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Posted Sep 19, 2012
11:57:40 AM
Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

I've heard talk about how ATT is "working on their network coverage" and plans to provide 3G service in Northeast MI "in the coming months".  Well, now that another 2 year contract has expired, I'm seriously wondering if I would be better off jumping to Verizon.  The EDGE data network up here if virtually useless.  5 full bars, yet extremely poor data transfer.  

 

Can anyone provide an HONEST answer as to when this coverage is planned to be upgraded???  Verizon has had 3G for quite a long while up here...

Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 19, 2012 4:35:00 PM
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Scholar

What part of Northeast Michigan are you in?  On another thread that was recently closed to comments, there were several people 2 weeks ago reporting 3/4G live in Gaylord Mi. It has not been officially launched there yet but I was up there last weekend and indeed my HTC Vivid was on 4G. Speedtest results were in the range of 2-7 Mb/s which will increase no doubt. I have a place in Lewiston and eagerly await 3/4G(Non LTE) As for the slow data I see the same problem as you...5 bars of EDGE and can't even text a picture! It seems they are moving briskly to upgrade service statewide.

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 19, 2012 5:34:33 PM
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Scholar

I live in Rogers City. I left AT&T earlier this summer, they will not have 3G/4G here until late 2013. That is straight from the Midwest AT&T Mobility Vice President's office. I filed a complaint with the BBB this spring and that was the response from them. So I immediately switched to Verizon and couldn't be any happier. I have 3G everywhere and they will have 4G LTE turned on here by summer 2013. AT&T will never have 4G LTE here because they currently do not own any spectrum that is allocated to 4G LTE. 

 

Verizon is also putting up a new cell site in downtown Rogers City that fills the coverage gap and the new site already has 4G equipment installed. 

 

I would not stay with AT&T. 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 20, 2012 8:37:23 AM
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Scholar
I would not count on seeing Vzn LTE across northern Michigan by next summer. It would be awesome but I just don't see them having nationwide LTE coverage completed in the timeframe they have given. Looking at their current coverage map it is impressive but they would need major market expansions every week or so in Michigan and today they expanded new coverage to Jackson County. No other existing markets like between Detroit and the thumb. Heck, Flint and Saginaw haven't sen any expansions since they origanaly got it. If the towers are farther apart up there then Traverse and Houghton markets should be alot bigger than they are. Again, I just don't see it by next year. AT&T launched LTE yesterday in metro Detroit and coverage stops 10 miles short of my house. The northern third of Macomb County which is labeled "Automation Alley" has no LTE coverage yet. Probably won't see that until next year. Here is an interesting thought though....who will finish first? AT&T upgrading the entire state to 3/4G or Verizon having statewide LTE coverage ??

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 20, 2012 11:51:52 AM
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Scholar

@ Lewyman - Verizon will have the majority of northern MI covered with LTE by the end of summer 2013. Per their requirements with the FCC, they need to have their entire network footprint covered with LTE by the end of 2013. There is a much greater chance to see Verizon LTE in the next year in smaller towns in northern MI than AT&T "4G" HSPA+. The Verizon cell site about a mile from my house (in farmland) was just fitted with 700Mhz LTE antennas a few days ago. Alpena's sites were upgraded last month. They are much farther ahead in terms of hardware upgrades around here (again, this is a very rural area). I haven't seen AT&T doing ANY hardware upgrades on ANY cell sites in Presque Isle County. 

 

Verizon's 4G LTE coverage will blow away AT&T's here in Michigan (in terms of coverage) because they hold the proper (22Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum) licenses to cover literally everywhere. AT&T's LTE holdings are a mis-mash of AWS and un-paired 700Mhz (a paltry 6Mhz). So while AT&T may upgrade some areas to HSPA+ (next year), they will be stuck on that air interface for a few years until AT&T get's the proper LTE specrum to do a good deployment. Verizon has 3G coverage everywhere already and will have 4G LTE coverage in those areas by the end of 2013 at the latest (most will be done by summer 2013). 

 

Why anyone would want to stay with AT&T that currently lives in an EDGE-only area is beyond me, especially if they have a smartphone. They will literally be paying for a data plan that they cannot even use. And let's say AT&T gets HSPA+ (or faux 4G) going in some of these EDGE-only areas, it will be at least next spring to summer (for most it will be fall 2013). So from now until then, you'll be paying for nothing. With Verizon you'll get 3G now to get you by until 4G LTE gets lit up next summer, those that don't get turned on in the summer will be turned on in the fall before winter. 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 20, 2012 3:55:47 PM
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Scholar

Well Tpeltz it would be REALLY nice to see it happen but I don't think realistically it will. We will see.

Just ran a few speedtests I thought I would share, both taken from home on my desktop:

 

AT&T Speedtest.png

 Above: AT&T HSPA+ Speedtest Result (Tethered from HTC Vivid)

 

 

Verizon Speedtest.png

 Above: Verizon LTE Speedtest Result ( Verizon MIFI Hotspot)

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 20, 2012 5:43:15 PM
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Scholar

I just wish I could get an answer from someone concerning 3G/4G expansion into eastern UP.  

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 9:56:37 AM
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Scholar
@JREwing

I know. Doesn't make sense to upgrade coverage along 75 and not upgrade the half dozen towers or so in your area. It is a bad business decision not to hire more guys or contract companies to stay up there until all the towers in northern MI are upgraded. If AT&T would expand hspa+21 statewide they would probably keep alot of customers even though they may not have LTE in all areas. AT&T has better voice coverage for sure and Verizon LTE in my area downstate can be shotty at times. My friends that have Verizon smart phones have complained about data connectivity when they are tethering so they aren't perfect either. AT&T needs to kick it in high gear and get it done fast!!!

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 11:58:24 AM
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Explorer

Is there an ATT rep viewing this who can give any kind of an educated and honest estimate as to when service will be updated in Northeast Michigan????

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 1:13:54 PM
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Scholar

AT&T reps do not comment on these forums usually. It is mostly public. Also, any reps will not give you an accurate answer. You need to talk to someone who works in the network side of things at AT&T. 

 

Anyhow, like I said before, AT&T will not have northeast Michigan to 3G until at least next spring. They have to do a lot of work on the towers yet. Prior to switching to Verizon, I had a network contact with AT&T in northern MI (they were a network engineer) and they told me 3G has a ways to go before NE MI will be fully upgraded. This has also been confirmed with the AT&T Great Lakes Region President's Office in Chicago. 

 

 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 1:21:18 PM
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Explorer

Thanks Tpeltz....I'm awaiting the arrival of my new iPhone, and debating whether to send it back when it arrives and switch over to Verizon.  I've been grandfathered in with the unlimited data plan (for all the good it does me with the lousy edge network) and I have 6000+ rollover minutes on my current plan.  I guess I have some decisions to make...

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 1:50:57 PM
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Scholar
No problem Mjrtom7. I couldn't stand paying for data service with AT&T that I couldn't even use. I was better off taking 30 dollars out of my wallet and burning it on the ground.

I was in Alpena this morning at the Verizon store and picked up a new 64GB iPhone 5. I asked about Verizon LTE in NE MI and they said the unofficial word is shortly after the new year begins, but said that the official word was "at the end of 2013", which is when Verizon has to have the entire country covered per the FCC. If I were you, I would send it back within your 14 day return period and head to your closest corporate Verizon store in the morning (if you go later in the afternoon, they'll probably be sold out). Granted, you won't have unlimited data anymore, but at least you will have 3G to use and 4G LTE in about 6 months. I don't have unlimited data with Verizon, but I do have unlimited minutes and text. I have 8GB of data per month and only have used 2GB at the most per month.

Good luck!

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 21, 2012 2:53:40 PM
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Scholar

@Tpeltz

I really hope that your area gets LTE very soon.  I have been doing some reading and as we all know the AT&T/ T-Mobile deal fell through this past spring. However, there is talk of both companies pursuing a Network Sharing Agreement which would be an alternative to a purchase. If that were to happen, then AT&T would indeed have the spectrum it needs to deploy LTE throughout northern Michigan and other areas where they are short...as would T-Mobile. Entering into an LTE roaming agreement is a real possibility considering T-Mobile hasn't joined the LTE game yet and it would allow both companies to theoretically catch up to Verizon by the end of next year. Verizon does claim it will have LTE over it's existing 3G footprint by the end of 2013. However, I have not been able to find anything online stating that FCC is requiring LTE coverage in that timeframe.  The iphone5 is supposed to be awesome but be advised...with Verizon and Sprint's version you can't " talk and surf" at the same time...which is baffling to me!!

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 22, 2012 4:34:13 AM
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Explorer

Thanks Lewyman...I had forgotten about the inability to surf and talk at the same time with Verizon....but since I can barely surf now as it is with ATT, I don't think I would miss that feature very much!  

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 22, 2012 6:55:04 AM
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Scholar
Edited by Phil-101 on Sep 22, 2012 at 7:25:27 AM

I can't believe Apple wouldn't make that standard on the new LTE iphones. I know what you mean about horrible AT&T data speeds on EDGE. Here downstate their network is fast but at the cottage in Lewiston it is just horrible. I can't even send the lowest resolution picture in a text. Verizon 3G is pretty fast almost anywhere up there. Maybe consider keeping your AT&T plan with unlimited data for a while to see if they upgrade your area and maybe price a Verizon 3/4G hotspot with prepaid data. Just a suggestion.

 

[word filter avoidance]

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

[ Edited ]
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Sep 23, 2012 3:16:25 PM
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Scholar

For anyone in Northeast Michigan that wants to stick it out for a bit longer with AT&T, the link in this post might give you a ray of hope. AT&T has no doubt been very lax with a 3G buildout up there but now they are being forced into it sooner rather than later. They did state a month ago that by 2017, they will be eliminating their 2G EDGE network completely(YES!!!!) That means a complete rebuild of their 4G network and I think it will be MUCH sooner than in 5 years. Here is the link: http://gigaom.com/mobile/whats-att-planning-hidden-specs-unearthed-in-the-gsm-iphone-5/

 

 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 24, 2012 7:02:58 AM
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Explorer

That would be too good to be true Lewyman...but I think I'll tough it out for a few more months and see what happens.  It seems we have had several data outages in the past couple of days (maybe due to the iPhone 5 launch?) and maybe it's because they are working on the network...?  (It's almost as if I believe in Santa Claus once again...I'm so gullible!)

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 26, 2012 7:53:52 PM
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Scholar
Just checked the AT&T coverage map which was updated this evening and there is indeed new 3G coverage in northwest Michigan. However,the 3G/HSPA+ in Gaylord is not on the map yet. So they are continuing to upgrade.

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 27, 2012 4:58:30 AM
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Explorer
Well....the new iPhone has arrived...and it's really a neat little piece of hardware. Too bad the edge data connection is every bit as lousy as my old iPhone 4. I wish there was a petition somewhere that was circulating regarding this lack of service and allowing us to express our disappointment...

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 27, 2012 6:40:02 AM
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Scholar
Express your disappointment by voting with your wallet.

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 27, 2012 12:33:11 PM
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Former Community Manager

Hi there - we recently upgraded the network in the Detroit area to LTE and have improved the overall network in Northern Michigan. 

 

We cannot provide specific dates regarding network improvements.

 

I'm sorry you have not seen an improvement in your service. 

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Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 27, 2012 1:20:52 PM
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Scholar

@jamileh - With all due respect, LTE in Detroit has no effect on the condition of the AT&T network in northeast lower Michigan. That is well over a hundred miles away. And the network really hasn't improved around here, otherwise there wouldn't be threads inquiring about network improvements in NE MI...because there haven't been any. The EDGE is still terrible here and 3G or HSPA+ hasn't been launched (except in Gaylord) which is in north central MI. 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 27, 2012 5:00:34 PM
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Scholar

I have to agree 100% with Tpeltz. The network up in northern Michigan is very slow and outdated especially for the good people that live up there full time. I have a cottage up there but live downstate and I can tell you for a fact the EDGE network in S.E. Michigan is totally different than up there. The network here was upgraded to EDGE class 10 which will run at 150Kb/s and stream low quality video, send mms messages, and email pictures.....and that was 5 years ago!!!!!! However, EDGE upnorth should be classified as 1G in my opinion. Pretty much anywhere north of Saginaw and away from I-75 you will be lucky to see 50Kb/s. I am hoping that AT&T continues to upgrade fast because once Verizon launches LTE across the north, it will be very tough to get customers to come back.

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 8, 2012 9:31:07 AM
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Scholar
I was traveling home this past weekend and had no data coverage along I-75 from around the 199 to south of the Pinconning exit. 4G appeared on my phone briefly around the 187 mile marker then went off again back none. Restarted my phone twice and still no data until reaching the start of 4G coverage at the rest area around the 174. Looks like they are moving on getting I-75 covered...just hope they keep on going and finish up the rest of N.E. Mi. !!!!!

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 11, 2012 9:04:45 AM
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Explorer

"...we recently upgraded the network in the Detroit area to LTE and have improved the overall network in Northern Michigan."  

How can you say that you have improved the overall network in Northern Michigan?  Oh wait....I suppose even the most minor upgrade, anywhere north of Saginaw, would have to qualify as an 'improvement'.  

As I drove around Alpena this morning struggling to get any type of data response on this Edge network, I'm left wondering how these companies can get away with claiming they provide a service, when technically, they do not.  

 

If I wasn't locked into contract with ATT, I would jump ship in a heartbeat.  I couldn't be more dissappointed in the service...

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 11, 2012 5:04:01 PM
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Scholar
I know I got the same problem in Lewiston. EDGE sucks!!! Verizon announced a few days ago new LTE service launching in Marquette and Petoskey. With all of the small markets in other states they have deployed LTE in the last 1 year and 9 months, they have kind of stiffed northeast Mi as well. At least Alpena,Tawas,Oscoda, and areas like that should have it already. And I see in the last year and a half AT&T has completely covered N&S Dakota with 3G and now they are rapidly deploying HSPA+.

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Oct 12, 2012 5:19:31 AM
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Scholar

The Drummond Island and Cedarville towers are still on Edge, which really baffles me.  These are huge tourist areas in the Upper Peninsula.  Sault Ste Marie is 4G now, but people around my area are flocking to Verizon in droves.  

I don't know what the holdup is with upgrading these towers to at least 3G.

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 12, 2012 5:33:11 AM
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Explorer
I'm sure there is some ATT exec who has a vacation home somewhere around the Sault. I can't see any other reason for upgrading there so early? Why not Escanaba? Ishpeming? (with all due respect to the fine folks living in those areas)

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Oct 12, 2012 8:08:03 AM
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Scholar
Verizon 3G is pretty decent in northern Mi but there more dead zones for sure and AT&T does have better voice coverage no doubt. I was in S.E. Arkansas almost two years ago and it was all EDGE. Now looking at their coverage map I see pretty much the entire state is 3G/4G. The only reason I can think of that AT&T has ignored Northeast and the U.P. is they know a large percentage of wireless customers are with Verizon and have been even when it was Alltel.

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Oct 12, 2012 10:53:43 AM
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Scholar

There is no reason that Escanaba and Ishpeming shouldn't have 3G/4G coverage.  

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