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Wireless Networking Cellphones Communications

Sprint Details Shift To LTE 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the anticipating-iphone-data-hogs dept.
New submitter jmeboi writes "Engadget reports that Sprint has announced a rollover from WiMAX to LTE for its 4G needs. The company is 'converting its 1900MHz holdings and LightSquared's 1600MHz spectrum ("pending FCC approval") to LTE,' and also re-purposing the section of 800MHz spectrum that was set aside for the defunct iDEN push-to-talk network. 'The company plans for a rapid deployment of this new 4G, with the first LTE markets and handsets to hit in mid-2012 with the full rollout mostly completed by 2013. Current subscribers signed up for WiMAX plans won't have to worry, as their devices will continue to be supported throughout 2012.'"
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Sprint Details Shift To LTE

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  • uhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metalgamer84 (1916754) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:25PM (#37640240)
    So my new Evo Shift 4G will no longer have WiMAX/4G capability after 2012? Unlike some people, I don't buy new phones every 2 years...
    • Re:uhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:35PM (#37640382) Journal
      This is what happens when you let the free market decide on standards with geographical monopolies. This is why a particular protocol is mandated with spectrum sales in most of the world. Irrespective of the relative technical merits of GSM versus CDMA, it's pretty clear that GSM is superior to CDMA and GSM with incompatible client devices for the two networks and customers locked in to one or the other depending on what phone they bought. It appears that the USA didn't learn from this mistake the first time around...
      • I wrote a comment a few days ago here [slashdot.org] about the intentional balkanization in the USA and Canada, where a network owns "spectrum" and handsets work only on that network frequencies.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by msauve (701917)
        "it's pretty clear that GSM is superior to CDMA "

        +1 Funny
        • "it's pretty clear that [GSM] is superior to [CDMA and GSM with incompatible client devices for the two networks and customers locked in to one or the other depending on what phone they bought]."

          parsed that for you

      • WiMax is not CDMA.

      • Re:uhh... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bengie (1121981) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:27PM (#37641158)

        lawl.. GSM better than CMDA...

        CDMA uses 1/3 to 1/10th the power of GSM, all the while having better range, more resilient to interference, signal bouncing can actually improve signal strength, tower hand-off rarely results in dropped calls, and supports more customers per tower by several factors. oh, and they're easier to setup because they all use the same frequency, so you don't have to check with any other tower operators.

        I guess GSM is cheaper to implement.. so it's clearly better.

        • Re:uhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:41PM (#37641328)

          None of that matters if you like to travel. Or if you like to actually own a phone and can swap out SIM cards to change phone numbers and carriers quickly.

          Or if you like fast 3G (EVDO vs UMTS/HSPDA).

          So CDMA is technically better, in theory but in practice its a lot of lock-in and slow ass 3G. There's more to deciding which is better than just tech specs on a piece of paper, but this being slashdot, we have the "TECHNICALLY CORRECT IS THE BEST KIND OF CORRECT" crowd.

          • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:49PM (#37641420)

            Saying GSM is "better" than CDMA implies a technical benefit, that the standard itself is superior. That is not the case. GSM is much more widely adopted than CDMA. Now that is a very legit reason to use it. But let's not confuse "widely adopted" with "better".

            As to what is best for you to use, well that is up to the individual.

            • by msauve (701917)
              Actually, the GSM crowd has already recognized the superiority of CDMA, that's why it's the most widely adopted air interface for UMTS (W-CDMA).

              OFDM, which LTE uses, is better still, which is why everyone is moving to it.

              But, the OP appears confused, since they compared GSM with CDMA, which is apples to oranges. They apparently meant to compare either GSM with CDMAone, or UMTS with CDMA2000. Or maybe TDMA with CDMA. It's not clear.
            • If you read the posting that asserted that "GSM is superior", the author started out by saying "regardless of the technical merits", which makes it very clear that he's not saying that the standard itself is superior. He's saying that because GSM is much much more widely adopted than CDMA, it makes it better for the user, because you can actually use it almost everywhere (and in general, you get more choice of carriers in places that have choices.)

              CDMA's radio technology may have been better than GSM's, f

          • by jpstanle (1604059) on Friday October 07, 2011 @02:22PM (#37641842)

            CDMA is a multiplexing/multiple access technique. GSM is a standard (and a rather old one at that). UMTS/HSPA, though they use SIM cards and were developed by the same standards body as, and somewhat backwards compatible with, GSM, they are not GSM. GSM is a 2G standard like cdmaOne. UMTS is a 3G standard like CDMA2000 (the actual standard that Sprint and Verizon use).

            Good thing someone actually recognized the technical merit of CDMA though, because UMTS/HSPA ditched the TDMA scheme used in GSM for a CDMA-based scheme.

          • by Bengie (1121981)

            "None of that matters if you like to travel."

            That right there is probably the main reason for GSM being "better". I forgot to include that along with the "cheaper" part.

          • >Or if you like to actually own a phone and can swap out SIM cards to change phone numbers and carriers quickly.

            CDMA has a perfectly good standard called R-UIM that's a superset of GSM SIM, and an optional subset of USIM, that serves the exact same purpose. Unfortunately, Sprint and Verizon never bothered to support it. Elsewhere in the world, CDMA phones and networks are as mutually interoperable and carrier-agnostic as GSM phones.

        • Range and ultimate power requirements are a function of the frequency not necessarily the protocol being used.

          CDMA is spread spectrum which makes it more resistant to interference than GSM. However due to the signal-to-noise ratio being influenced by the number of people using the band, CDMA does require more power to operate during peak usage times. On the other hand, GSM uses time division for multiple users on the same frequency and frequency division to spread the load which allows it to use less power

          • by Bengie (1121981)

            "CDMA does require more power to operate during peak usage times."

            depends on if you're talking about the radio or the processing. CDMA is very process intensive, but the radio is very low.

            CDMA phone Power: 0.001watt-1watt(avg 0.2watt) Practical Range Limit: 75KM(no logical limit) - Noise almost doesn't matter and is moderately influenced by structures.

            CDMA tower: Peak Radio power: 15watt

            GSM phone Power: 0.01watt-3watt(avg 1watt) Range: 60KM max(timing limitation of TDMA) - Range is heavily influenced by no

            • ^^^ What he said. When Qualcomm introduced CDMA in the early 90s, it was about as close as you could get to black magic. Engineers from Nokia or Ericsson went on record officially calling it a fraud, and ultimately had to eat their words a couple of years later when they were proven wrong.

              The coolest thing about CDMA is that you can literally do things like throw down a low-power cell in the middle of a congested area (like a mall, university, stadium, etc), add it to the network, and watch the congestion j

        • "it's pretty clear that [GSM] is superior to [CDMA and GSM with incompatible client devices for the two networks and customers locked in to one or the other depending on what phone they bought]."

          parsed that for you

          sorry for being redundant

        • Note: If you read an entire sentence before replying to it, then you are less likely to look like an idiot.
        • Re-read his post. As someone pointed out above, he's saying [GSM] is superior to [CDMA and GSM with handsets incompatible between the two] in terms of consumer outcomes.
      • Re:uhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:45PM (#37641388)

        This is what happens when you let the free market decide on standards with geographical monopolies. This is why a particular protocol is mandated with spectrum sales in most of the world. Irrespective of the relative technical merits of GSM versus CDMA, it's pretty clear that GSM is superior to CDMA and GSM with incompatible client devices for the two networks and customers locked in to one or the other depending on what phone they bought. It appears that the USA didn't learn from this mistake the first time around...

        That's so right. I really like the ability to pay 20Euros a month and roam anywhere within the EU without paying any roaming charges since all my calls/texts are included in the flat fee no matter where I am in the EU. Add in a data plan and I don't have to worry about data charges while I roam either.

        Different markets evolve differently - for 90% of the US phone use the incompatibility is a non-issue - they have a phone that works wherever they go. They get a flat price no matter where they roam in an area roughly as big as the EU. With the advent of "free" mobile to mobile and nights and weekends even the minute caps are largely a non-issue. Nor do I have to worry if I call a cell phone form a land line - no extra charge their either.

        While what we have is different than what you have, it's not inherently better or worse - just different and an adaptation to our market characteristics.

        • While what we have is different than what you have, it's not inherently better or worse - just different and an adaptation to our market characteristics.

          the USA is inherently worse, because when we purchase a phone, we are bound to a particular carrier. not only do we have contracts and locked phones, but we also have incompatible networks. that means that once a carrier nabs a user with the latest shiny new phone, they are locked. that's an incentive to spend a lot on advertising that shiny new phone and spend very little on things like improving their infrastructure and customer service.

      • by stox (131684)

        LTE is derived from CDMA technologies, not GSM.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        it's pretty clear that GSM is superior to CDMA

        CDMA wiped the floor with GSM. The original TDMA/GSM is only used for voice today. TDMA/GSM is pathetic because you allocate exclusive bandwidth to a phone even if it's never used. It's still tolerated for voice because voice uses so little bandwidth, but it's completely unsuitable for data. That's why the CDMA carriers rolled out 3G years before the GSM carriers. The CDMA carriers just cranked up the bandwidth of their voice hardware (which is why you cann

        • What is wrong with you people? I specifically said that GSM is better than a mix of GSM and CDMA, independently of whether GSM or CDMA is better in isolation. Yet, so far, almost all of the replies have been telling me that CDMA is better than GSM, as if I claimed that GSM is better than CDMA and needed educating.
          • What you said was "GSM is superior to CDMA and GSM...", which turns into "GSM is superior to CDMA" when read by people who can't, well, read. Should have said "GSM is superior to GSM and CDMA"... at least that way they are forced to read your whole sentence.
          • by Solandri (704621)
            And I explained why GSM alone would have resulted in slower network speeds today than a mix of GSM and CDMA. The mix was crucial to finding which worked better in real-world use.
      • It's not a free market. There is no such thing. It's a hypothetical construct. Every market has barriers to entry. The wireless industry has multibillion dollar barriers.
    • Re:uhh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ahow628 (1290052) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:40PM (#37640442) Homepage
      The submitter is wrong. They said they would sell Wimax devices through 2012. They will mostly likely support Wimax for far long than that.
    • I got my EVO 3D two or three months ago. The way this sounds, they could stop supporting my phone before the 2-year contract is up.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I wouldn't worry too much about it. The WiMax network will probably hang around for a LONG time, long after your phone's obsolete and you're on the 3rd contract since.

        Given the old analog AMPS network took until what, 2008? to be killed, and the installed base of mobile and fixed WiMax stations, there's probably at least a decade of WiMax coverage.

        Heck, the old CDMA phones will probably work as well for a long time coming purely due to installed base.

        And at the very least, you'd probably have 3G service.

        The

        • Clearwire has an investment in WiMax, not Sprint, and Sprint is really tired of Clearwire stabbing its largest shareholder in the back by trying to sell the WiMax service cheaper than Sprint can. Why do you think Sprint signed with LightSquared for LTE? When Sprint moves away from Clearwire, they'll probably end up in bankruptcy with the network being shutdown or piecemeal sold.

    • by afidel (530433)
      It has WiMax coverage now? I live in one of the pilot markets and several years later I still can't get 4g signal any of the places where I spend 90% of my time (work, restaurants around work (~8 mile radius from work), and home). If it wasn't for the fact that 4G is a required billing item with the Shift I would have dropped it long ago.
    • So my new Evo Shift 4G will no longer have WiMAX/4G capability after 2012? Unlike some people, I don't buy new phones every 2 years...

      You won't be required to upgrade. 3G will still work just fine, it's just that you will lose 4G connectivity.

  • by Erich (151) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:30PM (#37640312) Homepage Journal
    The WiMAX network is pretty bad. Coverage is virtually nonexistant, even in cities "with WiMAX coverage" In Austin, there are very few places where WiMAX works ... and seemingly never in places like the airport where you actually want it. If you ever happen to get it working, speeds are marginally better than EVDO.

    LTE should work much better, and it will align with the rest of the industry.

    • by Luyseyal (3154)

      How is your general Sprint coverage here? It used to be fairly spotty.

      Personally, I miss the old AT&T Wireless TDMA days, as far as voice traffic is concerned. TDMA had the best voice quality. It was super-fantastic. People asked me if I was on a landline all the time, even if I was talking inside the house, in a valley, under enormous trees.

      -l

    • by WarlockD (623872)
      I don't know. To be honest the biggest problem I have had with my EVO was the 3G/4G handoff. IT works great in 4G areas but when its spotty it keeps switching between networks and slows down my browsing speed ALOT. I always have to force it to 3G in general.
      • The root of Sprint's thrashing problem is the RIL programming that prevents simultaneous wimax and CDMA (EVDO or 1xRTT) data sessions. Now, when a Sprint phone attempts to connect to Wimax, it first terminates any live data session (EVDO or 1xRTT) before it even tries to authenticate to Clear. Likewise, if the wimax connection fails (or is failing), the phone will first fully terminate the wimax session before it even tries to establish a CDMA data connection.

        What Sprint really needs to do is give us an opt

    • It's the same here in the Denver area -- no coverage at the airport or in certain key corridors (like the Boulder Turnpike). Although speeds seem quite good the few times when I can get a strong signal. The WiMAX signal just happens to be excellent here at my home, the one place where I don't need it. ;)
    • Coverage will be very good when in 2013 they repurpose that 800 MHz spectrum for LTE. It will be Verizon quality actually.
  • We've had 4G here now for over a year. (Real 4G, not the 3G+ that I heard some providers in the US has been marketing as "4G") I'm running it on my laptop right now. Works like a charm... 20-80 mbit wireless is sweet. Now if only they'd remove the monthly 40GB cap... also the proprietary windows only mobile internet client is utter and total crap. Hopefully they'll build it into all operating systems soon so I can connect just like Wi-Fi.
    • What sort of density are you getting 20-80Mb/s with? 20Mb/s in rural areas would be nice (better than the 1Mb/s my mother gets through ADSL...), but 20Mb/s in urban areas with lots of users would be impressive. What sort of cell size (i.e. subscribers per cell) gives you that kind of real-world throughput?
    • We've had 4G here now for over a year. (Real 4G, not the 3G+ that I heard some providers in the US has been marketing as "4G")

      No you haven't. "Real" 4G as defined by the ITU doesn't actually exist yet. You may have LTE networks, but they're Rel 8 or Rel 9 stuff. As far as LTE goes, only LTE-Advanced is "real" 4G, and the standards for LTE-Advanced haven't even been finalized yet, let alone any commercial products available that support it.

      • Actually you're wrong. The standards for LTE Release 10 was finalized all the way back in March (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/022511-lte-advanced-mobile-standard-gets-go-ahead.html)/ That said, it won't be used in networks until 2014.
    • i live in silicon valley, supposedly the heart of technical innovation and home to 7.5m people, and i rarely get over 1MB/s and we have a 2GB cap. that's when it works at all.

  • Despite this meaning that I will have to buy a new phone in 2013 or lose 4g access, I'm still very happy with it.

    Sprint is by far the cheapest cellular provider so I have no intentions of switching. This means that my next phone will have faster and more reliable internet. It's worth needing to buy a new phone as far as I'm concerned.

    • by cos(0) (455098)

      I assume you're a fan of mobile data. Sprint is by far not the cheapest cellular provider. For cheapest, look into Virgin Mobile's [virginmobileusa.com] $40/mo "unlimited" data and texting and T-Mobile's newest offering: "unlimited" 4G prepaid for $30/mo [pcmag.com].

      • Sprint owns Virgin Mobile, not that this detracts from your point about T-Mobile's plan.

      • by cos(0) (455098)

        Wow, four of the five (thus far) replies to my post have said that Virgin is a branch of Sprint. So what? Boost is also! But each sets its own prices and policies. Sprint's postpaid is $80/mo for Everything Data. Virgin Mobile is $40/mo. Now tell me why I should care that Virgin is a Sprint subsidiary. Way to miss the forest for the trees.

  • I knew they were no longer pushing (sorry) the iDEN PTT network in their ads, but have they actually turned it off?

    • by MBCook (132727)
      They've been trying to. I believe they are about to launch new stuff that does PTT over CDMA. The iden network is expensive and a pain for them.
    • by jpstanle (1604059)

      Sprint/Nextel's iDEN network is scheduled to be phased out in 2013.

  • Sprint's WiMax network is provided by ClearWire. ClearWire is trying to switch to LTE, is already running trials, and is seeking funding. It's not clear to me what exactly Sprint is doing...are they going to pay ClearWire to upgrade to LTE? Or are they abandoning their relationship with ClearWire?

    I'm a recently-added ClearWire customer, and I have a 2-year contract to be on WiMax. If Sprint puts together their own LTE network, ClearWire will be dead. As a doornail.

  • V.90 (Score:4, Funny)

    by clinko (232501) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:54PM (#37640672) Homepage Journal

    So it looks like X2 and K56flex have a new challenger...

  • I'm excited with the developments in LTE, because it's nice to see that all carriers in the USA will eventually be supporting the same standard. For far too long in the states we've had so much confusion and complication because of CDMA vs GSM. I'm glad that the CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) are finally upgrading to a better standard.

    I'm dreaming of a future where the USA will be like the rest of the world, where we'll be able to buy an unlocked phone, and use it on any carrier we chose. I'm currentl

    • by EXrider (756168)
      HAH! Dream on, from [apple.com]: "The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint."

      So what this means essentially, is that Sprint and Verizon plan on continuing to be dicks, even though there's no technical limitation that would prevent the same
    • by afidel (530433)
      We're a long way off from that utopia. For a long, long time we'll have the need for a pentaband dual mode chipset for 2G voice and 3G data fallback. Heck almost nobody has yet rolled out VoLTE and even when they do it has major problems with fallback, and the alternative VoLGA was killed off earlier this year by Deutschetelecom, the only sane people in the industry who wanted a standard that could actually be implemented in the real world.
    • by rrossman2 (844318)

      Carriers aren't the only ones.... look at lightsquared's homepage..look at the partners (as lightsquared says they do wholesale only)

      Cellular South
      Sprint
      NetTalk
      ClearTalk
      Sharp

      and the one I found surprising and don't recall reading about.. Best Buy Connect.. provided by Best Buy. They do 3G and 4G access: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computers+Promotions/regularCat%3Apcmcat214600050004/pcmcat214600050004.c?id=pcmcat214600050004&DCMP=rdr0002322 [bestbuy.com]

      • by rrossman2 (844318)

        oh, and the thing that gets me is Best Buy must be using WiMax via clear right now or something, because a Oct 9th 2011 press release on lightsquared's website states:

        As LightSquared awaits FCC approval to launch the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated 4G-LTE wireless broadband and satellite network, we’ve been busy signing agreements with 17 partners across the country eager to offer their customers world-class wireless service at a fraction of the cost of building their own networks.
        Some

  • Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Several senators, congressmen, the FAA, and the DoD are against LightSquared.

    • by jmauro (32523)

      They're not against LightSquared, but the frequencies that were assigned for Lightsquare for their LTE to Satellite system. The assigned frequencies for the Satellite links were right next to the frequencies used for GPS and they want to be quite agressive in using those frequencies. This causes bleed over into the neighboring frequncies, which can normally be filtered out, but GPS works differently than most other comms systems and the signals it recieves are weak.

      If Sprint is having LightSquared inst

  • I live in Huntsville, AL and our sprint coverage has actually been getting worse. I don't know what they're doing, maybe upgrading the towers. (The local store said that they'd been enabling wimax which may be true as I can get it in my house, and no-where else.) Ultimately though, the strength of 3G has decreased horribly. I'm at the point where I'm seriously considering replacing my cell plan witha verizon mifi (4G and great coverage) and a VOIP subscription.
    • by Guppy (12314)

      I live in Huntsville, AL and our sprint coverage has actually been getting worse.

      If coverage for you is really that bad, you can try seeing if Sprint will give you an Airave (femtocell). Some customers with poor reception have gotten them for free.

  • The FCC sold of spectrum to Lightsquared without understanding its effect on GPS receivers. The entire aviation fleet would need to have upgraded instrumentation if LightSquared deploys in their spectrum, which was not intended for terrestrial use. There's a good chance GPS, which is now essentially safety critical, is going to win.

    • by Guppy (12314)

      The FCC sold of spectrum to Lightsquared without understanding its effect on GPS receivers.

      Well, sort of. They originally sold the spectrum to LightSquared for use in a satellite-based service, which would have been ok. Then LightSquared changed their plans, and got permission from the FCC to use the spectrum for a terrestrial-based network (which the FCC stupidly OK'ed, not realizing the consquences).

      Our curent situation is a direct consequence of the inverse-square law. For a broadcasting satellite, everyone is (for practical purposes) equally far away, and receives a nice low-power signal t

  • Sounds like just in time for the iPhone 5. No doubt Apple (formerly Jobs & Co.) told Sprint, "Sure, will supply you with lots of iPhone x's over the next 4 years. Just convert your network over to what I tell you to do. What do you mean you'll have trouble telling your users that their existing state-of-the-art 4G WiMax phones won't work after 2012? People actually keep their phones for more than a year? What a bunch of slackers! And btw, Sprint, there is no state-of-the-art phone that isn't an iPhone.

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