Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Goodbye Sprint, Hello Dish

The fat lady is clearing her throat and is about to sing the finale of the Sprint story.  As of today, almost all approvals for the T-Mobile/Sprint merger have been made with no additional requirements.  This means we will be coordinating Sprint and T-Mobile Coverage Maps, Reviews and Prepaid Details.  We are also monitoring what will be available from the new Dish Wireless, including initial coverage maps, and a potential all-5G network.

The future of Dish as a potential fourth wireless carrier is a bit cloudy.  They do indeed have the spectrum required to operate a wireless network, but they may not have the time or money to create a competitive wireless carrier.  Initially, Dish will be a re-seller of the existing Sprint network when they acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaid customers.  If you plan to drop one of those services, be careful what carrier you pick up as many of the alternatives will also be affected by the takeover of the Sprint network.  Some of them will be transitioned to the new T-Mobile network, which will be a big improvement, but expect to need a new phone and a new plan.

We'll provide the tools you need to make, or not make, a wireless transition of your own.  There are many details and deals yet to come and we predict there will be new players coming into the Dish Wireless tent.  Think Google, Amazon or cooperative deals from cable, tech or investment companies.  Enjoy the near-term improvements, we have concerns about the future with only 3 major wireless players.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

T-Mobile Adds Impressive 5G Coverage

We just got an early Christmas present.  Look at T-Mobile's coast-to-coast 5G coverage.  Can any other carrier compete by the end of the year?  We can hope, but I think not.  Get your 5G phone while they're Free!  Part of their advantage is not messing with those silly little micro-cells, and thus not fighting city hall.

Monday, November 25, 2019

AT&T's Real 5G Coverage Maps

Right on the heels of Verizon Wireless making their 5G wireless coverage maps available, AT&T has released their own 5G maps.  As most of us have realized, AT&T's 5G maps that have been released so far have been for their "5G Evolution" coverage which is a combination of "super" 4G-LTE and various levels of broadband enhancements

Coming within the next few weeks, AT&T has promised to offer true 5G coverage in 5 markets that promises to be at lower frequency channels than the competition, providing much better coverage than the ultra-ultra high frequencies offered so far.

We are now showing these 5G coverage maps for those first five AT&T markets on our Cellular Maps web site, and as a bonus for those who read this news site, we're offering a sneak peek of all of AT&T true 5G coverage that should be available in February of 2020.  As before, we're expecting the big announcement by T-Mobile of their wide 5G coverage coming December 6th.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

New: 5G Interactive Maps

You may have heard that Verizon Wireless is finally providing zoom-in 5G coverage maps.  That means three of the top 4 major wireless carriers now offer a peek into their 5G coverage.  Our Cellular Maps Interactive Coverage Page now links you to those zoomable maps. Verizon's maps display "street-level" coverage which means they aren't claiming "in-building" coverage.  Of course, you can sign up for their "Home" 5G home wireless service as long as you can get a signal at your fixed location.  Ah, the beauty of such high frequency data connections.

We aren't sure why AT&T is still not providing 5G coverage maps.  Perhaps their "5G Evolution" provides a bit too varied a download rate in too many locations to claim a universal "5G Coverage" report.  In the meantime, we're waiting for T-Mobile's introduction of 5G coverage at 600 Mhz scheduled for December 6th. It could be a game-changer.

Friday, November 1, 2019

New Wireless Web Sites

Here it is the first of November.  We haven't posted any snippy comments for too long.  The time has been consumed by adding a few new wireless-themed web sites.  My vote was to reduce the number of sites but there were a few members who wanted to add new ones, primarily to upgrade some of the old sites.  Of course, when one area gets updated, another area gets postponed.

Let's start with what's new:

  • OZ WIRELESS:  I grabbed the name for another place to comment about wireless topics, but one of the crew said it would be a great place to report on the absolute cheapest wireless plans available.  So now, "OZ Knowz" how to get the cheapest deals in wireless, with or without your existing phone.
  • MOUNTAIN 5G: The crew thought we needed a place to maintain updates of the progress of 5G Wireless.  There have been a few visitors, but we expect 5G to be nothing more than a novelty until the 5G iPhone is released.  Even though it's not the first 5G phone, it should be the game-changer.  Our estimate is that it will be demonstrated next summer and sold after their September annoucement date.
  • WORLDWIDE WIRELESS ROAMING: This is an update of the ROAMING ZONE web site which is mostly used by people looking for roaming codes such as MNC, SID and the old PRL's.  The new site is focused on people who want to use wireless devices in foreign countries.  This is data collected by a handful of worldwide travelers and my own family.  I am often surprised how well our ideas work out.  However, you can learn from our mistakes.
  • WIRELESS BACK DOOR:  This is a re-write of the old CELLULAR BACK DOOR site which was originally based on what was known as "Back Door" voice mail numbers.  The voice mail numbers remain on the old site, but much of the newer wireless inside information has been expanded on the WIRELESS BACK DOOR site.

What has been eliminated?
  • We have dropped or consolidated sites that reported on worldwide wireless roaming (a new one was replaced by a newer one),  a couple of 5G miss-steps, and yet another cellular network review site.  We also sold the iconic MountainWireless.com site to a company that just wanted to disable the site to prevent confusion with their commercial namesake.  All of the old carrier information there still lives on MOUNTAIN WIRELESS.NET.
What's next?  We're mostly waiting on the next 5G shoe to drop.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fear No Sprint

Sprint (at least through our portals) has seen a reduced number of signups.  We can only guess it's because of the impending merger with T-Mobile.  You need to think contrarian!  Sprint is offering some great deals right now that will be valid for quite a while after any merger deal is finalized.  Historically, that has meant shrewd buyers have been able to buy into the new network at the old network's reduced price.

Related: Sprint Goes Price Happy

Sprint users already have roaming access to T-Mobile's broadband network and that door will open even further if a deal is approved.  Be aware this applies to real Sprint customers.  If you have Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile or Sprint's own Prepaid, you may get shipped over to Dish Network's new, unknown 5G network, but even that will take years to complete.  In the meantime, Sprint has one of the better 5G networks and that may be the case for the next few years. Have no fear!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

DISH Wireless Agreement with the FCC

This a condensed review of what Dish Network has agreed with the FCC to do in agreement with the T-Mobile - Sprint merger.

Dish has committed to the Federal Communications Commission that it will have deployed a core network and offer 5G broadband service to at least 20% of the U.S. population by June 2022. And by June 2023, Dish’s 5G network must cover at least 70% of the U.S. population with download speeds of at least 35 Mbps. In regards to Dish's AWS-4, 700 MHz, and H Block licenses, if Dish hits a 50% coverage threshold by the 2023 deadline it will be granted an automatic two-year buildout extension. In addition, by 2023, it must have at least 15,000 5G sites deployed and at least 30 megahertz of Dish’s downlink 5G spectrum averaged over all its deployed 5G sites nationwide.
Dish agrees not to sell its AWS-4 or 600 MHz licenses for six years without prior FCC and DOJ consent, unless that sale is part of a larger sale of Dish itself. 
In order to begin the process of setting up its wireless network, following the completion of the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, Dish will:

  • Acquire Sprint's prepaid businesses and customers, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and the Sprint-branded prepaid service.
  • Acquire 14 MHz of Sprint's nationwide 800 MHz spectrum.
  • Access the New T-Mobile network for seven years, including the ability to serve Dish customers seamlessly between T-Mobile's nationwide network and Dish's new independent 5G broadband network.
Dish's purchase of Sprint's nationwide 800 MHz wireless spectrum is expected to be completed three years after the closing of the acquisition of the prepaid businesses.

We have posted the potential coverage for the new Dish Wireless network at CellularMaps.com.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

T-Mobile/Sprint Agreement with DISH

Here is a condensed view of the agreement between The New T-Mobile and DISH:

Effective upon the successful completion of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint, the New T-Mobile will be committed to divest Sprint’s entire prepaid businesses including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint-branded prepaid customers. These brands serve approximately 9.3 million customers in total.

With this agreement, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint-branded prepaid customers, as well as new DISH wireless customers, will have full access to the legacy Sprint network and the New T-Mobile network in a phased approach. Access to the New T-Mobile network will be through an MVNO arrangement...enabling roaming in certain areas until DISH’s 5G network is built out.

The New T-Mobile will offer standard transition services arrangements to DISH for up to three years following the close of the divestiture transaction. The transition services provided by the New T-Mobile will result in the orderly transfer of prepaid customers to DISH and will also ensure the continued and seamless operation of Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint-branded prepaid businesses following transition to DISH's ownership.

DISH has agreed to acquire Sprint’s portfolio of nationwide 800 MHz spectrum for a total value of approximately $3.6 billion in a transaction to be completed, subject to certain additional closing conditions, following an application for FCC approval to be filed three years following the closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint. This will permit the New T-Mobile to continue to serve legacy Sprint customers during network integration, pending later FCC approval of the license transfer. The companies have also entered into an agreement providing the New T-Mobile the option to lease back a portion of the spectrum sold to DISH for an additional two years following closing of the spectrum sale.

Following the closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint and subsequent integration into the New T-Mobile, DISH will have the option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile for five years following the closing of the divestiture transaction.

The companies have also committed to engage in good faith negotiations regarding the leasing of some or all of DISH’s 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile.

Additional information can be found at www.NewTMobile.com.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

New 5G Coverage & Maps

All 4 top carriers are now offering what they consider "5G".  In this horse race, Sprint users report the most usable mobile 5G coverage.  We'll credit their use of "mid-band" frequencies (2.5 GHz) for coverage.  The other 3 carriers are still rolling out their 5G on "high" frequencies (39 GHz) which have very little range but plenty of capacity.

The corresponding coverage maps seem to reflect this difference, if they show any coverage.  Sprint shows very useful and somewhat optimistic maps and T-Mobile is showing very detailed if not broad-ranging maps.  Those 2 will also have a big re-shuffle of 5G coverage if their proposed merger is approved.  So far, so good.  Other carriers have not yet shared their big reveal. We'll follow what we know on our 5G Coverage Maps page.

Another 5G player may surface as Dish Network has offered to purchase any spectrum and wireless assets that will need to be divested to secure federal approval of the T-Mobile - Sprint merger.  Dish has indicated that all of their own coverage on any new spectrum will be 5G.  They may well end up with enough spectrum to act as a new fourth wireless player in the US market, and that spectrum is located in favorable frequency bands.  We have introduced their coverage assets on our new Dish Wireless coverage page.