Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sprint Updates Tower Agreements for "Network Vision"

Sprint has amended important contracts with Mobilitie, a tower leasing company, to help enable the delivery of next-generation networks through Sprint's Network Vision plan.


The amended agreement involves several hundred of Sprint's existing nationwide cell sites with Mobilitie and includes opportunities to expand the current relationship via build-to-suit solutions. Key points include:



  • Provides Sprint with the flexibility it needs to deploy next-generation technologies and to effect its future migration from iDEN.


  • Enables a quicker deployment of Network Vision by allowing Sprint to operate existing and new Network Vision equipment simultaneously during the transition, enabling a smoother change for customers.


  • Gives Sprint the ability to utilize build-to-suit solutions to meet Sprint's Network Vision schedule.



Sprint noted that it is aggressively working with its vendors to plan, test and begin site preparations. In the lab, calls have successfully been completed on 800 MHz 1x voice, 1x data and SMS. 1900 on MHz 1x voice, 1x data, SMS and EVDO have also been completed. Work has begun on thousands of sites and renegotiation of existing contracts with tower companies is an important step in launching these sites later this year. http://www.sprint.com http://www.Mobilitie.com

  • In July, Sprint and Crown Castle announced a new agreement to enable the delivery of the next-generation networks through Sprint’s Network Vision plan. The agreement impacts more than 10,000 of Sprint’s nationwide cell sites.


  • Also in July, Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year agreement that includes spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming. The deal gives Sprint $9 billion in cash to build out its 4G network and provides LightSquared with a Tier-One partner for bringing its wholesale-only, nationwide LTE + L-Band broadband satellite service to market, should the FCC approve its GPS terrestrial interference mitigation proposals. Specifically, LightSquared will pay Sprint to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that hosts L-Band spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared. As a wholesale-only carrier with separate core network operations, LightSquared can sell its 4G broadband capacity produced through this spectrum hosting relationship to Sprint, other wireless carriers, and retail partners.


  • Sprint unveiled its "Network Vision" for consolidating its infrastructure and spectrum into a single, more cost-effective and flexible network. Sprint also announced the selection of Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung as key partners to enable this transformation.


    The key idea behind Sprint's "Network Vision" is to operate a single network. Sprint currently uses separate equipment to deploy services on 800 MHz spectrum, 1.9 GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5 GHz spectrum. The New Vision blueprint calls for the deployment of multimode base stations for delivering 3G/4G services across all of these bands. New remote radio heads at the cell sites would be connected with fiber rather than coaxial risers. The consolidated cell site would be significantly more energy-efficient.


    Sprint intends to repurpose some of its 800MHz spectrum for CDMA service, thereby enhancing coverage, particularly the in-building experience for customers. Augmenting its 1.9GHz footprint with 800MHz, Sprint expects its CDMA coverage density will increase throughout the country.


    Regarding its iDEN network and push-to-talk, Sprint expects to launch the next-generation of PTT services in 2011 on the CDMA network, offering customers sub-second call set-up time along with robust data capabilities. There are no immediate plans to force migrate iDEN customers to the CDMA network, but Sprint expects its PTT device/app portfolio on the CDMA network will continue to evolve to include high-bandwidth data services.


    "Network Vision builds on our legacy of wireless innovation and represents the next step in the evolution of our networks to best meet unprecedented growth in mobility services. We are well- positioned to take advantage of new technology, chipsets, devices and applications. Working with these three partners, we expect to deliver to our customers the most cutting-edge network capabilities available today and in the future."


    The financial impact of the Network Vision plan includes a total, estimated incremental cost over the deployment period to be between $4 billion and $5 billion. Sprint estimates the total net financial benefit over a seven-year period will be between $10 billion and $11 billion.


    The vendor contracts with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung includes purchases of hardware, software and services. These contracts are divided geographically:


    Alcatel-Lucent: New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C./Baltimore and Los Angeles


    Ericsson: Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Kansas City and Dallas


    Samsung: Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle.

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