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RTP still missing...

It is interesting to see the areas around RTP are still missing from any Sprint announcements. With the concentration of high tech talent in this area, one would think this would be higher on the list compared to some of the other cities launching.


Austin, TX
·Time Warner Cable
RTP as in NC?

Take a look at the markets that Sprint is working on, in a broader sense. Specifically, look at the markets that vendor Alcatel-Lucent is building out (they'll be the ones to cover RDU when the time comes).

You'll find that the current list consists of NYC, Baltimore, Washington DC and LA. In many cases it's easier to get the outskirts of such areas covered and then work inward (Samsung has done this in Chicago), so you see a bunch of small markets launched first, but Sprint is going market by market rather than city by city, so it may be a little while before Alcatel-Lucent gets rolling fast enough in its NE markets to start looking seriously at RDU etc.

If you're used to the way Verizon and AT&T rolled out LTE, that doesn't apply here. Where Verizon and AT&T used 700MHz spectrum to blanket a large coverage area with one tower (such that their LTE site density is much less than their PCS 3G site density), allowing them to launch a given metro area quickly, Sprint is using frequencies comparable to their 3G network for 4G, and they are going to every tower in each market to make the upgrades. So it will take them longer, in an absolute time sense, to get a market rolling, but at the end of a rollout (Chicago will very likely be done by year-end, so you can look at that as an example) you'll have a hard time getting Sprint's network to slow way down in congested areas at peak times, and having that slowness extend very far from the congested cell site.

In contrast, Verizon LTE, despite its higher bandwidth (10MHz vs. 5MHz channels), is already slowing down significantly in a number of areas where Verizon is the dominant carrier. How slow? Well, Verizon says that users should expect 5-12 Mbps down on its network...and some places are getting slower than that.

In rural areas, Verizon's 700 spectrum absolutely makes sense. However Sprint's network may end up in some rural areas more quickly than Verizon because of the way their LTE is getting deployed. Go figure.