Light Reading

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.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Distract-a-Cat Click Here
The vibrate function makes for a useful cat distraction.