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Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors

Now that Sprint Nextel Corp.'s mergers with Clearwire LLC and Softbank Corp. are complete, the carrier's Network Vision could soon take on a fresh 4G flavor with LTE TDD.

Sprint bought the rest of Clearwire that it didn't already own primarily to get its hands on its valuable spectrum holdings. Those holdings were in 2.6GHz bands used for WiMax now but suitable for deploying Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD). This is a technology -- also known as TD-LTE -- that no other operator in the U.S. uses, but one that is accelerating rapidly across the globe. (See Defining 4G: What the Heck is LTE TDD?)

Sprint hasn't said when it will deploy the next-generation network, but Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar says it could be as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.

If so, this will be positive news for its vendor partners, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson AB and Samsung Corp.. Both Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have experience with the burgeoning tech through its biggest proponent, China Mobile Ltd., and Samsung was an established Clearwire base station vendor. There's little chance Sprint will look elsewhere to build out LTE TDD.

"I would think with Sprint trying to consolidate everything, it would most likely want to have the same FDD LTE and TDD LTE vendors in the market," Schoolar says. "They'll want to follow the path and keep the same vendors in the same regions."

For Alcatel-Lucent, especially, it may be a game of catch-up for a while. Its LTE TDD footprint pales in comparison to Samsung and Ericsson. Schoolar notes it is difficult to determine whether Alcatel-Lucent is behind on the technology itself or if it just hasn't pursued the market as aggressively given its recent corporate restructuring. For its part, an Alcatel-Lucent spokesman says the vendor has several LTE TDD trials and customers.

Even if Sprint does move to LTE TDD in the fourth quarter, the wait on devices for the network will be a longer -- at least until next year. The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) says there are already more than 200 LTE TDD devices on the market, but Sprint's network will no doubt precede their entry into the U.S.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Robbie Rob 7/23/2013 | 5:03:47 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors Sprint is really going to be a different company in another year.. In the last year they've made a nice transition..

They are replacing all old equipment with new Samsung equipment.. The nice thing about this new NV ( Network Vision ) Samsung stuff is Sprint can switch their network over to LTE-A ( Advanced ) in a couple years - with a software upgrade ! From what I understand Verizon and ATT are having to switch out panels to do this.. So Sprint which seems behind now - will be right there when it counts in the near future..

What's funny is a lot of folks say Sprint Wi-max was not 4G ( and ATT HPSA+ is not 4G ) while also referring to LTE as true 4G ( Mostly because Verizon has marketed LTE as 4G when talking down ATT's HPSA+) ...The truth is LTE is no more 4g then Wi-max or HPSA+.. All those technologies are halfway between 3G and 4G (more like 3.5G techs) ...
.. LTE-A will actually be TRUE 4th Generation technology and will be more of a 'leap' in speed, then the 'skip' we get now with LTE..
DanJonesLRMobile 7/23/2013 | 1:06:25 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors Good to know, thanks for the info.
Robbie Rob 7/23/2013 | 12:26:14 AM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors I'm a sponsor at a website that a lot of contractors post - of which whom do the work for Sprint.
800 Mhz is already 'on' in many markets, but 95% of all Sprint towers will get 800 Mhz nationwide when it's all said and done....
Robbie Rob 7/23/2013 | 12:23:30 AM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors @DanJonesLRM

In Chicago 800 Mhz is "on" all over the place.. Sprint is planning on something like 95% of all 37,000+ towers to get 800 Mhz ( and also do the 1900 MHz ). In Columbus Ohio most sites are nearing completion, but only 1 tester LTE site is on.. Most LTE sites are awaiting fiber backhaul.. otherwise a lot of 800 3G sites are coming online soon as well..
Robbie Rob 7/23/2013 | 12:18:27 AM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors Yeah but it wont be long.
DanJonesLRMobile 7/22/2013 | 3:55:56 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors This is what they've said so far:

"We expect to deploy LTE on 800MHz in the fourth quarter," said Steve Elfman, president of network operations and wholesale at Sprint on the call. This is part of the company's wider "Network Vision" 3G and 4G upgrade.


I expect the 4G 800 radios have been going in as part of the Network Vision upgrade since this was always in the plan.
DollarsnSense 7/22/2013 | 3:27:08 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors As far as anybody outside of Sprint knows, you are correct. However, without 800MHz end user equipment, they could be deploying 800MHz LTE and we would be oblivious. Fortunately, as Sarah Reedy noted in another post, tri-band hotspots and a USB stick were released by Sprint on July 19th so if and when 800MHz LTE becomes available hopefully reports will start streaming in...Of course, that assumes that these hotspot & USB devices will have some way of determining which LTE band(s) are available to the user at a given time...
DanJonesLRMobile 7/22/2013 | 2:17:25 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors They haven't switched on LTE in 800MHz yet have they? I thought that was a Q4 item, no?
DollarsnSense 7/22/2013 | 1:56:56 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors Right, the iPhone 5 and other phones can use 800MHz for CDMA 1x voice & data. What no phones can yet do is utilize 800MHz for LTE data.
Robbie Rob 7/21/2013 | 10:37:10 PM
re: Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors A lot of phones like the iPhone 5 already do 800 Mhz and 1900 Mhz..Although not the 2500 Mhz: It wont be long for the big players to add 2500 Mhz to those phones.. I live in Columbus Ohio and right now Sprint is nearing turning on 4G LTE.. One tower is up on Morse road..as a tester and many others are very close..

Sprint finally has the budget to become a big time player thanks to Softbank. I was going to leave Sprint for Verizon, but not anymore. I'm sucking it up because I know soon Sprint will rock. And unlimited data makes a difference when you're on 4G LTE. I found out just how fast you go through data when you do videos on 4G !
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