently deployed,

Tommy

For whatever reason, PCS 3G is more robust than PCS LTE. As dkyeager pointed out, most of the Cleveland market is unable to receive B26, and I still find plenty of areas where 3G is the only option. Until LTE coverage can fully cover what 3G covers, I don't forsee it going away anytime soon. Dual B25 carriers seem to be most prevalent here in Spark areas. I've found many 8T8R capable sites also running an additional PCS carrier. And my market actually uses 2, depending on the region (Thanks Revol :D )

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Instead of refarming pcs spectrum, if they focused on filling in the gaps with additional towers or small cells it would help with both capacity and coverage.  I'd rather see Sprint take this route.  When Sprint starts launching additional b41 carriers for carrier aggregation I hope it's through small cells for increased coverage as well.

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I don't see them re-farming any of the PCS spectrum until they have solid LTE coverage and start mitigating over to VoLTE, then its possible to see them start refarming 800 SMR and 1900 PCS.  Having said that we are talking years down the road not anytime soon, 1x voice and 3G EV-DO is here to stay. 

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People believe that there is a big drop in CDMA voice and data traffic because of changes in consumer behavior and the advent of LTE. But it's not true. They just are no longer growing. So they don't have to add much capacity for CDMA. But the fallacy that voice and 3G data usage is dropping significantly just hasn't happened yet. If Sprint reduces CDMA capacity now, there will be real and noticeable voice and 3G data issues.

 

If current trends hold, Sprint will not really be able to reduce existing voice service until VoLTE starts to relieve the strain. So even then, the spectrum that gets removed from CDMA will really just be going back into LTE to support voice traffic there.

 

There will be no big gain when moving CDMA spectrum to the LTE network. Because it was used by voice before and will be used by voice again. It just will have flexibility to be used with data.

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How many CDMA (voice and data) carriers does Sprint deploy on a site typically? Am I correct in recalling that each CDMA carrier is 1.25 Mhz?

I don't think there is a "typical" number. It depends on the amount of traffic on a site. At the minimum on old sites you'd have a 1x carrier for voice and an EVDO carrier.

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