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Standard User MikeVybiral
(newbie) Mon 21-Nov-16 00:13:37
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Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; etc


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Questions:
1. I know Talkmobile (T), Vodafone(V) & O2 share masts. Does this mean, coverage, signal strength & data rates should all be the same?
2. Talkmobile doesn't offer 4G. Are there 4G only areas where V might provide a signal but T not, or do all 4G areas also provide 3G?
Hope to hear.
Thanks,
Mike
Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Mon 21-Nov-16 12:32:17
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: MikeVybiral] [link to this post]
 
There might be some areas where there is 4G but not 3G. The majority of Vodafone's 3G base stations are in the 2100MHz band, whilst their 4G base stations are predominantly in the 800MHz band. Vodafone do use other bands for 4G in high demand areas - they make quite a lot of use of 2600MHz and I remember some mention of them repurposing other spectrum for 4G (presumably 1800MHz or possibly 2100MHz). 800MHz propagation is rather different to 2100MHz - in particular lower frequencies tend to penetrate buildings better than higher frequencies. This can lead to scenarios where you have 4G coverage but no usable 3G.

It would help if you explained more about your usage scenario and why you are considering Talkmobile. Vodafone SIM Only is a little more expensive but not by that much with the current offers, especially at the high usage end. If you would pay for Spotify Premium anyway at the full monthly price of £9.99, Vodafone's unlimited minutes / unlimited texts / 20GB UK data / 4GB Europe data 12 month 4G deal is effectively £12.21/month plus what you'd pay for Spotify anyway (£22.20/month total). This does not compare favourably to Talkmobile's 5000 minutes / 5000 texts / 12GB UK data 12 month 3G deal at £12/month.

Obviously there are drawbacks to being on an MVNO like Talkmobile, such as the lack of 4G. I'm not sure Talkmobile devices can be registered on a Vodafone SureSignal femtocell - indeed, I cannot see any way for a non-Vodafone customer to register a SureSignal, as the setup has to be done via My Vodafone.



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Standard User nemeth782
(committed) Mon 21-Nov-16 14:11:56
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: MikeVybiral] [link to this post]
 
Some semantic issues.

There are 4 mobile phone networks in the UK:

EE
Vodafone
O2
3

Anyone else is an "MVNO" - they lease capacity from one of the above 4.

Voda and O2 have a mast sharing agreement, EE and 3 have one too.

That's not to say Voda/O2 or EE/3 will get identical coverage, through use of different frequency bands, and height on the mast (the antenna on the top will generally get better coverage) there can be significant differences in coverage.

EE have 45% of the 4G spectrum and so much more capacity than anyone else and tend to therefore win at speedtests.

Vodafone are 28%, O2 15%, 3 12%.

That just pertains to 4G, 3G is a completely different coverage map, there is no assurance that everywhere that has 4G has 3G, or even 2G, as a backup.

Talkmobile may buy lots of capacity from their host (Vodafone), they may be stingy and give poor performance, I don't know them specifically.


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Standard User MikeVybiral
(newbie) Mon 21-Nov-16 16:17:49
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
Thanks very much for taking the trouble to respond.
My situation is I live in a poor reception area (East Langton, N of Market Harborough). My phone is a Note 3. I've just switched from O2 to Talkmobile and, subjectively, coverage seems marginally worse and I'm trying to find out why. I seem to have about 7 local masts on a mix of Edge and HSPA. The signal comes and goes (0-2 bars) maybe the result of needless channel hopping? (They're all around -100dBm). I don't think 4G comes into it around here but when in London by the Thames in Westminster I was surprised to be struggling to get even a moderate 3G signal. The question is how to improve the signal, particularly at home.
Deal-wise I use mobilephonechecker.co.uk to get the best deal I can (with a rebate) every 2 years. Currently I pay £3.50 net for 1000min/5000texts/2GBdata. There may be better deals around but not that I could find. Of course, if it doesn't do the job, it's not a deal at all!
Mike
Standard User MikeVybiral
(newbie) Mon 21-Nov-16 16:19:46
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: nemeth782] [link to this post]
 
Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
Please look at my other reply for a fuller explanation of my situation.
Mike
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Mon 21-Nov-16 17:58:59
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: MikeVybiral] [link to this post]
 
What phone do you use? The phone needs to support the lower frequencies to take advantage of them... Some more budget / older phones do not work with certain frequencies.

As for O2 / Vodafone, they have an agreement to share masts but:
1) Not every mast is used by both providers, only some. O2 may have a mast closer to your home which is not used by VF. Whilst they share masts it does not guarantee VF and O2 signal from each and every one.
2) The agreement applies to 4G much more than 3G, the sharing agreement only came into play a few years ago, by which point 3G was largely rolled out already by both networks
3) The Cornerstone agreement is just a site share agreement (I believe), the transmitters themselves remain different, ie different power levels, different alignment, pointing different directions, different heights etc.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 21-Nov-16 21:00:17
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
Vodafone do use other bands for 4G in high demand areas - they make quite a lot of use of 2600MHz and I remember some mention of them repurposing other spectrum for 4G (presumably 1800MHz or possibly 2100MHz).


Vodafone are repurposing a lot of their 2100mhz allocation from 3G to 4G. Vodafone have stated they want to discontinue 3G in 2020.

This repurposing means that Vodafone 3G will be slower than it used to be - this will affect MVNOs such as Talkmobile that run on the Vodafone network and doesn't yet offer 4G.

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Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Tue 22-Nov-16 08:50:01
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: ukhardy07] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ukhardy07:
3) The Cornerstone agreement is just a site share agreement (I believe), the transmitters themselves remain different, ie different power levels, different alignment, pointing different directions, different heights etc.
That's correct. Cornerstone (Vodafone and O2) is primarily a site sharing agreement, though there may well be some shared fixed backhaul links, especially in more remote areas where it would be very expensive for each provider to procure their own fibre. Each network provides their own RF hardware.

MBNL (EE and Three) is a more complex setup. MBNL 3G is a full sharing agreement, so RF hardware is shared on MBNL 3G sites. MBNL 4G is, I believe, the same sort of setup as Cornerstone.


I believe all four networks still have sites that outside the various sharing agreements. You certainly cannot assume that O2 and Vodafone will have identical coverage.



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Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 22-Nov-16 18:43:08
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
I believe all four networks still have sites that outside the various sharing agreements. You certainly cannot assume that O2 and Vodafone will have identical coverage.


Yes, there are a lot of O2 and VF sites still not under the Cornerstone agreement, but they may be upgraded under the Beacon project. Many are 2G only with occasional low performing 3G, so it is in both networks interests to improve performance in the area. The terms "optimising" or "consolidation" are often used by customer services.

EE/Three are subject to much less, as most Orange only sites were turned off years ago where legacy Tmobile was close by. However those that left are being upgraded and "recoloured" to the EE code (formerly Tmobile). Three is using some of these sites, and not others.

Mostly getting new backhaul (e.g. going from 256kbps or 2mbps service to 100 or 1000 mbps) links is the main hassle, and it takes months, even when its another division of the same company (EE/BT, or Vodafone !).

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Standard User burble
(regular) Tue 22-Nov-16 21:03:45
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Re: Talkmobile v. Vodafone v. O2: Masts; Speeds; Coverage; e


[re: MikeVybiral] [link to this post]
 
With my EE/Orange SIM in I've yet to get any 3g in Westminster, that's not to say the phone has never locked on at 3g, but never when I've gone to use it.
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