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Sprint Senior Vice President of Networks Bob Azzi.  (Source:
Sprint in the midst of network modernization project

According to Fierce Wireless, Sprint will be closely monitoring the adoption rate of its high-speed WiMAX service, evaluating the best use of its spectrum, before deciding whether or not to focus on LTE in the future. 

Sprint is currently working in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, and Ericsson on a $4 to $5 billion network modernization plan called Network Vision, to be undertaken over the next three to five years.  

At Network Vision's core is a plan to deploy a multi-use base station for greater technology flexibility. "The new multi-mode base stations will be smaller allowing the entire footprint of the cell site to be reduced," Fierce Wireless reports, "which means that less power will be required at the cell site." 

The upgrade is largely a cost-saving measure. In addition to the base station, Sprint also plans on deploying CDMA 1x Advanced, which Sprint Senior Vice President of Networks Bob Azzi said will reduce per-minute costs and provide an estimated 20 to 40 percent improvement in capacity and performance. Backhaul will be upgraded from T1s to a combination of microwave and Ethernet fiber. 

Meanwhile, Verizon announced yesterday that it would launch its 4G LTE network across the wider Detroit market tomorrow, covering some 80 percent of the metropolitan area. 

The expansion to nearly 70 suburban municipalities is the first since Verizon launched its LTE service back in December. Though a few areas in and around Detroit were covered then, most of the area experienced spectrum interference with a Canadian TV station. This issue has been resolved, thus allowing the significant early expansion.

"Metro Detroit: Welcome to the future," John Granby, president of the Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region for Verizon Wireless, said in a press release. Little did he know, Detroit was already making strides into the future, with a thus far wildly successful fundraising campaign to erect a statue of RoboCop.

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RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By GeekWithFire on 2/16/2011 9:02:14 AM , Rating: 3
It would seem logical that multiple T1's are used.

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By mcnabney on 2/16/2011 10:17:11 AM , Rating: 2
They currently use 1 or more T1s. Their WiMax supporting towers could make use of a T3, but I am going to guess that they are underserving those towers by providing less-than-adequate backhaul in order to save money. It makes sense because they don't have 'that many' 4G customers, so perhaps their 4G services are highly underutilized. It is hard to make guesses toward motive when you know that Sprint doesn't actually run their own network - Sony/Ericsson does. They advise on it, but the actual running of it is outsourced.

Verizon has fiber at their towers and AT&T uses fiber in their urban/suburban HSPA+ areas.

LTE requires fiber because it is being used to provide almost 400MBs at each tower.

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By protosv on 2/16/2011 1:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
True they don't have too many 4G customers now, but since they recently hiked EVERYONE's smartphone plan by $10, even the 3G data plans, there's really no financial incentive to stay on a 3G device if you're upgrading phones. So I'd expect that the majority of their upgrades/new smartphone customers in the near future and beyond will be 4G devices...

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By mcnabney on 2/17/2011 9:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Sprint is still losing almost a BILLION dollars every quarter. They finally stopped losing customers, but they NEED to charge more or eventually people will stop loaning them money to go deeper and deeper in debt.

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