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Sprint Turns to Throttling to Manage Network Congestion

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Replying to:  capacity? by amarryat   May 8, 2014, 8:16 PM

Re: capacity?

by CellStudent    May 9, 2014, 4:08 AM

amarryat said:
With twice the spectrum of either Verizon or AT&T, and half the customers, shouldn't they be all set for a while? T-Mobile has half of what Verizon or AT&T has, and they're blazing fast.



It's not just about how much spectrum you own, it's about how much spectrum has been deployed.

Sprint owns spectrum in the 800 MHz band, the 1900 MHz band, the 2.3 GHz band, the 2.5 GHz band and the 3.5 GHz band (including a bunch more that I can't recall off the top of my head.

The problem is that you can't build one set of antennas on the cell site that operates on all those different frequencies. Sprint has to build a completely new array of antennas for each band of spectrum they want to deploy in any given area (which is precisely what they're doing with their Spark initiative).

As you might guess, that's incredible expensive. Activating 3 sets of antennas on a tower is a totally different process than activating only one spectrum band. Add into the mix that the high frequency bands have totally different characteristics than the low frequency bands (from a physics perspective) and you start to realize that in many cases they can't even use the same tower to get the job done! In many areas they have to put up an 800 MHz tower on one city block and then build a whole new site 300 meters away just for 2.5 GHz service.

Owning spectrum is important, but insufficient. If there's not enough money in the bank to deploy services, it doesn't matter how much spectrum you've got.

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