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Thread: Band choice and signal strength depending on being Verizon customer vs MVNO customer

  1. #1
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    Band choice and signal strength depending on being Verizon customer vs MVNO customer

    I've got an account right now with an MVNO (US Mobile) that uses Verizon towers.
    I have notices that my Pixel 3a prefers to use band 66 which usually gives me a signal strength of between -95 and -93dbm. Every once in awhile I will see that the phone has switched over to band 2 and then I see an indication of anywhere between -73 and -85dbm. It will only hold on to that band very briefly though, always returning to band 66 and the poor reception. Right now as I watch, it is on band 66 at -108dbm. Like I said, it will occasionally switch to band 2 but only for a couple of seconds and at -73dbm or so.

    If I was on a Verizon native plan instead of US Mobile, would I more likely be on band 2 instead of 66 for most or all of the time? If so, would this matter whether I was a prepaid or postpaid Verizon customer?

    If I can get the much better reception by being with Verizon itself, I would much rather pay the extra money and do that.

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    Did you get their "Ludicrous" plan? Yes, it's one of their upgrade.

    I hate how US Mobile nickel and dime you, I would not be surprised if they mess up with your access to tower.
    I am on TotalWireless and I don't have those issues.

  3. #3
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    Well I don't know what a "ludicrous plan" is but I am hardly paying anything for it. I believe it's $2/month plus about $3.50 in taxes and fees. I just wanted a backup to my regular AT&T plan for when I travel but seeing that when band 2 pops up in the "Network Cell Info" app and the signal strength improves by almost 20dbm, it makes me think that if I had a Verizon native account, maybe it would stay on band 2 all the time here.
    Does it make sense that they are prioritizing use of that band and maybe others for their native customers?

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    So in other words, why is my phone selecting band 66 with a marginal signal instead of band 2 with a decent signal? I understand about network traffic and all but am wondering if I might have better luck in getting onto a band that has a better signal if I was a Verizon customer. I know the phone itself does not know if I am a customer or not, but does Verizon itself prioritize its own customers as far as band selection goes? Am I any more likely to more consistently connect to the stronger band if I was a customer?

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    None of those signal reading are bad, and B66 is preferable because it's probably a 20x20 slice instead of B2 which is likely running at 10x10. Bad signal would be less than -120dbm.

    Sent from my SM-N975U1 using HoFo mobile app

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    As a VZW customer, I see my iPhone prefer the weaker Band 4/66 most of the time. I've noticed that during calls the signal indicator increases - so perhaps calls are switched to B13?
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    Quote Originally Posted by baaadandy View Post
    None of those signal reading are bad, and B66 is preferable because it's probably a 20x20 slice instead of B2 which is likely running at 10x10. Bad signal would be less than -120dbm.

    Sent from my SM-N975U1 using HoFo mobile app
    Thing is though, the numbers I mentioned are only about average. Something that averages out in the low -100s can and does go down to about -120 at times making it kind've unreliable. What I just don't get is why that threshold is so high and doesn't just default to the stronger band. I saw the same kind of behavior when I was with tmobile about a year ago.

    Again though I am only asking in this thread if anyone knows whether or not I'd be more likely to see more band 2 if I was a Verizon customer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    Again though I am only asking in this thread if anyone knows whether or not I'd be more likely to see more band 2 if I was a Verizon customer.
    I feel this would be a no, but asking here will only give you anocdotal evidence. Only a Verizon tech or network engineer would have a more accurate answer.

    That said, I have been on Verizon postpaid (roommates' phones), Verizon prepaid and Verizon MVNO plans. I haven't seen a band preference change across any of those. I tend to camp on band 4/66 on both my Verizon prepaid and my Total Wireless (MVNO) lines. I occasionally see band 13, but rarely see band 2 or 5.

    Band 2 is probably not going to be preferred in most places until after the CDMA sunset happens, since Verizon can then heavily refarm the vacated spectrum for LTE.

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    It has nothing to do with the carrier you use while on the Verizon Network. It would be the setup of Verizon's internal automated systems that chooses what band you use and what tower you connect to.

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    Thank you for all the replies. Much appreciated.

  11. #11
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    In my area, by how often I see it, I'll see band 4, 13, 2, and 5. I suspect in a lot of markets, band 4 (and 66 if they have it) probably allow the largest channels and so best peak speeds. I ran some speed tests in an area here with weak band 4, move a few feet and it's on band 13. I found that below about -120dbm, the "band 4" speed was the same as when on band 13. I concluded they probably use band 4+13 carrier aggregation, and just move all the traffic over 13 when the band 4 signal is poor. I've seen band 2 and 5 pop up just enough to know they're in the mix somewhere here but almost always 4 or 13. Alas I can't run Network Signal Guru to just look which bands are being aggregated.

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    Side note: Band 66 will be shown instead of 4 on the phones that support that band. Not because they added bandwidth, but because they turned on the MBFI.
    http://niviuk.free.fr/lte_mfbi.php

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