I live in rural SoCal and don't have access to traditional backhauls.
My most realistic options are LTE. So far, I have ATT and T-Mobile covered which was working well for me.
I have a minimum of -90dBm RSSI, typically -70dBm; typically min 50Mbps symmetric speeds hitting 90Mbps at night.
Life is good.
Unfortunately, the specific provider called Teltik, through which I got T-Mobile access is having "issues". Since it's uncertain whether it's an issue specific to Teltik, or something from T-Mobile corporate, I want to dip my toes into the other provider: Verizon.
While T-Mobile used to be the underdog, the Sprint acq. has given it a taste of what an oligopoly feels like and if I have to deal with an oligopoly anyways, I prefer dealing with the original oligopoly of them all: Verizon.
Atleast, I know how they think while T-Mobile is on it's way to figuring out how to exploit its new powers. Mistakes will be made, lawsuits will be filed and I would rather stay away from all the mess for a while.
The closest Verizon tower is half a mile away from me. It has B4 and B13 coverage.
The second closest Verizon tower is a mile away from me. It has B2,4 and B13,66 coverage.
The only things between line of sight between the towers and my antennas are a bunch of horses, sheep, wild cats and the occasional hungry coyote. The city is a healthy 20 miles away.
In theory, my Visible/Verizon coverage should exceed my ATT and T-Mobile coverage - their (ATT/T-Mobile) towers are 1.5 miles away from me while within the same radius, I have 3x more Verizon towers
In practice, my Visible/Verizon coverage is at best -110dBm RSSI!
My concern is that my issues with data speeds over Visible is potentially a configuration issue instead of a tower coverage issue. Possibly a side effect of the prioritization algorithms Visible has deployed in my area.
To test the theory, I drove up to my closest two Verizon towers and benchmarked signal strength and speeds.
The best I could get was 5Mbps DL, 2Mbps UL, -110db while right next to the towers. That is very unexpected.
Also, I noticed that I could not get the phone to connect to the Verizon tower I was driving to. When I was right next to the tower, it would always connect me to the next closest tower and the signal strength would again drop to -115dBm or less.
Then, I went to the city and then, the Verizon towers started to behave exactly like one would expect - closer I get, better the RSSI and I would always connect to the closest tower. 5Mbps min DL, peaking at 40Mbps.
This has piqued my Verizon interest.
I have sunk days running and logging cellmapper and working with Visible engineers. I have a wealth of Verizon data right now and am scheduled to connect with some Visible engineers over the phone but I want some more information.
I not only want to close this out but also want to figure out whether Page Plus or similar can quench my thirst for Verizon in an affordable manner if Visible takes too long to correct/update their algorithms.
A Visible engineer indicated to me that the 3 Verizon towers I keep talking about are "premium" towers that Visible does not contract with. That does not make sense to me as I would then expect the phone not to connect to that tower at all. Instead it does, barely. This is not an e911 issue either. Per regulation, the phone/Visible can route my e911 over any tower they/I want.
So I want to trial Page Plus to get some more data points but was curious about existing experience.