Dish Tests 50 Mbps LTE

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) announced last week that it has achieved speeds of 50 Mbps in LTE testing. Using 2.5 GHz BRS spectrum at 2496-2690 MHz, Dish explained that weather-proof outdoor antennas, rather than indoor-mounted equipment, enabled the firm to obtain speeds in the 30-50 Mbps range. Dish claims that the rooftop-mounted antennae with integrated modems avoid signal loss that is encountered with indoor-mounted equipment.

The tests, undertaken in conjunction with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ: ALU), were conducted in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The tests presumably reveal details of an agreement Dish reached with nTelos earlier this year; at that time, the company said only that it was working on a fixed-mobile broadband service. Read more

Verizon Estimates 50% of Their Wireless Traffic is Video

Speaking at the National Associations of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam estimated that half of the data carried on Verizon’s wireless network is video, and that he expects the total to reach 75% by 2017.

McAdam credited Verizon’s investment in its LTE network as the key factor enabling such large scale video delivery.  “With 3G you have video clips but there is buffering,” he told the audience.  “With 4G you can stream video.” Read more

DISH Network’s High-Speed Wireless Plans Gain FCC Approval

The FCC has approved DISH Network’s request to adapt its satellite spectrum for wireless use. DISH had asked for an FCC waiver that would allow the company to use 40 MHz of spectrum in the 2 GHz band for a 4G LTE network.

“The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted territorial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band,” said DISH senior vice president and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum. “We appreciate the hard work and focus of the FCC and its staff throughout this process. The commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation, and fulfilling the goals of the National Broadband Plan.”

While the commission announced its approval of DISH Network’s request for wireless spectrum use, certain as-yet unspecified restrictions will apply. The commission has previously said that there need to be limits on DISH’s network in order to prevent interference problems. Consequently, DISH seems committed to proceeding with caution. “Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, DISH will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers,” Blum said.  Among these options is a potential partnership with a wireless partner, such as Sprint or AT&T. In fact, DISH and Sprint have reportedly already held talks to discuss such a joint venture.

VZW Partners Launch Rural LTE Service

Bluegrass Cellular and STRATA Networks, two participants in Verizon’s LTE in Rural America Program, recently announced that they have launched commercial services. In addition, Verizon Wireless announced that it has  added another participant to the rural program: MTPCS, LLC, d.b.a. Cellular One.

On November 5, Bluegrass Cellular launched its 4G LTE network in Kentucky through its participation in Verizon’s program. The service is now available to more than 348,000 people in the operator’s largest markets including Fort Knox and the I-65 corridor between Louisville, Ken., and Nashville, Tenn. Other Kentucky counties and communities included in the initial 4G LTE network rollout include: Read more

AT&T to Invest $14 Billion in Broadband Networks Over Next 3 Years

AT&T recently announced plans to invest $14 billion over the next three years to expand its IP broadband networks. The undertaking—dubbed Project Velocity IP (VIP)—will ultimately bring 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless service to 99% of all AT&T customer locations, and wireline IP to 75%.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity—4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband—to millions more Americans,” said Randall Stevenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive order.

Of note, this announcement is the other shoe dropping on the report issued last month. The fear is that this will mean the end of network upgrades for AT&T’s copper network, upon which those customers not reached by the company’s wireline IP rollout will continue to rely. In addition, any AT&T customers utilizing wireline copper-based service for burglar and fire alarms and emergency service have reason to be concerned. Read more

Wireless Carriers Expanding LTE Service

Two major wireless carriers this week announced plans to expend 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage in the United States.  Both U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile said that they are extending the high-speed network.

U.S. Cellular announced that it is expanding its LTE coverage area to more than 30 new markets, extending its footprint to more than half of its customers. Its rollout will bring LTE to cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Oklahoma and parts of Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.  Another wave of market launches are scheduled for Rockford, Ill., Medford, Ore., Yakima, Wash., and Knoxville, Tenn.  The company stated that by the end of the year, 58% of U.S. Cellular’s customers will have access to 4G speeds.

T-Mobile plans to have LTE in major metropolitan areas in 2013 and complete its rollout in 2014.  The operator reports that it has been testing LTE-Advanced (Release 10) technology for its network this summer. T-Mobile is currently seeking regulatory approval for its merger with MetroPCS.

T-Mobile and MetroPCS Announce Merger Agreement, Sprint to Counter?

One day after confirming that merger discussions were underway, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS announced in an October 3 press release that they have signed a definitive agreement to merge the companies.

The combined company will retain the T-Mobile name and have at its disposal deeper technological and financial resources to compete with other U.S. wireless carriers. Based on consensus estimates by analysts cited by T-Mobile, the combined company is predicted to serve approximately 42.5 million subscribers and realize $24.8 billion in revenue.

Once the merger has closed, the combined company will represent a stronger national competitor, with enhanced network coverage and a larger next-generation network, providing a path to 20×20 Mbps 4G long term evolution (LTE) in many areas. Read more

Next Page »