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Unlimited Data/Congestion Solution, Questions About Wideband


Arysyn
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Hi S4GRU readers and members!

 

My name is Kurt. I have a terminal neuropathy which keeps me from being able to work, particularly in the wireless industry, though it hasn't impacted my interests in it, along with my dedication to learning and researching everything wireless tech and services.

 

I've been a reader here for many months, and have spent several hours searching for information here and on other wireless related websites, though it also has been as a resource for my own needs as well. I've just joined both here and Sprint service this morning, signing up for the Employee Referral Unlimited My Way plan on the former Sprint Sero plan website. I've been nervous about the future state of unlimited data and decided to get it while I still can, on something that offers a lifetime guarantee for it. I use between 15gb to 30gb per month, and can't afford to pay huge wireless bills, as I'm on Social Security disability and have several medications for my illness to pay for often.

 

However, cost was not my primary reason for choosing Sprint, nor was getting unlimited data, though it was a very important plus. I looked into getting Verizon's 15gb promotion, while also checking with AT&T, along with stops at T-Mobile and MetroPCS, which the latter is where I've ported to Sprint from, as MetroPCS was a temporary plan to have, until making a decision on something more suitable for me. As someone who typically has spent over 10 hours every week reading about wireless tech, I wanted to ensure I was going to have the best overall service and plan for my needs, which I've decided Sprint definitely has, and plenty of network assurance in the future, especially here in Chicago, considering the mass amounts of spectrum and future planning Sprint has here in this area.

 

I believe unlimited is going to really help Sprint in regaining customers and overall growth also, once word gets around that Sprint no longer is the last place carrier anymore, anywhere, and that all the ridicule it has been received in the past, is not only no longer valid, but would make anyone even attempting it, to appear downright silly and/or stupid. Sprint having first place wins all over, along with unlimited, definitely will help grow the subscriber numbers, which then Sprint can slowly phase those customers into acceptable, sustainable gb plans, rather than unlimited, doing so with the fact that these new and future unlimited plans aren't guaranteed. Although, the new plans will be very competitive and definitely fitting with the state of the industry at the time when Sprint is causing Verizon and AT&T to act as though they actually care about their customer's needs for financial fairness in their wireless budgets.

 

I have some ideas about how these rate plans might be, and I wondered how others might envision them too. While I don't think they will similar to Google's plans, I think people might see them as such, at least in being revolutionary, as I've found Sprint to have a great advantage in their strategies what they are doing, which opens up the possibility of the same with their rate plans. I'm thinking it could be something of a sliding access scale rate plan, taking into account both the device and customer loyalty into the exact pricing details of these plans, such as a base rate starting at $35 to $55, with 5gb to 15gb, extra gbs being much cheaper than current overage rates, but being flexible on usage habits, loyalty, etc., being the force of these plans, rather than just a set amount, or a rate meant to directly compete with another carrier. I could expand on some of my ideas, though I'd like to hear what others think of them, along with their own ideas for rate plans, business strategies, etc.

 

Anyways, I'm glad to finally be an official member here on S4GRU after all this time just being a reader. I'm hoping to very soon become a Premier Sponsor, as well!

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Anyways, I'm glad to finally be an official member here on S4GRU after all this time just being a reader. I'm hoping to very soon become a Premier Sponsor, as well!

Thank you for your introduction. Welcome to S4GRU! I enjoyed reading your post this morning in the Marcelo thread. I hope to see you around.

 

:welc:

 

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

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Hey buddy, welcome to S4GRU!

Many many years ago, prior to the Sprint-Nextel murder *merger*, Sprint PCS offered what they called Fair and Flexible plans. They were created as a response to Cingular's roll over minute plan.

Basically you had a set amount of anytime minutes, with unlimited nights and weekends, and data. Once you went over your anytime minutes, you "bought up" to the next bucket, in 100 minute / $5 allotments. This effectively reduced the per minute overage charge from $0.40 to $0.05, which made a lot of sense for users.

Now in 2015, Sprint could bring back Fair and Data Flexible, and offer cheaper data buckets if in fact unlimited were to go away someday.

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Thanks for the welcome replies. I'm very glad to be a member here now!

 

The fair and flexible plan, is that the plan Sprint use to advertise a lot with the assistant district attorney/detective-looking guy who went around talking with random people about it?

 

I remember how Sprint use to have so many of those commercials, and I definitely can see how bringing something like that back would be great, especially matching along with those kind of plans for data. Perhaps, and this would really shake things up in the industry, I think, a $15 per 3gb/5gb allotment, possibly based on a level of base monthly charge, something where a higher base charge could get people a lower per gb rate.

 

I liked the concept of the Framily plan too, even though I would have tweaked the implementation a bit. I've also noted some ideas about having a system where adding lines includes a certain number of gbs with the line, rather than adding lines to a plan with set number of gbs, as a way of encouraging/adding value to multiple line accounts. I find it really intriguing to do, and thinking of how it might be done in the future, along with all of the important technical stuff too.

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The only way I would voluntarily move to a metered 'bucket' is with a combination of

 

a) no overage charges (drop to slower/throttle use) + easy  to 'top off' or additional data on the fly *when I determine* (not auto-add data)

B) non-insane prices per gig (less than $5/gig)

c) 'carry over data', unused data rolls forward on a continuous basis

 

 

I wish google's forthcoming service would have encompassed some of these changes, but alas.

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The only way I would voluntarily move to a metered 'bucket' is with a combination of

 

a) no overage charges (drop to slower/throttle use) + easy  to 'top off' or additional data on the fly *when I determine* (not auto-add data)

B) non-insane prices per gig (less than $5/gig)

c) 'carry over data', unused data rolls forward on a continuous basis

 

 

I wish google's forthcoming service would have encompassed some of these changes, but alas.

I've wondered for a long time why Sprint has not done a and b. Boost and Virgin do the throttle thing, but nothing like that exists on postpaid. And I'm wondering when it will come down to price per gigabyte battles. I know a gigabyte can't really be assigned a "market value" since it's really the bandwidth that's valuable, but it would be nice if someone would drive the "value" of a gigabyte down. A system of "first 5 gigs are $5 each (or less), second are $7 each, third are $10 and so on" would probably work best to take this in to account.

 

Oh, and  :welcome: to OP. :)

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I don't think we will see much movement on price per gig until after VOLTE is ubiquitous and 3g has become extinct (as far as user experience).

 

At that point, everything is data, and with facebook moving hard into messaging/calls/videochat, along with google's hangouts/voice/video, and apples imessage/facetime, I think eventually carriers will be forced to offer data only packages.

 

Once the data only door has been opened, it's well and truly on the way for open competition regarding cost per gig.

 

I think only google currently has the best over the top strategy, what with google voice basically giving a free phone number for life, once they fully integrate messaging/calling/video into a seamless experience (like how apples imessage is seamless), then google will win the over the top war.

 

All other messaging systems seem to be based on email addresses and/or user names, but only phone numbers can provide the truly universal all-in-one contact. And only google (currently) is giving away phone numbers.

 

Regarding your increasing cost per gig, I would not like that. Data costs to the user should either remain constant/fixed, or get cheaper, not more expensive.

 

How would you like it if you had to pay more per gallon of water, or gasoline, the more you used ?

 

Perhaps this cost increase happens automatically at the macro level (ie supply & demand), however not very often will an individual user switch to higher cost tiers as they use more of something.

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I think the cost per gb ought to go down as more data is used, such as bulk pricing often is elsewhere. Along with this, a base price given could be cheaper for those using less, and more expensive for those using more, with the gb price being the opposite, cheaper gb price for those using more gb already paying a higher base price on service, this being done to offset costs from higher data usage onto the base price.

 

I really like unlimited plans and don't want to see them go away, though I believe they will and possibly soon, if all the talk about T-Mobile throttling users is true. Once T-Mobile stops it, Sprint will need to decide whether its worth it to offer a standout service plan, or fold with the rest to avoid being overridden by huge data users. Although I really don't want to be the one to judge which kind of usage is acceptable and which is too much, as networks will show that through how well they perform with that usage, therefore showing that toll on its own. However, if I were to give numbers of usage amounts I think are fine and those that are much, anything up to 60gb per month, spread out throughout though (certainly not huge gb usage at once), seems reasonable to me. Over 60gb per month is where perhaps companies could consider heavy usage, and over 90gb is where things really start to look like home internet replacement usage.

 

I will never say though that such and such usage is bad though, and if/when certain usage should be limited/cutoff, especially when a certain level of service has been promised/guaranteed. Though I'll agree that ultimately network abuse will show itself and be the one to judge usage when heavy usage impacts other users trying to be on the network, which clearly is a problem. Then of course the claim of network quality vs service promises often gets mentioned when the debate over usage amounts occurs. The price of a gb then comes into question of whether or not the value of it increases during heavier use, and will companies begin to charge higher data usage fees when network congestion occurs.

 

I'm curious if one day companies will develop software which shows customers on their devices, the current state of their network capacity locally and offers a various pricing based on when those customers connect to the network for data usage. Sort of like on the spot network analysis tracking giving customers information on the current state of network busyness, and then offering customers the option of choosing whether or not to connect, based on various gb rates offered at that moment, along with nearby towers that vary on level of usage and price to connect to those networks.

 

Of course such ideas make the whole concept of seamless connecting seem rather complicated, if it had to be done each and every time a customer connects. However, this software could have settings to where a customer pre selects a price point range acceptable to them for connecting and directs the software to automatically connect according to the customers preferences, and to disconnect when costs/speeds become unwanted based on those settings.

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Hi S4GRU readers and members!

Welcome! I see you're in Burr Ridge. I live down the street in Willowbrook. The Internet is a small place sometimes. You should join the discussion over in the Chicago thread. We have several, but you can find our general discussion here:

http://www.s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/1084-Network-Vision-LTE---Chicago-Market

 

There is nearly 3 years of discussion there. You will see the transition from the beginning of network vision, to becoming one of Sprint's best markets. We have a good group there of knowledgable and observant members from all corners of the market. If you have any Chicago market specific questions, feel free to ask us.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone 6+

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I loved the old fair and flexible plans. They were one of our first enticements to "un-limit" mobile phone usage without devastating consequences.

 

Until the per GB price is $1 or less, I'm convinced that the word "unlimited data" will always be used by a mobile network carrier in the US... to what degree of speed is the $$$ question. Under the current regulatory environment, as the carriers build faster networks, we could easily see the more advanced devices released with specific rate plan requirements, akin to what Sprint did years ago with better phones. Basic high speed access will become cheaper, but the carriers will figure out how to make us pay more for what is considered premium.

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Thanks for the welcome replies. I'm very glad to be a member here now!

 

The fair and flexible plan, is that the plan Sprint use to advertise a lot with the assistant district attorney/detective-looking guy who went around talking with random people about it?

 

I remember how Sprint use to have so many of those commercials, and I definitely can see how bringing something like that back would be great, especially matching along with those kind of plans for data. Perhaps, and this would really shake things up in the industry, I think, a $15 per 3gb/5gb allotment, possibly based on a level of base monthly charge, something where a higher base charge could get people a lower per gb rate.

 

I liked the concept of the Framily plan too, even though I would have tweaked the implementation a bit. I've also noted some ideas about having a system where adding lines includes a certain number of gbs with the line, rather than adding lines to a plan with set number of gbs, as a way of encouraging/adding value to multiple line accounts. I find it really intriguing to do, and thinking of how it might be done in the future, along with all of the important technical stuff too.

 

Yes, the infamous trenchcoat guy. Sprint PCS had some awesome commercials back in the day to be honest.

 

I think it would be a creative way to bring about metered data, since there would be no overage charge, just moving into a cheaper bucket as needed. There would be no need for carryover data since it's a one-time overage.

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I loved the old fair and flexible plans. They were one of our first enticements to "un-limit" mobile phone usage without devastating consequences.

 

Until the per GB price is $1 or less, I'm convinced that the word "unlimited data" will always be used by a mobile network carrier in the US... to what degree of speed is the $$$ question. Under the current regulatory environment, as the carriers build faster networks, we could easily see the more advanced devices released with specific rate plan requirements, akin to what Sprint did years ago with better phones. Basic high speed access will become cheaper, but the carriers will figure out how to make us pay more for what is considered premium.

 

Yep, I remember when they were first announced, and I had to explain the plans to customers. The example I used when comparing to Cingular was simply "Why pay for extra airtime minutes you're never going to use? The fact that you're rolling over minutes means you're paying for a higher plan to begin with."

 

That logic worked so well :D

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The only way I would voluntarily move to a metered 'bucket' is with a combination of

 

a) no overage charges (drop to slower/throttle use) + easy  to 'top off' or additional data on the fly *when I determine* (not auto-add data)

B) non-insane prices per gig (less than $5/gig)

c) 'carry over data', unused data rolls forward on a continuous basis

 

 

I wish google's forthcoming service would have encompassed some of these changes, but alas.

 

The proposed "Fair and Flexible Data" would eliminate overages, you would just be moved into a cheaper bucket, and $5 per GB is actually pretty reasonable. Rolling over data would be pointless if you had buckets of data you would move into as needed. 

 

Say your base plan included 5GB of data, with $5/1GB data buckets. One month you went over the 5GB, you paid $5 more. The other month you used less, and didn't pay the $5. It's simple to explain and sell.

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Price going down as more GB's are consumed won't happen. That encourages more and more use, which networks cannot sustain. If anything, cost per GB will go up once you cross the threshold of causing the need in capex growth. To be a deterrent and pay for the additional upgrades your usage will require.

 

Price going down as your usage increases is something you do with a commodity. Something that has fixed capacity, the prices go up, not down. Like my electric and water utility charges more for higher usage, not less. However, Spacely Sprockets will charge me less for each buying 100 sprockets than one. And probably even less for 1000. Because Spacely's cost per sprocket does not change.

 

However, in the wireless world, sites only have so many GB's to give, and encouraging more usage raises the cost for the provider. Because they will have to add more equipment, possibly purchase more spectrum, add offload to pico cells or possibly cell split via additional macro sites. And since they would be offering reduced costs across the nation for more GB's, they would be doing this in every corner of every large city and every town in the nation. It would cause capex to explode overnight. It's just never going to happen that way in wireless. It's just a whole different animal.

 

The best you can get from a wireless company per GB is a flat rate. I can't ever imagine a wireless company charging less for additional GB's making it cheaper and cheaper the more you consume.

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

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Welcome! I see you're in Burr Ridge. I live down the street in Willowbrook. The Internet is a small place sometimes. You should join the discussion over in the Chicago thread. We have several, but you can find our general discussion here:

http://www.s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/1084-Network-Vision-LTE---Chicago-Market

 

There is nearly 3 years of discussion there. You will see the transition from the beginning of network vision, to becoming one of Sprint's best markets. We have a good group there of knowledgable and observant members from all corners of the market. If you have any Chicago market specific questions, feel free to ask us.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone 6+

 

 

Thank you very much! I considered posting my first thread on the Chicago Market thread, until I realized my post was more about unlimited data and pricing than it was regarding local experience (currently still only about MetroPCS), though I've ended up mentioning my wireless experiences around here quite a bit since then (again MetroPCS, which I'm glad to soon be gone from), which I'm sure I'll have use of that thread more now that I'll be a part of the growing Sprint network experience here in Chicago. My Nexus 6 arrives today with the service, and I'm very excited to get everything setup on it!

 

 

Yes, the infamous trenchcoat guy. Sprint PCS had some awesome commercials back in the day to be honest.

 

I think it would be a creative way to bring about metered data, since there would be no overage charge, just moving into a cheaper bucket as needed. There would be no need for carryover data since it's a one-time overage.

 

 

I've been thinking more about how pricing might be in a future without Unlimited Data plans, as I seem to be more convinced of that happening sooner rather than later, considering all the news stories about it lately. Of course, I don't want it to go away and I know how important it is to many people, including myself. Robert makes very valid points regarding companies' practice of charging more per GB, which makes it a real concern not just for people who "abuse" or "highly use" the unlimited data, but even for those who use around 15gb-30gb per month, as prices for those current gb data plans are quite a bit more expensive to very much more expensive than current unlimited plans.

 

My thinking though, call it "hope" if you'd like, is that companies will realize people cutting back so much on their data, they start losing money from the loss of unlimited plans from people who just refuse to spend much on data to the point where they spend a lot less than they did on it. If this does happen, which has some chance of, especially if other companies like Republic Wireless and Google, etc. keep coming up with innovative ways to connect cheaper and allow for more data use (Google will definitely have to be charging less than $10 per gb for this to happen), then possibly the carrier companies will need to lower gb rates and find innovative ways to get unlimited data users back (those who use more data, but don't use excessively).

 

Having a fair & flexible data situation, is a great idea, especially for Sprint when/if they decide to stop offering unlimited data. I was thinking that at first, before any possible lower gb data costs happen, a good start to this might be say, $55 per month for 5gb, of data, then have a scale of $15 per 5gb after that. it would make, for example, 10gb $70, 15gb $85, 20gb $100, etc., which the latter is in line with the current family share plan. I don't think Sprint will get rid of unlimited data until T-Mobile does, which I think mean people will flock to Sprint and then Sprint might be inclined to do this before having any problem with excessive users, or might do the fair & flexible data idea to prevent it, which also could indicate they find a happy medium right away and satisfy everyone. If that happens, and a big if, because companies will naturally want to keep the data more expensive, but dependent these other factors, I'm curious if we might not see something akin of 30gb around $90 to $100 as a good balance point of data and price. Again, I'm basing this on the idea of 30gb data being the ceiling of this.

 

Well, just some ideas I've been pondering while waiting for my shipment to arrive today from Sprint. I've got to say they were very fast at this, and great to deal with getting my number ported, etc.

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Price going down as more GB's are consumed won't happen. That encourages more and more use, which networks cannot sustain. If anything, cost per GB will go up once you cross the threshold of causing the need in capex growth. To be a deterrent and pay for the additional upgrades your usage will require.

 

Price going down as your usage increases is something you do with a commodity. Something that has fixed capacity, the prices go up, not down. Like my electric and water utility charges more for higher usage, not less. However, Spacely Sprockets will charge me less for each buying 100 sprockets than one. And probably even less for 1000. Because Spacely's cost per sprocket does not change.

 

However, in the wireless world, sites only have so many GB's to give, and encouraging more usage raises the cost for the provider. Because they will have to add more equipment, possibly purchase more spectrum, add offload to pico cells or possibly cell split via additional macro sites. And since they would be offering reduced costs across the nation for more GB's, they would be doing this in every corner of every large city and every town in the nation. It would cause capex to explode overnight. It's just never going to happen that way in wireless. It's just a whole different animal.

 

The best you can get from a wireless company per GB is a flat rate. I can't ever imagine a wireless company charging less for additional GB's making it cheaper and cheaper the more you consume.

 

Using Moto X² on Tapatalk

 

You're right Rob, but you know, as an employee, I have to hug my diamond logo stuff :)

 

I think we will see a shift in data access soon enough. Once networks mature and coverage becomes more ubiquitous, we will see automatic WiFi handoff, etc. 

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I was reading another thread here on S4GRU just a moment ago, and decided to quickly come over here to this thread and post something I thought of when also viewing a website for a business the other thread referred to, something I hadn't heard of before, ntelos wireless.

 

I noticed there plans separate the service items, sort of how Sprint does for its Employee Referral Plus plans, which is how I got onto Sprint the other day with its Unlimited My Way Plan. BTW, I'll have a review of my Sprint service either Monday or Tuesday, as I'm having difficulty getting MetroPCS to properly port my telephone number to Sprint, something which ought to be simple, though by no means is this Sprint's fault. MetroPCS has a duty to get this done well.

 

Anyways back on topic, the ntelos plans gave me an idea... Sprint could decide to separate unlimited minutes from the data, in making such per gb plans cheaper, though I think that wouldn't be around long once VOLTE is at mass establishment. Perhaps then there would be a way to charge voice calling within data use, giving a choice for users to make calls using data, not having to pay for unlimited calling, unless I'm just overlooking the situation of voice calling being so cheap now it just doesn't matter anymore.

 

I'm going over an idea I have about this, and will post it here within a few days. Although I'm still hoping unlimited sticks around long enough it will be embraced more than it is currently, considering all the news about it lately.

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Sprint could decide to separate unlimited minutes from the data, in making such per gb plans cheaper, though I think that wouldn't be around long once VOLTE is at mass establishment. Perhaps then there would be a way to charge voice calling within data use, giving a choice for users to make calls using data, not having to pay for unlimited calling, unless I'm just overlooking the situation of voice calling being so cheap now it just doesn't matter anymore.

 

The FCC classifies VoLTE as a voice service.  As such, it will not be counted as data usage.  VoLTE will be metered or unlimited -- just like all current and previous calling plans.

 

AJ

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Thank you, AJ.

 

I was unsure if there was a difference or not between them, and if it could be counted separately. Although it does make me think there is moire likelihood that unlimited will go away in favor of data, so there is more control over data. Then today from reading around online, seems more people are open to the idea, if there also is an option of varied speed choices in data packages, which I'd definitely support.

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Thanks for the suggestions yesterday on the issue I had with the device. I just posted an update to the Nexus 6 post/service situation on the thread in the Smartphone section. Sprint was very helpful in getting it resolved, once my mother got through to the right department who switched her to someone at corporate, as the issue with Sprint was more of a communication issue my mother was having, besides the main issue with the device, Nexus 6. The porting issue also is resolved.

 

Anyways, the main reason I'm starting this thread, as I'm excited for Monday when I get started officially with the new device and service (thats when I'm going to the store for a device swap), is I am working on a solution to the congestion issue, but I have a few questions about it first, then I will use this thread to post a plan about it later. I intend to post a rate plan here, but not only that, but a technical plan as well, which is why I'm starting a new thread, rather than continuing in the thread I made about plan ideas. I'm curious about ideas S4GRU members have for solutions to congestion issues, as I've read some on other sites, but I trust the information I read here even more.

 

One example of trust, was in my having read wrong information pertaining to T-Mobile's ability to have a wideband network here in Chicago on another site, where it was more detailed in describing how it can be possible here in Chicago from reading both S4GRU and T4GRU. 
Accurate information is really important, so I'm learning to ask here before posting information I've read on other sites without some sort of verification from here as well.

 

So, I'll start by asking about Wideband. Is wideband a solution to congestion, and how much different is is than just the normal spectrum mhz, example of T-Mobile's soon to be 15x15 AWS network. What I'm wondering is how T-Mobile's ability to have a wideband network with that spectrum is any different than just saying they have 15x15. I've heard Sprint is going to have a wideband network here in the Chicago market, though with the different spectrum bands, how is that going to be implemented, in comparison say to T-Mobile's implementation. I realize Sprint has more spectrum than T-Mobile, though it is more wide range spectrum variety, which is curious to me how T-Mobile or any other company's network could/couldn't have wideband with less spectrum.

 

I'll post my ideas regarding solution possibilities later... 

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Anyways, the main reason I'm starting this thread, as I'm excited for Monday when I get started officially with the new device and service (thats when I'm going to the store for a device swap), is I am working on a solution to the congestion issue.

If I remember correctly, in that previous thread you never experienced any congestion issues, you experienced coverage issues. (You claimed your data was fast when you had it, which typically means your area was not congested in any noticeable way. You said you lost data service when entering buildings and/or driving around town -- which would point to coverage issues.)

 

If that's what your still talking about (data's consistently fast, but your loosing it, it's not always available), you'll probably want to use the word *coverage* to refer to that, since what you've described is not congestion.

 

So, I'll start by asking about Wideband. Is wideband a solution to congestion, and how much different is is than just the normal spectrum mhz, example of T-Mobile's soon to be 15x15 AWS network.

It *could* be. It depends ;)

 

LTE is deployed in blocks of spectrum. Usually it's paired into separate up and down channels. (Called "FDD" because it's divided by frequency). For example, Sprint usually runs 5x5 LTE on PCS spectrum in most markets. (That's 5mhz of download, 5mhz of upload).

 

Wider channels offer more data bandwidth. So, if *all* other things are equal, 10x10 LTE is roughly double the bandwidth of 5x5 LTE. And if the number of users stay the same, and their data usage stays the same, and the backhaul is sufficient, then you could experience close-to-double the download speeds.

 

However, in the real world, all other things are *never* equal. Each carrier has different bands, different placement, different backhaul, etc. (Which is why "it depends").

 

"Wideband" as T-Mobile uses it, is just a marketing term for 15x15 LTE (or greater, presumably).

 

In theory, if an area is "congested" (that is, if users are experiencing less-than-2mbps of data speeds), then using more spectrum is one way to help increase those data speeds (assuming there's enough backhaul to support them).

 

There's lots of ways to increase users data speeds. Wider channels is the cheapest / easiest method, but also the least efficient (since spectrum is a limited resource, but nothing else is at the moment).

 

Other ways to help that (in my slightly-biased opinion, *better* ways to help that) is to increase site density. You can "split" cell sites (that is, put more sites in the same already-covered area). This divides the number of active users across more cell towers. This can be done almost-infinitely. However, it's takes more time / effort, and occasionally, more money. Which is why nearly every carrier would prefer to just use more spectrum.

 

In some cases, T-Mobile has already done this work. They advertise this effort as "Data Strong". You'll also hear people talk about "Small Cells" -- that's work to achieve the same effect. There are differences (tight macro network, vs dense 'small cell' network, but in general they're both attempts to do the same basic plan. Improve performance by covering people with more unique sectors, less people per sector.

 

Data speeds are only as fast as the slowest metric. So, sometimes spectrum has nothing to do with it, and backhaul is the problem (the internet supplying the cell tower). Sometimes, neither spectrum nor backhaul is the problem, sometimes the cell sites / cell towers are too large or far apart.

 

"congestion" (as in slow data) can be entirely different causes on literally a street-by-street, block-by-block basis. Coverage problems can also have different causes on the same block-by-block basis, although it's usually slightly simpler (since backhaul doesn't effect coverage)

 

What I'm wondering is how T-Mobile's ability to have a wideband network with that spectrum is any different than just saying they have 15x15.

It's really not. "Wideband" is being used as a marketing term for 15x15mhz (or greater?). Just like "Spark" is a marketing term for 20mhz TDD LTE (1 or more of them).

 

I've heard Sprint is going to have a wideband network here in the Chicago market, though with the different spectrum bands, how is that going to be implemented, in comparison say to T-Mobile's implementation.

They already do. The Sprint "Spark" 2.5ghz LTE service is fairly similar to "Wideband" T-Mobile LTE in terms of data performance. The main difference is slightly different spectrum (1700/2100mhz for T-Mobile, 2500/2600mhz for Sprint) and slightly different channel sizes (T-Mobile uses 15x15mhz FDD. Sprint's EBS/BRS spectrum isn't paired that way, so it's a single 20mhz channel (or multiple of them) that carries both upload and download.

 

Someone will yell at me for saying this because it's not really accurate (and I'm aware of this), but simply for a *super-rough* comparison, you can think of Sprint's EBS/BRS LTE as kind-of like a hypothetical "14x6 LTE" service. Again, that's actually *not* how it works (it's split by Time, not by Frequency and it's not locked like that, they could allocate more to download or upload as needed), and some people might argue about the (again, hypothetical) allocation (12x8? 13x7?) but in the interest of not making this post two paragraphs even longer by writing about TDD vs FDD LTE, that's a simple *hyper rough* approximation of how it compares, until you want to dive into the details.

 

The other significant difference is that T-Mobile has just one carrier of their "Wideband" LTE -- they usually can't deploy more than 15 or 20x20mhz of AWS LTE in a market, that's all the AWS spectrum they own to use in many markets.

 

Where as Sprint can run 2 or 3 different 20mhz blocks simeltaneously in many markets. So, if you are measuring *total* bandwidth, maybe T-Mobile's sitting at 15x15 X 1 in Chicago, but Sprint could be at something like "14x6 X 3" or "42x18 X 1" of *total* capacity.

 

(I don't remember Sprint's exact spectrum holdings in Chicago. But from my hazy memory, I believe they could run 3 LTE carriers once WiMax is shut down. If that's wrong, I'm sure someone will correct it in a response below).

 

Note that, until Carrier Aggregation becomes live and common, you cant' actually use all that capacity at once. You'll only be on one 20mhz carrier at a time, even if there are two or three of them live. But people can be spread out amongst them evenly to load balance. And eventually with Carrier Aggregation, people could use all of them at once.

 

 

I realize Sprint has more spectrum than T-Mobile, though it is more wide range spectrum variety, which is curious to me how T-Mobile or any other company's network could/couldn't have wideband with less spectrum.

Anybody with enough spectrum can have "Wideband". By T-Mobile's definition, it' just means your using 30mhz of spectrum or more. Verizon's "XLTE" is greater-than-"Wideband" in many markets (where they run 20x20mhz LTE in AWS).

 

I could say I'm writing this from my 5ghz "Wideband WiFi" network, it would be just as accurate as T-Mobile's use of that term ;)

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Thank you, maxsilver, for all of the detailed information!

 

I didn't mean congestion issues from my own experience, but rather my perspective of how I'd resolve congestion issues within wireless networks myself, if I had any sort of power to do so, based on my ideas/solutions. I haven't figured that out yet, but I do have some ideas for it that could later combine with other ideas I want to present here soon, and see if those ideas are supported or not by others here as real, workable solutions to congestion problems.

 

Hearing about what wideband really is, is a big help! I was under the impression before that it was some sort of network enhancement requiring a certain amount of mhz spectrum amount, in order to implement.There are so many marketing terms going around in wireless, that it always is nice to be able to read the truth to what all of this really means technically. It reminds me of when I finally learned about CDMA vs GSM back in the day.

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(I don't remember Sprint's exact spectrum holdings in Chicago. But from my hazy memory, I believe they could run 3 LTE carriers once WiMax is shut down. If that's wrong, I'm sure someone will correct it in a response below).

 

In many major markets, Sprint holds up to 120MHz of B41 spectrum. 3 carriers is just the short term (next 1-1.5 years) plan.

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