Are the 4G modem specs final ? (France: My operator uses 700/1800/2600)


Umberto

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Hello

I noticed that the 700Mhz band is exclusive to the NA version, while 1800Mhz and 2600Mhz are EU exclusive.

My provider use 700, 1800 and 2600Mhz, but only 700Mhz can go through the thick walls of my home.

I also need 1800/2600Mhz when I am outside. (those frequencies can reach further), so neither getting the NA nor the EU version would be ideal.

Is there a chance for another 4G modem sold separately, a modem firmware upgrade, a new version or anything that could adress this issue ?

I was real close to preordering, but now I'm not so sure if I should just give up on mobility and buy wifi only, or wait for a fix.
 

Silent-Hunter

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It sounds like your operator is doing something weird. Are other operators in France using 700, or is it like T-Mobile in the US, and just yours uses a weird frequency? An alternative option is to get the EU one, and switch operators. Or only use it outside, and use WiFi when inside.
 

WizardStan

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No, unfortunately. I can't even find a radio that supports those three bands. Your carrier is doing something strange, sorry. It's one or the other, nothing can be done to change that.
The NA chip does use 1800 for GSM. Could you be connected to LTE at home and GSM outside?
What's your carrier? Even if you get the right band it still might not work.
 

Umberto

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Hello

I use Free Mobile. Other operators also bought the right to use bands in the 700Mhz spectrum (B28), all 4 major providers (Orange, Bouygue, Altice, Free) are currently deploying a 700Mhz network.

Most phone being released for the past year or so now have support for 700Mhz in europe, before the operator would sometime offer custom version supporting their 700Mhz frequency (.

This is the map where using 700Mhz for 4G is allowed in France: ( www universfreebox.com/UserFiles/image/carte700mhz.png )


(Actual working antennas: rncmobile.free.fr/index.php/antennes-avec-700-lte-actif/ )

This is a list (not exhaustive) of some recently released phone. At the bottem left corner of each phone, you can see which does 700Mhz (If its just written 4G, it doesn't support it, if its written 4G+, 4G++ or 4G+++ it uses the 700Mhz band) : mobile.free.fr/mobiles.html
[doublepost=1499732252,1499731851][/doublepost]As a reference, what the Galaxy S7 (and successors) supports in europe: 1 - 2100 Mhz, 2 - 1900 Mhz, 3 - 1800 Mhz +, 4 - 1700 Mhz AWS, 5 - 850 Mhz, 7 - 2600 Mhz, 8 - 900 Mhz, 12 - 700 Mhz a, 13 - 700 Mhz c, 17 - 700 Mhz b, 18 - 800 Mhz lower, 19 - 800 Mhz upper, 20 - 800 Mhz, 25 - 1900 Mhz +, 26 - 850 Mhz +, 28 - 700 Mhz

And iPhone 6 (and successors) : 1 - 2100 Mhz, 2 - 1900 Mhz, 3 - 1800 Mhz +, 4 - 1700 Mhz AWS, 5 - 850 Mhz, 7 - 2600 Mhz, 8 - 900 Mhz, 12 - 700 Mhz a, 13 - 700 Mhz c, 17 - 700 Mhz b, 18 - 800 Mhz lower, 19 - 800 Mhz upper, 20 - 800 Mhz, 25 - 1900 Mhz +, 26 - 850 Mhz +, 27 - 800 Mhz SMR, 28 - 700 Mhz, 29 - 700 Mhz

Its new-ish (only started behind standard in most phones maybe a year and a half ago ?), so maybe there is a chance for a compatible 4G modem on Pyra at a future date ?
 
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levi

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The operators in my region only use 700MHz (if they use it at all) for 2G services I think, which are hardly ideal for data. Indoors I'd have thought you'd be better served by wifi to an ASDL or cable router of some kind anyway.

There's always the possibility for a future upgrade, by replacing the main/peripheral board and leaving the CPU board and everyting else where it was. If I were you I'd probably buy a non-cellular standard model for now.

Although I have personally ordered an EU unit with no plans yet to actually plug a SIM card into it, because you also get GPS and a couple of other things on those models. I'd probably need to get a new SIM card anyway, as my current one doesn't allow tablets and I suspect the Pyra would be classified as that from their algorithms.
 

AndiTheBest

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The modem is fixed on the mainboard, so its not very easy to upgrade it like the cpu board.

The easiest solution for using mobile data is bluetooth tethering (doesnt use much power of your phone)
 

sebt3

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The easiest solution for using mobile data is bluetooth tethering (doesnt use much power of your phone)
Pretty much my plan since I'm sharing the same operator as OP.

Just so you know, there's actually politics reasons behind these bands. The operator only use the bands it is allowed to.
Politics wanted to show that they were open to have a 4th operator in France for PR relationship, but the other operators have succesfully lobbied against the creation of that 4th operator hence the odd bands. Th goal was to make that 4th operator a failure... which it is not far from it ;)
 

levi

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So 700MHz is used for voice and SMS?
The current provider I use for my phone don't have any 2G masts - they used to share them with a competitor, but now they've got enough 3G and 4G masts to give coverage, they've dropped 2G entirely. My old 3G phone is able to make calls and send and receive texts, so I assume they've got that working over 3G these days.
 

rygD

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Perhaps I misunderstand how cellular networks work. I never really looked beyond basic descriptions since I have never had to actually work with it. (We did use a cell network as a backup link at one location where we had a WAN presence, but that pretty much consisted of whatever equipment they had locked up in a shipping container that we weren't allowed in, as only their employees were permitted to mess with that stuff. Then something happened and we had to wait 3 days for them to come work on it, only for them to reset an UPS to fix it...) I always thought 2/3/4G were for data, and didn't have any impact on the "normal" voice and SMS services, such as in areas where the newer stuff doesn't exist, so no data, but you can still make calls. I dunno.
 

tigerroast

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I always thought 2/3/4G were for data, and didn't have any impact on the "normal" voice and SMS services, such as in areas where the newer stuff doesn't exist, so no data, but you can still make calls. I dunno.

Technically speaking, there is data transferred on all of those bands no matter what you do, so you're not wrong. It's just that your telco chooses to charge you for whatever kind of data's being transferred. Voice and SMS take negligible amounts of data to route unless you and the receiving party's talking non-stop or you're sending 800KB SMS messages every few minutes. So they charge the hell out of you for general data usage that doesn't fall under "voice or text," such as watching fight videos and memes or sending MMS messages.

Basically, if a carrier puts out a coverage map with areas marked as "voice or text only," what they really mean is, "insufficient coverage to transfer any data that isn't voice or text, and even that might be slow."

Since the Internet's put on quite a bit of weight and since VoIP/video-messaging has advanced and gone mobile, 2G for general data usage isn't practical anymore...unless you get a Pyra and use CLI programs that cut out a lot of the bullshit. mutt for email, youtube-viewer for its namesake, lynx for web-browsing (or Firefox's/Chromium's reader mode), irssi for IRC chat, etc. Even so, carriers will list 2G as "voice or text only" anyway.
 

kabaiakh

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Pretty much my plan since I'm sharing the same operator as OP.

Just so you know, there's actually politics reasons behind these bands. The operator only use the bands it is allowed to.
Politics wanted to show that they were open to have a 4th operator in France for PR relationship, but the other operators have succesfully lobbied against the creation of that 4th operator hence the odd bands. Th goal was to make that 4th operator a failure... which it is not far from it ;)

Bouygues, Free, Orange && SFR (alphabetically ordered),
that makes four horsemen of the Apocalypse carriers to me (excluding MVNO)
AFAIK, Bouygues didn't sell its telecom subsidiary.
Except if you consider Free as '4G only' (might be wrong on that point).

Did I miss something ?
 

sebt3

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Free is the 4th operator. Before that they were only 3. I know for a fact that Buygues and SFR lobbied a lot against free ( and document yourself to know who they were trying to change his mind... you'll have all of a surprise).
 

levi

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Technically speaking, there is data transferred on all of those bands no matter what you do, so you're not wrong. It's just that your telco chooses to charge you for whatever kind of data's being transferred. Voice and SMS take negligible amounts of data to route unless you and the receiving party's talking non-stop or you're sending 800KB SMS messages every few minutes. So they charge the hell out of you for general data usage that doesn't fall under "voice or text," such as watching fight videos and memes or sending MMS messages.
As far as I know, a single SMS message consists of 160 characters plus padding - slightly more for second and consecutive messages - they're probably 256 bytes each in practice. That modern phones let you 'text' any length of message and silently break that up into multiple SMS records is neither here nor there - operators here at least still charge per SMS.

On my network, SMS cost 2p each, so that's 8gbp per MB, and a fair whack more per actual user data. Meanwhile my data is charged at 1p per MB. Voice on the other hand probably goes through a 45kbps codec, and that's 3p per minute, so technically that's about 340KB per minute, or about 1p per megabyte (although I guess you'd get a lot less if you actually tried to hook a modem up to that voice line and modulate data through that audio codec).

So on my current SIM card deal, voice and data are charged at about the same in terms of network traffic to the mast, while SMS messages cost the most, despite probably having the lowest bandwidth.
 

Umberto

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Ridiculously high. Here for 2 euros you get unlimited SMS, 2 hours of call and a few dozen megabyte. Internet service provider even throw it in for free if you are their customer.

Most people pay around 15 euros a month for unlimited data + voice.

Then again its UK, their internet is also ridiculously overpriced and slow. I lived there a year, I was so happy when I left (IT wise, otherwise the place has its good side).

- Non-dynamic IP is a paid option
- Some ISP don't even include TV, or you need to pay extra for it (which doesn't make sense: TV channel pay them to carry their signal, and then... they also charge it to the customer ?)
- No IPV6 (then)
- Their ISP don't provide binary usenet servers
- You need to pay for a phone line ON TOP of having to pay for DSL (back when we didn't have optical fiber, its probably changing)
- Their ISP don't provide free worldwide call, or sometime even you can't even plug a phone on the modem they supply. (then again, they require you to have a phone landline anyway so you can't subscribe to their service without already having a phone line...)
- The modem they give are total shit. They don't have hard disk or bittorent or SMB or anything. They are just a modem and a router, that's it. You're already lucky if they do wifi.
- You have to register for a certain amount of time, like 1 year or 2 years, during which you can't cancel your subscription nor switch ISP. (and yeah, cellphone carriers do the same...)
- You pay a different price based on the speed you want. They don't just connect you the fastest your line can handle, they actually limit your speed on purpose.
 
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levi

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A lot of carriers here still charge up to 10p per text, being able to send them for only 2p is towards the cheaper end of the scale, for anyone that actually pays for them and doesn't have an insane allowance for 20gbp a month or something. I find a 10gbp voucher lasts me about three months with my usage, so it's cheapest for me.

Edit: @Umberto You still need to pay for the line and the rental for the DSL equipment separately. We're finally getting FTTC at least so speed are getting better, but yeah it's not cheap. We used to have usenet servers, back when I used dial-up to demon internet, but since ADSL and competition that's been stripped from most offerings, so we have to buy in with the pirates who pay for fat usenet pipes for videos if we want any usenet at all. Wifi routers are pretty common now, but if you want to do bittorrent or something like that, you'll need a raspberry pi or something.
 
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Binky

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In the UK, we're blessed with a law that says British Telecom (who own the old copper wires) are obliged to let you use whatever ISP you like. May I humbly recommend AAISP?

They provide:
  • Data-only sim cards with a fixed IP address <-- could be interesting for use with Pyrae
  • IPv6 support
  • Various VoIP services (including mapping to public phone numbers)
  • Full xkcd-806 compliance (and customer service over IRC!)
  • No-nonsense hosting and email provision with your own domain name(s)
  • A strong stance against filtering and censorship (Edit: Also minimal logging and a canary to warn customers of potential government snooping)
(Disclaimer: I'm not an employee, just an enthusiastic user of their services)
 
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kabaiakh

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Free is the 4th operator. Before that they were only 3. I know for a fact that Buygues and SFR lobbied a lot against free ( and document yourself to know who they were trying to change his mind... you'll have all of a surprise).

Thanks for the explaination.
I was right, I missed something.
In english, 'actually' means 'indeed' not 'currently'.
Well known false friend; my bad.

As for the lobbying, I have been unable to dig up any relevant piece of information.
I guess your sources are more accurate, especially if they date back from the reporting period.
 

Askarus

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As far as I know, a single SMS message consists of 160 characters plus padding - slightly more for second and consecutive messages - they're probably 256 bytes each in practice. That modern phones let you 'text' any length of message and silently break that up into multiple SMS records is neither here nor there - operators here at least still charge per SMS.

SMS is long dead. Still everyone is calling it SMS.
In an SMS you can only sent those 160 characters.
Nowadays we're using EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service). That's what allows you to send those "long SMS".
Provider still charge one "SMS" per 160 characters.

You can see this when using a very old phone (Nokia Brick). I had one and when someone did send me a EMS with more than 160 characters I received multiple SMS because my Phone was not capable of EMS.
 

Letalis Sonus

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You can see this when using a very old phone (Nokia Brick). I had one and when someone did send me a EMS with more than 160 characters I received multiple SMS because my Phone was not capable of EMS.
EMS is build on top of SMS, it just adds a layer of abstraction. If you send a longer EMS it really sends two SMS, phones that support it simply concatenate them, receiving two SMS on an older phone is not some kind of fallback provided by the provider. The strict limitation of the amount of characters actually has technical reasons and is not just something someone made up to charge more.

BTW: If you include one of those unicode smileys in your message you only have 70 characters, because they force the phone to use UTF-16, using a minimum of 2 bytes per character. Surprisingly this isn't even problematic for my old Nokia brick, it just has no symbol for those smileys. The standard encoding uses only 7 bits, the actual limit is 140 bytes.
 
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