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Thread: SoCal (Los Angeles North/Santa Clarita) 5G review/opinion.

  1. #1
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    SoCal (Los Angeles North/Santa Clarita) 5G review/opinion.

    Before I get deep into the weeds and slammed for good or bad... this is my personal opinion based on CURRENT 5G, device and location.

    Current 5G coverage is labelled as covering most areas today, however, it is primarily based on B71/n71 coverage. That being said:

    The Good
    - 5G NSA is somewhat limited, but gives ~20-25% performance increase (or more) based on existing B2/B4 performance (20x20 + 10x10 becomes 20x20 + 10x10 + 10x10 on NR). In many areas, this is a good bump, especially where B2/B4 is becoming saturated, and n71 is lightly used. Hit +360Mbps.
    - 5G SA 'when used' in urban areas can help. As above, a saturated LTE network (<10Mbps with 2 or 3 CA) vs. ~30Mbps of 'weak' NR is still not bad.
    - Performance will be significantly better with n41 esp. in urban areas. I've only hit LTE b41 (2x 20x20) and hit ~300MBps.
    - Upload performance is effectively doubled. Have hit +100Mbps uploads often.

    The unusual
    - This may be an LG issue with the MediaTek chipset - handset goes between 5G, 4G LTE and 4G (UMTS/HSPA) often. I didn't expect to see 4G in areas with strong 4G LTE, nor did I expect to see 4G LTE in areas near 5G sites.
    - B25, B26, B41 are visible as 'neighbor' cells when phone is in '5G/LTE/3G/2G' mode, but not on LTE/3G/2G or LTE/3G modes.

    The not-so-good
    - On the 'unusual' bit, I'm finding that a cycle with Airplane mode or power cycle is required at times to get back to 5G ... or even 4G LTE. T-Mobile blames this on 'tower maintenance'.
    - As 5G SA has a strong signal, it is good for rural areas, or those with saturated networks. Some suburban areas actually end up with worse performance due to hanging onto a weak n71 vs. a strong B2/B4/B12 signal. To be honest, this is primarily due to having ~1/6 local sites with n71. I had similar issue when B12 and B71 was first deployed. This is one of the reasons, I suspect that the primary bands in most areas as B2/B4. I could literally be standing next to a B2/B4 cell site, and connected to a B12 (now B71 or ... n71) site a few miles away.
    - No iPhone 5g (yet). For current 5G users, this might be a good thing - less congestion

    Summary:
    - This isn't 'currently' for everyone, and no real good reason to 'jump' to a 5G because its 'cool and new'.
    - Performance in general is better, and will get better on 5G, and eventually (in a year or 2) be pushing only 5G devices.
    - If you're up for a new device, T-Mobile giving discounts on 5G with exchange (LG Velvet or Samsung FE), then there's nothing to lose, but some possible hickups/annoyances with 5G (can set to 4G mode!). Point is ... if you're shopping for a replacement, and all things are equal - no good reason to buy 4G if 5G device is the same price and has same features. Eg. With exchange, (50%) the LG Velvet was < $300. Samsung FE has similar deals.
    AT&T... your world, throttled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
    Before I get deep into the weeds and slammed for good or bad... this is my personal opinion based on CURRENT 5G, device and location.

    Current 5G coverage is labelled as covering most areas today, however, it is primarily based on B71/n71 coverage. That being said:

    The Good
    - 5G NSA is somewhat limited, but gives ~20-25% performance increase (or more) based on existing B2/B4 performance (20x20 + 10x10 becomes 20x20 + 10x10 + 10x10 on NR). In many areas, this is a good bump, especially where B2/B4 is becoming saturated, and n71 is lightly used. Hit +360Mbps.
    - 5G SA 'when used' in urban areas can help. As above, a saturated LTE network (<10Mbps with 2 or 3 CA) vs. ~30Mbps of 'weak' NR is still not bad.
    - Performance will be significantly better with n41 esp. in urban areas. I've only hit LTE b41 (2x 20x20) and hit ~300MBps.
    - Upload performance is effectively doubled. Have hit +100Mbps uploads often.

    The unusual
    - This may be an LG issue with the MediaTek chipset - handset goes between 5G, 4G LTE and 4G (UMTS/HSPA) often. I didn't expect to see 4G in areas with strong 4G LTE, nor did I expect to see 4G LTE in areas near 5G sites.
    - B25, B26, B41 are visible as 'neighbor' cells when phone is in '5G/LTE/3G/2G' mode, but not on LTE/3G/2G or LTE/3G modes.

    The not-so-good
    - On the 'unusual' bit, I'm finding that a cycle with Airplane mode or power cycle is required at times to get back to 5G ... or even 4G LTE. T-Mobile blames this on 'tower maintenance'.
    - As 5G SA has a strong signal, it is good for rural areas, or those with saturated networks. Some suburban areas actually end up with worse performance due to hanging onto a weak n71 vs. a strong B2/B4/B12 signal. To be honest, this is primarily due to having ~1/6 local sites with n71. I had similar issue when B12 and B71 was first deployed. This is one of the reasons, I suspect that the primary bands in most areas as B2/B4. I could literally be standing next to a B2/B4 cell site, and connected to a B12 (now B71 or ... n71) site a few miles away.
    - No iPhone 5g (yet). For current 5G users, this might be a good thing - less congestion

    Summary:
    - This isn't 'currently' for everyone, and no real good reason to 'jump' to a 5G because its 'cool and new'.
    - Performance in general is better, and will get better on 5G, and eventually (in a year or 2) be pushing only 5G devices.
    - If you're up for a new device, T-Mobile giving discounts on 5G with exchange (LG Velvet or Samsung FE), then there's nothing to lose, but some possible hickups/annoyances with 5G (can set to 4G mode!). Point is ... if you're shopping for a replacement, and all things are equal - no good reason to buy 4G if 5G device is the same price and has same features. Eg. With exchange, (50%) the LG Velvet was < $300. Samsung FE has similar deals.
    Thank you for the comments. What you say about the phone picking 4g often over 5g is something similar to what I've seen for a year now with phones picking bands other than B71. It's frustrating and I've always wondered whether they were just saving band 71 primarily for 5g. Now that you're saying that your phone still avoids 5g, I don't know what to think.

    Hate to say to but I am beginning to think that this 5g stuff is just one big marketing scheme or it's still a year or two away from working the way it was intended.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    Thank you for the comments. What you say about the phone picking 4g often over 5g is something similar to what I've seen for a year now with phones picking bands other than B71. It's frustrating and I've always wondered whether they were just saving band 71 primarily for 5g. Now that you're saying that your phone still avoids 5g, I don't know what to think.

    Hate to say to but I am beginning to think that this 5g stuff is just one big marketing scheme or it's still a year or two away from working the way it was intended.
    I just got a carrier update pushed.... Its possible that there's something strange on the config that I had (default). The '5G' icon changed on my phone with this update. I don't think that it was so much of 'avoiding' 5g, as a profile setting (i.e. 5G -> 4G LTE -> 4G ). I'll know in a few days. I haven't seen it have issues since the update. Possible that this was the NSA vs SA update for this device. It does connect to n71, a lot more than B71 on LTE.

    The B71 avoidance issue (B12 as well) is going to be an interesting issue in some ways. The old issue with B71/B12 if (when) attached, I've ended up clinging onto a macrocell far away, even when near local macros (w/o B71) or metrocells (w/o B12 or B71). I suspect that this is one of the reasons why B12/B71 typically have had lower priority for the base camping band. Too bad it doesn't often do CA with B12/B71... I suspect that is also 'tuned'.

    If (when ) T-Mobile builds out more n71 'and' n41, they can deprioritize LTE, and it will be like starting over. I do agree with your last comments. This is, in part a marketing scheme (i.e. put on 600MHz for T-Mobile, 850MHz for AT&T to sell). Also, it will be probably a year or so before it works well in most areas. I don't think the average person should be jumping to get a 5G phone. I got mine as it was < $300 with trade in. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably wait for +6 months unless there's some good sale on. Those that are often in busy/congested areas or 'need to have that 5G for the having' that's a choice. As others in the forum have stated... 5G device prices will drop, bugs will be found, and fixed. iPhone users can have a laugh.

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    Too bad it doesn't often do CA with B12/B71... I suspect that is also 'tuned'.
    I think the CA has to be all on the same site, so you won't get B4/2/etc. from a metrocell CA'ed with B12/B71 from a macro.

    Other reason for B12/B71 to have lower priority is simply because of the physics of it... if B12/B71 have twice the range, they're covering 4x the coverage area, and (if you're "layer caking" everyone closer onto B4/B2/etc.) the people on B12/B71 will be the fringe users. Keeping everyone off B12/B71 as long as possible reserves as much capacity as possible for that fringe usage, so they don't end up connecting but getting near-0 speeds. (Verizon does that here with their low band, band 13... it'll use band 4/2 as long as possible before kicking onto 13.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
    Before I get deep into the weeds and slammed for good or bad... this is my personal opinion based on CURRENT 5G, device and location.

    Current 5G coverage is labelled as covering most areas today, however, it is primarily based on B71/n71 coverage. That being said:

    The Good
    - 5G NSA is somewhat limited, but gives ~20-25% performance increase (or more) based on existing B2/B4 performance (20x20 + 10x10 becomes 20x20 + 10x10 + 10x10 on NR). In many areas, this is a good bump, especially where B2/B4 is becoming saturated, and n71 is lightly used. Hit +360Mbps.
    - 5G SA 'when used' in urban areas can help. As above, a saturated LTE network (<10Mbps with 2 or 3 CA) vs. ~30Mbps of 'weak' NR is still not bad.
    - Performance will be significantly better with n41 esp. in urban areas. I've only hit LTE b41 (2x 20x20) and hit ~300MBps.
    - Upload performance is effectively doubled. Have hit +100Mbps uploads often.

    The unusual
    - This may be an LG issue with the MediaTek chipset - handset goes between 5G, 4G LTE and 4G (UMTS/HSPA) often. I didn't expect to see 4G in areas with strong 4G LTE, nor did I expect to see 4G LTE in areas near 5G sites.
    - B25, B26, B41 are visible as 'neighbor' cells when phone is in '5G/LTE/3G/2G' mode, but not on LTE/3G/2G or LTE/3G mode
    Thanks for posting this! I am still waiting for Verizon to unlock my Note 20 Ultra 5G. There is a waiting period of 60 days so by 11.1.20 it should be unlocked. I am waiting for T-Mobile to send me an R15 5G sim to take advantage of SA 5G when the software is updated on Note 20. My SIM is a few years old. Supposedly, T-Mobile can send an OTA to enable SA 5G on T-Mobile 2015 SIM. I live across the street from T-Mobile & Sprint cell site so I am very interested to see the type of 5G access I will have at home. According to the T-Mobile website my 5G coverage is fair here at home. I usually get 30 Mbps down on LTE on my Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max with T-Mobile when I am home. I am also planning on purchasing the iPhone 12 Pro Max when it is released.

    I have not picked up 5G on Verizon as of yet because it is in a few selected areas of Los Angeles, CA.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    I think the CA has to be all on the same site, so you won't get B4/2/etc. from a metrocell CA'ed with B12/B71 from a macro.

    Other reason for B12/B71 to have lower priority is simply because of the physics of it... if B12/B71 have twice the range, they're covering 4x the coverage area, and (if you're "layer caking" everyone closer onto B4/B2/etc.) the people on B12/B71 will be the fringe users. Keeping everyone off B12/B71 as long as possible reserves as much capacity as possible for that fringe usage, so they don't end up connecting but getting near-0 speeds. (Verizon does that here with their low band, band 13... it'll use band 4/2 as long as possible before kicking onto 13.)
    I have a Verizon LTE Network Extender here at home and it is broadcasting a Band 13 signal. Also here in Monterey Park, CA 91754 my phones are usually on Band 13 when I am out but will pick up band 66 AWS when I am closer to the cell site. I have only seen bands 2/13/66 here. I use to pick up band 4 but I think that is being shown under band 66 now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    I think the CA has to be all on the same site, so you won't get B4/2/etc. from a metrocell CA'ed with B12/B71 from a macro.

    Other reason for B12/B71 to have lower priority is simply because of the physics of it... if B12/B71 have twice the range, they're covering 4x the coverage area, and (if you're "layer caking" everyone closer onto B4/B2/etc.) the people on B12/B71 will be the fringe users. Keeping everyone off B12/B71 as long as possible reserves as much capacity as possible for that fringe usage, so they don't end up connecting but getting near-0 speeds. (Verizon does that here with their low band, band 13... it'll use band 4/2 as long as possible before kicking onto 13.)
    Yes. The lower bands - at least on T-mobile have less spectrum to begin with, it would saturate quicker, more so as B12 /B71 are one or the other. Not an issue in rural areas, but higher frequencies are better suited for spectrum reuse. N41 should do well in urban and suburban areas.

    Sent from my LM-G900TM using HoFo mobile app

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    Great post!

    I live in the desert here in SoCal so I almost never run into areas that are over saturated.

    Because T-Mobile has added so much rural coverage here over the past 5 years dead zones are virtually a thing of the past except on some of the more desolate mountain highways.

    Like so many of you my home has become my work office and I notice that my iPhone almost always camps on Band 2 indoors.

    I’m grateful that I live, work and travel in areas that T-Mobile works excellent. I’ve seen so much improvement locally and I look forward to my area getting additional capacity with Band 41.




    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post

    The not-so-good
    - On the 'unusual' bit, I'm finding that a cycle with Airplane mode or power cycle is required at times to get back to 5G ... or even 4G LTE. T-Mobile blames this on 'tower maintenance'.

    Out of curioisty do you have the new R15 SIM. I would have to occasionally go in and out of airplane mode before I got it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    Hate to say to but I am beginning to think that this 5g stuff is just one big marketing scheme or it's still a year or two away from working the way it was intended.
    The 20 to 25% performance increase that formercanuck mentioned shows that it's not a "scheme".

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    Quote Originally Posted by jet1000 View Post
    Out of curioisty do you have the new R15 SIM. I would have to occasionally go in and out of airplane mode before I got it.
    Yes.. The R15 sim came with it. Ill wait to see how the carrier update w

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jet1000 View Post
    The 20 to 25% performance increase that formercanuck mentioned shows that it's not a "scheme".
    Don't think you'll see this with existing T-mobile spectrum... No n41 here either.Name:  Screenshot_20200927-094258.jpg
Views: 64
Size:  24.3 KB

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    Ok so I just set myself up with a Motorola Edge 5g, went to get my SIM card changed, got home, did a Speed test and looked at Network Cell info.
    Result? Download speeds are about 15mbps and I am connected to band 66 with no sight of a 5g band anywhere in the neighboring cell listings.The app still shows only bands 66 and 2 just like it did with my Pixel 3a. 5g DOES appear next to the signal strength bars at the top of the phone though. Not sure WHAT this indicates (is it just telling me that the phone set to default on 5g if there is a 5g signal)?
    So absolutely nothing has changed whatsoever. Nice to know that I had the privilege of spending $500 on a 5g phone that behaves exactly the same as my old 4g phone. I'm starting to get kind've disgusted.

  14. #14
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    Does your phone support n71 (more than 1 model?) Also R15 SIM? Similarly, how far away are you from a B71 site?

    At home... I typically don't see any change in performance. A mile away I hit full speed. If I go about 2 blocks away, ill get 60 to 100Mbps upload. When I went into the San Fernando Valley (pre carrier update), sites were hot or cold.
    Eg. CA-118 near De Soto was rocking ~200Mbps. Westfield Toganga/Best area was awful ~1-2Mbps., while Chick-Fil-A (long line) on Ventura was great. Until they deploy n41 across almost all B2/B4 metrocells and n71 across all macros these will be more of hit/miss on a large scale vs. UWB n261 hit miss in limited locations.
    Check for any carrier updates.

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    Yes it supports n71 (and n41). Not sure how far away I am, but I do at times see it pop up as a neighboring cell site in Network Cell info. SIM? I don't know but I just picked up today from Tmobile store when I ordered the Samsung, so I would assume it's the latest SIM.

    N71 (more than one model)...what do you mean?

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