Phone GSM Quad Band 3G/4G HSPA+ versus Ireland's "Three" network

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by iolaire, May 12, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Hello, please can someone give me a quick primer on global GSM phone bands?

    Recently I was in Ireland, before I left I bought an unlocked GSM phone to use there.

    From somewhere I read that "Three Ireland" was a good service with a €20 unlimited everything plan. Unfortunately both me and my friend using a Galaxy S6 had poor service. He had text and voice at all times, but no data, but that might have been because it didn't turn on roaming for data. I had slow data in the country as well as text and voice, but in Dublin proper I had nothing what so ever. From what I've read maybe we were roaming on the Orange network on 2G.

    Then I got a Lycamobile Ireland SIM and signed up for a €10 more limited plan that generally worked. I think I was on G3 because the internet was usable.

    So that leads me to wonder if it was not Three’s problem for the crappy service, but maybe my phone. It looks like maybe my phone doesn’t have the same network settings that Three has…

    My phone:
    • GSM Quad Band 3G/4G HSPA+ (850/1700/1900): US Compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, Straight Talk and others
    • Unlocked cell phones are compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile as well as with GSM SIM cards (e.g. H20, Straight Talk, and select prepaid carriers). Unlocked cell phones will not work

    Radio frequency summary used on the Three Ireland network
    Frequency Protocol Class
    900 MHz UMTS/HSPA 3G
    2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA 3G
    1800 MHz LTE 4G

    So based on those bands does it mean Three’s crappy service was the cause of me not having a compatible phone?

    Could I expect my phone to work ok other places in the world?

    If I had an unlocked iPhone would it work better globally (they were selling iPhone 5C in Three store).
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Probably.

    Maybe. Those networks are mostly US, not international IIRC. It will vary by country but, among other things, calling a phone quad-band when it only has three frequencies doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    I had a similar issue with an "unlocked" phone in Turkey on my first trip there. Wrong radios meant zero coverage.
     
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  3. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    This map looks informative:
    http://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html
    So basically my phone will work well in part of the Americas and everywhere else I’ll need to research and make sure that the provider has some sort of coverage.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'd try to unload that phone and get a proper quad-band device if you're going to be traveling globally more.
     
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  5. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Not sure how they say its Quad Band when clearly its TriBand?

    I bought a Moto G and have used it both in Asia/Eu without a problem... though speeds were not great, that is 100% attributed to the fact I am on T-Mobile so intl. Roaming is at EDGE speeds... :). I'm sure if I bought a mobile SIM it would be fine.

    However I did notice that compared to the iP5c/Nexus5 I also had with me (yeah we had 3 phones between my wife & I ...) the signal was not as strong [# of bars ...] but using it was without any problems. Sending texts/chat with each other when we were in different parts of the park/bldg and even calling the hotel/restaurant was fine.

    Exactly what Seth said. Moto G/Moto E works great in my experience.
     
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  6. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Interesting to note that in the US T Mobile is on 2G with that Moto G/E, so likely it has the opposite problem, it might have limited bands great for the non Americas?
     
  7. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    In the USA its 3G/LTE (If you have the version that has LTE). When Intl. Roaming TMobile limits/throttle you to EDGE speed even though it says 3G.

    You have the option to buy a data pass for your intl trip which removes the restriction...
     
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  8. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Voice bands are different from 4G bands. When phones are advertised as quad band, that just refers to voice/3G. It gets tricky. For example, AT&T uses 850 and 1900 for voice and 3G HSPA and HSPA+, and they use 700/1700 for 4G LTE.
    Three Ireland uses 900 and 2100 for 3G, 1800 for 4G LTE

    It appears your phone doesn't have 1800. Also BLU are inexpensive phones for a reason- they hit a market point but have to skimp on features/capabilities to hit a price point.

    Here are the US bands
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
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