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Figuring out who's tower's who's

Discussion in 'Cell Tower Hunting Club' started by cellular_freak, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    I was recently driving through town the other day and I noticed that there was a new panel underneath the Nextel panel. I only know that the first one was Nextel because I had looked at my town's government website and had found out that Nextel wanted to build a new tower in town to upgrade the capacity of their network. Now, I look up there, and there are two panels on the tower. So how does one find out who that new panel belongs to?
    (BTW for anyone who's thinking that it's Sprint, that was my first guess, but then I remembered that I'm in iPCS territory and that iPCS wouldn't be adding panels to Nextel towers)
     
  2. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Any pictures?
     
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  3. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    No, I don't have any right now but I could definitely take some.

    Would taking pictures of the tower actually help show who the panel's belong to?
     
  4. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    It'd get us a lot closer than "who installed below nextel?" ;):biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
     
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  5. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    Okay, well the next time I go up town I'll have to take my camera and snap a few pictures of it so somebody can get some idea.
    I kinda wish that it would be Verizon or something but I don't know that would ever expand into our area since there is a small CDMA carrier already here that is the primary B-side cellular company.
     
  6. Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton 10 years scandal free....
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    If there are multiple carriers on the tower you should take a look around the base of the tower. The power panels might be labeled with the carriers names. I have seen this before and it makes identification very easy, but many times the equipment will not be labeled or it will be in a shelter.

    Get a few picture of the site and someone here will be able to identify the other carrier on the tower. Verizon is not there or else you would have had excellent signal and Nextel was there already so that narrows it down slightly.
     
  7. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    Okay, so I took some pictures! And I'm almost 100% positive that the top panel is Nextel. The mystery one is the second one.
     

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  8. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    If I had to guess, I would have said that Nextel is on the bottom and that the top could be Verizon?

    If your able to get any closer to that tower, just go to the base and looks for network ID markers, such as power meters or a sticker on the door.
     
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  9. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    No. The top panel was definitely the first one there and I knew that that was Nextel because I used to have a Nextel phone and I was told at the local store that Nextel was building a new tower. And no sooner had they said that had they started to build it.

    As for the other being Verizon, I know that's not possible because my phone is a Verizon phone and I know that Verizon isn't authorized to sell service in the thumb area of Michigan, so I don't think they'd be building towers here. I got my Verizon phone because I had my friend's dad sign the contract for me since they live in a Verizon area.

    Thumb Cellular is the only current CDMA carrier here and Cellular One is the only current GSM carrier. We also have Nextel and then, now, this other panel.
     
  10. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Well, your only real 100% definitive way to check the other carrier is to go and have a look.
     
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  11. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Where is the equipment for the other carrier? I only see one Nextel facility. Also, it's very rare for Nextel to use dual polarization antennas. I'm fairly certain that Nextel is on the lower level. Just because a carrier builds the tower and is the first to move in doesn't mean that they'll take the first level. The location on the tower, vertically, is all dependant on their local network needs. Quite often, in denser areas lower is better than higher.
     
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  12. Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton 10 years scandal free....
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    This is a long, but is it possible that the second carrier added a few feet of monopole? I have never heard of that happening before, but I have never heard it is impossible either so I might as well suggest it.

    The lower array looks like the Nextel panels I have seen around here. My guess is Cellular One. If you have a way to check their service at the location you should. Check to see if you have full roaming coverage in the area because that would indicate it is CDMA instead.
     
  13. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Yes it's possible and is done on occasion, I've posted a site that had it done.

    In this case, it doesn't look like the pole was extended.
     
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  14. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    I took my brother's Cellular One phone down to that tower last night and I had it search for other GSM networks and it couldn't find any BUT his phone was at full service. So, my conclusion will have to be that since my phone only has half it's bars on Extended Network (Thumb Cellular) and the other panel was already Nextel, then the only logical conclusion would be that that new panel is a Cellular One panel.

    I'm confused though as to why they may have put one there. Their coverage in town was fine before. It was the outlying areas that they needed to focus on. Maybe this is in preperation for the integration with AT&T. That way AT&T will have more towers to work with and maybe turn it into a 1900 MHz tower. (If that's possible)
     
  15. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    Okay! So I went to the Cellular One store in Caro today because my mom wanted to purchase a new phone and renew her contract. When I went in with her the manager confirmed to me that the second panel is in fact a Cellular One panel and the one on top is a Nextel. They added it as extra capacity for the Caro area.
     
  16. Allan

    Allan New Member

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    I would have to say the "bottom" platform is Nextel, they look like the antennas they use, as well as how they are configured, the top platform resembels Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile configuration.
     
  17. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Why don't they use cross-polarized antennas? :confused: It helps improve coverage quite a bit. Most current operators use them.

    And why 4 antennas in each sector? I can see 2 for space diversity. What are the other 2 for? A different technology, or frequency? :confused:

    Seems kind of like overkill. Really, if they had one good dual (or triple) band cross polarized antenna in each sector, they could probably get rid of the other 3. But I guess it's cheaper to roll it out like that?
     
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  18. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    Nextels on the top, Cellone on the bottom. Nextel at most Towers in MI use 3 6 foot tall panels where capacity isnt an issue. This site is a Capacity site for Cell One. Cellone in MI uses 3 foot tall panels. On this one the tower work is done but not the equipment and no power on site, so you cant always judge by either of these. It usually takes about 2 months to get the signs for the equipment, if the power is there that would be label as Dobson Cellular.

    Anything that has been done in the last year and recently has nothing to do with ATT. People dont understand buyouts and mergers. Neither sides are allowed to discuss much other that items that are directed to day to day stuff like roaming. AT&T can not dictate anything about the CellONE network until the ink is dry on the buyout papers.
     
  19. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Interesting, it's unlike any Nextel installation out in my neck of the woods. Just shows how different things can be market to market.
     
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  20. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    Yah up here they use the high gain 6 foot panels with 3 per sector unless they are near a good size town were they need more for capacity. Nextel up here still has alot of Omni sites as well.
    Sprint did a pretty good job of coverting alot of those sites to sectorized sites.

    Sprint also replaced a bunch of Nextels tiny 8 x 8 buildings up here.

    Yah every market for carriers is usually different. Take AT&T when I worked for them back in the Blue days they Had Nokia GSM in some areas and Ericson in others. Tmobile uses multiple equipment vendors and antennas for their different markets.
     
  21. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Oh quite true, it really depends on who the original owner of the market was. This is why I find the Nextel example funny, they've always been corporate owned (Unless it's a affiliate market)
     
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  22. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    It's really funny that nobody's been able to figure out that the top equipment belonged to Nextel, but I've said that since the beginning, LOL. That was the only tower there for the longest time and I knew that it was Nextel. Then, I just went out to the Cellular One store and they told me they just added a panel to the "Nextel Tower".
     
  23. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Namely because the bottom setup is like Nextel setups all over the country and the top one is what a lot of CDMA carriers install. There is no definite way to tell a carrier from a far away picture. There are a number of things that will make me lean one way or the other but they don't guarantee that I'm right since I haven't seen the tower in person.
     
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  24. cellular_freak

    cellular_freak Senior Member
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    Well I know that the Nextel tower is actually relatively new. They built the tower because the old Nextel site (wherever it was, I have no idea) was overcrowded, just like every other Nextel tower. Then, just recently, Cellular One added their equipment to this newer tower, as you say, for apparent capacity issues. (Now, that I think about it, that may be what he said it was for) But how can you tell that a panel is only meant for "capacity" concerns or whether it's Nextel or newer Nextel or CDMA or GSM?

    That's kind of interesting to me. I've always kinda wondered.
     
  25. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    The common customer wont really be able to tell a capacity site unless they have some insider knowledge. Nextel probably had a site not to far from that one that was getting congested and for tower reasons (weight loading,leasing or whatever) they couldnt add additional equipment to the tower.
     
  26. MasterC

    MasterC Junior Member
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    It's crazy how much the diversity of the infrastructure changes from State to State.
     

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