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Mjrtom7

Explorer

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25 Messages

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 6:57 PM

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...

Responses

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

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.

Tpeltz

Scholar

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136 Messages

8 years ago

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. 

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

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 ??
Tpeltz

Scholar

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136 Messages

8 years ago

@ 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. 

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

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)

JREwing53

Scholar

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173 Messages

8 years ago

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

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

@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!!!
Mjrtom7

Explorer

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25 Messages

8 years ago

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????

Tpeltz

Scholar

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136 Messages

8 years ago

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. 

 

 

Mjrtom7

Explorer

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25 Messages

8 years ago

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...

Tpeltz

Scholar

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136 Messages

8 years ago

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!
Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

@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!!

Mjrtom7

Explorer

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25 Messages

8 years ago

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!  

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

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]

Lewyman

Scholar

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391 Messages

8 years ago

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/

 

 

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