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Thread: T-Mobile in Montana

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan T View Post
    Given John announced the Missoula and Kalispell launch today, I'd say it wasn't too early at all. I'm not there, anymore, sadly - but talking to friends I have a decent idea what's built. I'll be visiting next weekend and highly curious, but my Nexus 5X doesn't support band 12.

    It sounds like it's band 12 LTE + band 4 UMTS, with site spacing for band 12 LTE. There is something downtown, for sure, from the readings my friend there is seeing. There's also definitely NOT a site on campus. At first I was shocked by this, now it makes more sense. The campus has a good WiFi build, and I'm sure it isn't cheap to get a mobile site on campus (though the other major networks have them, well Sprint will when they launch - among the leases they bought out includes one on Miller Hall). Why pay to build your network in a place that already has excellent WiFi, when the world (especially students) are rapidly moving away from voice and on to data? Add in WiFi calling, and not paying to locate a site on campus actually makes a lot of sense. It's the opposite of AT&T's old strategy, they had a site on campus (and two others in Missoula aimed entirely at students) several years before they took over Alltel and had a full Montana network.

    Is it a pretty network build in Montana? No. REALLY spotty UMTS and a 5x5 of band 12 LTE. But it's definitely something, and will be interesting to watch this space.

    I was also really confused by the fact it's UMTS in band 4 instead of LTE (then using the tiny sliver of PCS they have for GSM voice). Especially since T-Mobile has made it clear they want to get rid of band 4 UMTS and replace it with LTE. Well, looking at the FCC spectrum dashboard, it looks like they have a 10x10 of AWS in Missoula, I thought it was only a 5x5. LTE could be coming on half of that?

    Will be interesting to see, for sure. But I stand by the basic message... they're not going after Montana customers anytime in the foreseeable future. The network is sparse and they don't own phone numbers in Montana - they're not building this to gain new phone customers in state now, that's very clear. Could it come? Sure, John even hinted at that in his announcement today, but it isn't now.
    Given your background in the tech space, including your IT background, one could expect you of all people to understand that a build out has to start somewhere. Any initial network (unless you start with existing assets such as Sprint in MT or at&t having taken over ALLTEL assets) will have to start somewhere. While it may seem sparse at the moment, unless you have some information we don't have, it is a little early for you to claim that the T-Mobile built in MT will be sparse.

    No great network was built overnight and T-Mobile won't build one overnight either. Give them the chance to build something from scratch (which at&t for example didn't have to build from scratch), keep an open mind and don't jump to conclusions early as you may (will) be proven wrong.

  2. #77
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    And another new record in the MT list for a colo on a tower south of Darby. 6 panels (band 12 and band 4) and one dish. This setup at this location alone tells me that there is no way they are not selling service in Montana. Very soon.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by FootyMax View Post
    At the end of the day, you don't know the full extent of what TMO is doing there (unless you're a network engineer for them in that area). Which makes it all, I say this respectfully, speculation. Let's wait and see what they build. None of us have complete information and thus can't speak to what TMO intends, or will or will not do.
    Of course it's speculation. But speculation based on observable evidence is what we do as humans. Could I be proven wrong? I hope I am. But the evidence doesn't indicate T-Mobile entering the Montana market with service this year, at least. Next year? I'm not going to speculate past first quarter. Next summer is the earliest I could imagine it. We will see...

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesn View Post
    And another new record in the MT list for a colo on a tower south of Darby. 6 panels (band 12 and band 4) and one dish. This setup at this location alone tells me that there is no way they are not selling service in Montana. Very soon.
    In the earnings call they mentioned they'll focus on retail expansion into new coverage areas sometime next year, so it seems they're giving themselves enough time to get the network right. That being said, the only reason these expansions are happening is due to 700MHz. (one 700MHz tower covers the area of 4 or 5 AWS/PCS towers). They're using band 2 and/or 4 too because with carrier aggregation they can pull that signal further as long as 700MHz is the primary band (upload is only on 700MHz). So you'll need a 700MHz phone to get a good experience in these areas. Any GSM/HSPA+ is just there to reduce roaming costs, not to provide a solid experience on just GSM/HSPA+.
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  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan T View Post
    Of course it's speculation. But speculation based on observable evidence is what we do as humans. Could I be proven wrong? I hope I am. But the evidence doesn't indicate T-Mobile entering the Montana market with service this year, at least. Next year? I'm not going to speculate past first quarter. Next summer is the earliest I could imagine it. We will see...
    You've written off the network build as spotty before it is even complete. That's my issue. You're spreading FUD from halfway around the world. Let them do their job and let's wait and see what actually comes online.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by FootyMax View Post
    You've written off the network build as spotty before it is even complete. That's my issue. You're spreading FUD from halfway around the world. Let them do their job and let's wait and see what actually comes online.
    It was announced. It'll never be "complete" as networks constantly change. But they considered it good enough to announce. Well I'm in Missoula right now and have been for a few days - the coverage is surprisingly decent if you have a band 12 device. Indoors it is terrible but outdoors it is there. It's clearly, as I predicted and others observed, an extremely low site density network. The fact the coverage is good tells us that's the way it'll be for the foreseeable future. If students depend on eduroam on campus, this is good enough for students and travellers wandering around Missoula. But it is not a network that could be sold locally.

  7. #82
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    Anyone care to guess if this work I saw today is T-Mobile or another network? https://flic.kr/p/AVZk79

    Also, I found out the holdup in Butte. Not sure I'm at liberty to discuss it but just know it is a fairly simple thing once a roadblock gets resolved then Butte should launch hopefully by EOY.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan T View Post
    Anyone care to guess if this work I saw today is T-Mobile or another network? https://flic.kr/p/AVZk79

    Also, I found out the holdup in Butte. Not sure I'm at liberty to discuss it but just know it is a fairly simple thing once a roadblock gets resolved then Butte should launch hopefully by EOY.
    T-Mobile is actually the first one (Ericsson AIR21), Top looks like Verizon.. No idea whose in the middle

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjnoz View Post
    T-Mobile is actually the first one (Ericsson AIR21), Top looks like Verizon.. No idea whose in the middle
    Tmobile uses Nokia Networks for their expansion territories. They're not the only one using Ericsson AIR units. Verizon uses them (all variants. Short/long) as well especially in that region since they replaced Alcatel-Lucent there.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilotimz View Post
    Tmobile uses Nokia Networks for their expansion territories. They're not the only one using Ericsson AIR units. Verizon uses them (all variants. Short/long) as well especially in that region since they replaced Alcatel-Lucent there.
    Yeah, the bottom rack looks just like Verizon's standard site setup in Denver, the top could either be new T-Mo gear or AT&T (I'd need a closeup with the RRUs clearer to tell), and the middle looks like it might be old unremoved Cell One gear (did they take down all of their site equipment already?). I'm no expert though, just working off what I've seen in my area (which uses all of the same vendors as MT for all operators, AFAIK).

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan T View Post
    Anyone care to guess if this work I saw today is T-Mobile or another network? https://flic.kr/p/AVZk79

    Also, I found out the holdup in Butte. Not sure I'm at liberty to discuss it but just know it is a fairly simple thing once a roadblock gets resolved then Butte should launch hopefully by EOY.
    No big secret there. It's a Section 106 issue on that tower east of the town. Easily taken care of in short order as the public comment window is generally short and that area is already loaded.

  12. #87
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    Well, I'm coming back a few months later to say outright, I was wrong. I just returned from three weeks in Montana, and I can say definitively it is obvious T-Mobile is in it to win it in Missoula, MT. Most of the coverage issues have been fixed, and even while I was there is got better (Frenchtown got a site). East Missoula/Bonner will still need coverage if they want to succeed, and they really need a site on campus if they start to grow for capacity reasons, but that can come in due time. The Missoula coverage is good, as is the I-90 coverage. The network is now stable and performs well, and they got numbers in Missoula.

    The rest of the state is another story, both Kalispell and Helena are poorly covered, with nothing in north Kalispell (where all the main shopping is), Whitefish (the touristy town), low density in Helena with northing north of Helena, and nothing on the road connecting Helena back to I-90 (through Avon). It's bad, really bad - like Missoula was when I was there in November.

    I'm shocked, but glad, to see that I was wrong in Missoula. For now, I get the feeling that their focus is to win people who live in Missoula, and the rest of the network is more just acknowledgement people travel out of Missoula and need something. Still, with this commitment and speed of build, I do expect to see the rest of Western MT get filled in in due course. Very nice, and desperately needed competition in the state.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan T View Post
    Well, I'm coming back a few months later to say outright, I was wrong. I just returned from three weeks in Montana, and I can say definitively it is obvious T-Mobile is in it to win it in Missoula, MT. Most of the coverage issues have been fixed, and even while I was there is got better (Frenchtown got a site). East Missoula/Bonner will still need coverage if they want to succeed, and they really need a site on campus if they start to grow for capacity reasons, but that can come in due time. The Missoula coverage is good, as is the I-90 coverage. The network is now stable and performs well, and they got numbers in Missoula.

    The rest of the state is another story, both Kalispell and Helena are poorly covered, with nothing in north Kalispell (where all the main shopping is), Whitefish (the touristy town), low density in Helena with northing north of Helena, and nothing on the road connecting Helena back to I-90 (through Avon). It's bad, really bad - like Missoula was when I was there in November.

    I'm shocked, but glad, to see that I was wrong in Missoula. For now, I get the feeling that their focus is to win people who live in Missoula, and the rest of the network is more just acknowledgement people travel out of Missoula and need something. Still, with this commitment and speed of build, I do expect to see the rest of Western MT get filled in in due course. Very nice, and desperately needed competition in the state.
    Interesting. I'm glad to see T-Mobile is building out well in Missoula. How's the speeds in Montana? Is T-Mobile also running mid band LTE in bigger cities there? Is there any 2G or 3G native coverage?

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotlte View Post
    Interesting. I'm glad to see T-Mobile is building out well in Missoula. How's the speeds in Montana? Is T-Mobile also running mid band LTE in bigger cities there? Is there any 2G or 3G native coverage?
    Using a Nexus 5X, so I don't know bands, but the LTE was MUCH stronger than the UMTS, so I'm assuming it's band 12 LTE and band 4 UMTS. UMTS coverage was awful, and data barely worked. LTE coverage was very good, and data speeds were around 8-12 Mbps typically, better than AT&T or Verizon in the area (but of course, very little load as of yet - thus they need to get on campus for the capacity, and things like that).

  15. #90
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    Boozeman and big sky Tmobile please

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