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Category Archives: LTE

MetroPCS Spectrum Catalyzes T-Mobile LTE Push

Neville Ray, chief technology officer, T-Mobile USA, expounded on how the combination of MetroPCS and T-Mobile is accelerating the carrier’s LTE strategy, as Deutsche Telekom hosted a Capital Markets Day at its headquarters, Dec. 6, in Bonn, Germany.

T-Mobile’s LTE rollout will reach 100 million pops in the first half of 2013 and 200 million pops at the end of the year. It will achieve a two-by-10 MHz LTE position in nearly 90 percent of the top 25 service areas in 2013 in the AWS band and then expand to a two-by-20 MHz position in 2014 and 2015. Release 10-capable LTE equipment and tower top amplifiers will be implemented at 37,000 cell sites across T-Mobile’s network.

“We are excited about what the MetroPCS combination does for us in allowing the deployment of LTE in the AWS band, rapidly accelerating our deployment,” Ray said. “We have a lot of capacity coming online to support the migration of MetroPCS customers. Look to see the completion of the migration in 2015, which is when we will begin to decommission their CDMA system.”

Complementing its 225 million pop HSPA+ AWS position, T-Mobile is also rapidly expanding its HSPA + footprint in the 1900 MHz band, which will surpass 100 million pops  by year end 2012, reach 170 million pops in the first half of next year and then to 200 million pops by year end 2013.  In Bonn, T-Mobile announced another three service areas – Atlanta, Minneapolis and Seattle in addition to the 15 markets already announced, which included Miami; Phoenix; San Francisco; Mesa and Tucson, Ariz.; Modesto, Oakland, San Jose and Stockton, Calif.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“We are in the middle of refarming, replacing GSM [at 1900 MHz],” Ray said. “We have completed clearance of the band and are now rapidly introducing HSPA+ in 1900 MHz PCS spectrum.”

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile USA, confidently announced that the carrier will soon be able to AT&T’s network.

“All the growing pains of getting this huge modernization and transformation process are done,” he said. “It took a while to ramp up to full speed, but we will hit those targets.”

LTE Gets Small with New Access Point

Responding to the carriers’ rush to deploy LTE, ip.access has begun shipping an LTE version of its E-100 dual-mode access point to five customers for laboratory and field trials, a milestone toward full commercial deployment.
The manufacturer, which passed the half a million mark for 3G access points last year, said it has accelerated work on the access point because of strong interest expressed by customers.

“Indeed, our commitment to increased R&D into understanding and delivering on all the end-to-end requirements of the developing small cell network layer – from access points to network gateways and management systems – is now paying dividends; gaining recognition and support from network operators, system integrators, our partners and the industry in general,” said Simon Brown, company CEO, in a press release.

The E-100 is a small cell access point targeted for use in enterprises and public indoor environments. The device will provide simultaneous 4G and 3G mobile phone signals with data speeds of up to 150 Mbps and 42 Mbps, respectively, and will also be able to support Wi-Fi as an optional module.

“Small cells will have a vital role to play in delivering LTE’s promise of high-speed data for the mass-market and the E-100 will allow operators to quickly deploy that capacity exactly where it is needed,” said Nick Johnson, ip.access founder and CTO.

The E-100 will be integrated into ip.access’ nanoConverge end-to-end small-cell solution architecture, allowing operators to deploy the E-100 alongside the company’s existing 3G small cells using the same gateways and network management system.

Elsewhere, Korea Telecom announced the development of a sub-miniature base station capable of handling LTE service at this year’s Mobile World Congress. KT supervised the R&D project that was carried out jointly with Juni, Mindspeed and Radisys. Sprint announced this month that it will deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Metro Cells as part of its well-publicized Network Vision, which will feature improved 3G and 4G LTE. Ubee-AirWalk plans to offer a LTE line of microcells, picocells and femtocells based on its flat all-IP architecture, which will complement its existing CDMA product line.

Although there have been a number of announcements this year about LTE small cell development, the technology is still a nascent stage, Seth Buechley, president, SOLiD Technologies told DAS Bulletin.

“I think we are in the early beta stage of LTE small cell introductions,” he said. “They are coming, but we have not gotten our hands on the hardware, yet.”

LTE Networks March Forward, But Throughput May Lag

Having seen its WiMAX network go the way of Sony’s BetaMAX, Sprint has turned on its LTE network, known as Network Vision, in 15 cities in Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. The initial deployment covers users in the Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio markets.

Sprint plans to launch additional LTE markets in the second half of 2012 with the completion of the nationwide network slated for the end of 2013. Along with the 4G rollout, Sprint promised the deployment of an “all-new enhanced” 3G network covering 250 million people across nation.

Neal Gompa of the Extreme Tech web site raises questions about whether Sprint’s Network Vision will produce 4G speeds because of backhaul and spectrum limitations (5 megahertz downlink and 5 megahertz uplink).  But help is on the way. The carrier plans to use Clearwire’s 2500 MHz service, which will launch at 5,000 TD-LTE cell sites in June 2013, and it will deploy LTE on its 800 MHz (formerly iDEN) network in 2014.

“Nationwide, Sprint [has a] throughput cap, as well as a capacity cap. However, it can be partially defeated by building a denser infrastructure,” Gompa wrote. “Sprint is also likely using relatively poor backhaul compared to AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Deploying LTE without improving the backhaul will result in speeds that most people commonly associate with 3G. Indeed, it compares only slightly favorably to AT&T’s HSPA service.”

While Sprint grabbed the headlines with its LTE rollout, Verizon Wireless continued its full-on assault making its LTE network available in 33 additional markets in July.

Verizon Wireless’ July launches will bring its total number of markets covered to 337.  The 33 additional markets include smaller cities, such as El Dorado/Magnolia and Russellville, Ark.; New London County, Conn.; Fort Pierce and Melbourne/Titusville, Fla.; and Columbus and Rome, Ga. The company said it is on track to cover more than 400 U.S. markets by the end of 2012.

Also in July, the company expanded its 4G coverage in 32 existing LTE markets, including Mobile, Ala.; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Sarasota/Bradenton, Fla.

Meanwhile, AT&T has added LTE service in several markets in 2012 and is now live in 47, reaching more than 260 million people.

“AT&T might be playing catch-up with Verizon, but with more than 40 cities either covered or soon to be active, it’s clear that AT&T’s taking it seriously,” wrote Jamie Keene in The Verge.

In July, AT&T turned on its LTE network in Buffalo; Burlington, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Gainsville, Ga.; Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C., Wichita, Kan. June brought LTE service to Nashville and Lawrenceburg, Tenn. In March, AT&T announced its LTE service plans scheduled for April, May and into the early summer to several markets, including Cleveland, Akron and Canton, Ohio; Naples, Fla.; Bloomington, Lafayette and Muncie, Ind.; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; St. Louis, Mo.; Bryan-College Station, Texas; and Staten Island in New York City.

T-Mobile, which is in the early stages of equipping its towers with LTE equipment, launched HSPA+ (what it calls 4G) in Abilene, Amarillo, Odessa, and Victoria, Tex; Bakersfield, CA; Eau Claire, Wis.; Joplin and St. Joseph, Mo., in March and now covers. 220 million people in 229 markets with the technology that has theoretical download speeds of 42 mbps

T-Mobile’s latest ad does a nice job of educating the public about wireless infrastructure, showing its spokes-model Carly Foulkes riding her Ducati motorcycle past several of the carrier’s more than 35,000 cell towers.

“The great news for our customers is that we’re continually making the T-Mobile 4G experience faster and more dependable as we modernize the network in 2012 – improving signal strength, in-building coverage and device choice – and prepare to launch LTE next year,” Neville Ray, chief technology officer, wrote in his blog. “Our new ‘towers’ ad is just another way we’re letting our customers know they’re covered by T-Mobile’s 4G network.”

LTE Rollout Forces Carriers, Integrators to Hustle for Tower Crews

2011 was not a banner year for tower crews with T-Mobile and AT&T both largely holding off on cell tower development and Sprint still preparing for its Network Vision project. Many tower crew companies went out of business and disbanded. But with LTE rollouts going full speed ahead this year,  Thomas Dolislager, principal of SellTower Consulting and SellTower Services, told AGL Bulletin that this year couldn’t be any more different.

“This year, everyone is working,” he said. “I have heard many people say this is the busiest line and antenna year they have ever seen in the industry.”

Both through his consulting work helping companies to find tower crews and in his own tower crew company, Dolislager has seen the competition to find tower crews markedly increase and with tower crew companies competing among themselves to keep their climbers from joining other companies.

“I have a small tower crew company, Selltower Services in Texas, which does antenna and line work for Goodman Networks, and we are having work offered to us almost every week that we can’t find anyone to do,” he said. “We are seeing tower crews become very choosy about which jobs they take, based on the pricing and payment terms.”

As a result, Dolislager estimates that the rollout of LTE sites may be a little slower and more expensive.

“I expect to see delays of 15 percent to 25 percent, but nothing dramatic,” he said. “Not having the resources will slow them down and it will raise the cost.

Dolislager said he has been working hard, but successfully, in procuring personnel for his major clients to convert the towers to 4G technology.  He is seeing unprecedented cooperation in the industry as it copes with the strains on its personnel resources.

“We feel very fortunate to have found vendors to handle all the tower work. We had to go much more local and with much smaller companies than in the past to get those needs met,” he said. “It has been ‘all hands on deck’ to find the right resources. The carriers are actually helping us find resources from their preferred ranks. That is unusual.”

LTE Rollout Forces Carriers, Integrators to Hustle for Tower Crews

2011 was not a banner year for tower crews with T-Mobile and AT&T both largely holding off on cell tower development and Sprint still preparing for its Network Vision project. Many tower crew companies went out of business and disbanded. But with LTE rollouts going full speed ahead this year,  Thomas Dolislager, principal of SellTower Consulting and SellTower Services, told AGL Bulletin that this year couldn’t be any more different.

“This year, everyone is working,” he said. “I have heard many people say this is the busiest line and antenna year they have ever seen in the industry.”

Both through his consulting work helping companies to find tower crews and in his own tower crew company, Dolislager has seen the competition to find tower crews markedly increase and with tower crew companies competing among themselves to keep their climbers from joining other companies.

“I have a small tower crew company, Selltower Services in Texas, which does antenna and line work for Goodman Networks, and we are having work offered to us almost every week that we can’t find anyone to do,” he said. “We are seeing tower crews become very choosy about which jobs they take, based on the pricing and payment terms.”

As a result, Dolislager estimates that the rollout of LTE sites may be a little slower and more expensive.

“I expect to see delays of 15 percent to 25 percent, but nothing dramatic,” he said. “Not having the resources will slow them down and it will raise the cost.

Dolislager said he has been working hard, but successfully, in procuring personnel for his major clients to convert the towers to 4G technology.  He is seeing unprecedented cooperation in the industry as it copes with the strains on its personnel resources.

“We feel very fortunate to have found vendors to handle all the tower work. We had to go much more local and with much smaller companies than in the past to get those needs met,” he said. “It has been ‘all hands on deck’ to find the right resources. The carriers are actually helping us find resources from their preferred ranks. That is unusual.”