Two-sector towers :(


    I was visiting a friend who lives on Cove Hollow Path, Carriere, MS  39436 and found that I had no service, even outside. I found this curious since this location is only about 3km from a T-Mobile tower, which is located just off I-59 at Chester Cr and which has 700 MHz. (One of two counties in MS where T-Mobile has a 700 MHz license.)  Then I looked at that tower which appears to have just two sets of antennas (not the usual three) for T-Mobile. This type of arrangement was originally deployed in the belief that there was nothing worth covering on either side of the highway and it saved a small amount of money for antennas and heliax cable by not installing the 3rd antenna.


    I can understand T-Mobile not adding the 3rd antenna when doing a ground-based upgrade to LTE, which didn't require sending anyone up the tower. It's absolutely absurd to go into a situation like this where you have to upgrade the entire site, replace air units, etc. and not add the 3rd rack to make it a 3-sector site. It's not like there's a complex coverage pattern in this area that would have to be rearranged. It's the only tower in 5 miles. For T-Mobile to compete with AT&T and Verizon, they are going to have to change their mindset regarding rural markets.

      All replies

      • tmo_mike_c

        Re: Two-sector towers :(

        drnewcomb2,  I gotta admit, you're definitely WAY more knowledgeable about this topic than me and the CM staff. That's why it's great having you here, sharing what you know, and helping others. I don't have an answer for you now, but I will reach out for more insight about this. As always, thanks posting and being big help.

          • drnewcomb2

            Re: Two-sector towers :(

            So far, Neville Ray has not replied to my tweet on this subject. What I have read is that it's more likely that two more sectors would be added to make it a four sector site than that it would be taken down and rehung as a 3-sector site.  However,  some (Nokia?) base stations require a substantial upgrade to go to four sectors.


            My issue is that these sites were set up in rural areas when T-Mobile (or its predecessors) were just trying to get GSM-1900 coverage to the highways connecting cities, no rural coverage was intended. With the advent of T-Mobile's low-band (700 MHz) , the paradigm should have changed. T-Mobile should now be starting to build a rural coverage and two-sector sites don't seem to be the best way to go about doing that. The two sector site is the only reason I could find to explain why I got no 700 MHz signal just 3 km from the tower.


            BTW, my wife's Project Fi phone got a good signal via Sprint.

              • tmo_mike_c

                Re: Two-sector towers :(

                Ah okay. I follow him on Twitter and I know he's replied to other folks there in the past, so I got my fingers crossed for you. That would be awesome if he got back to you on this, but I'll still be working on this too. You've brought up some really good points and make sure I mention them as well as your 700 MHz experience.


                If Sprint's working there, that kinda stings. Ouch!

            • tmo_marissa

              Re: Two-sector towers :(

              Hey, drnewcomb2, I just wanted to check in. I know tmo_mike_c is working on this -- did you ever get a reply on Twitter?

              • formercanuck

                Re: Two-sector towers :(

                This is sad for rural 'tower' areas.  I typically have only seen this done in many 'small' rural areas where the antenna are mounted on utility poles (some actually have 3 sectors - looks strange).

                For true rual coverage, a 2 sector build is pretty much going to miss a lot (basically anything 65 to 115 degrees at least) on either side.  At 3 km, that area gets pretty large.

                Sadly, I'm at 3 miles from a local site, with no service.  T-Mobile 'claims' to cover it, and has verified it, even with their Drive team.  A scan with multiple T-Mobile devices for a network only shows VZW and AT&T.  I suspect that T-Mobile's drive team flew their devices on a drone at +500', or have vehicles outfitted with +50dB amplifiers and 2' Wilson antenna.