Drako's Wireless Review
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Join date : 2019-11-19
Age : 37
Location : Seattle, WA, USA

Carriers caught misleading customers again Empty Carriers caught misleading customers again

Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:17 am
Carriers caught misleading customers again

While I have been known to call out when carriers are being less than honest about their own services,
I am rather glad that carriers are being called out by others recently.

And sure, pretty much all the carriers have misled customers in the past:
For instance, their coverage maps were all misleading at one point or another.
Hell, Sprint's Coverage map can be misleading now - since the overall map includes roaming coverage.
(Though they have all done that at least once as well)

Heck I'm even more confused about Sprint's claim of LTE coverage for over 300 million people
Considering that Tello (a Sprint MVNO) only claims coverage of over 282 million people.

But the more recent incidents of carriers misleading customers involves 5G.
They are all toting 5G, but I don't think any of us really understand what it really is.

So what is 5G?
5G is the next Generation in Wireless service and is marketed by the 3GPP as 5G NR (New Radio) and 5G NR is the industry standard
with the Exception of Verizon, who's initial rollout is Verizon's own 5GTF (which is not compatible with NR)

5G offers lower latency and a possibility of higher speeds
Boasting that speeds can range from 50MBps up to an eventual 100GBps.

5G NR operates in two main frequency ranges:
Sub-6 (Low Band and Mid Band) which can offer similar or faster speeds to LTE Advanced (up to 400MBps on Mid Band)
mmWave offers the fastest speeds, getting into Gigabit wireless internet.

However, mmWave has an extremely short reach from the tower (only about 800 feet) - requiring line of sight.
mmWave also can be very easily blocked by walls or just about anything.

Sub-6 offers a longer reach, being able to have similar range as current LTE and can better penetrate obstacles.
Low-band is similar in speeds to LTE at this point, but has the ability to reach the farthest.
Mid-Band can offer faster speeds than LTE, but have limited coverage area of about a half mile.

So the only right way to implement 5G is to combine MMWave with the Sub-6 bands and supplement it with LTE.

5G does have a larger user cap on all bands than LTE and offers lower latency.


This leads to where customers are being misled:

Somewhere between 2018-2019 AT&T started pushing a new icon onto users' phones. The icon was "5Ge" or "5G Evolution"
This became confusing since it was appearing on non-5G devices (since there were none on the market at the time), and instead on LTE supported devices.
AT&T finally admitted 5Ge was really LTE+ or LTE Advanced and therefore still a 4G technology, comparable to LTE for everyone else.
AT&T actually got sued by Sprint for this misleading of customers.


And now Verizon is putting out ads bashing the low and mid-band 5G that offers better range, but lower speeds.
They also claim they are doing 5G Right, but so far have no low or mid-band spectrum to supplement, leaving customers paying more for a technology they may not even have access to.
Verizon also claims their 5G is "Ultra Wideband" which can seem like it offers a larger footprint, but is only referring to the bands in mmWave offering better speeds.
You may have seen the commercial where they have two phones on a pedestal in NYC comparing 5G speeds.
But they don't show the actual range of their 5G, since Verizon and AT&T currently only offer 5G in mmWave.
In other words, moving the Verizon phone could mean a loss in 5G, and yet Verizon charges more per month to let users access it.

Currently only Sprint has Mid Band 5G, and T-Mobile's 5G operates in both Low band and mmWave.

T-Mobile is now poking at Verizon's claims to 5G and even a regulatory body is asking Verizon to pull the ads claiming to be the first to 5G.
But even T-Mobile is slightly misleading on their National 5G ads, since their 5G currently only offers coverage to 60% of the population.
(Hoever, according to NAD, the ad is not misleading since the coverage is over the 200 million people mark)
Current population is 330 Million, so T-Mobile 5G does not cover 130 million.

5G is still a new Technology, and can lead to great improvements in service, once it is fully and properly rolled out.


Another thing that all carriers have allowed to remain misleading is the thought that users have to pay "top dollar" to get service that works well for them
No carrier has been doing anything to help change that thought, or the misconception that pre-paid is not as good as post paid.
Part of this is that carriers do have de-prioritization plans based on how much a customer pays.

In other words, customers on MVNO's tend to be de-prioritized before their "direct customers" during times of congestion.
This could lead to slightly lower speeds for MVNO and pre-paid customers, but it does not mean that the service is truly inferior.

In many cases customers could get service that works just as good and pay a whole lot less just by shopping around and comparing plans.
This is especially true if customers have a decent idea of their average monthly usage in regards to talk, text, and data.
For instance, Verizon charges $65-90 a month for unlimited everything for a single line, but owns Visible.
Visible therefore offers the same exact service as Verizon, but for only $40 a month for unlimited everything.
Yet, Verizon tends to not advertise Visible as much as they do their own service.

On the other side, AT&T and T-Mobile own their own "value brands" - Cricket and Metro - and yet you see a lot of ads for both services.
Same goes for Sprint and Boost Mobile.

Drako Swiftclaw
Founder of Drako's Wireless Review

Also founder of Drako's Den and Playground
Drako's Den - http://cutt.ly/drako
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Fonder and Webmaster for Drako's Website Services
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