Band 20 Importance

9
Found 19th Nov 2017
Quite often I see comments on mobile deals; particularly Chinese import deals with a very short put-down 'no band 20'. Having done a bit of digging into this, it appears its a bit of an uneducated comment.
Maybe I'm wrong, but here are the details I've uncovered.

  • Band 20 operates at 800mhz and provides the best frequency for penetrating buildings and travelling long distances
  • Generally the lower the frequency, the better penetration and distance
  • 800Mhz has lower capacity and struggles under load (rural use perfect?)
  • Higher frequencies have shorter range, but better capacity (populated area suited? - other than building penetration)
  • Voda, Three and EE all have at some band 20 capacity.
  • O2 4g is 800Mhz only - hence a problem without 4g. Seems they maybe starting to use 2100Mhz now is some places?
  • Voda and O2 have the most with 2 x 10Mhz chunks. Others with 2x 5Mhz chunks
  • Other than o2, all networks use more than one frequency for 4g
  • EE cover most bands for 4g (800, 1800 & 2600)
  • Three 800Mhz and 1800Mhz
  • Voda 800Mhz and 2600Mhz

Here's the crunch. 800Mhz is not good in crowded places and the lack of bandwidth seems to mean the networks restrict access. Some only allow 800Mhz on specific hardware (Apple and some samsungs) that are typically supplied by the network.

As crowded places aren't the best place to use 800, most City areas and urban tend to not have much 800Mhz; instead, its reserved for rural areas where distance covered and lower population suits the frequency well.

In some limited testing, I have been monitoring my phones 4g usage (not supplied by the network and capable of band 20), and as yet, I haven't seen one instance of 800Mhz being used. I'm on Three and its always 1800Mhz.

To summarise, it seems that a lot of people (dependent on network and location) would not notice any difference without band 20 unless out in the sticks. Even then, voda and O2 use 900Mhz for 3g, so has good building penetration and distance.
Unless streaming video, HSDPA is more than adequate for most other needs.

So 'no band 20' is a very much depends issue. Depends on network, location and requirement for that kind of speed at all times. 3/3.5g is more than enough for most instances. In fact, sometimes in city centres I find I have better throughput by force switching down to HSDPA.

Couple of references:
techradar.com/new…835

4g.co.uk/4g-…ow/

Any thoughts or corrections?

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9 Comments

O2 rolling out 1800Mhz 4G across UK. 1800Mhz 4G works with my Chinese version OnePlus 2 since last year.

Funnily enough, guess what band my device is currently using! I'm in N.I and quite the opposite where I have never seen my phone on anything but band 20.

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Edited by: "cecilmcroberts" 19th Nov 2017

"Having done a bit of digging into this, it appears its a bit of an uneducated comment."

No it isn't. If you are going to be in a city 99% of the time you might be OK, but in my case I live in a large town, but still use band 20 there, parents and friends live in smaller towns and villages so band 20 needed there. For work I travel across the country and if I have to make a call in the car band 20 is needed there.
Without band 20 in most cases your are going to be serverly limiting yourself some of the time.

I'd say it's not uneducated, but should come with follow ups. As you say, city folks and people on certain networks would notice no difference whatsoever without Band 20. However, other ruralites would. It is a consideration that some people may not have thought of, so should be flagged, albeit with some explanation.

With the op on this one, my phone doesn't support B20, neither does my girlfriends and it does not impact us. We live in a fairly large town and are both on Three, both work in smaller towns but always have signal, not sure if it's always 4G during the commute but it's good enough to stream music/tunein in the car.
I suppose if you are traveling the country and rely on phone heavily then I wouldn't risk it but for myself and I'm sure a lot of others no B20 support is not a deal breaker.
Edited by: "ainsy69" 19th Nov 2017

Original Poster

MIDURIX58 m ago

"Having done a bit of digging into this, it appears its a bit of an …"Having done a bit of digging into this, it appears its a bit of an uneducated comment." No it isn't. If you are going to be in a city 99% of the time you might be OK, but in my case I live in a large town, but still use band 20 there, parents and friends live in smaller towns and villages so band 20 needed there. For work I travel across the country and if I have to make a call in the car band 20 is needed there. Without band 20 in most cases your are going to be serverly limiting yourself some of the time.


My point is, that if you've not got band 20 chances are you'll either fall back to the other band for 4g if available or hsdpa. The latter is good enough for most things other than HD streaming. Hardly renders a phone without band 20 useless.
If you only get band 20 at your key locations, then understand you'd want it.
The other point was about access to band 20 by some networks being restricted to certain handsets. Someone goes and buys there own handset following the must have band 20 rule, to find that they can't use it on some networks unless it's an iPhone or carrier supplied Samsung.

Band 20 is used for VoLTE calls on most networks so no Band 20 means no 4G calls, maybe not a huge issue but could be down the line.

8eaker7 h, 30 m ago

My point is, that if you've not got band 20 chances are you'll either fall …My point is, that if you've not got band 20 chances are you'll either fall back to the other band for 4g if available or hsdpa. The latter is good enough for most things other than HD streaming. Hardly renders a phone without band 20 useless.If you only get band 20 at your key locations, then understand you'd want it. The other point was about access to band 20 by some networks being restricted to certain handsets. Someone goes and buys there own handset following the must have band 20 rule, to find that they can't use it on some networks unless it's an iPhone or carrier supplied Samsung.



I'll refer to you first bullet point
"Band 20 operates at 800mhz and provides the best frequency for penetrating buildings and travelling long distances"
The travelling long distances bit is the main reason you need band 20. You can't fall back to another band which isn't available due to it being a poor frequency to travel long distances.

Original Poster

MIDURIX19th Nov

I'll refer to you first bullet point "Band 20 operates at 800mhz and …I'll refer to you first bullet point "Band 20 operates at 800mhz and provides the best frequency for penetrating buildings and travelling long distances"The travelling long distances bit is the main reason you need band 20. You can't fall back to another band which isn't available due to it being a poor frequency to travel long distances.

And 3g is available on 900mhz on some networks so travels equally well (give or take the different of 100mhz).
I'm not saying band 20 is not desirable; of course it's better to have it than not. I just think so many handsets get dismissed for not having band 20 when the question had to be asked, do you need it and can you get it anyway. In real terms, a lot of people (not all admittedly) really wouldn't notice.
As previously mentioned, saying no band 20 therefore not a good deal needs to have more context and consideration.
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