Friday, February 29, 2008

MetroPCS already building in New England!!!

Wow, things move quick!
As I started looking around after finding that MetroPCS is on the verge of building a completely new, independent cellular system in New England, I have found that they have already applied for permits for a number of sites!
Locations in Boston, Haverhill and Beverly, MA have already been selected and they have appearances at town meetings to gain site approvals. It looks like a number of the preliminary sites will be added to existing towers, as well as a few sites on buildings.
It also looks like they have contracted out to a number of local wireless site acquisition and engineering companies, which is probably how they were able to move the process without having an established office in New England (By the way, it looks like their office will be located on Billerica Rd in Chelmsford, MA)
I am sure they will do the kind of gang buster build out that TMobile has embarked on the past few years. My guess is they must, since they have alot of catching up to do! Even Sprint, which is on the 'low' end of coverage in this market, has had 10 years to build the all digital network and fill the holes in their coverage (I remember around 1998 when coverage was strictly limited to the highways around Boston!). I will be keeping a close eye out and keep you updated as this build moves forward!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More cell towers in our future?

As a follow-up to a post I made November 21st 2004, It looks like my prediction was close to being on target. If the current trend continues, more towers will be popping up around the area for a variety of reasons I mentioned three years ago, as well as two recent events.
As another carrier enters the New England market(see my previous post regarding MetroPCS!), they will need to place more antennas on existing sites, as well as build out sites of there own.
Recently Verizon Wireless announced their $99 a month all you can eat plan, with both AT&T and TMobile offered comparable plans almost immediately! Now with even Sprint jumping in on the $99 all you can talk plan, you will see a need to increase site capacity to keep up with the ever growing usage and demand.
Add this to the need for carriers to complete coverage in the market, add higher speed broadband services, as well as keep up with more users per site, and you see that the amount of sites will continue it's rise. This will be a boon for some of the big cell tower companies, such as American Tower!
I had originally thought that the Cingular/AT&T merger and Sprint/Nextel merger would result in a short term reduced need for some sites, but that has not really panned out. The need to add capacity and those high speed data has kept demand high. I think 2008 will be a big year for the building of sites. Keep your eyes open for more towers!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MetroPCS Coming To New England?!?!?!?

Is MetroPCS a cell phone provider that primarily offers service in Florida, California, and Texas coming to New England? On January 25th, MetroPCS was looking for a VP of Network Operations for a Chelmsford, MA location. The job description is looking for someone to : " Plan, organize and direct the process of the Fixed and Field Network Engineering, RF Engineering. Manage the leasing, zoning, construction, deployment and optimization of the regional area BTA’s encompassing a population base. Responsible for continuing growth and operations of the regional system. Manage the negotiations of all vendors for the region. " In addition, they are looking for Switch Techs, Cell Techs, Site Acquisition Specialists, Construction Managers, PR and Sales Professionals.

From an article in September 2006 in the Dallas Business Journal:

According to data from the Federal Communications Commission, which held the auction that ended last week, MetroPCS acquired eight licenses covering geographic areas with a total population of more than 144 million people.

The three largest areas cover roughly the Northeast and New England area (on a bid of $552.7 million); the West Coast, stretching into parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest desert and past Idaho (a $355.7 million bid); and New York City, along with Long Island and parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont ($364 million).

It looks to me like they are getting ready to join the wireless market in New England and begin building out their network.

From the job descriptions, it looks like they will be running Lucent Base stations utilizing CDMA, and a 5ESS Lucent Switch for their network!

I'll keep you posted! If you have any info or something to add, please email me at peter at cellulartower dot com.

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