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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...

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Sep 11, 2013 1:00:35 PM
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AT&T expands LTE empire with $1.9 billion spectrum purchase from Verizon

 

Verizon and AT&T often spar over network reliability, but the two biggest US carriers aren't opposed to helping one another out when the price is right. AT&T has completed a $1.9 billion purchase of unused spectrum from its primary rival, picking up 39 700MHz licenses that it says will help improve service to 42 million people across 18 states. Verizon Wireless also stands to gain from the deal; it's receiving valuable AWS spectrum in five western markets. As LTE smartphones continue to flood the smartphone market, both carriers have had to rethink their 4G deployment strategies. Verizon will likely use the AWS spectrum to complement its existing 700MHz holdings. The company has already snagged AWS resources from cable providers, a deal that by all accounts hinged on its agreement to offload spectrum to a chief competitor. The spectrum purchase was initially announced in January.

 

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/11/4719682/att-expands-lte-empire-with-verizon-spectrum-purchase

 

AT&T promises to lift the wall between regional carriers and its LTE network

 

Today, regional carriers are one big step closer to being able to roam freely on larger networks while building out their own LTE device catalog. AT&T has announced that it will start working towards making its 700MHz spectrum interoperable, moving forward in a long-running dispute about large carriers' responsibility to share their networks. In a statement, the company promises to invest "considerable time and resources" in an infrastructure change that will let its LTE network support phones designed for for smaller carriers, while also offering more devices that support those carriers' networks.

Regional carriers like US Cellular have been asking for interoperability options for years, saying that the current system makes it difficult to offer roaming and limits the devices they can support. While many networks use the 700MHz spectrum for LTE, it's divided into multiple bands that require different hardware. For AT&T, that's not a problem. For smaller carriers, though, technical problems have persisted even as courts have guaranteed fair roaming prices. And the problem isn't just roaming. LTE phones and tablets are made with big carriers in mind, so many of them won't work on regional LTE bands at all. AT&T has said it will help fix this problem by working with manufacturers on new devices that support both networks, though no timeline is given.

It's certainly a helpful move, but it wouldn't have happened without heavy pressure from the FCC. AT&T has long resisted interoperability rules, said that changes could cause interference in its networks. "Such mandates would be an unprecedented regulatory intrusion into a carrier's right to manage network and device deployment in a manner best suited to serve its customers," it wrote in March of 2012, after the FCC launched an official investigation of the issue. It's continued to be firmly against legal intervention, but this voluntary deal will hopefully satisfy all parties involved. The FCC has praised the decision, with acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn commending AT&T and others for resolving the issue "after many frustrating years."

 

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/10/4716148/att-agrees-to-make-700mhz-lte-spectrum-interoperable

 

Re: Will Northeast MI ever receive 3G?

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Sep 11, 2013 1:11:11 PM
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Unfortunately, the spectrum deal with Verizon won't help Michigan.

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Sep 12, 2013 6:38:28 AM
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American Ninja

It shouldn't be long now for your area. Is the tower in McFarland the one that will serve your house?? If so, I will try to find out when it will be upgraded. The tower in Mio only had the omni directional antennas the weekend of Aug 17&18. Less than three weeks, it had broadband panels installed and active HSPA/UMTS service on it when I drove through Sept 8. That's pretty good.

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Sep 12, 2013 7:33:03 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:09:08 AM

Yep, thats the one nearest to my house. No 4G yet. I'm on wifi at my house so I turn off my phone's wifi every now and then to see if 4G has been turned on. That would be cool if you could find out when that tower will be upgraded. I found out the tower isnt in McFarland its right before it in Lathrop. Its right across the road from Lathrop 42.25 Lane Rd by M-35.

That's cool the Mio tower got upgraded. Last I checked the Lathrop tower was on August 31st, and it didn't have any panel antennas on it yet.

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Sep 12, 2013 7:20:28 PM
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American Ninja....

 

OK, I got some info on that tower near you I will pass along. That site along with several others in the western U.P. are scheduled for upgraded service sometime in November,  at which time AT&T expects to have their 3G rollout in Michigan pretty much complete....with the exception of those sites that are going to be rebuilt or relocated. Also, several more sites went live this week with more to soon follow and at the same time AT&T is also continuing to upgrade current 3G sites to HSPA+. So it isn't going to be long now before there is pretty much statewide 3G/HSPA/UMTS coverage. Finally!!!!!

 

Hopefully they upgrade your tower sooner but it definately won't be long now:smileyhappy:

 

 

 

 

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Sep 13, 2013 6:41:13 AM
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Wow, cool! Thanks for the info! I'll keep checking the tower for activity and will post back when they start working on it. 2 months isnt that long to wait. Can't wait! :smileyhappy:

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Sep 15, 2013 9:10:37 AM
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Hey now.  Just having my lunch here in Oscoda, Michigan, at the old air base.  And what should I find on my iphone? 

 

My 4G icon is lit up!  Whee!  I celebrated by watching two, yes TWO videos.  

 

I was down in the Standish/Omer area on Friday, and the 4G icon is on down that way too, and operational.  Video streamed just fine for us.  Though it still faded out just before the M-65/US-23 intersection while heading North.

 

I'll have to see how far south the high speed signal goes when I drive back home at 4pm.  

 

So, that's great news.  Finally.  :smileyvery-happy:

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Sep 15, 2013 10:37:36 AM
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Cool. I drove up 23 Friday night from 75 to Tawas and across 55 and the 4G was on in Omer and Tawas. Downtown Standish was still E. I heard last Wednesday the largest areas with towers still on E are the western U.P. and a triangle shaped area from Standish to Oscoda to West Branch(West Branch is live) but obviously they are closing the gaps. Probably 95% or more of the towers in NE MI are upgraded now along with most of the thumb area. Wonder how long it will be before LTE starts showing up.....on either bands 4 or 5.

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Sep 16, 2013 4:38:11 AM
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4G was on for me Oscoda to Tawas; with about three miles roughly halfway where it was still "4G", but the speeds dropped terribly, down to .28 mbps.  But in Oscoda, and Tawas, speeds were up around 2 - 3 mbps.  :smileyvery-happy:

 

4G hung on going South on US-23 to about Alabaster, where it dropped back into the Edge Network.  

 

I'm hopeful of more tower upgrades.  But this is fantasically better for around here, truly.

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Sep 17, 2013 7:10:30 AM
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The new coverage map is out this morning. The areas are filling in nicely and there are towers that are live but not depicted on the newest map yet. Awesome!

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Sep 17, 2013 9:38:22 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 17, 2013 at 9:45:36 AM

cool. They must have just updated it because I checked earlier this morning and it was the same old map. Still on edge out here.

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Sep 19, 2013 9:19:44 AM
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Had a nice suprise last night at my house in Au Gres.  The 4G was lit up as I sat in my driveway.  :smileyhappy:  And it worked pretty good too!  So kudos to them for that, definitely.  I didn't think Au Gres was going to see it for a while yet, since we are so small.  

 

I'm going to have to switch to complaining about data charges soon I bet, since I can't complain about the coverage much anymore.. :b  lol!

 

Thanks AT&T.  This makes my big monthly bill a little easier to swallow now at least.  :smileyhappy:

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Sep 19, 2013 10:50:56 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:54:21 AM

YES IM GETTING 4G ON MY PHONE IN ROCK! Just went live today. The Lathrop tower is upgraded!

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Sep 19, 2013 10:54:52 AM
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That is excellent news and agreed....kudos to them for this fast network upgrade. When I drove down 23 from Harrisville to I-75 last Sunday, there were a few areas that dropped to E, including Standish. I heard AT&T has changed their target date on having almost 100% of their network upgraded from the end of November to October 31, with some towers that will remain on E for a while yet.

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Sep 19, 2013 11:02:31 AM
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American Ninja
That tower in Lathrup has 4G already? Wow it was only a few weeks ago you checked and the broadband antennas weren't installed at that time. That was super fast! Or could the signal be coming from that other tower you mention that wasn't active?

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Sep 19, 2013 11:17:29 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 19, 2013 at 11:30:06 AM

Yeah that was super fast! I think its the Lathrop tower. Looks like they may be doing some tests because I usally get 4 bars when I set my phone by my window and I'm only getting 2-3 at the moment. Plus the weather here is cloudy and foggy at the moment so that could be why as well. Ill go check out the tower this weekend though.

 

EDIT:

 

Yeah, they must still be working on it. Its switching back to No Service, E and 4G.

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Sep 19, 2013 11:59:43 AM
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That is awesome. The signal did the same thing in Lewiston for a while but it won't be long before its fully up to speed. During peak times a tower may switch the phone over to Edge for load balancing but that is normal. I was told AT&T is using 5 MHz carriers rather than 10 MHz because 5 has a better range. Not sure if they are using 850 or 1900 for their HSPA/UMTS upgrades in northern MI.

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Sep 21, 2013 8:02:35 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 21, 2013 at 8:03:11 AM

Looks like the 4G isnt at full power yet. When I get a 4G signal I only get 1-2 bars but, when it connects to E I get 4-5 bars.

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Sep 21, 2013 8:53:44 AM
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There is a strong possibility that your phone is picking up 4G from another tower besides the one in Lathrop. When I discovered Lewiston had 4G, I was actually picking up the signal from the tower that's 5 miles north of town rather than the site right in town. AT&T turned on that tower about a week later. If you go check out that site you should be able to tell for sure. Another thing to check is your dBm on both E and 4G.....they should be the same. The person I have had contact with assured me that when they activate a site, they don't run it at a lower power but if they have tower crews up on the site, they will power the whole thing down due to RF hazards.

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Sep 21, 2013 10:30:47 AM
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Edited by American Ninja on Sep 21, 2013 at 11:48:55 AM

Hmm..I dont know of any other AT&T tower around here besides the one in Lathrop. I'll be checking the tower out this weekend. I put my phone in field test mode and the signal I'm getting on E is -81 and on 4G its -104. And I never had a 4G signal here until the other day. I'm too far away from the tower in Gladstore so I know its not that one.

 

Something interesting, I put my sister's fiancé's iphone 4S in field test mode and he doesnt get the 4G signal but I do on my iphone 5. He is getting a -86 on E. also my firend who has a S3 cant get the 4G signal either.

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Sep 21, 2013 12:53:18 PM
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Edited by Lewyman on Sep 21, 2013 at 12:54:48 PM

Wow that is wierd!!!  I really don't know because if the tower in Lathrop is live all of those other phones should be lit up with "4G" as well.  If there are no broadband antennas on the Lathrop/McFarland tower then that will be very interesting, because your iPhone 5 has by far the best antenna out of those other phones.  Maybe.....just maybe....AT&T has activated a new cell site somewhere in the vicinity:smileyhappy:

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Sep 25, 2013 9:15:17 AM
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Are you still picking up the 4G signal at your house? Just wondered if you found the source because it is quite a ways away from any other tower.

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Sep 25, 2013 2:01:37 PM
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I havent had a chance to check the tower yet. If not tonight I will tormorrow. I agree its weird because the 4G signal is very weak 1-2 bars comapred to 4-5 bars I get on Edge.

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Sep 25, 2013 2:30:52 PM
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More than likely there is a podunk tower that has been activated from which you are picking up the 4G signal, but probably not the site in Lathrop. I heard most of the eastern half of the U.P. has been upgraded and now AT&T is working on the western half:smileyhappy:

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Sep 27, 2013 8:17:02 AM
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Just got back from the tower in Lathrop. No change there. I dd get a 4G signal on the way there it was beween 1-3 bars never got any higher. So a new cell site might have been activated or they increased the signal power from a tower further north or something is what I think.

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Sep 27, 2013 8:42:16 AM
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Edited by Lewyman on Sep 27, 2013 at 8:44:46 AM

Thanks for the info. That is really a mystery!! I just looked at the map on my work computer and I can't figure out where the signal could be coming from. You are too far for the signal from Gladstone.....maybe Trenary but that tower was active a month ago. The towers to the north/northwest possibly but they are quite far away from Rock. There must be a brand new site, or their signal is getting out further than what the map is depicting. At any rate it won't be long for the Lathrop tower now and there should be awesome coverge when that tower goes live!!

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Sep 28, 2013 9:51:50 AM
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Something interesting, when I connect to that 4G signal and do a speed test, I get like 2mbps the first time. Then if I do another test it drops down to like 0.44 mbps. Must be some type of throttling or something?

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Sep 28, 2013 10:12:41 AM
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It is hard to say, but I kinda doubt they are throttling it being that it is newly activated. It seems to toggle between HSPA and UMTS here in Lewiston, which UMTS I have found to be slower. Probably the only way to figure out the source of that 4G is to scout around. Wonder if they possibly activated a new tower to the west of you ....in the white(no coverage) area?
On a side note, AT&T has fired up LTE in Mt. Pleasant:smileyhappy:

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Sep 28, 2013 10:54:42 AM
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That's what I was thinking. They activated a tower out that way. Cool to hear about Mt. Pleasant getting LTE. Do you know what the estimated time frame for the U.P. getting LTE is? I know we are barely just getting 4G. lol I thought I heard 2014 for around here.

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Sep 28, 2013 11:52:03 AM
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I would say it will be late 2014 for LTE up in the U.P. Getting fiber backhaul is the biggest issue right now. I think AT&T will be using a diverse combination of spectrum for LTE because they don't own statewide 700 MHz or AWS so it should be interesting. The antenna in your iPhone 5 is pretty good to be picking up a 4G signal. If the upload speeds are very slow then
you know you are a ways from that tower.

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