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Everything posted by WiWavelength

  1. WiWavelength

    HTC 10 User Thread

    For everything HTC 10. AJ
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. WiWavelength

    RSSI vs RSRP: A Brief LTE Signal Strength Primer

    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 16, 2012 - 1:40 AM MDT As Sprint LTE 1900 has become live and discoverable in numerous markets over this past weekend, some of our readers, especially those who are using Android 4.0 ICS based ROMs, have expressed concern at the seemingly low signal levels that they have encountered. For example, see this screenshot from an HTC EVO 4G LTE (under Settings > About > Network): Note the -102 dBm signal level. If this were measuring CDMA1X or EV-DO, then, yes, -102 dBm would be nearing the margin of usable signal. But -102 dBm is actually relatively healthy LTE signal level. To understand why, we need to learn the differences between two types of signal measurement: Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) and Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP). First, an LTE downlink is divided into subcarriers. A 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, which is the configuration that Sprint is deploying, contains 300 subcarriers. And of those subcarriers, one in three carry LTE reference signals. In other words, of the 300 subcarriers, 100 transmit periodic reference signals. To illustrate, I captured this power vs frequency sweep with a spectrum analyzer. The LTE downlink graph comes from a Sprint site in the Kansas City area in late April, well before Sprint stopped blocking devices from live LTE sites. So, the sector depicted here exhibits no data traffic; it is transmitting only the periodic reference signals on 100 subcarriers, which you can clearly count in the graph: Now, RSSI is the more traditional metric that has long been used to display signal strength for GSM, CDMA1X, etc., and it integrates all of the RF power within the channel passband. In other words, for LTE, RSSI measurement bandwidth is all active subcarriers. If we take the above RF sweep of a Sprint 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, RSSI measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in yellow: RSRP, on the other hand, is an LTE specific metric that averages the RF power in all of the reference signals in the passband. Remember those aforementioned and depicted 100 subcarriers that contain reference signals? To calculate RSRP, the power in each one of those subcarriers is averaged. As such, RSRP measurement bandwidth is the equivalent of only a single subcarrier. And using our graph once more, RSRP measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in red: Since the logarithmic ratio of 100 subcarriers to one subcarrier is 20 dB (e.g. 10 × log 100 = 20), RSSI tends to measure about 20 dB higher than does RSRP. Or, to put it another way, RSRP measures about 20 dB lower than what we are accustomed to observing for a given signal level. Thus, that superficially weak -102 dBm RSRP signal level that we saw previously would actually be roughly -82 dBm if it were converted to RSSI. To conclude, here are a few takeaways about RSSI and RSRP as signal strength measurement techniques for LTE: RSSI varies with LTE downlink bandwidth. For example, even if all other factors were equal, VZW 10 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI would measure 3 dB greater than would Sprint 5 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI. But that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user. RSSI varies with LTE subcarrier activity -- the greater the data transfer activity, the higher the RSSI. But, again, that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user. RSRP does a better job of measuring signal power from a specific sector while potentially excluding noise and interference from other sectors. RSRP levels for usable signal typically range from about -75 dBm close in to an LTE cell site to -120 dBm at the edge of LTE coverage. Sources: 3GPP, author's graphs
  6. WiWavelength

    (UPDATED) LG Eclipse 4G casts an early shadow

    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:54 PM MDT Update: The previously dubbed LG Eclipse is being released November 11 as the Optimus G. Additionally, the LTE 1900 EIRP figures that were missing from the original FCC filing were added six weeks later in a Class II Permissive Change application. Max LTE 1900 EIRP is 23.51 dBm -- though with substantial variability (up to 4.5 dB) due to differences in carrier frequency, bandwidth, and modulation (QPSK/16-QAM). Furthermore, CDMA1X/EV-DO 800 max ERP has been increased by approximately 2 dB to 23.17 dBm. To quote the inimitable Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu all over again." And here we go again. S4GRU is happy to announce yet another breakdown of an FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filing for a major device headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Since this spring, we have analyzed the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, and yet to be released Motorola Photon Q 4G. Today, the expected LG Eclipse 4G hit the FCC database under the model number LG LS970, and here are the RF facets that we have been able to glean: 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 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel) SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether SVDO support absent Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.86 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 25.33 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 21.68 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800) NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagrams below) Notably missing from the presumed LG Eclipse's FCC filing are two things: SVDO capability and LTE band 25 EIRP test results. Rumor has it that the Eclipse will utilize Qualcomm's upcoming and highly anticipated APQ8064 quad core 28 nm "Krait" processor. The quad core difference is noteworthy compared to the dual core MSM8960 chipset that has proven very successful in the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, et al. But the MSM8960 incorporates a multimode modem, while the APQ8064 is a naked processor. If rumor has it right, then the Eclipse will also have to utilize at least one separate modem chipset. And it would seem that LG has chosen at least one CDMA1X/EV-DO modem that is not capable of voice "Fusion," which would enable SVDO with a second modem. So, like its Viper predecessor, the Eclipse appears to be a multiple chipset design. But unlike the Viper, the Eclipse is absent SVDO. Furthermore, the FCC OET filing includes requisite CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800 ERP/EIRP figures but lacks LTE 1900 EIRP figures. So, do not hold your breath for a release date. We will leave it to other sources to speculate/report on the ergonomics and other technical attributes of the upcoming LG device. But we expect that LG and its authorized testing lab will have to file supplemental results before the supposed Eclipse makes its way into the hands of eager Sprint subscribers. Source: FCC
  7. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 5, 2012 - 8:00 AM MDT Unless you have been under a telecom rock the past 48 hours -- or stuck in the boonies with only a GSM device (I kid, I kid) -- you have read that T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS have agreed in principle to a complicated reverse merger arrangement that would create a combined carrier, at least provisionally called NewCo. Now, Sprint has jumped back into the fray, this after Sprint's executive leadership had readied a bid for MetroPCS earlier this year but was vetoed by the board of directors. Sprint's motivations for pursuing a counter bid could be multifold. Sprint could actually be trying to acquire MetroPCS, feeling a sense of urgency that it did not this spring. Plus, Sprint's perception on Wall Street has improved dramatically during the past few months, making a merger a more financially palatable prospect. Sprint could be attempting to force T-Mobile to sweeten its offer for MetroPCS, potentially costing competitor T-Mobile additional financial resources. Sprint could be trying to gain some concessions in order to allow the merger to proceed. That last possibility is what this article will explore, namely, that NewCo would agglomerate an egregious amount of PCS 1900 MHz spectrum in several markets in which Sprint also happens to be a bit PCS spectrum shy. By throwing its own hat into the ring, Sprint should pressure NewCo to divest excess PCS spectrum to Sprint voluntarily. Alternatively, Sprint could lobby the FCC, oppose the merger and its transfer of spectrum licenses, and try to get some mandated divestitures that way. To illustrate, MetroPCS currently operates in at least some PCS spectrum in 10 major markets. The linked spreadsheet below compares NewCo's potential PCS A-F block spectrum holdings to Sprint's current PCS A-F block spectrum holdings in those 10 markets. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArY31Mr219-ydE1tRVdJS19ocjBZXzVibk01Wm5wLWc&usp=sharing In those 10 markets, Sprint holds 20-30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, while NewCo would have 35-60 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum, including 50-60 MHz in four of the markets. Considering that 60 MHz represents fully half of the total 120 MHz bandwidth of the traditional PCS band, that is an outrageous amount of PCS spectrum -- especially for a carrier that is hitching its LTE wagon to AWS, not PCS. Even AT&T would blush at acquiring that much spectrum within a given band. Keep in mind, too, that this analysis does not take into account the 40-60 MHz of AWS 2100+1700 MHz spectrum that NewCo would hold in those same 10 markets, including 50-60 MHz in all but Atlanta. And that 50-60 MHz would be even more than half of the total 90 MHz bandwidth of the AWS band. Furthermore, T-Mobile has made it known that it intends to pare down its exclusively PCS GSM/GPRS/EDGE spectrum utilization to 10 MHz per market, refarming its remaining PCS spectrum to W-CDMA/HSPA+ in a desperate attempt to attract unsubsidized iPhone users. The Dallas Region Case Study graphic from the NewCo investor presentation corroborates this plan. Moreover, the graphic shows how NewCo plans to operate DC-HSPA+ (20 MHz) for at least the next three years in parallel on both PCS and AWS plus 15-20 MHz FDD LTE on AWS -- an unnecessarily redundant, inefficient strategy. In short, NewCo does not need as much PCS spectrum as it is set to acquire. Otherwise, it is just as much a spectrum glutton as are VZW and AT&T. So, here is the solution. In Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Sacramento, and San Francisco, NewCo should preemptively choose to or be required to divest 10 MHz of its accumulated PCS spectrum. Sprint would be the obvious buyer, as that would increase its PCS A-F block assets to 30 MHz in those markets. Meanwhile, NewCo would still retain 35-50 MHz of PCS in those same markets, plenty of spectrum for 10 MHz of GSM, 10 MHz of HSPA+ or even 20 MHz of DC-HSPA+, and 10 MHz of CDMA1X/EV-DO for MetroPCS legacy. Sources: FCC, MetroPCS
  8. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 12:05 PM MDT Over the past six months, Apple's iPad 3 has racked up millions of sales, yet Google's (and Asus') Nexus 7 and Microsoft's Surface tablets have grabbed the headlines over the summer and into the fall. Yesterday, Apple struck back by not only rolling out iPad 4 the same year as iPad 3 but also introducing the long rumored iPad mini. S4GRU readers will recall that Sprint was left out of the iPad 3 sweepstakes, Sprint's nascent LTE network making its debut a few months after iPad 3's announcement. Certainly, some will bemoan that iPad 3 has been replaced in only half the usual yearly upgrade cycle, but Sprint users definitely benefit, as Sprint is fully in the fold this time with LTE support on the VZW/Sprint/global versions of both iPad 4 (A1960) and iPad mini (A1955). As soon as Apple's announcement event concluded yesterday, authorization filings for the new Sprint compatible iPads (iPad 4, iPad mini) started popping up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. So, joining our series of articles on on the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, and soon to be released LG Eclipse and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an RF capability focused look at Sprint's first two iPads: CDMA1X/EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800) EV-DO Rev B Multi Carrier (i.e. 2xEV-DO, 3xEV-DO) LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25 (i.e. LTE 2100+1900/1800/850/750/1900) LTE 1900 1.4/3/5/10/15/20 MHz FDD carrier bandwidths W-CDMA bands 1, 2, 5, 8 (i.e. W-CDMA 2100+1900/1900/850/900) DC-HSPA+ (i.e. Dual Carrier) GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Wi-Fi hotspot (2.4 GHz only) support for all cellular airlinks Maximum RF ERP/EIRP (iPad 4): 23.10 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 22.90 dBm (EV-DO 850), 30.12 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 29.08 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 23.30 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 23.40 dBm (EV-DO 800), 29.78 dBm (LTE 1900) Antenna gain (iPad 4): -1.58 dBi (Cellular 850 MHz), 2.44 dBi (PCS 1900 MHz), -2.24 dBi (SMR 800 MHz) Antenna locations (iPad 4): (see FCC OET diagram below) The inclusion of EV-DO Rev B Multi Carrier and the imposed limitations -- Cellular 850 MHz only, no 64-QAM -- are a bit curious. But these limitations will have no ramifications for use in North America, where EV-DO Rev B has not been deployed. All told, though, both iPad 4 and iPad mini look to be solid RF performers. Not surprisingly, since they share the same Qualcomm MDM9615 modem with iPhone 5, both iPads carry over basically the same airlink capabilities from the Sprint compatible iPhone 5 -- see S4GRU writer Ian Littman's article. And it should be noted that iPad mini, despite its diminutive size, does not lag behind its larger sibling. All ERP/EIRP figures are within ~1 dB between both iPads. In fact, for both EV-DO 1900 and LTE 1900 maximum EIRP, iPad mini trumps iPad 4 by ~0.5 dB. Furthermore, both iPads in their high ERP/EIRP outputs are less like power and size constrained handsets, more like mobile hotspots. Indeed, both iPads appear to be very capable hotspot devices. Sources: FCC, Apple
  9. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:10 AM MDT Update: The Samsung review embargo has been lifted overnight, and Galaxy S4 reviews are being published around the Web today. Thanks to one of our favorite, highly thorough reviewers, Brian Klug at AnandTech, we can confirm that the Galaxy S4 follows the recent HTC One in providing a removable micro-SIM. So, while two data points do not necessarily a trend make, the One and Galaxy S4 do suggest that removable SIMs for Sprint LTE handsets are here to stay. Arguably the most hotly anticipated handset of the year, rivaling even the next iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 in its Sprint variant popped up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database late yesterday, meaning that the next Galaxy is now authorized to operate in the US and is likely just a few weeks away from a Sprint street date. Not a revolutionary overhaul of the very successful Galaxy S3 platform of last year, the Galaxy S4 maintains a strong family resemblance to its older sibling but does generally and for Sprint specifically add a number of evolutionary enhancements, such as a larger 1080p display, world roaming capability, wireless charging cover functionality, and some transmit power increases. Thus, adding to S4GRU's long standing series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and HTC One is our run through of the RF capabilities of the Galaxy S4: 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 FDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 3 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth 802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi tether RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 25.39 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.25 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 24.62 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.83 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC antenna integrated into battery cover CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below) Breaking down the RF specs, honestly, the Galaxy S4 may come across as a disappointment to many. That is primarily, though, because the reality could hardly live up to the expectations. First, the Galaxy S4 does not support band 26 LTE 800 nor band 41 TD-LTE 2600. Reports are that Sprint will not release any dual band LTE devices and will skip straight to tri band. Those devices, however, are still at least six months off, so like all Sprint LTE devices before it, the Galaxy S4 is limited to band 25 LTE 1900 on the native Sprint network. Additionally, the Galaxy S4's band 25 LTE 1900 is limited to 5 MHz FDD bandwidth. This seems to be largely a Samsung quirk, as Sprint LTE devices from other OEMs are tested and authorized for 10 MHz FDD (or greater) as well. That being said, this will likely be of no consequence, as all Sprint LTE FDD deployment for at least the next several years is apt to remain based on 5 MHz FDD carriers. Also, unlike the recent HTC One, the Galaxy S4 does not appear to be particularly optimized for the Sprint LTE network. Using the FCC OET authorization documents, we can gauge a device's RF prowess by examining its maximum transmit ERP/EIRP and at what frequency that max occurs. This is by no means a perfect simulacrum for both transmission and reception, but we can say that Galaxy S4 LTE is at its max RF wise in the traditional PCS A-F blocks, not the PCS G block 1912.5 MHz center frequency where Sprint is deploying its initial LTE carrier nationwide. Staying on ERP/EIRP discussion, the Galaxy S4 looks to be a rather strong performer on roaming CDMA1X/EV-DO 850 and the now being deployed Sprint native CDMA1X 800. Both show quite high ERP. On the flip side, the EIRP for CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 is good, too, but oddly less than the ERP of the CDMA2000 airlinks below 1 GHz that enjoy significant propagation advantages. With most other handsets, the transmit power relationship is reversed, CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 transmit power being greater to compensate for its greater path loss. Furthermore, ERP/EIRP was tested with both the standard battery cover and the wireless charging cover. A definite caveat, the wireless charging cover reduces ERP/EIRP by up to 6 dB. Most likely, the induction coil in the wireless charging cover absorbs some of the transmitted RF, thus reducing the radiated power. For some users, the convenience of wireless charging may outweigh the hit to wireless performance. But S4GRU cannot generally recommend wireless charging due to its inefficiency (much power is wasted as heat) and detriment to RF. As for simultaneous voice and data, the Galaxy S4 does support SVLTE but is the latest in a long line of Sprint LTE handsets now to forgo SVDO. Realistically, this comes as no great surprise, as we have not seen SVDO capability in any new handset since last summer. Either this is a limitation of the Qualcomm MDM9615 baseband modem that has become standard equipment or SVDO is no longer a strong priority as Sprint LTE coverage grows weekly. Regardless, CDMA1X and EV-DO share a transmit path (indicated in the FCC OET diagram above); hence, simultaneous CDMA1X voice and EV-DO data is not supported. As S4GRU has reported in the past, the FCC OET authorization documents are not required to disclose world phone capabilities because those bands are not in use in the US. However, the presence of GSM 850/1900 and W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) is strongly indicative of the inclusion of international roaming capabilities, too. Indeed, other outlets are reporting that all variants of the Galaxy S4 include at a minimum quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and W-CDMA bands 1, 2, 5, 8 (i.e. W-CDMA 2100+1900/1900/850/900) -- the latter supporting DC-HSPA+ on the downlink and HSUPA on the uplink. While we cannot confirm these reports at this time, they certainly do seem plausible. What also remains unconfirmed at this point is the SIM situation: embedded or removable. As soon as this info comes to light, we will update the article. Source: FCC
  10. WiWavelength

    "Magical Mystery Phone Tour"

    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
  11. by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 9:35 AM MDT Last year, LG released a mid-range device that made its way from one CDMA carrier to another. This year appears to be no exception. The LG LG870 recently passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) with Sprint LTE and band 10 CDMA2000 on board. If the LG Viper (LS840) last year is any indication, it was released as the Connect (MS840) on MetroPCS, and then as the Lucid (VS840) on Verizon before it came to Sprint. In January of this year, MetroPCS released the Spirit (MS870), and earlier this month, Verizon released the Lucid 2 (VS870). Now, it seems to be Sprint’s turn again. However, it currently appears that Sprint is releasing this handset on its Boost brand under the codename FX1, as the model number is LG870, not LS870. (As of now, the name and that it may be released only on Boost has not been confirmed.) But all previous Sprint LG phones from last year have model numbers beginning with LS. The Bluetooth 4.0 profile supports HSP, HFP 1.6, A2DP, AVRCP 1.3, OPP, FTP, PBAP, SPP, HID, GAVDP, SDAP, PAN, and MAP, according to the Bluetooth SIG, which also lists the phone as “(LG870 (for Sprint/Wholesale)).” Sprint wholesale partner Ting, anyone? As for specs, if this phone is like its 870 model counterparts, it will have a 1.2 GHz dual core processor (possibly Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960) with 1 GB RAM, 5 MP rear camera with 1080p HD video recording, and 1.3 MP front facing camera. According to the FCC authorization docs, LG sent the handset to testing with Android 4.0.4 on board, but according to cloud4sites mtest, it has Jelly Bean 4.1.2 on board. So, hopefully it will be released with 4.1.2. CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band class 25 (LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 3, 5, 10 MHz FDD channel bandwidths SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 26.60 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 26.26 dBm (EV-DO 850), 26.53 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 26.16 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 25.06 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 25.20 (EV-DO 800), 25.11 dBm (LTE 1900, 3MHz FDD), 24.93 dBm (LTE 1900, 5MHz FDD), 24.70 dBm (LTE 1900, 10 MHz FDD) 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi NFC In their FCC OET authorization filings, OEMs customarily request temporary confidentiality regarding internal and external photos of their devices. But in an unusual move, LG has requested permanent confidentiality for, among other things, antenna distance and simultaneous scenarios for SAR analysis. So, no antenna diagram is available at this time, nor maybe ever unless a teardown review is forthcoming. Sources: FCC, Bluetooth SIG, Cloud4sites mtest
  12. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:35 PM MDT Welcome back to S4GRU's continuing series focused on understanding many of the signal metrics displayed on your devices' engineering screens. If you missed part one a few weeks ago, that is a good place to start for background info. Last time out, we covered 3GPP2 band class 1 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint has long operated its CDMA2000 network, and 3GPP band 25 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint is currently deploying its LTE network. Today, let us begin with the last of Sprint's current native spectrum usage -- 3GPP2 band class 10 SMR 800 MHz. This is what 3GPP2 also calls the "Secondary 800 MHz band," and we will understand why when we finish up with band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz a bit later today. First, take a look at the following CDMA1X engineering screenshot: This handset is camped on Sprint's brand new band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay, which is replacing iDEN 800 and is currently available in select markets around the country. Now, as we did last time, we can take into account the band class and carrier channel number, then use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies: uplink center frequency (MHz) = 806 + (0.025 × carrier channel) downlink center frequency (MHz) = 851 + (0.025 × carrier channel) In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 10 is 0.025 MHz (or 25 kHz). This is due to the SMR 800 MHz band's legacy of dispatch and iDEN, both of which conform to 25 kHz channelization. And the band class 10 range of channel numbers extends from 0-719. So, using our formulas, band class 10 carrier channel 476 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 817.9 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 862.9 MHz. This is the one and only band class 10 carrier channel that Sprint will employ across most of the country. In parts of the Southeast where SouthernLINC also operates in rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum, Sprint users will instead see band class 10 channel 526, which has uplink and downlink center frequencies of 819.15 MHz and 864.15 MHz, respectively, just as S4GRU detailed in an article a year ago. As for band 26 LTE 800, well, that should be coming online in the next several months, but no devices are yet available. So, for both of those reasons, we cannot post any engineering screenshots. What we can anticipate, however, based on SMR 800 MHz spectrum constraints, is that Sprint's 5 MHz FDD LTE 800 carrier likely will be centered somewhere in the 821.1-821.5 MHz x 866.1-866.5 MHz ranges, translating to uplink and downlink EARFCN ranges of 26761-26765 and 8761-8765, respectively. I will be out in the field with my spectrum analyzer in the coming months, ready to capture and publish a first peek at the LTE 800 carrier. And expect a follow up article on LTE 800 engineering later this year. Now, let us conclude with a look at Sprint roaming service in 3GPP2 band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz. Or this is what 3GPP2 has traditionally referred to as the "800 MHz band." And that, as I piqued earlier, is why the "Secondary 800 MHz band" name comes into play for band class 10 SMR 800 MHz. In more recent years, the "800 MHz" nomenclature has become problematic, as it makes distinguishing between band class 0 and band class 10 difficult for less informed users. For a good example of this, see the iPhone 4S tech specs, which mislead many into thinking that it supports Sprint's band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay. For this reason, I have long advocated using "Cellular 850 MHz" as distinct terminology. That background aside, let us examine a CDMA1X engineering screen of a Sprint device roaming on VZW: This handset is idling on channel assignment 425. Again, we can use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies: uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + (0.03 × carrier channel) downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + (0.03 × carrier channel) So, that VZW channel 425 is centered at 837.75 MHz x 882.75 MHz, which is toward the bottom of the Cellular B block license, as we will see in just a moment. First, in the Cellular 850 MHz band, channelization is 0.03 MHz (or 30 kHz), as that dates back to the original analog AMPS standard, which used 30 kHz FM channels and got us all started on this cellularized wireless network journey. Second, we encounter a complication with band class 0. The above formula works only for a subset of channel assignments, 1-799. For channel assignments 991-1023, we have to use slightly modified formulas: uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)] downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)] The reason for this complication is complicated itself. When the FCC originally created the Cellular 850 MHz band plan in the 1980s, it was 825-845 MHz x 870-890 MHz, divided into two equal 10 MHz FDD (10 MHz x 10 MHz) licenses: Cellular A block (825-835 MHz x 870-880 MHz) and Cellular B block (835-845 MHz x 880-890 MHz). Each block consists of 333 AMPS channels, A block covering 1-333, B block running 334-666. Not long after, the FCC expanded the Cellular 850 MHz band, but it could not do so by simply adding spectrum exclusively at the bottom or the top of the band plan. Because of spectrum constraints and equal license bandwidth, the FCC had to add a sliver at the bottom of the band plan and two at the top of the band plan. The additions became known as "A low," "A high," and "B high." See my band plan graphic below: Since "A high" (1.5 MHz FDD) and "B high" (2.5 MHz FDD) continue as upper end extensions of the band plan, they follow the original center frequency formula, adding channels 667-799. "A low" (1 MHz FDD) tacked on at the bottom of the original plan is the anomaly. It requires its own center frequency formula and adds channels 991-1023. Also, note the missing channels 800-990. Those are a mystery, unbeknownst even to me. Additionally, because it is only 1 MHz FDD, "A low" is not frequently used for CDMA2000 carrier channels, which are always 1.25 MHz FDD in bandwidth. So, many of the carrier channel assignments in "A low" are invalid, since they would cause the CDMA1X or EV-DO carrier to extend off the lower edge of the band. If "A low" is utilized, the only permissible channel assignments are 1013-1023, all of which cause the CDMA2000 carrier to extend into the original A block. So, if you ever encounter a band class 0 channel assignment in the 1013-1023 range, you have found something of a rare bird. Well, that covers the relationships among bands, band classes, carrier channel assignments, EARFCNs, and center frequencies. Next time, we will turn our attention to another signal metric. I am thinking maybe SIDs and NIDs or PN offsets but have not decided yet. See you then... Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2, FCC
  13. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, April 26, 2013 - 6:29 AM MDT A significant piece of S4GRU's educational mission is helping our readers understand what goes on behind the scenes and underneath the hood in the operation of a wireless network. This often requires getting readers to access internal engineering (or debug) screens on their handsets to view numbers and metrics, such as PN offset, Ec/Io, cell identity, etc., as we track the progress of Sprint's Network Vision deployment around the country. So, S4GRU staff thought it long overdue to publish a tutorial on what all of those engineering screen numbers and metrics actually mean. And in this first part of what will hopefully be a long running series, we will examine frequencies, namely center frequencies. First, let us kick things off with CDMA2000 (e.g. CDMA1X/EV-DO). CDMA2000 is divided into band classes. Those band classes basically represent spectrum bands of operation. Some common CDMA2000 band classes familiar to Sprint users include: band class 0 (Cellular 850 MHz), band class 1 (PCS 1900 MHz), band class 10 (SMR 800 MHz), and band class 15 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz). Then, each band class is further divided into carrier channels. These carrier channel numbers represent the actual RF locations -- center frequencies -- of the carrier channels that we use for voice and data services. To illustrate, see the EV-DO engineering screenshot below, specifically the "Channel Number" and "Band Class" fields: Taking into account the band class and carrier channel number, we can use the following formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies: uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + (0.05 × carrier channel) downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + (0.05 × carrier channel) In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 1 is 0.05 MHz (or 50 kHz). And the band class 1 range of carrier channel numbers extends from 0-1199. So, using our formulas, the band class 1 carrier channel 100 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1855 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 1935 MHz. This FDD paired set of center frequencies falls toward the lower end of the PCS A block 30 MHz license, which is 1850-1865 MHz x 1930-1945 MHz. Next, we can shift over to the 3GPP (e.g. LTE) side, which does things a bit differently. 3GPP sets forth bands, instead of band classes, but otherwise, the functions of bands and band classes are the same. In the US, common 3GPP bands for LTE include: band 4 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz), band 13 (Upper 700 MHz), and band 17 (Lower 700 MHz). But we are most interested in band 25 (PCS 1900 MHz + G block), the band in which Sprint is initially deploying LTE. As with carrier channel numbers in CDMA2000 band classes, 3GPP bands are subdivided into Evolved Absolute Radio Frequency Channel Numbers (EARFCNs). And like carrier channel numbers, EARFCNs indicate center frequencies. However, EARFCNs do so separately for uplink and downlink, as LTE allows for different pairings of uplink and downlink via carrier aggregation. Now, see the LTE engineering screenshot below for its "Band," "UL channel," and "DL channel" fields: Per band 25, we can enter the "UL/DL channels" (i.e. EARFCNs) into the following formulas to determine again both uplink and downlink center frequencies: uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + [0.1 × (uplink EARFCN - 26040)] downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + [0.1 × (downlink EARFCN - 8040)] In this case, spacing between EARFCNs is 0.1 MHz (or 100 kHz). Additionally, the uplink EARFCN range is 26040-26689, the downlink EARFCN range 8040-8689, both for band 25. And in the end, EARFCN 26665 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1912.5 MHz, while EARFCN 8665 has a downlink center frequency of 1992.5 MHz. This is an FDD paired set of center frequencies, not a carrier aggregated set, and it resides exactly in the middle of the PCS G block 10 MHz license, which is 1910-1915 MHz x 1990-1995 MHz. In part two, we will take a similar look at center frequencies in the PCS 1900 MHz band's lower frequency cousins, SMR 800 MHz and Cellular 850 MHz. So, stay tuned. Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2
  14. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 4:45 PM MST Clearwire released its fourth quarter and full year 2011 results in a conference call with investors, analysts, and the media this afternoon. S4GRU was on the call to bring you this report. Clearwire highlighted its 8-K report with the following statistics: Record Fourth Quarter 2011 Revenue of $361.9 Million, Up 107% Year Over Year From $175.2 Million Full Year Revenues of $1.25 Billion, Up 134% Year Over Year From $535.1 Million Full Year Wholesale Revenues Up 876% Year Over Year to $493.7 million 2011 Total Ending Subscribers of 10.4 Million, Up 140% Year Over Year from 4.3 Million Achieves Positive Quarterly Adjusted EBITDA For the First Time of $22.5 Million Average Smartphone 4G Usage Increased 88% Year Over Year in Fourth Quarter 2011 Much of the rest of the report is focused on business metrics that may not be of particular use to anyone without an investment in Clearwire. But we did pore over the report to glean the following numbers of interest to S4GRU readers: BRS 2500-2600 MHz licensed spectrum valuation remained steady at $4.3 billion EBS 2500-2600 MHz spectrum lease costs totaled $309 million for 2011 WiMAX covered POPs increased year over year from 112 million to 132 million but plateaued at that level by the end of the second quarter Wholesale (e.g. Sprint) churn almost doubled from 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent during the fourth quarter To provide some analysis of the four points above, first and second, Clearwire holds an average of ~160 MHz of BRS/EBS spectrum bandwidth in the top 100 markets. However, as noted above, some of this spectrum (EBS) is leased from educational institutions, not licensed directly to Clearwire. Additionally, higher frequency spectrum is generally less valuable than is lower frequency spectrum. Otherwise, Clearwire's ~160 MHz of spectrum would be valued in the tens of billions of dollars. Third, as Robert has detailed in a forum post about "protection sites," Clearwire faced a May 1, 2011 FCC deadline to demonstrate at least minimum coverage in numerous Basic Trading Areas (BTA) across the country. As a result, Clearwire lit up numerous license "protection sites" around the country during the first few months of last year, leading to the 20 million POPs increase that then stalled for the remainder of the year, as Clearwire made the decision to cease WiMAX deployment and switch to LTE. Fourth, Sprint is Clearwire's largest wholesale partner. Any Sprint retail subscriber who has a WiMAX capable device is technically also counted as a Clearwire wholesale subscriber. While Clearwire churn remained relatively flat through the first three quarters, it spiked in the fourth quarter. Clearwire attributed the increase in wholesale churn in large part to Sprint offering the iPhone 4S, which is not WiMAX capable. Lastly, Clearwire addressed some of its plans for its TD-LTE 2500-2600 overlay. Clearwire reiterated its commitment to the TDD "ecosystem," alongside strategic partners China Mobile, et al., and to TDD/FDD interoperability that will allow for seamless roaming on both types of LTE networks. Clearwire expects to start build out on its LTE Advanced ready TD-LTE overlay in the second quarter, spending $400 million this year and $200 million next year, keeping costs low because much of the WiMAX infrastructure can be reused for TD-LTE. Build out goals in phase one include 8000 TD-LTE sites, at least 5000 of which are to be live by June 2013. In the WiMAX build out, Clearwire selected its own independent site locations, and this led to great inconsistencies between Clearwire and Sprint coverage. But in the TD-LTE build out, Clearwire and Sprint will work together to identify sites within the Sprint portfolio that exhibit the "highest 4G data usage potential" with fallback to the Sprint FDD LTE 800/1900 network outside of those Clearwire data "hotspots." Finally, both Clearwire and Sprint project multi-band, multi-mode TDD/FDD LTE devices that can utilize the Clearwire TD-LTE overlay to be available by June 2013, by the same time that the first 5000 sites should be online. Source: Clearwire
  15. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 1:10 PM MST Update: Six weeks later, Sprint and U.S. Cellular have finally filed their PCS 1900 MHz license assignment applications in the FCC ULS database. From the filing, we have learned that USCC will not relinquish all of its PCS spectrum in Springfield and Champaign, so the primary market spectrum table below has been updated to reflect that clarification. In a nutshell, Sprint will acquire a consistent PCS B block 20 MHz partition and disaggregation in all affected counties in the Chicago MTA and a consistent PCS A block 10 MHz partition and disaggregation in all affected counties in the St. Louis MTA. For a complete list of the counties included in the spectrum transaction, see this spreadsheet from the FCC filing. Yesterday, Sprint and U.S. Cellular announced an agreement to transfer PCS 1900 MHz spectrum and subscribers in several midwestern markets -- notably, Chicago, St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, South Bend, Springfield (IL), and Champaign -- from USCC to Sprint. While this transaction does entail that USCC will exit its largest and home market, Chicago, it is not a merger. Overall, USCC will give up 585,000 subs but will retain over 5 million current subs, and the deal involves no transfer of wireless infrastructure. Rather, the existing USCC CDMA2000 infrastructure in the affected markets will be retired within approximately two years, as subs are transitioned to the Sprint network. The exact boundaries of the PCS licenses and subs to be transferred from USCC to Sprint have not yet been revealed on a county by county basis. So, this article will be updated once the FCC assignment applications are filed or any other further info arises. In the meantime, know that this is a spectrum transaction, bar none. Chicago is Sprint's largest market in which it holds only 20 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum. In nearly all other top 10 markets, Sprint holds 30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum. And Ft. Wayne is a proverbial red headed stepchild market -- Sprint's only top 100 market with only 10 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum. So, most importantly, this transaction provides a 20 MHz PCS injection into Sprint's spectrum holdings in both Chicago and Ft. Wayne. For a look at the five largest markets included in the deal, see the spectrum table below: Moreover, Sprint's existing PCS D block 10 MHz and PCS E block 10 MHz licenses in Chicago are non adjacent. As such, Sprint has to run an extra set of guard bands -- one set of guard bands for each license. Those extra guard bands take up valuable spectrum, limiting Sprint to only six instead of seven CDMA2000 carriers in its 20 MHz of spectrum and leaving more sites in Chicago spectrum constrained than in any other big market. Synergistically, though, the PCS B block 20 MHz license that Sprint will acquire in Chicago is directly adjacent to its existing PCS D block 10 MHz license, giving Sprint a fully 30 MHz contiguous swath of PCS spectrum, which will allow Sprint to deploy additional CDMA2000 carriers and larger LTE bandwidth (10-15 MHz FDD) when the time comes to add LTE capacity. See the license contiguity in the band plan diagram below: Speaking of LTE, that is one of the key reasons why USCC is willing to part with its Chicago market. In most of its markets, USCC holds some combination of Cellular 850 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, AWS 2100+1700 MHz, and Lower 700 MHz spectrum. But in Chicago, USCC controls only the aforementioned 20 MHz block of PCS spectrum. USCC entered the Chicago market just 10 years ago when it acquired PrimeCo, which had been divested as part of the merger that created Verizon Wireless. Since then, USCC has been unable to acquire additional spectrum in Chicago, leaving it effectively incapable of deploying LTE in its largest market while continuing its CDMA2000 operations. So, the deal with Sprint provides an exit strategy for Chicago in what was otherwise a dead end market for USCC. In the other five of the six markets detailed above, USCC likely could roll out LTE, as it holds additional AWS 2100+1700 MHz and/or Lower 700 MHz licenses in those markets. It should be noted, however, that those non PCS licenses are not being transferred to Sprint in this deal. But as it exits those markets, USCC will almost surely look to sell the other licenses, too, with VZW and T-Mobile being likely buyers for the AWS spectrum, AT&T a strong possibility for some of the 700 MHz spectrum. Sources: FCC, USCC, Sprint
  16. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:35 AM MDT Welcome back from summer vacation. The S4GRU writing staff, too, has returned and is ready to catch up on some of the developments from over the last two or three months. In late July, Sprint released two tri band LTE mobile hotspots and one tri band LTE USB dongle. Meanwhile, Clearwire had lit up band 41 TD-LTE 2600 on numerous sites in several markets around the country. Around the same time, the LG G2 became the first Sprint tri band LTE handset to pass through FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization. As is our tradition by now, we add to S4GRU's stalwart series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4 our look at the RF faculties of the LG G2: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE bands 25, 26, 41 (i.e. LTE 1900/800, TD-LTE 2600) band 25 LTE 3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 26 LTE 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 41 TD-LTE 10/15/20 MHz TDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 4 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) 802.11ac MCS index 9 (single spatial stream, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) SVDO and SVLTE support absent RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 19.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 21.64 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.09-27.08 dBm (LTE 1900), 17.77-21.29 dBm (TD-LTE 2600) CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below) The LG G2 is not only the first revealed Sprint tri band LTE handset but also the first Sprint category 4 UE of any kind because it is utilizing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974). The MSM8974 is a 28 nm process SoC that contains processor, cellular baseband, and WLAN/GNSS baseband all on one chipset -- à la the MSM8960 that dominated the first half of last year. The difference, of course, is that the MSM8974 has a quad core processor and a UE category 4 cellular baseband. The latter supports up to 150 Mbps on the downlink, 50 Mbps on the uplink -- though those speeds will not likely be seen on Sprint during the lifespan of this handset due to spectrum bandwidth constraints. Also, we cannot confirm at this point that the G2 is actually using the internal WLAN/GNSS baseband capabilities of the MSM8974 and not a separate chipset solution from Broadcom, as has been the trend with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. But having at least both processor and cellular baseband on the same chipset should be a step in the right direction. Regarding maximum ERP/EIRP, we are slightly modifying the way that we report those figures. Even within a given frequency band, max ERP/EIRP can vary according to frequency and modulation. So, if the FCC OET docs show greater than 1 dB of variance in a certain band and airlink, we now report that range instead of a single max figure. As we have stated in the past, FCC OET testing includes only transmitters, not receivers. Thus, we have to extrapolate overall RF prowess based on mobile uplink transmission capabilities, and that is an inexact science. In a nutshell, though, the CDMA2000 band class 0 and 1 power outputs appear to be a bit on the weak side, while the band 25 LTE power output looks good. The band 41 TD-LTE EIRP is lower than we would like to see -- especially considering BRS/EBS 2600 MHz propagation characteristics -- but TD-LTE 2600 will be used largely as an offload band for handsets, probably less so for hotspots. What is missing are band class 10 CDMA2000 and band 26 LTE ERP figures. The original FCC OET filing in late July included only conducted power figures for that band class and band. Conducted power is what is delivered to the antenna, not what is actually radiated from the antenna. And even though the G2 at the end of August has already had one Class II Permissive Change filing, we expect at least one more Class II filing with additional ERP figures before this Sprint variant hits the streets. Last year, the LG Optimus G had its initial, incomplete FCC OET filing in the summer, followed by a Class II change in the fall and a release in November. In our Optimus G article last summer, we wrote not to expect the street date right away, and we will offer the same caveat here. The rumored November release for the Sprint variant G2 should probably be the expectation. Source: FCC
  17. WiWavelength

    Teaser: Is the LG D820 the Nexus 5???

    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/
  18. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 1:10 PM MDT To cut right to the chase, Apple announced at its live event today two new iPhone models: high end iPhone 5S and mid range iPhone 5C. Both are coming to Sprint and both support Sprint LTE -- but only dual band Sprint LTE. The new crop of iPhone models for the next year will not be tri band LTE handsets on Sprint. The LTE bands supported by iPhone 5S (A1453) and iPhone 5C (A1456) are substantial and as follows: band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26. For Sprint users, that means dual band LTE 1900/800. While 13 total bands seems impressive, a few of those bands -- such as band 2/25 and band 5/26 -- are subset/superset bands. The big takeaway for Sprint users, though, is that band 41 is absent this year. So, TD-LTE 2600 will be coming soon to several tri band Android handsets but not to the dual band two new iPhone models. Band 38 TD-LTE 2600 is limited to the Asia/Oceania variants. Also worthy of note, Sprint and SoftBank share the same iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C variants this year. Whether that is merely coincidence is impossible to determine. But Sprint and SoftBank have talked about combined economy of scale as a benefit of their tie up. To conclude, the new iPhone FCC OET docs have not yet trickled out, but as they do, we will have more info to come. Stay tuned... Source: Apple Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4442-the-iphone-5s-iphone-5c-not-tri-band-lte-was-next-iphone-to-be-announced-on-september-10/
  19. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 2:40 PM MDT S4GRU has been on a bit of a roll of late. We had an unusually quiet summer here on The Wall, as our writing staff was frequently away on summer vacation. But we have come back with a vengeance. Earlier this month, we got the next Nexus handset scoop on the rest of the tech press with our discovery of the reappearance of the LG D820 authorization docs at the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) and supposition that the D820 circumstantially has a striking amount in common with the presumed upcoming Nexus 5. Additionally, last week, we brought you a quick dissection of the two new Sprint variant iPhone models with dual band LTE only minutes after Apple released the specs, not to mention, another FCC OET discovery -- a tri band LTE Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 clearly headed to Sprint All three of those articles were "Teasers." We have decided to publish shorter articles more often when longer articles may not be immediately feasible for our writing staff. Then, down the road, expect more in depth follow up pieces, such as on the Nexus 5, iPhone 5S/5C, and Galaxy Mega 6.3. Today, though, we bring you another full length FCC OET airlink article on the presumed Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Late on Wednesday last week, authorizations for multiple Samsung Galaxy Note 3 variants -- all bearing the SM-N900 base numbering scheme -- started appearing in the FCC OET database. Other tech outlets had previously gotten a list of the model numbers and tied the N900A to AT&T, N900T to T-Mobile, N900V to VZW, and N900S to Sprint. But while the "A," "T," and "V" variants all arrived in the FCC OET, the "S" variant did not make an appearance, and additional info suggested that the "S" variant is instead for SK Telecom in South Korea. Meanwhile, the N900R4, the "R4" variant, also had its authorizations posted to the FCC OET. And at least one tech site incorrectly pegged it as the one for Sprint and other CDMA2000 operators. But that clearly missed the absence of band class 10 CDMA1X 800, which has been a staple of Sprint devices for roughly two years now. In the end, the "R4" variant is coming to CDMA2000 operators, but USCC and C Spire are the likely destinations. So, that left the N900P, the "P" variant, for Sprint, and the circumstantial evidence of being the only version with band class 10 CDMA1X 800 supports that inference. Thus, adding to S4GRU's continuing series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, and LG G2 is Sprint's expected Samsung Galaxy Note 3: CDMA1X/EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900) LTE 5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 4 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) 802.11ac MCS index 9 (single spatial stream, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) SVLTE support, including SVLTE and mobile hotspot (both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) SVDO absent RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 19.82-20.93 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 18.91-21.30 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 21.85-23.63 dBm (LTE 1900) RF conducted power maximum: 24.75 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800) CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below) By now, many of our readers have a solid understanding of how to analyze the bullet points listed above. As such, we will hit just some of the highlights. Samsung has finally started adding LTE 10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth authorization to its Sprint devices. That may be inconsequential during the lifetime of these devices, but it is nice to see, nonetheless, as other OEMs have included 10 MHz FDD capability from the beginning. The Note 3 is reportedly another world phone for Sprint. While the specs for FCC testing include only those bands licensed in the US, the GSM 850/1900 capabilities are actually quad band: GSM 850/900/1800/1900. Likewise, W-CDMA 850/1900 expands to include bands 1 and 8 for W-CDMA 2100+1900/900 outside of the US. The Note 3 also follows the trend of devices released this summer that now support mobile hotspot via 5 GHz Wi-Fi. That can be handy in congested 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi environments, and congested 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi environments are now basically everywhere that people live and work. Devices with SMR 800 MHz capability seem to be coming through the FCC OET now with only conducted power testing, instead of radiated power testing. I suspected previously that a Class II Permissive Change would be required to include ERP testing, but that seems no longer to be the case. Looking back at the Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy S4 authorization docs, they submitted only conducted power specs for CDMA1X 800. Of course, the Galaxy S4 has already been out in the world all summer. I am not sure what to make of this, but Part 90 -- which governs SMR 800 MHz -- may not require ERP testing. So, going forward, we will report conducted power if that is the only data available. But the phrase that dare not be heard among the committed is "single band." One LTE band. That is the elephant in the room in this article. Yes, the "P" variant is band 25 LTE 1900 only. Sources have suggested to S4GRU that tri band LTE handsets headed to Sprint will not support SVLTE. As such, some have hypothesized that Sprint sacrificed tri band capability for SVLTE support in the Note 3 because it is, indeed, a "phablet." Using a "phablet" as a phone against one's ear looks clownish, so using the "phablet" in hand with an earpiece or Bluetooth headset may be expected, leading to more SVLTE usage. However, further examination of FCC OET docs on the multiple Note 3 variants and subsequently announced Sprint version Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 tri band "phablet" pokes some holes in that SVLTE theory. The major revelation, which will bring no solace to Sprint subs who had been expecting and are now pining for a Sprint tri band Note 3, though, is that the "R4" version headed to USCC manages to support both SVLTE and quad band LTE: band 4, 5, 12, 25 LTE 2100+1700/850/700/1900. See the antenna locations and simultaneous transmission paths diagrams: The big takeaway is that Samsung has managed to cram in SVLTE and multi band LTE for relatively minor regional CDMA2000 operators. Why not Sprint? Well, the Sprint variant Note 3 is a world phone, while the regional CDMA2000 operator variant is not. And the Sprint version has to support band class 10 CDMA1X 800 and band 25 LTE 1900 -- unlike any others. Does the engineering required for world phone and Sprint boutique band/class capabilities present an obstacle to multi band LTE? Is SVLTE worth the sacrifice? Let the discussion flow... Source: FCC, FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4318-samsung-galaxy-note-3/
  20. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 13, 2013 - 3:15 PM MDT The teaser articles continue. But this is a big one -- in a quite literal way. The presumed Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy Note 3 passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) on Wednesday this week. We have an article already started on it, so look for that full length rundown soon. But since that SM-N900P variant hit the FCC OET, the cries about it being single band 25 LTE 1900 have been strong among the S4GRU faithful. Well, here is something potentially to make the disappointed forget those concerns. Just within the last hour or two this Friday afternoon, another Samsung handset has revealed itself at the FCC OET. But this is no Galaxy Note 3. It is even larger than that. The model number SPH-L600 and dimensions (see the diagram below) suggest that this is a Galaxy Mega 6.3 headed to Sprint. The size exceeds that of the Galaxy Note 3, and in an interesting twist, the FCC OET filing even refers to the device as a "phablet." The grand pronouncement, though, is that this Samsung "phablet" is indeed a tri band LTE device: band 25 LTE 1900, band 26 LTE 800, band 41 TD-LTE 2600 -- plus the usual Sprint CDMA2000 band classes. In conclusion, the "SPH" model number and the specs add up. This is a huge handset for Sprint, it is tri band LTE, and it may render the Galaxy Note 3 irrelevant. Enjoy! And know that there is more detailed RF info to come... Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4368-samsung-galaxy-mega-tri-band-sph-l600/
  21. 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
  22. WiWavelength

    Teaser: Samsung Galaxy S4 + 2 = 3?!

    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, October 21, 2013 - 3:55 PM MDT Clarification: Many readers seem to be confusing the previously authorized and officially announced tri band Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini with this tri band Galaxy S4 reboot, which is full size. The two have quite different model numbers -- the Mini is SPH-L520, while as stated below, the tri band Galaxy S4 is SPH-L720T. Sprint has not yet formally acknowledged the latter, but it has passed FCC OET authorization. And S4GRU expects it to be another tri band handset available before the end of the year. To alleviate the confusion, we are planning an overview article on Sprint Spark tri band handsets, probably to coincide with the November 8 street date next week for the first group of released handsets. Six months ago, S4GRU published an article breaking down the FCC authorization documents for the Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy S4. Many were disappointed that the Galaxy S4, like all other Sprint LTE devices for the past year, was limited to single band 25 LTE 1900. It was not a Sprint tri band LTE handset -- even though band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600 seemed to be right on the horizon because of the impending shutdown of the Nextel iDEN network and the likely approval of the SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire transaction. Indeed, with the arrival of several Sprint tri band mobile hotspots, TD-LTE 2600 started to become available in metros around the country late this past summer. Today, we bring you another teaser article. The FCC OET database this afternoon uploaded the authorizations for this Samsung model number: SPH-L720T. Now, if you are familiar with the Galaxy S4, you know that its Sprint variant model number is SPH-L720. So, it does not take a genius to put 2 + 2 together. Or in this case, to put S4 + 2 together. Yes, Samsung has just revealed a Sprint tri band Galaxy S4. It carries very similar specs to those of the original Galaxy S4, but it adds two additional Sprint bands: band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600. So, between the previous release of the single band Galaxy S4 and the almost inevitable upcoming release of the tri band Galaxy "S5," look for a tri band updated variant for the Sprint Galaxy S4 in the coming months, probably before the end of the year. Rest assured, this handset will be of popular interest among the faithful -- and possibly despised among those who already used a subsidized upgrade on a single band Galaxy S4 -- so we will run a full FCC OET RF breakdown in the coming days. To head off the obvious questions in the meantime, no SVDO, no SVLTE, as expected. Before we go, though, view the antenna diagram below to see the Sprint tri band LTE goodness. As always, stay tuned... Source: FCC
  23. WiWavelength

    Sprint scores an 800 on the LTE!

    by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 2:12 PM MST As most of our S4GRU readers are aware, Sprint is pursuing a three pronged approach to LTE. Tri band 25/26/41 LTE 1900/800/2600 -- the first two bands operating as FDD in Sprint and Nextel PCS 1900 MHz and SMR 800 MHz spectrum, the last operating as TDD in Clearwire BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum. A year and a half ago in the early days of Network Vision, S4GRU was the first web site to offer a peek at a live Sprint LTE downlink carrier. We did likewise in running tri band hotspot field tests upon the emergence of Sprint/Clearwire TD-LTE 2600 in Denver this past summer. But the missing piece in the tri band LTE strategy has been the 800 MHz spectrum and the decisive propagation advantages it brings to the table. Then, three weeks ago, S4GRU was able to start sourcing inside info on a few but growing number of band 26 site acceptances around the country. And today, S4GRU presents an exclusive first look at a live Sprint LTE 800 carrier. From the spectrum analyzer RF sweep, we can see that this site has achieved SMR 800 MHz deployment completion. On the left is the 1.25 MHz FDD CDMA1X 800 downlink carrier at band class 10 channel assignment 476, which equates to center frequency 862.9 MHz. On this site, CDMA1X 800 was deployed earlier this year just prior to the Nextel iDEN 800 shutdown. But LTE 800 did not follow -- until now. On the right is the newborn 5 MHz FDD LTE 800 downlink carrier. Temporarily, connections to the LTE 800 carrier are not yet allowed, so an exact EARFCN cannot be determined. But frequency domain analysis suggests a downlink EARFCN 8763, which equates to center frequency 866.3 MHz and is smack dab in the middle of the EARFCN 8761-8765 range that I predicted in one of my engineering screen articles earlier this year. In our Premier sponsors section, S4GRU continues to track ongoing band 26 LTE 800 site acceptances, which should accelerate rapidly over the next several weeks and months. Most progress thus far is in the Chicago, Houston, Kansas, Jacksonville, and North Wisconsin markets. However, LTE 800 will continue to sprout up across the Sprint network -- outside of those areas encumbered by IBEZ restrictions with Canada and Mexico. Below is today's snapshot of the evolving LTE 800 site map. Source: author's field test, S4GRU map data
  24. by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, February 3, 2014 - 8:47 AM MST Yes, it has been a while, but welcome to S4GRU's third installment in an ongoing series about the many signal metrics available on those engineering screens hidden inside most mobile devices. Both part one and part two date back to last spring, so check those out if you have not already or if you need a refresher. Part three has been a long time coming mostly for lack of a really relevant topic. But a question was just recently posed in The Forums here at S4GRU about EARFCNs and center frequencies for band 41 TD-LTE 2600. Previously, we covered that 3GPP relationship for band 25 LTE 1900 and touched upon it for band 26 LTE 800, but when we did so, band 41 had not yet made its domestic debut. So, now that band 41 -- christened Sprint Spark -- is being overlaid on Clearwire WiMAX sites in the top 100 markets and tri band LTE handsets are finding their way into more and more Sprint users' hands, it is due time for an educational look at those 20 MHz TDD carriers being deployed across the massive BRS/EBS 2600 MHz band. First, let us take a look at the BRS/EBS band plan itself. Both it and band 41 encompass 2496-2690 MHz for a total of 194 MHz. The BRS spectrum is licensed -- mostly but not entirely in every market to Sprint subsidiaries. The EBS spectrum is also licensed but to educational institutions, which may then choose to lease the spectrum to commercial entities. So, even though band 41 is maximally 194 MHz wide, Sprint does not necessarily control all of that spectrum. And some of that spectrum -- such as the EBS J block and BRS/EBS K block -- is not intended for broadband uses. In other words, contiguity is periodically interrupted. Plus, WiMAX carriers still occupy much of that BRS/EBS spectrum. All told, band 41 in the US is not quite the huge blank slate that some make it out to be for Sprint to deploy 20 MHz TDD carriers. For reference, see the BRS/EBS band plan: Next, we will examine a couple of band 41 engineering screenshots drawn from The Forums: Just as we did for band 25 in part one of this series, we can extract the channel numbers (i.e. EARFCNs) and enter them into an equation to calculate the band 41 center frequencies: uplink/downlink center frequency (MHz) = 2496 + [0.1 × (EARFCN - 39650)] Because this is TDD, not FDD, we need to use only the "DL" channel number. In TDD, there are no separate frequencies for uplink and downlink. The LG screenshot on the left properly indicates the same EARFCN for both uplink and downlink. But good old Samsung "enginerring" on the right registers a different channel for the uplink, EARFCN 58978, a number which is an invalid value. So, when working with TDD, disregard any spurious "UL" channel number. To finish up our calculations, the range for band 41 EARFCNs is 39650-41589, so EARFCN 39991 is toward the low end of the the band, equating to a center frequency of 2530.1 MHz. And EARFCN 40978 comes out to a center frequency of 2628.8 MHz. Separated by nearly 100 MHz, the former is in the lower EBS segment, while the latter is in the contiguous BRS segment, as depicted in the aforementioned band plan graphic. Now, that 20 MHz TDD carrier at EARFCN 40978 is the one that we have documented most commonly across Sprint Spark markets. This was not surprising, since it is deployed in the up to 55.5 MHz of contiguous BRS spectrum that Sprint is licensed, not EBS spectrum that Sprint just leases. That said, we are seeing more and more reports of other EARFCNs, such as EARFCN 39991 detailed above. In other words, the band 41 EARFCN -- unlike the one and only PCS G block band 25 EARFCN -- can vary from market to market because of differences in spectrum licensing/leasing and remaining WiMAX carriers. Sprint's ultimate plan is to deploy multiple 20 MHz TDD carriers per market, putting it in an enviable position for satisfying the public's rapidly growing appetite for mobile data. However, do not misinterpret the multitude of current EARFCNs. We have no evidence to this point that the various EARFCNs indicate multiple 20 MHz TDD carriers in the same market. That is coming but probably will not be widespread prior to the WiMAX sunset slated for no earlier than 2015. In conclusion, S4GRU has created a tracking thread for the various band 41 EARFCNs as they pop up from market to market. Additionally, in our DL Center, we have made available a comprehensive WiMAX/TD-LTE carrier bandwidth and center frequency spreadsheet (screenshot below) that is continually updated as new EARFCNs get reported. If you are interested, we hope that many of you will continue to help us "crowdsource" this band 41 data so that we can get a clearer picture on Sprint Spark and BRS/EBS spectrum utilization. Sources: 3GPP, FCC
  25. WiWavelength

    Teaser: How does HTC M8 RF performance stack up?

    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/