Light Reading

Sprint Sets Due Date for iDEN's LTE Rebirth

Sarah Thomas
4/13/2012
50%
50%

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. –- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) will deploy Long Term Evolution (LTE)-Advanced by 2013 and begin refarming its 800MHz spectrum for LTE in 2014, filling in two important pieces of its Network Vision puzzle.

Speaking at a media event here at Sprint headquarters, several executives gave a progress report on Sprint's network transformation, including how it will morph its iDEN network into LTE while also building out a zippier LTE-Advanced network in less than two years. (See Ready or Not, Here Comes LTE-Advanced.) The U.S.'s third-largest carrier is in the process of migrating its push-to-talk subscribers from the iDEN network on 800MHz to CDMA in order to free up the spectrum and repurpose it for LTE. Sprint plans to complete the migration in 2013 and deploy LTE on 800MHz by 2014, SVP of Networks Bob Azzi told reporters Thursday.

"2014 is the big year," he said.

That is dependent, however, on first receiving Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to refarm the spectrum. Azzi is confident that won't be a problem because, he said, it's a standard process and 800MHz has already received 3GPP certification as an LTE band. The bigger limiting factor may actually be how quickly it can get loyal "button users" to vacate the spectrum.

So far that's been going relatively smoothly. Sprint started with 20 million iDEN customers, but is down to less than 6 million today. Azzi said that Sprint Direct Connect has been the missing piece of the puzzle to convince the primarily enterprise people who rely on the walkie-talkie-like service to move from iDEN to CDMA. These users can get the button on CDMA, but also have access to more push-to-x functionality and 1X advanced voice. (See Sprint Details iDEN's Death March .)

"They were looking for an evolutionary path, and they knew [iDEN] was a dead-end," Azzi said. "They needed a path to the future, but they couldn't give up the button."

Even so, the process of completely decommissioning iDEN will take a few years. This year, Sprint will shut down 9,600 cell sites, which represents about a third of the total. By 2013, the rest will go.

At that time, Sprint can turn its attention to LTE-Advanced, which VP of Development and Engineering Iyad Tarazi said is ready to go today, but will launch in the first half of 2013. The carrier is already deploying 2x2 MIMO [multiple-input and multiple-output] antennas and is going to 4x4 MIMO. When LTE-Advanced comes online, Sprint will have tablets ready for it, he said. Azzi added that it will have its roadmap for LTE-Advanced devices laid out by November. (See Sprint Plans LTE-Advanced Launch in 2013.)

"We're ready for LTE-Advanced," Tarazi said.

Part of the rush to move to the advanced 4G network is because Sprint will be operating LTE on 5x5MHz channels, while its competitors -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless -- run on 10x10 channels. Azzi says that in the real world, where peak speeds aren't the norm, the competitive offering will be the same. Once it fills up its 5x5 blocks, it'll have other options to supplement capacity, including using Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s TD-LTE network for offload and looking at other spectrum hosting deals like the one it nixed with LightSquared . (See Sprint Scuttles LightSquared Deal .)

"We have half the customers of Verizon, so even with a fully loaded network, we end up in the same place," Azzi said. "As we fill it up, we don't want speed to degrade, so we'll add the other spectrum bands to supplement that growth."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Sandpaints
50%
50%
Sandpaints,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:29 PM
re: Sprint Sets Due Date for iDEN's LTE Rebirth


Thank you for the story.


Next, what were the answers to the questions you mentioned yesterday in "DEAR SPRINT, Here's What We Want To Know..."



You remember, the four questions you brought up that you were going to ask around Sprint headquarters. Could you give us the short answers soon and then deal with each of those questions in an itemized manner as follow up stories?


And how was the BBQ you mentioned? Yum.


http://www.lightreading.com/bl...

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:25 PM
re: Sprint Sets Due Date for iDEN's LTE Rebirth


So "2014 is the year," according to Sprint? Who, exactly, is going to wait until 2014 to get LTE at a spectrum place where Sprint has capacity? Especially if/when an LTE iPhone comes out later this year on Verizon and AT&T networks, which at last glance were far more extensive than Sprint's?


I understand that Sprint thought it had to go in an industry standard direction... but the parameters of the market seem to suggest that they should be thinking more radically, and not along traditional rollout lines. My guess is that if they wait until 2014 to deploy LTE in a widespread fashion they will be doing so to only serve the few existing customers who didn't leave them for an AT&T or Verizon LTE iPhone.


It would have been interesting to hear why the Sprint board thought this was a better plan than buying MetroPCS and having spectrum and a network you could use, now. I guess the smart board members who made that call were not on hand to answer questions. Too bad. 


 

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:25 PM
re: Sprint Sets Due Date for iDEN's LTE Rebirth


So "2014 is the year," according to Sprint? Who, exactly, is going to wait until 2014 to get LTE at a spectrum place where Sprint has capacity? Especially if/when an LTE iPhone comes out later this year on Verizon and AT&T networks, which at last glance were far more extensive than Sprint's?


I understand that Sprint thought it had to go in an industry standard direction... but the parameters of the market seem to suggest that they should be thinking more radically, and not along traditional rollout lines. My guess is that if they wait until 2014 to deploy LTE in a widespread fashion they will be doing so to only serve the few existing customers who didn't leave them for an AT&T or Verizon LTE iPhone.


It would have been interesting to hear why the Sprint board thought this was a better plan than buying MetroPCS and having spectrum and a network you could use, now. I guess the smart board members who made that call were not on hand to answer questions. Too bad. 


 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/18/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones