rockstar2005

    Hi everyone,

     

    As of last Wednesday (4/19/17), T-Mobile had OFFICIALLY announced that the greater Chicagoland area (I live in the northwest suburbs) was now officially covered by Band 12/700MHz spectrum. But whether I'm in my home or outside in neighboring cities in the suburbs, my LTE Discovery app is telling me I'm only getting either Band 2 or Band 4 spectrum, NOT Band 12. So when or where exactly must be I to get Band 12 spectrum? (Note: VoLTE is necessary in order to use Band 12 for phone calls on T-Mobile's network.)

     

    Again, the map shows my area and like an hour or two beyond where I live is covered by Band 12 now.

     

    I will be in downtown on Thursday and check there too, but I am not happy about this.

     

    Thank you.

     

    RockStar2005

      All replies

      • dragon1562

        Your device won't connect to Band 12 unless it has to. Band 12 is just their to provide better overall coverage. Your phone will always prefer to connect to band 2 or 4 or even CA bands 2 and 4 before it connects to 12. The reason for this is because both bands 2 and 4 have bigger blocks of spectrum dedicated to them and can handle more people and traffic then the 5x5 block  of band 12. Its also important to note that  your device does need to support the band itself.

         

        What device are you currently using ?

         

        Also wanted to point out that LTE discovery isn't the best way to see what your connecting to and you should instead opt to use the "service mode" which you can get into by entering a code on the dial pad. Its different for phones but with Samsung it tends to be "*#0011# " minus the quotes.

        1 of 2 people found this helpful
          • rockstar2005

            dragon,

             

            Ok. That is very interesting.

             

            So if I happen to go to an area that I used to not get service in but other carriers could offer service there (like Verizon), could I expect to see Band 12 show up there? For example, there were parts of downtown Chicago where I couldn't get much reception before.

             

            My device is the unlocked HTC 10, which most definitely supports Band 12, and HTC officially certified their locked and unlocked 10 phones with T-Mobile for VoLTE (and Wi-Fi Calling) as well, which is a requirement of using Band 12 on T-Mo's network. So I'm definitely 100% covered there. But I appreciate you being thorough.

             

            I don't know the service mode # for my HTC 10, but if you do, I'd appreciate it.

             

            Thanks!

              • dragon1562

                "*#*#4636#*#*" try that code without the " " however i'm not confident since i never used a HTC device.

                 

                As for whether or not you will see service in areas that previously did not have coverage the answer will be maybe. It honestly depends on a lot of factors but the big ones are the location of you to where the tower is and whether or not your device is one that chooses to connect to the signal. I have literally done side by side tests with 4 phones lined up in a row in the same location  and each device would showcase a different signal level one of which being a iPhone would opt to display no service and not connect just to save battery life.

                 

                Anyhow the odds are though that yes you will probably see coverage in said locations but i make no promises.

                1 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • rockstar2005

                    Ok I tried that code and it DID work. However, the "Phone Information" section doesn't list the exact Band that my phone is currently using (yes, Wi-Fi is off lol). So I guess I'll just stick with LTE Discovery.

                     

                    Ok. Well I'll be checking it more often then in those spots. Wow that's crazy that all 4 were using different signals.

                     

                    Thanks again!!

                      • dragon1562

                        No problem

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • dragon1562

                          Hey I know this is kinda lame to ask but can you mark one of my posts as helpful. I'm trying to get all the achievements for the site for fun.

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • rockstar2005

                              That's weird. I did mark the first 2 as "Helpful" like 15 min ago, but now they are showing as unmarked. So just did them BOTH AGAIN and the other ones as well.

                               

                              Not lame. No problem. Glad to help!


                              Thanks again!!

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • rockstar2005

                                So I was in downtown Chicago today (which according to one map IS covered by Band 12 completely), and went into a building that I normally don't get any reception in. With Band 12 being defined as being able to reach twice as far as higher bandwidths and four times as likely to penetrate buildings, I expected to get reception in this building. I did not. LTE Discovery showed "Unknown" for the Band type too.

                                 

                                If you zoom in on the Chicagoland area, the map shows that "Band 12 sightings" were reported in both Rockford, IL and Janesville, WI. But nothing closer to Chicago than Rockford as of yet has been sighted.

                                 

                                What gives? T-Mo announced that Band 12 went live 8 days ago here, so why am I not getting reception? This makes no sense to me, and it makes me wonder whether or not T-Mo jumped the gun on the announcement. Why do you think this happened?

                                 

                                Thanks.

                                • rockstar2005

                                  Hey Dragon,

                                   

                                  See post #9. Lemme know if you have any thoughts on it. Not sure if you got the message or not.

                                   

                                  Thanks!

                                    • stevetjr

                                      rockstar2005  There are some buildings that even Band 12 can't penetrate.  I am here in Atlanta which has always had really good TMO coverage even before band 12 but like any carrier still had "coverage holes" especially in buildings and north of Atlanta where it is more heavily wooded and hilly which can impede signal.  I have some office buildings that I go in daily some of which are in very close proximity to each other and in one I will see Band 4, another Band 12 and another zip.  Not sure if it has something to do with the building materials, the type of coating on the glass or just some other building or object between me and the closest tower.  I have also heard that in downtown areas with multiple tall building not only can cell reception be an issue but also GPS reception.

                                       

                                      I would see if you are getting the same result in other areas that you had issues before and see if you have any improvement there and/or can verify and see Band 12 actually occurring on your device.

                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                        • rockstar2005


                                          stevetjr,

                                           

                                          Hey man what's up?

                                           

                                          I see, ok. Well I guess that makes sense. I just get annoyed when I see people with Verizon get coverage in an area I don't cuz F Verizon. lol But I've seen or heard about where some areas get T-Mo coverage but not Verizon. One example is the Whole Foods near me.

                                           

                                          I have a few places I can check in downtown and the suburban area I live in as well I guess. I'll check those and report back here for others to read.

                                           

                                          Yeah I use the LTE Discovery app and so far have NOT seen Band 12 come up as of yet. I even have an "alarm notification" set up on it so that the moment it detects Band 12 it will go off. I just don't get how if Band 12 has "twice the range of higher bandwidths and FOUR TIMES the capability to penetrate buildings" why there are ANY buildings that it can't get through?

                                           

                                          This is holding T-Mobile back. My sister for example lives in an area not far from me that doesn't get good T-Mo reception. So for that reason alone she left T-Mobile after being a customer for years (even before I was) for Verizon. I think she'd like to come back b/c T-Mo is cheaper and at this point pretty much better I think, but that won't happen until she's convinced her area (which IS covered per that map I linked above) has better coverage. I will test it out there as well sometime soon, but right now I'm not feelin' too confident. Hopefully I'm wrong.

                                           

                                          Thanks for all the info man! Nice talkin' to you again.

                                            • stevetjr

                                              Thanks,

                                               

                                              Yeah I have used all the carriers at some point, although for my personal use it has been TMO for 15+ years but company phones have had the other 3 and have discovered they all have dead spots, it is all just tower location.  No until the 700 yeah TMO had a severe disadvantage as I couldn't even walk halfway thru a Target without losing cell, thankfully they had wi-fi so wi-fi calling would kick in. 

                                               

                                              Actually when I moved a couple of years ago to where I live now I had reception issues because the neighborhood while only about a mile a way from a TMO tower is in a bit of a bowl surrounded by a lot of trees so as soon as I drove in and down into the neighborhood I lost signal but thankfully it was withing 2 months when they launched Band 12 here in ATL and now I have cell signal. :-) 

                                               

                                              The other thing I can tell you not all devices are the same, I have a friend that lives even closer to the same tower and when I got him to switch from VZW to TMO he complained (as did his wife) about having crappy signal at their house and her at her school she teaches at.  They had iPhone 6's which didn't get Band 12 support even though TMO had announced it so once I got them to upgrade it solved most of their issues. Even with that at his house he has signal but it is on the low side and slow side because of that so he was still griping a bit.  I kept telling him it was the iPhone and he didn't believe me until one day we were on his back deck having a beer shooting the dung when that topic came up so I made him pull his iPhone 7 out and me my S7e at the time (S8 now) and sitting right next to him I had twice the signal and smoked him on speed test and that was sitting right next to him so clearly the phone not the service.

                                               

                                              As for building, my guess is that it just has to be the materials or glass that can be the difference.  As I mentioned in my other post I am in a lot of office buildings in fairly close proximity to each other and even with Band 12 I have a couple and one in particular that unless I am near the edge of the building I lose signal as soon as I venture towards the interior of it and that is regardless if I am on the 2nd floor or 30th floor.

                                               

                                              As you have probably heard, now TMO has a ton of new 600Mhz spectrum and much wider channels that they got with the 700.  Since 600 is even lower it should in theory carry even farther. :-)  Last thing is and not sure if you are aware where TMO got their 700Mhz spectrum (or at least most of it anyway), it was from Verizon LOL.

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                                                • rockstar2005

                                                  Yeah even Verizon has its dead spots I guess. I guess I was expecting the change to be more drastic than it seems, but again, I haven't really tested it fully yet. Where I live I get Band 4 and reception is EXCELLENT so I guess it doesn't need to switch to Band 12. Within the next few weeks I'll be traveling around by my sister's and downtown/city area as well, so I'll know more then.

                                                   

                                                  That is true. On the flip side of that iPhone story, I remember being downtown with some friends about 3 years ago and both of them had the I think it was Galaxy S5 and both were on T-Mobile I believe. Though they were sitting like 3-5 feet apart and outside (sidewalk restaurant seating), one had NO signal while the other had a FULL signal. So I guess even those kinds of situations can happen too, as odd as it sounds.

                                                   

                                                  Yeah trust me, I'm ALL OVER the T-Mo spectrum news. lol Yeah since 600 MHz is lower I'm gonna assume it's better too. lol Can't wait for T-Mo to deploy that!! I'm sure I'll notice more of a difference then! Though we'll have to wait 'til either this Fall's phones or next year's phones to use it as both the S8 and the upcoming HTC U 11 don't appear to have 600 MHz included. But both DO have 700 ftw.

                                                   

                                                  I currently have the unlocked HTC 10 which HTC was awesome enough to fully certify it with T-Mobile, so it can utilize both VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling just like any of their locked phones can. I had the S7 last year and didn't like it (me and Samsung just don't like each other lol, though I do like Samsung Pay) and even went back to Sony again with the unlocked Xperia X Performance. IMO, the 10 was the better overall phone, ESP when it came to audio, though I returned the 10 I got last summer after a week and kept the X Perf until 5 mos ago. I compared the 10's sound quality to my $299 Oppo HA-2 premium amp/DAC, and it MATCHED or maybe outdid it in both sound quality and volume, so I sold the HA-2 (and X Perf lol) and now just connect directly to my AKG K551 headphones. VERY happy with this phone! I may upgrade to the U 11, which is gonna be announced on the 16th. But not sure yet. Still need more info before I decide, but even if I don't, I just got my 10 in January so not in a big hurry to upgrade necessarily, though the U 11 does like it will be really cool. I just hope HTC certifies the unlocked version again like they did with the 10.

                                                   

                                                  Yeah I was aware of it. lol And actually, here in Chicago, the big hold-up for Band 12 was that a TV station I guess owned that spectrum, so it took some time to negotiate with them. I read later that the station or its owner was actually owned by AT&T! Go figure!! lol

                                                    • stevetjr

                                                      Yeah I have had a Sony, the Z3 but after Sony just pulled out of the US market and abandoned the TMO and VZW Z3 and left them on Lollipop when they upgraded the ROW Z3's to MM put a bad taste in my mouth.   I have had every Galaxy since the S2 and while I have had secondary LG and Sony phones something with the Samsungs keeps me there.  I to love Samsung Pay which is now another reason to stay and the S8 is a remarkable phone.

                                                       

                                                      Actually it was Cricket that owned the 700 A Block Spectrum in Chicago but as part of AT&T's purchase of Cricket they had to divest the 700 spectrum in Chicago and a few other markets. The spectrum was sold to a holding company of course beholden to AT&T and the last thing they wanted to do was let TMO have it.  But as the 600 auction grew closer that would diminish the value and pool of potential buyers especially if TMO got a bunch of 600 so before the quiet period which would have prevented sales they finally agreed to sell it to TMO.  Then came the TV station issue which TMO had in quite a few markets and again the issue was in part due to AT&T convincing the 3GPP that the A block 700 spectrum could cause interference with TV Channel 51 which ran right up to the 700 A block and that's how they got their 700 spectrum to Band 17 and Band 12 separate and convinced phone makers to support the Band 17 not 12.  Personally I believe after that year of watching TMO grow so fast the manufacturers where more than happy to put in Band 12 not to mention AT&T at the last minute and threat of fines because of roaming which most believe was there goal of getting the 700 spectrum split and then smaller carriers wouldn't be able to force them into roaming agreements because their phones wouldn't work on AT&T's network they agreed to make their towers support Band 12 and 17 interoperable.  But the outcome of that was that any market that had a channel 51 had an exclusion zone put around it and until the channel relocated the 700 A block spectrum couldn't be used there.  So like here in Atlanta channel 51 relocated to 31 and once the station agreed to move it took about a year for the FCC to approve it and probably TMO had to foot the bill for the move.  TMO also had a few markets like LA that the local station just signed a waiver agreeing to not complain or seek action against TMO or FCC regarding any possible interference again I am sure TMO wrote a check.  So September of last year the FCC approved the sale from the holding company and at the same time approved the concurrent operation agreement with WPWR in Chicago allowing them to start building it out.

                                                       

                                                      Here is a great site regarding TMO 700 spectrum but also has links to all TMO spectrum holdings in particular markets. Map of T-Mobile's 700 MHz spectrum - Spectrum Gateway

                                                        • rockstar2005

                                                          Yes the Sony I had before was the Z3 as well, which is probably when you and I first started talking. lol The Z3 was definitely one of the best smartphones I've ever owned, period. Yeah there was that issue with them and Verizon with the Z4v. They had announced it and were all ready to sell it, but then Sony waited too long and it got too close to the Z5's release, and so Verizon said F this. lol (Or maybe Sony did?). It's Sony's fault though. They need to stop that whole idiotic practice of releasing the SAME MODEL phone twice a year. NO ONE else does that. LG has the G and V series. Samsung has the S and Note series. HTC has the One series. They all release new versions ONLY ONCE A YEAR. They say customers in Japan voted for bi-annual releases. Sometimes though Steve ya just gotta say "maybe the customer DOESN'T always know what's best?" They'll still live if Sony released one Xperia a year. lol And the releases would be more exciting too. And by dropping out of the carrier market (even with T-Mobile too) they not shockingly sell less phones here now than they were before (I've seen charts that prove this). People don't buy what they don't know normally, and this is the case for Sony's Xperia line. I've talked to ppl who say "Wait Sony sells phones?!" lol It's sad, as HTC kinda has the same problem, if not worse. Neither spends enough time or money on advertising here either, and so that just makes it worse vs. Samsung and Apple. And yeah, Sony got cheap on a few things, as I slowly realized last year. There's the US fingerprint scanner issue, which didn't matter for me cuz I got the int'l X Perf, but though Sony has gone forward with its amazing smartphone cameras, the 2-day battery life promise basically DIED with the Z3, or Z series. On the audio front (which I care a lot about), the Z3 was even better than the M8 at the time I believe. But now, the HTC 10 came out and it wiped the floor clean with its super impressive audio specs, rivaled ONLY by the LG V20, though I still prefer the 10 as its not a phablet, which I don't like lol (though the U 11 will have a 5.5" screen, which is really pushing it for me). And the 10's camera, esp after 3 major camera updates, for the first time ever actually rivals both Sony and Samsung overall, as per my own observations and DXoMark's. The fact that Sony didn't certify VoLTE on its unlocked phones (like HTC did for the 10) was the final straw for me, though the audio and battery issues were bigger. After being a huge Sony fanboy for 2-3 years, in January I left them and went back to HTC (after having had the M8 a while back) and am very happy with my choice! Their cust serv is better too. I hope to stay with them for a long time.

                                                           

                                                          Yeah............ I knew there was more to it but didn't feel like typing all that. lol I knew about Cricket etc but thought Channel 51 (WPWR) owned part of the spectrum, but it appears that it didn't. Ok. That's impressive that you know so much about it even though you live in Atlanta! lol Yeah that was the same map I was referring to also. Hopefully in a few weeks I can report that I found Band 12 reception. We'll see.

                                                • dragon1562

                                                  Hey rockstar2005 i just wanted to apologize for not responding sooner. I have been busy with finals for college and thus did not have time to log in as of recently. Thankfully stevejr was able to help you it seems. Anyhow keep us posted since i would love to see the results in your market.

                                      • rockstar2005

                                        I'm noticing some new Circled 12s showing up on the Chicago area map. Don't know why they do that if the entire Chicago is already shaded in pink, or what it means. Any clue?

                                          • stevetjr

                                            Well first remember that site is not an "official" TMO site.  When clicking on the link they just refers you to the TMO press announcement so probably just updated the map a bit more or have done their own confirmation that the towers in that local have indeed been converted.  Any area where TMO has spectrum will be shaded pink and by clicking at a spot in the pink area the column  on the left will give you info about that license and what the status of deployment is or a guess as to when the area is to be deployed.  Of course the "goggles" show verified sightings, those are helpful when TMO hasn't announced anything official but users are starting to see it which is a clue they are working on a particular market.

                                              • rockstar2005

                                                Ok thanks Steve.

                                                 

                                                I'm just annoyed b/c like my sister's area doesn't get the greatest T-Mo reception, and so I thought now that her area is completely covered in "pink" that it would improve. But when I go there I only see 1-2 bars on average, and only Band 2, no 12. Why isn't 12 kicking in there?! So confusing. As far as I'm concerned the Band 12 deployment made NO perceived difference in Chicagoland, which p's me off.

                                                  • stevetjr

                                                    Do you know anyone with a TMO Galaxy S6 or higher that can see for sure there is no Band 12 showing, I know LTE discovery isn't showing it but service mode on the Samsungs is so much better.  I have seen my phone try to keep Band 4 even at 2 bars although once on Band 12 I don't generally see more than 2 bars maybe a periodic 3 but then when that happens it usually rolls to 4 since if it is strong enough to get 3 bars on 12 then that is enough for 4 at that point.

                                                     

                                                    I know they are working on updating markets to take advantage of the "gigabit LTE" which amongst other things like QAM 256, 4X4 MIMO is Carrier Aggregation which in some ways will take direct Band 12 or Band 4 out of the equation as it essentially merges all the spectrum into one virtual Band.

                                                     

                                                    I know they got a lot of 600 in Chicago and they even made a point to mention that in their press announcement for Chicago and with limited spectrum even Band 2 in Chicago hopefully that will be a focus 600 market for them.