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  1. 70 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, November 11, 2013 - 11:55 PM MST S4GRU Staff and Members have been anxiously waiting for over a year for smartphones that would support all three of Sprint’s LTE bands. Since April 2012, Sprint LTE devices have been limited to only one band. Band 25 (1900MHz in the PCS Band). Subsequently, Sprint closed down the Nextel network and picked up another LTE band (Band 26). Also, Sprint purchased Clearwire and picked up another LTE band that they had started to use (Band 41). So Sprint now has use of three LTE bands which will allow it to provide more capacity, better maximum LTE speeds and coverage. With now three LTE bands, Sprint needs Triband LTE phones. S4GRU and our members really became excited in Mid 2013 when we learned through sources that the first Triband LTE smartphones would be out in late September. Shortly after that, we learned that the upcoming LG G2 would be able to support all three Sprint LTE bands via FCC reports. Rejoicing and happy tears filled all of us wireless nerds in anticipation of the first Sprint Triband LTE devices. Then we learned through a source that Sprint Triband LTE devices would not support SVLTE (Simultaneous Voice and LTE). To some this was a setback, but the hard core wireless enthusiast was not distracted. We all wanted Triband LTE at any cost. Besides, nerds don’t spend much time on the phone talking with people. We waited and waited, but nothing released. A few more Triband LTE devices came through the FCC, including the Nexus 5, Samsung Mega 6.3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Then we found out that the Sprint versions of these device would not launch at the same time as their competitor counterparts. Many of our members were screaming about the delays. And we knew there had to be good reason. We just didn’t know what. The dam finally broke with Google’s release of the Nexus 5 on Halloween. And Sprint finally broke down and released the LG G2 about a week later. S4GRU and dozens of our core members quickly got their hands on their new Triband Nexus 5’s and G2’s and all was happy. For a few minutes. Until they tried to use Sprint’s LTE network where they used to on previous LTE devices. Some of our members reported that both the G2 and N5 had extremely strong LTE signals in Band 25. The best they have ever encountered. However, there was a very vocal group who were reporting that they could not stay connected to LTE for more than a few seconds. Something was very wrong. We tried to troubleshoot and figure out the problem with our members. But there were no clear common denominators among the problems that we could ascertain. We could not figure it out. And then we received heads up from internal memos within Sprint as to the problem. Sprint Triband LTE devices use Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network. Sprint Triband LTE phones dropped SVLTE for eCSFB/CSFB Up until these new Triband devices, previous Sprint LTE devices supported simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE). It could do so with two separate transmission paths from the antennas to the chipset. Voice/texting could run via 1xRTT on one transmission path. LTE could run a separate path, allowing data and voice to be used simultaneously. In contrast, Sprint Triband LTE devices do not support two separate transmission paths. They have one path, shared by voice/SMS and data. We were alerted to this months in advance. However, we did not realize that the network would have to run on Circuit Switched Fallback in order for this to work and what the ramifications of this would be. S4GRU was told by a source this past summer that Sprint and the OEM’s came to the conclusion that these new Triband LTE devices could not use SVLTE in the conventional way they used to, and it would require a lot of engineering, testing and cost to even attempt such a design change. It was decided to release Triband LTE devices without SVLTE. It may seem that the only drawback for doing that is Sprint Triband LTE devices would not be able to run simultaneous LTE data while on a phone call or when actively transmitting a text. But there is another. And it’s why many early adopters of these new Triband LTE smartphones no longer are being able to connect to Sprint LTE in many places that they used to. How it works In previous Sprint LTE phones, when a device was in Sprint LTE coverage it would park in both the LTE and CDMA Sprint networks at the same time. When a voice call came in, it would just go straight through to the device. And signal to the LTE network would be maintained the whole time while the call was active. In contrast, a Sprint Triband LTE device can only stay on one technology at a time. CDMA or LTE, not both. So when a Sprint LTE Triband device is in Sprint LTE coverage it parks only in LTE. And doing so means it cannot transmit calls without Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network side. CSFB and eCSFB (Enhanced Circuit Switched Fallback) are network controls that will allow a single mode/single path network to operate in two modes, both CDMA and LTE. Here is how it works in the simplest way I can describe. When your Triband LTE device has an LTE signal, it cannot receive or make calls on its own. It is just using LTE data happily. However, what if someone calls you? How does it get through the CDMA network to your device? Via CSFB. When the Sprint network tries to forward a call to your device but cannot see it via CDMA, it then checks for an LTE connection to your device. If it sees one, it tells your device to disconnect from LTE for a moment and reconnect to CDMA. Your device then jumps over to take the call on Sprint CDMA and the LTE session is interrupted. This happens very fast and seamlessly. Except for the loss of data availability. If you receive a text, the Sprint network is able to route it to your device via LTE. Circuit Switched Fallback is a great solution to the issue of Sprint Triband LTE smartphones. But the problem here is that the Sprint network is being upgraded in Network Vision, and not all Sprint parts of the Sprint network can currently support CSFB. And it affects all Sprint Triband LTE phones, not just the Nexus 5 and LG G2. Why it’s not working and impacting LTE in some places As everyone reading this article probably knows, Sprint is in the middle of a network modernization program nationwide called Network Vision. It upgrades every piece of network hardware, site equipment, radios, software and network backhaul to every one of Sprint’s nearly 40,000 CDMA sites. And much of Sprint’s legacy network either doesn’t support Circuit Switched Fallback or doesn’t support it in cases where the legacy network equipment is by a different manufacturer than the new Network Vision equipment. The problem that these early adopters of Sprint Triband LTE devices are encountering is that when their phones connect to the Sprint network they try to connect to LTE. And when it cannot see the CDMA network through CSFB, it then reverts back to Sprint CDMA and stays there. It does this in order to preserve device connectivity for the user to Sprint voice capability. When forcing these devices into LTE Only mode, the LTE works very well ruling out a device problem. They just are unable to use LTE in default mode without being able to have access to CSFB on the Sprint network. How and when is this problem going away? The good news is that most of the Sprint network is capable of supporting CSFB in some form or another now. Some markets are not having any problems at all, like Ft. Wayne/South Bend, Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, most of Chicago and Indianapolis. eCSFB is complete or very close to complete in these markets. Upgrades to the Sprint network are being handled nationwide by three different OEM’s. Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson. They are in various stages of deployment and are currently impacted differently by region. In places where CSFB is in place and operational, there are no problems with using LTE on a Sprint Triband device. And Sprint and their OEM’s are scrambling to get CSFB operational in all the other places. Some of the existing networks are capable of supporting CSFB and Sprint is working to get software upgrades in place for these networks to get it operational on them. However, some of the Sprint network has unsupported equipment from Motorola and these cannot be upgraded and will need to be replaced with their new Network Vision equipment to allow LTE and voice to work together via CSFB. Currently, just over 60% of Sprint sites have their sites upgraded to new Network Vision 3G standards which allow Circuit Switched Fallback capability. However, not all 60% of these sites are currently allowing LTE to work on a Triband device. These all should be capable of using LTE on a Triband device now, or in the next few weeks. Many of these markets will need to have their MSC Switch Center’s software upgraded too for CSFB to work. Beyond this, Sprint also has another 10% of their sites that have LTE operational but not the 3G upgrades that support CSFB. These 3,000 sites currently have Sprint LTE live, but it cannot be used by Triband devices without CSFB active. But there is hope for these locations. These sites do already have all the hardware needed to install upgraded 3G that will work with CSFB on the network. Sprint is scrambling with their OEM’s to get 3G up and running on these sites as soon as possible. Many have been upgraded recently and they will continue to be upgraded over the next weeks and months. I was told by an unnamed Sprint source that half of these will be CSFB capable in a month and the other half will be between 2-3 months additional beyond that. Sprint should be in a position that in the next 3 months that their entire LTE network will be CSFB capable and this will go away. As each site gets CSFB capable, Sprint LTE Triband device owners will be able to connect to LTE. And some S4GRU Members have already experienced this and are now reporting some sites reappearing to be used by their Triband LTE devices. This is likely do to a recent enabling of CSFB at the connected site. What about the last 30%? The last 30% of the Sprint network is not currently affected by this problem because they have yet to be upgraded with Network Vision or LTE. These sites are in various stages of being upgraded. In internal correspondence, Sprint says they will now take into account CSFB availability before launching new markets. Network Vision deployment will continue as normal, but OEM’s will now try to launch LTE and CDMA upgrades together at each site whenever possible and install CSFB capability at the network level for all the remaining sites. In cases where they cannot happen together, Sprint will continue to allow the LTE site to go live. But the site will only be discoverable initially to Sprint SVLTE devices. But by the time Sprint is ready to launch the whole market, CSFB will need to be operating before they issue the Press Release so customer expectations are met for all LTE device holders. Conclusion The bottom line here is that there are thousands of Sprint Triband LTE early adopters that are currently not able to connect to LTE sites that do not have a CDMA network connection that support Circuit Switched Fallback. But the problem is temporary, and improvements will go live every day around the nation reducing the number of affected sites. It will get better and better every day. However, we do not know how different markets will fare and when. It will be highly variable. There are many advantages of being an early adopter. However in this instance, for those who are very dependent on their new found Sprint LTE service, this may be too big of a burden to bear. These folks will need to use a Sprint single LTE band device until CSFB is working in their area or, as some have threatened, use another wireless carrier. At S4GRU, we believe that knowledge is power. This is the explanation of what’s going on, and what is being done about it. Now use the info to determine what’s best for you. Most of our members will likely just endure it and then reap the rewards once CSFB can be brought online in their area. A parting point in all this is Sprint is promising some advantages to a single transmission path with Circuit Switched Fallback. Sprint says in their memo that Sprint Triband LTE devices with CSFB will have improved battery life and better edge of cell radio performance. We’ll be glad to enjoy those benefits when they are fully realized. EDIT: Since the initial publishing of this article, it was discovered that Triband LTE devices were capable of sending/receiving texts via LTE. It is only voice calls that require Triband LTE devices to shunt back to the CDMA network via CSFB. The article has been edited to make this clarification. Initial LTE devices were data only (like USB dongles and MiFis), then LTE devices with voice/text services use either SVLTE or CSFB. Finally, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be enabled in the coming years that will allow simultaneous voice and data without need of falling back to 3G/CDMA networks. But VoLTE is still at least 18 months or more from being instituted on a large scale. Sprint Internal Memo regarding Circuit Switched Fallback issues:
  2. 31 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 5:33 PM MDT About a month ago, our FCC OET reporter, Josh McDaniel, noted that a mystery handset, the LG D820, came and went from the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology). Its authorizations were uploaded, then quickly rescinded, citing confidentiality reasons. Well, today, the LG D820 authorization documents are back. And we are looking at a 3GPP/3GPP2 handset that runs nearly the full North American wireless airlink gamut: GSM 850/1900 W-CDMA 1900/2100+1700/850 (band 2, 4, 5) CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800 (band class 0, 1, 10) LTE 2100+1700/850/700/1900/800 (band 4, 5, 17, 25, 26) TD-LTE 2600 (band 41) The only notable omission is LTE 750, VZW's currently boutique band 13 -- possibly left out for political reasons, since VZW has a strained relationship with Nexus devices, or for technical reasons, as band 13 has an inverted FDD uplink/downlink duplex. But in a nutshell, this handset looks like it could be headed to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, covering all of their bases. Here is the kicker, though. One of our moderators, Tim Yu, noted a significant resemblance between the back plate in the FCC OET filing and the back plate of a mystery Nexus device in a widely circulated photo recently from the Google campus. So, you be the judge. Based on the specs and pics, does the the LG D820 look like it could be the upcoming Nexus 5??? More to come... Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4366-lg-d820-google-nexus-5/
  3. 28 points
    by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, January 25, 2016 - 8:30 AM MST For the past year, Sprint has commented a lot about its coming "Next Generation Network" deployment that aims to improve greatly Sprint's network capacity and coverage. Much of that speculation has been over how Sprint intends to feed backhaul to the "tens of thousands" of small cells it plans to deploy -- given Sprint's past history on getting backhaul delivered to its own macro cell sites as part of Network Vision. Last summer, Sprint began talking up its "treasure trove" of 2.5 GHz spectrum as wireless backhaul for its small cells. Many speculated on exactly how this would be done -- with some online netizens theorizing Sprint actually would use part of its 2.5 GHz spectrum in a setup like microwave backhaul. So, how exactly is Sprint going to use its 2.5 GHz spectrum as backhaul? The answer is a simple yet not often spoken about LTE Advanced technology: LTE UE Relay Over the past half a year, S4GRU staff repeatedly were told by Sprint employees that 2.5 GHz was going to be used as wireless backhaul. But there was not a lot of explanation on the technical side on how Sprint would accomplish that. That is until we discovered exactly what it was on a document sent to us almost a year ago that described several then ongoing projects being tested internally by Sprint. LTE UE Relay is a fairly recent technology introduced in 3GPP Release 10. Courtesy of a Nokia Siemens Networks white paper on the topic of LTE Relay, the following is a well made depiction of a network utilizing relay nodes in action. So, how does LTE UE Relay work? A way to think of a Relay Node or LTE UE Relay (i.e. a small cell using 2.5 GHz as backhaul) is as a cell repeater. Yet, there is a significant difference in how a relay node and a repeater operate. Whereas a repeater increases coverage simply by amplifying a specific frequency range -- including all accompanying noise and interference -- a relay node demodulates and remodulates the signal, then transmits its own signal. To put it in simple terms, one can think of a relay node being something akin to a Wi-Fi hotspot utilizing the LTE network for its data connection-- except in this case, the relay node is not transmitting a Wi-Fi signal but an LTE signal. Thus, wherever there is even a speck of Band 41 coverage available, Sprint can plop down a relay node and use the existing LTE signal as backhaul for a small cell unit to increase local area coverage and capacity. This is because the small cell unit transmits a crisp, clean, new LTE signal in the area it is designed to cover, and UEs in that area would connect to this stronger signal. As per the above image, an LTE Relay setup is quick to deploy and provides both an immediate impact on the local network and increased coverage/capacity for all compatible UEs in its coverage area -- without the need to wait for traditional backhaul, which could takes many weeks or months and be dependent on variables outside of Sprint's control. But what about downsides of using LTE UE Relay as a backhaul setup? For one, the speed of the LTE signal that is transmitted by the relay nodes is only as fast as that of the donor site -- be it a relay node (relay nodes can be serially chained), a fiber or microwave backhaul fed small cell, or a macro cell. If there is heavy congestion on the donor site sector, then the relay will also be just as "fast" as the connections that other UEs on the donor sector get. So, if the LTE carriers on the donor site is congested and running say 2-3 Mbps, connections to the relay node would go as fast as that. Another potential issue is that a relay node may expand coverage into a hugely populated area with high load demands and by itself congest the LTE carrier that is providing the backhaul connection to the site. Even though the LTE carrier from the donor site could be running well at 20-30 Mbps speeds originally, the extra loading from the relay node could be just enough to congest that entire sector. In such a case, using a relay may be problematic, and it might be better instead to utilize more traditional backhaul like fiber, Ethernet, or microwave. So, what is the point of writing all that? Recently, an attentive S4GRU member discovered a post on LinkedIn, and an attached image caught the attention of S4GRU staff. Image Credit: Omar Masry It is not that it is a small cell setup that caught our eye but that subsequent comments noted there were no fiber connections at all, it utilizes a Nokia Flexi Zone pico cell, and it resides in the Boston, MA region. Among the major operators in the US, there are only two users of Nokia Networks equipment: Sprint and T-Mobile. T-Mobile only recently has commenced talk about deploying small cells of such type. To deploy a small cell without traditional fiber backhaul while utilzing a relay antenna and not even talk about it would be a departure for T-Mobile, which is known for issuing many press releases on new LTE Advanced technologies being implemented on its network. Furthermore, the Northeast is an Ericsson vendor region for T-Mobile. Nokia has no business doing anything there, leaving the other potential user as Sprint. There was some speculation on why Nokia would be deploying their LTE Band 41 small cell equipment in an Alcatel-Lucent vendor region -- considering Alcatel-Lucent and its partner AirSpan have their own Band 41 equipment designs. But Sprint has said that the deployment would be unconventional and utilize non traditional methods of deployment, so this must have been part of that strategy. Nokia Networks also is in the process of acquiring Alcatel-Lucent. That may be a factor but is a topic for another day. [Edit: Nokia has completed their purchase of Alcatel-Lucent so mystery solved.] What was discovered is that Mobilitie has been applying for permits to deploy wooden poles in Salem, MA and presumably other cities as part of the Next Generation Network small cell densification project. The ever watchful eyes of an S4GRU Ohio based sponsor group member base quickly went to work and discovered an application by Mobilitie that gives a full rundown of what exactly the company seeks to install. Note the permit application engineering details and the pictures from the LinkedIn post. See the similarities? In addition to the near exact matching of details from the proposed setup in the filing and the pictures in the LinkedIn post, the application by Mobilitie, which is widely rumored to be Sprint's primary small cell deployment partner, also provided a site cascade ID: BS90XS933. As per S4GRU sponsor maps detailing nearly all of Sprint's macro sites across the nation, here are a few examples of Sprint macro cell cascade IDs in the Boston market: BS03XC063, BS23XC461, BS60XC325. Gee whiz! I wonder for whom Mobilitie could be deploying these wooden poles and smell cell setups. Here is the LinkedIn image labeled according to details found in the application by Mobilitie. As with everything Sprint does, this relay technology is not one magical fix it all for Sprint's network. Sprint has much to do to continue to improve its network and brand image. LTE UE Relay is a very new technology not without its cons. Yet, it is an interesting direction Sprint is going with regards to backhaul to the projected tens of thousands of small cells deployed as part of the Next Generation Network. Of course, what is more important than the theoretical talk is the discovery above of practical setup and engineering documentation. There is solid proof now that Sprint has started at least one portion of the long awaited and much talked about Next Generation Network deployment. So, keep an eye out for such local permit applications by Mobilitie and potentially other unnamed partners, and observe your surrounding environments. One or more such small cell setups just may pop up near you without warning soon... Sources for tech talk: 1, 2, 3
  4. 27 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 1:13 AM MST Often you may see us refer to a GMO site around S4GRU. But, what is a GMO site? GMO stands for Ground Mount Option. Or sometimes, it will be referred to as a GMR (Ground Mount RRU) site. In this article we will explain many points about the Ground Mount Option. In the most basic explanation, a Ground Mount site is one where they are doing a partial Network Vision conversion instead of a full build conversion. A full build site is one where they upgrade all the hardware at a site, including the base station equipment (RBS/MBS), install new multi-mode antenna panels on the tower, add Remote Radio Units (RRU’s, sometimes also called RRH’s), and run new fiber optic lines from the base station equipment up to the RRU’s on the tower. These are the ones most people who follow along Network Vision deployment are familiar with. However, a GMO site will install new base station equipment, with the RRU’s mounted down at the Ground Level, near the new base station cabinets. Then the existing lines running up the tower and the existing panels are reused. These are not to be confused with full build sites with Ground Mounted RRU’s. Those are not Ground Mount Option sites, because they still offer full Network Vision panels, and complete 800MHz and LTE services (where possible). They just are required to mount the RRU’s away from the panels for logistical reasons. How did Sprint determine which sites were to receive the Ground Mount Option instead of a full Network Vision rebuild? I have had the privilege of talking with several Sprint and OEM employees about the Ground Mount Option the past few weeks. Every one of the 38,000+ Sprint sites in the country had a site survey visit in 2011 to establish logistics and planning for the Network Vision upgrade. Each site is broken down to three priorities, largely based on the traffic and carrier count. See the priorities below: High Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If site cannot support RRU's and new panels, engineering is done and structure modifications will be made and the site is fully upgraded. Moderate Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If the site requires minor modifications to support RRU's and NV panels, then it gets fully upgraded. If it requires major attention with full engineering, then a ground mount solution is implemented. Low Priority...low priority sites only get a full NV upgrade with new NV panels and tower mounted RRU's if no structural modification is necessary. If anything is required at a low priority site, the Ground Mount Option is deployed. Also, some low capacity/low priority sites get GMO installs, no matter if the site can support a full install now. At the site survey time back in 2011, each survey team made a judgment call based on their review of the site whether to go full build or GMO, taking into account the priority. And there are anomalies that just do not make any sense. Some markets have no GMO sites at all. And some markets have all GMO sites, like Western Pennsylvania. Also, some site owners will not allow NV full build for various reasons. In these instances, a Ground Mount Option was selected. What are the advantages of a Ground Mount site? The biggest advantage of a GMO site is these sites are being worked on now and getting Network Vision benefits in the middle of the NV program, instead of at the end of the build out. Many 3rd Round Markets have started earlier because of GMO conversions. 1st and 2nd round markets have mostly full build sites with only a few GMO’s, or none at all. This allows some love for customers that would have been pushed off to the very end of Network Vision to see some improvements now. GMO sites are much faster to deploy with no tower work required. Most GMO sites will require minimal permitting from local authorities, or often no permitting at all. Also, GMO's require less negotiation with the site owner, as it does not materially change the site. GMO site conversions are already under way all around the country, and all of them should be completed before the end of this Summer. There are already 100’s of them with 3G upgrades in place. Ground Mount Option sites also will bring LTE much sooner at many locations. Because LTE 1900 can be run on most GMO sites if the appropriate backhaul is available and Sprint has the OEM install the appropriate number of RRU’s or RRU type. The first LTE capable GMO’s are coming online now. Alcatel Lucent has two live, one in New Bern, North Carolina and another one in the Shentel market in South Central Pennsylvania. Samsung has one live in Dayton, Minnesota. This is just the beginning. What are the cons of a Ground Mount Option site? There are a few. The first con with the Ground Mount Option, is there will not be any 800MHz service deployed. Sprint is in the process of adding CDMA 800 voice service to full build Network Vision sites. Sprint will also begin deploying LTE 800 service to full build NV sites before the end of 2013. However, GMO sites cannot support 800MHz service, as the existing tower mounted panels do not support 800MHz. In some rural areas, this is a big disappointment as customers have been waiting for 800 MHz signal propagation benefits in the boonies (like me). The second issue, is the availability of LTE. All full build sites get LTE, but some GMO sites will not be getting LTE deployments. Most GMO sites can support LTE through existing panels, so long as there are not too many CDMA carriers installed. However, some higher capacity GMO sites will not get LTE. Also, some of the most backhaul challenged sites in the Sprint network are GMO sites. They will not get LTE initially because Sprint is unable to get sufficient backhaul to the site to support LTE performance requirements, or in some instances Sprint does not want to go through the difficulty of equipping some sites that are a low priority. The last negative detriment of a GMO site is signal propagation benefits of panel mounted RRU’s. A Network Vision full build site with panel mounted RRU’s can achieve up to a 20% signal gain at 1900MHz. However, the full 20% is only realized at very tall boomer sites with little downtilt. Most sites get more like a 5% signal increase. And these GMO’s will not get that extra signal benefit. Are Ground Mount Options this way forever? Furthermore, at sites where the GMO is implemented, supposedly they will come back at the end of NV and do the engineering and structural modifications. At that time 800 service will be added when the new panels are installed, as well as LTE to sites that can secure appropriate backhaul. I have heard that in some instances (maybe a few hundred), they are using GMO's where they could not come to an agreement with the site owner. Whether financial agreement or logistical/structural. In those instances, Sprint is identifying other adjacent sites that they may move the site to at the end of NV. If no other options can be achieved, it may permanently stay a GMO and never have NV panels and 800 service. My understanding has grown tenfold in the past 2 weeks between talking to the Ericsson tech that's been on site and a long conversation I had with an OEM deployment manager. The most recent conversation I had, the source said they recently heard that more funding is being identified that could go ahead and do more work with GMO sites. Which may include converting them to full builds earlier, or at least changing out legacy panels to NV panels to add support for 800MHz. Differences between vendors Not all GMO sites are the same. Sprint is using three different vendors to deploy Network Vision. Ericsson, Samsung and Alcatel Lucent. Each of these three OEM’s have their own proprietary equipment. Different base station equipment and different RRU’s. Samsung has two types of RRU’s. 800MHz and 1900 MHz RRU’s. Each of the two Samsung RRU types can do both CDMA and LTE from the same unit, supporting up to four carriers each. At a Samsung GMO site, only one RRU is needed per sector, as the RRU can do LTE and CDMA on the same unit. However, Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent do not have it so easy. These two OEM’s cannot run CDMA and LTE on the same RRU. They need a separate RRU for CDMA and LTE on each sector. This is more work and more cost. S4GRU has been told that Ericsson is finalizing a new RRU that can handle CDMA and LTE on the same unit, but they are not in production yet. These are referred to around the forums as RRUS12. Many Ericsson GMO sites have been spotted with only a single RRU per sector. Unfortunately, these have all been RRUS11 units, which cannot support CDMA and LTE together, only in separate RRU’s. Hopefully many of these will get a second RRU still to support LTE, or maybe be switched out with an RRUS12 unit when they start to hit the streets. In closing Some of our members have been quite disappointed to learn that their site was selected for a Ground Mount Option. And I have to admit, I too initially was disappointed myself. Especially since my site is one of the GMO’s that will not receive LTE. At least, at first. The thing that we have to keep in mind is these are sites that are either very low priority or very difficult to upgrade. These were always going to be the very last sites to be touched at all, if at all. The majority of GMO sites probably wouldn’t have started until Spring/Summer 2014. For these sites to receive partial upgrades now is a very good thing. Many of us want everything, and we want it yesterday too. This is not practical though. All things considered, the Ground Mount Option is an elegant solution to the problem. Sprint just needs to push the envelope and install LTE on every one where it is physically possible. Oh and Dan, please add LTE to my GMO site (EP03AL506). It just will take two more RRUS11 units, or possibly a prototype RRUS12 unit. Just imagine the good S4GRU publicity you’d get. I will even arrange the backhaul for you! Ericsson GMO site photo. New Ericsson NV base cabinets in the back and ground mount RRU's on the left. Three CDMA RRU's present here, one for each sector. No LTE at this site initially. Samsung GMO site photo. New Samsung NV base cabinets at the left and ground mount RRU's directly in front. Three RRU's present here, one for each sector. Samsung GMO sites can run CDMA and LTE if set up that way. Alcatel Lucent GMO site photo. New AlcaLu NV base cabinets on the right and ground mount RRU's on the center. Six CDMA RRU's present here, two for each sector (one behind each also). AlcaLu GMO LTE sites will require two RRU's per sector.
  5. 23 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, March 3, 2014 - 5:37 PM MST No one is publicly sure what the codenamed HTC M8 will finally be called. HTC One 2, HTC One More, or maybe pull an Apple move and just call it yet again the HTC One. Regardless, all of the big four domestic variants were added to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database today. The last to have its authorizations appear online this afternoon was none other than NM80P6B700 -- the tri band LTE variant undeniably headed to Sprint. As has been our trend over the past six months, we will still call this a teaser article -- albeit make it more extensive than usual. And we may not do a full RF breakdown in the future. Now that tri band LTE and 802.11ac, for example, are de facto standards among top of the line handsets, while SVDO and SVLTE have been laid to rest, there is less news to report on the RF side. But we do want to run a brief RF ERP/EIRP numbers comparison among the high end HTC handsets that have graced the Sprint lineup over the past two years because, well, HTC has developed a bit of a reputation among S4GRU members for losing its lead in the RF performance department. Despite its moniker, the HTC EVO LTE was downright poor on LTE, and the follow up Sprint variant HTC One and HTC One max were average at best. Numbers wise, the HTC M8 looks like a step in the right direction. Per the customary caveats, the available test bench measurements represent only maximum uplink ERP/EIRP, so they do not necessarily reflect the full two way RF performance equation. However, they can provide a decent advance peek inside at the RF proficiency of a handset. In that regard, the HTC M8 offers some improvements over its predecessors. See the table snapshot below (or link to it on Google Docs): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArY31Mr219-ydHh0c2xsUWFmbE1udW5vSnlSMjA3TFE&usp=sharing More and more, OEMs are hiding behind the shroud of confidentiality and not allowing public inspection of the antenna diagrams in their FCC OET filings. HTC now appears to have jumped on that bandwagon. Fortunately, the Sprint variant HTC M8 docs do reveal some antenna gain figures, and those numbers are not always divulged, diagrams or not. Of note are unity 0 dBi or positive 1 dBi antenna gains for >1 GHz bands. Compare these to the -3.5 dBi antenna gain for PCS 1900 MHz in the HTC EVO LTE. Additionally, though this is not apparent in the table because it lists only maximum figures, the ranges of max and min ERP/EIRP within the various frequencies in each CDMA2000 band class and within the various carrier bandwidths in each LTE band are more tightly clustered, more consistent than usual. This, likewise, could indicate enhanced antenna engineering. And, finally, the single radio path handsets that have arrived in conjunction with Sprint tri band LTE so far have generally been better RF performers. Will the HTC M8 -- or whatever it gets called -- follow suit? Early returns indicate so, but once S4GRU membership gets its hands on a few samples, field testing in the coming weeks will tell the full story. Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/5008-htc-m8new-flagship/
  6. 23 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 12:21 PM MDT As many of you know, Sprint recently established a partnership with members of the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) as sort of a quid pro quo. This partnership is called the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP), and S4GRU wrote about the nascent RRPP in a recent article on The Wall. In a nutshell, Sprint will gain pseudo native LTE coverage outside of its standard footprint, as RRPP members overlay Sprint's PCS 1900 MHz, SMR 800 MHz, and even BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum on their existing networks. In turn, RRPP members will get access to Sprint's LTE footprint, and maybe even more importantly for many of these small scale operators, they will benefit from Sprint's and SoftBank's economy of scale in device procurement. Going forward, Sprint will create a device ecosystem that supports not only its native CDMA2000 band classes and LTE bands but also its RRPP partner LTE bands, namely band 2 LTE 1900, band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 5 LTE 850, and band 12 LTE 700. The Nexus 5 almost pulled off that quadruple play last year, but that last LTE band has been a sticky wicket for CCA members, since AT&T was able to get its boutique band 17 LTE 700 pushed through the 3GPP. It left many CCA members that hold Lower 700 MHz A block licenses out in the cold, as they lacked access to some of the most popular devices created by the AT&T economy of scale. Today, that changes. Trumping a presumed iPhone reveal in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) later this afternoon, Motorola unleashed the authorization documents this morning for the IHDT56QA3, the third variant of the 2014 Moto X to pass through the FCC OET. The big takeaway, as indicated in the title of this article, is that this Moto X with the expected model number XT1092 is the first Sprint/CCA/RRPP fully compliant LTE handset -- even if an iPhone variant possibly joins the group here in the next few hours. In conclusion for this short Teaser, the FCC OET docs can speak for themselves. This table tells the whole LTE story for Sprint and its RRPP partners. We wanted to bring you the scoop as soon as possible, but stay tuned. S4GRU may expand this article as more information is gleaned from the FCC OET docs or becomes available elsewhere. Source: FCC
  7. 21 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, August 17, 2012 - 1:14 PM MDT CDMA1X and EV-DO carrier channels are shared resources. In CDMA1X, many subscribers share the same carrier channel, their individual traffic kept theoretically orthogonal by code division. Likewise, in EV-DO, individual traffic is separated by time division. But what happens when Sprint (or any other CDMA2000 network provider) has deployed greater than one CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel on a given cell site? How does your handset determine which carrier channel to utilize? You might like to think that your handset would automatically choose the least loaded CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel. But that is not really the case. Instead, when multiple carrier channels are available, each cell site broadcasts a channel list message of the available carrier channels on that site. Upon receiving this list of multiple carrier channels, each handset then invokes a hashing algorithm to select which carrier channel to use. Think of it like a multi lane highway, but each car must choose a particular lane based on the car's license plate number. For CDMA1X, the hashing algorithm -- which is a kind of pseudo random number generator -- is seeded with the handset's ESN or the subscriber's MDN/MSID (i.e. phone number). Unless the subscriber changes devices or phone numbers, these values remain static, hence the carrier channel hash is quite predictable. And Sprint, for reference, seems to use MDN/MSID based hashing. Nearly a decade ago, I built a spreadsheet that emulates the CDMA1X hashing algorithm, downloadable as an XLS file. However, for EV-DO, the carrier channel hash is not quite so outwardly predictable. To seed the hashing algorithm, EV-DO uses a session number, which obviously varies from data session to data session. Each time that a handset powers up, crosses a SID/NID boundary, or even toggles airplane mode, for example, generates a new EV-DO data session, hence a new session number. And it is this session number that determines the output of the hashing algorithm. To demonstrate this process, I positioned myself in one location about a quarter of a mile distant from the north sector of a local cell site. Over the course of several minutes, I grabbed three screen caps of the EV-DO engineering screen on one of my handsets. In between each screen cap, I cycled airplane mode at least once, each cycle generating a new data session. In the span of four minutes, I was able to get my handset to hash to each of the three EV-DO carrier channels deployed on this site. When I arrived at the site, my handset hashed to PCS 0175, which is the third EV-DO carrier channel (F3) in the channel list message. The second and third hashes after toggling airplane mode several times were to PCS 0150 (F2) and to PCS 0100 (F1). See the Channel Number field depicted in the screen caps: In addition, here is a raw RF look with a spectrum analyzer at the seven CDMA2000 carrier channels deployed on this cell site sector: The four CDMA1X carrier channels are PCS 0050, PCS 0075, PCS 0125, and PCS 0200. As is oft the case, the three aforementioned EV-DO carrier channels -- PCS 0100, PCS 0150, PCS 0175 -- are distinguishable by their slightly higher RF power output. Furthermore, for those curious, PCS 0025 (at the far left of the graph) and PCS 0225, PCS 0250, and PCS 0275 (at the right of the graph) are fallow spectrum on this site. If deployed, PCS 0025 would be the next EV-DO carrier channel (F4), PCS 0275 the final EV-DO carrier channel (F5), while PCS 0225 and PCS 0250 would be additional CDMA1X carrier channels. Back to the hashing algorithm, while it attempts to distribute users more or less evenly among available EV-DO carrier channels, it does not take into account several other factors, such as loading and backhaul. For example, if you are stuck on a carrier channel and sector with a few data hogs who have stronger signal than you do, your data speeds will likely suffer as the "fair and proportional" scheduler integral to the EV-DO airlink attempts to maximize total throughput by allocating greater time slots to the users with better signal quality. Additionally, backhaul may not be distributed evenly among deployed carrier channels, so it is possible that some carrier channels may have inherently greater data capacity than others do. Another benefit of rehashing to a different carrier channel is that you may be able to connect to a closer cell site. Because not all cell sites have the same number of deployed EV-DO carrier channels, carrier channel hashing is an imperfect process. To illustrate, the cell site (call it cell site "A") that I detailed above for this trial has three EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2, F3), as duly noted. But the adjacent cell site to the north (call it cell site "B") has only two EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2). A handset that hashes to F3 on cell site "A" will cling to carrier channel PCS 0175 even as it moves north well into the coverage area of cell site "B." Interference will not be a problem, as cell site "B" does not transmit PCS 0175, but signal strength (and data speeds) will diminish until cell site "A" drops below a network defined threshold, at which point the handset will handoff to cell site "B" and hash to PCS 0150. This can require substantial movement and/or time. So, if you always want the most crisp EV-DO handoffs, you can try to ensure that your handset always hashes to F1, the EV-DO carrier deployed on essentially every site in the market. To conclude, by no means is airplane mode a panacea for slow 3G data ills. EV-DO carrier channel deployment and backhaul can vary from site to site, while loading can also vary from site to site, even from minute to minute. And EV-DO networks in some cities are just generally overloaded. But if you are at work, in a restaurant, at a park, etc., and find yourself with unbearably slow 3G data or lower than usual signal strength for that location, try toggling airplane mode. A 30 second on/off cycle of airplane mode will start a new data session and could get your handset to rehash to another EV-DO carrier channel that is on a closer site, has better backhaul, and/or is currently less loaded. Sources: Qualcomm, author's field data
  8. 18 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:58 PM MDT Update: Sprint has scheduled an exclusive Samsung event for the evening of June 12 in Boston. It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3 coming out party has been set. Just as the HTC EVO 4G LTE is setting up for its delayed national street date tomorrow June 2, it may sooner than expected be getting another high profile cousin in Sprint's burgeoning line up of Network Vision ready, LTE capable devices. First, word leaked this afternoon that Sprint is prepping landing and pre-order web pages for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Then, this evening, S4GRU uncovered the Samsung SPH-L710 (aka Galaxy S3) exhibits that had hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today. So, the ball seems to be rolling toward an imminent launch for the Galaxy S3. And, as we did with the EVO 4G LTE a few weeks back, here is an RF focused technical rundown of the upcoming Samsung flagship Sprint handset: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 3 SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP: 17.78 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 20.77 dBm (EV-DO 850), 24.05 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 23.85 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 17.21 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 17.56 dBm (EV-DO 800), 22.01 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC antenna integrated into battery LTE antenna configuration: 1 Tx, 2 Rx (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO) All in all, the Galaxy S3 does not present any really big technical surprises. As RF capabilities go, it follows very closely in the footsteps of the EVO 4G LTE. One of the few notable differences is that the Galaxy S3, like its Galaxy Nexus sibling, supports only 5 MHz x 5 MHz LTE carriers, while the EVO 4G LTE can do both 5 MHz x 5 MHz and 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE bandwidths. However, Sprint has no definite plans to deploy 10 MHz x 10 MHz LTE during the typical lifespan of either of these handsets. And, otherwise, the Galaxy S3 does appear to have the general edge in RF transmit power. Sources: FCC, Inside Sprint Now
  9. 18 points
    by Cedric Owens Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 3, 2014 - 2:30 PM MDT A year ago, S4GRU brought you a great breakdown article titled after the Three Dog Night hit - "One is the loneliest number". Unfortunately, this great article brought news that none of us Sprint Samsung phablet owners wanted to hear. One band of LTE. "No Tri-band For You!" Well, Samsung and Sprint officially announced on September 3, 2014 that the wait for the "King of Phablets" having Sprint Spark was finally over. Okay, maybe not over, but a little over a month away. So with the announcement from Apple September 9th, 2014, that they are getting into the phablet market with the iPhone 6 Plus and with the rumored announcement from Google and Motorola about a 5.92" beast of their own on the horizon, does the Sprint variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have enough to remain on top of the throne? Let's take a look at what was found over at the good ol' FCC Office of Engineering & Technology for FCC ID: A3LSMN910P. Three Bands Short of Being One of Your Favorite CCA/RRPP Rock Concerts If you were hoping for band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 12 LTE 700 and band 17 LTE 700, you're going to have to find a new rock tour to follow for a fully compliant Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP) device. Sprint announced March 26, 2014, that they were moving to include CCA band support on devices by end of the year, but the Note 4 missed the mark this time around. One would have thought that that would have included the Note 4, but just as last year when Sprint made the announcement about Sprint Spark in every device going forward and Samsung went rogue, it appears they are deciding to do the same this year with bands 4, 12 and 17. Without these additional LTE bands, Note 4 Sprint customers may be limited in the amount of pseudo native coverage gained when Sprint's CCA LTE roaming starts to go live, in the places where bands 25/26/41 are not present. So the "King of Phablets" will once again be missing out on something that "America's Newest Network" is offering. This Note 4 is capable of using LTE deployed on Band 2 and 5 though, if some of these members are using that spectrum. So the news is not the best for Sprint LTE roaming with CCA partners, but it is "Note"worthy that it will still be able to pick up bands 25/26/41 that their RRPP partners are overlaying on their own networks. Back in July, S4GRU's own Robert went into more detail of the CCA/RRPP Partnerships ERP/EIRP numbers to help anticipate RF performance Below find the maximum ERP/EIRP Numbers for the LTE Bands relevant to the Sprint variant: Band 25 5 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.45dBm 20 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.75dBm 15 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.78dBm 10 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.58dBm 3 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 22.09dBm 1.4 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 21.27dBm Band 26 5 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.89dBm 10 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.92dBm 3 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.96dBm 1.4 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.54dBm Band 41 (Spark) 20 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.44dBm 15 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.84dBm 10 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.52dBm 5 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.69dBm NOTE: This is using the better antenna, on the best channel in the band, and with robust QPSK modulation. Although Sprint currently does not use B25 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz or 20MHz channels, nor B26 1.4MHz, 3MHz or 10MHz channels, nor B41 5, 10 or 15MHz channels, they were included for interest as it is plausible that Sprint could use these in the future at some point. Simultaneous Voice/Data, VoLTE, Domestic WiFi Calling and Carrier Aggregation No... (Enough said) The Wrap-up After deciphering through all the FCC data, the released specifications and considering the phablet options out there... So what's my take? I give it a "Kanye Shrug". The EIRP results indicate that Band 25 and Band 41 are what's to be expected, and Band 26 is surprising less robust. One caveat though is that the Band 25 EIRP numbers are similar to the Note II, so we'll have to wait for real world results before making the final verdict on RF performance. The Note series may no longer be the beast of a device it used to be. Apple has released a very competitive device in this category. Google/Motorola are supposedly releasing a 5.92" Nexus phablet and who are you trying to fool LG, HTC and Samsung with these flagship device screen sizes you all have been releasing lately? At one point the Note series offered something you couldn't get on other devices, including Samsung, but it's now clear that Samsung intends to release its flagship device every Spring and if you want it in a bigger size, you'll have to wait until the Fall. So, here's to another year of waiting for the "latest and greatest" Samsung Galaxy Note to catch up to the latest and greatest network from Sprint. *Cough* Carrier Aggregation *Cough* Thanks everyone for reading my 1st Wall article. Hope you enjoyed it. Additional Specs Model: SM-N910P Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084 RAM: 3GB Rear Facing Camera: 16-megapixel with Optical Image Stabilization (Take that iPhone 6 Plus) Front Facing Camera: 3.7-megapixel (Selfie Heaven) Sources FCC Sprint.com
  10. 16 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:15 PM MST I got my first real smartphone. Bought it at the five and dime. Browsed S4GRU 'til my fingers bled. Was the summer of 6&9. Spring has not quite yet sprung for a few more weeks. But with the annual Mobile World Congress just wrapping up today in Barcelona, new smartphones that likely will dominate the mobile landscape through most of the summer are starting to sprout. Germinating at the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) over the past few days have been authorization filings for the Sprint variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and HTC One M9. Get ready for the summer of 6&9. S4GRU started a tradition of FCC OET authorization articles right around this time in 2012 with the debut of Sprint's first LTE devices. So, to celebrate the third birthday in our long running series, let us take a look at the cellular RF capabilities of this latest threesome of Samsung Galaxy and HTC One handsets. To begin, all three devices follow what has been for the past 18 months the standard Sprint variant configuration: tri band LTE, non SVLTE, single RF path with e/CSFB. No surprises there. On top of Sprint tri band LTE, the three handsets also cover the CCA/RRPP LTE bands -- with one possible caveat for the One M9. More details on that later. As an aside, Qualcomm is changing up its baseband modem branding and numbering schemes. Previously, branding was Gobi and numbering was, to use one example, MDM9625 for standalone modem chipsets. Then, many Snapdragon processor chipsets also included the same modems on die -- a la the Snapdragon 800, aka MSM8974, which integrated the same stack as in the standalone MDM9625. Branding is now changing universally to Snapdragon and numbering, to use just one example again, will follow the X10 LTE pattern. That last example is the Snapdragon 810's brand new LTE category 9 modem, which has no standalone modem precursor. But other rebranded and renumbered examples with their standalone precursors include the Snapdragon X5 LTE (MDM9625), Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635), and Snapdragon X12 LTE (MDM9645). That Qualcomm background is useful as we will start the rundown with the One M9, which incorporates the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE chipset. To cut straight to the chase, below are the tested ERP/EIRP figures: Band class 0: 20 dBm Band class 1: 25 dBm Band class 10: 20 dBm Band 2: 25 dBm Band 4: 23 dBm Band 12: 18 dBm Band 25: 25 dBm Band 26: 17 dBm Band 41: 23 dBm For reference, and this will pertain to the ERP/EIRP figures cited later for the Samsung devices, too, the above figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of max uplink ERP/EIRP -- with uniquely Sprint frequencies receiving heavier weighting in band class 10, band 25, and band 26. Of course, the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance apply. Now, to provide some analysis, RF output looks relatively healthy, somewhere in the better than average range. And it generally, albeit minimally trumps that of its HTC One M8 predecessor -- see our S4GRU article from last year. The aforementioned caveat about CCA/RRPP bands is that the FCC OET filing for the One M9 does not include separate testing of band 5. Now, that may not indicate omission of band 5 -- because band 26 is a superset of all band 5 frequencies. But we cannot guarantee that the One M9 will attach to band 5 roaming networks without MFBI for band 26. Two other omissions are worthy of note. First, the FCC OET documents offer no mention of band 41 carrier aggregation capabilities. This may or may not be cause for concern. Current carrier aggregation is downlink reception only, not uplink transmission. And FCC OET testing is just the opposite -- uplink transmission only, not downlink reception. As such, the testing is not required to include carrier aggregation. We do know that the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE supports up to 3x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation, so we expect that 2x or 3x band 41 carrier aggregation is on board. S4GRU will follow up if more info becomes available. Second, the One M9 was not tested, thus is not authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands. Rabid phone unlockers under the new Sprint domestic unlocking policy, consider yourselves forewarned. Finally, the One M9 docs suggest VoLTE support at launch. But Sprint has no established timeline for VoLTE, so take that with a grain of salt. It could be just a latent capability. Moving on to the galactic federation, Samsung has split its Galaxy S6 offerings in two this year, offering a separate Galaxy S6 Edge as a step up version. With one possible exception, both Galaxy S6 handsets have the same RF capabilities. However, their ERP/EIRP figures are not identical, so they are broken out separately below: Samsung Galaxy S6: Band class 0: 17 dBm Band class 1: 23 dBm Band class 10: 17 dBm Band 2: 22 dBm Band 4: 23 dBm Band 5: 16 dBm Band 12: 21-17 dBm (declining with increasing carrier bandwidth) Band 25: 22 dBm Band 26: 16 dBm Band 41: 16 dBm Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Band class 0: 18 dBm Band class 1: 22 dBm Band class 10: 18 dBm Band 2: 22 dBm Band 4: 24 dBm Band 5: 17 dBm Band 12: 17 dBm Band 25: 22 dBm Band 26: 17 dBm Band 41: 19-11 dBm (declining with decreasing center frequency) As for analysis, both Galaxy S6 variants are about average -- with the Galaxy S6 Edge holding generally a 1 dB "edge," pun intended. Neither, though, holds up to the tested RF output of the One M9. Some surmise that Samsung's much debated shift in handset materials this year from largely cheap feeling plastic to more premium metal and glass has had a detrimental effect on RF design and performance. We cannot jump to that conclusion, but the RF falloff does become even more apparent in comparison to last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 -- again, see our article. In particular, band 41 EIRP is disappointing. A higher frequency band should precipitate higher RF output. But that is not the case this year, as the band 41 uplink maximum for both Samsung handsets drops 4-7 dB below that of the One M9 and fully 6-9 dB below that of the Galaxy S5. Also, the band 41 extreme frequency differential in the Galaxy S6 Edge is disconcerting. It is up to 8 dB better in high BRS spectrum than in low EBS spectrum. Meanwhile, multiple band 41 center frequencies in BRS/EBS spectrum will vary from market to market, so performance will also vary. If using the Galaxy S6 Edge on band 41, you better hope for EARFCN 40978 or greater. Alright, that less than good news out of the way, let us move on to more positive things. The Samsung Galaxy S6 handsets are LTE category 6 -- with explicitly noted support for 2x band 41 carrier aggregation. More on that, too, later. They also have been tested and authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands, so unlocking in the future for use on other domestic operators may be possible. VoLTE, though, is noted as not supported out of the box. It is, however, on board other Galaxy S6 variants, thus could be added later with a Class II Permissive Change filing and potentially a software update. Now, back to LTE category 6. In addition to its material design change this year, Samsung has also broken lockstep with Qualcomm, choosing to forgo the 64 bit, octa core Snapdragon 810 processor in favor of its in house 64 bit, octa core Exynos 7420. S4GRU does not traffic in application processor chipset holy wars -- there are plenty of other sites for that. But this chipset change has other ramifications. Unlike the Snapdragon 810, the Exynos does not have a baseband modem on die. Thus, Samsung has had to include a separate modem chipset. And, unfortunately, the full identity of that modem remains a mystery. We know of another Samsung in house chipset -- the Exynos Modem 333 or SS333 -- that could provide the category 6 LTE connectivity, possibly even full 3GPP connectivity. However, for Sprint, that still leaves lingering 3GPP2 (CDMA2000). Is it provided by a second modem, meaning a third chipset? Could it be a reappearance of the notorious VIA Telecom CDMA2000 modem? S4GRU sincerely hopes not. Or maybe Qualcomm is still on board, not in the processor, but in its aforementioned Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635) category 6 LTE standalone 3GPP/3GPP2 baseband, which supports the same 2x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation. Time will tell. Well, that is a wrap for this set. If you are young and restless with the Samsung Galaxy S6s and HTC One M9, will you wonder what went wrong? Or will the summer of 6&9 be the best days of your mobile life? Discuss in the comments. Sources: FCC, Bryan Adams
  11. 14 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, August 19, 2016 - 2:04 AM MDT Earlier this week, the two HTC 2016 Nexus handsets -- codenamed "Marlin" and "Sailfish" -- were caught in the net of the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization database. While Google has yet to reveal them officially as Nexus handsets, that HTC is the manufacturer of choice this year has been a heavily leaked secret the past few months. And the circumstantial evidence now is overwhelming. The FCC grantee code, NM8G, appends a "G" to the usual NM8 grantee code for HTC branded devices, and the user manual declaration document posits that the final draft manual will be available publicly on the Google web site in the Nexus support section. Neither handset has been identified or named individually, though the 2PW4100 likely is the larger "Marlin," the 2PW2100, the smaller "Sailfish." Both are at least the domestic variants with airlink support across the board for VZW, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. No international variants have passed through the FCC OET. Unless international variants do get authorized in the coming days/weeks, the two HTC Nexus handsets could end up in uncharted waters as single variants for the world, covering all supported international LTE bands, too. Full disclosure, however, probably will have to wait until the Google announcement event when accompanying tech specs are published. In the meantime, the domestic RF uplink test results and declarations are out in the world. S4GRU will not run down every last RF capability. But, just to confirm, some of the highlights are... LTE bands 2/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/30/41 VoLTE bands 2/4/5/12/13 (for VZW, AT&T, and T-Mobile) Downlink 2x/3x CA Dual, switched WWAN Tx antennas 0 and 1, bottom and top 802.11ac 2x MIMO The primary purpose of this article is to present a retrospective on the uplink RF powers of the current 2013-2016 era of 3GPP/3GPP2, Sprint compatible Nexus handsets as well as two recent HTC handsets. Those domestic variant Nexus handsets and the Sprint variant HTC One A9 and HTC 10 are the RF and design forebears of the 2016 Nexus handsets. So, how do the new kids on the block hold up to their predecessors? S4GRU culled relevant data across all eight handsets from thousands of pages of authorization documents in the FCC OET. For the radiated power figures, the usual clauses about lab testing versus real world performance and uplink versus downlink always apply. The figures represent best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink ERP/EIRP test results provided to the FCC OET in the authorization filings for the domestic variant Nexus devices and Sprint variant HTC devices. See below: The numbers can speak for themselves. The LG, Motorola, and Huawei manufactured handsets generally are more powerful. The HTC handsets are not blatantly deficient -- though the One A9 comes uncomfortably close -- but the 2016 Nexus do spec out typically average or slightly below. Source: FCC
  12. 13 points
    by Ian Littman Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 14, 2012 - 9:35 AM MDT In the past, Apple’s iPhone wasn’t quite the ideal Sprint phone from a network perspective; it lacked 4G of any sort and didn’t include support for Sprint’s nascent SMR-800 1x CDMA network (in place of Nextel iDEN). The situation could be worse (for example, CricKet iPhones can’t get native service in many of the company’s newer, AWS-only markets), but as a flagship phone it was odd to see the iPhone lacking one core piece of Network Vision support that every other Sprint phone released in the past year has had. That issue has now been solved...sort of. I’m Ian Littman, standing in for AJ (aka WiWavelength) with an analysis of the non-AT&T edition (A1429) of the iPhone. I’ll focus on the pieces that Sprint subscribers will use, as the phone supports a cornucopia of bands and technologies (quad-band GSM/EDGE, quad-band HSPA+ including dual-carrier, EvDO Rev. B with up to 3 carriers in the cellular band) in addition to CDMA 1x, EvDO and LTE (in 2100MHz and 1800MHz, which Sprint won’t use). So, without further ado, the rundown: On the surface it looks like the iPhone is a very capable device; it can realistically hit 100 Mbps on LTE, using both its antennas to receive (but not send) the signal on a 20MHz channel (which a number of Sprint phones don’t support, my Galaxy SIII included). It supports a ton of bands (my bet is that even the “GSM version” of the A1429 has CDMA built in, but it is not certified/disabled in non-CDMA countries) and technologies. However the good news ends there. For example, several Sprint phones now have SVDO and/or SVLTE support; you can make a call on 1x while maintaining a data connection. The Sprint/Verizon versions of the iPhone, to our knowledge, can’t do that. The best it can do is VoIP over LTE or EvDO...garden-variety VoIP, not the more robust VoLTE variety. Being able to transmit LTE on only one antenna isn’t terribly surprising...most current phones are 1x2 MISO (Multiple In Single Out), however Apple’s attention is obviously directed at carriers with HSPA networks when it comes to delivering a high-quality wireless experience. Another example of this is Apple’s HD Voice ability; Sprint will be the first US carrier to support the technology, but not on the iPhone, which can only use HD Voice over WCDMA. Apple’s ability to pack a ton of bands into a single, super-slim phone is definitely a technological marvel, particularly in conjunction with a wide-channel LTE network (since the iPhone’s WiFi is SISO, it may be able to pull down data more quickly on LTE than on 802.11n, given ideal conditions on both). However a tailor-made Sprint phone it most definitely is not, though the inclusion of SMR CDMA softens the blow a bit. As an aside, the AT&T edition of the iPhone supports LTE in the PCS (without G), AWS and Cellular bands, in addition to AT&T’s current 700MHz lower-B/lower-C network (band classes 2, 4, 5 and 7, respectively). So the AT&T edition of the phone is actually a better fit for providers like CricKet, MetroPCS and US Cellular...if not for the glaring omission of those carriers’ 3G network technologies (and VoLTE).
  13. 13 points
    by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 4:45 PM MDT Samsung and Sprint are planning to re-release the Galaxy S III in a Sprint tri-band LTE edition. According to the Sprint UA profile, the SPH-L710T has mostly the same specs as the original GS3, except the inclusion of tri-band LTE, and an upgrade to Android 4.4.2. Plus, in a nice twist, Samsung didn't make confidential the antenna diagram for this phone, so I include it for your viewing pleasure. Remember, as with all other Sprint tri-band LTE handsets, this phone is not capable of supporting SVLTE because the single transmit path is shared among CDMA1X, EV-DO, and LTE. But the phone is open to be another Sprint Wi-Fi calling capable device based on the fact that Samsung made sure to include this phrase in the simultaneous transmission scenarios section: "Pre-installed VOIP applications are considered." Also included is 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with support for 40MHz 802.11n carriers. Unfortunately, in hotspot mode, all 5 GHz Wi-Fi is disabled. Source: FCC, Sprint UA Profile
  14. 12 points
    Tim YuSprint 4G Rollout UpdatesThursday, August 2, 2018 - 12:01 PM PDT It's been a long time coming for Sprint through many trials and tribulations. Now it's finally here! S4GRU was able to obtain confirmations that Sprint is finally ready and prepared to enable Voice over LTE (VoLTE) for subscribers to manually opt into in select markets across the country this coming September. See list at the bottom. As a refresher here are some of the essential points about VoLTE applicable to Sprint: Calls placed over VoLTE will have the QOS tag unlike the current Calling Plus configuration on numerous Sprint devices Like Calling Plus, VoLTE will have no fallback to the legacy 1x voice network. Calls will drop if the LTE signal drops. The voice codec is AMR-WB which one can experience with Calling Plus calls and matches the other carriers VoLTE setups. At this point and time S4GRU does not have a list of compatible VoLTE devices though we do speculate that any device currently running Calling Plus should be able to tap into that very same IMS core Calling Plus utilizes via true VoLTE. In addition, recent Apple iPhone's seems like a sure bet as some users have already experienced VoLTE in live field tests conducted by Sprint. For the non Sprint branded BYOD devices like Google Pixels or unlocked Moto devices the future is quite murky indeed. Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Market Map See this for map of all Sprint market boundaries Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Markets .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;} .tg th{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;} .tg .tg-wk8r{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Atlanta / Athens Austin Baltimore Boston Central Jersey Chicago Cincinnati Cleveland Colorado Columbus DFW East Kentucky East Michigan Ft. Wayne / South Bend Houston Idaho Indianapolis Kansas LA Metro Las Vegas Long Island Miami / West Palm Milwaukee Minnesota Missouri Nashville New York City Norfolk North Wisconsin Northern Jersey Oklahoma Oregon / SW Washington Orlando Philadelphia Metro Phoenix Pittsburgh Richmond San Antonio SF Bay South Bay South Texas Southern Jersey Tampa Toledo Upper Central Valley Utah Washington DC West Iowa / Nebraska West Virginia
  15. 12 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, September 10, 2012 - 8:05 AM MDT This morning, we received a Press Release from Sprint Marketing that shows some of Sprint's plan in their LTE deployment through the end of the year. In this Press Release, Sprint officially names 12 more markets that have received/starting to receive LTE deployments currently, and names more than 100 communities names. None of these are any surprise to people who follow S4GRU closely, especially those with access to Sponsor content. In fact, this Press Release is a big confirmation of all of our data to date. This will be an exciting update to the millions of Sprint customers in these areas and now makes many more markets official. Stay with S4GRU to plot the progress!
  16. 12 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 7:45 AM MDT S4GRU has received a tip that Network Vision was spotted underway in the Austin metro area. We were able to send out a core member to verify. We are happy to report that Sprint is indeed under way with Network Vision/LTE deployment in the Austin market. S4GRU Member ATX4G first reported the work at the site. Later S4GRU Member boomerbubba, went out to verify for this article. While at Site #SA14XC087, Boomerbubba was able to actually talk with one of the field techs working at the site, and offered this report: There you go. Verification of the first Austin site. Most likely, there are many more currently under active deployment all around greater Austin at this moment. We also reported this weekend more activity in the Austin market with a new site at Ft. Hood Medical Center. It looks like the Austin market is no longer being delayed and back on track with an active deployment. The original Network Vision schedule had work starting in the Austin Metro Area in June. So, it appears like it is starting 2-1/2 months later than originally planned. So perhaps we can expect an end of November launch and a January/February completion? By the end of September, they should be hitting their stride and we can better evaluate then. Stay tuned.
  17. 10 points
    Tim YuSprint 4G Rollout UpdatesWednesday, October 2, 2018 - 9:00 PM PDT Starting right now, October 3,2018 12:01 AM EST, Samsung Galaxy S8, 8+, and S8 Active users can manually download the firmware to remove Calling Plus from their devices and bring forth the VoLTE Opt-In toggle. Oh yeah. VoLTE is live on the Sprint Network™ as part of the VoLTE Soft Launch in the select markets. The roll out to the soft launch markets will be gradual over the next weeks. So have at it you folks in the first soft launch markets that are going live! Here are the first 15 initial soft launch markets with more following in the next few weeks. Atlanta-Athens Chicago Dallas-Ft.Worth Houston Indianapolis Kansas Missouri New York City Oregon-West Washington Philadelphia Pittsburgh San Francisco Bay South Bay Southern Jersey Washington DC And if you're in a soft launch market... Source: /u/TheButlershrsmn Discuss Sprint VoLTE on on the forums.
  18. 10 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 2:00 AM MDT Rumors are spreading like wildfire that the EVO LTE is going to be launching early...maybe even as soon as the middle of May. However, S4GRU.com has received internal documentation from a source in Sprint's Product Development division that reconfirms the June 10th launch date for the new HTC EVO 4G LTE. In fact, the EVO LTE is currently finishing up its stay in the Sprint Lenexa labs and was scheduled to complete lab testing on April 27th. However, there are problems with the device that are occurring. It is being reported to S4GRU that "LTE device connectivity in lab testing continues to be problematic due to under defined processes and complications around provisioning and SIM UICC profiles. Escalation of this issue is in progress." This is not believed to hinder the previous schedules that S4GRU received from Sprint and reported to you. Sprint is still proceeding with a May 7th Pre-Order start and device launch on June 10th. And Sprint did take the EVO LTE pre-order site live last night. Given this latest information about lab testing issues, the rumored Mid May launch seems all but impossible. Once the device can leave the lab, it will still take approximately 4 weeks for production runs and distribution. Although some of you may be inclined to say that the EVO LTE has slipped from schedule and is now running late, S4GRU was the first to name a launch date for this device, and we said it was June 10th the first time. So it sounds like even with the lab setback, it's still right on time. Image shown on the Sprint EVO LTE Pre-Order Web Page.
  19. 9 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 2:55 PM MDT A few weeks ago, S4GRU was the first to bring you the news of the HTC codenamed "Jet" that was recently unveiled as the HTC EVO 4G LTE headed to Sprint this summer. Today, the EVO 4G LTE applications hit the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. S4GRU brings you the technical rundown, including some important revelations. CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band class 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz channel bandwidths LTE UE category 3 SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP: 20.43 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 18.74 dBm (EV-DO 850), 22.98 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 18.44 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 20.01 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 18.75 dBm (EV-DO 800), 19.85 dBm (LTE 1900) Antenna gain: -2 dBi (CDMA1X 850/1900/800), -3.5 dBi (EV-DO 850/1900/800 and LTE 1900) LTE antenna configuration 1x2 (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO) Prima facie analysis, no LTE 800 nor TD-LTE 2600 support comes as no surprise. But SVDO is a nice perk, as internal Sprint documents had not indicated its inclusion. Furthermore, SVDO/SVLTE plus simultaneous Wi-Fi tether capability really covers all of the connectivity bases. Most disappointing, however, is the rather low ERP output. While the EVO 4G LTE has a plethora of radio capabilities, it does not look to be a stellar RF performer, perhaps the consequence of the aluminum unibody in place of the polycarbonate unibody used in the more direct members of the HTC One X family of handsets. Source: FCC
  20. 9 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 23, 2012 - 1:59 PM MDT Can you hear me now? No, I mean really? This isn't some Verizon TV commercial joke. This is really the situation in Sprint's Chicago market. Many of you, especially in outer Chicagoland, like in Joliet, Aurora, Elgin, Addison, Rochelle and Morris are getting dropped calls like crazy. And other performance issues. As any of you who closely follow S4GRU.com, you know that Samsung is rolling out Network Vision in the area in a big way. First starting in the outer market and working their way in. A problem started occurring quickly after Network Vision sites started to go live in Chicago at the end of February. Calls started dropping, at a much higher rate than normal. And the complaints started rolling in. It took awhile to actually isolate the issue and discover the cause. Which Sprint and Samsung now well understand. However, the solution will not be easy, and maybe not even implemented. What's your problem??? Courtesy of verydemotivational.com The problem, as many already know, exists at handoff between Network Vision sites and Legacy sites (existing sites). But this problem so far is only really happening in the Chicago market, and not the other markets actively deploying Network Vision upgrades at this time. Something unique is happening in Chicago. The new equipment being deployed is from Samsung. The existing legacy equipment is from Motorola. It is only in Chicago, so far to date, where this problem occurs. Also, Sprint/Samsung has discovered that the site handoff problems only occur when transferring to the same channel. For instance, if you are on Channel 325 when on a Network Vision site, and your device gets handed over to Channel 325 on a legacy site, you may get dropped. However, if you get handed over to Channel 375, then you are safe and will not likely get dropped. The problem does not exist when being handed off to a new site on the same channel if both sites are NV sites, or both are legacy sites. Only the same channel transferring from a NV Samsung site to a legacy Motorola site. The problem is exacerbated in rural and in less dense suburban areas, because most sites in these areas only have one, or possibly two, voice carriers. And in places where only one or two carriers are deployed, they were most often deployed on the same exact channel. Making it much more likely that you will be transferring to the same channel between NV and legacy sites in these areas. Since Network Vision work in the Chicago market started in more rural and exurban areas, this problem is occurring more often than it will when Samsung starts working in the Loop and there are multiple voice carriers (on different channels) at each site. Solution options are slim Sprint is working with Samsung and their network manager Ericsson to try to resolve the problem. However, no easy answers have been discovered. The first thought that comes to my mind, is to start trying to mix up voice carrier channels at legacy sites, so the number of transfers to NV sites on the same channel could be reduced significantly. However, this would involve a "truck roll" to every site and would likely be cost prohibitive. If Sprint does nothing, the problem will work itself out in time. Since sites are being converted from Legacy systems to Network Vision every day, it's only a matter of time before the whole market is complete and there are no more handoffs between legacy and NV sites on the same channel. The areas where the drops occur are shifting every day as new sites come online. Even if a solution is not figured out before Network Vision is completed in Chicago, it would still be important for Sprint and Samsung to solve this problem. Chicago is not the only market where Samsung is working on Network Vision and the legacy equipment was by Motorola. Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus are also in this position, but are not actively receiving Network Vision upgrades, yet. We will bring you more info as we learn of it.
  21. 8 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates September 11, 2016 - 12:30 PM PDT We have many good friends over at the Sprint Reddit page, and many of our members spend a lot of time there. They are excited at their recent score to host an AMA with Sprint's new COO of Technology, Günther Ottendorfer. S4GRU wants to help spread the news. The AMA is scheduled for tomorrow, September 12th from 1:30 - 2:30pm Central Daylight Time. This should be an exciting exchange for S4GRU members, as Mr. Ottendorfer is responsibile for overseeing Sprint’s network, technology and IT organizations, including related strategy, network operations and performance, as well as partnerships with network, technology and IT vendors. As stated in the Sprint Subreddit page, "Günther looks forward to answering your questions on Sprint's pioneering efforts, network performance, LTE Plus network, network technology and roadmap, LTE Advanced, 5G, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), spectrum, and its Densification & Optimization strategy." Be sure to check it out!
  22. 8 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, March 9, 2012 - 1:15 PM MST Sprint may soon be gaining some clarity regarding its Network Vision plans to deploy CDMA1X Advanced to replace Nextel iDEN in its rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum. The FCC today announced a proposed rulemaking that would explicitly allow SMR 800 MHz licensees (e.g. Sprint, SouthernLINC, and a few others) to utilize greater than 25 kHz channel spacing. Currently, Part 90 SMR 800 MHz rules and regulations could be interpreted to prohibit channel spacing exceeding 25 kHz, effectively disallowing any airlink other than iDEN, which is designed to operate in 25 kHz channelization. Meanwhile, Sprint has petitioned that Part 90 does not automatically bar larger channel bandwidths in contiguous channel blocks and that it has enacted improved filtering techniques to satisfy out of band emissions concerns due to wideband operations. To reconcile the current rules and regulations with Sprint's contentions, the proposed rulemaking would amend Part 90 as follows: More simply put, Sprint would be able to use its lower band SMR 800 MHz spectrum below 821 MHz x 866 MHz right away to deploy CDMA1X and/or LTE. Then, after all public safety relocation in a region has been completed, Sprint could utilize its upper band SMR 800 MHz spectrum 821-824 MHz x 866-869 MHz for further wideband operations. The proposed rulemaking aligns with and helps to explain Sprint Network Vision 3G plans that S4GRU has obtained. Those plans indicate that Sprint intends to deploy at least one CDMA1X Advanced band class 10 carrier channel centered at channel 476 (817.9 MHz x 862.9 MHz) and/or channel 526 (819.15 MHz x 864.15 MHz). This would place one or both CDMA1X carrier(s) within the lower band 817-820 MHz x 862-865 MHz spectrum and leave >1 MHz guard bands between it and 821-824 MHz x 866-869 MHz spectrum, in which public safety reconfiguration is still ongoing in some regions. To illustrate how Sprint proposes to roll out CDMA1X 800 at the lower end of its SMR 800 MHz spectrum allotment, see our band plan and channel assignment graphic: Sources: FCC, Sprint, author's graphic
  23. 7 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 2:54 PM MDT S4GRU continues with the third in a series of short articles on the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filings for "tentpole" devices headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Over the past few months, we have brought you the scoop on the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Today, the Motorola model number XT897 hits the FCC OET database with FCC ID IHDT56NL2, and we expect this mystery handset ultimately to be the Photon Q. Without further ado, here is the RF rundown: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz carrier bandwidths world phone international roaming capability 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel) SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 22.45 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 19.89 dBm (EV-DO 850), 27.12 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 24.03 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 21.72 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 19.33 dBm (EV-DO 800), 25.22 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC capability Antenna locations: CDMA1X bottom, EV-DO/LTE top, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth bottom The Photon Q's FCC filing makes mention of world phone international roaming capability, albeit latent inside the handset. Presumably, it will include at least GSM 900/1800 and W-CDMA 900/2100+1900 (a la the international roaming capabilities announced to be unlocked in several VZW handsets). But, before anyone asks, do not expect any LTE international roaming capability. RF uplink output looks to be healthy. It is generally a bit higher than what we have seen recently from the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3. However, unlike the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, the Photon Q lacks 802.11a/n Wi-Fi 5 GHz band capability. The filing indicates that the hardware is present, but 5 GHz operation is locked out. So, the Photon Q will be stuck in the increasingly overcrowded 2.4 GHz band. At this point, the LTE UE category remains unknown. Recent Motorola RAZR LTE handsets on VZW have used Moto's own Wrigley LTE baseband chipset, which has limited those devices to LTE UE category 2. We hope that the Photon Q will utilize the Qualcomm MSM8960 as a single chipset modem, as that should enable UE category 3. Perhaps the most interesting and potentially controversial aspect of the Photon Q's FCC authorization is the inclusion of two references to the Motorola Admiral, a front facing QWERTY handset currently available on Sprint. One reference cites the Admiral as a "similar transmitter;" the other reference flat out calls the Photon Q the Admiral. Thus, while some sites have leaked photos of what purports to be the Photon Q in the expected QWERTY slider design, we leave open the possibility, however modest, that the Photon Q may arrive as an LTE refreshed Admiral clone with a front facing QWERTY keyboard. Sources: FCC
  24. 6 points
    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, September 30, 2013 - 4:41 PM MDT Phew, what a September it has been for discovery/announcement of new devices likely headed to Sprint! S4GRU staff has been busy keeping a watchful eye on the FCC OET. And in an egalitarian way, we have covered nearly the gamut of mobile operating systems: Android, iOS, and now, the latest OS version for BlackBerry. Yes, ahead of a potential government shutdown tomorrow that will reportedly include FCC device authorization, a Sprint relevant BlackBerry Z30 variant was added to the FCC OET database today. This will be another teaser article, not a full RF analysis, but BlackBerry devices usually have healthy ERP/EIRP. Regardless, we have gleaned from the FCC OET documents some important details to share with you. In a nutshell, this BlackBerry Z30 hardware variant supports the following airlinks: GSM 850/1900 band 2/5 W-CDMA 1900/850 band class 0/1/10 CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800 band 4/13/25 LTE 2100+1700/750/1900 Anyone familiar with the current state of the domestic wireless industry can put two and two together to see that this hardware variant covers the CDMA2000 and LTE capabilities of both VZW and Sprint. Additionally, because of the inclusion of the GSM/W-CDMA modes, the Z30 is probably a world phone, including GSM 900/1800 and at least band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900. But as we have noted previously, FCC OET filings may divulge band support outside the US but are not required to do so. The twist is that, within this single hardware Z30 variant, there do seem to exist two wireless operator versions: RFX101LW for VZW and RGB141LW for Sprint. In short, the Sprint version will include CDMA2000 band class 10 but ostensibly use firmware to lockout LTE band 4/13. So, any potential thoughts of CSIM swapping between Sprint and VZW accounts for LTE access with this handset are probably nipped in the bud. See the note from the FCC OET filing: To sum up, the BlackBerry Z30 coming to Sprint will be effectively limited to single band 25 LTE 1900. It will definitely not be among the upcoming tri band LTE Sprint devices. And its VZW supported LTE bands will likely be inaccessible. On the upshot, it does still support SVLTE. In only a few years, BlackBerry née RIM has gone from being the leader in smartphones to being a former champ nearly down for the count. So, do these developments -- single band LTE, VZW LTE CSIM compatibility lockout -- matter to you? If so, well, place the blame where it lies. Blame Canada. (just barely NSFW) Source: FCC
  25. 5 points
    Tim YuSprint 4G Rollout UpdatesFriday, December 14, 2018 - 11:00 PM PDT Beginning today on the Sprint subreddit, individuals can begin submitting questions in this thread that will be forwarded to Ms. Schnellbacher to answer at his leisure in a few days time. Who is Mr. Jason Schnellbacher you may ask? So go forth and submit all your questions about Sprint Magic Box's, small cells, and other Sprint related stuff!
  26. 5 points
    A letter to all our fans and supporters: As we get to the final business day of 2011, I can't help to think back on the past year. Some of you know my background, and others of you just joined along for the ride at some point in the past few months, or weeks. At the beginning of 2011, there was no S4GRU. I was just another Sprint customer with his Evo 4G, waiting for 4G service to come to his tertiary market. I bought the Evo on opening day, June 4, 2010. I had been an AT&T customer since they bought out Cingular a few years before. AT&T had great coverage in California and Nevada. But in early 2010, I moved to Northern New Mexico. And AT&T asked me to leave, because I was killing them in roaming costs in my new location. So in May 2010, I started looking for a new wireless carrier. Sprint had good coverage in my area and I heard they were coming out with a 4G phone. It also appeared like they were aggressively deploying their 4G network. Even before the phone started selling, they already had dozens of markets up and running though Clearwire. I thought it was smart to buy a 4G phone, since my contract would be for two years. I figured it would be crazy to buy a 3G-only phone for a two year commitment. So I chose Sprint and the Evo. All throughout 2010, Sprint and Clear announced 4G expansions quite readily. So I was largely happy with deployment progress. But just hoping it would pick up a little pace and start getting to secondary markets. However, 2011 started, and the announcements stopped. February, March...nothing. Then one day in late April, I am sitting at a stop light in Santa Fe, New Mexico and my Evo decides to randomly reboot (which it occasionally did before I installed a custom MOD). When it came back online, the 4G antenna came on and locked on to a signal. What??? So, I pulled into a parking lot and tried using it. First speedtest, and I got 9.1Mbps download. Whoa! This is the real deal. I've got 4G!!! WooHoo!!! This event caused me to be optimistic that 4G WiMax expansion must be alive and well. But I am a curious guy and wanted to know what was going on. If Sprint and Clear are still expanding service, why aren't they announcing it to their customers? I could see on forums that people were getting angrier and angrier about the state of Sprint's 4G rollout. Why aren't they trumpeting the expansion? I come across Clear's coverage maps and see little light green blobs in hundreds of locations all across the country. Are these test signals? What's going on? I drove to all the new service areas in my region and tried the signals. They all were up and running, but with varied results. In Las Vegas, New Mexico I couldn't get 4G speeds higher than 1.3Mbps, and in Albuquerque I was able to even get over 10Mbps. I started hitting about a half dozen forums and proclaiming to everyone who would listen, "turn on your 4G antennas and scan for service! Sprint has unannounced coverage all over the place!" By May 20th, I started posting service updates in assorted forums, telling folks about where Sprint and Clear had unannounced service. And that's when I started to learn the story of Protection Sites. That these sites were deployed by Clearwire to meet FCC buildout requirements for the spectrum and protect from losing it's FCC license. And then it all made sense. Regardless of why, these signals were usable. And millions of customers would be able to find a meaningful use for them. So I continued my quest to bring updates to the masses, letting them know where new Protection Sites were popping up. In July, we started our Facebook page, and that's when we really took off. In October we added Twitter. In November we added Google+. We really stuck our necks out there on November 10th when we started our own web page. Not just a simple static page, but a full online social community. A place where I can blog original stories and we can interact with them. We are still in the beta stage. So, now we are up to the New Year. 2012 lays mere hours away. And there has never been a more exciting time to be a Sprint customer. Granted, it is a painful process. 3G Data rates have been especially excruciating for many Sprint customers. But with Network Vision beginning and LTE deployment under way, 2012 promises to be a rocking year. One thing is for sure, not matter the outcome, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will be along for the ride. Bringing you information as fast or faster than even most tech websites. And you won't have to sift through dozens of articles that are not relevant to the Sprint Network and 4G. Straight to the point stories and fast. That's our mission. And lots of geeky details that other websites won't report (or Sprint for that matter). Don't be surprised if we start selling advertising or do things to help pay for the costs to keep this thing running. But I'm now committed to this experiment for the long haul. I'm very excited to bring this info to you in the most dynamic way I can. And Dan Hesse, if you should happen to read this, when can I get my exclusive interview? Our fans have a few questions for you! Happy New Year, Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Follow link for my predictions for 2012: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-109-2012-predictions-from-sprint-4g-rollout-updates/ And a special thanks to my wife Christina. She is the most loving, patient and loyal life partner a man could ever ask for. I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on S4GRU the past six months. Thanks for your support. 2011 QUICK STATS: Total Fans & Supporters, all media: 1522 Facebook Fans...726 Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Unique Visitors, not Members*...512 Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Website Members...133 Twitter Followers...81 Google+ Subscribers...70 S4GRU Member Breakdown 87% Male 13% Female Top 20 Most Popular Cities S4GRU unique visits from: Phoenix, AZ Indianapolis, IN San Diego, CA Chicago, IL Tucson, AZ Virginia Beach, VA Milwaukee, WI Wichita, KS Tampa, FL Lexington, KY Louisville, KY Des Moines, IA Tulsa, OK Dayton, OH Lincoln, NE Detroit, MI Knoxville, TN Troy, OH Elkhart, IN Oshkosh, WI Languages site viewed in: 91% English (US) 4% English (UK) 2% Spanish 1% Arabic 1% English (Pirate) 1% German Biggest External Referrers to Website: Facebook Twitter community.sprint.com google.com goodandevo.net sprintusers.com Yahoo Mail engadget.com forums.androidcentral.com howardforums.com s4gru.herronweb.com Gmail theverge.com ask.com Sprint 4G Rollout Articles in 2011: 180 Top 20 Most popular articles: 2,360 Page Views New Network Vision and LTE Deployment info released in Sprint Webinar today 2,109 Page Views Sprint deploys first Network Vision cluster in Kankakee, Illinois and promises LTE deployment info early in 2012 1,344 Page Views New Sprint Network Enhancements & Upgrades Site 1,196 Page Views Sprint announces first Network Vision tower with CDMA & LTE live 541 Page Views New Samsung commercial stirring controversies. Really? Get a life. 422 Page Views Sprint Announces Exclusive Event at CES in January 421 Page Views Sprint releases slides from today's Network Vision Strategy Update 396 Page Views Clearwire is Abandoning it's Legacy Pre-WiMax Service 357 Page Views BREAKING NEWS: Sprint rolling out Network Vision in Chicago right now! 347 Page Views Sprint not beginning LTE deployment necessarily in WiMax area first 332 Page Views Sprint 4G Strategy Update Conference - Our Facebook Wall Comments 317 Page Views Clearwire throws hail mary and ends up with $700+ Million for new TD-LTE network 299 Page Views Sprint changes LTE device due date from Mid 2012 to Q3/Q4 2012 and controversy ensues 293 Page Views BREAKING NEWS: Clearwire announces funding deal with Sprint 289 Page Views Sprint to Offload Commercial Airave's at Your Work and Favorite Destinations 255 Page Views Seeking Alpha: How Sprint & Clearwire Can Use AT&T to Unlock Billions in Value 251 Page Views Clearwire's future LTE network and the equity funding it needs to build it 240 Page Views Sprint VP talks up LTE-Advanced, VoLTE and HD Voice in new video 215 Page Views Jay Leno Mocks Sprint iPhone on Tonight Show 208 Page Views Sequans ties with Fujitsu for LTE chips * These are unique IP addresses who visited more than twice, and the IP addresses are not connected to any known registered Member
  27. 5 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:59 AM MDT Last week we brought you a live LTE coverage map from Sprint sites in the Atlanta/Athens, Georgia area, and now we are bringing you a Sprint LTE coverage map from Waco, Texas. Waco is in the Sprint Austin market. The coverage you see below is from a 4G LTE FIT (Field Implementation Test) that Sprint and Network Vision Partner Ericsson created. It was put together to begin testing and training LTE deployment, as well as a field testing zone for LTE devices. This coverage is live now. If any of you folks down Waco way get your hands on a Sprint 4G LTE device in the next couple of days, let us know what you find when scanning for a LTE signal. Speed test from Ericsson field test reports look mighty fine, with speeds over 20Mbps when you have a strong LTE signal. Sponsors have access to interactive versions of these maps and can zoom in and pan around. More LTE coverage maps are coming soon. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for all the latest Sprint Network Vision/LTE news and information. P.S. - Full Network Vision deployment in the rest of the Austin market will begin in June! 4G LTE Coverage Map near Waco, Texas. Coverage maps were generated in collaboration with CloudRF.com. Click on Map to Enlarge.
  28. 5 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 28, 2012 - 5:15 AM MDT S4GRU received a tip from one of our members in Northern Indiana ten days ago Network Vision was spotted underway in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. He was able to take some photos (below) to show that new Network Vision panels indeed have been added at Site #CH03HO119 located on the south west side of Elkhart, Indiana. Yesterday, S4GRU members found Sprint LTE signals in this vicinity, reaching all over the south side of Elkhart out toward Goshen. Hurrah! Several members went out and started adding this coverage to Sensorly.com coverage maps. Sensorly has an Android app that people can download which can be used to upload 4G LTE coverages of wireless carriers to Google maps for tracking (and 3G/2G signals too). This is welcome news to Sprint customers in Northern Indiana. This work is also a little early based on the Network Vision schedules S4GRU has. Some of our members have joked in the past that this market gets preferential treatment from Sprint, because the Sprint CEO Dan Hesse went to school at Notre Dame. Although we have no evidence of any favoritism involved here, we are always happy to see any Network Vision progress and report it back to you. Site #CH03HO119 in Elkhart, Indiana. The new Network Vision panel that contains LTE is in the middle of the bottom rack on the tower. The legacy PCS panels are on both sides. Photos from S4GRU member C.A.R. This is the first evidence of Network Vision/LTE deployment we have discovered in the Ft. Wayne/South Bend market. Deployment is likely beginning over the entire market and will soon be in all corners, even the Fort Wayne area. However, only the communities of South Bend/Elkhart, Warsaw and Marion were included in the next 100 city list Sprint released a few weeks ago containing names of communities expected to have a launchable amount of LTE service before the end of 2012. At this point, it seems that other communities in this market will likely not have enough LTE service to constitute the service launched until some time after the New Year. In the interim, LTE signals may come and go around the South Bend/Elkhart area. They are just in the infancy of deployment. Sprint has been pretty consistent in blocking LTE connections at completed sites after they accept the improvements from the Network Vision OEM/subcontractors. Also, it may not be surprising to see isolated LTE signals appear in other Northern Indiana Sprint communities. This market also contains a remarkable amount of 1x sites. Sites that essentially only have 2G speeds, never receiving 3G EVDO upgrades. It is believed that these sites will go from 1x service only to 3G and 4G LTE at the same time. Essentially skipping the entire 3rd generation of wireless service. There are thousands of rural customers looking forward to having a 3G network finally, at the same time they get 4G wireless broadband. Sensorly.com LTE coverage map in Elkhart, Indiana. Several S4GRU members hit the road and plotted LTE signals using the Sensorly Android map to illustrate some of the coverage by the new site.
  29. 5 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 12, 2012 - 8:19 AM MDT On this Friday morning, Sprint's marketing cranked out a new Press Release adding 20 additional communities that Sprint anticipates having at least a prelaunch amount of service available to use by its LTE customers before the end of the year. All of these appear to be in areas where Sprint is already working. But just expanding out to other communities within those markets. A couple are a repeat from the previous 100 city list from Sprint, like Warsaw, Marion and South Bend, Indiana and Sebring, Florida. However, I know there are a lot of Ft. Wayne customers who are now happy to see they will not get left behind their Hoosier State counterparts in South Bend. It is no accident that Sprint outlines that the LTE signals that are discovered in these areas are "prelaunch." Sprint is trying to set expectations that these are advance LTE signals that will be usable to customers. It's great that Sprint will allow these sites to be usable pretty quickly after they are complete. But as we have seen around our forums and our social media pages, there is a pretty vocal part of their customer base who expects to have wall to wall coverage immediately upon receiving their first LTE signal. It is important that these people understand that they are getting to use their LTE sites really early, before the whole network is ready. And this is a good thing. Most markets will take a long time from prelaunch phase until they have ubiquitous coverage over the whole area. A few months to a year, depending on the market. EDIT 8:44 AM MDT: After further review, Joplin, MO is the first city in the Missouri market. So there is one new market where deployment is now expanding to. This should be taken as good news that work will also be starting in St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia and Jefferson City in the not-too-distant future.
  30. 5 points
    Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 3:18 PM MDT Today, Sprint releases invitations to the grand Sprint/HTC collaboration event, to be held on Wednesday, April 4th. We didn't get our invitation yet, but the mail man here at the Espanola post office can be slow. We can't help but jump to the conclusion that this event is to announce the upcoming HTC Evo One X Jet HD LTE, or whatever the name actually ends up being, that we broke the story about the past Sunday. If so, seems a little early. I'm sure HTC would love to have the announcement out there that their device is coming soon, before the Galaxy Nexus goes on sale. We wouldn't want any HTC fans to have an identity crisis and go out and buy a Samsung or LG only a few weeks before their preferred OEM released theirs. Maybe we will hear pricing at this event? Either way, we feel a little vindicated. We had some people putting us down out there in tech media. And we did get the scoop first on this device. And we were on the money. Thanks to all of you who believe and support us! And Dan, you can e-mail me the invitation if that's more convenient for you.
  31. 4 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, October 15, 2012 - 2:39 AM MDT Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank and Sprint Nextel formally announced a new venture called "New Sprint" that includes the foreign carrier taking a 70% stake in Sprint. The $20 Billion deal was revealed in the middle of the pre-dawn morning here in the United States as it was timed to be better for the business day where the event announcement was held in Tokyo. The stage was co-hosted by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Notably absent in remarks during the announcement or from the Press Releases is clarity for the outcome of Clearwire. There has been speculation about how Clearwire would shake out of this deal. Clearwire's fate is not yet, clear (sorry for the pun). Some believe that Sprint will take it's large cash infusion from SoftBank and purchase Clearwire outright to make their spectrum apart of the SoftBank/Sprint long term strategy. Formally in the Press Release, it says that Sprint is not required to take any action. But the door is left open that they indeed could do that with proceeds. The boards of both SoftBank and Sprint have approved the transaction. The deal is anticipated to close in Mid 2013 and will be subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals. It seems to us that regulatory approval in the U.S. should be relatively easy. Japanese companies have not received the scrutiny that Chinese companies have in the past. Most often citing security concerns. The New Sprint will stay headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and Dan Hesse will stay on as the CEO of the new venture. Only three existing Sprint board members will be on the new 10 person New Sprint board. S4GRU Members have been discussing this in our forums for the past week since the rumors first surfaced that SoftBank and Sprint were in talks. The Press Release with more details is below:
  32. 4 points
    by Rickie Smith Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 3:30 PM MST After a long time of no news on the Sprint Direct Connect app, there is finally something to report. On February 3rd, Sprint launched its Direct Connect Now app on six devices, plus announced three other devices that will get support for it in the future. The app is free to download, but some plans have it as a service add-on for $5 a month for unlimited use. For other plans it's a free add on feature. Phones now supported LG G2 Galaxy S4 Galaxy Note 3 LG G Flex LG Optimus F3 Kyocera Hydro Edge Devices coming soon S4 Mini Galaxy Mega Galaxy S4 Spark Edition Now I haven't had any real world experience with it yet, but we would love to hear from people to see how it works compared to old Nextel Direct Connect. Here is what we wrote about Direct Connect back in 2012: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-127-sprint-direct-connecttheres-an-app-for-that/
  33. 3 points
    Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Update Monday, March 26, 2012 - 6:41 PM MDT Sprint continues its iDEN thinning plan that it announced a few months ago in full force. It is wrapping up the removal of 83 sites in the Nextel New Orleans market and readily preparing to mobilize nationwide in 20 of 21 remaining Nextel markets to do the same. Based on newly obtained internal documents, from mid April 2012 through the end of June, Sprint plans on decommissioning over 9,000 of Nextel's approximate 32,000 total site count. Just under one third the total Nextel iDEN network. This will save Sprint a lot of operational dollars in 2012. Might as well save a few bucks... It has been in the plans for some time now for Sprint to fully decommission the entire Nextel iDEN network in 2013. Sprint will be reusing the 800MHz SMR spectrum that Nextel's iDEN network currently uses and reallocate that to be used on its new Network Vision platform. The new uses will include CDMA voice (1xAdvanced) and 4G LTE for high speed data. These are seen as critical for mid and long term capacity, as well as helping Sprint customers with building penetration. It is no secret that Sprint is shedding Nextel subscribers at a high rate. And since the epitaph for the iDEN network has already been written, it makes a lot of financial sense for Sprint to start taking down many iDEN sites now, leaving a minimum amount of coverages left for the remaining Nextel subscribers. Sprint has said in the past that the Nextel network capacity was significantly over built in most urban areas in order to allow for future subscriber growth. The high growth rates never materialized post Sprint and Nextel merger. Sprint is largely identifying these extra sites for removal. These provide significant operational costs without much advantage. However, there have been anecdotal reports already that thinning in the New Orleans market has created reduced amounts of coverage. Those waskily wabbits!!! Sprint originally created a iDEN Thinning site to help customers understand what was going on. However, competing wireless carriers were using this data to try and specifically target affected customers in order to gain subscribers. Sprint has had to take the information offline because of the exploitative nature their competitors engaged in. Nextel's 22 Markets. Each Nextel market is shown with a number in blue listing number of sites before the 2012 Thinning and the number in green showing the number to remain after thinning. A total of 9,775 sites being taken offline. Click on image to enlarge. The select iDEN site decommissioning (thinning) has already started occurring in the New Orleans market and should be wrapped up completely by the middle of April. The rest of Nextel's market will begin in earnest in April. See market break downs below. April 2012 New Orleans (completes) Atlanta Baltimore/DC Minnesota Denver Pacific Northwest May 2012 Northern California Southern California New England Philadelphia St. Louis Syracuse Detroit Phoenix June 2012 Tennessee Texas New York Chicago Ohio Carolinas Florida Will not be thinned in advance Hawaii
  34. 3 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, July 6, 2012 - 12:55 PM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is way down yonder...Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The PR/VI market has yet to be announced by Sprint. Network Vision work is under way, with Samsung and their subcontractors actively working around the market. The Sprint PR/VI market encompasses all of Puerto Rico (including Culebra and Vieques) as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands (including St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John). Samsung has this market deployment configured in a completely different manner than any other we have reported. Samsung did show up and begin work at the end of April. Their subcontractors are running around the islands installing base station equipment, new cable runs, remote radio units and new Network Vision antenna panels. We have had S4GRU members in Puerto Rico submit some pictures of this work being completed at sites near them. This work appears to be on schedule from our previous report for the market. Network Vision site in Yauco, Puerto Rico. S4GRU Member Edil Montalvo provided this shot of a site in Yauco that received NV upgrades in early May. This site is slated to get Microwave backhaul which will not arrive until this Fall. Sprint and Samsung are currently working on the 4G Core in Bayamon that will handle all the LTE data and eHRPD data that will come from completed Network Vision sites. The Bayamon 4G Core will not be ready until this Fall. Sprint's backhaul vendors are actively working to install high-speed backhaul that will connect these NV sites to the completed core. Once the 4G core is complete and a good chunk of the backhaul is in place, Samsung will get back out to completed Network Vision sites and get the 3G upgrades and LTE hooked up to the new backhaul. Then the eHRPD and LTE networks can be running. The deployment dates in this article will discuss the dates that LTE sites are scheduled to start going live this Winter after everything is in place. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Schedule details and the bottom line We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in the PR/VI market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February-March LTE launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). We will have a better idea how deployment is going after the Bayamon core and backhaul work are completed and LTE starts to go live. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. There is a chance that if the Bayamon core and backhaul can get completed ahead of schedule that these LTE live dates can be improved upon. Photo of Christiansted, St. Croix provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  35. 3 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 9, 2012 - 12:01 PM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...East Michigan. The East Michigan market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall. The Sprint East Michigan market encompasses the Eastern Half of the Michigan Lower Peninsula. This includes the cities of Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, Livonia, Canton, Troy, Southfield, Rochester Hills, St. Clair Shores, Pontiac, Tri-Cities (Saginaw, Midland and Bay City), Jackson, Port Huron and Alpena. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Schedule details and the bottom line Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in East Michigan. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a April market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved. Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 60 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a big chunk to complete monthly, but is doable with the appropriate amount of resources allocated. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Detroit Skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  36. 3 points
    Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Update Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 10:30 AM MDT BREAKING NEWS and a S4GRU.com EXCLUSIVE...We have some good news for y'all in the Heart of the Lone Star State! Sprint's Austin market is now confirmed to be in the First Round of Network Vision/LTE deployment. Austin was originally slated to be in the beginning of the Second Round of deployment. However, since the original Network Vision schedules were compiled back in October 2011, Austin has apparently been moved up. Ericsson is the Network Vision OEM Contractor that oversees the Austin market. Ericsson has created a 4G LTE FIT (field testing area) within the Austin market just south of the city of Waco. It now appears that Ericsson and its subcontractors are rolling right out of this 4G LTE FIT and right into full scale deployment. In the latest Network Vision schedules obtained, Ericsson will be deploying a total of 19 sites within the FIT area. Starting in April they will continue deployment steadily across the market. Phased for your LTE enjoyment The Austin market deployment is now made up of two phases. The first phase is scheduled to run into July 2012. It's at the end of Phase 1 that Sprint will come out and announce that the Austin market is live! Phase 1 includes approximately 50% of all the sites that will receive Network Vision and LTE upgrades. Phase 2 will continue immediately after the conclusion of Phase 1 until the entire markets completes around the end of October. Live Network Vision sites - Austin market. There are six sites currently live in the Austin market in the Waco 4G LTE FIT. There are already six sites live in the Waco FIT area (shown in the map above). These are reported to have full Network Vision upgrades including 4G LTE already operating. Granted, that LTE is unusable to Sprint customers at the moment, as there currently aren't any Sprint 4G LTE devices on the market. Although we have reported that will change soon with the releases of the Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper that are anticipated on April 15th. You won't need to wait until launch to enjoy some early LTE goodness Even though the formal launch of the Austin market is not anticipated until July 2012, Sprint is planning to allow all of its customers who do buy LTE devices the ability to use the LTE service prior to market launch, should they find themselves in an area with LTE coverage. Sprint plans to instruct its sales and customer service channels that customers may discover LTE in their market prior to launch, but it is not "optimized" for use until formal launch announcement. However they will be encouraged to use their LTE, but with the caveat that LTE services in their area are not supported until formal launch. In other words, don't call and complain to them if it goes down! In the Austin market, there is anticipated to be 35 sites live when LTE devices are expected to go on sale. And there will be over 200 sites live when the market is formally launched in June. So there will be several months of unofficial LTE sites coming live across the market. If you live in the Austin market and are one of the early LTE device buyers, you will need to scan for a LTE signal every couple of days. Because that 4G LTE signal could just jump out at you at any moment! Unofficially, of course! Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity.
  37. 2 points
    S4GRU FAN MAP: Last Friday I asked you all where you are from. Today I created a map of all the places you represent. We definitely have fans from all over the United States, from Metro Seattle all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Here are the final rankings of cities with the most fans: Milwaukee (approx. 5% of all fans are from the Milwaukee/Waukesha Area). Phoenix (missed the mark by only one fan!) Detroit Indianapolis San Diego County Oklahoma City Columbia, South Carolina Lexington, Kentucky Dayton & Springfield, Ohio South Bend, Indiana (I included Niles in here too) New Orleans New York City, Louisville, Tulsa and Minneapolis/St. Paul Do you notice a trend here? The Top 11 do not have full 4G Deployments from Sprint/Clearwire. Also, Number 12 all were tied with three fans each. Thanks for all your support!!! A map indicating where all the S4GRU Facebook fans come from. Click to Enlarge.
  38. 2 points
    by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:19 PM MDT On April 5, the mysterious Samsung SPH-L500 passed thru the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology), indicating that it is now authorized for use in the US on the Sprint network. S4GRU can report only the details that are currently available, but we will update the article as more info emerges. The phone measures roughly 5.24 inches tall by 2.68 inches wide, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S3 and S4 and slightly larger than the Galaxy S3 mini that it was originally rumored to be based off of, and comes with a 1.4 GHz dual core processor. As was previously noted from the Bluetooth SIG report in November, this phone has support for Bluetooth 4.0 and the following profiles: HFP1.5, HSP, OPP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP, PAN, PBAP, HID, and MAP. As you can see from the antenna diagram, CDMA1X and EVDO share the same antenna path, so SVDO is not possible, but SVLTE is possible. The phone also supports simultaneous LTE and Wi- Fi tether on 2.4 GHz, but not on 5 GHz. Lastly, it is not capable of supporting simultaneous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as they also share the same antenna path. CDMA1X + EV-DO bands 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz FDD channel bandwidth SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.45 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.11 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.12 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.20 dBm (LTE 1900) LTE antenna configuration 1 uplink, 2 downlink (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO) 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi NFC with antenna built into battery According to the HTTP header from cloud4sites.com, the SPH-L500 has Android 4.1.2. SXTPdevelopers.com member “sextape” rumored the specs on the phone to be a 4.65” screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, 8 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP front facing camera, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB built-in memory, and microSD Card slot supporting up to 64 GB cards. The chipset is said to be the Qualcomm MSM8930AA, which is apparently the same chipset found in the new HTC First by Facebook and HTC. If the SPH-L500 is released with these specs, they are pretty decent for a mid-range phone, considering all mid-range Sprint LTE phones up until now have only had 5 MP rear cameras and 4” 480 x 800 resolution displays. Sources: FCC, cloud4sites, SXTP
  39. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 12:00 PM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...West Washington. The West Washington market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall. The Sprint West Washington market encompasses most of the Western Half of Washington State. This includes Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Everett, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Puyallup, Issaquah, Bremerton, Olympia, Bellingham and Aberdeen/Hoquiam. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in May, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Schedule details and the bottom line Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in West Washington. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a May market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved. Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 55 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a normal production rate when compared to other markets. They shouldn't have any schedule issues with the appropriate amount of resources allocated. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Seattle Skyline/Mt. Rainier provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  40. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 15, 2012 - 12:40 PM MDT S4GRU has now completed schedule updates for all the official Sprint announced markets, but we will keep trekking along with schedule updates on the unofficial markets. The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Austin, Texas. This market has not been announced by Sprint, but it is on the way for an August launch, and work is already under way in this market. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson initially deployed to the Austin market quite early, starting work back in December 2011. Ericsson established their 4G LTE FIT (field testing) areas around Waco. There are already 20 sites in the Greater Waco area with live LTE. And work is just about to begin in other parts of the market, including in the Austin Metro area. Network Vision Sites in the Austin market. Twenty sites are complete in the market around Waco. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, and many of them are not even being blocked at this time. Market Launch and Remaining Schedule It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, in recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion in many instances. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Austin, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 30% - 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches. If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Austin market, it would make the launch month in September (should Ericsson stay on schedule). That being said, if Sprint should launch around August 1st (as we suspect), then the market would be well under 50% complete. This doesn't sound like enough, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in August, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Waco coverage would not change. Also, the College Station/Bryan areas are not scheduled to start until October. At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances. And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is reporting that most of the Network Vision sites around Waco have both 3G EVDO and 4G LTE complete. It is not known at this time if the sites due around Austin soon will have both 4G and 3G complete at the same time. Most of the other Ericsson markets are only reporting 4G LTE live at NV sites at the moment. The bottom line... We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Austin market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of August based on reports internally within Sprint. LTE deployment is just about to really take off in the market here in Mid June and into July. Hopefully as these LTE sites complete, Sprint will allow them to be usable by Sprint LTE device holders in the area. Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 20 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production increasing up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees a November 2012 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, Ericsson may be challenged to complete such a high rate of sites monthly, but it is possible with the appropriate amount of resources. Photo of Austin skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  41. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 5:03 AM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Boston, Mass. This market has not been announced by Sprint, but appears to be on the way for a late August launch, and work is already well under way in this market. The Boston market essentially covers the entirety of the Bay State, from Pittsfield to the end of Cape Cod. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent has been actively deploying in the Boston market since late February and has a lot of sites up and running. As of this week, there are approximately 150 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are pretty spread out around the market, from Springfield to Suburban Boston and way out to New Bedford and Cape Cod! Complete Network Vision Sites in the Boston market. Approximately 150 Network Vision sites are complete in the market. The map on the left showing sites with 3G on-air and the map on the right showing 4G LTE on-air. Market Launch and Remaining Schedule It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Boston, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 30% - 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches. If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Boston market, it would make the launch month to be October (should AlcaLu stay on schedule). That being said, if Sprint should launch around the third week of August (as we suspect), then the market would be less than 50% complete. This doesn't sound like enough, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in late August, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Until recently, Sprint was not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites in Boston have 4G LTE complete, only 3G EVDO. But this weekend, 4G LTE sites started to go on-air in the Boston market. The 140 or so 3G only Network Vision sites will likely start coming live with 4G LTE very soon. The bottom line... We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the Boston market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of August based on reports internally within Sprint. However, after reviewing the schedule, it may actually pan out to be late August or the first of September. Sprint will likely announce a launch date for this market, and a few others like Austin, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles around the time of the first launch. Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 148 Network Vision sites complete. Alcatel/Lucent is plotting continual progress from here with production increasing up to a rate of almost 70 sites per month. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by February 2013. However, there are several sites that will linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, AlcaLu is right on time, and should have no problem meeting or exceeding the schedule. Photo of Boston skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  42. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 9:14 PM MDT In our continuing Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series, S4GRU would like to bring you up to speed in San Antonio, Texas. Sprint announced to the world early in Network Vision that the San Antonio market would be one of their first LTE launches. Dan Hesse announced that we can expect it to be launched by Mid 2012. Since the announcement last December, Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson has been steadily deploying around San Antonio and environs. As of this week, the are more than 30 Network Vision sites broadcasting a LTE signal. These sites are all around the market. Network Vision Sites in San Antonio. Over 30 sites are complete in the market. All of these broadcasting Sprint LTE, but being blocked from accessibility by Sprint. 30 Live LTE Sites, but still being blocked by Sprint Despite the good news of these live LTE sites, Sprint is still actively blocking LTE connections. They originally planned to allow sites converted to Network Vision standards to go live immediately upon completion by the OEM Contractor. This is still the case with 3G EVDO and even CDMA 800 sites when they are completed. In Sprint's original Network Vision plans, they were also planning to allow 4G LTE signals to be handled the same way. Turn them on and allow them to be discovered prior to the formal market launch at 50% site completion. Market Launch and Remaining Schedule In recently seen correspondence, Sprint has decided to move up launches sooner than 50% completion. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in San Antonio. If they waited for 50% now, it would delay launch until August. In the case of San Antonio, should Sprint launch prior to the end of June, they would only be complete with approximately 35% to 40% of all NV sites. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it would provide pretty good coverage. A little known item is not even Verizon launches on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market on June 30th, these are the anticipated sites that would have LTE complete at that time. This would provide pretty good LTE coverage over the market. At market launch, some areas will be well covered with LTE, and others may be kind of spotty. However, more sites will come online every week until the whole market is complete. And even with one or two bars of LTE signal on your device, you will still get speeds that are double to triple that of well performing 3G EVDO in most instances. And speaking of 3G EVDO, Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites are currently broadcasting EVDO, only LTE. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May. However, none have shown up as NV 3G active to date. We know the new backhaul is in place at these sites since they are broadcasting LTE. That most likely means that the Switch Center is not ready for these sites. A huge backlog of 3G sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready. The bottom line... We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" the San Antonio market. We believe they are still targeting a launch date before the end of the month based on internal Sprint documents. However, we hope that they will actually remove LTE blocking before the launch, since there are quite a few active LTE sites that can be used now in this market. Sprint's Network Vision schedule for this market currently has 32 Network Vision sites complete. Ericsson is plotting continual progress from here with production ramping up to a rate of almost 40 sites per month. S4GRU has poured over the schedule in this market and sees an October 2012 completion date. In our estimation of the schedule, it appears that Ericsson is behind in the market. However a production rate of 40 sites per month is achievable, but a much greater pace will need to start to occur in June to see this to conclusion. In the mean time, San Antonians are bathing in a Sprint LTE signal that they cannot use. Hopefully, Sprint will soon end your misery and allow you to connect your brand spanking new LTE devices in high speed! Photo of San Antonio provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  43. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 12:12 PM MDT We let the cat out of the bag a little early yesterday in a screen shot from another article, but Sprint 4G Rollout Updates can report to you that a new mystery device (currently codenamed NDA #105) has entered Sprint's Lenexa Labs for testing. S4GRU has actually known about this device since February, but now that the source has approved the release of the documents, we are reporting it to you. What we know is that the device must be a high end flagship device, because it sports the uber powerful Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon MSM8960 dual-core chipset, like what is in the new EVO 4G LTE. This chip is often touted to be equal or better than their upcoming quad core competitiors. We also know that it was scheduled to begin Sprint lab testing yesterday. And we also know it is targeted for a late summer launch. Most likely in September. Screenshot of the Lab Schedule. These are the LTE capable devices scheduled in the lab through summer as of 4/11/2012. The device most likely is either the Sprint variant of the Samsung Galaxy S-III (which is being rumored that the American LTE version will have the S4), or possibly a new successor to the Motorola Photon with LTE (which is also persistent in the rumor mill). Some even speculate it could be a new Windows Phone, based on the new Apollo platform. The timing feels pretty good to speculate on the Galaxy S-III. However, it's interesting that credible rumors of a new Sprint Moto product started breaking around the time that engineering samples of this device were showing up at Sprint Corporate campus. We may be able to rule out the Samsung soon should it be confirmed that the American LTE version gets a quad core. So if I were forced to wager a bet, I'd go with the new Motorola Photon LTE at this point. But that's just speculative on my part. Also of note is that Sprint is also planning to release a Data Card in September that is capable of running on both Sprint 4G networks, WiMax and LTE, in addition to 3G EVDO. All we know definitively at this point is what is in the images here. Our source cannot even shed any further light than this. Stay tuned.
  44. 2 points
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 2:01 PM MST Ready for some more announcements? We are now prepared to tell you about two more Round Two markets in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012. Music City and the Big Easy! The Nashville market engulfs all of Eastern Tennessee and the New Orleans market is the whole eastern section of Louisiana. Sprint's Network Vision vendor Ericsson will likely begin Network Vision and LTE deployment in these two Sprint markets in 2012. This is not an imminent start in the next few weeks. These are Second Round starts. Which means that the start of these markets is dependent on when the previous market before it wraps up. There is no way for me to determine at this point which markets will precede them. Even Sprint does not know definitively at this point. Sprint's Nashville market Sprint's Nashville market basically includes every Sprint site in Central and East Tennessee. Including the cities of Nashville, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Knoxville, the Tri-Cities (Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol), Chattanooga, Cleveland and Dalton, Georgia. It is bordered by the Atlanta market to the south and Charlotte market to the east, which were announced previously. The West Kentucky and the East Kentucky market borders to the north, and the Alabama market also to the south. These three markets are yet to be announced. The Nashville market will sport a whopping 804 sites in total after Network Vision is complete. Sprint's Nashville Market. All 800+ Network Vision sites are shown for the Nashville market in this map. Click on image to enlarge. Sprint's New Orleans market Sprint's New Orleans market is the whole eastern portion of Louisiana (where the toes go into the boot!) and the part of southern Mississippi along I-55 in Pike County. It includes Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houma, Morgan City, Hammond, Slidell and McComb, Mississippi. It is bordered by the Louisana market to the west, Mississippi market to the north, and Gulf Coast market market to the east. All of these adjacent markets are yet to be announced. 344 Network Vision sites in all. Sprint's New Orleans Market. All of the approximately 340 Network Vision sites are shown for the NOLA market in this map. Click on image to enlarge. We would love to give you the date, but... There is absolutely no way for S4GRU to be able to provide a start date for these markets, or any of the Second Round 2012 markets that will be announced after these. We are announcing these markets to you for your information, to give Sprint customers a rough idea of when these second round markets can be anticipated. There is absolutely no guarantee of the order in which these markets come live, because there is a lot of variability in the plan. The most significant variable being how quickly the preceding market before it wraps up. If things go quickly in the preceding market, work may start early. Things go late, these would likely start late. And to complicate start dates in each market, Sprint has said they may elect to slow down Network Vision in future quarters if cash flow becomes strained. Sprint has three different OEM vendors, with several different crews in many markets at once. There could be final permitting and design delays, some vendors and/or crews will work at different speeds, weather issues and any number of unforeseen circumstances to complicate matters even further. First round market starts are much easier to predict, but second round and third round markets starts are increasingly difficult to predict and put dates to. This is likely the reason why Sprint has elected not to announce these markets themselves at this time. But we know you don't want to wait for Sprint to tell you! With these caveats understood, we are releasing the Network Vision second round markets in the order that they are anticipating to start deployment, based on the schedules as they exist to date. We won't stop digging for you! Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to do so in a series of articles over the next few weeks. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear very tentative and subject to change. With the many variables to sort out between now and 2013. Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc. With the release of Nashville and New Orleans markets today (and Central Jersey last night), that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 21. We have created a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List. Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Friday we will be announcing the next two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about it in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time on Thursday evening. Come join us! Photos Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity. Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Nashville and New Orleans Market maps! Thank you!
  45. 1 point
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 29, 2012 - 8:59 AM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is The City Beautiful...Orlando. The Orlando market has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches. The Sprint Orlando market encompasses all of the East Central portion of the Florida peninsula. Including the Orlando metro area, Melbourne/Palm Bay area, Port St. Lucie, Daytona Beach/Port Orange Area, Lakeland/Winter Haven, Palm Coast, Titusville/Cocoa Beach/Space Coast, Deltona and Vero Beach. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in July. Completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in September. However, if they mobilize in July, sites may start actually coming online in August. Orlando Market Launch It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Orlando, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches. If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch this market, it would make the launch approximately January (should the OEM stay on schedule). If they plan on a 40% market completion for launch, that would be December. You may think that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Schedule details and the bottom line We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in Orlando. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December or January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production. Ericsson will need to hit a production rate of 65 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is an achievable rate in our opinion. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Orlando skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  46. 1 point
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 29, 2012 - 12:28 PM MDT The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is ...Tampa. The Tampa Bay area has yet to be announced by Sprint, but is expected to be announced in the near future. Perhaps around the time of the first market launches. The Sprint Tampa market encompasses all of the Sprint native coverage in the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. This includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Largo, Dunedin, Brandon, Plant City, Riverview, Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Zephyrhills, Spring Hill and Brooksville. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Ericsson is scheduled to begin mobilizing with its subcontractors in August. Completed Network Vision sites should start coming online around the first of Septemeber. Tampa Market Launch It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Tampa, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches. It doesn't much matter in this market if Sprint launches at 40% or 50% completion. Ericsson is scheduled to hit both the 40% and 50% milestones in the month of December (should they stay on schedule). It may seem that 40% - 50% site completion is not enough to launch LTE service, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months. Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in December, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. Schedule details and the bottom line We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service around the Tampa Bay. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will take a stab at it. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a December market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Ericsson and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production. Ericsson will only need to hit a production rate of 45 sites per month to stay on schedule. This appears to us to be an achievable rate. If properly prepared and equipped and if backhaul is ready timely, this market shouldn't have problems staying on time. But this is easy to say before they get started. S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by March 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Tampa skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship
  47. 1 point
    by Jeff Foster Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, March 30, 2012 - 1:09 PM MDT Prior to the rise of smartphones, carrier loyalty was tied more to network coverage – and for many it still is. Consumers don’t want to worry about signal strength or proximity to a cellular tower in order to place a call. At their most basic level, phones have to work for their primary purpose. In the early days of cellular, there wasn’t much difference between most voice-only handsets. Of course there were fashion and size considerations, or interest in devices that offered a wider range of compatible accessories, but until six to eight years ago, phones were just phones. Then along came the smartphone, and with it more device styles and functions and a greater range of capabilities. Then there are those one night stand smartphoners... Smartphone users are among the least likely to stick with their carrier, and 31 percent of U.S. consumers are ready to switch wireless carriers for better or improved services. Even with the rising cost of early termination fees, carrier loyalty is fragile at best, with only 17 percent of consumers claiming their current network provider is the only carrier they will continue to use. That startling decline in loyalty is causing wireless companies to rethink the way they do business. In 2011, the average length of relationships between carriers and their under-contract customers fell to an all-time low of 48 months. The trend has been building for a few years and what’s surprising is how quickly it accelerated. In 2010, the average customer-carrier relationship was 59 months -- nearly a full year longer. The biggest decline came among smaller cell phone companies, but large carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint didn't fare much better. Their average relationships with customers under contract lasted just 51 months. If customers are going to cut and run frequently, carriers will need to rethink their pricing models -- particularly when it comes to expensive smartphones. I'll glad pay you Tuesday, for that high priced smartphone today... Is that Sprint yellow, or is it just me? Carriers have been encouraging customers to upgrade to smartphones because the devices bring in a new revenue stream. Most carriers then charge smartphone customers a premium for data usage, with plans averaging about $25 per month. But what carriers didn't anticipate were the incredible costs of keeping smartphone customers satisfied. To get smartphones down to the magic price point of $200, carriers pay an average subsidy of $280 for each device -- four times as much as the $70 average subsidy on a feature phone. Plus, smartphone customers use data, and a lot of it, requiring wireless companies to spend tens of billions of dollars each year improving their 3G network capacity and building out their 4G networks. Meanwhile, average revenue per smartphone user is actually declining. As data use grows, people are talking on their phones less. The average consumer used just 638 voice minutes per month in 2011, down from 720 minutes in 2010. Customers are cutting back their voice plans, sending carriers' average revenue per smartphone user down to $83 per month last year. That's a drop from $86 in 2010 and $93 from 2009. How much longer can the industry afford to subsidize smartphones and not receive a loyalty benefit back? Less loyalty, growing subsidies, higher infrastructure costs and declining revenues have created an unsustainable dynamic for carriers. Profit margins are falling, and analysts expect the trend to get worse. That means the business model is changing and carriers have few options. First, they can increase prices on their phones. That's already started to happen. Verizon and AT&T now offer a small selection of 4G phones for more than $200, with some as high as $300. Another tactic is for them to pressure handset manufacturers to reduce device costs. Some may bargain, but the maker of the single most popular smartphone -- Apple's iPhone -- is no pushover. Carriers are even trying to retain customers by offering incentives, such as device buyback programs and are considering leasing plans. Finally, cell phone companies may switch to the "bring your own device" model that is popular overseas. North American carriers have embraced the subsidy model for decades for two reasons: incompatible technologies presented steep obstacles to switching, and the subsidy model seemed to build customer loyalty. "The mobile industry has reached a point where the economics of the current subsidy model associated with acquiring new and upgrading existing customers to costly smartphones have become increasingly difficult to sustain," said Pierre-Alain Sur, PwC's global communications industry leader. Now, the whole industry is migrating to the 4G-LTE standard. With loyalty going out the window, carriers may drop subsidies and contracts altogether. Whichever option carriers choose, they will have to act fast, Sur thinks. "They are going to have to determine what's going to be the business model of the future," he said. "Carriers are at an inflection point.". http://money.cnn.com...?source=cnn_bin http://gigaom.com/20...ty-is-fleeting/ http://news.cnet.com.../?tag=cnetRiver
  48. 1 point
    Danny Bullard Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 8:59 PM MDT Looking to buy a smartphone but not looking to spend $200+? Look no further! WireFly and Sprint are selling HTC EVO 3D for a low price of $0, yes free. Requires you to be a new customer or adding a new line of service. The EVO 3D can still hang with some of the higher end smart phones. The 3D has a dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 4.3" qHD display and dual 5MP cameras that can take 3D shots and video. Plus, the EVO 3D is slated to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich this year. So, who will be heading over to WireFly's site or Sprint's site to order a free EVO 3D? Or, are you waiting for Sprint's LTE Galaxy Nexus? Sound off in the comments! Source: Sprint, Wirefly
  49. 1 point
    Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 1:30 PM MDT Our readers are so astute, that I bet they are wondering, where is that Tri-Network Hostpot unveiled at CES last January with the GNex and the Viper? When is it going to hit the street? Well wonder no more! Sprint 4G Rollout Updates has learned that Sprint is intending to release the Sierra Wireless Tri-Network Hotspot on Friday, May 18th. This device is unique from other hotspots because it runs on three networks, 4G LTE, 4G WiMax and 3G EVDO. This hotspot will be a must for those Sprint customers needing mobile WiFi connectivity everywhere they go. Given the current evolution from 4G WiMax to 4G LTE, it will be very versatile for any type of signal you encounter on the Now Network. A great device to bridge the transition in 4G technologies. You can even use it to turn your iPhone 4S into a 4G device. Just hook up your iPhone to the hotspot, and you will have 4G speeds anytime you are in a Sprint LTE or WiMax coverage area. This Tri-Network Hotspot is designed to search for 4G LTE first, then WiMax, then 3G EVDO. And at intervals, it will scan for another network to see if it can locate an even faster signal than the one it is connected to. It supports up to 8 simultaneous connections, has a range up to 150' and even offers 32GB of storage on board. Pricing information is still unknown at this time. Photo courtesy of gottabemobile.com Source: Undisclosed Internal Source
  50. 1 point
    by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 5:49 PM MST Today, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates is prepared to tell you about another Round Two market in Sprint's Network Vision/LTE deployment plans for 2012. Portland, Oregon. More specifically, Sprint's Oregon/SW Washington market. Sprint's Network Vision vendor Samsung will likely begin Network Vision and LTE deployment in the Oregon/SW Washington market in 2012. This is not an imminent start in the next few weeks. This is a Second Round start. Which means that the start of this market is dependent on when the previous market before it wraps up. There is no way for me to determine at this point which Samsung markets will precede this. Sprint's Oregon/SW Washington market Sprint's Oregon/SW Washington market basically covers the entire State of Oregon and the parts of Washington State that are part of Suburban Portland. This includes the Oregon cities of Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, Salem, Medford, Bend, Newport, Klamath Falls, Pendleton and Ontario. In Washington State it includes Vancouver, Battle Ground, Kelso, Longview and the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. It is bordered by the West Washington market to the north (which we already announced) and the Inland Northwest market (Spokane/Tri-Cities) to the Northeast, the Idaho market to the east and the Upper Central Valley market to the south, which are yet to be announced. 549 sites in total after NV is complete. Sprint's Oregon/SW Washington Market. Approximately 550 Network Vision sites are shown for the Oregon/SW Washington market in this map. Click on image to enlarge. We would love to give you the date, but... There is absolutely no way for S4GRU to be able to provide a start date for these markets, or any of the Second Round 2012 markets that will be announced after these. We are announcing these markets to you for your information, to give Sprint customers a rough idea of when these second round markets can be anticipated. There is absolutely no guarantee of the order in which these markets come live, because there is a lot of variability in the plan. The most significant variable being how quickly the preceding market before it wraps up. If things go quickly in the preceding market, work may start early. Things go late, these would likely start late. And to complicate start dates in each market, Sprint has said they may elect to slow down Network Vision in future quarters if cash flow becomes strained. Sprint has three different OEM vendors, with several different crews in many markets at once. There could be final permitting and design delays, some vendors and/or crews will work at different speeds, weather issues and any number of unforeseen circumstances to complicate matters even further. First round market starts are much easier to predict, but second round and third round markets starts are increasingly difficult to predict and put dates to. This is likely the reason why Sprint has elected not to announce these markets themselves at this time. But we know you don't want to wait for Sprint to tell you! With these caveats understood, we are releasing the Network Vision second round markets in the order that they are anticipating to start deployment, based on the schedules as they exist to date. We won't stop digging for you! Sprint 4G Rollout Updates will continue to scour through the data and gather deployment information for your use. It is our intent to provide at a minimum, all the Sprint markets that will likely begin Network Vision/LTE upgrades in 2012. And we intend to do so in a series of articles over the next few weeks. We will not likely announce communities slated for 2013, because the dates we hold for 2013 markets appear very tentative and subject to change. With the many variables to sort out between now and 2013. Sprint could make significant shifts in deployment plans based on dynamic need change, funding, market permitting difficulties, etc. With the release of the Oregon/SW Washington market today, that brings the total of Network Vision markets announced to 16. We have created a thread in our forums where we are keeping track of all the markets announced by Sprint and S4GRU.com. Click on this link here to view the Network Vision Market Running List. Stay tuned to Sprint 4G Rollout Updates. On Monday we will be announcing the next two Round Two markets for Sprint Network Vision and LTE deployment. We will be talking about in a few hours in advance in a S4GRU Live Chat at 9:30 PM Mountain Time. Come join us! Photos Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Information about the source: The information for all of our Network Vision information has been freely provided by several sources close to the Network Vision program who choose to remain anonymous. No source information will be released to protect anonymity. Special thanks to S4GRU Member digiblur for creating the Oregon/SW Washington Market map! Thank you!
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