Official AT&T C-Band and DoD Upgrade Thread! "Post Your Market"

One could consider it both. False because they say they have 5G but do not, or deceptive because they show 5G but it is not available.

I wondered for a while if my Pixel 8 cannot receive some of the spectrum that AT&T is using for 5G. The hodge-podge chart of supported spectrum for the device makes it difficult to make a determination when you don't know what spectrum is being used in any particular area. Cellmapper can be a bit of a source for that info but is difficult to make sense of as well. The bottom line is that in my travels recently on a trip across Oklahoma into Missouri and on down through a large part of Arkansas, I found that there is a LOT of territory where AT&T is showing 5G service that does not light up on this phone. That really makes me wonder if the Pixel actually supports AT&T's 5G.
The Pixel 8 supports all of AT&T's 5G bands except mmWave (unless you bought the Verizon version). The issue is AT&T massively lies on their coverage maps. We see the same thing in Denver. They've shown us blanketed in n77 for more than a year now when n77 is spotty at best. My entire city shows 5G+, for example, when there are only two towers I know of that have it, and they're both on the outskirts of the city, which means downtown isn't covered at all.
 
Oh I definitely know they do this. Coverage maps are never a good source of reliable information from any carrier. Here in my area, AT&T has been showing 5G coverage over a huge swath of territory for years now that does not actually exist at all. I found this out when my phone started showing 5G here when a new Tillman Infrastructure tower was built and new AT&T equipment was installed on it. AT&T's coverage maps still do not show 5G here even though it has been available for 6 months now. I stopped into the local AT&T store where the 5G is supposed to be available and asked about it, the lady said they don't have 5G there at all, never have had. False advertising for sure, and I have found the same situation in many different places.
For a while I was seeing almost all new builds and upgrades automatically have the 5G ULI enabled which causes the 5G indicator to show on phones. A few eventually reverted to display LTE when there was no 5G in vicinity, though many still retain the ULI enabled so that the LTE tower can still aggregate with fringe 5G from a distant site when enabled. ULI enabled does not necessarily mean that every tower has a 5G NR signal being broadcast.

Don't see too much of that anymore in Missouri, but AT&T is far too reliant on it in parts of Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.
 
The ULI actually isn't needed to do intercell EN-DC. In fact, it shouldn't be enabled unless the same site is also hosting an NR carrier. (That doesn't mean that is always true, though.) Verizon has a B13 site near me that can aggregate n77 from a macro, and the ULI is not enabled on the B13 carrier since it does not host an NR carrier.

In my area, AT&T turned on the ULI on B12 several weeks before they began bringing n2 online and they seem to have been fairly accurate with how they've chosen to enable it. It's now present on B2 (for n66), B12 (for n2/n66), B30 (for n2/n66), and B66 (for n2). It's notably not enabled on B14.
 
One could consider it both. False because they say they have 5G but do not, or deceptive because they show 5G but it is not available.
To play devil's advocate, all they need to declare 5G coverage is to have at least 1 tower in a particular market that supports it, even if it is only in a small coverage area. There are many factors involved when deciding to deploy new coverage/technology and often NIMBY consumers lead the charge to not allow it for whatever reason.
 
To play devil's advocate, all they need to declare 5G coverage is to have at least 1 tower in a particular market that supports it, even if it is only in a small coverage area. There are many factors involved when deciding to deploy new coverage/technology and often NIMBY consumers lead the charge to not allow it for whatever reason.
Lincoln, Nebraska: 1 C-band site in the whole city (eNB 371129) per AT&T's latest coverage map. Meanwhile per city council recordings and minutes, anytime a new cell tower is proposed, residents complain against it because "we already have Verizon and US Cellular; why do we need anything else?"
 
The Pixel 8 supports all of AT&T's 5G bands except mmWave (unless you bought the Verizon version). The issue is AT&T massively lies on their coverage maps. We see the same thing in Denver. They've shown us blanketed in n77 for more than a year now when n77 is spotty at best. My entire city shows 5G+, for example, when there are only two towers I know of that have it, and they're both on the outskirts of the city, which means downtown isn't covered at all.
I am beginning to think they lie much more massively than I thought before, based on what I have been seeing with my phone. I have the AT&T version of the Pixel 8, so it should be correct in what it shows. But man, I am seeing huge differences in 5G coverage compared to what their maps show, whole entire swaths of territory that show coverage where there is only LTE. Based on what I have seen, it looks to me like AT&T really only has a very small percentage of the state actually covered with 5G. And at the same time there are place where the maps show none but the phone does and has the data speeds to support the reality.

I have to say now that AT&T's coverage maps are just a complete mess and are not indicative of reality whatsoever. Verizon and T-Mobile's maps still have their problems but are nowhere near as bad as AT&T's.
 
I worked for At&t customer support back in 2001 and the coverage maps then and now have never been considered an accurate representation of real-world coverage, only an estimated coverage map.
There are several factors involved in determining actual coverage and many of those cannot be economically or physically capable of being corrected by a cell tower. This is the primary reason to have a physical phone line for some users in remote areas where cellular coverage is spotty to non-existent.
 
This is how bad AT&T's coverage is here... This is the three carriers as of June last year (latest data on the site so things have undoubtedly changed and we are due an update this month so it will be interesting to see)... I set it to outdoor stationary (so best conditions) and >80% coverage in the cell with NR 35 down/3 up.

Here's AT&T:

1715444360815.png

Here's Verizon:

1715444417754.png

and here's T-Mobile:

1715444464509.png

AT&T doesn't pop up at all on the map until you set the threshold to 55% of the cell covered.

1715444662445.png

This is just regular old basic nationwide 5G... The map doesn't give a speed option higher than 35/3... but yeah, AT&T has been lying on their 5G+ coverage maps for more than a year (as I compared the website to the FCC map after it was updated in June) and the coverage still shows largely the same now as it did then. That should be the next thing AT&T gets an FCC fine for...
 
I went to AT&T stores in each of the areas marked "X" that are shown with 5G and was told at each one that 5G does not exist in those areas, it is just LTE but 5G would be coming later. No specific date was mentioned. The area marked with a circle does have 5G and it shows up on my Pixel but is not shown on the coverage map. The area in the circle is where a brand new Tillman Infrastructure tower was just built and brand new AT&T equipment was installed on it and the old AT&T equipment has now been removed from the SBA tower where it used to be, 150 yards away, so evidently they built the new site and equipped it with 5G, they just don't show it yet.

So either AT&T's coverage map is just an outright fabrication or is so out of date or showing upcoming coverage just to make it look better. The dark blue areas are the new 5G+ coverage that showed up a couple weeks ago on AT&T's maps. I don't know whether it actually exists or not, I have not been to any of those areas lately.
 

Attachments

  • NonExistant.jpg
    NonExistant.jpg
    661.9 KB · Views: 15
Last edited:
The information shown on the coverage maps has never been considered accurate, it is only an estimation of coverage and has been this way since I started using/working for At&t/Cingular in 2001. Same thing with Verizon and T-Mobile. Consumers should attempt to talk to current friends/users of any service in the same area before committing to a cellular carrier.

If the FTC/FCC or whatever government agency truly regulated them it wouldn't still be happening. As stated earlier, only 1 active tower in a single market allows the carrier to declare coverage. We can wish things were different, but the average consumer cannot afford to buy a political lobbyist like the big carriers do to change the current rules/regulations.
 
I can certainly understand showing a little extra coverage around an existing site to pad your advertising and raising the expectations of your customers, however fraudulently that may be in my opinion. But not showing coverage where it does actually exist is a different thing. I guess the carrier thinks the customer will be delightfully surprised to have some level of service greater than they expected to have, but that sort of goes against the padding of coverage thing somewhat.

I understand that the carriers only update their coverage maps once or twice per year, if that often in some cases, but one would think they would make sure to definitely have existing coverage shown. They are now showing the dark blue as 5G+, adding that level just a couple weeks ago, so why not show regular 5G where it does actually exist alongside the fantasy coverage? I have a trip planned to one of those dark blue areas in a couple weeks, I will be anxious to see if there really is anything there and if it is different from standard 5G.
 
To be clear, I am not trying to justify what is occurring, just offering a different perspective on the issue.
 
To be clear, I am not trying to justify what is occurring, just offering a different perspective on the issue.
I totally understand and that's fine. I know that coverage maps are usually just a fantasy but when this new 5G+ dark blue indication showed up, to my mind it just made things even more confusing and chaotic, knowing that already some indicated coverage was not actually there, some real coverage was not being shown, and now here is this new layer, which could possibly be as unreliable as the others. I am really looking forward to seeing what is going on with the new 5G+ areas and I will report back.
 
This is not meant as a defense of AT&T, or their coverage maps, or their paltry 5G rollout in so many markets, but does need to be pointed out as I have determined it to be the case running tests on several different phones, including current flagship Samsung phones, iPhones, budget Samsung phones, Motorola, and some prior models of phones such as phones from LG and ZTE.

Some of the coverage on AT&T's maps can only be seen and accessed by specific phone models, and if you don't have one of the supported phones, you won't see it. We tend to think that if we have a 5G+ compatible phone, for example, and it can see 5G+ in one city, then it should be able to see it anywhere it is available. But until AT&T launches 5G SA, not requiring pairing with a LTE carrier, there are going to be phones that simply are unable to see certain LTE+5G combos, and will remain LTE-only even squarely in the center of a supposed 5G+ coverage area. So for example, if you spend some time in a given area with a Galaxy S24 Ultra or an iPhone 15 Pro Max, and not once ever see 5G+, then yes, that is almost certainly an issue. But if you are using a Moto Edge, a OnePlus, a Samsung A14 or A32, just to name a few, you may be missing out even if the phone in theory supports AT&T 5G and 5G+. The reason is that the phone *does not* support pairing 5G / 5G+ with every LTE band in use on the network in that area.

I've especially found this to be common in markets where AT&T has no 850 MHz licenses available. A high-end flagship phone may be able to get 5G by pairing band 2 LTE with band 66 5G, or band 30 LTE with band 77 5G+. But the Samsung A32 5G on the other hand can't do that. So, go to Omaha, Nebraska for example. There's never been b5 LTE or n5 5G in that market. A Galaxy S22 or S23 phone will have no problem pairing b2 LTE with b66 5G, and n77 when available, for respectable speeds (I've seen 930 mbps there for example). But try an A32 5G, which I've also tested there, and that cheaper phone is not going to see any 5G available except when connected to band 12 LTE, and given the congestion on that band, you might spend 3 days in the area and not connect to b12 once, and thus on a cheaper phone not see n66 once either.

In summary, yes the maps are incredibly overstated. But in some markets, the 5G/5G+ does exist, but you're only going to see it reliably with certain high end phones.
 
This is not meant as a defense of AT&T, or their coverage maps, or their paltry 5G rollout in so many markets, but does need to be pointed out as I have determined it to be the case running tests on several different phones, including current flagship Samsung phones, iPhones, budget Samsung phones, Motorola, and some prior models of phones such as phones from LG and ZTE.

Some of the coverage on AT&T's maps can only be seen and accessed by specific phone models, and if you don't have one of the supported phones, you won't see it. We tend to think that if we have a 5G+ compatible phone, for example, and it can see 5G+ in one city, then it should be able to see it anywhere it is available. But until AT&T launches 5G SA, not requiring pairing with a LTE carrier, there are going to be phones that simply are unable to see certain LTE+5G combos, and will remain LTE-only even squarely in the center of a supposed 5G+ coverage area. So for example, if you spend some time in a given area with a Galaxy S24 Ultra or an iPhone 15 Pro Max, and not once ever see 5G+, then yes, that is almost certainly an issue. But if you are using a Moto Edge, a OnePlus, a Samsung A14 or A32, just to name a few, you may be missing out even if the phone in theory supports AT&T 5G and 5G+. The reason is that the phone *does not* support pairing 5G / 5G+ with every LTE band in use on the network in that area.

I've especially found this to be common in markets where AT&T has no 850 MHz licenses available. A high-end flagship phone may be able to get 5G by pairing band 2 LTE with band 66 5G, or band 30 LTE with band 77 5G+. But the Samsung A32 5G on the other hand can't do that. So, go to Omaha, Nebraska for example. There's never been b5 LTE or n5 5G in that market. A Galaxy S22 or S23 phone will have no problem pairing b2 LTE with b66 5G, and n77 when available, for respectable speeds (I've seen 930 mbps there for example). But try an A32 5G, which I've also tested there, and that cheaper phone is not going to see any 5G available except when connected to band 12 LTE, and given the congestion on that band, you might spend 3 days in the area and not connect to b12 once, and thus on a cheaper phone not see n66 once either.

In summary, yes the maps are incredibly overstated. But in some markets, the 5G/5G+ does exist, but you're only going to see it reliably with certain high end phones.

A very detailed and thorough post. I didn’t know all this, but this is great information. Some people actually think they have horrible coverage, but it may just boil down to the phone that they have.
 
Good to know, I must've seen the Verizon site instead. Any good place to see what other AT&T sites have been permitted in that area to keep an eye out?
I've kept a map showing which sites are permitted to get Cband (although they likely will not until the Ericsson conversion starts)
Here's a list of some sites that have been permitted: 722730, 722743, 721709, 722760, 722736, 722724 (this site to be replaced by new nearby Tillman at some point)
 
This whole mess brings up the spectre that a phone sold in one market may not work as well or have the same capabilities as one sold in another market, all based on what spectrum AT&T owns and has available to them to work with. Or that AT&T needs phones from manufacturers that are specifically designed to work in specific markets or maybe just a few markets across the country. All the while, potential and existing customers have no clue that the phone they have in their pocket might right now might not work the same if they travel a few miles into a different spectrum license area where that phone cannot use the spectrum available to it. AT&T is probably under no obligation to inform customers about these differences in capabilities either. Like I said above, what a mess.
 
Ironically .. some of those coverage maps are typically as above - not in sync.
For about a year, my area covered "5G+" even according to AT&T's map. For quite a while, there were 2 5G+ sites out of 6 sites total. 1 site range was fairly short (3 story building roof), and the other was similar.

In Jan, local tower was rebuilt (all panels replaced). but no 5G+. AT&T even told me the tower was only 4G LTE.
Other towers nearby were also rebuild (same style = SoCal Ed 220kV deployment. They came deployed with ... 5g+ day 1.
5 months later, 1 day after I initiated work phone port 'out' of AT&T, they flipped the switch - go figure.
Either way, AT&T at 1700' is too weak for 5G+ where I am. At best outdoors 100Mbps, indoors ~10Mbps.
At the tower ~800-1200Mbps.
 
Back
Top