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Sprint's poor WiMax coverage cost it customers early on  (Source: Sprint)
Sprint admits WiMAX customer losses due to poor coverage

Sprint is now offering WiMAX in many different areas around the United States. WiMAX brings speeds that are promised to be significantly faster than existing 3G networks for surfing the web and downloading files.

The only firms backing WiMAX in the US are Clearwire and customer/part owner Sprint. Clearwire and Sprint have made it clear in the past that they will also look to support LTE as well as WiMAX so the network it runs can support all 4G devices. Clearwire has made no notes on when it might offer LTE service, but the company is testing LTE networks right now.

Clearwire has announced that a test of its LTE test network in Phoenix that was conducted by Clearwire engineers has shown to be good for 90Mbit/sec speeds. That is ten times faster than the speed that the WiMAX network Clearwire operates is capable of.

The tests showed an average speed for real world applications on the LTE network were in the 20 to 70 Mbit/sec range. The speed varies depending on many factors like how many people are on the service, how far the user is from the tower, and others. Clearwire expects that LTE will allow for speeds of 50Mbit/sec on average.

The 90Mbit/sec speed hit in tests in Arizona were achieved using a special test using 2xLTE where to parallel channels of 20MHz each over a 2.5GHz band were used at one time. They upload tests using the 2xLTE test were over 30Mbit/sec. the tests were conducted using client radios made by Samsung.

While Clearwire brags on its LTE network tests, Sprint has admitted that patchy service lost it customers in early WiMAX areas like Baltimore. 4G president at Sprint, Matt Carter said, "We lost some customers in early deployments." Carter did note that in recent months 4G coverage in cities have reached the acceptable range.

Carter also noted that some of the poor coverage was due to the fact that Sprint is working with Clearwire as a customer and owns part of the venture. He does state that collaboration and coordination has become better between Sprint and Clearwire in the last few months. Sprint rival Verizon is testing LTE networks in five cities already.

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Oh wow...
By TheRequiem on 10/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Oh wow...
By omnicronx on 10/21/2010 11:29:52 AM , Rating: 2
True 4G does not even exist yet. These wireless tests also mean nothing until the 4G network supplants the legacy 3G network. Until then, more resources go into the old network.

RE: Oh wow...
By mcnabney on 10/21/2010 3:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
Wait a month.

MiMo devices have gotten up to 380mbs on the 18mhz spectrum that Verizon will be rolling out. Albeit, that is using the whole thing, but the capacity is there. LTE is far more efficient per mhz than Wimaxx and Sprint was stupid to go with it. Add in the ~100ms or better latencies and Verizon should have a winner.

Oh, and that kind of capacity allows 12 people to stream a BluRay utilizing the same tower. They aren't going to replace Comcast, FiOS, or DirecTV - but the mobile services should be quite impressive.

RE: Oh wow...
By XZerg on 10/21/2010 12:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
what good is the speed when you are stuck with bandwidth cap? It's like giving you the keys to Ferrari but telling you to drive on a dirt road.

RE: Oh wow...
By quiksilvr on 10/21/2010 12:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint doesn't cap 4G. It is truly unlimited. At least for now.

RE: Oh wow...
By TheRequiem on 10/21/2010 12:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
From what I understand, Sprint's 4G spectrum and backhaul capacity is the largest of the big 3. It is said they are able to support more user's and more data because of it. So let's hope it stays unlimited. Also, I don't think 4G will ever get integrated with 3g, I beleive the industry will eventually move to 4G Advanced technologies and go completely data with voip. I hope we also see the elimination of vocie plans. Also, to get 20 - 70mbps "real world use" out of LTE for Clearwire is a win and will be a huge advantage to cellular networks. Having specs layed out for 4G and then actually doing it are two different thing's.

RE: Oh wow...
By mcnabney on 10/21/2010 3:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
The bulk of Sprint's spectrum, owned through Clearwire, is the 150mhz that the government gave them for free in the 2.5ghz range.

The problem with this spectrum is that it only goes a few miles and it has a hard time penetrating things like walls. 700mhz spectrum has 10x the range and can penetrate buildings easily.

RE: Oh wow...
By euler007 on 10/22/2010 1:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
It's more like lending you a Ferrari and three gallons of gas, you'll go very fast for not very long.

Poor coverage?
By TheRequiem on 10/21/2010 11:09:23 AM , Rating: 2
Also, I'm a little bit confused about how Clearwire's "poor coverage" of 4g has cost customer's? Aren't people who buy Clearwire's 4G products in a 4G area? I'm not really sure what that is suppose to mean and all of Sprint's devices are 3G/ 4G capable so that doesn't make sense either. Of course it's not great coverage, its a relatively new network and to cover 120 million by years end is nothing to sneeze at, it doesn't seam appropiate to say that it's "costing customers".

RE: Poor coverage?
By killerroach on 10/21/2010 11:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
What they're saying is that, even in a 4G area, you may or may not be getting 4G service. WiMAX has been spotty at best in a lot of areas where Sprint offers the service... it's very fast, but only when you can get it.

RE: Poor coverage?
By YerMomma on 10/21/2010 2:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
When you buy an Evo 4g, or any 4G capable device from Sprint you are forced to pay for 4G coverage... (an extra $10/month) regardless of whether or not you are in a 4G area. It's pretty f*cked, but still way cheaper than Verizon's prices.

I have two Evo's on a family plan and pay $10 each for 4G, so an extra $20/month for something that won't come to my area for probably a very long time. But with the family plan and discounts offered I still only pay $80 a month per phone for unlimited everything.

RE: Poor coverage?
By mcnabney on 10/21/2010 3:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
It will never come to your area.

Clearwire is switching to LTE, so that WiMaxx radio in your phone is going to be about as useful as tits on a bull. But go ahead and keep paying that extra $20/mo though.

RE: Poor coverage?
By Chaser on 10/25/2010 1:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
Clearwire is switching to LTE, so that WiMaxx radio in your phone is going to be about as useful as tits on a bull. But go ahead and keep paying that extra $20/mo though.
Verifiable source please? Otherwise please don't spread BS.

Clearwire hits 12-13Mbps in my area
By abhaxus on 10/21/2010 1:43:49 PM , Rating: 2
My company resells Clear and we have seen consistent 1.75MB/s (12+Mb/s) on large downloads. Not on, downloading games on Steam.

Considering most people are on 6mbps DSL or 8Mbps cable, I'm pretty sure this is going to be plenty fast for awhile. I don't see phones really taking advantage of these speeds for awhile anyway.

By jimhsu on 10/21/2010 1:54:01 PM , Rating: 2
You're fortunate I guess ... depends on area. In Houston, the best speeds I can realistically sustain are 300KB/s, and sometimes it dives (to, for example, 50KB/s). That's still worlds better than our existing DSL connection which has a MAXIMUM speed of 50KB/s and becomes completely unusable 40% of the time.

By mcnabney on 10/21/2010 4:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
It will only get slower as they sign up more customers. Remember, the capacity they are providing right now will be the same capacity if they double the number of users. So your access will likely get slower and slower as your neighbors sign up.

Cable can just assign more channels or split the node when the number of users in an area increases. It doesn't work that way in wireless. They can provide X capacity to everyone that accesses a tower. If it is just you, enjoy. If you have a lot of other users nearby, tough luck.

By Chaser on 10/25/2010 1:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
If I use Sprint's coverage diagram with my home address I should be in 4G nirvana. Yeah right. Indoors its a 4G battery wipe at best. Sprint up talked 4G PHONE service like the 8th wonder of the world. In practical use it's nothing like that at all. I live and visit a couple of "4G" cities.

1. As stated Sprint 4G indoors is a joke.
2. Outdoors it can be better than 3G for sure. But I'm not going to leave my phone on in 4G mode and watch my battery die.
3. I'm definitely not going to be doing any "hotspots" outdoors either so that's just more marketing spin.

Unless you live very close to a 4G transmitter/tower 4G is most effective as a battery terminator.

I'm not going to take the time to switch to 4G for a map routing or download and then switch back to 3G for routine use.

4G sounds wonderful. But unless you have a large antenna mounted on your rooftop or a 1000 foot charger cable, in practical use it's a wash or mostly a selling point for new Sprint phones.

Technically, it's still not 4G
By chang3d on 10/21/2010 12:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
WiMax2 and LTE-Advanced are capable of reaching actually 4G speeds.

4G is defined at 1Gps in a standstill and 100Mps moving.

WiMax and LTE are not 4G. LTE is actually defined as 3.9G.

a clarification on performance
By kknd1967 on 10/22/2010 4:44:44 AM , Rating: 2
as you can see, this LTE trial is 2x20MHz FDD (40M Bandwidth in total uplink+downlink), while their WiMAX is using 10MHz TDD band. That means the LTE trial gets 4x more resources to use. I remeber the peak WiMAX rate without cap can reach 15M~20Mbps.
Therefore, the efficiency is indeed about the same between two technologies, although LTE is somewhat more efficient than first-generation WiMAX.

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