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Thread: Is T-Mobile planning to expand rural coverage after merger?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    No, at one time T-Mobile roamed AT&T but that is a distant memory. Maybe CSpire will hop in bed with T-Mobile, as they did with Sprint and we'll get roaming on CSpire, but I doubt it somehow. T-Mobile's system doesn't allow for the same granularity of roaming control as Sprint's did.

    I don't know but this is what T-Mobile would have us believe their coverage in this area looks like.

    Attachment 165477

    There's definitely some optimistic thinking going on there; to the order of about 50% greater range.
    because you clearly didn't zoom in which is required when looking at a T-Mobile coverage map.

  2. #32
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    This board is full of T-Mobile haters that will say anything to criticize T-Mobile. They encourage people to move to their network. Most don’t even know anything about T-Mobile Network and base their knowledge of T-Mobile from years ago.

    T-Mobile has already been developing and deploying rural coverage with 600 MHz.
    Well, I don't see haters showing up in T-Mo forum to criticize T-Mo. But, I do think it's probably true (in AT&T, VZW forum for example) that a lot of people probably assume T-Mo coverage is as it was like 5 years ago; I personally have VZW but fully recognize that 700 and 600mhz coverage, even with zero new sites, would turn their rural coverage in many markets from "meh" to reasonably solid coverage.

    AFAIK, from the merger, T-Mo is getting no new low-band spectrum; T-Mo gets temporary use of the Sprint 800mhz spectrum but ultimately that's going to Dish. So I don't think they get anything from the merger itself to help with rural coverage.

    That said.. historically, T-Mo really neglected rural coverage, they would have 2G coverage that had kind of just been put up whenever then run for a decade or more. But the last several years, they upgraded all the rural from 2G straight to 4G, nice and modernized. They didn't have any low band until like 2 or 3 years ago, now that they have it they've aggressively deployed it over their existing coverage. The settlements with a few states did require new coverage in specific areas that neither T-Mo or Sprint currently cover, so I know T-Mo will do SOME expansion.

    T-Mo has been rolling out 600mhz spectrum, having tower crews add the equipment region-by-region ahead of the FCC getting channel repacking done in those regions; this repacking is almost done now. I suppose there'll be some resources used in the T-Mo/Sprint "integration", but I wouldn't be surprised if most of it wasn't removing redundant Sprint equipment, I'm guessing with modern software defined radio stuff that T-Mo can just pick up the Sprint spectrum etc. without having to install a bunch more equipment. Honestly now that T-Mo has 600/700mhz spectrum that'll work decently on 850mhz sites range-wise, I think a lot of areas that were uneconomical to roll out at 1900mhz are probably not a big deal to run at 600/700mhz. I'm wouldn't be surprised to see fairly aggressive expansion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    Well, I don't see haters showing up in T-Mo forum to criticize T-Mo. But, I do think it's probably true (in AT&T, VZW forum for example) that a lot of people probably assume T-Mo coverage is as it was like 5 years ago; I personally have VZW but fully recognize that 700 and 600mhz coverage, even with zero new sites, would turn their rural coverage in many markets from "meh" to reasonably solid coverage.
    My issue is that T-Mobile is spectrum sparse in my area as it is and if they had added all 15X15 MHz band 71 to 4G I'd seriously consider switching. Adding 5X5 does nothing they already have 5X5 band 12. They have SOME band 4 but some is also being used for 3G for some reason and even though they have licences for band 2 have chosen not to deploy it. So maybe 15X15( could be 10X10 ) band 4 and 5X5 band 12 and 5X5 band 71. And remember you can't do CA with bands 12 and 71. Well 20X20 isn't going to cut it when at&t and Verizon have much more. Yes that 10X10 of band 71 would have mattered. Maybe if/when T-Mobile decides to turn on their band 2 as well as use Sprint's band 2( which is also not deployed here either despite Sprint owning a license ) then they might be worth considering

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    because you clearly didn't zoom in which is required when looking at a T-Mobile coverage map.
    To see different levels of service I'd have to zoom in so far that you'd lose location relative to the other maps I posted.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    To see different levels of service I'd have to zoom in so far that you'd lose location relative to the other maps I posted.
    It really is necessary to zoom in to see the levels of service. The lightest shade of pink is "Fair", which often means no usable signal. Also to see the "Customer Verified" ratings unique to T-Mo coverage maps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    "Granularity" might not have been the best word, but it's all I could think of. CDMA requires that you use a phone approved and programmed by the carrier. The phone has an enforceable PRL and will not allow the user to roam if it can detect a home signal above some limit. For instance, his allows Sprint to allow customers to roam CSpire for coverage inside a big box store but forbid roaming outside. T-Mobile's pure GSM/3GPP network does not give them this level of control over roaming. The most they can do is block or allow roaming partners by LAC.
    Interesting. I always understood CDMA roaming to be all/nothing, while it could be done tower by tower for GSM. I guess you're looking at it for in-market roaming as well, which GSM carriers typically don't do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    Well, I don't see haters showing up in T-Mo forum to criticize T-Mo. But, I do think it's probably true (in AT&T, VZW forum for example) that a lot of people probably assume T-Mo coverage is as it was like 5 years ago; I personally have VZW but fully recognize that 700 and 600mhz coverage, even with zero new sites, would turn their rural coverage in many markets from "meh" to reasonably solid coverage.
    They are using 700 or 600 in most markets today, and they need to add a lot more towers to get to the point that AT&T and Verizon are at with rural coverage. They may eventually do that, but they've got a whole bunch of different competing priorities on a network integration and modernization that's never been attempted at this scale. It's going to be interesting to see how things unfold. I'm guessing that it won't be totally smooth, but it won't be a total disaster either. There will be bumps in the road, but if they intend to catch up to Verizon and AT&T (which they have never indicated to be the case), then that is a 10-year process at least.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    Interesting. I always understood CDMA roaming to be all/nothing, while it could be done tower by tower for GSM. I guess you're looking at it for in-market roaming as well, which GSM carriers typically don't do.
    As I understand it, a GSM/3GPP roaming registration request forwards the roamed carrier's MNC and LAC, not the cell number. So, the only tool T-Mobile has to manage roaming is the MNC and LAC. LACs can be quite large or very small. For instance, Broadpoint/Tampnet (Gulf of Mexico cellular service) assigns a unique LAC to each cell site. Some of their sites are on land and T-Mobile blocks roaming on those towers individually. AT&T's LACs are generally sized to some large fraction of a county (e.g. 1/2, 1/3).

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    They are using 700 or 600 in most markets today, and they need to add a lot more towers to get to the point that AT&T and Verizon are at with rural coverage. They may eventually do that, but they've got a whole bunch of different competing priorities on a network integration and modernization that's never been attempted at this scale. It's going to be interesting to see how things unfold. I'm guessing that it won't be totally smooth, but it won't be a total disaster either. There will be bumps in the road, but if they intend to catch up to Verizon and AT&T (which they have never indicated to be the case), then that is a 10-year process at least.
    You don't think they could do it in 5 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur101 View Post
    You don't think they could do it in 5 years?
    No. In order to match AT&T and Verizon, they have to do four things:

    1. Integrate two carriers operating 8 networks into one carrier operating 2 networks. That's a massive undertaking alone.
    2. Improve rural coverage in areas where they have it today, which is a large undertaking.
    3. Expand rural coverage to match where AT&T and Verizon are today.
    4. Expand rural coverage to match what AT&T and Verizon are building in the next decade.

    Yes, they can multi-task to an extent, but they don't have the resources, and they don't even exist in the industry to go 100% into all four at once, and 1. is going to be the top priority, moving down the list. Whether they plan to and actually do fully complete 3. and 4. remains to be seen. OTOH, T-Mobile sucking up most of the resources in the industry will slow AT&T's expansion down somewhat over the next 3-5 years, although it seems that most of the work for FirstNet is well underway now or already completed.
    Last edited by SoxFan76; 03-15-2020 at 03:57 PM. Reason: spacing

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    To see different levels of service I'd have to zoom in so far that you'd lose location relative to the other maps I posted.
    Oh well. You want accuracy or not? That's how the maps work. Whining about it isn't going magically make them work how you want to.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    Oh well. You want accuracy or not? That's how the maps work. Whining about it isn't going magically make them work how you want to.
    T-Mobile needs to change the zoom at which their map shows coverage levels. I think they do it the way they do to intentionally confuse potential customers into believing they'll have good coverage when they actually don't. As for the map clip I posted, it shows what I intended it to show: the coverage hole T-Mobile left on MS-18 between Brandon and Puckett.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    No. In order to match AT&T and Verizon, they have to do four things:

    1. Integrate two carriers operating 8 networks
    How do you count 8 networks?

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    historically, T-Mo really neglected rural coverage, they would have 2G coverage that had kind of just been put up whenever then run for a decade or more. But the last several years, they upgraded all the rural from 2G straight to 4G, nice and modernized.
    “Nice and modernized”
    What about all of the 2G to LTE sites TMO converted several years ago that still only have Band 2 LTE & 2G?

    There are still three of these sites in my county, none of them ever had Band 12, 4, or 71 added to them, all three sites highly congested to the point of being unusable during daytime hours

    All still with original 2G Band 2 / 1900Mhz antennas and ground equipment installed in 2002-2008 with the little ground mounted boxes piggy backed to add LTE

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    Quote Originally Posted by jet1000 View Post
    How do you count 8 networks?
    It actually could be between 7 and 10 depending on how you count. I should probably revise my count to 10 now that I actually list them all out. I hadn't counted EDGE and mmWave 5G before. However, if you count mmWave 5G, the final result will be 3 networks, not 2.

    1. Sprint CDMA/1x
    2. Sprint EVDO
    3. Sprint LTE
    4. Sprint 5G
    5. T-Mobile GSM/GPRS
    6. T-Mobile EDGE
    7. T-Mobile UMTS
    8. T-Mobile LTE
    9. T-Mobile n71 5G
    10. T-Mobile mmWave 5G

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