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Roaming in Israel


iansltx

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Roaming is still borked on my phone so I couldn't upgrade beyond basic data, but I did get coverage nearly everywhere on T-Mobile's Israeli roaming partner, Cellcom (largest network by subscriber count in the country). Saw B3/7/28 LTE (20, 20, 10 MHz, respectively). Not sure if I ever fell back to H+ on Cellcom, but that would've been B5 or maybe B1. B5 got narrowed to 5x5 for the two carriers that have it (Cellcom and Pelephone) a few years back to avoid interfering with neighboring countries' networks running on B8 (900 MHz).

As usual, my phone wouldn't do carrier aggregation on the bands used,.beyond NSA 5G. Dangit, Samsung.

In addition to the TMo roaming, between my family and I we had three different brands of SIMs/eSIMs, which covered all four major carriers (Cellcom, Pelephone, Partner, HOT Mobile) and all three RANs (HOT and Partner share). My US Mobile Premium Unlimited 10GB roaming eSIM ran on Pelephone (but hairpinned back to Ashburn, VA), which IIRC had B1/3/7/28 LTE, 100 MHz n78 in a limited number of areas, and B1/5 H+ that showed up somewhat often. Also had an Annatel eSIM that ran on Partner, which has B1/3/7/28 LTE, n78 (likewise not in very many areas), and H+ on B8 and maybe B1. Partner's network was definitely weaker than either Cellcom or Pelephone's in terms of coverage. Speeds were around 20-70 Mbps on LTE (again, no CA) and 80-300 Mbps on 5G, with B1/3/7 as the anchor. Hotspot was on HOT Mobile (20GB), so same setup as Partner. Other family members were on a TruPhone based eSIM (also through US Mobile) which preferred Pelephone but could also use HOT Mobile.

I don't think VoLTE was deployed for any carrier, but didn't really do voice calls, so was just going by what happened when I got an incoming call (fallback to H+ on my TMo SIM).

Of note, in Area A of the West Bank Palestinian carriers are permitted to operate, so Israeli carriers' channels on those bands are a bit narrower. Transmit power on the Palestinian sites seemed turned up pretty high, for both Jawwal and Ooredoo, though both are limited to H+ (10x10 B1) and GSM (some in both B8 and B3 IIRC). Unsurprisingly, I couldn't connect to either network on any SIM I had, so if I had been in Area A I probably would've had poor service.

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