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Network Vision/LTE - Shentel Market (Shenandoah Valley/Hagerstown/Harrisburg)

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Harrisonburg, va458fae963c84ad075e52f3795637b526.jpg

 

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That's a different tower than I picked up a couple weeks ago, so there's at least 2 now. The GCI that I picked up started 0FF660. Good to see that it's spreading.

 

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That's a different tower than I picked up a couple weeks ago, so there's at least 2 now. The GCI that I picked up started 0FF660. Good to see that it's spreading.

 

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There are at least 17 0FF sites live in my logs. :D

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It'll be interesting to hear what they say at their next earnings call about their B41 deployment. So far I haven't seen any in Shenandoah Co (VA), but the last I read, there wasn't any available spectrum here. Hopefully that changes with the ntelos deal, because in the towns, especially Woodstock and Strasburg, speeds slow down a good bit during peak times, even with 20 Mhz of spectrum already deployed on most towers in the more populated areas (15 Mhz total B25 and 5 Mhz B26).

 

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About time

Some of the comments Shentel made in their last conference call were give aways on the progress Sprint is making.

 

https://np.reddit.com/r/Sprint/comments/4exsw4/fcc_filing_shentel_and_sprint_outline_commitments/d24eix1

 

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They reiterated that they are working on Sprint to resolve 'edge' issues on today's earnings call. They expect to take control of Ntelos on May 6th with the following day as the launch of the newly enlarged 'Shentel.' When they mentioned 'expanding their footprint' I wonder if they are trying to go after Western Loudon county where Sprint is notoriously weak. Maybe State Road 15 could be the new border between Gainesville and Mt. Weather.

 

Anyways, I do love quarterly investor calls.

 

http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/az6idktr

 


David Dixon

I wanted to switch across to an update if you could, on the progress of improvements in the network coverage around your network cage. I think that’s one of the things that has been a challenge in the past. It’s just those gateways in and out of the region. What's been happening on that front?

Earle MacKenzie

Things are continuing to improve but not nearly as fast as we would like them to. I mean what is [indiscernible], your comments on is that Sprint has done a lot of work and has improved a number of their markets. But they are still focusing primarily on the inside of the [beltway] [ph] area. Although we continue to work with them and focus on areas where we have particularly weak hand off areas. But as we have talked about before, we have had discussions and continue to have discussions with Sprint about expanding our footprint and we are hoping that maybe some of those areas get addressed by expanding our footprint rather than waiting for Sprint to build.

David Dixon

And so on that point, how are the discussions going with Sprint now? They have a new team in place now dedicated to working with rural partners on opportunities to built together or do some more deals that could increase your scale. Have you seen any signs of that starting to kick off in terms of discussions specifically with Shentel or is that perhaps a little early?

Earle MacKenzie

We are having some preliminary discussions but I think all of us decided we needed to get through this closing before we opened a new round of discussions. But we have had informal discussions about it and I am optimistic that we will be able to do something fruitful for Shentel and for Sprint.

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Nice post grapkoski...Shentel is well run and has strong financials, I think Sprint should give them as much as they can handle! Central PA clear through Central VA...to start

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I know people have been grumbling in the Shentel market that their data speeds have been slowing down signifcantly over the past 1-1.5 years, and after looking over the slides from Shentel's most recent quarterly presentation it contains some interesting supporting data.

 

Here are some of my takeaways (excuse my early morning math):

 

  • 62% of their LTE data is on 1900 MHz which supports the slow data speeds being reported.  
  • 61 sites (11% of their network) have 2.5 GHz deployed which are generating 5% of their network traffic.  
    • I'm struggling on what conclusions to draw from this stat.  It appears that there are a lot of devices in their area which have been upgraded to tri-band which bodes well for balancing data across all three bands as 2.5 is deployed.  I think it also is indicative of a good network balancing approach.  Any ideas on what the "ideal" proportion of traffic across the bands Sprint is looking to have?

 

 

556 Cell Sites

 95% have a second LTE carrier at 800 MHz 

 193 sites have three carriers, including a second carrier at 1900 MHz

 61 2.5 GHz sites

 

 Traffic

 92% of data traffic is on LTE, with 30% on 800 MHz, 5% on 2.5GHz

 Data usage grew 19% in Q1’16

 Average speeds of approximately 5 Mbps

 Average customer uses approximately 5 GB per month

 Dropped calls - 0.4%

 Blocked calls - 0.3%

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I know people have been grumbling in the Shentel market that their data speeds have been slowing down signifcantly over the past 1-1.5 years, and after looking over the slides from Shentel's most recent quarterly presentation it contains some interesting supporting data.

 

Here are some of my takeaways (excuse my early morning math):

 

  • 62% of their LTE data is on 1900 MHz which supports the slow data speeds being reported.  
  • 61 sites (11% of their network) have 2.5 GHz deployed which are generating 5% of their network traffic.
    • I'm struggling on what conclusions to draw from this stat.  It appears that there are a lot of devices in their area which have been upgraded to tri-band which bodes well for balancing data across all three bands as 2.5 is deployed.  I think it also is indicative of a good network balancing approach.  Any ideas on what the "ideal" proportion of traffic across the bands Sprint is looking to have?

 

 

556 Cell Sites

 95% have a second LTE carrier at 800 MHz 

 193 sites have three carriers, including a second carrier at 1900 MHz

 61 2.5 GHz sites

 

 Traffic

 92% of data traffic is on LTE, with 30% on 800 MHz, 5% on 2.5GHz

 Data usage grew 19% in Q1’16

 Average speeds of approximately 5 Mbps

 Average customer uses approximately 5 GB per month

 Dropped calls - 0.4%

 Blocked calls - 0.3%

 

 

I think Sprint at the very least would like to have those bands switch places.

More like 62% on 2.5 GHz, 30% on 1.9 GHz and 5% on 800 MHz. 

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I think Sprint at the very least would like to have those bands switch places.

More like 62% on 2.5 GHz, 30% on 1.9 GHz and 5% on 800 MHz. 

They have to keep minimal traffic on 800 because if you are on 800, it is the one and only last resort for service.

They want as much traffic on 2500 as possible because they have loads of capacity there.

1900 is used to handle the the traffic that 2500 can not handle.  2500 works great for people that are close to a cell site. If you are a little further away or in a tough old building, 1900 takes over.

800 is reserved for the traffic that can not be handled by 2500 or 1900.

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They have to keep minimal traffic on 800 because if you are on 800, it is the one and only last resort for service.

They want as much traffic on 2500 as possible because they have loads of capacity there.

1900 is used to handle the the traffic that 2500 can not handle.  2500 works great for people that are close to a cell site. If you are a little further away or in a tough old building, 1900 takes over.

800 is reserved for the traffic that can not be handled by 2500 or 1900.

 

It makes me wonder what the "acceptable" and/or "ideal" site usage (mean and peak utilization) is for Sprint and how that impacts the implementation of a new site to offload a overloaded site.

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Shentel really needs to upgrade backhaul to the towers in hanover. They have 2500 dual carrier and a speedtest yeilds download speeds less then 3mbps and uploads around 18. Ping is always 250ms or above. Tests done on a lg g5

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Shentel really needs to upgrade backhaul to the towers in hanover. They have 2500 dual carrier and a speedtest yeilds download speeds less then 3mbps and uploads around 18. Ping is always 250ms or above. Tests done on a lg g5

Totally agree. I was in Virginia yesterday and there was dual B41 and I couldn't break 10mbps. iPhone 6S.

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I know people have been grumbling in the Shentel market that their data speeds have been slowing down signifcantly over the past 1-1.5 years, and after looking over the slides from Shentel's most recent quarterly presentation it contains some interesting supporting data.

 

Here are some of my takeaways (excuse my early morning math):

 

  • 62% of their LTE data is on 1900 MHz which supports the slow data speeds being reported.
  • 61 sites (11% of their network) have 2.5 GHz deployed which are generating 5% of their network traffic.

  • I'm struggling on what conclusions to draw from this stat. It appears that there are a lot of devices in their area which have been upgraded to tri-band which bodes well for balancing data across all three bands as 2.5 is deployed. I think it also is indicative of a good network balancing approach. Any ideas on what the "ideal" proportion of traffic across the bands Sprint is looking to have?

 

556 Cell Sites

 95% have a second LTE carrier at 800 MHz

 193 sites have three carriers, including a second carrier at 1900 MHz

 61 2.5 GHz sites

 

 Traffic

 92% of data traffic is on LTE, with 30% on 800 MHz, 5% on 2.5GHz

 Data usage grew 19% in Q1’16

 Average speeds of approximately 5 Mbps

 Average customer uses approximately 5 GB per month

 Dropped calls - 0.4%

 Blocked calls - 0.3%

Well I guess it's nice to see why I have such a terrible time when I go to York vs when I'm in Lancaster...

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Full disclosure but I'm a Shentel supporter for years and think that their management has an excellent track record for network deployments.  So while I fully acknowledge, and not trying to be apologetic for their performance, I think some items have to be rationally and realistically considered.

 

 

1) They deployed 1900 throughout their entire market much faster than Sprint or any of its contractors across the US.  And once they were granted access to 800 for LTE they did the same thing.

 

 

2) Assuming that in the most recent quarterly report (3/31/2016) where they reported that they had deployed 61 sites with 2.5, that they did not consider any existing clearwire sites (~75 in the York and Harrisburg markets) that may or may not have had any 2.5 gear on them, then they deployed 8T8R on a site every 3.8 days*.  In my opinion that seems like a pretty good pace.

 

*Based on the press release of the NTelos merger and amended network agreement giving them access to 2.5 announced on 8/10/2015 through 3/31/2016.  Approximately 234 days which includes the winter months.

 

3) Looking at their planned capital expenditures budget for 2016 they have allocated $148.7 million which covers their deployment of 2.5 and also updating Ntelos’s network throughout Virginia and WV.

 

 

Not trying to be a Shentel (or Sprint) apologist but I’m optimistic and excited to see the network improve especially with the expanded coverage in WV.

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3) Another broad assumption, but if they were to deploy 2.5 on each of their remaining 495 sites (556-61) at a pace of one every 3.8 days then they should be completed by 8/7/2016.  Do I expect deploy 2.5 to all sites and be done by 8/7/2016?  Absolutely not, but am I confident that the network situation for users in their most congested markets will significantly improve with each passing day then the answer is yes.

 

 

 

I think your math is a tiiiiiiiny bit off there. 495 sites at a pace of 1 site every 3.8 days amounts to 1881 days to complete which would mean they would finish on June 27, 2021.  :blink: I certainly hope to God it doesn't take them that long, although I'm positive it won't.

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I think your math is a tiiiiiiiny bit off there. 495 sites at a pace of 1 site every 3.8 days amounts to 1881 days to complete which would mean they would finish on June 27, 2021.  :blink: I certainly hope to God it doesn't take them that long, although I'm positive it won't.

Good catch.  I had actually written out the post and then the computer crashed so in my haste (and frustration) to rewrite the post I screwed up the math.  However, I think my general point still stands that I think things will be significantly better before the year is over.

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ShenTel territory Hagerstown.

82adf0f9ab5b08c4f9b13eafeab9e4e2.jpg

 

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Wasn't their last report they were at 4Mbps?  So a 25% increase at least, lol.

 

Anyways, 95% of sites have at least 10x10MHz, and 35% have at least 15x15MHz with the second PCS carrier.

 

I think most of Shentel/nTelos footprint has 50MHz of PCS.  It would seem that B41 deployment could be pretty minimal.

 

Also, what is going to happen to nTelos AWS?

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Wasn't their last report they were at 4Mbps? So a 25% increase at least, lol.

 

 

Also, what is going to happen to nTelos AWS?

Sold.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X

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I picked up B41 today from Northern WV on I-81 to mile marker 10ish on I-81 in PA. I would guess it's about a 25 mile stretch. It was good to see Shentel doing these upgrades. I also picked up some B41 in Harrisburg, PA, which I don't think is new, but it's good to see progress.

 

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I picked up B41 today from Northern WV on I-81 to mile marker 10ish on I-81 in PA. I would guess it's about a 25 mile stretch. It was good to see Shentel doing these upgrades. I also picked up some B41 in Harrisburg, PA, which I don't think is new, but it's good to see progress.

 

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Yep, Starting in WV, at the Maryland Line, Falling Waters exit.   Most Sites in Hagerstown are Upgraded to B-41. A few still remain to be completed.  What I have been encountering in Hagerstown is slow speed on B-41.  Looks like it went active without adequate back-haul.   Band 25 and Band 26 were slow before the band 41 upgrade.  Unless they added back-haul, it would make sense that Band 41 would be slow too.  I do not see the super-fast speed in Hagerstown like we see some other places. 

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Well, it's not at fast as Lancaster, but it's cool to finally see some B41. This was on East market street in York bfe8ce8d4f9e704dfccc9a07fd79ccdd.jpg

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