Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sorry Sprint

A very interesting opinion was posted to the GLG site the other day. Samual Greenholtz with Telecom Pragmatics opines that Sprint’s first choice for its home zone service was a dual-mode CDMA/Wi-Fi product. But lacking a DMH standard for CDMA networks, they were forced to settle for their second choice technology: femtocells.

With that, I say “Sorry Sprint”. It’s well known that there is no UMA/GAN for CDMA networks. With a 3GPP2 version of GAN, Sprint would have been free to choose dual-mode handsets, femtocells, terminal adaptors or even softmobile clients to run off their mobile network.

Is there an opportunity here?


Anonymous said...

Well, given that T-Mobile is considering dropping UMA and moving toward femotocells (they just announced a agreement), it would appear Sprint's femotocell move was a brilliant idea...Sorry Sprint haters or journists / bloggers who do little research before posting opinions. But heck, that's my opinion. :-)

Steve said...

Thanks for the comment.

My two (or three) cents:

First, it’s clear that the message of the original blog post didn’t get through. If it’s true that Sprint's first choice was a dual-mode service, but they could not continue because there was no standard, well, I’m sorry. UMA is the only dual-mode handset standard and it’s not available for CDMA networks. It’s not about loving or hating Sprint, it’s simply an observation.

Second, regarding T-Mobile considering dropping Wi-Fi for femtocells, I’m certain that T-Mobile US has no immediate femtocell plans. T-Mobile International (UK) has announced femtocells trials, but that a while back. As I haven’t seen anything today about T-Mobile/ femtocells/ Wi-Fi, I’m not sure where your information came from.

Third, I think it’s too early to tell if “…Sprint’s femtocell move was a brilliant idea.” The service has been in the market nearly 9 mos now and there is almost zero commentary about it. The femtocell itself is costly (rumored to be +$300). The femtocell is 2G only (1xRTT), so the user actually gets slower data access on their phone when they are indoors versus the outdoor EV-DO network. And there are rumored to be some ‘unique’ configuration requirements needed to support E911 services along with billing/CDR issues. Perhaps that’s why the Airave service, originally a consumer product, is now advertised on There are hurdles to overcome, not insurmountable, but I stand by my comment that it’s too early to tell how brilliant Sprint’s femtocell strategy really is.

Ed said...

I hope someone from T-Mobile reads this: I really don't understand their positioning of this product. They grab the contract for the Android and have the ear of every technology inclined user out there. They were the only carrier I could find with UMA yet nobody in their company knows about it. Then they charge me an extra 10 a month to free up their resources? I bet some General Motors executives moved over to T-Mobil. I think the only thing they are doing right is the pay as you go. Well they are doing that wrong as well. I don't go to my t-mobile store anymore because their is always a bunch of thugs in their paying for their service. And I live in the best area in my city. So I just called Sprint and was ready to go but just read the G2 is coming out. Well I'd stay but no 3G phones have UMA. What a bunch of crap. Thank you for letting me vent.

hitterg said...

Just an FYI on T-mobile's UMA calling. They Do Not charge you $10 a month to use the service. The UMA calling feature is free and works just like you're pulling off a cell tower; make and receive calls, texts, voicemail alerts, etc. They do give you the option of paying $5 or $10, I don't remember which, for umlimited calling while using UMA. On the other hand, Sprint does charge you for their airave, again, I believe $5 or $10, before the cost of the airave unit itself. I have both Sprint and T-Mobile and like them both, though I will say T-Mobile's customer service is nothing short of a dream dealing with as compaired to Sprint. I love that T-Mo has Uma and I use it each and every day with no extra charge or problems with it. Yes, of course it uses your minutes, just like you would be using your minutes if you were on a regular cell tower, I just love the fact that I can get flawless reception at home, work, starbucks, and any other place that has a Wi-Fi network I can access. I do not have the airave due to the extra cost and the fact that it only improves the reception at my house, and besides, I have my T-Mo phone with UMA anyways. A friend has the airave, and while it works very well for him as well as myself while I'm over there, it does a "Hard Hand-off" when switching from it to the sprint or roaming towers. For those that don't know what a Hard Hand-off is, it basically means your call gets dropped. What this means for anyone using the airave system is that if you start a call at home, plan on finishing it before leaving, or plan on it dropping by the time you get out of you driveway. Hope this answered a few questions.