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Thread: Article: Hunting for Bell's 700Mhz

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    Bell rolling out 700Mhz LTE in Upper Hamilton, Ontario starting April 3rd

    Short description
    Following Canada’s wireless spectrum auction earlier this year, Bell is now launching the first LTE on 700 MHz in Canada. This will enhance our incredible LTE network coverage in urban centres, rural communities, small towns, Canada’s North and in buildings.

    Today’s launch is in Upper Hamilton, Ontario. Watch for more exciting LTE announcements coming soon across the country!
    Date
    Start date: Thursday, April 03, 2014

    Description
    Spread this great news with your customers! With LTE on 700 MHz, they will enjoy stronger wireless service in more places across Canada.

    Key benefits:

    •Blazing fast LTE speeds for incredible video, Mobile TV and internet browsing.
    •Better reception = stronger cellular signals to penetrate through walls in buildings, elevators and underground parking garages.
    •Signal travels further = more LTE coverage because of 700 MHz
    98% of Bell devices already support 700 MHz. The following devices, however, are not capable but will work on other LTE network’s frequencies:

    •Sierra Wireless data card (AC763S)
    •Netgear Hub (MBR1516)
    •Sony Xperia SP (C5306)
    •Sony Xperia Z (C6616)
    •Blackberry Z30
    •Samsung Ativ S (SGH-T899M)
    Keep in mind that the 700Mhz is a 6Mhz pairing (2600 is a 20Mhz pairing) is not so much about speed as it is more about indoor and rural coverage.

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    Nice to see it CAN be deployed this quickly.

    On a side note, is there anywhere we can keep track of where it's been deployed?

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    Wonder when Telus is going to deploy... especially in Edmonton

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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    So any telus subs can connect to Bell's 700 Mhz signal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by xtachx View Post
    So any telus subs can connect to Bell's 700 Mhz signal?
    I thought their LTE networks were separate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by xero9 View Post
    I thought their LTE networks were separate?
    Only the 2600Mhz network is separate, the AWS network is shared. I am trying to figure out if 700 is shared or separate.

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    With Bell announcing that they had begun to roll out 700Mhz LTE (band 17) in Upper Hamilton, myself, HC no 'i' and Steve Punter decided to go to Upper Hamilton to figure out how extensive the roll out is. We took along a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a Bell SIM card. We also brought along a Galaxy S4 with a TELUS SIM to figure out if TELUS is allowed on Bell's 700Mhz.

    We hunted the 700Mhz towers using Steve's very cool LTE Widget (not available on the Google Playstore but you can ask him for it).

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    My cynical side figured 700Mhz was only located on one tower but we actually found 5:
    1. Upper Sherman & Rymal
    2. West 5th and Lime Ridge
    3. Upper James & Fennell
    4. Mohawk & Rice Avenue
    5. East 25th & Concession.


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    There may be more but that's all we found. Anyways, not a huge roll out but we still found 500% more than I was expecting.

    700Mhz is not found on every single Bell site in the area . They're actually pretty spaced apart.

    As far as signal strength goes, not all the towers aren't turned up very high. Right next to one of the tower our phone told us that we had a signal strength of -64dbm which isn't very strong given our proximity. Then again another appeared to be running at full strength. I wonder how tuned the towers are.

    The 700Mhz is a 5Mhz pairing so the maximum speed is only 37.5Mbps. Just to compare, Bell's band 4 (AWS) is a 10Mhz pairing (up to 100Mbps) while their band 7 (2600Mhz) is a 20Mhz pairing (up to 150Mbps). We ran a few speed tests and got up to 21Mbps.

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    So, it looks like band 17 is not all about speed. Assuming 700Mhz penetrates as well as we've heard it's going to be more about indoor and rural coverage. Since the maximum speed is 37.5Mbps and since it's meant more for rural coverage I wonder if these 2 things work against each other. Rural coverage usually means less towers but since the maximum speed is only 37.5Mbps they might need to built more if a lot of users are consuming a lot of data simultaneously. After all, if you usually get 1/6 of a pairing's theoretical maximum then 1/6 of 37.5Mbps is approximately 6Mbps which is very useful but not particularly fast.

    TELUS:

    We tried to get the S4 running TELUS onto Bell's band 17 but it's not allowed on. So, for now at least, TELUS isn't allowed on Bell's 700Mhz.

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    Look at the screenshot taken with the TELUS phone, it says band 17 is available but the phone isn't able to get on (notice the no service indicator on the signal bar).

    Note that this is different than how TELUS see's Bell's Band 7 (2600Mhz). When it comes to Bell's Band 7 Telus phones don't see it at all so maybe TELUS might get to use it later.

    The 3 of us got to bask in 700Mhz for the first time in Canada. It should be interesting to see how the roll out goes and what real world benefits it brings.
    Last edited by howard; 04-06-2014 at 06:53 AM.

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    RSRP of -64dBm is actually a very strong signal.
    Also, please keep in mind that even though the block is 6MHz paired, the LTE channel is only 5MHz paired.

    Peak DL theoretical speeds are:
    36.6 Mbps (5MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to 700MHz)
    73.3 Mbps (10MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to AWS)
    150.7 Mbps (20MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to 2.6GHz) -- only if the device is category 4
    Want to learn more about how LTE works?
    https://productioncommunity.publicmo...ls/td-p/130581

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheytoon View Post
    RSRP of -64dBm is actually a very strong signal.
    Also, please keep in mind that even though the block is 6MHz paired, the LTE channel is only 5MHz paired.
    That's true but it should have been even higher given how close we were to that tower.

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    Really? I don't think I've ever seen an RSRP stronger than -60dBm in the field.

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    The S4 is no superstar on 700 Mhz, try a Moto X and you guys will see a stronger signal.(although anything in the -60dbm range is already pretty nice)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSteve View Post
    The S4 is no superstar on 700 Mhz, try a Moto X and you guys will see a stronger signal.(although anything in the -60dbm range is already pretty nice)
    Steve, not sure if you know of a way or if it's even possible, but are we able to get a cell id from the phone and match it with a map online to find out specifically which tower we're connected to (and in turn figure out which ones have 700 Mhz)? On the iPhone I can see a cell id number, but not sure if there is any way to relate that to an actual tower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSteve View Post
    The S4 is no superstar on 700 Mhz, try a Moto X and you guys will see a stronger signal.(although anything in the -60dbm range is already pretty nice)
    TheSteve,

    In the USA? Could you be kind enough to provide us more comparison with screenshots that differentiate the LTE Band 4 (AWS) from the 700MHz LTE Bands - be it 13 (with Verizon) or 17 (with at&t) in this case that a Moto X could observe?

    Steve Punter, Fellow howard and I specifically picked a few Samsung devices (not just the two GALAXY S4 SGH-I337M but also a Note 3 SM-N900W8; we also have brought a GALAXY S5 SM-G900W8 but the SIM card is not compatible with LTE) in our drive test Thursday night in Upper Hamilton because it can relatively easier to select a particular "band" on demand... i.e. it can lock on to the LTE Band 17 only

    Last edited by HC - NO "i"; 04-05-2014 at 03:15 AM.
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    I am NOT "the" HC, we are TWO different individuals!


    "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing!" - Jon Stewart, Comedian

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheytoon View Post
    RSRP of -64dBm is actually a very strong signal.
    Also, please keep in mind that even though the block is 6MHz paired, the LTE channel is only 5MHz paired.

    Peak DL theoretical speeds are:
    36.6 Mbps (5MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to 700MHz)
    73.3 Mbps (10MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to AWS)
    150.7 Mbps (20MHz 2x2 MIMO, similar to 2.6GHz) -- only if the device is category 4
    sheytoon,

    As you can see in our screenshots, the RSRQ parameters were relatively "great" as expected, likely not many subscribers were on the LTE Band 17 in that area. But I have mentioned many times that the current allocation of the 700MHz MBS spectrum in Canada would not realize the full potentials until carrier aggregation is deployed. 5x5MHz is not the magic bullet.

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