T-Mobile and 850MHz
T-mobile not using 850 mhz is not limiting your phone selection it is expanding it. More phones are made that use the tri-band frequencies 900, 1800, and 1900 mhz. As far as coverage goes technically no since 850 mhz is used only in the US then you are limiting your coverage by using that frequency. Sticking with a tri-band phone using the above frequecies is the largest coverage you can get world wide. In the US however you are correct, a quad-band phone would be even better coverage then a tri-band phone if the roaming agreements were in place. But given the choice I would still select a tri-band phone (1900, 1800, and 900) over a dual-band (1900, 850), because the phone selection is greater and the fact that at&t and cingular's g...
Is 850MHz being used by Cingular and ATT while they switch to GSM from TDMA? If so, does this mean that at some point in the future they'll switch to 1900MHz like T-Mobile and the rest of the GSM world?
T-Mobile already owns spectrum in the 1900 Mhz range and would be wasting a LOT of money trying to buy 850 Mhz spectrum when really there isn't any available [technically]. So there is no reason for them to go 850. They MIGHT pick up some 850/1900 phones in the future for roaming agreements... but this is just a thought, nothing evidential.
why would that make it easier to shop for phones?
Because there are a LOT more phones with GSM 1900 than there are with GSM 850. You can pick up any tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 phone - even import ones from overseas - and use it with T-Mobile. Can't do that with Cingular (unless you never leave CA / NYC).
all it does is limit the coverage area.
Not necessarily. I believe T-Mobile's GSM network is actually bigger and has better coverage than AT&T or Cingular at the moment. That will probably change as Cingular and AT&T continue to expand their overlays, but for now...
It's true that a single GSM 850 tower can "reach" farther than a single GSM 1900 tower, but all ...
http://onlinestore.cingular.com/html/Maps/Western/na ... »
this map breaks down the coverage with each band. 850 fills in all the spiderwebbing 1900 coverage from T-mobile. Although i dont know for sure, but its very likely that the new coverage thats going to be in the west is 850, to me that fairely substantial. also in michigan they are going to have the thumb in what i belive is 850. all these places (western us/areas in mich) euro phones (900/1800/1900) wont go.
In most parts of the country, Cingular's GSM - 850 or 1900 - is new and unoptimized. Optimization is key. Plus, Cingular is strapped for spectrum, so GSM and TDMA fight for spectrum allocation in many areas, hindering capacity and affecting network quality.
Of course, Cingular is the bigger carrier by far and I agree 100% that in a year or two, their GSM coverage should surpass T-Mobile. I just don't believe that's the case at the moment.
Chris (CDMA-GSM, HELP!!)