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The state of LTE deployment among the national carriers.


blackwaterstout
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Obviously Verizon got a huge headstart and from all accounts has the best LTE coverage in the US. I've tried to find some reliable data that shows the current status of each of the big 4 carriers showing what percentage of their network is upgraded along with total number of people covered.

 

I assume that a company like Verizon has all or nearly all of their network upgraded to LTE and since they operate on a lower frequency the extent of their coverage should be quite good. This would lead to a very high population coverage.

 

A company like tmobile on the other hand may have a large portion of their towers upgraded but since their towers are normally urban and higher frequency the total population covered should be pretty high but the aerial extent of the coverage is likely not that great. It certainly seems like t-mo is being very aggressive in their deployment and from what I've read it seems they have a very fast implementation of LTE.

 

So I guess what I'm ultimately looking for is some numbers showing what percent of the big 4's network towers have been upgraded, how many people are covered.

 

I can tell you looking at sensorly maps makes Verizon the obvious leader in coverage with ATT and Sprint looking fairly similar and t-mo appearing to be dead last. But I wonder how much of that is influenced by Sprint customers having unlimited data and ATT users having to monitor their data usage. They may be reluctant to use the app just to keep their data usage down.

 

From what I hear and read it seems like ATT is well ahead of Sprint and t-mo in terms of deployment but the sensorly maps would disagree. Ive also read that t-mo has passed Sprint in LTE deployment but again sensorly definitely shows sprint with a larger LTE footprint.

 

What's the truth?

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I can tell you looking at sensorly maps makes Verizon the obvious leader in coverage with ATT and Sprint looking fairly similar and t-mo appearing to be dead last. But I wonder how much of that is influenced by Sprint customers having unlimited data and ATT users having to monitor their data usage. They may be reluctant to use the app just to keep their data usage down.

From what I hear and read it seems like ATT is well ahead of Sprint and t-mo in terms of deployment but the sensorly maps would disagree. Ive also read that t-mo has passed Sprint in LTE deployment but again sensorly definitely shows sprint with a larger LTE footprint.

 

If there is one part that I can deny with 100% certainty, it's that T-Mobile has greater LTE coverage than Sprint. Sprint easily laps T-Mobile in the LTE coverage department, part of it being that Sprint actually has adequate highway coverage.

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In order for this thread to stick around, replies must not quote the entirety of the lengthy original post.

 

AJ

Potentially killing a discussion because a reply quotes the entire post? What Internet is this? ;)

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Look at how the US LTE scores against global providers.

 

In what metric?  I am not a fan of international comparisons -- because no other country the geographic size of the US has as extensive a wireless footprint.  Those comparable countries have huge expanses of zero wireless coverage in rural areas.

 

AJ

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In what metric?  I am not a fan of international comparisons -- because no other country the geographic size of the US has as extensive a wireless footprint.  Those comparable countries have huge expanses of zero wireless coverage in rural areas.

 

AJ

 

I agree so much. On my Google+, a lot of people often like to compare the U.S. wireless infrastructure with South Korea and other such countries with super fast cell service. My response is always, most of those countries are the size of California and they still have places with no coverage. If we want to go by a square mile count, our top 4 nationwide carriers could cover the area that other countries have 5 times over without any gaps.

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I agree so much. On my Google+, a lot of people often like to compare the U.S. wireless infrastructure with South Korea and other such countries with super fast cell service. My response is always, most of those countries are the size of California and they still have places with no coverage. If we want to go by a square mile count, our top 4 nationwide carriers could cover the area that other countries have 5 times over without any gaps.

Well said.

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In what metric?  I am not a fan of international comparisons -- because no other country the geographic size of the US has as extensive a wireless footprint.  Those comparable countries have huge expanses of zero wireless coverage in rural areas.

 

AJ

 

Two metrics:

 

Speed tests on NetIndex and the RootMetrics national report. 

 

http://www.rootmetrics.com/us/rsr/united-states

 

And while I agree with the coverage aspect, in my view only two companies provide that, because of the huge gravitational pull they possess as the inheritors of the Bell System.

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From what I hear and read it seems like ATT is well ahead of Sprint and t-mo in terms of deployment but the sensorly maps would disagree.

 

I wouldn't rely heavily on Sensorly maps as a comparison tool.

 

Sensorly's strength is in it's maps for Sprint, because lots of Sprint users use the app. On the other carriers, this isn't true. Under-reporting in Sensorly is common on all carriers. But for Verizon / AT&T / T-Mobile under-reporting is especially common, particularly in smaller / rural areas. 

 

For example, there's roughly two dozen rural towns all across northern Michigan that have wide AT&T LTE coverage (mainly due to excellent 700mhz propagation). Sensorly doesn't show any of this. But I've used it (so I know it's there) and you can see it listed on AT&T's official maps.

 

However, Sensorly does show a lot of Sprint LTE towers in northern Michigan, which I assume is due to the impeccable efforts of our hard-working S4GRU members ;-) 

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I don't buy the there are less people mapping on other networks argument. There are a lot of rural areas that don't show on the map for sprint either. It doesn't take that many people to map the interstates those are usually mapped with one or two people.

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And while I agree with the coverage aspect, in my view only two companies provide that, because of the huge gravitational pull they possess as the inheritors of the Bell System.

 

I was told that the meek shall inherit the earth.  I guess that does not include the Bell System.  Maybe we have to wait until heaven, where wireless coverage will be ubiquitous, capacity will be generous, and rates will be very reasonable.

 

AJ

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I was told that the meek shall inherit the earth.  I guess that does not include the Bell System.  Maybe we have to wait until heaven, where wireless coverage will be ubiquitous, capacity will be generous, and rates will be very reasonable.

 

AJ

Oh chit! I was told it was going to be totally free! You mean I have to bring some money with me...?

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Oh chit! I was told it was going to be totally free! You mean I have to bring some money with me...?

 

Yeah, be sure to swallow or cram some cash before you expire.

 

No, I kid, I kid.  You do not need to bring money.  Wireless service rates in heaven are based on karma.

 

To illustrate, Randall Stephenson, for his skulduggery, and John Legere, for his disingenuousness, will be relegated to no data and only 30 min airtime per month on this...

 

old-cellphone.jpg

 

AJ

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Yeah, be sure to swallow or cram some cash before you expire.

 

No, I kid, I kid.  You do not need to bring money.  Wireless service rates in heaven are based on karma.

 

To illustrate, Randall Stephenson, for his skulduggery, and John Legere, for his disingenuousness, will be relegated to no data and only 30 min airtime per month on this...

 

old-cellphone.jpg

 

AJ

 

Hey, I used to won one of those ;). I should have kept it. 100 mins for $100

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So I know this is probably pure speculation and guestimation but where would you put the completion percentage of each of the big 4? I know its never truely 100% complete because of continual upgrades but thinking in terms of how many towers have LTE installed what would the numbers look like

 

Purely guessing on my part but I'd assume Verizon would be >90%. ATT ?, SPRINT ?, TMO ?

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk

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So I know this is probably pure speculation and guestimation but where would you put the completion percentage of each of the big 4? I know its never truely 100% complete because of continual upgrades but thinking in terms of how many towers have LTE installed what would the numbers look like

 

Purely guessing on my part but I'd assume Verizon would be >90%. ATT ?, SPRINT ?, TMO ?

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk

 

T-Mobile has about 90-95% of their sites converted in NYC.I've seen my friends drop to HSPA+ in a few areas before.

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I don't buy the there are less people mapping on other networks argument. There are a lot of rural areas that don't show on the map for sprint either. It doesn't take that many people to map the interstates those are usually mapped with one or two people.

You would buy the argument if you took a look at Verizon coverage on Sensorly.

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So I know this is probably pure speculation and guestimation but where would you put the completion percentage of each of the big 4? I know its never truely 100% complete because of continual upgrades but thinking in terms of how many towers have LTE installed what would the numbers look like

 

Purely guessing on my part but I'd assume Verizon would be >90%. ATT ?, SPRINT ?, TMO ?

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk

 

When you talk about all sites in their nationwide network, my guess is the following for LTE available:

  • Verizon - 98%+
  • AT&T - ~80%
  • Sprint - 68% (as of the last update)
  • T-Mobile - ~60% (including all those rural EDGE sites)

That's my take, based on what I have observed through everything I see in person and online.  Sprint is starting to close in on AT&T.  Especially considering AT&T is calling off their tower crews.

 

Robert

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When you talk about all sites in their nationwide network, my guess is the following for LTE available:

  • Verizon - 98%+
  • AT&T - ~80%
  • Sprint - 68% (as of the last update)
  • T-Mobile - ~60% (including all those rural EDGE sites)

That's my take, based on what I have observed through everything I see in person and online. Sprint is starting to close in on AT&T. Especially considering AT&T is calling off their tower crews.

 

Robert

Yeah, Sprint is picking up some crews from AT&T contractors (Mastec). Interesting article on Wireless Estimator:

 

http://www.wirelessestimator.com/breaking_news.cfm

Edited by bigsnake49
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