I recently helped one of my friends sign up for T-Mobile Service after they use to have it a few years ago but they recently seen on the coverage map that coverage is showing up everywhere in the Daviess County, KY area, McLean County, KY area and surrounding areas, however, since being on the service and going out of town to rural areas outside of Owensboro, KY, as soon as they get out about 5-10 miles, there is no service what so ever until they get into another city that has Tmobile coverage as it was like a few years ago before the newly expanded coverage that its showing. There using a iPhone 6 Plus so there shouldn't be no problem with that. Anyone know what the deal with this is? Thanks in advanced.
Best answer by stevetjr
The 6 Plus doesn't support Band 12 (700 A Block Spectrum) aka low band. With low band spectrum the signal carriers farther and penetrates objects (buildings, trees & etc) better even though it is a bit slower. Until a few years ago AT&T and Verizon used their size (duopoly) and bought up 93% of all the available low band spectrum when it went up for auction so all the other carriers essentially didn't get any. Now to prevent that at the most recent auction the FCC put protections in place so that couldn't happen again. Anyway a few years ago Verizon which had built its entire LTE network on its low band so they had coverage everywhere was coming to a grinding halt because as I mentioned above it is slower and doesn't have the same bandwidth as the higher bands. So Verizon came to T-Mobile and offered to sell them low band in a lot of markets for cash and some higher band spectrum to which Verizon called it XLTE and of course T-Mobile calls their low band extended LTE. Even though this was known when the iPhone 6 came out and the iPhone 6 has 30 LTE bands built into it, for some reason Apple decided not to include Band 12 even though Samsung and others had started too or at least included a Band 12 capable radio so they could update the firmware and activate it. Apple being Apple decided not to do either.
Now looking at an unofficial map but which tends to be quite accurate T-Mobile did get Band 12 spectrum in the Owensboro area and it is available now for deployment. (Some markets had to wait due to channel 51 issues) but doesn't look like it is live yet but does look like it is getting close since if you drill down on T-Mobile's map and click on some areas close it shows pockets of Extended LTE so it may be picking up a tower a ways a way but again means the tower upgrades are getting closer. To give you an idea of the propagation of signal from a tower it generally takes 4 higher band towers to cover the same are as 1 low band tower, so that's why you are seeing better signal closer to towns since that is generally where the towers are because it covers more people but also a tower requires what is called a backhaul which is the fiber data line which tend not to be available away from populated areas which is why low band is so valuable.
Now with that being said first the 6s iPhones and above do support Band 12 so as they continue to upgrade towers things will only get better however and this is anecdotal and my personal experience and that is iPhones antennas tend to seem to struggle for signal more. If you search signal issues on this forum you will see iPhone complaints far outweigh the Android complaints. Second is I have a friend who complains about signal at his house (he loves T-Mobile for all the other perks so he keeps them) and didn't believe me when I told him it was his phone not T-Mobile because I know there is a tower fairly close to his house and he has a Band 12 capable iPhone yet my signal is always substantially stronger than his standing right next to him in his driveway.
When looking at T-Mobile's coverage map make sure to drill down, when I pulled up Owensville it looked really good except around Fordsville but when drilling down the magenta got lighter and said "Fair" in a lot of areas outside the cities. Fair can be spotty especially when indoors or in heavily wooded areas. Now of course Band 12 will eliminate a lot of that.
Here is a link to that 700mhz T-Mobile map, again not official T-Mobile but quite accurate and has good info on it.