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I figure it's time to pull some discussions out of the megathread and report by region, and starting at a state/region level seems like a reasonable way to do that. I'll start.

In north-central Austin, n71 is available, with B66 as the anchor. 15 MHz of n71 + 10 MHz of B66. I saw 50/20 on it last night, but generally speeds seem to be a good bit slower.

Guessing the n71 site covers more ground than it should, and T-Mobile won't fix that because doing so could reduce coverage, and they'll be bringing n41 online soon enough, which will take a ton of load off since Sprint's B41 coverage is pretty solid at this point. Speaking of B41, for downloads locking my phone to B41 is definitely the best option, though latency is maybe 15ms higher than B66.

They're definitely using DSS on band 71 too; just got a bandwidth reading of 15 MHz from *#0011# in LTE-only mode.

I need to do some more testing, but seems like B66 can be faster without n71 than with it.

EDIT: See the reply re: n71 + b71 both being at 15 MHz. Wow.

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57 minutes ago, iansltx said:

I figure it's time to pull some discussions out of the megathread and report by region, and starting at a state/region level seems like a reasonable way to do that. I'll start.

In north-central Austin, n71 is available, with B66 as the anchor. 15 MHz of n71 + 10 MHz of B66. I saw 50/20 on it last night, but generally speeds seem to be a good bit slower.

Guessing the n71 site covers more ground than it should, and T-Mobile won't fix that because doing so could reduce coverage, and they'll be bringing n41 online soon enough, which will take a ton of load off since Sprint's B41 coverage is pretty solid at this point. Speaking of B41, for downloads locking my phone to B41 is definitely the best option, though latency is maybe 15ms higher than B66.

They're definitely using DSS on band 71 too; just got a bandwidth reading of 15 MHz from *#0011# in LTE-only mode.

I need to do some more testing, but seems like B66 can be faster without n71 than with it.

They are not using DSS, they have 15x15 running on LTE, and 15x15 running on NR. They have access to nearly the entire 600MHz block due to Covid right now. The same is in Houston, 15x15 LTE and 15x15 NR.

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  • 4 weeks later...

T-Mobile network performance on their standard preferred bands seems to be getting worse here, despite not losing any 600 spectrum yet. Sprint is holding up nicely, so I have my phone set to only connect to 25/26/41 for the time being. B71 seems to be a bit better if I lock onto it.

I'll be heading down 35 on Friday, through San Antonio, and out west of there for a few days. Where I'll be is in a fringe area for NR by the looks of it, though it has strong Sprint coverage. It'll be my first real test of a mostly-unloaded NR network once I get past San Antonio, so it'll be interesting to see if service is good enough to not lock onto Sprint for most of the trip.

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2 hours ago, iansltx said:

T-Mobile network performance on their standard preferred bands seems to be getting worse here, despite not losing any 600 spectrum yet. Sprint is holding up nicely, so I have my phone set to only connect to 25/26/41 for the time being. B71 seems to be a bit better if I lock onto it.

I'll be heading down 35 on Friday, through San Antonio, and out west of there for a few days. Where I'll be is in a fringe area for NR by the looks of it, though it has strong Sprint coverage. It'll be my first real test of a mostly-unloaded NR network once I get past San Antonio, so it'll be interesting to see if service is good enough to not lock onto Sprint for most of the trip.

Both carriers are pretty subpar out in the hill country when compared to At&t. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sprint have native coverage between San Marcos and Wimberley. It's definitely way better than T-Mobile and it's dead zones (even though T-Mobile claims to cover that area as well).

It will be interesting to see if TMUS keeps Sprint towers in that entire region. They have the better network out there, even though TMUS claims to have bigger coverage out there.

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5 minutes ago, greenbastard said:

Both carriers are pretty subpar out in the hill country when compared to At&t. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sprint have native coverage between San Marcos and Wimberley. It's definitely way better than T-Mobile and it's dead zones (even though T-Mobile claims to cover that area as well).

It will be interesting to see if TMUS keeps Sprint towers in that entire region. They have the better network out there, even though TMUS claims to have bigger coverage out there.

I have family in Fredericksburg and Kerrville. T-Mobile having anything beyond 2G is a relatively recent occurrence, and they skipped directly from 2G to LTE on PCS when heading out to Fredericksburg. Sprint was actually the first provider with both EvDO (definitely by early 2007) and LTE (late 2012 I think?) in Fredericksburg, and they've had B41 on their central tower there for awhile.

Sprint has had coverage along 290 between Austin and Fredericksburg, and even west of there, for quite awhile, and as I recall B26 has made that coverage more continuous vs. dropping to EvDO/1x.

I noticed my phone roaming on T-Mobile at the beginning of May while at the top of Enchanted Rock, so obviously stuff's improving, but TMo service was *rough* the last time I tried it closer to town.

Wouldn't be surprised if Sprint and TMo used the same core towers in that area. But Sprint definitely got there first...at least for anything more than GSM.

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The tower just west of Johnson City has only been broadcasting b25 and b26 for two or three months. The 41 is gone. I've put in multiple tickets, and still nothing. So Sprint service in this area has gotten crappy.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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Completely different story on Hwy 71. Once you cross Hwy 281, it's all 1x roaming for Sprint until you hit San Angelo (I'm sure that has changed now with T-Mobile roaming).

Another weak area for both carriers are the back roads around Canyon Lake. IIRC, Sprint and T-Mobile didn't have any native signal out near Canyon Lake HS (which is a school that services the huge region). Considering the demographics of the region, I'm not surprised. The area is too affluent, very rural-ish, and a topographical nightmare to properly cover. 

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Party's over for loaned spectrum in Austin. NR is down to 10x10 and LTE is down to 5x5 in band 71.

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17 hours ago, iansltx said:

Party's over for loaned spectrum in Austin. NR is down to 10x10 and LTE is down to 5x5 in band 71.

Partly the same in Houston. T-Mobile has vacated Dish's spectrum. LTE last night was at 15x15 (all leased spectrum; 10x10 Mhz Columbia + 5x5 Mhz Dish spectrum). Today, only Columbia's 10x10 spectrum is being used.

As far as NR, I'm not sure if leases are still active (or if they ever were) since I don't have a 5G Phone. T-Mobile's spectrum (10x10 MHz) was located between Comcast (5x5 MHz) and Bluewater (5x5 MHz) spectrum. Both of those companies loaned T-Mobile spectrum during the pandemic. I'm just not sure the terms of those leases. 

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I spent Friday evening through Sunday morning in an area with 20 MHz of T-Mobile spectrum deployed: 10x10 of B71, 10x10 of B2. Confirmed when driving back from there (Brackettville) that T-Mobile puts Sprint's network ahead of B71 priority-wise. Also confirmed that AT&T is running MFBI on their sites (PCS -> B25, CLR -> B26) to facilitate Sprint roaming; on US 90 west of Uvalde both T-Mobile and Sprint were nonexistent for maybe ten miles. In Uvalde, T-Mobile B2 was weak and overloaded, while Sprint had B41 there.

For those wondering what this has to do with NR, the tower east of Brackettville has it, so maybe ten minutes outside Brackettville I was sitting on B2 + n71. At that point, I was seeing 15 MHz of n71 + 10 MHz of B71. I got a number of decent speedtests along that route, in contrast to basically everything east of NW San Antonio on 410, where n71 is overloaded and even throwing 20 MHz of B66, among other things, at customers still isn't enough to keep the network fast. But in those same areas B41 was solid, with the usual 70-100 Mbps speeds, so all TMo needs to do is throw n41 on those same sites and they'll be set.

While coming back this morning I got my best upload speed test ever on mobile:https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/6228326864. I want to say this was on 10 MHz of n71, plus 20 MHz of B66 and maybe some B2 in there. This was on 410 just west of where it intersects with I-10 north of town. Yes, I double-checked to make sure I hadn't found an n41 tower, but if I had download speeds would've been higher anyway.

I may post more updaets later. Chewed up plenty of data running speedtests while riding shotgun. It's great seeing how an unloaded network performs, even on relatively narrow channels...which is something I can't really experience here in town.

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Writing this from a few miles west of Fredericksburg, where my phone defaults to 5 MHz of B2 unless I flat-out block that band. No idea why, as B2 performance is can't-run-a-speedtest poor here. B66 is fine, with something like 15x15 spread over a few channels, though upload speeds are poor. NR is hit-or-miss (mostly miss); I'm not seeing more than ~-110 RSRP on B71 so that cell site is apparently nowhere near here. Thing is, since that spectrum is so quiet, I can still pull 20-35 Mbps down on that band (10x10), though of course upload speeds are poor.

On the way here, I hit my highest-ever NR download speed: 201 Mbps, just north of where 290 WB merges into 281 for a bit. Uploads are low (~4 Mbps) and jitter was high, and I believe that was on 15 MHz of n71 plus >= 25 MHz of CA'd LTE (2+12+66 I think) but still impressive. I hit 179/22.7 right before.

Basically as soon as we hit the Belterra shopping area west of Austin, the network went from being capacity constrained to...not. NR wasn't available for most of the trip, but LTE turned in some solid speeds (70/10) on T-Mobile.

There was a point along the way where there was a near-complete dead zone...no Sprint, T-Mobile, or even AT&T roaming. I *might* have had 1x the entire time, but I think that even that dropped for about a half-mile. Sprint B26, then B25, were the first to come back, with T-Mobile B2 a mile or two later. If T-Mo put 600 wherever that Sprint site is on the west side of that dead zone, pretty sure there would be no more dead zone.

As an aside, B12 lower-A/B are owned by West Central Wireless near Fredericksburg, so T-Mobile doesn't have B12 here, only B71 and mid-and.

In contrast to T-Mobile's performance, Sprint had usable B41 most of the way, though there were points where my phone dipped to B25/26 if I didn't force 41. Actually got the fastest B41 download speeds I've seen on my phone around Deep Eddy, at 196/4 and 179/5. I think this was even on a MiniMacro rather than a full cell site.

Finally, yesterday east of Pflugerville (east of Lake Pflugerville) I hit 86.7/46.6 on 10 MHz of n71. Yes, some of that was CA, and yes, that's in a sweet spot where you're at the edge of urban cell spacing but are on a sector pointed out into the countryside, but I'll take it. By contrast, Sprint's MiniMacro had poor service there.

EDIT: Pretty sure I found the NR site SE of Fredericksburg. After setting my phone to 4+66+71+n71 I was seeing speeds topping out at 100 Mbps down, 15 Mbps up. Should've tried with NR disabled but didn't think to.

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Any area where West Central Wireless owns spectrum will be an area were T-Mobile is severely spectrum constrained. I wouldn't recommend anyone touch T-Mobile if they plan to live in San Angelo.

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15 hours ago, greenbastard said:

Any area where West Central Wireless owns spectrum will be an area were T-Mobile is severely spectrum constrained. I wouldn't recommend anyone touch T-Mobile if they plan to live in San Angelo.

At least here, TMo has enough for 15x15 NR and 10x10 LTE, but WCW's 600 licenses start almost immediately west/northwest of here (they have 10x10 IIRC). WCW has 10x10 of 700 plus CLR-B here, but no AWS or PCS, so T-Mobile not having any spectrum to play with here on mid-band and 600 isn't WCW's fault.

The fault lies squarely with AT&T for that...thanks to acquisitions of CricKet (who acquired Pocket Communications earlier) and Cellular One/Dobson (who bought CellOne/Dobson earlier), they have 5x5 of B12, 2x10x10 of AWS, CLR-A, and 10x10 + 2x5x5 of PCS. Verizon has 15x15 of PCS and 10x10 of AWS (plus their nationwide 700 upper-C). T-Mobile has 10x10 of PCS and 10x10 + 5x5 of AWS alone, plus 15x15 of PCS A-F, but there's no contiguity with TMo unless they did some sort of swap with AT&T, which I doubt would happen.

In San Angelo on the other hand, yep, WCW has a whopping 20x20 of AWS, leaving AT&T with 10x10 and T-Mobile with 10x10 of B66...and a mere 5x5 of PCS, with a graveyard of a couple providers (Flat Wireless/ClearTalk, Leaco/NMobile) sitting in PCS and AWS in addition to WCW taking 7.5 MHz of PCS...and Verizon taking 20x20. Sprint has its usual 15x15 + 5x5 though, so eventually T-Mobile won't be quite as bad. Oh, and VZW and WCW split CLR.

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From that site on Monday. That brings the total of 2.5GHz currently deployed to 160MHz here (60MHz Sprint LTE, 40MHz T-Mobile LTE, 60MHz T-Mobile NR.)

The N41 carrier was bringing in 300-350mbps download in great signal conditions, which is short of the 900 or so it's capable of. However, this could simply be a lack of backhaul at the site. The site kept my phone on a lone 5x5 B66 carrier for the LTE anchor (there is also a 20x20MHz LTE carrier deployed).

Screenshot_20200708-181707[1].jpgScreenshot_20200708-181320[1].jpg

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1 hour ago, Yuhfhrh said:

From that site on Monday. That brings the total of 2.5GHz currently deployed to 160MHz here (60MHz Sprint LTE, 40MHz T-Mobile LTE, 60MHz T-Mobile NR.)

I don't have a Sprint phone to check, but does this mean Sprint Small Cells are no longer operational? IIRC, 160 Mhz was all the EBS/BRS spectrum Sprint owned in Houston. (I remember reading they owned or had leases for the entire EBS/BRS Band, but I don't feel like searching the FCC site to verify this.)

Not turning off the small cells using LTE UE Relay for backhaul (which is all of them AFAIK) could create issues if all Sprint owned in Houston was 160 Mhz.

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22 minutes ago, greenbastard said:

I don't have a Sprint phone to check, but does this mean Sprint Small Cells are no longer operational? IIRC, 160 Mhz was all the EBS/BRS spectrum Sprint owned in Houston. (I remember reading they owned or had leases for the entire EBS/BRS Band, but I don't feel like searching the FCC site to verify this.)

Not turning off the small cells using LTE UE Relay for backhaul (which is all of them AFAIK) could create issues if all Sprint owned in Houston was 160 Mhz.

This is in fort bend county, they have the entire 196MHz there.

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On 7/6/2020 at 4:07 AM, iansltx said:

At least here, TMo has enough for 15x15 NR and 10x10 LTE, but WCW's 600 licenses start almost immediately west/northwest of here (they have 10x10 IIRC). WCW has 10x10 of 700 plus CLR-B here, but no AWS or PCS, so T-Mobile not having any spectrum to play with here on mid-band and 600 isn't WCW's fault.

The fault lies squarely with AT&T for that...thanks to acquisitions of CricKet (who acquired Pocket Communications earlier) and Cellular One/Dobson (who bought CellOne/Dobson earlier), they have 5x5 of B12, 2x10x10 of AWS, CLR-A, and 10x10 + 2x5x5 of PCS. Verizon has 15x15 of PCS and 10x10 of AWS (plus their nationwide 700 upper-C). T-Mobile has 10x10 of PCS and 10x10 + 5x5 of AWS alone, plus 15x15 of PCS A-F, but there's no contiguity with TMo unless they did some sort of swap with AT&T, which I doubt would happen.

In San Angelo on the other hand, yep, WCW has a whopping 20x20 of AWS, leaving AT&T with 10x10 and T-Mobile with 10x10 of B66...and a mere 5x5 of PCS, with a graveyard of a couple providers (Flat Wireless/ClearTalk, Leaco/NMobile) sitting in PCS and AWS in addition to WCW taking 7.5 MHz of PCS...and Verizon taking 20x20. Sprint has its usual 15x15 + 5x5 though, so eventually T-Mobile won't be quite as bad. Oh, and VZW and WCW split CLR.

If att has 3 different non contiguous carriers it's possible they would swap

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18 hours ago, Tengen31 said:

If att has 3 different non contiguous carriers it's possible they would swap

So here's my crazy prediction: 

 

I believe they'll wait that long to ensure that basically all of AT&T's customers will have phones capable of doing LTE in CLR, and WCW's customers will all be VoLTE capable. In addition to the obvious "acquire one company at a time" thing, even though WCW is tiny in comparison with Sprint.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The nearest 5G tower to me seems to be bandwidth constrained. Couldn't hit more than 25 Mbps on it with an NR signal in the mid -60s. No way is that site that congested at midnight-ish.

On the LTE side, just went through various band combos and realized that T-Mobile doesn't own any AWS-3 here I guess. Wish there was an easy way to check but the FCC Spectrum Dashboard doesn't include AWS-3. What TMo calls B66 here via MFBI is actually two 10x10 carriers in AWS-1...and if you aggregate with NR you only get one of 'em. Or B2 if you're unlocky...at least around here B2 is quite the congested 10x10 slice.

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27 minutes ago, iansltx said:

On the LTE side, just went through various band combos and realized that T-Mobile doesn't own any AWS-3 here I guess. 

In Austin? I think they own a 5x5 block. T-Mobile just hasn't gotten around to widely deploying it in Texas. They were getting around to it on some 600 Mhz upgrades, but not all of them.

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48 minutes ago, greenbastard said:

In Austin? I think they own a 5x5 block. T-Mobile just hasn't gotten around to widely deploying it in Texas. They were getting around to it on some 600 Mhz upgrades, but not all of them.

Interesting. I'll swing by the lone 600 site near me and see if I can catch AWS-3 there.

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11 hours ago, iansltx said:

Interesting. I'll swing by the lone 600 site near me and see if I can catch AWS-3 there.

If the only upgrade was swapping the B12 panel for the B12/B71 panel, then it's likely they didn't add AWS-3 (or at least that's what has been happening in Houston and South Texas). The only site around me that I know has AWS-3 is a site that had to be downsized due to space and weight limitations (it shares the tower with AT&T, which already has 4x4 lowband equipment). I haven't found it anywhere else, but then again I'm not actively looking for it.

I haven't checked to see if the new FDD massive mimo equipment is being set up to broadcast AWS-3 spectrum. They've going up around Houston since the Fall of 2019. 

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11 hours ago, greenbastard said:

If the only upgrade was swapping the B12 panel for the B12/B71 panel, then it's likely they didn't add AWS-3 (or at least that's what has been happening in Houston and South Texas). The only site around me that I know has AWS-3 is a site that had to be downsized due to space and weight limitations (it shares the tower with AT&T, which already has 4x4 lowband equipment). I haven't found it anywhere else, but then again I'm not actively looking for it.

I haven't checked to see if the new FDD massive mimo equipment is being set up to broadcast AWS-3 spectrum. They've going up around Houston since the Fall of 2019. 

In Houston, T-Mobile could probably get Verizon to swap their AWS-3 I block for T-Mobile's PCS E block, giving them both 10x10 contiguous. It sucks ATT has PCS F&C, which basically forces the G block to remain 5x5 for T-Mobile as I doubt ATT would ever want to move.

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