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Network Vision/LTE - Swiftel Market (Sioux Falls/Sioux City/Brookings)

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I'm surprised Sprint hasn't approached Brookings about buying Swiftel yet. For the right price, I'm sure the city would sell.

The City did entertain a buyout of their wireless division back in 2010. But the council voted it down. Sprint and Swiftel could be in talks now. Preliminary conversations wouldn't have to be public record.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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He said, as he understands it, Swiftel wants to sign a 15 year agreement extension in order to commit to the $180M upgrade they would have to do to upgrade to Network Vision and add all the LTE bands. He said since Swiftel is owned by a government agency, they would have to sell bonds to get money for the work. And most bonds require backing a 15 or 30 years of guaranteed revenues. 30 years is best to get good rates, but 15 years is pretty much the minimum based on their ratings and bond capacity.

 

 

I suspect that there is a bit more to this.  Considering the entire Telephone Fund for the city is $50.756 million in assets, it would be absolutely foolish to spend $180 million to upgrade the system without a long-term contract to repay the debt in place.  Even with that, it is amazing that the city with General Fund revenues of $10 million would be willing to take on that much risk.

 

As far as rates - it's obviously cheaper to borrow money for 15 years vs. 30 (think of your mortgage).

 

Bottom line, I am guessing Sprint is just playing hard ball to get the city to sell the Swiftel at a low price.  Makes sense.

 

The city should just move on.

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I suspect that there is a bit more to this.  Considering the entire Telephone Fund for the city is $50.756 million in assets, it would be absolutely foolish to spend $180 million to upgrade the system without a long-term contract to repay the debt in place.  Even with that, it is amazing that the city with General Fund revenues of $10 million would be willing to take on that much risk.

 

As far as rates - it's obviously cheaper to borrow money for 15 years vs. 30 (think of your mortgage).

 

Bottom line, I am guessing Sprint is just playing hard ball to get the city to sell the Swiftel at a low price.  Makes sense.

 

The city should just move on.

 

Agreed.

 

Robert

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I created an account to jump in this.  I moved to Sioux Falls 6 years ago, and currently am still out here.  Yes, the network is that bad.  Yes, you can have a full data signal and not even know how slow it's running because you'll end with with nothing but "check your data connection" messages.  3G didn't exist out here until Nov of 2009.  At the time it was nice.. pulling 2mpbs or more sometimes for download speeds.  Then it went to hell.

 

Then a few years ago when the original Evo was released you couldn't buy one out here because of a dispute between Swiftel and Sprint (I was able to because my billing address is still Chicago area)  But after a year or something they figured that out.  

 

So now you can have the best phones on Sprint, and experience it on the worst network in the US.  If it weren't for Wifi, and my Airave, my m8 would be worthless. Hell, when my brother comes to visit, he has T Mobile, and in Sioux Falls they only have Edge, and he was able to do more than I was!

I've called to complain many times, but it doesn't help because this isn't my "home" market.  If you talk to Swiftel, you'll either get ignored, or if someone does respond about the network, you're told "6 months to be fixed/upgraded", but they've been saying that now for the past two years.  Hell, it was 3 "6 months" before 3G was even turned on!

 

I wish they could use the Nextel sites out here for Sprint.  When I moved here I had Nextel and my coverage was amazing.  Plus it covered a huge chunk of the state.

And this is why I still use a 3G phone in the year 2014.

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I suspect that there is a bit more to this.  Considering the entire Telephone Fund for the city is $50.756 million in assets, it would be absolutely foolish to spend $180 million to upgrade the system without a long-term contract to repay the debt in place.  Even with that, it is amazing that the city with General Fund revenues of $10 million would be willing to take on that much risk.

 

As far as rates - it's obviously cheaper to borrow money for 15 years vs. 30 (think of your mortgage).

 

Bottom line, I am guessing Sprint is just playing hard ball to get the city to sell the Swiftel at a low price.  Makes sense.

 

The city should just move on.

 

The more I think about the $180M number, I think it's bogus.  It has to be way lower than that for a total network upgrade.  

 

Swiftel only has about 50 sites in their network.  It is one of the smallest Sprint markets of all.  That would be more than $3M per site!  The typical Shentel NV site cost them about $250k all costs to upgrade to NV1.0.  That is taking their total NV costs reported, divided by total number of sites.  For supposition's sake, let's double Shentel's per site number from $250k to $500k for Swiftel.  Even though that is double, they definitely should be able to do it for at least double the cost of Shentel.

 

That would make a total upgrade cost for Swiftel around $25M.  Definitely not chump change.  But a way far cry less than the $180M that was mentioned to me.  Granted, this is still a HUGE number for a city of 12,000 people to pay to upgrade right now.  But it sure makes it seem possible.  And the value of Swiftel is definitely something Sprint can quickly and easily absorb.

 

Masa, make it so!   :D

 

Robert

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The more I think about the $180M number, I think it's bogus.  It has to be way lower than that for a total network upgrade.  

 

Swiftel only has about 50 sites in their network.  It is one of the smallest Sprint markets of all.  That would be more than $3M per site!  The typical Shentel NV site cost them about $250k all costs to upgrade to NV1.0.  That is taking their total NV costs reported, divided by total number of sites.  For supposition's sake, let's double Shentel's per site number from $250k to $500k for Swiftel.  Even though that is double, they definitely should be able to do it for at least double the cost of Shentel.

 

That would make a total upgrade cost for Swiftel around $25M.  Definitely not chump change.  But a way far cry less than the $180M that was mentioned to me.  Granted, this is still a HUGE number for a city of 12,000 people to pay to upgrade right now.  But it sure makes it seem possible.  And the value of Swiftel is definitely something Sprint can quickly and easily absorb.

 

Masa, make it so!   :D

 

Robert

 

 

Good thought.  I suspect that maybe the contract was valued at $180 million?  Maybe something along those lines.  I wish we knew more of what was going on.

 

The telephone fund has about 17 million in cash.  They could definitely start moving towards network vision if they decided to.  Again, definitely seems like Sprint/Swiftel need to work out a long-term agreement.  With the growth that is happening in ND/SD, I am surprised that Sprint isn't just moving towards full build-out of highways and major cities.

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With the growth that is happening in ND/SD, I am surprised that Sprint isn't just moving towards full build-out of highways and major cities.

 

I am starting a new wireless operator in the Dakotas.  It is called Roughneck LTE.

 

AJ

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I am starting a new wireless operator in the Dakotas. It is called Roughneck LTE.

 

AJ

I'd support that if you become a Sprint RRPP member. Heck, you can even call it a more derogatory name if you like. I just want to be able to go back to Sprint service.

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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I'd support that if you become a Sprint RRPP member. Heck, you can even call it a more derogatory name if you like. I just want to be able to go back to Sprint service.

 

Oops, did I say LTE?  I meant Roughneck iDEN.

 

:P

 

AJ

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Oops, did I say LTE? I meant Roughneck iDEN.

 

:P

 

AJ

Man, that's not even funny. Sadist!!

 

:cry:

 

Robert via Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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Oops, did I say LTE?  I meant Roughneck iDEN.

Man, that's not even funny. Sadist!!

 

:cry:

 

 

AJ

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AJ

 You need to get the money shot in AJ, he needs to shoot the luggage!!

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Found this oldie - http://www.brookingsregister.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=76&story_id=5230

 

First piece of local info confirming the contract with Swiftel through mid-2018.  I had Sprint in the late 90's early 2000's when I lived in Brookings, and I remember the call quality always being better than Verizon.  I never had a smartphone on Sprint in Brookings, but it sounds like they have a decent network there.

 

The only real chance of getting a decent network in the Swiftel market is to do what others have said... Sprint just needs to buyout the wireless portion of Swiftel.  I cannot believe Sprint allows their name to be tarnished the way it has in this market.  While it's a relatively small group of people under the Sprint customer base, it's still a very vocal group that has put up with this crap for a long time.  This customer base tells one friend who tells another and one family member tells another.  I know most of my friends and family (many nowhere near the Swiftel market) who won't touch Sprint with a 10 foot pole.

 

I did give Republic Wireless a shot after leaving Sprint and swearing I'd never use Sprint again.  I only did so because at the time I was able to utilize their $10 plan without needing any cellular data (which happens to be Sprint if you get a plan with cellular).  I got a new job which does not have wifi in the building, and went to the $25 plan on Republic.  I was hoping maybe Swiftel at least bandaided the network a little since I left a few months ago.  Nope... same crap, different day.  Can't even go for a run and use Pandora or any streaming music service.  Want to show a friend a funny 30 second YouTube video... make sure they have the afternoon free first.  Want to use "Ok Google" to find the nearest Applebees... sorry Google services aren't available... for the next 40 years.

 

I am on GSM pre-paid now and couldn't be happier.  I have the freedom to switch plans anytime I want, and I have usable data.  I also can't accidentally make a rash decision to choose Sprint or a Sprint MVNO. :)

Edited by saxman

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Swiftel is that bad. :(

 

Robert via Samsung Note 8.0 using Tapatalk Pro

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Swiftel is that bad. :(

 

Robert via Samsung Note 8.0 using Tapatalk Pro

 

Swiftel makes nTelos look good. :blink:

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So I went to Sioux falls Saturday evening and from brookings down to Sioux falls on the interstate I was pulling 1.5 mbps and was able to stream spotify as I drove around the west side of Sioux falls.. It was actually pretty quick... and then on the drive home I took 90 east and up and I got LTE at the border. that made me happy!!

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Take this with a grain of salt, but I had a little conversation with a Sprint representative in an online chat regarding upgrade progress.  While I got no specific time-frame or details on upgrades in the Swiftel market, the representative did a check in Sioux Falls and said the network status shows off-network roaming.  Correct me if I am wrong, but that would be unusual (even this horrid portion of the Sprint network) to have this status.  The only thing that would be logical to me is this means major work is currently underway to the towers here.  Maybe I am being too optimistic. :)  Anyway, it just seems too coincidental that I happen to randomly pick this day to check on updates and the network is showing up as off-network roaming.  Maybe the overwhelmed, outdated tower technology finally got overloaded and took a crap.  Haha.  Now that's really being optimistic.  Then they'd be forced to do something about this broken network.  Anyway, I am hoping maybe the Sprint network will be a viable option in the near future.  I'd love to at least have the option to utilize either Sprint or one of its pre-paid partners again in the future.

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Take this with a grain of salt, but I had a little conversation with a Sprint representative in an online chat regarding upgrade progress. While I got no specific time-frame or details on upgrades in the Swiftel market, the representative did a check in Sioux Falls and said the network status shows off-network roaming. Correct me if I am wrong, but that would be unusual (even this horrid portion of the Sprint network) to have this status. The only thing that would be logical to me is this means major work is currently underway to the towers here. Maybe I am being too optimistic. :) Anyway, it just seems too coincidental that I happen to randomly pick this day to check on updates and the network is showing up as off-network roaming. Maybe the overwhelmed, outdated tower technology finally got overloaded and took a crap. Haha. Now that's really being optimistic. Then they'd be forced to do something about this broken network. Anyway, I am hoping maybe the Sprint network will be a viable option in the near future. I'd love to at least have the option to utilize either Sprint or one of its pre-paid partners again in the future.

I was just in Sioux Falls on Tuesday and was on crappy Swiftel. No roaming. :td:

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I was just in Sioux Falls on Tuesday and was on crappy Swiftel. No roaming. :td:

Yeah.  I'm sure it's the same old song and dance.  The rep said their supervisor was looking at the conversation and said they are looking to make improvements to the entire network .  Not surprisingly, it was the same generic responses as usual.  I actually may just go back to Republic Wireless and do the $10 plan with no cell data.  The only reason I stopped was because my new job does not have public Wifi.  I tried using the $25 plan with 3g data for a while.  Then I decided to try a One Plus One on Cricket.  I hate to admit this, but the cell coverage inside my employer on Sprint is almost better than what I get on Cricket.  Building penetration seems to be better.  I'm guessing it's a tower placement thing and the nearest Sprint tower is closer.  Once Republic gets a new flagship, I'm going to sell the One and go back.

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Well, I am back with Republic Wireless.  I have been enjoying the savings again going with the $10/mo plan.  In the last couple weeks I thought I'd try the $25 plan with 5 gigs of 3g data just to see where Sprint is at in Sioux Falls.

 

I can safely say, the improved speeds I had started to see were likely to many dropping Sprint alleviating the network congestion a little bit.  Over Christmas time, I heard several local promotions for Sprint including the cut your bill in half deal.  I am pretty sure a lot of people fell for it because 3g speeds are back to being as bad or worse as they ever have been.  Speed is consistently below 0.5 kbps.

 

It's amazing how absolutely idiotic and irresponsible it is to push these promotions knowing the network in this area is not up to the task of supporting thousands more users.  Sadly, many probably sign up and it is ok for the first couple weeks and gradually slows down as more users sign up.  By the time the 14 day return period is up... haha, we gotcha!  More suckers stuck for 2 years.  I would go as far to say what they are doing is downright unethical.  They know the network can't handle the demands yet they continue to push the same national promotions that most areas enjoy decent data speeds.

 

I'm really not upset.  I'll go back to enjoying my huge savings on the $10 Republic plan.  It would just be nice to justify switching to the $25 plan once in a while if I travel, but it makes no sense when the data is broken.  I would say over 50% of the activity many smartphone users do involves media such as music or videos.  When the data is BARELY fast enough to support loading web pages, how can anyone expect to have a reasonably good smartphone experience?

 

It is almost comical at this point how bad the Swiftel network really is.  It's too bad real people are being taken by the fact they don't know what they are getting into.  Yes, people have the choice to sign on the dotted line or not, but I think Swiftel needs to be upfront about the data speeds to expect on a regular basis.  Some of the national promotions mention high speed data.  For Swiftel to advertise those same promotions and suggest you'll get the same high speed data as other parts of the country is just plain wrong.

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Over Christmas time, I heard several local promotions for Sprint including the cut your bill in half deal.  I am pretty sure a lot of people fell for it because 3g speeds are back to being as bad or worse as they ever have been.  Speed is consistently below 0.5 kbps.

 

It's amazing how absolutely idiotic and irresponsible it is to push these promotions knowing the network in this area is not up to the task of supporting thousands more users.

 

How do you know that those were "local promotions" and not national advertising purchases?  For example, T-Mobile nationally advertises its nifty services in many places where it has only GSM, roaming coverage, or nothing.

 

Either way, this is a Swiftel issue.  It is in a back burner part of the country, and there is not a lot that Sprint can do about it right now.

 

AJ

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I was in Sioux Falls over the weekend and the Swiftel 3G network did fair. 500kbps-1.5Mbps the whole time. Even AT&T LTE is awful in Sioux Falls. They use two 5MHz channels on B5 and B4. ATT speeds were 500kbps to 4Mbps. Only VZW is any good there.

 

That being said, if a customer signs with Sprint in 2015 and never sees LTE and only poor speeds for 14 days and stays, they only have themselves to blame. Swiftel employees are more than honest when asked and say upgrades are not happening soon.

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

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How do you know that those were "local promotions" and not national advertising purchases?  For example, T-Mobile nationally advertises its nifty services in many places where it has only GSM, roaming coverage, or nothing.

 

Either way, this is a Swiftel issue.  It is in a back burner part of the country, and there is not a lot that Sprint can do about it right now.

 

AJ

I assumed the ads were done locally because they were on the radio with local Sprint (Swiftel) store employees doing the voice-overs.  I suppose Sprint corporate could have funded those ads. That seems counterintuitive though considering they won't fund tower upgrades.  Promoting the crappy network is only going to hurt its customer satisfaction scores.

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I was in Sioux Falls over the weekend and the Swiftel 3G network did fair. 500kbps-1.5Mbps the whole time. Even AT&T LTE is awful in Sioux Falls. They use two 5MHz channels on B5 and B4. ATT speeds were 500kbps to 4Mbps. Only VZW is any good there.

 

That being said, if a customer signs with Sprint in 2015 and never sees LTE and only poor speeds for 14 days and stays, they only have themselves to blame. Swiftel employees are more than honest when asked and say upgrades are not happening soon.

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

What part of Sioux Falls were you in?  It just seems like the speeds are terribly inconsistent in different parts of town.  I agree AT&T isn't the cat's meow either.  While I understand Cricket has capped speeds, my speeds were ok as long as I wasn't indoors.  I thought the frequencies AT&T uses vs Sprint are supposed to be better for building penetration.  In my experiences, it seems to be the opposite in Sioux Falls.  I got zero signal on Cricket inside my employer's building in several spots.  With Sprint, I get anywhere from half to full bars of service on my phone.

 

At least Sprint has one thing going for it here.  The signal strength is consistently good even if the data speeds are not.

Edited by saxman

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What part of Sioux Falls were you in? It just seems like the speeds are terribly inconsistent in different parts of town. I agree AT&T isn't the cat's meow either. While I understand Cricket has capped speeds, my speeds were ok as long as I wasn't indoors. I thought the frequencies AT&T uses vs Sprint are supposed to be better for building penetration. In my experiences, it seems to be the opposite in Sioux Falls. I got zero signal on Cricket inside my employer's building in several spots. With Sprint, I get anywhere from half to full bars of service on my phone.

 

At least Sprint has one thing going for it here. The signal strength is consistently good even if the data speeds are not.

I was at Sanford. But was Downtown, along Louise, Western, 41st and the Mall a lot too. For four days. Along Louise was the worst I saw from Swiftel (ironically near their store). Consistently 500-750kbps. All other places were just under a meg to 1.5Mbps. So I was pretty much in Central, South and West parts of the city. I never went to the North side or outside the 29/229 freeway ring.

 

AT&T was not using better frequencies than Sprint in Minnehaha/Lincoln counties. But they are in the rest of the state. AT&T used to only use B2 (1900MHz) and B4 (1700/2100MHz) for their LTE in Sioux Falls because they do not own 700MHz spectrum there. That created a pretty poor penetrating LTE signal with their tower density. But in this trip I noticed they swapped B2 for B5 (850 MHz). Moving WCDMA from 850MHz and moving it to 1900MHz. So now they have some LTE on a lower frequency causing signal to better propagate. Speeds aren't better, as they both were 5MHz channels. But signal has improved at times the AT&T network allows your device to use B5.

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