& 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
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Next Plugfest Gets G.fast Closer to Market
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 1/13/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Qualcomm Study Predicts 5G Will Create 22M Jobs by 2035
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/17/2017
Cable Has One Thing Verizon Needs
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
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.