& 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.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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 Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Buy American: Will It Affect the Telecom Sector?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.