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
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment