Jump to content

The Wall

  • entries
    394
  • comments
    5,962
  • views
    4,736,049

Contributors to this blog

[PSA] LTE roam if you want to. Plus (+), it may count as native coverage.

lilotimz

11,912 views

blog-0528799001449390731.jpg

by Tim Yu and Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Sunday, December 6, 2015 - 2:55 AM MST

 

S4GRU staff is burning the well past midnight oil for our readers. Overnight, Sprint has unofficially updated its network coverage map tool to include LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming acquired via its participation in the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) Roaming Hub and its own Rural Roaming Preferred Partners (RRPP) program. The coverage tool LTE roaming update clearly is a work in progress -- more on that later. But LTE roaming is finally here.

 

So, what is the difference between LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming?

 

LTE Roaming+

 

A simple explanation is that LTE Roaming+ is pseudo native coverage. Sprint users will access certain other LTE networks without roaming restrictions and can treat them as native. Usage does not count against any roaming cap, the only restrictions being the plan type ("unlimited" vs data allotment).

 

Roaming in these areas counts as on network usage. Similar level of service as on network, but not all services may be available. More here.

 

LTE Roaming

 

LTE Roaming is non native, off network coverage. Usage is counted against Sprint plan roaming caps. Older plans, such as the Everything Data, have a 300 MB limit, while newer plans, like Framily, are limited to 100 MB.

 

For a specific LTE roaming footprint example, see this coverage tool screenshot centered around Sprint's headquarters in the Kansas City metro. From the LTE roaming legend, the dark green LTE Roaming+ in western Kansas is Nex-Tech Wireless, and you can catch a glimpse of the same LTE Roaming+ from C Spire south of Memphis. The light green is LTE Roaming, all of which appears to be USCC at this point. Elsewhere, you will find LTE Roaming on USCC in its Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and New England regions. There is still map work to do -- note the LTE Roaming legend "@TODO will we have a description here?" More LTE Roaming+ and LTE Roaming operator coverage may be added in the coming hours or days.

 

2q0irt1.png

 

Device compatibility?

 

Due to Sprint's unique LTE Band 25-26-41 network configuration, not all Sprint LTE capable devices will be able to roam on partner networks, which may use different bands, such as Band 2 (PCS 1900 MHz A-F blocks), Band 4 (AWS-1 1700+2100 MHz), Band 5 (Cellular 850 MHz), and Band 12 (Lower 700 MHz)

 

As such, a CCA/RRPP compatible Sprint triband device, of which many were released in the past year, is the best bet for full network compatibility with partner LTE networks. A CCA/RRPP device will have LTE Band 2-4-5-12-25-26-41 support, which basically covers all of the standard LTE bands in use in the US -- minus VZW Band 13 and AT&T Band 17. No matter, VZW and AT&T presently are not LTE roaming partners with Sprint.

 

If Multi Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI) is active at the network level, a regular Sprint triband device (Bands 25-26-41) may be able to access some partner networks -- due to Band 25 (PCS 1900 MHz A-G blocks) and Band 26 (eSMR 800 MHz + Cellular 850 MHz) being supersets of Band 2 and Band 5, respectively. However, these triband devices will not roam if the partner network uses Band 4 or Band 12.

 

An older single band Sprint LTE Band 25 device will be even more restricted. If it can roam at all, it will be limited to partner networks that use Band 2, again assuming MFBI.

 

In Summary...

 

A few months ago, Sprint upgraded much off network coverage for most accounts from only CDMA1X to EV-DO. Now, a lot of that same roaming footprint gets elevated a second time to LTE. Sprint LTE, eHRPD/EV-DO, and CDMA1X coverage still will hold highest priority. Whether LTE Roaming+ or LTE Roaming, it will not supersede Sprint eHRPD/EV-DO or CDMA1X signal. But outside of all Sprint native coverage, roaming gets another boost.

 

LTE roam, roam if you want to.

 

 

Sources: Sprint, S4GRU thread

  • Like 13


35 Comments




Recommended Comments

This is awesome!! However, it will allow you to burn through your roaming allowance ten times faster.  Any word on if Sprint will adjust its plans or at least allow you to buy more roaming data?

Share this comment


Link to comment

that's great news, explains huge jump on PRL

 

PRL doesn't control LTE connectivity. Only CDMA connections. 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Interesting that my Note5 specific device coverage on the website isn't showing the new LTE+ and LTE Roaming?  I'm certain it qualifies, right? 

 

Super pumped to have LTE roaming in Western Wisconsin!!!  Even with the 300mb cap, it'll be great to not have to wait for eons for anything to load. 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Also, there are not many areas nationwide where the LTE+ Roaming exists.....will this expand in the future?? 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Also, there are not many areas nationwide where the LTE+ Roaming exists.....will this expand in the future?? 

 

I expect we will see it expand, especially as certain partners build out more LTE.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Interesting that my Note5 specific device coverage on the website isn't showing the new LTE+ and LTE Roaming?  I'm certain it qualifies, right? 

 

Super pumped to have LTE roaming in Western Wisconsin!!!  Even with the 300mb cap, it'll be great to not have to wait for eons for anything to load. 

 

Is it showing for you without choosing your device? I had to load the coverage map in a separate broswer to get it to show up.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Interesting that my Note5 specific device coverage on the website isn't showing the new LTE+ and LTE Roaming?  I'm certain it qualifies, right? 

 

Super pumped to have LTE roaming in Western Wisconsin!!!  Even with the 300mb cap, it'll be great to not have to wait for eons for anything to load. 

 

Is it showing for you without choosing your device? I had to load the coverage map in a separate broswer to get it to show up.

 

Device specific LTE roaming does not appear to be updated.

Share this comment


Link to comment

I experienced this when I was traveling on I-29 from Omaha to KC area around middle of November.  It said Sprint on my Moto X Pure the whole entire way down on my signal Check Pro and I got at least EV-DO the whole entire way except for a few pockets which was nice so I could get streaming radio on my drive home!  Although I suspected it was roaming on USCC now I know for sure! This is some awesome progress that Sprint is making in terms of expanding its network (via partners or internally).  

Share this comment


Link to comment

I experienced this when I was traveling on I-29 from Omaha to KC area around middle of November.  It said Sprint on my Moto X Pure the whole entire way down on my signal Check Pro and I got at least EV-DO the whole entire way except for a few pockets which was nice so I could get streaming radio on my drive home!  Although I suspected it was roaming on USCC now I know for sure! This is some awesome progress that Sprint is making in terms of expanding its network (via partners or internally).  

 

Sprint has full native coverage along I-29 between Kansas City and Omaha.  That was not roaming.  If it were roaming, SignalCheck Pro would have indicated the roaming operator.

 

AJ

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

SCP just showed me "Extended Network LTE Roaming (USCC)" here in Madison in my work building where I don't get very good Sprint signal. 

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

PRL doesn't control LTE connectivity. Only CDMA connections. 

 

Yes it does, you're spreading old misconceptions. There's tons of info for LTE in the PRL files.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Yes it does, you're spreading old misconceptions. There's tons of info for LTE in the PRL files.

 

Could you elaborate? As far as I am aware, the only controls in the PRL for LTE is basically an on/off line for all LTE scans.

Share this comment


Link to comment

It still annoys me immensely that the standard was designed that band supersets aren't automatically able to connect to the band subsets that they are compatible with without MFBI. I understand that if for band 17 to connect to band 12, for instance, MFBI would be required, but the other way around doesn't make since to me. I feel it should have been deisnged so that bands 25, 26, and 41 compatible phones should be able to connect to band 2, 5, and 38 (along with others that are compatible) without MFBI

Share this comment


Link to comment

SCP just showed me "Extended Network LTE Roaming (USCC)" here in Madison in my work building where I don't get very good Sprint signal. 

What phone? Did you have to enable LTE roaming or anything on your phone? I'm also in Madison and I have a 6P, but I can't find any setting in the DATA dialer code menu to enable LTE roaming.

Share this comment


Link to comment

It still annoys me immensely that the standard was designed that band supersets aren't automatically able to connect to the band subsets that they are compatible with without MFBI. I understand that if for band 17 to connect to band 12, for instance, MFBI would be required, but the other way around doesn't make since to me. I feel it should have been deisnged so that bands 25, 26, and 41 compatible phones should be able to connect to band 2, 5, and 38 (along with others that are compatible) without MFBI

 

No, that is not an LTE standards issue.  It is a device issue.  If a device supports band 25, for example, it just as easily can support band 2.  All that is required is a bit of additional programming and RF testing.  But that does not always happen -- because OEMs or operators may not want it.

 

AJ

Share this comment


Link to comment

Has anyone seen LTE roaming on US Cellular yet? Also, on 199 from Cali to Oregon, I have yet to see evdo or lte roaming. I get evdo roaming in other parts of the state but not along 199. Whats the best way to report this?

Share this comment


Link to comment

Has anyone seen LTE roaming on US Cellular yet? Also, on 199 from Cali to Oregon, I have yet to see evdo or lte roaming. I get evdo roaming in other parts of the state but not along 199. Whats the best way to report this?

I think in Maine they may have updated to US cell roaming. Its just LTE roaming though. Look on the map.

Share this comment


Link to comment

I spent this weekend in Central Nebraska roaming on US Cellular.  I checked my logs and only picked the 3G roaming.  

Share this comment


Link to comment

I spent this weekend in Central Nebraska roaming on US Cellular.  I checked my logs and only picked the 3G roaming.  

 

better than nothing but wish it was LTE.  does US Cellular offer LTE in those areas?

Share this comment


Link to comment

This went live in SW Wisconsin. Picked up Extended LTE on my wife's iPhone.

 

Time to finally give up on my Galaxy S5. Is this limited to Sprint sold phones or does the MXPE/N6p support it?

Share this comment


Link to comment

So with the Moto X pure supporting just about every LTE band out there, I'm assuming it will work great with this. However inside the LTE Engineering screen I only see bands 25, 26, 41 and for some reason Band 12.....

Share this comment


Link to comment

roaming. how I wish it were nicer and more plentiful. I've used it before and it crapped out and was not useable. the reason could be because of the 100MB limit. I've made two trips this year one from Salem OR to Stockton CA; during that trip the native Sprint service cuts off entirely when on the Amtrak train headed to Cali. The train travels outside of Eugene OR area and into the mountain regions where some type of roaming turns on and it roams most of the way until the train gets to California. Two types of roaming happen: a 3G roaming and a 1xRTT roaming. I cannot recall the carriers but one is probably Verizon. The data works just well enough that at least I have a connection part of the way. However, some point during my travels in Oregon, the data cuts off and only voice service remains. I didn't even use the data. I'm pretty sure 100MB easy sucks up with just background services, or even just a few page loads of my website homepage (my website homepage is 30MB per webpagetest by itself; just in JPEGs, PNGs, and HTML. in theory, one could reload the home page of my website only about 3 times before the 100MB cap was reached). The trip on Amtrak is hardly 24 hours and Sprint native service appears when large cities pass by.

 

The second trip I made this year was from Sacramento CA to Washington DC. This is a 3 day 72 hour journey. During this trip native Sprint service is generally nowhere to be found outside of large cities like Los Vegas, Denver, Chicago, but the entire route is covered with roaming through most of the trip. The connection dies within less than a day leaving one without data. My phone had a message, "data disabled." I didn't know why because I felt like I hadn't even hardly used my phone.

 

Sprint if you're hearing this please .. please consider adding more roaming data to the plans. For the rate I was paying, $95 for unlimited service, unlimited data, on one line, customers really deserve more.

 

Roaming in America unfortatunely sucks. The appeal of it is high because as a customer we will have data and voice in more areas, whereever a partner has service.

 

2-5GB of roaming data would be nice just to get us by when roaming IF roaming occurs at all. I do travel, and that's the only time I use it, usually when riding on the Amtrak, or I take a trip out of town around Oregon and it roams through the moutain and back roads.

​a question has to be asked; why is data so expensive in the United States? in the UK they sell a goodybag with 6GB LTE and unlimited 256Kbps LTE for $25 USD!!! pre-paid SIM. https://www.giffgaff.com/goodybags/20pound-goodybag

 

tell me why roaming in America isn't always-on and at least a couple of gigs of full speed LTE?

Share this comment


Link to comment

roaming. how I wish it were nicer and more plentiful. I've used it before and it crapped out and was not useable. the reason could be because of the 100MB limit. I've made two trips this year one from Salem OR to Stockton CA; during that trip the native Sprint service cuts off entirely when on the Amtrak train headed to Cali. The train travels outside of Eugene OR area and into the mountain regions where some type of roaming turns on and it roams most of the way until the train gets to California. Two types of roaming happen: a 3G roaming and a 1xRTT roaming. I cannot recall the carriers but one is probably Verizon. The data works just well enough that at least I have a connection part of the way. However, some point during my travels in Oregon, the data cuts off and only voice service remains. I didn't even use the data. I'm pretty sure 100MB easy sucks up with just background services, or even just a few page loads of my website homepage (my website homepage is 30MB per webpagetest by itself; just in JPEGs, PNGs, and HTML. in theory, one could reload the home page of my website only about 3 times before the 100MB cap was reached). The trip on Amtrak is hardly 24 hours and Sprint native service appears when large cities pass by.

 

The second trip I made this year was from Sacromento CA to Washington DC. This is a 3 day 72 hour journey. During this trip native Sprint service is generally nowhere to be found outside of large cities like Los Vegas, Denver, Chicago, but the entire route is covered with roaming through most of the trip. The connection dies within less than a day leaving one without data. My phone had a message, "data disabled." I didn't know why because I felt like I hadn't even hardly used my phone.

 

Sprint if you're hearing this please .. please consider adding more roaming data to the plans. For the rate I was paying, $95 for unlimited service, unlimited data, on one line, customers really deserve more.

 

Roaming in America unfortatunely sucks. The appeal of it is high because as a customer we will have data and voice in more areas, whereever a partner has service.

 

2-5GB of roaming data would be nice just to get us by when roaming IF roaming occurs at all. I do travel, and that's the only time I use it, usually when riding on the Amtrak, or I take a trip out of town around Oregon and it roams through the moutain and back roads.

 

​a question has to be asked; why is data so expensive in the United States? in the UK they sell a goodybag with 6GB LTE and unlimited 256Kbps LTE for $25 USD!!! pre-paid SIM. https://www.giffgaff.com/goodybags/20pound-goodybag

 

tell me why roaming in America isn't always-on and at least a couple of gigs of full speed LTE?

If you have a direct line to Masa we could probably help focus his priorities from here on out from both a technical perspective and end-user standpoint and sum up the experience fairly well and in a concise manner insomuch as what is and is not working thusfar.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×