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  • Alcatel-Lucent: Can This Telecom Equipment Titan Turn Itself Around?  [View article]
    A wireless network in its entirety isn't just spectrum. To send and receive data and voice the packets have to travel over a fixed line to the core network.

    This is a good article.

    Sprint heavily relies on third parties to interconnect or deliver data and voice across the middle mile. Often times this third party is Verizon or AT&T. With the current regulatory stance and fair pricing this has enabled Sprint to be more competitive since they can ride on the infrastructure of the Big Two with "fair" fixed prices. This practice is currently under review at the Commission as the FCC takes a look at the competitive landscape of ILECs and CLECs. If the fixed pricing goes away, which I believe should, then Sprint, T-Mobile, and other carriers will have to pay higher premiums to access other carriers networks.

    I take back my assertion that Dish may partner with T-Mobile. It appears as though Dish may indeed partner or sell to AT&T. With Verizon's partnership with the cable co's and the Joint Operating Entity, AT&T may be forming its own JOE with DISH, this will leave Sprint to partner with CenturyTel, as this will be the only video partner left. I base this off of a TSG-RAN document filed by Dish Network proposing LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation of Bands 23 and Band 29. Band 23 being the spectrum assets that Dish has in the 2GHz and Band 29 being the AT&T spectrum in the 700 MHz lower D and E Blocks. (LTE_DL_FDD700). It appears as though Dish will pair its 2GHz spectrum with the DL spectrum of AT&T, of which Dish still owns considerable holdings of E Block Spectrum nationwide.

    Good move by both Dish and AT&T.

    This is not to say that Dish still couldn't partner with T-Mobile. But considering Dish lacks some major markets in the 700 MHz E Block a partnership with AT&T makes the most sense. But Dish could just positioning for both parties. What holdings Dish does have in the 700 MHz could be well utilized in rural markets for coverage.
    Jan 2, 2013. 04:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alcatel-Lucent: Can This Telecom Equipment Titan Turn Itself Around?  [View article]
    This is relatively true. But the telecom market has clearly shifted where fixed and mobile are becoming intertwined. Where ALU was once strong in emerging markets with its IP portfolio they are losing ground to the Chinese. ALU was wise to start developing a strong wireless segment and focus on markets where they have strength rather then try and compete with the Chinese.

    I agree ALU's cost cutting measures will improve their bottom line. Mix that with the upcoming growth in the wireless segment from small cells and the success of ALU's OmniSwitch and they should climb back up.
    Dec 28, 2012. 01:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alcatel-Lucent: Can This Telecom Equipment Titan Turn Itself Around?  [View article]
    If Dish is looking to partner with T-Mobile then blocking (delaying) any Clearwire deal gives Dish time to market since the Clearwire deal must happen prior to Softbank purchasing Sprint. Charlie could be trying to delay Sprint procedurally. I don't believe Charlie has any interest in Clearwire spectrum. He has his own free and clear of leases and now it appears he is making a play for a part of LightSquared spectrum. I still believe the end game here could be a sale/parternship of Dish/T-Mobile to America Movil.

    Eventually CenturyLink will come into the picture as the telecom space continues to consolidate. IMO Sprint and T-Mobile desperately need a fixed line asset in order to compete with the big two in the future.
    Dec 28, 2012. 01:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alcatel-Lucent: Can This Telecom Equipment Titan Turn Itself Around?  [View article]
    AT&T has been spending a great deal of infrastructure monies on upgrading its middle mile in preparation and avoiding the silly 1996 Act and fair pricing for special access to copper. (/sarcasm). Between AT&T and Verizon they will most likely stick with their current vendor footprint and utilize equipment from the main three, Ericsson, Alcatel, and Nokia. Alcatel's light radio is best suited for Sprint and Clearwire spectrum for Sprint's following push for small cells. After Sprint establishes its core footprint with LTE and starts adding capacity sites and small cells then I would imagine a good uptick for Alcatel since they are working closely with Sprint on the Light Radio product for the 2.6GHz spectrum. Operator's need to get their ROI before rolling out the next network upgrades. Verizon is in the lead here for the initial LTE deployment, with AT&T and others following. This ebb and flow of deployments affects the vendors. Small cell deployment should give the vendors, and with the monies coming in from Softbank to New Sprint, ALU a significant boost in revenues.

    Not sure how Dish will play out in this. I imagine Dish will end up partnering with T-Mobile, since Clayton has said repeatedly since last December that if AT&T/T-Mobile failed that Dish would look to form a partnership with T-Mobile. Also not sure who the vendor of choice is for Dish, but if any 3GPP filings are believed then most likely Ericcson and Alcatel.
    Dec 28, 2012. 01:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alcatel-Lucent: Can This Telecom Equipment Titan Turn Itself Around?  [View article]
    Great write up.

    ALU future is also determined outside of the U.S. marketplace where there is significantly more infrastructure growth in developing countries.

    I sat at a dinner a few years back with regional exec's from Nokia, Ericsson, Alcatel, and a couple of European telecom CEO's. All of them agreed that the next few years were going to be a tough road due to cheap mobile infrastructure being offered by ZTE and Huawei. Their lobbying push to have the Chinese excluded from the American market due to "security" has helped. But the Chinese continue to grow their presence in developing markets eroding share from their European counterparts.

    On the U.S. side of the pond the upcoming explosion of small cells should give both ALU and Ericsson a significant boost since they have the best platforms and integration into the U.S. existing infrastructure. The big two here are setting the stage in the next few years to start rolling out SON and small cells. Verizon has been preparing for this with its network roll out and AT&T has been announcing its plans. Both will do this as an extension to building out their AWS spectrum and AT&T will most likely add their WCS spectrum on top of the AWS. T-Mobile will follow their lead, although they are at least a year behind.
    Dec 28, 2012. 12:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It looks like T-Mobile USA is finally getting the iPhone: Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) says its U.S. unit "has entered into an agreement with Apple (AAPL +2.1%) to bring products to market together in 2013." It doesn't provide further details, other than to say the deal will hurt DT's 2013 free cash flow (likely thanks to big purchase requirements/subsidies). Many were expecting an announcement this week. MetroPCS (PCS +1.7%), slated to merge with T-Mobile USA, is up a bit.  [View news story]
    This will greatly help T Mobile's churn and will make them a greater threat to Sprint. Sprint has been able to pick up these subscribers as of late. This will hurt Sprint and further slow their growth at a time when they least need it.
    Dec 6, 2012. 01:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Customer Service Awards Aren't Leading To iPhone Sales At Sprint  [View article]
    I believe what your seeing with Sprint is fully expected. Sprint doesn't have the subscriber base to attract the growth in iPhone sales like the big two. I also believe that what you are seeing is every study done coming into play. Customer service doesn't gain new subscribers, it helps with retention. Unlimited isn't a value proposition to the core group of possible subscribers. The bulk of users simply don't need unlimited and are more attracted to coverage and speeds. Both the big two continue to see steady increases in both subscribers and ARPU levels, lending the idea that Sprint is not pulling subscribers from them, but from the lower end of the market, T-Mobile, regional operators, et. el. With this limited pool to attract new customers and continue growth, I would expect as we have seen in this quarter subscriber growth to continue to slow as their "true" competition makes changes to stem churn. This will lead a slow down in network deployment as Sprint won’t have the subscriber base to support the CAPEX. This is indicative of Clearwire cutting its involvement from 5000 sites to 2000 sites, and Sprint’s “supplier issues slowing down deployment”. I think Softbank will help here. Softbank’s leadership understands the philosophy of “build it and they will come” as opposed to Sprint’s fiscally conscience board that continues to think far to much in the short term.

    I do think for the next few quarters you will continue to see subscriber losses as Sprint continues to shed iDEN customers. This quarter was actually a net loss of 432,000 post paid subscribers.
    Oct 29, 2012. 12:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint (S) boasts its 4G LTE buildout is "underway" in over 100 cities, including New York, Philadelphia, L.A., and Boston. However, the carrier, which currently supports LTE in 19 markets, only promises service availability at some point "in the coming months." Sprint, whose dearth of current LTE coverage could be a disadvantage this fall as an LTE iPhone arrives, still expects to finish its LTE buildout by the end of 2013. (Nomura upgrade[View news story]
    " This is why I assume Sprint will deploy the least amount of sites possible initially in order to curb its deployment costs, which if so, will create spotty and inconsistent service. If Sprint is successful in attracting new subscribers then they will have the revenues to justify the build out costs thus improving coverage and QoS."

    As a follow up to this. It appears that the assumption that Sprint is counting a market as deployed for marketing purposes while only having a small percentage of the market actually covered has been recently tested.
    Oct 8, 2012. 07:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint (S) boasts its 4G LTE buildout is "underway" in over 100 cities, including New York, Philadelphia, L.A., and Boston. However, the carrier, which currently supports LTE in 19 markets, only promises service availability at some point "in the coming months." Sprint, whose dearth of current LTE coverage could be a disadvantage this fall as an LTE iPhone arrives, still expects to finish its LTE buildout by the end of 2013. (Nomura upgrade[View news story]
    You still fail to understand the fundamental difference between peak theoretical speeds tested in a controlled lab environment with the best possible testing scenario vs. real world network deployment under subscriber load, signalling traffic, and each specific spectrum band.

    NSN just recently improved upon those testing numbers in Illinios in early September reaching speeds of 1.6 Gbps in a 8 pipe radio module utilizing 60 MHz of aggregated spectrum.

    MU-MIMO is not a new concept and has been in the lab for nearly a decade.

    You also fail to comprehend the challenges in deploying MIMO, whether its Single User (SU), or Multi User (MU) and the time frames associated with such a deployment. There are also other challenges for such schemes that have to be solved before such a "lab tested" technologies are ready for deployment in real network environments that translate into not only a QoS that subscribers will tolerate but also allow for an operator to achieve a positive ROI. Whether its MU-MIMO or SU-MIMO the power consumption of the remote device will have to greatly improve. Subscribers will not tolerate a device that with poor battery life due to high consumption, The industry is also a long ways off from being able to pack the amount of antenna's required to achieve 8 pipes, also until the industry consolidates operators will be challenged to find real estate on existing towers to accommodate X-MIMO deployments. If you bother to research you will find that operators will most likely take a conservative path of migration utilizing SIMO (Single Input Multiple Output) and gradually upgrade into MIMO. 2 x 2 MIMO being the most logical next step and as technology improves in the handset proceed up the chain.

    And no their is a difference between MU-MIMO and SU-MIMO, and China Mobile is leaning towards the SDMA based MU-MIMO.

    The challenge for Clearwire is staying afloat until such technologies come to market. Clearwire only offers a value proposition to low ARPU wholesale customers. Clearwire's revenues do not match its OPEX and CAPEX requirements, while they have made steps to improve these metrics, unless they are able to attract a higher ARPU customers they will struggle to stay alive. Potential suitor know this as do high level investors. There is a reason why no one is flocking to Clearwire, and Class A shares are laying fallow.

    You also fail to take into account that the FCC is poised to release or approve new spectrum that will allow operators to increase their spectrum holdings as these new technologies come to market, while at the same time operators are busy re-farming older spectrum while they migrate those customers to scale onto newer technologies. You also fail in other assumptions that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are just sitting back and not making their own network improvements. The big two have been extremely active in improvements to the middle mile in laying FTTT and updating microwave backhaul in locations where fiber is financial detrimental. Verizon's recent deal with FiberTower is just one indication of this movement, and is not the only one.

    This industry is much more fluid then the above points. The big two control the industry in additional manners. The upcoming outcome of a few FCC matters will play a big part in how the industry shapes out for the long term. Most notably the review on special access as the FCC reviews the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and data roaming.
    Oct 5, 2012. 03:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • T-Mobile's Exit Strategy  [View article]
    "I would presume that DT hopes that it will be able to gradually unload its 74% holding in the combined company through open market sales."

    It will be interesting to see if T-Mobile and Dish can come to an arrangement if the FCC gives Dish the green light. T-Mobile would be a natural fit for the two entities. It will also be interesting to see if Carlos Slim makes an additional play now towards DT's stake, after acquiring Simple Mobile earlier this year.
    Oct 3, 2012. 04:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Last Thing Sprint Needed Was More Competition  [View article]
    I promise to get back to this reply. As it will undoubtedly be lengthy. But the whole premise of your statement is fundamentally flawed with a lack of a basic understanding of how networks operate or even how Sprint and Clearwire have deployed/deploying their networks.
    Oct 3, 2012. 12:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Last Thing Sprint Needed Was More Competition  [View article]
    A Metro PCS deal with T-Mobile is a good move. In hindsight it makes sense now looking at why Metro was asking Dish for a interference and spectrum sharing analysis. Post merger that synergy becomes important for T-Mobile to work out a deal with Dish, and with Metro being a regional carrier there is no feasable explanation for a Dish / Metro agreement.

    I agree with analysis here that Sprint will now be forced to work out an agreement with Leap. Although a Metro deal would have been much better. Metro has greater spectrum depth in larger markets, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, much of Florida, and everything New York and north of, while Leap lacks the spectrum depth in most every market excluding the greater D.C area. Leap is more spread out and has greater concentration of spectrum in more rural markets. But a Leap deal will give Sprint a much needed foothold into the AWS Band. Sprint without AWS and data roaming for LTE is a troubling future.

    But any move by Sprint will continue to display that Sprint is distancing itself from the need to carry the baggage that is Clearwire. Sprint in my opinion will look to buy a block of BRS spectrum and exit its relationship with Clearwire, while maintaining a exit strategy for its WiMAX customers with Virgin and Boost for which Sprint has already put those steps into motion. If we continue to see wholesale customers shift to Sprint's platform over Clearwire then those will be the signs of the coming departure.

    @StoneFox - I'm pretty sure both MetroPCS and T-Mobile use Amdocs for their billing and customer care support.
    Oct 2, 2012. 02:01 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • MetroPCS (PCS +15.3%) and Leap Wireless (LEAP +15.1%) shoot higher after Bloomberg reports Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK), parent of T-Mobile USA, is close to a deal for MetroPCS, long the subject of M&A speculation. Sprint (S -6.9%) and Clearwire (CLWR -4.1%) are selling off.  [View news story]
    I wouldn't be surprised to see a T-Mobile/Dish agreement shortly after, with Metro PCS making public filings at the FCC earlier this month. Metro PCS stated: “Metro PCS indicated that it intends to ask Dish to provide to Metro PCS the technical information necessary for Metro PCS to complete an interference and spectrum sharing analysis”.
    Oct 2, 2012. 10:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Last Thing Sprint Needed Was More Competition  [View article]
    Even if you factor in Clearwire and the initial 20 MHz that Clearwire will add to Sprint's network, T-Mobile still has more spectrum than Sprint. Yes eventually Clearwire will add another 20 MHz for an aggregated 40 MHz channel and then add 14 MHz of ESMR spectrum, once the decade long process of rebanding is done then Sprint will be close to the holdings that T-Mobile has. Depending on the outcome of the Mexican Border proceedings Sprint will have less then 14MHz in top markets such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and other markets along the U.S / Mexico border.

    I take Clearwire out of the picture for obvious reasons. There is a significant difference between owned spectrum and leased spectrum.

    If you honestly think Clearwire will be able to deliver 100+ Mbps then that is depressing and you should take the time to educate yourself on the differences between peak theoretical speeds and real world network speeds. Clearwire will be fortunate to deliver on 10% of those speeds with its current ARPU and still remain afloat. Sprint is well suited to cut the cord, buyout a block of BRS spectrum, and move foward.
    Oct 1, 2012. 01:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Last Thing Sprint Needed Was More Competition  [View article]
    I agree with the article and the follow-up from Stone Fox, people are missing the point of the transaction, and this deal should come as no surprise. T-Mobile hired TAP Advisors back in February after the failed AT&T merger to handle the tower transaction. This is a good deal for both parties. T-Mobile gets cash up front that it needs to deploy LTE in the AWS, and Crown gets tower assets with guaranteed lease payments from T-Mobile and additional real estate on the towers to lease to another party. This deal does seem a bit lopsided in that Crown is paying a lot for these towers. With T-Mobile expanding its footprint I would speculate that there is an additional deal to lease from Crown for T-Mobile’s expansion.

    While a lot of attention is placed on the iPhone, and rightfully so, it’s foolish to ignore the other platforms as they make up the greater percentage of devices sold. It would also be foolish to think that with T-Mobile shifting its HSPA+ to the PCS Band and LTE to the AWS Band that T-Mobile is not positioning itself for the next iteration of the iPhone. As I’ve stated in previous commentary and agree with Stone Fox here that the real battle for Sprint is with T-Mobile and smaller regional carriers. Sprint is ill equipped for a battle with the top two on so many levels that it would be far to lengthy to put in a response here.

    “You guys aren't thinking of this transaction in the right light. Does it make T-Mobile a better company long term? Probably not. Does it allow T-Mobile to race Sprint to the bottom over the next couple of years? Most definitely. “

    @SFC- Couldn’t have stated it better and this is worth repeating. T-Mobile needs the capital to fight now or there won’t be a tomorrow.

    @Conrad – I agree T-Mobile has a problem right now attracting customers. But with their reversal now back to unlimited this should help their churn. I disagree with T-Mobile being limited by spectrum in comparison to Sprint. T-Mobile has greater spectrum holdings than Sprint on average nationwide (minus Clearwire) which is why T-Mobile consistently outperforms Sprint in speeds, in the top markets T-Mobile has nearly double the spectrum or close to. Now between the two networks each has their pros and cons, but T-Mobile post AT&T and Verizon swaps has the upper hand. You can utilize the FCC’s spectrum dashboard to view each carrier’s spectrum holdings via mapview.

    “After being much more positive on the stock in August with it trading below $5, these news items make the stock less appealing at a closing price of $5.52 on Friday. Any investors should look into exiting a position on any sign that T-Mobile is impacting the recovery plan.”

    Now this is pure speculation, but based on recent events. One thing Sprint was planning on for Network Vision was LightSquared and the $9bn in cash and $4.5bn in credits for LTE and Satellite equipment. This obviously is now lost. Sprint has been looking for a new hosting partner, enter speculation about Dish. As a background Sprint and Dish had a long battle over satellite-licensing agreements in reference to TerreStar and DBSD. Sprint and Dish eventually settled with the terms remaining undisclosed (Nov/Dec 2011). Sprint then reversed its standing on Dish utilizing the spectrum for mobile broadband, both at the FCC and in filings at 3GPP. Now fast forward to recent events. Sprint now wants Dish to shift its holdings 5 MHz up to accommodate an auction of the H Block, for two reasons.

    (1)The H Block if Sprint were successful in an Auction would expand its LTE Holdings from 5 x 5 MHz to 10 x 10 MHz. For now we will ignore the technical difficulties with deploying on this spectrum due to the close proximity of existing A Block operations (uplink/downlink interference), but this brings me to point two.

    (2) Sprint is entitled to its pro-rata share costs of relocating BAS licensees from the H Block after Auction. I believe Sprint wants that investment back more than the actual spectrum. This also puts Sprint in a better position during the auction for obvious reasons.

    Dish is highly opposed to this, as this shift threatens the upper portion of its proposed operations with interference to adjacent government operations. See Dish filing under WT-Dockets 12-70, 10-142, and 04-356. Now to Dish’s credit Sprint both at the FCC and in filings with 3GPP have been on board with Dish up until just recently. I would not be surprised if Dish has pulled the wool over Sprint’s eyes in eluding to a future network agreement, but has now shifted to a different partner. Enter in T-Mobile and the lopsided deal with Crown. I would not be surprised to see a deal between T-Mobile, Dish, and Crown Castle. Crown now has the additional tower capacity to host Dish on an existing footprint, and match that with T-Mobile’s LTE footprint. Also interesting to note. T-Mobile up until May was a vocal opponent to Dish asking the FCC to limit its holdings that could deploy LTE. T-Mobile along with Metro PCS said Dish should be forced to put up 20 MHz of its holdings for sale at auction to avoid a windfall. T-Mobile since that time has been absently quite in the proceedings, while Metro PCS through July kept up the argument. Metro PCS appears to have abandoned that argument while now favoring a spectrum sharing proposal. In a recent filing with the FCC earlier this month, Metro PCS stated: “Metro PCS indicated that it intends to ask Dish to provide to Metro PCS the technical information necessary for Metro PCS to complete an interference and spectrum sharing analysis”.

    Charlie’s keynote address at PCIA on the 3rd will be of interest, along with Genachowski’s following Q&A. With these recent moves by the mentioned parties, I would not be surprised to see a Dish / T-Mobile deal announced. Whether its T-Mobile or another operator Dish needs to exhibit to the FCC that it has a clear plan on deploying the spectrum and that Dish can meet the accellerated coverage requirements. T-Mobile as a struggling fourth place provider is a good regulatory fit for the FCC, and also allows the FCC to throw T-Mobile a bone after the failed merger with AT&T, just as the WCS (2.3 GHz) spectrum approval for AT&T was a concession.

    Now ask yourself. "IF" Dish did buy debt from Clearwire. What is Charlie planning if he goes with T-Mobile. :)
    Sep 30, 2012. 04:14 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment