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Thread: USCC VoLTE Roaming Update from Exec

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Because USCC can roam on other CDMA carriers for voice, their customers don't need VoLTE. They can roam T-Mobile for LTE data and fall back to CDMA for voice. This is the same as Sprint who roams Verizon's CDMA for voice but AT&T's LTE for data. The necessity for VoLTE is entirely on T-Mobile's side.
    Yeah. But I did just notice that if you have an iPhone, it seems to actually use T-Mobile's VOLTE even if you don’t live in a USCC VOLTE market. There have been a couple places I’ve found too where there is no carrier except T-Mobile that USCC has roaming agreements with. I’m fine with CDMA where it works.


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    I drove I-64 through WV over labor day weekend where T-Mo shows partner coverage but all I had was a big ole dead spot. Might be my fault since I have my S9 locked to LTE bands 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71 only. Cellmapper shows USCC having B12 in that area and B5 so maybe I missed out because I have B5 turned off.

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    A couple of weeks ago, I found that USCC roaming isn't available to prepaid subscribers. Yeah, I know, I could always go postpaid, but that's more hassle than it's worth.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4mula1 View Post
    I drove I-64 through WV over labor day weekend where T-Mo shows partner coverage but all I had was a big ole dead spot. Might be my fault since I have my S9 locked to LTE bands 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71 only. Cellmapper shows USCC having B12 in that area and B5 so maybe I missed out because I have B5 turned off.
    Yeah, you should’ve gotten the band 12 I would think. I get it probably just as much if not more than any other band. They I think have band 12 on 10 MHz on most of their towers in my area which is Beckley. I’m not sure about Lewisburg though as the last time which was I think back in April I was there all I got was band 5 in Lewisburg and what little bit band 12 I got not far outside of Lewisburg was on 5 MHz because T-Mobile I think owns the other 5 MHz that USCC would be using. But that shouldn’t be a problem until you get to Summers County since T-Mobile works on I 64 in Greenbrier County. USCC at least in Beckley also has band 2 deployed on 5 MHz along with the band 5 on 5 MHz. I really don’t think you should’ve had problems though if it was working. I really think they don’t have the VOLTE working at all here. Even if they did your experience would probably result in a lot of dropped connections because their LTE can be spotty in places but it would I guess be better than nothing. I think T-Mobile is lying on their map whether it be intentionally or not. My Galaxy S8 still has no option to even turn VOLTE on. The iPhone I think 6S and newer do have it but it still uses CDMA around here and only seems to use VOLTE when roaming on T-Mobile or in a native USCC VOLTE area. Also I might turn the band 5 back on you ever go to Myrtle Beach. I was roaming on T-Mobile the other day down there and the band 5 seemed to be one of the bands I used most.


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    T-Mobile desperately needs to convince USCC to provide roaming in North and Western NH and Vermont. Their coverage is AWEFUL. And T-Mobile has added exactly 2 towers in that entire area in the past 3 years. And roams on USCC GSM now instead of ATT like they used to which makes it even worse because USCC GSM are hard handoffs around here so you can't carry on a conversation for more than a few minutes without the call dropping once T-Mobile's coverage disappears or when it reappears.

    Driving on Rt 9 from Keene NH to Brattleboro VT will drop 6 times in a single call over 15 miles for a highway that has 20K+ vehicles a day on it. Verizon/ATT? 0. Vermont is MUCH, MUCH worse and you can't go east from Keene and have coverage at all. T-Mobile's coverage map shows coverage where there isn't any at all, even with a WeBoost and for whatever reason no USCC roaming either. (probably because USCC roams on Verizon or Sprint is my guess!)

    Heck, even if T-Mobile turned on roaming on Sprint's network it would be an improvement here. Hard to believe but true, especially if they'd turn on VoLTE on Sprint for T-Mobile customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    T-Mobile desperately needs to convince USCC to provide roaming in North and Western NH and Vermont. Their coverage is AWEFUL. And T-Mobile has added exactly 2 towers in that entire area in the past 3 years. And roams on USCC GSM now instead of ATT like they used to which makes it even worse because USCC GSM are hard handoffs around here so you can't carry on a conversation for more than a few minutes without the call dropping once T-Mobile's coverage disappears or when it reappears.

    Driving on Rt 9 from Keene NH to Brattleboro VT will drop 6 times in a single call over 15 miles for a highway that has 20K+ vehicles a day on it. Verizon/ATT? 0. Vermont is MUCH, MUCH worse and you can't go east from Keene and have coverage at all. T-Mobile's coverage map shows coverage where there isn't any at all, even with a WeBoost and for whatever reason no USCC roaming either. (probably because USCC roams on Verizon or Sprint is my guess!)

    Heck, even if T-Mobile turned on roaming on Sprint's network it would be an improvement here. Hard to believe but true, especially if they'd turn on VoLTE on Sprint for T-Mobile customers.
    T-Mobile has added many towers just for Band 71 in Maine. If you are paying for T-Mobile in Maine then you need a 600 Mhz phone. Here is the just the 600 Mhz Map of T-Mobiles towers...


    Here is another T-Mobile Map that shows where they are building and what they have deployed that should be updated in a week or two. T-Mobile needs 600 Mhz for Maine and Vermont since they don't have enough spectrum at this time without Band 71. US Cellular owns the 700 Mhz Band 12 in Maine. T-Mobile has no control with USCC adding VoLTE to their network.

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    Didn't mention Maine at all for a reason.

    Vermont, Western and Northern NH are a disaster for T-Mobile. And no amount of Band 71 is going to help without more towers because all of the NH towers have Band 12 already on them so Band 71 isn't going to expand coverage. In Western NH that would have to add at least 12 towers to have passable coverage. In Vermont, just in the southern part of the state they'd need at least 15 new towers to get even close to Verizon.

    Band 71 did expand coverage in Maine because T-Mobile didn't hold Band 12 licenses in Maine so were relying on Band 2 and Band 4 only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
    Vermont and NH have a lot of TV stations that will have to be repacked before T-Mobile can use their Band 71 there. Until then US Cellular roaming is your best chance.
    Exactly. And the start of this thread isn't promising.

    However USCC is turning on Band 12 everywhere around here which might be promising for turning on VoLTE since they don't have enough Band 5 available for VoLTE and would have to have Band 12 on every tower before they could flip the switch.

    Too bad, since they make most of their money off of roaming agreements, they're not turning on VoLTE tower by tower for roaming partners to use and are waiting for the entire network to be ready.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
    Vermont and NH have a lot of TV stations that will have to be repacked before T-Mobile can use their Band 71 there. Until then US Cellular roaming is your best chance since USC owns the 700 Mhz Band 12. USC needs to finish their VoLTE in that area.
    What the Poster is saying is that T-Mobile isn't on the towers. I along with others have mentioned this in the past. T-Mobile has band 12 in those places, so it's not an issue of covering hilly areas. The issue is that they are not on the towers, NONE. I was just in southern and central Vermont, and experienced the same lack of coverage that I did 3 years ago. But my phone had 5 bars of signal, for emergency calls only. It doesn't matter what band they get - if they aren't on the towers, it's not going to work. Columbus day weekend had 400,000 tourists in Vermont. So it's not just a matter of where you live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    In Vermont, just in the southern part of the state they'd need at least 15 new towers to get even close to Verizon.
    On I91 in Vermont, you have coverage. If you get off the exit in Rockingham VT and go to that gas station at the bottom of the exit ramp, NO SIGNAL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HokieAl View Post
    On I91 in Vermont, you have coverage. If you get off the exit in Rockingham VT and go to that gas station at the bottom of the exit ramp, NO SIGNAL.
    Brattleboro to Putney you'll have Edge and from the MA border to Putney it will drop a call at least 8 times as it goes in and out of USCC GSM Edge roaming and native T-Mobile coverage.

    You might have "coverage" but it isn't actually usable for anything. And the rest of the state is worse.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    ....However USCC is turning on Band 12 everywhere around here which might be promising for turning on VoLTE since they don't have enough Band 5 available for VoLTE and would have to have Band 12 on every tower before they could flip the switch......
    I'm not sure I understand the bit about having "enough Band 5 available for VoLTE". How much does it take? An 850 MHz block is 12.5x12.5, altho it is chopped up a bit funny but there's at least 10x10 contiguous and CDMA is designed to run in the odd little left-over bits. Also, USCC is not entirely reliant on their 850 cellular and band 12 holdings. They do have PCS and a bit of AWS. I mean, they can even run a 3x3 LTE carrier and make VoLTE work on it.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    I'm not sure I understand the bit about having "enough Band 5 available for VoLTE". How much does it take? An 850 MHz block is 12.5x12.5, altho it is chopped up a bit funny but there's at least 10x10 contiguous and CDMA is designed to run in the odd little left-over bits. Also, USCC is not entirely reliant on their 850 cellular and band 12 holdings. They do have PCS and a bit of AWS. I mean, they can even run a 3x3 LTE carrier and make VoLTE work on it.
    USCC typically has 5 MHz of Band 5 (850) in NH and Vermont assigned to LTE so that they can continue to support their current CDMA customers which also use 850 MHz for propagation reasons.

    5 MHz of LTE will get you about 4 mbps down and about 400 kbps up best case.

    If USCC put VoLTE in that spectrum they would slow their LTE network to a crawl and likely kill VoLTE quality while they were at it very quickly. (10 simultaneous VoLTE calls would use almost half the available bandwidth at full allocation)

    By using Band 12, which they're not using for anything but LTE they can maintain CDMA on 1900 and 850 MHz and put VoLTE traffic on Band 12. Further, lots of T-Mobile phones don't have Band 5 but do have Band 12 so it's the logical place to put it.

    They also aren't doing carrier aggregation nor do most of their towers in Western NH/Vermont have Band 2/25/4/66 enabled either because propagation through the mountains is so bad it isn't worth it except for maybe in cities and even then it isn't enabled in Brattleboro or Keene as an example.

    Hence, Band 12 LTE deployment is a good indication of VoLTE deployment following it because they have 6x6 MHz Band 12 giving them about 8 mbps down (overhead is fixed, so the numbers aren't linear) and about 0.8 mbps up (based on my testing) which gives them room to carry voice calls and not congest the rest of the network while they're at it.

    They also have Band 71 10x10 in most of these places but of course can't deploy it yet because of 3 stations in the area that block it until next fall. (they may be able to do partial 5x5 deploys next month because one of the stations is being moved, same for T-Mobile.)

    Why USCC and T-Mobile aren't doing spectrum swaps before deploy on Band 71 is beyond me. In most areas if they swapped T-Mobile would be able to create a contiguous band with Band 12 that would be almost 20x20. Same for USCC in Band 71.

    In any event, Band 12 deploy has to happen first before VoLTE can be deployed on USCC's network in the mountains.

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    USCC typically has 5 MHz of Band 5 (850) in NH and Vermont assigned to LTE so that they can continue to support their current CDMA customers which also use 850 MHz for propagation reasons.
    .........

    In any event, Band 12 deploy has to happen first before VoLTE can be deployed on USCC's network in the mountains.
    Thank you for a very through explanation. I still fail to understand how T-Mobile can support VoLTE on just a 5x5 LTE signal (e.g. Northern Michigan) and USCC can't in N NH. Is T-Mobile just that much more technically competent than USCC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Thank you for a very through explanation. I still fail to understand how T-Mobile can support VoLTE on just a 5x5 LTE signal (e.g. Northern Michigan) and USCC can't in N NH. Is T-Mobile just that much more technically competent than USCC?
    Because T-Mobile doesn't have any legacy network in that 5x5 band (very likely GSM is ONLY in 1900 MHz up there, or they're roaming for GSM). So they can devote the entire thing to it. Also, northern Michigan is VERY sparsely populated. RT 9 in Western NH handles over 20,000 vehicles a day, and there are 3 cell towers for all 15 miles of it between Brattleboro and Keene. 10 simultaneous users for USCC and T-Mobile would be nothing at any given moment.

    And USCC offers fixed home wireless throughout New England that puts further pressure on their network and means they have to budget accordingly.

    T-Mobile in this area for instance has GSM on Band 2 and if you didn't have an Band 12 capable device would have even worse service. There is no Band 12 GSM, so 100% of their 6x6 Band 12 is LTE sharing with voice AND in the areas that are good, Band 2 is used for (Vo)LTE as well.

    And in the even more densely populated areas they've started deploying Band 4 too.

    If you look at the per active subscriber numbers I'd guess that less CDMA in the same frequency they're deploying at the same density and efficiency. (T-Mobile hasn't rolled out LTE Advanced in Western NH)

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