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Thread: Flow LTE

  1. #391
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    Just ran some metrics on the network in Kingston.... The LTE layer is being hit with a good deal of traffic. Some places have dipped into the low 30s (Mbit/s). Lowest I saw was 14 Mbit/s on the cell edge. That throttle's days are numbered but at least they have a 20 MHz channel to play with.

    I'm also sourcing a Samsung device to do some analysis on Digicel's network in both cities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandysull View Post
    Just ran some metrics on the network in Kingston.... The LTE layer is being hit with a good deal of traffic. Some places have dipped into the low 30s (Mbit/s). Lowest I saw was 14 Mbit/s on the cell edge. That throttle's days are numbered but at least they have a 20 MHz channel to play with.

    I'm also sourcing a Samsung device to do some analysis on Digicel's network in both cities.
    Link below is a list of dual sim phones on gsm arena that are compatible with both LTE network.
    http://www.gsmarena.com/results.php3...2600,2700,2710
    Currently: HP Touchsmart 14t
    Note 4 N910H: Android 6.0.1 Official
    The 3 C's in life: Choice, Chance, Change. You must make the Choice, to take the Chance, if you want anything in life to Change.

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    Another update for Montego Bay... Found LTE signal out by the Fairview Town Centre. Was able to get around 43 Mbit/s deep inside Fontana Pharmacy.



    They also beefed up 850 MHz to handle the voice switchdowns it'll be undertaking. The LTE uplink needs some work but that may probably be fixed soon. Again... the network is not open to the public but for some reason I'm able to get the network for long enough to do a speedtest and RAT map. Seems on course for an August release-to-market.
    Last edited by Brandysull; Jul 16, 2017 at 08:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandysull View Post
    Another update for Montego Bay... Found LTE signal out by the Fairview Town Centre. Was able to get around 43 Mbit/s deep inside Fontana Pharmacy.



    They also beefed up 850 MHz to handle the voice switchdowns it'll be undertaking. The LTE uplink needs some work but that may probably be fixed soon. Again... the network is not open to the public but for some reason I'm able to get the network for long enough to do a speedtest and RAT map. Seems on course for an August release-to-market.
    This is great news, by early August you will be surrounded by LTE coverage. I would like to ask though, what will become of Flows HSPA+ and 2G networks. Surly they may have plans to shut down their 2G network and remap that spectrum to LTE or other areas. But will the plan be to shut down HSPA+ as well?. Or will HSPA Technology be kept for the foreseeable future in Jamaica.

    I would think that replacing HSPA+ with LTE on most cell-sites, would be a good and profitable move. As Flow could increase the number of entry level LTE User equipment they sell. And once most of the subscribers are on LTE handsets, then they could fully roll out LTE over 97% of the Network. Give me youre prospective and analysis on this theory.

    Since 5G is only three years away from being available commercially, What do you think will become of Flows 2G and HSPA+ Networks. Where do you see Jamaica in the next five years, as it relates to speed, nationwide coverage of data, Broadband speeds, Technology use and Iot connectivity?.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan77791 View Post
    This is great news, by early August you will be surrounded by LTE coverage. I would like to ask though, what will become of Flows HSPA+ and 2G networks. Surly they may have plans to shut down their 2G network and remap that spectrum to LTE or other areas. But will the plan be to shut down HSPA+ as well?. Or will HSPA Technology be kept for the foreseeable future in Jamaica.

    I would think that replacing HSPA+ with LTE on most cell-sites, would be a good and profitable move. As Flow could increase the number of entry level LTE User equipment they sell. And once most of the subscribers are on LTE handsets, then they could fully roll out LTE over 97% of the Network. Give me youre prospective and analysis on this theory.

    Since 5G is only three years away from being available commercially, What do you think will become of Flows 2G and HSPA+ Networks. Where do you see Jamaica in the next five years, as it relates to speed, nationwide coverage of data, Broadband speeds, Technology use and Iot connectivity?.
    This is a big question!... but I'll give it my best shot.

    Firstly, it's not secret that 2G is on life support, carriers in the Caribbean have already begun decommissioning 2G sites/equipment. One excellent example is where bmobile (49% owned by CWC) in Trinidad & Tobago, turned down their 2G network in November 2016, thereby followed by the addition of a 850 MHz UMTS layer (with AMR-WB/HD Voice over 3G, on the circuit-switched domain) and LTE on Band 2 (10 MHz bandwidth.. same as Digicel Jamaica). Taking a look at Jamaica's spectrum situation, we have the following for 850 MHz, the host for part of FLOW's 2G & 3G network & Digicel's 3G network (2G still resides on 900/1800 MHz).


    (Provided by the SMA; branch of the MSTEM)

    By using the information we have now, we can deduce that Digicel has 10 MHz of spectrum within Band 5 (850 MHz's band number). Digicel spans UARFCN's 4359 & 4384 which signify that they own 2 contiguous 5 MHz blocks within the band (beginning at 824 MHz and ending at 834 MHz on the uplink and 869 MHz to 879 MHz on the downlink). Again, referencing the information, it would mean that FLOW owns 11 MHz of spectrum, on the upper adjacent blocks on Band 5 (apparent from their UMTS layer being identified as 4437, right on the edge of the Band's assignable blocks in Jamaica). Provided if FLOW decides to opt for leveraging their spectrum assets instead of network densification so ensure ubiqitous availability of LTE, essential to making VoLTE viable, I forsee them refarming the remaining 5 MHz of spectrum from GSM and using it for LTE (which can also be aggregated with Band 4), perhaps placing GSM soley on 1900 MHz which they have a good portion of holdings in (which I estimate to be somewhere around 20 MHz or so of the assigned 40 MHz by the authorities). GSM 1900 MHz is quite hardy & a worthy holdover for those on 2G-only devices. Digicel also has holdings in Band 2 as well. They have a 5 MHz UMTS carrier running on Band 2 as well as CDMA (whether or not that is still operational is unknown as they've lost Verizon roaming across the Caribbean to Cable & Wireless.... leaving only Sprint, which was reported by Bloomberg earlier this month to be courting CWC's owner for a possible takeover). Despite this, UMTS in all its flavours will remain for the forseeable future. Sagicor, NCB, Scotiabank, FCIB etc. use FLOW's (C&W Business') 3G network to effect transcations on their POS terminals. Until those customers migrate to LTE POS terminals (which I'm unaware of from VeriFone)... 3G will remain at least on a single carrier on 850 MHz solely for M2M & International Roaming purposes.

    Long and short of an Islandwide LTE network being more plausible by eliminating GSM is nill in my opinion as most equipment ships with GUL (GSM + UMTS + LTE) compatibilty. Most RRUs ship with GUL compatiblity or UMTS + LTE or just LTE. FLOW currently uses LTE-only RRUs for Band 4/AWS-1 on their Huawei sites and G+U 850 & 1900 RRUs. Their Ericsson sites (Kingston + South Coast) were already LTE-ready since 2014 (RRUs were GUL and backhaul was ready for the data volumes associated).

    The good thing about Jamaica is that so much organic growth can be achieved. As the economy improves and Jamaicans' average incomes begin to rise along with an appreciating dollar, the cost of doing business in Jamaica will be less risky (both in the macroeconomic & microeconomic sense) making for easier access to capital resulting in far more investments and higher quality networks. A vote of confidence of sorts happened last week where John Malone (who owns 20.7% of Charter Communications/Spectrum, the U.S.'s second largest cable company, behind Comcast), bought $16 Million USD of stock in CWC's parent, Liberty Latin America and Caribbean Group, pushing the stock up 15%. With such a telecoms heavyweight investing in his OWN company, it says volumes about the future of region and telecoms.

    Lastly, about 5G. In essence, given that the commerical availability of 5G will not be until 2020, I anticipate that Jamaica will have outpaced other countries in the region with perhaps Gigabit-class LTE in urban areas (a precursor to 5G) and DOCSIS 3.1, allowing for customers to get up to 10 Gbit/s on their cable broadband. Also, we might finally see the death of copper as FLOW furthers its fibre reach into residential areas (from FTTN to FTTH)... which is happening even as we speak. I also expect some speak of NB-IoT or LTE Cat-M making its way to Jamaica, perhaps replacing 3G for POS terminal communications and a host of other M2M communications. Thing about 5G is that most have agreed that 5G hasn't achieved the same mobility as LTE wherein the much touted speeds are widely available. In addition, the mmWave spectrum being used for 5G trials are unsustainable, suffer from propogational issues and would result in networks FAR too costly for operators to deploy. T-Mobile USA however has commited to building a 5G network on their greenfield 600 MHz spectrum. I suggest we keep an eye on what's happening there for now.

    I could go on and on about this but I'll stop here. Hope I made sense!
    Last edited by Brandysull; Jul 16, 2017 at 11:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandysull View Post
    This is a big question!... but I'll give it my best shot.

    Firstly, it's not secret that 2G is on life support, carriers in the Caribbean have already begun decommissioning 2G sites/equipment. One excellent example is where bmobile (49% owned by CWC) in Trinidad & Tobago, turned down their 2G network in November 2016, thereby followed by the addition of a 850 MHz UMTS layer (with AMR-WB/HD Voice over 3G, on the circuit-switched domain) and LTE on Band 2 (10 MHz bandwidth.. same as Digicel Jamaica). Taking a look at Jamaica's spectrum situation, we have the following for 850 MHz, the host for part of FLOW's 2G & 3G network & Digicel's 3G network (2G still resides on 900/1800 MHz).

    ...
    clipped for brevity
    Yes you did, thank you so very much for that detailed technical explanation. Really cleared up a lot of things for me, and I really appreciate you're effort in providing us with this very informative and detailed insight into the future of telecoms and technology in Jamaica, the Region and the World. Still awaiting LTE in my area LOL, If Opensignal app is correct. My tower is located beside the Red Stripe Plant on Spanish Town Road. So With major Businesses in that area, I believe an LTE upgrade for the towers there will be a must for Flow. Thank you again my Friend, and God bless.
    Last edited by Arch_Angel; Aug 4, 2017 at 04:22 AM. Reason: shortened long quote

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    Did another round of tests on FLOW LTE in MoBay... Pings are much less than the Ericsson sites in Kingston, averaging 19-25 ms (thanks to that all-fibre backhaul in Montego Bay)... It seems they also replicated the EPC they have in Kingston in MoBay (something that only FLOW does weirdly enough... Digicel has 1 EPC but for all we know they could be virtualizing a part of it too), really solidifying their intention to go islandwide with LTE. Coverage again spans all of the the MoBay 'metro' area really... Stretching from Liliput to Reading and practically eveywhere in between. Prepaid users will see the usual 50/10 limit and Postpaid users are to see up to 150 Mbit/s. They've done well with the limitations AWS has with building penetration too and CSFB is working flawlessly too. The network is going live this month (well any moment really...) both in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios followed by the wider metro Kingston area and Mandeville in September.

    Last I forget, HSPA+ got a little capacity boost to handle voice traffic and added subscriber growth on that layer too
    Last edited by Brandysull; Aug 4, 2017 at 03:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandysull View Post
    Did another round of tests on FLOW LTE in MoBay... Pings are much less than the Ericsson sites in Kingston, averaging 19-25 ms (thanks to that all-fibre backhaul in Montego Bay)... It seems they also replicated the EPC they have in Kingston in MoBay (something that only FLOW does weirdly enough... Digicel has 1 EPC but for all we know they could be virtualizing a part of it too), really solidifying their intention to go islandwide with LTE. Coverage again spans all of the the MoBay 'metro' area really... Stretching from Liliput to Reading and practically eveywhere in between. Prepaid users will see the usual 50/10 limit and Postpaid users are to see up to 150 Mbit/s. They've done well with the limitations AWS has with building penetration too and CSFB is working flawlessly too. The network is going live this month (well any moment really...) both in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios followed by the wider metro Kingston area and Mandeville in September.

    Last I forget, HSPA+ got a little capacity boost to handle voice traffic and added subscriber growth on that layer too
    I don't know if you can, but is there anyway you could find out how many Cell towers (base stations) Flow has in Kingston alone?. I do wonder how many of them are going to be upgraded to LTE?. I have come to find that my phone, even though I am in one location, when I am home. Connects to a different tower, when I am using data. When I am on data, the Open Signal app indicates that my data tower is Cell ID 394543 LAC 103, and when I am not using data. My tower connection is 413271327 (850Mhz) this reading is from the service mode from my phone.

    I thought that once a user is stable, only one tower provides both data and talk services?, They did indicate that they will turn on more sites in Kingston in September or early October. But I am not sure if this will cover the entire Kingston area, along with St Andrew. Dont know if you could help me out, and find out or estimate if this is the case. I asked about Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11 area. But I am not sure if they consider this area critical or profitable to roll out LTE in. I wish they would cover all the towers in Kingston and ST Andrew with LTE, and leave the HSPA+ layer. So that individuals without LTE capable User Equipment, will still have data access. While individuals with LTE enabled User Equipment can have access to LTE all over, that would be awesome.

    You must be happy that you're Neck of the woods, now have access to superfast mobile data speeds via LTE. Also the entire Montego Bay area is covered, So you will have high speed data all around. As time progress, and Flow realizes major ROI on the LTE upgrade. I am sure LTE will reach every nook and crannie of Jamaica in the very near future from both Carriers.

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    First thing you should be aware of is that LTE does only data no voice or should I say the voice part (VoLTE). is not widespread as yet. So when you are not using LTE you would fall back to HSPA+.

    Based on that it is possible that FLOW has some LTE only sites or the OpenSignal app can't determine that the one site has both LTE and HSPA+ services and list them as different towers. In actuality both services might still be operating from the same physical location albeit over different radio frequencies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by psilos View Post
    First thing you should be aware of is that LTE does only data no voice or should I say the voice part (VoLTE). is not widespread as yet. So when you are not using LTE you would fall back to HSPA+.

    Based on that it is possible that FLOW has some LTE only sites or the OpenSignal app can't determine that the one site has both LTE and HSPA+ services and list them as different towers. In actuality both services might still be operating from the same physical location albeit over different radio frequencies.
    Yes I suspect that might be the case as well, Since the app always bounce back to the default connected tower after data is turned off or not in use. I know that LTE is totally IP base, and I don't suspect that Flow will offer VoLTE services, at least not anytime soon.

    Just wanted to Know if Flow will add a LTE layer upon the existing cell towers with HSPA+, so that each user with compatible devices will have access to data services. I know that they wont be ripping and replacing HSPA+ with full LTE, So I was just curios to find out if they will add LTE services to the towers with HSPA+, so that users with anyone of the compatible devices can have access across the Network.

    LTE is a seven year old technology, its on its way to a major upgrade. And in time to be replaced by 5G technologies, So at least Flow could have both HSPA+ and LTE technology on the same cell tower, to be utilized by the respective users.

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