FCC releases broadband coverage map

fcc-releases-new-broadband-coverage-map

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that they have launched a new broadband map that details cellular coverage throughout the country. According to their announcement, the map displays the areas covered by the four major wireless carriers in the country: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and US Cellular. 

Through the map, users can see where they can expect 4G LTE broadband service with at least 5Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed. There are separate layers for broadband and voice coverage from each carrier. This way, you know the areas where you can still make and receive mobile voice and text messages over the 4G LTE network. 

It gets its data submitted voluntarily by the four wireless carriers. The availability of such a map follows the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act that was signed in March 2020. 

The coverage map does not include home internet availability. It also shows coverage that customers can expect when they are outdoors and stationary. The map does not provide information when a user is indoors or on board a moving vehicle. 

Right now, the map does not include 5G coverage. Hopefully, this will be included in the future once it becomes widely available.

You can see the map in action here.

 

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  • Glenn Gore

    These maps do a bit better job of bringing some of the coverage warts into public view. In the case of T-Mobile, they do a very good job of illustrating what is perhaps T-Mobile’s biggest problem, which is site density. AT&T and Verizon put their sites 7-10 miles from each other while T-Mobile’s standard procedure across the country seems to be 20+ mile separation, which leaves large gaps between sites that probably do not have good service or no service at all. Band 71 helps a little with this in some instances, but depending on how they are utilizing it at a particular site, it does not reach as far as Band 2. Band 41 will be of no use without more closely-spaced sites either.

    T-Mobile can add all the new higher-frequency spectrum they want to, but until they actually add more sites between the ones they have already, it will be of little value to users.

    • Johnny Olesen

      I think you are right, but you also have to put into the context that T-mobile has to absorb all of Sprints network.

      I live in Denmark and here Telenor and Telia went through a network RAN merger in 2012 – a world first at the time. So what can we learn from this?

      It was basically the same as T-mobile/Sprint is doing right now – the difference is that Telenor/Telia only merged their RAN network and not comsumer facing parts (products, customer service, advertising etc.). Nokia was chosen as the network provider as both Telenor and Telia used Nokia gear. Both Telenor and Telia had far from great coverage – just like T-mobile and Sprint.

      The history shows that even with only one network provider (Nokia) the merger still took a very long time. It took about 7 years for the whole meger to be somewhat complete with basic lowband coverage from all sites and most major coverage gaps filled in.

      But upgrades with high capacity bands (1800 MHz and above) is an ongoing process and it will take until 2023 before all sites have been fully upgraded and the full potential of the network has been reached.

      This is 10+ years from start to completion for Telenor/Telia.

      T-mobile will eventually have great coverage and capacity but it will take time to merge the two networks and the big push with adding new sites will probably not come before two networks have become one in the latter half of 2022.

      Just my two cents.

      • Shaun Michalak

        As for the big push for adding new sites part.. I would have to half disagree with that.. I think that will only be limited to areas where there is no Sprint towers.. In my area, where there are any Sprint towers around, then no, they have not done much of anything to install new towers.. But, in rural areas, where there are is no Sprint or T-Mobile service, I have seen quite a few new towers go up..

        I would have to agree with the rest of it though.. I looked through the coverage areas and found that the coverage that they show does not include any coverage from Sprint towers, nor does it include any partner coverage.. That can really limit coverage you have on the road.. at least for talk..

        I think the 10 year time frame will be a bit shorter with this merger.. T-Mobile said that they could have all the towers converted over in 3 years.. and I think it took about 3 years going through the FCC and regulations just to get the merger approved.. So that brings you up to about 6 years there.. I could give an extra year or two for other factors.. So I would guess it will be done, and completely through, with upgrades done, in probably closer to 7 or 8 years..

        • Johnny Olesen

          Yep – but my point is, that if you look at my reference case with Telenor/Telia it also took exactly three years 2012-2015 for the merger of both networks but the big push with new sites did not come until years later. The combined network today compromises of around 4.400 sites – that is one site per 1300 citizens. T-mobiles goal is – if I am not mistaken – around 115000 or one site per 2900 citizens. In most countries the rule of thumb is one sites to every 2000 citizens for fair coverage.

          It is that huge difference that is the problem of US mobile networks – especially in rural areas when it is about coverage and less about capacity.

          The T-mobile/Sprint consolidation takes time and while Sprint sites are reused they are probably not fully equipped with all available bands from the start. At least that is what I have heard. The merger is also likely to benefit people in cities more than in rural areas.
          As long as T-mobile has a network where sites are spaced more than 10 miles apart they will not have coverage that will provide both radio coverage and capacity. How do I know? Because my reference is Denmark, which proberly has the highest density of sites in the world (at least in rural areas).

          Denmark is a relatively flat country but still most small rural areas have indoor coverage with 4G. A typical site spacing is around 3 miles in Denmark and with a site using 700, 800 or 900 MHz coverage one can receive indoor coverage and with 1800-2300 MHz bands one also can receive indoor 4G.

        • Shaun Michalak

          But you are not taking into consideration that T-Mobile has been, and is still pushing for new sites to be installed.. They are not waiting years to do so.. This is on top of upgrading Sprint towers, and installing 5G on band 41 too.. You said that it would benefit cities more then rural.. I would have to say equally because most of the new towers that they are putting up are in more rural areas, and not that much in cities.. Cities are getting towers upgraded and adding band 41 for more capacity and faster speeds..

          As for the 10 mile thing.. That would have to depend on where you live.. Where I live, land is not flat.. because of it, there is no way for T-Mobile to have coverage, and have towers farther then about 10 miles apart. any farther and coverage suffers.. This goes for all carriers.. So it is not like they space them like that in all areas. I think most places that they space them like that are in areas where their coverage is just not there, and they do it so that there is some coverage.. I just wanted to note that because I keep seeing people talk about how far apart T-Mobiles towers are, and say 10 and 20 miles apart, like that is the standard across the whole country for the company.. It is not..

          Sprint sites are not fully equipped for much of anything.. In fact, not all Sprint sites have even been upgraded to 4G LTE with VoLTE capabilities.. The only sites that have been upgraded to 5G are in cities, and that is it. Sprint really only had 3 bands that they worked with.. 800mhz, which was mostly 2 or 3G stuff.. 1900 mhz for 4G.. and then 2500 mhz which was split between 4 and 5G, but that was only in cities.. But since most of their towers relied just on 2/3/4G, and on bands 25/26 (800/1900), they only have about 50mhz of spectrum between them both.. Who knows if the old line runs to those towers can even support 4 or 5 times the spectrum, if T-Mobile tossed all their spectrum on that same tower.. In fact, I can not even guarantee that their equipment would handle it..

        • marque2

          In Europe you can’t drive 100 miles on a highway without encountering a real town. I encounter that all the time when I drive in the US. It is hard to compare to Europe, because the population density is so high over there. We have much more rural to contend with. It would unaffordable to have coverage everywhere in the US.

        • Johnny Olesen

          @marque2:disqus Incorrect – that is why the population number of sites is such a great number to compare with. There is no reason that US telcos should be unable to serve most rural areas with fair coverage.

          Just look what AT&T is doing (with the help of FirstNet).

        • Shaun Michalak

          Not sure what FirstNet has to do with anything.. All that FirstNet is, is a service where they let AT&T use a little more spectrum that is leased to them during the contract, and they have to let first responders get first or high priority on that tower when they use it.. Other then that, it is basically AT&T working with them like a MVNO.. AT&T did agree to expand their service for the contract, but it is not like the government is paying for those new towers to go up.. That is all on AT&T’s end..and they could have done the same thing, with the same results without the FirstNet contract.. The only thing that it did was give them a little more cash to play with for their services (not really any different then walmart family or Mint Mobile on T-Mobiles towers) and a small amount of extra bandwidth..

        • Johnny Olesen

          @shaunmichalak:disqus As a part of Firstnet AT&T is required to cover 76.2 percent of the mainland US with band 14 (or other bands).

          If I remember correctly the government allocated some 7 or 8 billion $ to construction of Firstnet via the Spectrum Act. But how that fits the puzzle I do not know.

          I would agree with you that the goverment is really not paying AT&T anyting – it is more like swapping service for a licens to band 14.

          Firstnet is also more than just a MVNO. There are requirement to both the backend network and sites are required to be able to work in extreme situations.

          Firstnet shows that the government can help. Band 14 is of great value for AT&T and it provides better coverage for the users. AT&T has also constructed some 500 new sites due to feedback from Firstnet users.

          Firstnet is a prime example of goverment requirements that actually helps consumers. And Firstnet has forced Verizon and T-mobile to up their game with better coverage. WIN-WIN!

        • Shaun Michalak

          There is merit to what you said.. But at the same time, AT&T was already in the process of starting their build out anyways.. With, or without FirstNet.. T-Mobile started building out their network in a big way about 6 or 7 years ago.. FirstNet was awarded to AT&T in 2017.. The same year that T-Mobile got all that band 71 frequency too.. AT&T saw how they were loosing their huge lead in coverage fast when that came around, and were already in the process of doing something to get more coverage to keep their lead over T-Mobile.. Because after a few years of build-out, AT&T started taking T-Mobile as more of a threat..

          Now I am not going to say that FirstNet did not do anything for them but some extra spectrum.. They probably got more insight into things at that time too.. and when I said they were like a MVNO, I said it as AT&T was giving the service due to the contract.. The government relied on AT&T for the rest of the network.. They just had higher priority, like I already said.. The biggest difference was that they got some band 14 to go with it.. But since AT&T lets them roam an get service on all bands, not just band 14, that is also what partly makes it like a MVNO.. Because they are using bands that they do not own too.

          Last thing to remember.. The government had bonuses to help all carriers to put up service in areas that had no, or only one service provider too.. So all companies got a kickback for installing in say.. Oklahoma, where no one had service. That might have been where part of the money came from that they got.. Not sure..

        • Johnny Olesen

          @shaunmichalak:disqus Government bonus or subsidizes are *never* a good thing as it often hinders competition.

          With the new map the FCC could demand coverage in select areas based. Let me explain:

          The FCC maps is a very important step *IF* the FCC chooses to use the maps like in Denmark – and they might just do that.

          In Denmark the telecom authority used the maps in 2012 to demand 95% household coverage in around 13 percent of the country s zip codes. The zip codes were selected with the help of the coverage map.

          If the telcos wanted 800 MHz spectrum they had to provide coverage and that resulted in hundreds of new sites and towers.
          The government of cause made less money from the auction but the tradeoff was more than reasonable.

          And then the magic happened. Because one Telco had to erect new towers and provide coverage in specific undeserved areas the others followed in later years.

          That is because the initial cost of the tower+power+backbone fiber was already in place and the other Telecos all of a sudden could put up a site for at fraction of the normal cost. The ROI is simply many times better and consumers all of a sudden went from no choice to 2 or 3 telcos to choose from. It did not happen overnight but after 3-5 years the result was very visible.

          In later auctions (700/900/2300 Mhz) when the overall coverage was considered fair the telecos was forced to provide coverage in specific areas – smaller towns or areas of 5-6 square miles.
          Again new sites = better coverage = more telcos to choose from

          In the recent auctions last year (2100/2300/3500 MHz) the Telcos has to cover specific houses in select regions. Yes that is right. The government now want Telcos to provide data coverage to as little as 5 house at a time – the scheme has been so successful that the areas with no or bad coverage is next to non-existing.

          It took around a decade in Denmark. The process I just described is only possible with accurate FCC maps and the great part is that is cost next to nothing for consumers and government.

        • Shaun Michalak

          But here are a few differences.. First, most of the towers that T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, etc have are not owned towers.. The main towers that they are installed on are rented spaces on towers that others own.. Very few towers are actually owned by any of them.. Verizon does own most of theirs, but even they have leased space off of that tower.. I have no idea how this arrangement works.. But I know that if I, as a company, could be first and pay 1 million, or wait for someone else to start it and only pay 30% that.. It is only economical to wait for someone else to start it. that would actually discourage expansion, not encourage it.

          Second problem is.. Cost.. Like you said.. Denmark is fairly flat ground.. Because a good portion of the USA is mountainous territory, there are areas in the country that they have to have a tower every 2 miles because service can not go far enough because of the terrain. Also, the density of Denmark as a whole is 4 times higher then that of the USA.. That means that you have to build 4 times more towers to cover the same amount of people.. All this means, to cover the equivalent space here, it could easily cost 5 times what it does there because of all those extra towers that they would have to build.

          The government relies on those sales to boost their income.. We have a very poorly run government here.. So for them to say, hey I can give you this spectrum for $1 million.. or I can let you bid and pay 50 million.. The government will go with the 50 million almost every time here.. Greed and mismanagement seems to win out here..

          Then you have the problems of killing off all small companies.. US Cellular only covers something like 10% of the country.. The government comes in and says.. hey, you have to have more coverage or… Or say they are acceptable with just that with the government and then they decide that they want to get bigger like T-Mobile did.. Now they have little to no options to do just that. The fact is, if I never leave my state, I could care less what coverage is like 5 states over.. and lets not forget about the companies that use other companies by proxy to have service.. Like how Verizon has no service in Puerto Rico..

          T-Mobile may be a major player now.. But you have to remember.. go back 7 years, and they only covered something like 15% of the country.. They got to expand because they did have those frequencies in those areas.. If they didn’t, then T-Mobile would never have been able to expand like they did.

        • Johnny Olesen

          Leasing towers are a very common pratice all over the world – not just in the US. Bear in mind that these tower-companies want to rent our the place on the towers and that is why most towers are placed where telcos actually need coverage. The Telcos has a dialog with the tower companies where to place new towers.

          I do not have the US numbers of actual cost per site but in my home country a 48 meter tower (157 feet) costs about §60.000 and adding power, backup-generator and fiber-connection and other infrastructure. All in all around §100000 for the tower and then the Telco has to spend another §100000 for equipment.

          Again we are talking about coverage and population density. And again I have to remind you that the US problem can be measured with the ration on population per site. It is not about demographics or terrain – the US problem is plane and simple the lack of sites. And that has been the problem for decades.

          Shaun Michalak you are repeating the same old wrong misunderstandings about the coverage issue in the US. The problem is and has always been too few sites when you compare to other countries. In many ways the US should be easier to cover but I suspect the regulatory environment has something to do with the lack of sites. T-mobile/Sprint has around 115000 sites right now. If they want truly great coverage – coverage that their user also find great – they should be pushing to around 200000 sites. That would be one site per 1640 citizens. Would that cover the world country? Far from it because of the vast rural areas but it would provide near universal fair coverage.

          T-mobiles problem is they plan a future network of around 85000 macro sites and 50000 small sites that really does not help with coverage.

          Denmark is very flat but the whole country can be covered with around 2000 sites using 700-900 MHz – but as I already have stated Telenor/Telia covers the country with 4400 sites. That actually means most of the country and population is covered by 1800-2300 MHz giver fantastic capacity and speeds. Big multinational Telcos with operations across the globe does not waste money on adding new or extra sites unless they think they will have an ROI. Why have 4400 sites when 2000 would provide fair coverage? The reason is how the government forces the Telcos to provide better coverage and the new FCC maps might just be the beginning of that in the US.

          About smaller Telcos we actually has somewhat the same problem in Europe because – big surprise – there are a lot os countries and each country has its own Telcos and regulation. The EU has tried to leverage the service across the EU but there is still a big difference between Northern and Southern Europe. Southern Europe has terrible mobile networks compared to Northern Europe but it is getting better. What we are seen in Europe is that big multination Telcos operate across multiple countries in the EU and put best practice into play hence providing better coverage and service. But like in the US consolidation takes a lot of time.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I am not saying that they do not need more sites.. They do.. Especially in areas where your have mountainous terrain.. But at the same time, I am also saying.. Hey, if no one, or almost no one lives within a 100 mile radius of an area, it is not very profitable to put up towers in places with little to no people, and almost no one on that network in that area.. They basically are just taking a loss putting that tower up, so what incentive does any of the cell companies have to put a a tower in a place like that? The same could be said about an areas where the terrain is so bad that the tower is going to have very little coverage too.

        • Johnny Olesen

          Shaun, I understand but it really comes down to the question. Does the Telco prioritize ROI or providing coverage for all?

          Commercial Telcos will always prioritize ROI hence most urban areas have fair coverage. It is the same all over the world.

          If you want universal coverage in all parts of the country, the FCC map is the first step. Step two is requiring the Telcoms to provide coverage in specific areas next time there is an auction.

          So yes the Telcos will have to endure a loss putting up new towers but it will be an expense that may not be that bad. New sites will also generate new income from e.g home broadband using 4G/5G.

          What is not feasible from a normal ROI perspective can be feasible if the site has to be put up regardless of ROI.

          What we have seen in Denmark is adding new sites in underserved areas has sparked new business for the Telcos as home broadband and more IoT-solutions that can help generate revenue. Its is not strange that T-mobile is betting on home broadband.

          Providing home broadband for 50 houses can offset a lot of expenses for at new tower. 50 x $50 = @2500 per month
          That is more than enough to make a site profitable. Then add some mobile connections on top of that.

          “If you build it, they will come”

        • Shaun Michalak

          I am not going to fully disagree with what you are saying. There is some truth to what you are saying.. I do agree that the FCC map is a good start.. But where my problem lies is in the fact that you talk like this can be fixed, or made better everywhere, and that in the end, it can all be justified.. Let me give you a good example.. Look at the state of Arizona.. Denmark is 16,577 square miles with a population of 5.8 million. Arizona is 113,998 square miles with a population of 7.2 million.

          Through about 95% Arizona, the population is under 50 people per square mile.

          Out of 12 counties in that state, only one has a population density of over 50 people per square km.. 2 counties with over 30 people per square km.. But there is 5 counties that are under 6 people per square km.. and you can say that they can justify spending a million dollars to put up a tower that only 6 people live in per square km??

        • Johnny Olesen

          Shaun do the math :-) The problem is ROI, but if the Telco is forced to provide coverage a site in the middle of nowhere can be profitable.

          I do like the metric system better but lets do it in square miles.

          Eg. Arizona: A new site in the middel of rural Arizona where the population density is 65 people per square mile.

          T-mobile builds a new tower with both 600 MHz and the full marketing bs with “Ultra Capacity 5G” (It actualle is pretty much what we already are using in Denmark except it i only 4G today – 5G is being rolled out as we speak).

          That single tower will cover 4 miles in each direction, and because my brain is fried today I only do math in squares. So 8 x 8 miles is 64 square miles with 65 people per Square mile. That is 4060 people.

          Lets assume only 20 percent of those want to be T-mobile customers. That is 832 potential customers/mobile connections. Lets use the cheap Essintals plan for $30 per month.

          832×30$=$24960 per month

          But it get better. What if some of the houses need internet?

          What is about 10 percent of the potential T-mboile customers also buys Internet? That would be 83 x $50 = $4150

          There you have it. A potential revenue of more than $29000 per month.

          But what if T-mobile is the only one with decent service? Maybe the take rate is 60 percent one mobile plans.

          But then what about North Dakota with a population density of 11 per square mile. We do the same calculation but make the cell tower reach a mile longer – 5 miles in each direction. That would be 10×10=100

          100 x 11 = 1100 people in the service areas. 20 percent of 1100 is 220 potential customers. 220 x $30 = 6600 and the we add internet 22×50 = 1100.

          $7700 per month is still more than enough to run a site.

          You asked the question if it is justifyed spending a million dollars to put up a tower that only 6 people live in per square km? It depends if you think telecomminication – the access to the internet and voice call – are an essential part of life. The US government is giving millions of dollars to Starlink to provide internet access – I wonder why?

          The answear to your question is a clear yes because it does not cost millions of dollars if the government and Telcoms work together. Insted at paying billions for spectrum those billions of dollars can be invested to serve those people living in rural areas.

          In my country we have choosen to move as much paperwork online as possible – its called e-government and it affects everything in our country from filing taxed (which is almost automated), to admitting you kids to the local school to filing for a permit for your building project. Everything can and must be done online.

          It is very difficult to live without access to the internet in my country and that is why the government has “forced” the Telcos to provide internet and phone coverage all over the country.

        • Shaun Michalak

          You say that it would not cost a million if the telco and government work together.. But lets just look at some costs.. there are some places that there is no fiber run for 100 miles.. Say you need to only run it for 50 miles.. It can cost up to $10,000 to run a 12 line fiber run for just one mile.. 50 miles times 10k.. a half a million right there, and that is not even including the tower, equipment, etc to go with it.

          As for your calculations.. You keep thinking squares.. a radius is not a square.. If you have a tower with a 10 mile radius, 5 miles from center.. it is not 10 x 10 for 100.. because the corners are cut off.. You actually lose close to 25% of the coverage due to it being a circle, not a square.. so it is closer to 75, not 100.. and that drops even more when you consider areas with barely a signal, or areas that are doubled up per tower.. Looking at usable service, your original 100 square miles could easily be dropped to 65 when you figure in it being a radius and only taking “good” or usable service from that tower into account.

          Even at your $7,700 a month income.. Lets just say their cost to build it cost $500,000.. It would take 65 months (about 5 1/2 years) just to break even at that cost.. and that does not even include rental fees for the property, costs to upgrade the tower, maintenance fees, fiber runs, etc.. Now lets look at actual costs from a company that actually puts these towers up.. This is just a tower, not equipment or fiber runs..

          An average estimate for cell tower construction can be anywhere from $100,000.00 – $350,000.00 depending on materials, construction, labor, etc. However, we have worked on projects where the construction costs incurred were closer to $1,000,000.00 by the time the project was completed.

          Then take the people that already have satellite internet.. Good possibly they will not want to switch to cell service for internet.

          So if they can and do get a good incentive to get this done by money from the government, then yes.. This is doable at not a big loss of income for the cell provider if funding is enough.. But, if there is no funding and the carrier has to pick up the bill in full.. Places like this are nothing more then a drain on their income.. They at least have to have a reasonable idea that in the future that they can at least somewhat break close to even, or better for these types of towers.. Especially when they are in rural areas without even a highway to help justify it in coverage for travelers.

        • Johnny Olesen

          Shaun, not to offend you but if you take a holistic approach to the problem then there really is no problem. It is simply a question of getting the government to “demand” better coverage from the Telcos. Everything else will solve it self. The FCC maps are step one – and step two is demanding coverage at the next spectrum auction.

          Fiber is costly but it is also a one time expense, and if a tower owner can attract more than one telco to a site that expense can be split between the Telcos. In many places it is also possible to do wireless point-to-point connections. Very remote sites can (and will be) be connected to satellite instead.

          Here in Denmark point ot point links are used extensively as both primary and backup backhaul. It is very common to run fiber to one tower and from that tower connect other towers. It is very common to have wireless point to point connection over a distance of 8-10 miles using 11, 26 or 60 GHz connections. Once agin we are talking about distance between towers of 8-10 miles. There is a reason I try to underscore why distance between towers really matters.

          A typical point-to-point connection works best when the link is less than 12 miles.

          If sites planning is done wisely then backhaul connection is not as problematic or costely as you might think.

          Radius, square whatever. I simplified my example so everyone can understand how it works. In reality its not even a radius because different antenna systems have different antennas patterns. It depends on the terrain, it depends on where the antenna is focus, the tilt of the antenna, the hight of the antenna, the frequency uses, the antenna gain, the terminal send/receive strength/pattern, if the terminal har HPUE and a lot of other variables.

          So keep it simple so everyone can understand in my example I use squares and it should be no problem for the average Joe to understand.

          Regarding costs depending on which part of the world we are talking about a breakeven of 5 years are not unheard of. But just to put into perspective here ind Denmark a typical site that costs around $200000 to establish is acceptable to a Telco if it can generate $3000 per month. That is because in my country the Telcos accept that it is not the individual site that has to bring in all the money. Again is has a lot to do with the government regulation.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I am not disagreeing.. But the point that I am trying to make is.. It is not just about the government coming down and saying “you have to”.. You can put certain obligations in there, like well.. You have to use the spectrum in some way.. But if say, there is no population in a 100 square mile except on the edge, which only takes up 5 square miles.. You have to get that whole 100 square mile piece to be able to install service on that 5 square miles of area.

          While there are a lot of places that, like you said, have the potential to make income.. You also have to remember.. There are areas of the US that you can go 50 miles and not see a single building.. It is not farmland.. just land with nothing on it.. Not even a highway.. I am trying to point out.. This is the USA.. Things are spread out.. and while I will agree that 95% of the US can be justified at having a tower, at the same time, you seem to have this concept that it can be justified “everywhere”.. and I am trying to point out, it can not..

          You want a good example.. Go look up Alaska population map.. Look at how over 50% of the state has pretty much a 0 population per square mile (and Alaska is not a small state). By your account, all the carriers should have coverage in these areas.. These same areas that no one drives by, no one lives, and almost no one visits.. Unless the government paid 100% of the cost, no cell company is going to do it.. It is as bad as saying that they should put up cell service at the north and south poles..

          I am just trying to say.. There has to be a need, or some kind of a justification to put service up.. You may not have a lot of people, but maybe a lot of farmland with tractors working off of cell service.. Justified.. Highways and state roads going through.. Justified.. Middle of a desert with no one or anything for 50 miles.. Not justified.. Up in the mountains where one solo person lives deep in the forest.. Not justified..

        • Johnny Olesen

          I agree. All Telcos should not have coverage in all areas – that is not my point. I agree that universal coverage in Alaska is not viable but in most other states it is possible to provide a much, much better coverage than today.

          No of cause mobile coverage is not viable in all places, but most places can have coverage, but today the Telcos have no reason to provide coverage in areas where the ROI is low.

          When you state that you can go 50 miles in the desert and not see a single building that might be true, but is that an excuse to not try? The Telcos will not provide coverage, so the alternative is to “force” the Telcos to provide coverage.

          But should the government for the Telcos build a tower in the middle of the desert? NO!

          If the government knows where there is a lack of coverage, then the government can pinpoint coverage in areas where the most citizens lack coverage. When the government forces the Telco to provide coverage it should of cause be done smart.

          In you example with the middle of a desert with no one or anything for 50 miles of cause the government will not force Telcos to provide coverage. But the government will force coverage in the five towns in the “outskirts of the desert” and when the Telcos provide coverage in the small towns there will be an “overspil of coverage” where some of the desert areas without people also will receive coverage.

          That is how we have done it in Denmark. The government first requires coverage in small towns, and then huge areas around these towns also received coverage thus making the areas with no service smaller and smaller.
          Only when all small towns had coverage the government went a little further but that do not have to be the case in the US.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Now if you would have explained it a little better like that in the beginning, then we could have agreed more.. But you kept saying.. Coverage over most of the country, making it sound like.. Well, it does not matter if there is a highway or person there or not, they should still have coverage there.. You never gave any exceptions saying.. Hey, 100 miles of not even a road, and that is more acceptable to not having coverage there.. You left the impressions that even in places like that, there should still be coverage..

          As for T-Mobile.. That is one thing I can give them.. At least right now.. They are putting in a lot of coverage in those places that have low population rates.. Grand Valley is a good example.. Very little population there.. That area is more like just hunting cabins and stuff. AT&T has no coverage there either.. But T-Mobile did put coverage there.. So it is happening even without the government pushing for it.. After all, the only company that has a contract for having a certain amount of coverage is AT&T, and that is because of firstnet..

          I personally beleive what got the momentum going was when Legere came on, and started doing something about the coverage and stuff. For years, there was T-Mobile and Sprint, which stayed small local vendors that were not much of a threat.. and AT&T and Verizon both were the big two that dominated the industry.. If you wanted any kind of decent coverage, you had to go with one of those two.. and they really were not much of a threat to each other, because when an AT&T customer got mad at them, they went to Verizon.. and vise versa.. But in the end, when they got mad at the other company, there really was only one other company to go to.. So both AT&T and Verzion got content in their coverage because they knew that they really had nothing to lose.. or gain by changing anything..

          Then when Legere came in, and started doing dramatic coverage changes.. well, suddenly, they were now becoming a threat.. But they still had some space because of their lack of spectrum in a lot of places.. Places where US Cellular was at, was a big part of it.. But once they got all that 600mhz spectrum, that really changed.. and with even more coverage being added, T-Mobile went from a slight threat, to a more major threat.. It was around this time that AT&T really started doing their expansions of coverage, because their big lead was closing fast.. and then as that happened, then Verizon started feeling more of the pressure and that forced them to act..

          Even through AT&T and Verzion had many years of time to expand, if you look at the actual amount of coverage right now.. I think T-Mobile has move coverage right now, then Verizon did a few years ago.. and I think that right there is what really spurred on the mass expansions of coverage.. Not the government saying you have to, but putting that 3rd player in there that could take everything away from the 2 big companies that were content in their ideas that they were the best, so no needing to do anything.. After all, if you got mad at the big 2, there was now player #3 that they could go to..

        • marque2

          Yeah comparing Europe to the US does not work. Even with “Norway” we have much more open space, more mountains, and more slender valleys to get coverage even if we had the same average density of towers as in Europe.

          The government could get involved in some ways. California taxes us to have call boxes put along the roadways. Counties don’t request these any more because we all have cell phones now – so the money gets stolen. It could be used by the state to create towers near highways where the signal is considered “underserved”

        • Johnny Olesen

          @marque2:disqus @

          As I have explain in detail, it really comes down to the number of cell-sites. Yes there are more open spaces, more mountains etc. in the US but providing fair coverage in most of the contiguous US is far from impossible.

          As an example Norway has a landmass of 148,729 square miles, which is slightly larger than New Mexico. There are very, very good mobile coverage in Norway and the biggest Telco, Telenor, provides coverage from around 8000 sites. That is one cell-site per 18,5 square miles. The Norwegians have their pockets filled with money so it is an extreme example but non the less it shows it is not impossible.

          The contiguous US is about 25 time bigger than Norway. To archive a reasonable similar coverage per square miles you would therefor need 8000×25 = 200.000 sites

          T-mobiles goal is half of that. Wonder why your coverage is bad? There is you answer.

          T-mobile could provide great coverage with less that 200000 sites but they would still need to be in the range of at least 120000-140000 sites.

        • marque2

          So now you are comparing all sites in Norway against the sites of one company in the US? Look it is a lot more expensive for three companies to independently cover a country with half the population density of Europe and twice the land area. You keep pointing out that Norway is a small exception. OK, that is nice to know.

        • Johnny Olesen

          marque2 @ Please read it again. Norway has three national mobile networks. I just mentioned the largest network which is Telenor.

          Norway and Sweden are fine examples that illustrate my point. Its is no impossible to provide coverage in rural areas – not even impossible in the US.

          It is not that more expensive to provide fair coverage in the rural US than Europe. The population density and the way European buildings are made actually makes it harder and more costly to provide urban coverage. You have to take that into account.

          A more dense population does not translate to lower cost of building a network infrastucture. It is cheaper to build and operate cell-towers in rural areas but the return of investment is also lower. That is why building expensive sites in urban areas are preferred by Telcos. The ROI is simply better.

        • Shaun Michalak

          The thing is, before you can say that one place is cheaper then another.. You have to take all things into account.. Laying of cables, how far do you have to do fiber runs, even down to the fact that they lease that space so how much is rent every month..

        • Shaun Michalak

          I read up on that a little.. I found that those companies in Norway had the highest site density in the world

        • marque2

          OK, so?

        • Shaun Michalak

          My point was.. The comparison was comparing the highest density network on the planet as an example of a good working network.. The comparison was not against an “average” network that still has good service. Comparing the 2 is like comparing a $1000 TV to a $100 TV.. If a comparison is made, it should be to one that has good service, but not so dense that you are pretty much guaranteed 4 out of 5 bars 99% of the time. Because lets be honest.. There are some places that you know that they towers will be nothing but a drain on them, because they will never recoup the cost because there will never be enough traffic to fully justify it..

          With his example, even these places are almost guaranteed 4 bars of service.. I am just saying.. Compare a good network, with good coverage, that is comparable with the terrain of the land in both places.. and that would be a good comparison.. Not comparing the best in the world, with terrain that is easy to install on, vs the complete opposite.

        • marque2

          Look if one small socialist country prioritizes cell service over other things fine. But the scale is completely different. You are talking a country about 5% the size of the USA. That is why I keep comparing Europe, to USA – not Norway to USA. You can always find one small tiny exception.

          Why don’t we compare Canada to USA? If you want to see the problem highlighted – as on average landmass grows and population density drops, service is on average worse and more expensive. See Canada vs USA.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I know.. Both cell service and broadband up there are both really highly priced.

        • Shaun Michalak

          As of a couple of months ago (feb 2021), this was the stats on the number of towers each carrier had.

          T-Mobile has 110,000 sites, but will end with 85,000 after the Sprint integration is done. AT&T has 70,000, and Verizon has 64,000

          I did read from a T-Mobile article that Verizon had 68,000 now.. Still, if you complain about T-Mobiles bad service because of lack of sites, then what does that make AT&T or Verizon??

          Here’s how T-Mobile’s 4G LTE coverage breaks down compared to the other major carriers: (march of this year)

          Verizon: 70% 4G LTE coverage
          AT&T: 68% 4G LTE coverage
          T-Mobile: 62% LTE 4G coverage

          Taking full coverage across the US into account, it seems that would bring T-Mobile up to about 150k if they had full coverage across the USA.. That seems very close to your 120k to 140k number of sites that you talked about..

        • Johnny Olesen

          You have to remember, that 2 + 2 does not equal 5.

          Sprint and T-mobile both had fair urban coverage and when you combine two telcos with fair urban coverage you do not all of a sudden get great rural coverage.

          Verizon and AT&T have spend years rolling out rural coverage and T-mobile will not be able to catch up next year when Sprints network will be closed.

          As I have tried to explain the process will take time – a long time – and that is also why the new combined T-mobile/Sprint network will consist of ~75000 existing sites and then they will add 10000 new sites. I suspect most of does new sites will be in rural areas.

          When I calculate how many sites you need to provide fair coverage those sites must of cause be placed all across the country – not just in the urban areas.

          What you can see with AT&T and Verizon is the head start they have had. AT&T and Verizon has spend decades optimizing they networks and spreading their network to rural parts of the country.
          T-mobile cannot just merge with Sprint and all of sudden catch up – not even with 600 Mhz on all sites.

          AT&T and Verizon can do “more with less” because they have been building the networks for decades in rural areas. T-mobile has just begun that process, and that is where the 10000 new sites comes into play.

          As I have stated with the worlds first complete RAN merger (Telia/Telenor in Denmark) the entire process took den 10+ years, T-mobile maybe quicker but the process will still take years (unless you buy the marketing BS from the company).

        • Shaun Michalak

          You missed my point.. You talked about how many towers were going to be needed, and this is why you get the coverage that you do with T-Mobile right now.. My last comment was based more on the fact that T-mobile is not alone.. If T-Mobile, even after they discontinue the service of a lot of those duplicate Sprint towers has 85k towers left.. That is still more then AT&T or Verizon.. But both of them have more coverage.. So if they have more coverage on the map, with less towers, then that would lead to the point that the other 2 companies are worse then T-Mobile in coverage vs population.

        • Johnny Olesen

          Yes that is somewhat what we saw in Denmark after the Telenor/Telia RAN merger.

          The combined network had almost 1/3 more sites that the second largest network (TDC), but TDC has had the best network (verified by independent drive tests, OpenSignal etc.) every year since the merger. TDC has had better coverage, higher speeds, more consistent service and the merged Telenor/Telia network is not expected to catch up until 2022 or 2023.

          I get your point. T-mobile has more sites thus they are closer to the number I stated. No that is not how things work. The number I gave you is when you take an overview of where the Telcos should be in the future. The number I calculated based on cellsites/population is a universal rule of thumb and should be understood as such.

        • Shaun Michalak

          There is a lot of extra money that gets used for cell service, and its installation.. It makes me wonder of other countries have to go to such lengths just to install a tower like they do here, in some places. For example, in some places, in order for them to put up a new towers, they have to make it blend into the background.. The cost to camouflaged a cell tower can cost over $100,000 more to put up, and that is each.. 20 towers in a town.. There goes an extra million dollars.

        • Johnny Olesen

          @shaunmichalak:disqus @syou should come visit europe sometime and go explore. There are lots of places where antennas are hidden in plain site.

          Antennas hidden in church towers, antennas painted in the colors of a chimned or windmill, antennas as part of an art-installation, a cell tower lade to look like an art, a tree or at flagpole and antennas camouflaged as part of a brick wall on an old building. That is just some of the antennas I know of.

          There are many, many examples of hidden antennas in Europe.

        • marque2

          Part of the problem is that the United States has a much larger rural area and much less dense population than Europe. In Europe you put up a tower anywhere and you get 2k people. In the US there are towers that serve one lonely road with the nearest real town 100 miles away.

        • Johnny Olesen

          @marque2:disqus

          Yes you are correct but it is not really the problem.

          Countries like Norway and Sweden which are covered with mountains and dense forests have excellent mobile coverage and a much lower population density per square mile then the US.

          Population density is a factor but not the real problem.

          In Europe many more buildings are also made of bricks or concrete and wood structures are not as widely used as in the US. The building codes in the European Union (
          Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) also plays a major role as most modern buildings are more or less a Faraday cage.

          Coverage of urban areas is thus far easier in the US because penetration of wood structures and different building codecs.

          When a telco in theory should be able to provide urban coverage with fewer sites in the US then there should be a surplus of sites that can be placed in rural areas.

          To explain the difference a small town with a population of 3500 people can in the US be covered by one cell site where the same city in Europe will require two or three sites.

          The lack of rural coverage in the US is simply not only a question of population density.

          In my country (Denmark) the government has been very proactive and when auctioning off bands for 4G/5G it has required coverage/capacity in underserved areas and that is why we today have excellent rural coverage.

          Now pay close attention! In Denmark we have had the equivalent to the FCC map since the (as per my memory) 2010, and this map has been used to force the telcos to provide better coverage in underserved areas.

          Every telco has been forced to use the same matrics in showing coverage maps so you can compare the coverage between the telcos and the government has then used the maps to “kindly ask” the telcos to provide better coverage in rural areas. If they want new frequency bands they must provide coverage in specific rural areas.

          But why should you pay close attention to something that has taken place in a small country far far away?

          Because some of the ideas from Denmark may be flowing directly to the FCC from advisors like Strand Consult (Google them).

        • Shaun Michalak

          What you say does have merit.. But there are other things that you do not take into consideration.. For example, there are areas in state parks that will not allow them to put up towers for coverage.. Then you have local government restricting the installation of towers.. I have read many articles, from many places, where different companies tried put up towers, and people in the area fought and got the local governments to reject the cell companies from doing so..

          They complain about things like, but it does not look pretty, or something like that. I watched one article that complained that they put up antennas on an existing utility pole.. They ended up winning and T-Mobile had to take down service off of it.. All they did was remove a few antennas, and it made those people happy.. Too many people and areas like that, that can really restrict getting service in some areas.

        • Johnny Olesen

          @shaunmichalak:disqus What you describe is not unique to the US. In most countries around the globe telecoms face similar problems with local, regional or national governments. I am not neglecting the very reel problems but it is not unique and most of these problems can be solved if the FCC has the power and focus to do so.

          In Denmark we have had a political focus on the issues and the telcos have been fairly vocal where local governments have stood in the way of progress.
          But I can also tell you that it only takes one tragic death where someone cannot dial 911 due to lack of coverage and one diehard journalist to make changes.

          You describe a problem site where T-mobile has been forced to take it down. I have heard countless storys like that and I have a great story from my country with a similar case.

          Here the incumbent telco was forced to remove a site (tower) in a small town. A municipality owned power plant wanted to double the price for renting space for the tower. The telco did not accept the price increase and instead of providing basic coverage from another site, they simply removed all coverage around the town – and so did the three other telcos.

          All of a sudden people in the town had serious problems using their phones and 911 service did not work in most of the town. People were upset, the media went into a frenzy, politicians were mad as h*ll but the telcos were cold as ice and they would not restore service.

          A week later service was restored with no price increase for the tower and the municipality and its citizens were all of a sudden very cooperative when new sites were planned in the area.
          The politicians talked about helping the telcos with new sites (even with cash) and the media all of a sudden stopped talking about the evil greedy commercial telcos that only think about money.

          Everyone learned a lesson the hard way that telcos serve a very important task.

          Was it bulling innocent people? Yes but it worked.

          Lesson to be learned? The telcos should be cold as ice and point fingers at those how prevent new cellcites.

          I follow T-mobil because of the progress of 5G where T-mobile is a market leader. What T-mobile is doing with 5G today, we will most likely see in Europe in 1-2 years.
          So for me T-mobile is a great reference case for things to come even if T-mobile is clearly not the marked leader in every aspect.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I wish more would do things like that here.. But i do not see it happening.. That towers that I told you about.. It turned out that it was the company tower, but someone bought the land and the lease was for the tower for electrical lines only.. They were not allowed to put anything on that tower except those electrical lines.. It was a minor detail, and I saw no harm since it did not interfere or change anything down on the ground.. and the real irony.. The person that complained did not even live on the property, or even next to it.. They lived a block down the street and complained because it did not look pretty.. Yea, like that steel structure that was already there looked any prettier.. But in the end, you know what happened..

          As for fighting the cell companies.. Personally, with the way that Verizon and AT&T are putting in towers in neighborhoods for 5G mmWave coverage, I can clearly see people complaining.. For example.. There is one place that they took out the sidewalk to put a poll right down the middle of it, making it impossible for anyone to get through, without going into the grass of their front yard.. This makes it bad for people in wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles, etc.. Heck, even people walking had to go into the grass to go around it.

          I laugh at the commercials that they have here for some of the other cell companies.. For example.. Verizon has a commercial saying “5G done the right way”.. or done right.. whatever.. I just laughed because all their 5G right now is just shared spectrum with 4G. You really need dedicated 5G for it to be done right.. Not DSS like they are using.. I just laugh and think.. Gee.. I wonder how many people actually believe that cr*p..

        • marque2

          In England they sack and burn down 5g towers.

        • marque2

          I have noticed that with Federal parks – though it seems Verizon is able to get in somehow.

          The feds should make a deal to put multicarrier towers on the gift centers / information stations.

        • Shaun Michalak

          My sister lives by the allegheny forest, and up there, there is not much of any towers in the state forest area.. Verizon did get one reprieve by putting an antenna on top of a telephone pole that was there, but that was the only way to get service in that area.. The problem is, that only works for a small area, and they can not do any better unless they can build a real tower for service, which they are not allowed to do.

        • Glenn Gore

          Here in Oklahoma, Sprint essentially never built a network, only a thin line covering the north/south and east/west interstates 35 and 40, so there is nothing to integrate across the other 95% of the state. Site density and coverage will have to be achieved by building new sites, and this is the case across a huge area of the country.

          Sprint was based in Kansas yet did not have much of a network there either, only around the Kansas City metro area, the other 90% of the state was unserved. It was the same thing over most of the country, Sprint and T-Mobile both covered about the same places, so they did not add much new territory at all in the merger.

          So integration of Sprint sites into the T-Mobile network will indeed be a pretty quick process since most of those Sprint sites were located in areas where T-Mobile already had service. Some will be used I’m sure to fill in and densify where they can. The hard part will therefore be in building new coverage to fill in those 20+ mile gaps between the T-Mobile sites.

        • Shaun Michalak

          and that is the difference between where you are at, and where I am at.. In my area, looking at a 100 mile radius of where I live, I have found quite a few places where I have had no T-Mobile service, but have found service through a Sprint tower.. I am not saying that it made a huge difference, but enough to say that it is noticeable. I am in no way saying that it is going to be like that across the whole country..

          A good example.. If you go to Nebraska, in the area from Norfolk to Columbus, T-Mobile has no towers there.. Sprint does.. and T-Mobile has almost no coverage along interstate 80, but Sprint does there too.. Another area is if you go around Marine Base Quantico.. East of it T-mobile has no coverage, but Sprint has good coverage.. Again, not huge amounts of coverage, but it is still something..

        • marque2

          Tmobile tends to be weak where US Cellular exists.

        • Shaun Michalak

          That does not surprise me.. It was like that too up in Maine too.. T-Mobile had to fight between them, AT&T, and US Cellular for spectrum, since they all wanted the same spectrum in US Cellular’s territory.. So they had limited bandwidth to use because of it in those areas.. One good thing is that, at least now, They got all that band 71 to use there, they got all the midband spectrum to use there, and they have the band 41 that they can use there too.. along with the little spectrum that T-Mobile actually had there.. Now they have no excuses for not upping their coverage in those areas..

      • Fraydog

        Not to mention T-Mobile hasn’t had billions of government dollars pumped it’s way like Verizon and AT&T had pumped it’s way. See FIRSTNET as an example, AT&T had new one touch install towers across the country in very rural areas due to that.

  • Shaun Michalak

    I looked at the map, and found it to be pretty accurate from what I can tell.. Much better then any of the maps that you get from any of the companies.. But, it is as limited as much as it is accurate on its information.. Do they update this site and its info, and if so, how much.. Right now, the data is about 3 months old.. How many new towers from all companies have gone up in that length of time? With the T-Mobile merger, they have access to all Sprint towers, but none of their towers are included in this map.. That restricts their coverage right there.. For data, they say 5+ megs down.. So if you are in an area that only gets 4.5 megs down, it will not show data in that area.. Only talk..

    The data is only as good as what they are given too.. I noticed that according to the map, AT&T has no coverage in Puerto Rico.. But I know that they do have coverage down there.. Missing info.. and like I said, this also accounts for any new towers from any of the companies too..

    I think it will be interesting to see what it comes to look like once the T-mobile merger is through, and they add on all those Sprint towers.. I think that will make a difference in some places.. Especially in states like West Virginia..

    • marque2

      I found it to be very accurate for my experience, even at 3 months old. Neither Spring nor TMobile had many rural towers. So when they joined we can’t expect rural service to improve much.

      • Shaun Michalak

        Not sure about where you are at.. But I have found quite a few places around here where I could not get a T-Mobile signal, but I did get a Sprint signal.. So yes, around here it would change.. Not an extreme amount, but it would change..

        The reason I say “pretty accurate” and not very accurate is because, i have found a few places where that map that they have that T-Mobile has voice coverage, I have been by there and I can not even hold a signal stopped on the side of the road.. Granted, it is not far off of where they say that there is no coverage.. But, they still claim coverage on that map for at least voice, and there is none.. Still, it is a LOT better and more accurate then the online versions through the companies web site..

        • marque2

          I find if I can’t get data, I can’t get voice other. I suppose there is a subtle overlap I am not noticing, like that extra 1/2 mile down the highway, which is close to meaningless.

        • Shaun Michalak

          It depends on how you use the phone.. There is a location that is in the “voice” area on the map, but is at a friends house on upper peach street here.. No signal on my phone there, but it says there is on the map.. So that 1/2 mile difference can make a difference.. Because for me, it is a matter of being able to use my phone at a friends house, or not..

          Granted, for most, it is not that big of a deal.. as long as it is pretty close.. But at the same time, it could be someone thinking they have constant coverage, and being on an important call, and then suddenly.. wham.. nothing.. I have stopped on the side of the road more then once because of this.. People who travel for a living can run into that.. This could be anything from semi drivers, to maybe a nurse that goes to peoples homes to keep them out of the hospital/nursing homes.. So I guess it all just depends on a persons situation as to how much that 1/2 mile makes.

        • marque2

          I am not sure how I would tell what signal I am getting unless I had an LTE monitor on constantly

    • georgeone

      AT&T sold operations in Puerto Rico to Liberty Mobile last year. Now Puerto Rico is a Off-net coverage like Mexico and Canada. AT&T only retain First Net in Puerto Rico.

      • Shaun Michalak

        I did not know that AT&T sold out too.. I thought that Verizon is the only one that did that.. I just looked it up.. It was in the news in Nov 2020.. I missed that one somehow.. I guess that explains why it was not on the map.

  • vrm

    t-mobile risks losing a lot of the sprint customers to at&t and Verizon (or their MVNOs). Sprint users in some areas had better coverage due to Verizon roaming and now they are worse off. Clearly they haven’t deployed nationwide band 71, instead focusing on already touched towers where they deploy full array of spectrum and 5G equipment. It will take a lot of time to reach the coverage holes if they wait to upgrade this way- all or none. Some towers are very well equipped with all bands and 5G but the ones that were starved for years are still starving. I don’t think that marketing alone will cut it anymore. If they deployed LTE everywhere, all they’d need are some new antennae for band 71 and they can get more bang for the buck IMO.

    • Tmobile only does that rural areas not metropolitan areas. Tmobile still have the AT&T & Verizon newt with density in cities and has since 2008 at least. 5G airwaves are still being cleared from broadcasters at least I believe you forgot

    • Shaun Michalak

      If they deployed LTE everywhere, all they’d need are some new antennae for band 71 and they can get more bang for the buck IMO.

      Just new antennas?? Really.. Last I remembered, Sprint had a hodge podge of equipment.. Heck, Sprint never even fully updated their network to support VoLTE.. and do you know for sure that their lines to the net can even support all that extra spectrum from T-Mobile?? In case you forgot, most of Sprints towers were running on only about 50 mhz of spectrum total.. Do they even have the bandwidth, or will the equipment be able to handle 4 times that.. or more?? This is exactly why T-Mobile said that they needed, and are going to upgrade ALL of Sprints towers with new equipment so that they can standardize everything.. and know that it can handle the loads too..

      You said it yourself.. Some towers are well equipped.. But any that are well equipped are in cities.. Not in rural areas.. and T-mobile would most likely double up with those same exact towers.. Before the merger, Sprint said right out.. We will “only” be installing 5G in main cities and not in rural communities.. All the more proof that adding an antenna for band 71 will not accomplish much of anything.. and the ones that are starved, are the ones that have not been upgraded to VoLTE.. They are the same ones in rural communities, or on state roads where they could get away with not upgrading stuff.. which is where the holes mainly are..

      • vrm

        Even in suburban areas, the coverage has lots of holes. I live in a metro area and I’ve seen coverage problems in the same spots that are yet to be addressed. I’m talking about entire 3 or 4 block areas with little or no signal, even outdoors ! Lot of businesses, residential buildings and traffic passing thru and no coverage. The “rural vs urban” talking points are getting old even though they aren’t entirely correct.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I have seen the same here with urban coverage.. Peach street, aka state route 19, once you get past the main section of plazas, a couple miles down the road you completely lose all signal.. 19 is one of the busiest streets going out of town outside of the main highway.. and where that outage is, there is a couple of car dealerships (new and used), so it is not like it is just barren land.. and that is all urban, not rural or city.. Just on the outskirts..

          The sad part is, Sprint has nothing there to make up for that mile stretch of no service either, so it is not like they are waiting for that sprint tower to fill it in.. Band 71 has not made it any better either.. So I can understand.. Both verizon, and AT&T both have towers in that area to fill in that gap.. But T-Mobile still has not addressed it, and it has been like that for years..

      • marque2

        The answer WiMax!

  • marque2

    This does seem to show what we all expected in coverage. Verizon by far is #1 AT&T #2 and TMobile is #3 with good coverage in cities but it gets worse outside of town.

    Also based on my outdoor adventures, the FCC map is much more accurate for TMobile coverage than the TMobile marketing maps. In my NorCal trip this year I had coverage everywhere per TMobile – but my experience was, rural highway coverage is quite lacking. The FCC chart matches my experience.

    Not that I am particularly upset with TMobile. They have improved a lot over the years and I put up with worse coverage because my plan is much cheaper than a similar Verizon plan would be.

  • Augustine

    I live in a hilly neighborhood and, because T-Mobile’s towers are too few and far in between, there are too many dark spots, which led me to switch away from T-Mobile. Yet, like in T-Mobile’s coverage map, my neighborhood sports a solid color in the government’s map too. Useless.

    • Dsgb Solo

      Same here. I too live in a hilly region(Central Georgia) but T-Mobile lacks in cell density while AT&T and Verizon have a tighter grid. I hope they fix this one day but until then I switched to big blue earlier this year.

  • kappen

    Make sure you realize this is 4G T-Mobile is relying heavily on their lower frequency 5G to fill in those gaps which that map does not show. They do require phones that take advantage of those ranges.