& cplSiteName &

Sprint Plots WiMax Shutdown, Backhaul Upgrade

Dan Jones
4/8/2014
50%
50%

Sprint is planning to shut down its WiMax network by the end of 2015 as it upgrades its backhaul to support its 3G upgrades and 4G rollout.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) revealed the plans in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday. It is reusing the 2.5GHz spectrum from the WiMax service for its new "Spark" LTE upgrade. (See Stephen Bye: Sprint's Network Visionary.)

It writes in the filing:

    As of the date of the Clearwire Acquisition, Clearwire had deployed WiMAX technology on approximately 17,000 cell towers and was in the process of deploying 4G LTE technology using the 2.5GHz spectrum on approximately 5,000 of these sites, which has now been completed. We plan to expand the 2.5 GHz 4G LTE deployment to approximately 5,000 more legacy Clearwire sites. In addition, we plan to cease using WiMAX technology by the end of 2015. We have also evaluated our consolidated cell tower portfolio, including the 17,000 cell towers obtained in the Clearwire Acquisition, and identified approximately 6,000 redundant sites that we expect to decommission and terminate the underlying leases.

As it moves to faster 4G LTE, the operator is also modifying its backhaul architecture, upgrading its time division multiplexing (TDM) backhaul technology with Ethernet. "We expect to incur termination costs associated with our TDM contractual commitments with third-party vendors ranging between approximately $175 million to $225 million, the majority of which we expect to record through the first quarter of 2016," Sprint says in the filing. (See Sprint to Place Big Backhaul Bet.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/10/2014 | 4:32:55 PM
Re: Backhaul?
Sounds like Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD, or VHS vs. Beta: Two competing, similar, incompatible stanards, one not inherently superior to the other, but eventually one killed the other due to market forces. 
Pete_S4
50%
50%
Pete_S4,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/9/2014 | 9:40:17 PM
Re: Backhaul?
I was involved in the Clearwire WiMax roll out in 2007 and CDMA for the last 16 years.  Technologically WiMax and TD-LTE are not that far off each other.  One difference is that WiMax is an IEEE standard like Ethernet and WiFi where as LTE, coming for the telco world, is an ITU standard and the official 4G mobile standard.  WiMax was initially conceived for fixed wireless broadband networks.

You have to go back to 2006 to really understand what was going on.  CDMA operators like Sprint and Verizon were determining what their 4G future would be and they weren't that interested in Qualcomm's proposals.  Sprint in conjunction with Clearwire threw a Hail Mary to get to market first with WiMax, which was commercially available before LTE.  Besides Sprint/Clearwire WiMax only saw wide deployment in countries like China and Korea (incidentally counties with large CDMA networks).  GSM/UMTS operators like AT&T and T-Mobile were always likely to go with LTE due to its tight integration with GSM/UMTS especially in the packet core.  This integration is an after thought when it comes to CDMA based 3G. 

In my opinion what really killed WiMax in the US is Verizon going with LTE early and hard. Verizon is one of the largest CDMA operators in the world and the US is one of the most profitable markets for equipment manufactures.  Verizon was a real market marker and helped work out what integration issues there were running a CDMA 3G network with a LTE 4G overlay.  Keep in mind that Verizon had the largest LTE network in the world for the first few years of deployment and if it's not the largest today, it is still right up there.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/9/2014 | 7:13:59 PM
Re: Backhaul?
Did LTE have more range, more power, less expense, some combination of the above?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 1:16:15 PM
Re: Backhaul?
They haven't supported WiMax devices for a while. Probably a case of getting the legacy CLWR users onto LTE.

Yeah they don't have a choice but to get the LTE up on 2.5GHz. Its a big part of their "Spark" plan.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/9/2014 | 12:37:48 PM
Re: Backhaul?
Even with $200 million in "termination costs" it appears Sprint is well prepared to make the switch, moving on to presumably better profits and opportinites after the WiMax turnoff. I would guess it's a good move for the company or at least a pretty well educated decision on their part.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/8/2014 | 7:30:44 PM
Re: Backhaul?
Time moved on, lack of broad support, the old story...
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/8/2014 | 7:16:33 PM
Re: Backhaul?
What happened to WiMax? I remember when it was The New Hotness.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/8/2014 | 3:35:38 PM
Backhaul?
I wonder how much TDM backhaul they still have installed? They were signing fiber backhaul contracts in 2011.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00PM EDT
Securing a Virtual World
Rita Marty, Executive Director, Mobility and Cloud Security, Chief Security Office, AT&T
Friday, October 21, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Evolving the Data Center
Rasool Kareem Irfan, Head, Telecom & Infrastructure Security Practice, Tata Communications Transformation Services Ltd (TCTS)
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
From Philly, With Love

9|30|16   |     |   (5) comments


Join Alan Breznick, cable's answer to the Italian Stallion, as he runs through the highlights of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, lumbers along in Rocky Balboa's footsteps and searches for the perfect Philadelphia cheesesteak.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SD-WAN Customers Looking for Value Not Cost Savings

9|30|16   |   5:31   |   (0) comments


At NFV & Carrier SDN in Denver, CenturyLink's Eric Nowak told Light Reading that when customers launch SD-WAN, they aren't necessary looking to save money, but instead they are looking for more value from what they're spending. He also shared some unique case studies and lessons learned from launching SD-WAN services.
LRTV Custom TV
Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

9|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain -- from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Jonathan Ruff, senior director of global technical ...

LRTV Interviews
Level 3 VP: Enterprises Need More for Less

9|29|16   |   05:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Dugan, Level 3 group vice president of global technology and IT, says enterprises need more bandwidth and they need it faster and with greater security, but they want to spend less, if possible. They are looking to carriers to reduce their network complexity and help protect them from cyberattacks as well.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SDN/NFV Pose New Interconnection Possibilities

9|28|16   |   04:37   |   (0) comments


Network operators should develop new APIs and business processes for reselling virtual assets to each other, says CenturyLink's Bill Walker. That will enable them to build digital business portfolios that help them avoid becoming commodity transport providers.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Overcoming Terror of Being Supplier, Integrator & Developer

9|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Travis Ewert of Level 3 Communications said there is terror in becoming supplier, integrator and developer, but it can be overcome and be cost effective.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Reusable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into reusable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T CEO Backs Black Lives Matter
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/30/2016
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
Powell Kills the Cable Show
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/29/2016
Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/28/2016
From Philly, With Love
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 9/30/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.