Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Sprint Nextel names first four LTE markets

Sprint Nextel’s LTE plans received some clarity as CEO Dan Hesse announced the first four markets to receive the carrier’s new network offering scheduled to launch later this year, with plans for 10 markets in its initial launch. Hesse, speaking at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference, said that Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio would lead the carrier’s LTE network rollout. The carrier originally announced its LTE plans last October, noting it planned to begin deploying the technology using the 10 megahertz of G-Band, 1.9 GHz spectrum it controls and updating about 22,000 cell sites. The initial deployment will rely on a somewhat limited 5 megahertz by 5 megahertz channel plan (5×5) that is roughly half the 10×10 spectrum plan Verizon Wireless is using for its LTE service operating in the 700 MHz band. Hesse further clarified Sprint Nextel’s spectrum plans noting that the carrier wanted to move to a 10 x 10 megahertz spectrum channel by 2014 using some of its 14 megahertz of contiguous spectrum it controls in the 800 MHz spectrum holdings it hopes to free up with the scrapping of its iDEN network. The carrier is also planning to use some of that spectrum for its CDMA2000 1x-Advanced service that it expects to provide better coverage and capacity for its CDMA operations. The carrier said it expected to cover about 176 million potential customers with a mix of LTE and WiMAX services by the end of this year and 250 million pops covered by the end of 2013. … Read more

AT&T Mobility launches more LTE markets

AT&T Mobility has expanded its LTE network to 11 new markets, pushing the network to 26 total markets covering 74 million potential customers. The newly launched markets include: New York; Austin, Texas; Chapel Hill and Raleigh, N.C.; Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; and Phoenix. Consumers are also to be warned that the “4G” marketing used for the LTE service is different than the “4G” marketing AT&T Mobility has been using for its HSPA+-based offering, which while slower does have a much larger footprint. AT&T Mobility originally launched LTE services in mid-September with five markets, and said it expects its LTE network expansion to be completed by 2013, though did not put a coverage number to that expansion. The carrier had said it could cover about 250 million potential customers with its spectrum holdings prior to its failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA, a number that would rise to 97.3% of the U.S. population if the T-Mobile USA deal was approved. Now, without the T-Mobile USA spectrum, as well as those assets given up to Deutsche Telekom as part of the break-up fee, AT&T Mobility’s LTE coverage plans are a bit in flux. … Read more

Small cells expected to hit the big time

A report from NPD In-Stat predicts that due to skyrocketing demand for mobile data services the sale of small cell devices will hit $14 billion in retail value by 2015. These devices will include femtocells, picocells and microcells in areas where “macrocells would be overkill,” the report says. “The potential that true mobile broadband offers in personal communications, commerce and social networking becomes a curse for mobile operators,” said NPD In-Stat senior analyst Chris Kissel. “Studies indicate that 75% of mobile broadband connections are made indoors. This means that mobile operators have to ensure (quality of service) for subscribers in their homes, at their jobs and at their leisure. Radio access network devices have to show versatility. If thought of as small cells, RAN devices can provide access to as few as four users or as many as a thousand.” The study cited recent research that showed Eastern Europe will see $265 million in retail value of femtocells by 2015; that roughly 30.7 million W-CDMA/HSPA residential femtocells will be shipped in 2015; that worldwide outdoor metropolitan picocell unit shipments will post a compound annual growth rate of 248% over the five-year forecast period; and that in 2011 the global value of voice and data services hosted by small cell devices hit $3.2 billion. … Read more

Broadcom debuts first 802.11ac chips

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), a semiconductor solutions provider for wired and wireless communications, introduced its first family of 802.11ac (5G Wi-Fi) chips designed for a broad variety of product segments. The new IEEE 802.11ac chips are three times faster and up to six times more power-efficient than equivalent 802.11n solutions, the company said. According to the company, 5G Wi-Fi is the next-generation Wi-Fi standard. “Based on 802.11ac, 5G WiFi is a major evolutionary step from the existing 802.11a/b/g/n networks. Broadcom’s 5G Wi-Fi dramatically improves the wireless range in the home, allowing consumers to watch HD-quality video from more devices, in more places, simultaneously,” the company said. “The exponential growth of digital media and wirelessly connected devices requires faster and more reliable ways to connect anytime, anywhere. 5G Wi-Fi solves this media explosion challenge. Broadcom’s vast footprint in consumer electronics devices uniquely positions us to lead the transition to the next generation of Wi-Fi,” said Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of Broadcom’s mobile and wireless group. Broadcom further said that “the increased speed enables consumers to download Web content from a mobile device faster and quickly synch large files, such as videos, in a fraction of the time it would take on a similar 802.11n device. Since 5G Wi-Fi transfers the same volume of data at a much faster rate, devices enter low-power mode faster, which results in significant power consumption advantages.” … Read more

China lays down internet competition rules

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released new regulations covering competitive practices in the country’s booming Internet industry, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The new rules are aimed at regulating the Internet information services market and protect the rights of Internet service providers as well as of the users, the ministry said. “The rules also aim to promote healthy development of the Internet industry according to ‘Telecommunications Regulations,’ ‘Internet Information Services’ and other laws and administrative regulations,” the ministry said. “The new rules bar companies from infringing on the ‘legal rights and interests’ of other online service providers, such as by ‘maliciously’ interfering with services from other companies on a user’s device,” according to the WSJ. Other rules prohibit maliciously blocking users from accessing services offered by other Internet companies, tricking users into downloading software, and suspension of services without good reason. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.