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Alright, I downloaded LTE Discovery app which is VERY helpful, so thank you zurvan2.

According to that app, they are both connected to the same band (LTE band 4) and the same tower (I think?) but one has 4 bars and one has zero.  The dBm measurements are not THAT different, at least not what I believe would enough to warrant 4 bars vs zero...

2020-01-30.png.85a6e4e07691ff0a186c9d62ca60e268.png

But when I, for example, throw it in my local faraday cage (aka unplugged Microwave) the Blackberry goes to -118 dBm on band 4 and reports 2 bars of signal, whereas the Pro1, when on -104 dBm says zero bars.

So does the bars relation to dBm change on a per phone basis?  Is my Blackberry lying to me about how strong the signal is?  Or is the Pro1 being very picky about how strong the signal is?

I checked the specs on the Blackberry and T-Mobile (and fxtec) websites, and here's what i found regarding bands that each supports:

LTE Bands            T-Mo USA    G Fi    BB Key2    fx Pro1
Band  1 (2100 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band  2 (1900 MHz)   Yes         Yes     Yes        Yes
Band  3 (1800 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band  4 (1700 MHz)   Yes (Core)  Yes     Yes        Yes
Band  5 ( 850 MHz)   Myrtle, SC  ?       Yes        Yes
Band  7 (2600 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band  8 ( 900 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 12 ( 700 MHz)   Yes         Yes     Yes        Yes
Band 13 ( 700 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 14 ( 700 MHz)   -           -       Yes        -
Band 17 ( 700 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 20 ( 800 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 25 (1900 MHz)   -           ?       -          Yes
Band 26 ( 850 MHz)   -           ?       -          Yes
Band 28 ( 700 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 29 ( 700 MHz)   -           -       Yes        -
Band 30 (2300 MHz)   -           -       Yes        -
Band 34 (2000 MHz)   -           -       -          Yes
Band 38 (2600 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 39 (1900 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 40 (2300 MHz)   -           -       Yes        Yes
Band 41 (2500 MHz)   -           Yes     Yes        Yes
Band 66 (1700 MHz)   Yes         Yes?    Yes        -
Band 71 ( 600 MHz)   Yes         ?       -          -

The only discrepancy I can see is the Band 66, which IS listed alongside Band 4 in a lot of places, so maybe my blackberry is ACTUALLY connected to band 66 even though it says 4 in LTE Discovery app?

Or is this maybe a firmware issue with the Pro1?  I kinda hope so, because that would be the easiest fix...

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I feel that having a one-stop shop for network compatibility information will be valuable. Please post as you attempt to use the Pro1 with the various networks, and the experience you have. I will mai

It would be good if you could list any settings you needed to change in order to get it working for a given carrier too (like Craig listed that he had to add an APN).

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On 1/30/2020 at 3:36 PM, Pete said:

The only discrepancy I can see is the Band 66, which IS listed alongside Band 4 in a lot of places, so maybe my blackberry is ACTUALLY connected to band 66 even though it says 4 in LTE Discovery app?

Band 66 encompasses all of Band 4 (it can be thought of as Band 4 + an extension).  However, the working groups, and thus the phone radio hardware manufactures, consider them distinct bands.  There has also been totally different EARFCN values (used to obtain the actual RF uplink/downlink frequencies) assigned to each band.  For whatever reason, the LTE Discovery app often reads these values incorrectly, then displays the wrong band, and often (depending on if the bands overlap) the wrong uplink and downlink frequencies.  A long while back, I brought this to one of their developer's attention and he attempted to correct this, but was never able to fix it completely.  An example of this happens in my area using my Droid 4 (which only supports LTE band 13 as it's ancient -I still use one as a daily driver and, because of this, am connected to Verizon's CDMA 99% of the time).  The app shows I'm on Band 1 (which isn't even a US band), and, again, one which my phone definitely doesn't support (even outside of the US).

I just attempted to use the app to post an example in pic form, but am unable to connect to any of Verizon's LTE sites because they are using bands other than 13 in my area.  Thus, the snapshot below is from a few months back when my family visited Hoover Dam.  Again, you can see it shows LTE Band 1, but in reality it absolutely had to be Band 13, or the radio in my phone wouldn't be able to use it (I did verify the phone was using LTE data, and had a very strong signal while there).

 

LTE_Snapshot.jpg

Edited by Polaris
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On 1/30/2020 at 3:36 PM, Pete said:

According to that app, they are both connected to the same band (LTE band 4) and the same tower (I think?) but one has 4 bars and one has zero.  The dBm measurements are not THAT different, at least not what I believe would enough to warrant 4 bars vs zero...

2020-01-30.png.85a6e4e07691ff0a186c9d62ca60e268.png

But when I, for example, throw it in my local faraday cage (aka unplugged Microwave) the Blackberry goes to -118 dBm on band 4 and reports 2 bars of signal, whereas the Pro1, when on -104 dBm says zero bars.

Note: I'm replying to this separately as they are totally different issues...

-99dBm is awful signal (becoming borderline unusable) and there is no way the BB should be showing 4 bars!  -107 beyond horrible and probably mostly unusable (meaning tons of packet retries).

Nonetheless, the BB appears to have a much better receiver (than the Pro1) in that site 148 has a 6 dBm improvement (over the Pro1), and site 149 has a full 10 dBm improvement (over the Pro1).  As I'm sure you know, it's a logarithmic scale where 3 dBm refers to a doubling of the power and 10 dBm would be a ten fold increase.  This is a massive difference!  Of course, before we write off the Pro1 as having a poor radio, it should be noted that the phones shouldn't be this close together (for various reasons, but germane to this discussion is) because the local oscillators, and transmitted RF energy can negatively affect each other.  That said, it has piqued my interest as there is also a WiFi thread about weak WiFi signal, so when I have a moment I'll look into this matter comparing the Pro1 to other phones known to have good or poor transceivers.

Edited by Polaris
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Thanks for the info, Polaris.  I was suspicious that the Blackberry may be lying to me about 4 bars.  I will say that this photo is the only time they were that close together while I was testing this.  Otherwise I would walk around the roof of our building with one phone or the other and these values really wouldn't change much, though the dBm reading on the Blackberry was generally slightly better than the Pro1.  I feel like regularly the Pro1 would get up to -99.0 dBm and still only show maybe 1 bar, so I'm still confused about the relationship between bars and phones and dBm.

If you're saying that it is possible that the LTE Discovery app is lying about band 4, or that it just shows band 66 as band 4 anyways, that may be the culprit.  It still doesn't feel right and I don't know what to trust in that app or if any of that info is even useful based on what you said.  Regardless, the data and voice connections seem to be fine even when the Pro1 is on zero bars, so I guess it's not THAT big of a deal.  I'll have to pay more attention to the bars (and maybe the LTE Discovery app?) as I'm around LA to see if I can't find an example of an area where the Pro1 shows full signal (which I feel I would see regularly on the BlackBerry) or check the signal if I find an area where data or voice reception is poor or choppy.

Despite all of that, they keyboard is still worth it for now, just wish Band 66 was supported 😕 and also maybe that the fingerprint sensor was on the back instead of the side, and maybe the ability to remap the shutter button, and seriously that silver sticker just plopped in the middle of an otherwise smooth and sexy backplate is very depressing.  Hide that shit under the flip out keyboard right next to the FCC marking!

Still worth it.

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6 hours ago, Pete said:

Thanks for the info, Polaris.  I was suspicious that the Blackberry may be lying to me about 4 bars.  I will say that this photo is the only time they were that close together while I was testing this.  Otherwise I would walk around the roof of our building with one phone or the other and these values really wouldn't change much, though the dBm reading on the Blackberry was generally slightly better than the Pro1.  I feel like regularly the Pro1 would get up to -99.0 dBm and still only show maybe 1 bar, so I'm still confused about the relationship between bars and phones and dBm.

My pleasure.  The relationship is purely a logical software one.  It reads the RSRP (received power) & RSRQ (received quality) and then converts it to a bar graph and numerical and/or percentage.  Simple as that.  The Pro1 is being more honest about things, not sure if there is intent to deceive with the BB or not, but it's not even close to being accurate with 4 bars.

 

6 hours ago, Pete said:

If you're saying that it is possible that the LTE Discovery app is lying about band 4, or that it just shows band 66 as band 4 anyways, that may be the culprit.  It still doesn't feel right and I don't know what to trust in that app or if any of that info is even useful based on what you said.  Regardless, the data and voice connections seem to be fine even when the Pro1 is on zero bars, so I guess it's not THAT big of a deal.  I'll have to pay more attention to the bars (and maybe the LTE Discovery app?) as I'm around LA to see if I can't find an example of an area where the Pro1 shows full signal (which I feel I would see regularly on the BlackBerry) or check the signal if I find an area where data or voice reception is poor or choppy.

I don't think lying is the correct phrase to be used with the LTE Discovery app (as lying implies intent), but the app is often incorrect, and most people don't know because they don't really have any other way of testing this aspect.  In my case, once I suspected things were wrong due to my ancient phone (which I love dearly) not even supporting the band, I then confirmed it with a spectrum analyzer.  It was very clear that the phone was actually in band 13 (again, the only LTE band it supports) from the analyzer's display.

You might want to check out another app which provides it's own interpretation of RSPR & RSRQ.  I haven't used it in a while, but back when I was messing with this, and discussing it with the LTE Discovery developer, it was helpful.  It is called SignalCheck Lite.  The app uses color coded bars to graphically represent the signal strength, and always seemed to be rather accurate.

 

6 hours ago, Pete said:

Despite all of that, they keyboard is still worth it for now, just wish Band 66 was supported 😕

I agree with both sentiments.  The good news is that, as of now, there are very few areas where the B66 frequencies in use are outside of the B4 block.  Thus, the Pro1 will work in much of B66.  The bad news, is that I was told by a Verizon RF engineer they are ramping up converting (or installing) sites that use the entire B66 bandwidth, so then we'll be SOL on B66.  Keep in mind though, it's very rare for a cell to only use one band so those cells which have B66 only might also have B13 and B4 on them too.

Edited by Polaris
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2 hours ago, Slion said:

Did you try peeling it off? 😁

I would, but I have the distinct honor of having serial number #999, which I quite like, and thus may want to show it off at some point.

 

Unless all the labels say 999, in which case 😕

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2 hours ago, Slion said:

Did you try peeling it off? 😁

I started peeling mine of before I realised it was the actual serial number sticker. IMO they could have at least made it black instead of silver.

I didn't like it on the rear anyway, I kept the sticker so I'll get a small black version of it printed and I'll stick it on one of the hinge arms so it's only visible when opened. 😉

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2 hours ago, Pete said:

I would, but I have the distinct honor of having serial number #999, which I quite like, and thus may want to show it off at some point.

 

Unless all the labels say 999, in which case 😕

If you want to keep it visible and on, you better cover it with some protection, as others have reported the print the wear off rather easily.

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1 hour ago, Hook said:

To this day, I don't know what my sticker S/N number is as it wore off before I realized it was wearing off.  I wonder if F(x) has a record of the number of my assigned unit.  😉

...Sometimes when printing wears off stickers it leaves an 'inverse' image that can be viewed with certain angles/light sources. Have you tried shining various lights at it and seeing if anything is visible?

...And now I'm glad I removed my sticker and stuck it on the packaging.

Edited by lameboyadvance
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15 hours ago, Pete said:

Thanks for the info, Polaris.  I was suspicious that the Blackberry may be lying to me about 4 bars.  I will say that this photo is the only time they were that close together while I was testing this.  Otherwise I would walk around the roof of our building with one phone or the other and these values really wouldn't change much, though the dBm reading on the Blackberry was generally slightly better than the Pro1.  I feel like regularly the Pro1 would get up to -99.0 dBm and still only show maybe 1 bar, so I'm still confused about the relationship between bars and phones and dBm.

Which I can tell about this - I live in the EU and as far as I know, Pro1 supports all frequencies where I live.

I have two SIMs inserted which belong to two different service providers.

I haven't done much testing, but Pro1 has very similar coverage for me like my Moto G6 had also at home or at work or near the motorway when currently I am not the driver of the car (I can use mobile internet during the way).

I hope antennas are tuned appropriately on each frequencies, but I think which you notice is most likely related to not supported frequency/band(s) at your location and not an imperfect antenna system.

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34 minutes ago, VaZso said:

I hope antennas are tuned appropriately on each frequencies, but I think which you notice is most likely related to not supported frequency/band(s) at your location and not an imperfect antenna system.

I wouldn't jump to this conclusion so quickly.  @Pete has pictures of his two phones, they are both in band and the Pro1's received power is significantly less than with the BB.  Not by just a little, but by quite a bit (see his dBm readings above).

Edited by Polaris
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10 minutes ago, Polaris said:

I wouldn't jump to this conclusion so quickly.  @Pete has pictures of his two phones, they are both in band and the Pro1's received power is significantly less than with the BB.  Not by just a little, but by quite a bit (see his dBm readings above).

Sorry if I misunderstood that, but wasn't it potentially related to improper band feedback inside that application?

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1 hour ago, VaZso said:

Sorry if I misunderstood that, but wasn't it potentially related to improper band feedback inside that application?

Yes, the application does report incorrect bands at times, but that's not the issue at hand (with regard to antenna design or how "hot" the receiver is in the Pro1).  Even if the app gets the band wrong, the phones won't, and they are clearly in service and seeing various cell sites (and voting to park on one).  Every one in view shows a received power that is weaker on the Pro1.  Regardless of the band the app is reporting, these numbers wouldn't change (my guess is the band is correct, if I had his rough address I could verify that, but B4 is indeed in use by Verizon in a large part of the country).

Edited by Polaris
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23 hours ago, Polaris said:

Note: I'm replying to this separately as they are totally different issues...

-99dBm is awful signal (becoming borderline unusable) and there is no way the BB should be showing 4 bars!  -107 beyond horrible and probably mostly unusable (meaning tons of packet retries).

Nonetheless, the BB appears to have a much better receiver (than the Pro1) in that site 148 has a 6 dBm improvement (over the Pro1), and site 149 has a full 10 dBm improvement (over the Pro1).  As I'm sure you know, it's a logarithmic scale where 3 dBm refers to a doubling of the power and 10 dBm would be a ten fold increase.  This is a massive difference!  Of course, before we write off the Pro1 as having a poor radio, it should be noted that the phones shouldn't be this close together (for various reasons, but germane to this discussion is) because the local oscillators, and transmitted RF energy can negatively affect each other.  That said, it has piqued my interest as there is also a WiFi thread about weak WiFi signal, so when I have a moment I'll look into this matter comparing the Pro1 to other phones known to have good or poor transceivers.

-99 dBm for LTE isn't that bad of a signal. My Pixel 3 XL is getting a LTE signal of around -109 dBm. Anything -115 dBm and up on the other hand is a different story....

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On 12/27/2019 at 3:24 AM, fxtec5 said:

I was able to activate mine on Verizon with VoLTE, using my existing droid 4 sim on a pay-as-you-go plan. :classic_cool:

I just punched the sim down from the micro sizes in my droid 4 down to a the nano size that the pro1 needs, ran the *#*#4636#*#* trick, and it worked.

That said - if you are looking for a provider to use with the phone, so far I would not recommend verizon. Due to the fact that it is _only_ on LTE, the performance of the phone in marginal coverage areas is... poor... since it cannot drop back down to 3g or lesser networks. Fingers crossed that fxtec gets off their butts and gets the phones officially listed on verizon so the cdma bands start working because my house has marginal coverage and being LTE only is miserable.

Disclaimer - my droid 4 sim has spent some time in a galaxy S5 which has been using VoLTE, so the sim was known to be VoLTE provisioned before the swap. The sim itself is about a year old, and was used with VoLTE in the S5 basically immediately after I got the sim. But it was not a 'fresh' sim by any reasonable definition. If anyone is curious, the APN was automatically detected correctly as "VZWINTERNET", but only after setting the VoLTE sliders in the testing menu. Before activating VoLTE I briefly got service, but shortly after the phone went into 911 only mode as if the sim were not active. After enabling VoLTE and rebooting the APN was correctly detected and my missed SMS messages were delivered immediately after the 4G logo appeared on the status bar.

 

 

Unless the phone gains support for LTE band 13, I seriously doubt this phone will be a good option for someone on Verizon.

 

15 hours ago, Polaris said:

My pleasure.  The relationship is purely a logical software one.  It reads the RSRP (received power) & RSRQ (received quality) and then converts it to a bar graph and numerical and/or percentage.  Simple as that.  The Pro1 is being more honest about things, not sure if there is intent to deceive with the BB or not, but it's not even close to being accurate with 4 bars.

 

I don't think lying is the correct phrase to be used with the LTE Discovery app (as lying implies intent), but the app is often incorrect, and most people don't know because they don't really have any other way of testing this aspect.  In my case, once I suspected things were wrong due to my ancient phone (which I love dearly) not even supporting the band, I then confirmed it with a spectrum analyzer.  It was very clear that the phone was actually in band 13 (again, the only LTE band it supports) from the analyzer's display.

You might want to check out another app which provides it's own interpretation of RSPR & RSRQ.  I haven't used it in a while, but back when I was messing with this, and discussing it with the LTE Discovery developer, it was helpful.  It is called SignalCheck Lite.  The app uses color coded bars to graphically represent the signal strength, and always seemed to be rather accurate.

 

I agree with both sentiments.  The good news is that, as of now, there are very few areas where the B66 frequencies in use are outside of the B4 block.  Thus, the Pro1 will work in much of B66.  The bad news, is that I was told by a Verizon RF engineer they are ramping up converting (or installing) sites that use the entire B66 bandwidth, so then we'll be SOL on B66.  Keep in mind though, it's very rare for a cell to only use one band so those cells which have B66 only might also have B13 and B4 on them too.


I could be wrong, but at least in my area (Washington DC area) they are rolling out B66 on towers on T-Mobile.

Edited by compuguy
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2 hours ago, compuguy said:

Unless the phone gains support for LTE band 13, I seriously doubt this phone will be a good option for someone on Verizon.

I'm not sure I understand this comment since, according to the specs, the Pro1 does support LTE band 13.

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@compuguy I agree with @Hook in that the Pro1 supports LTE band 13.  I know this not only from the specs but I can see it on my spectrum analyzer connected to cells on my local sites.

Also, I'm in DC quite often and I haven't seen any B66 action for T-mobile (not to say that it won't happen), but there is heavy B2, B4, and B12 usage out there.  Not certain that B66 will be required, but who knows what they are thinking.  As for Verizon, they are typically implementing B66 in rural areas not metropolitan ones (of course, this too, could change).

Edited by Polaris
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I've been anxiously waiting for some in the US to try getting Pro¹ activated on Sprint proper.  Even with this latest shipment, I haven't seen any reports of anyone trying.

If you've tried US Sprint, please post your results!

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AmaySIM (powered by Optus network, apparently) works fine (4G, making and receiving calls, sending and receiving SMS) in Sydney, Australia. In both Android pre-installed by default, and Sailfish OS 3.2.1.20 installed/flashed according to instructions on this forum. Haven't tried Lineage OS at all.

Thank you. Best wishes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Per aspera ad astra...

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