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Spectrum position of national carriers

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by TKR, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Ha ha ha good one. Ok ok I need to lighten up a bit. :)

    Well I do get paid if you count the $300 a year referral credits that I get each year. :D
     
    #31 larry, Aug 21, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  2. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    For reference, how long have the A&B block holders been there? The late '80s? Early 90's? The PCS networks didn't even start to build out till 1996. Propagation aside, the A&B block holders should be pretty well built out since they've had at least fifteen years to do so. See where the PCS carriers are at that point and it should be pretty comparable.
     
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  3. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    That comparison alone is no longer valid as network buildouts did not really accelerate to the rate they are today until around the year 2000. Prior to that, carriers built at a much slower pace and even slower before PCS was auctioned off in 1995. So whatever advantage cellular carriers had before 1995, PCS carriers have had more than enough time to catch up and surpass them. It's been 11 years already since the first PCS network was launched in 1996. From the 1981 all the way to 1995, the cellular carriers had not built that many towers as they have been built in the last 5 years. The growth is exponential, not linear.

    The old 1990's mentality that 850Mhz sites are placed further apart than PCS sites is no longer valid either. Cellular carriers also have 1900Mhz licenses nowadays and when they combine PCS and Cellular networks they are building sites at the same distances than PCS carriers are. Those sites have both 850 and 1900Mhz channels on them. This may not be true in every site and every town and city in the US, but it is generally true for newer buildouts in the last 3 to 4 years. Back in 2003, T-Mobile had much more sites than AT&T in north NJ, yet T-Mobile's coverage has always been considerably weaker. Nowadays, AT&T has catched up with the buildouts and has close to the same number of sites PCS carriers have. PCS carriers are much better now than they were 4 years ago, but still weaker than the cellular carriers, especially when you go indoors.
     
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  4. TKR

    TKR Senior Member
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    I agree with Bobolito about buildout - I don't think that too much a factor in most developed areas any longer as the carriers are generally fully built out other than some tweaking and infilling. Also, good point about the 850 spacing (other than rural areas) not being as far apart as it once was. It would be interesting to see some hard data comparing tower spacing in urban/suburban areas for 1900 and 850 carriers. That fact that some carriers are overlaying 850 and 1900 together puts an interesting wrinkle on that.

    As to signal strength, some anecdotal "evidence"..... I have my Sprint phone (a Sanyo) and a GSM Blackberry (AT&T) thru work. I realize it is hardly a scientific test, but I've been observing the signal strength (dBm reading) on both phones while travelling/commuting around town and at home/work. Fully appreciating the fact that I am sometimes closer to either a Sprint site or a AT&T site, it appears that the AT&T signal which in our area is mostly 850 MHz, comes in much stronger. This difference is usually minimal or not that relevant in more open areas like the freeway, but get off onto the side streets/neighborhood streets and the difference typically become more marked. I attribute this to distance from cell and line of site obstructions like houses and trees. I'd have to say that ~70% of the time the AT&T sigal is anywhere from 7 to 15 dBm stronger than the Sprint signal, sometimes much more than that. It is probably stronger to some degree about 90% of the time. At my house, which is equidistant from the cells as the two are located on the same tower, it's a 10-12 dBm difference. 850 signal also seems to be more stable and fluctuate a lot less as you travel, and it does not fall off as quickly either.
     
  5. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    100% true. We can say this is one of the laws of wireless RF.
     
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  6. @TheRealDanny

    @TheRealDanny ALL IN
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    I've noticed that too. My VZW phone might only have 2 bars outside, but I keep them when I walk indoors. Call quality is very consistent even in poorer signal areas. I don't even bat an eye. I know it'll work whether in the underground garage, elevator at work, at the gym, etc.

    My T-Mobile phone will go from full bars to no service 10 ft into my local Target or Wal-Mart. That's my only beef with them right now. They came to Cali with a network built out for them already. I wish they were a little more aggressive with their expansion to make indoor coverage better. My employer doesn't want to pay extra Hot Spot @ Home capability.

    But my employer pays for the T-Mobile service so I use them more now. I hardly use my VZW phone anymore except for M2M calling to my family.
     
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  7. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    I can't speak for T-Mobile but with Sprint I never lose service these days whether I'm indoors or outdoors any place I go. This is of course in Orange County, LA and the Inland Empire. Sometimes Ventura County. To me the RSSI numbers are meaningless as long as I have usable service.
     
  8. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    I'll disagree with that. Prior to 2000 there were a lot less zoning regulations (and NIMBY's) regarding cell towers and the A/B cellular carriers were able to get a lot of prime locations without needing a permit and public hearing. The City of Los Angeles for example did not even require a conditional use permit or hearing for any tower built in a number of zoning types. In 1998 they changed that so that every site required a hearing. This of course screwed the PCS carriers and delayed many of their sites from being built. It was a good head start for the A/B carriers. Also some PCS carrier didn't enter certain markets until the late 90's/early 2000's. Sprint came to Houston, Chicago and Atlanta in 1999 for example and I'm sure T-Mobile had a number of late markets as well.
     
  9. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    See this is where the difference in Location is important to note in these discussions, here in NJ we have I think the highest population of NIMBY'ers then any other State & that is why for people like myself do see a big difference between Sprint & T-Mobile vs AT&T & Verizon, yes all carriers have been building out when they finally go thru courts to get the towers built, but I bet if you looked at cell site density in CA vs NJ you would see a "Major" difference in how many CA has vs NJ.

    It's a perspective view in my opionion & this is where having 850 gives AT&T & Verzion their edge in this State, if Sprint & T-Mobile could build more towers here in NJ they would be very close if not better then the big 2.
    And if you want to look at it in another light, Verizon is HQ'd here in NJ & so was AT&T, you would think in their own backyards they would have complete coverage everywhere you went & they both have their holes & that's thanks to these NIMBY'ers.
     
  10. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    And that's exactly what they're doing right now. As we know no one carrier is the best in every place and there are certainly areas in NJ where Sprint is better than the big 2 and vice versa. But I'm not going to get into this debate any further because it's getting too old and repetitive.
     
    #40 larry, Aug 24, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
  11. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Actually I think PCS carriers are a little more aggressive with expansion than 850Mhz carriers because they know it is harder for them to provide adequate indoor service. We've seen endless news articles here about NIMBYs fighting with Sprint over tower locations. I don't recall Verizon or AT&T fighting so much to build a tower. It's also because 850Mhz gives carriers more choice of alternate locations where they can build towers and that makes negotiations with NIMBYs easier without having to go to court.
     
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  12. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    It's also because most of their networks were built out pre 2000. Sure they're filling in the gaps now as they expand and deploy new technologies but the core of their network has been long built out. The other players got a lot of sites in pre-nasty NIMBY types but there are tons of VzW and ATT sites located in areas where the other carriers never even had a chance as the local ordinances had changed to reflect the local constituent climate. Granted, this is different from market to market but most VzW and ATT markets consist of an existing local cellular carrier that was bought up and had long since had a strong local presence. In my area both PacTel cellular and LA Cellular has decent networks, granted they haven't build out much since about 2000 and the current coverage isn't always so hot, but I think that also stands as testament to the original deployment they had.
     
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  13. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Another part to this is that really the frequency doesn't matter as much in the metro areas. Regardless of frequency there is a capacity demand and in most major markets the capacity demands dictate a more dense build out versus the propagation characteristics.
     
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  14. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    The key words in your reply are Where I live! wireless reception varies quite a bit from area to area and there's no carrier that absolutely will do well everywhere all the time.
     
  15. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    Also you have to take into account that these cellular (800/850) carriers have fought the NIMBY fights long before the PCS (1900) carriers. Cellular carriers generally had a 10 - 15 year head start over PCS (1900 carriers) (1983 vs. 1996.)
     
  16. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Not only that but they didn't have to fight NIMBY's because in those early days a tower could go up with no regulation from the city so nobody would ever know it was going to happen. Around 1997 to 1998 the cities/counties starting making new rules to dis-allow cell sites in many areas and that slowed down the ability to improve coverage. Even with that handicap I think the 1900 carriers have done an excellent job closing the gap.
     

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