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Thread: AT&T in New Mexico

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    AT&T in New Mexico

    In the northern New Mexico mountains, near Taos, the situation exists where AT&T, according to their coverage maps, is blanketing the mountain tops with LTE coverage, while in the valleys, in places such as the year-round resort town of Red River as shown on this screen grab, where human beings actually live and play, they do not have any coverage or service at all.

    I don't know if things have changed since, but the last time we were in Red River, we heard constant complaining from people, from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, where AT&T is a dominant carrier and where the majority of Red River visitors come from, that their phones either did not work at all or they were receiving warning notices from AT&T that their 100 Mb roaming data limit was about to be reached. 100 Mb is a ridiculous number and is appropriate for another discussion entirely, but if you are going to cover the mountain tops, why not build a site IN the valley to cover a place where people actually exist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwdewey View Post
    In the northern New Mexico mountains, near Taos, the situation exists where AT&T, according to their coverage maps, is blanketing the mountain tops with LTE coverage, while in the valleys, in places such as the year-round resort town of Red River as shown on this screen grab, where human beings actually live and play, they do not have any coverage or service at all.

    I don't know if things have changed since, but the last time we were in Red River, we heard constant complaining from people, from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, where AT&T is a dominant carrier and where the majority of Red River visitors come from, that their phones either did not work at all or they were receiving warning notices from AT&T that their 100 Mb roaming data limit was about to be reached. 100 Mb is a ridiculous number and is appropriate for another discussion entirely, but if you are going to cover the mountain tops, why not build a site IN the valley to cover a place where people actually exist?

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    How is AT&T’s spectrum ownership holdings in the area? If they don’t have spectrum, then roaming is forced and roaming is expensive to provide. If AT&T has spectrum holdings, the problem is cost of getting fiber optics cables to those communities or even microwave or other connectivity which offer slower speeds. Using existing devices on satellite will be a reality but how quickly it could be deployed as well as roaming fees if any are unknown at this time. AT&T has a deal in place for the satellite service. Due to privatization successes like Virgin Galactic, it could actually move quicker than using the government controlled space agencies for launching services. Lots of unknown variables as to how long such will take and pricing and usage fees if any or any data limits. AT&T is definitely still improving coverage when it can and will continue to do so over time.

    Penn Station in NYC unlike many parts of New Mexico has high accessibility to fiber optics and lots of people around and only recently was a contract signed wiwhich will allow people at platform and concourse level to use wireless services from all the providers or their own wifi service. Hard fo believe it took so long. New Mexico is a rural market which has different challenges but solutions keep coming to fill needed coverage gaps over time. I do recall AT&T’s Plateau communications acquisition which acquired added spectrum on the New Mexico and Texas border areas. I am not sure how much improvement that part has seen but it all went to AT&T native service without roaming and they must have made at least some upgrades since acquisition.
    Last edited by LTENetwork; 07-17-2021 at 04:29 PM.

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    AT&T's purchase of Plateau Wireless turned out really well, they blanket the mostly empty plains of northeast New Mexico with great service and they are installing 5G in lots of little tiny towns, quite a few that are not shown on their coverage maps. You have very good AT&T service all the way across the plains from Oklahoma and Texas to the mountains. It's IN the mountains where everything falls apart. Some of it is understandable, with highways running through narrow canyons that are pretty much impossible to cover because of line of sight issues. But in the towns, there are ways of providing service, fiber, microwave, etc that T-Mobile and Verizon use, that would provide service. Maybe not gigabit 5G but surely something better than a 100 Mb data limit and basic phone call service. Now even those are not available, it's just No Service. Why did Commnet go away?

    Commnet used to provide service for AT&T in the valleys but that went away 4 years ago. For what reason, I do not know. When you ask the local town officials about it, they just say it went away, no reason was ever given. Commnet is AT&T's go-to in a lot of mountainous areas, but the service you get with it is pretty much a joke, only serving as a license-holding measure at best.

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    AT&T has decent spectrum holdings in Red River. For whatever reason they just do not seem eager to build there.

    Band 12 B-C block
    Band 5 A block
    These licenses end a few miles southeast of Red River (Angel Fire is in a different license area) but this should not preclude coverage in the valley.

    FirstNet Band 14
    WCS Band 30
    AWS A, D, E
    AWS-3 J


    AT&T also owns PCS blocks B, F, C but they are leased to Commnet.

    They should still be able to run band 5/12/14/30/66(x2) in Red River if they wanted to. And could add band 2 after the lease agreement expires.
    Active CellMapper user (since 2014). Happy to answer any questions anyone may have about networks in the western Midwest and parts of the Mid-South.

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    The Eagle Nest and Angel Fire areas are well-covered by AT&T. Eagle Nest is basically a bump in the road at the junction of highways going to and from Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, and Raton, and AT&T has a site located at that junction. I asked an AT&T customer friend who was in Red River last week if his phone worked and he said it was useless. Any stub phone or data service is completely gone now. So, I guess that Commnet has completely shut down whatever they had in Red River and AT&T has done nothing to re-serve the resort town. Interesting. First Net doesn't apply in the New Mexico mountains I guess.

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    The new FCC cellular availability maps show very well how AT&T covers the mountain peaks quite well in the Red River area but they are ignoring the valleys where people actually live. Name:  Screen Shot 2021-08-08 at 5.45.57 AM.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwdewey View Post
    The new FCC cellular availability maps show very well how AT&T covers the mountain peaks quite well in the Red River area but they are ignoring the valleys where people actually live. Name:  Screen Shot 2021-08-08 at 5.45.57 AM.jpg
Views: 205
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    The coverage on those mountain peaks is accidental and is just a benefit of being above the rest of the geography. Wonder how far the sites actually are from those mountain peaks.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

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    You are correct. AT&T has sites at Eagle Nest, between Questa and Taos, and at Taos. The coverage in the high peaks is all accidental based on terrain, but it looks good on coverage maps, the fact that it is not covering actual population is of no consequence. I guess if you are running around on Jeep trails in the high peaks, having service would be a good thing in an emergency, but I would think that people would like to have service down in town at the end of the day as well. But the don't.

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    Also remember AT&T and Commnet have had pretty close relationships on sharing spectrum and setting up networks since the days where AT&T purchased a few remaining Alltel markets off Commnet’s parent, Atlantic Tele-Network.
    Have you read the forum rules lately?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fraydog View Post
    Also remember AT&T and Commnet have had pretty close relationships on sharing spectrum and setting up networks since the days where AT&T purchased a few remaining Alltel markets off Commnet’s parent, Atlantic Tele-Network.
    And yet despite having this "close relationship", AT&T did away with the perfectly usable service they had in that area a few years ago, despite that the vast majority of visitors to this resort community come from Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, where AT&T is a dominant wireless provider.

    We will be out there next week for a music/BBQ/chile festival, and it will be fun listening to AT&T customers gritch & moan. In the past few years, i have heard a LOT of complaining about phones that won't do anything unless there is wifi available. Verizon and T-Mobile customers will be just fine, they both offer excellent service, and T-Mobile even offers their 5G, albeit the usual slower than LTE type.

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    Color me happy. After a week in the Red River/Taos area I can report that the AT&T situation has improved a lot. One of our friends is an AT&T customer and he had full 4-bar signal in Red River the entire time with 100 Mbps data. According to a local official, AT&T built a new site to replace the old Commnet one that had been shut down, so this is good news.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwdewey View Post
    Color me happy. After a week in the Red River/Taos area I can report that the AT&T situation has improved a lot. One of our friends is an AT&T customer and he had full 4-bar signal in Red River the entire time with 100 Mbps data. According to a local official, AT&T built a new site to replace the old Commnet one that had been shut down, so this is good news.
    This is great news for that area. Has been several years since I first heard of the coverage woes around there from someone who visited regularly and AT&T seemed to have no interest in fixing issues for some time. I noticed the FCC ASR file for the former Commnet site showed an ownership change to a Dallas, TX address in July. Any chance AT&T simply bought the tower Commnet used to be on?

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    The person in the city office did not elaborate, just said that AT&T built the site, I don’t know if it was from scratch or what. Now all three carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all have service there, T-Mobile with 5G but it is nothing special at all. Their site is on top of a mountain a couple miles from town and only provides 1-bar service and just 22 Mbps data, while AT&T and Verizon’s sites are in the valley. We took the Jeep and drove up on some dirt roads and found 4-bar service, so their antennas are probably not directed down towards the valley where the people are. I have gotten really tired of the 1-bar service thing everywhere I go on T-Mobile, so now that AT&T is good I will be switching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwdewey View Post
    Color me happy. After a week in the Red River/Taos area I can report that the AT&T situation has improved a lot. One of our friends is an AT&T customer and he had full 4-bar signal in Red River the entire time with 100 Mbps data. According to a local official, AT&T built a new site to replace the old Commnet one that had been shut down, so this is good news.
    Thanks for the update! As somebody whose hometown is in the Enchanted Circle, I'm happy to hear of this progress.

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    Why AT&T is not showing this new coverage on their maps is a mystery, as it is still being shown as off-network even though they have been updating their new 5G coverage on a pretty regular basis.

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