Sprint confirmed to Fierce Wireless that it will shut off service on its mobile WIMAX network on or around Nov. 6, 2015. The date was first unearthed in an internal company email posted by Android Central.
In April, Sprint said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would “cease using WiMAX technology by the end of 2015.”
It will also mean that Sprint will be decommissioning at least 6,000 of their 55,000 towers in the process. Sprint is going to take their new combined assets with Clearwire and continue building out their new LTE-Advanced “Spark” network.
According to Open Signal, T-Mobile is the fastest network in the US, with average speeds of 11.5 Mbps. Sprint performs worst of all US networks, according to Open Signal, posting LTE speeds that are scarcely faster than existing HSPA+, with their average speed of 4.3Mbps ranking as one of the slowest networks worldwide.
- AT&T Mobility says the company’s LTE network now covers nearly 290 million POPs in more than 500 marketsacross the country. AT&T bought Leap Wireless (Cricket) for $1.2 billion, largely for their AWS spectrum. Leap’s PCS and AWS spectrum covers approximately 137 million potential customers
- Verizon Wireless’ 700 MHz LTE network covers around 306 million POPs. The carrier has also been busy deploying its LTE service on its AWS spectrum to bolster its network capacity. Verizon bought 122 AWS licenses from cable giants for $3.6 billion.
- T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted in June that T-Mobile is now offering “Wideband LTE,” with 15×15 MHz service, in 16 U.S. markets. Wideband LTE is their term for spectrum deployments of at least 15×15 MHz. T-Mobile is starting to deploy 4×2 MIMO antenna technology in its LTE network to enhance performance at the cell edge. T-Mobile has said that it will bring 40MHz LTE to 90% of the top 25 markets by the end of 2015, which means that 23 of the 25 most populous cities in the country will have it. These 40MHz LTE zones will support full Category 4 speeds, which top out at 150Mbps on the downlink and 51Mbps on the uplink.
- Sprint’s Spark combines 4G FDD-LTE at 800 Megahertz (MHz) and 1.9 Gigahertz (GHz) and TDD-LTE at 2.5GHz spectrum. But currently Sprint’s main 1.9 GHz LTE band uses only a 5×5 MHz bandwidth and their rollout of 2.5 GHz has been scaled back. According to Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure this week, “First we are going to focus in areas where our network is congested. And then secondly, we are going to go strong after a few cities rather than building out the 33,000 [2.5 GHz cell] sites.”
Sprint Spark combines Sprint’s 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum to offer devices faster speeds while minimizing tower infrastructure. Sprint is deploying 8T8R antennas, using 8 transmit and 8 receive antennas, that are expected to boost range and speed some 1.5 times in the 2.6 GHz band. Sprint hopes to make coverage similar to its LTE network on their 1.9 GHz PCS band, which is currently limited to 5×5 MHz bandwidth.
Sprint is rolling out 8T8R in its latest 2.5GHz installations. Sprint, however, has said that it no longer expects to put the 2.5 GHz band on every tower, instead focusing on urban centers.
Sprint Spark is expected to cover 100 million POPs by year-end. Sprint Spark coverage is a long way from the 250 million of AT&T and Verizon. Sprint says its LTE is available in 488 cities covering approximately 254 million people (pops), but only in their narrow (5×5 MHz) PCS spectrum slice and their newly repurposed 800 MHz band. Lots of Sprint’s LTE bandwidth is also spoken for by wholesale providers.
Even T-Mobile now covers 230 million POPs with its LTE network. The carrier plans to cover 250 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2014. T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted in June that T-Mobile is now offering “Wideband LTE,” with 15×15 MHz service, in 16 U.S. markets.
AT&T Mobility says the company’s LTE network now covers nearly 290 million POPs in more than 500 markets across the country. AT&T bought Leap Wireless (Cricket) for $1.2 billion, largely for their AWS spectrum. Leap’s PCS and AWS spectrum covers approximately 137 million potential customers
Verizon Wireless’ 700 MHz LTE network covers around 306 million POPs. The carrier has also been busy deploying its LTE service on its AWS spectrum to bolster its network capacity. Verizon bought 122 AWS licenses from cable giants for $3.6 billion.
Sprint rolled out WiMAX, called “Xohm” in August 2007 in Baltimore and in Portland in January, 2009. But WiMax coverage was limited by the high frequency and the delay bringing it to market didn’t help. Only one year later, 700 MHz LTE was launched by Verizon and AT&T, with vastly better coverage. Phones and tablets soon adopted the telco-developed LTE standard and WiMax, using a single channel Time Division data transmission became an also ran.
China Mobile, India, Sprint and others are now utilizing TD-LTE, with the latest revisions allowing larger carrier aggregation, MIMO, and direct, device-to-device communications.
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