Sprint to Deploy LTE-A, to Use Fibre Backhaul
It was only three weeks back when Sprint announced its intentions of leaving WiMAX and switching to LTE. Sprint had earlier announced that it will launch LTE services by mid-2012 on its 1900 MHz spectrum as a part of its “Network Vision” network upgrade program. Well, even before the operator made any further announcements regarding their LTE network deployment, Sprint just went a step ahead and made another announcement yesterday that it will deploy LTE-Advanced on its 800 MHz spectrum by H1-2013. LTE-Advanced is an evolution from LTE and UMTS. LTE-A is where the peak data rates will be realised in accordance with the ITU 4G requirements. LTE-A is expected to provide peak data rates of 1Gbps on download and 500Mbps on upload. Before we talk about the LTE-A data rate offerings from Sprint, we will have to wait until Sprint launches its LTE-Advanced or maybe even their LTE network, to compare its data speed offerings with that of Verizon’s and AT&T’s. As for its backhaul network strategy for LTE and LTE-A, Sprint is deploying Ethernet over leased fibre lines and Ethernet over microwave where fibre lines are not available. This backhaul strategy is reflected in our recent research report on Mobile Network Backhaul. Fibre backhaul can support almost unlimited bandwidth and can be either leased or deployed by the operators themselves. According to our research, we are forecasting that fibre will overtake copper as the most adopted access technology compared to traditional adoption rate of copper and will be increasingly deployed by the operators in North America to cater to the high bandwidth and quality wireless services.