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48 €12.99 plan will get 5G
#1
48 announced that it will provide 5G to all customers on its €12.99 by the 15th February. 

Those on other plans such as the older €7.99 or €10.99 plan will need to change to €12.99 plan to get 5G.  Changing plan is a one-way switch, so if you want to first test the 5G coverage / speed, I suggest ordering a new SIM to carry out testing to avoid losing your original plan in case the 5G upgrade is not worthwhile.  Like Eir and Vodafone, many rural Three 5G enabled sites (which 48 uses) have congested backhaul links particularly during peak time, so getting 5G may not deliver any better performance.

For those on auto-renewal, this needs to be turned off first - Go into the My Profile menu -> Payment Details.  Then toggle off the "Auto-renew membership" setting.  When the current plan expires, you can purchase the €12.99 plan.

According to the announcement, the 5G upgrade includes 5G roaming in the UK and EU.

It will be interesting to test whether there is still a 400Mbps speed limit like there was when they were testing 5G on existing customers a while back.
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#2
After moving to the €12.99 plan, I see the 5G restriction is gone, at least with my account.  I'm well outside the range limit of the 5G mast from my home for the carrier to synchronise, so cannot do any further testing at the moment. 

       

I will do some testing when I'm in an area with the high capacity 5G band n78, likely by the end of next week.
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#3
While in Killybegs, I did some brief testing with the 5G band n3 mast there outside Sea Quest and can confirm 5G is working on my 48 account.

One interesting observation is that it only maintains the 5G connection with network traffic such as a speed test.  Shortly after the speed test ends, it drops the 5G carrier.  Like most 5G phones, it continues showing the 5G icon, although clearly disconnected according to NetMonster as shown in the second image:

       

Like my previous testing with a native Three 5G SIM, don't expect 5G to deliver faster speed in band n3 areas.  After multiple speed tests between 5G and 4G-only mode, the following are the fastest download speeds I got at the time - 4G vs 5G:

       

From looking at the carrier aggregation info on the service menu, it was switching between 5G ARFCN 362170 (15MHz block) with 5G connected during a speed test and 4G EARFCN 1700 (20MHz block) when idle while remains 5G disconnected:

       

That site doesn't appear to support or allow 20+3 or 28+3 CA while connected on 5G.  I'm not sure about how it would handle 4G band 1 now that Three switched off band 1 on most of the masts in our area again. Confused
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#4
While travelling with a work colleague to/from Dublin, I did some speed tests and signal monitoring along the way. 

When we entered Northern Ireland I had to switch to the Roaming Profile in the 48 SIM App to get service.  I see 48's roaming information SMS now mentions the APN to use.  It mainly roaming on O2 and picked up 5G in a few areas.  These 5G sites were all band n28, so speed tests were typically no higher than about 100Mbps.  On the other hand, at least this confirms the 5G plan includes 5G roaming in the UK, particularly with 48 using the Belgium Proximus network for handling roaming. 

           

There were just a few places that I picked up 5G on the high speed 3.6GHz band n78.  However, once we reached Dublin, I had 5G coverage on band n78 along many streets with speed tests typically ranging from 400 to 600Mbps down and 50 to 150Mbps up, the 400Mbps limit is clearly gone.  There were just a few areas that I picked up the Gigabit speeds like my previous testing with a native Three SIM - The 985Mbps result is along Church Street across the Liffey and the 1020Mbps result is at the junction between Cabra and Navan Road, the same junction I got around on 800Mbps on Vodafone.

For anyone interesting in running 5G speed tests while out and about or to show friends, just beware these gobble a lot of data, proportional to the test results.  For example, the 1020Mbps result used about 1.7GB of data.  I used about 1/3rd of my 200GB allowance over the two days.

           

Unlike other networks that throttle after the fair usage allowance, 48 cuts off data until the next billing cycle.  I think they still provide the option to swap minutes for 3GB of data once off until the next billing cycle.  After that, they charge €3 per 1GB add-on, which one can easily gobble up in a single 5G speed test. Tongue

From testing 5G band n3 areas along the way back home, most performed no better than 4G only, typically getting no higher than 150Mbps with good 4G and 5G signal readings.  In fact, 48 and my native Three SIM performed much better up around May 2023 on 4G alone before Three implemented its energy saving measures.  For example, I used to regularly get around 300Mbps with sites operating 4G bands 1+3+20.  

For anyone debating on whether to update to the 5G plan, first check that there is 5G band n78 coverage.  Otherwise, you'll be paying €5 extra per month for a 5G icon with no real benefit other than doubling the data allowance from 100GB to 200GB.
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#5
After another trip to Dublin I noticed the latency (ping times) have got very low, even on the low bandwidth 5G band n3.  For example, the following test result was at the junction between Cabra and Navan Road, another from inside the Yoi Izakaya Japanese restaurant where I was getting 9ms and the third on the M3 motorway connected on 5G band n3 getting 11ms:

           

While I got many good download speeds as high as 1000Mbps, the upload speeds appear to have dropped.  I suspect there is a 120Mbps upload speed cap as I had many test results with upload speeds between 119 and 121Mbps and the highest being 123Mbps.  For comparison, I had many upload speeds over 150Mbps on my previous trip in February including the 153Mbps example in the above post.

Download speeds along the route from Donegal to Dublin appear to have improved substantially as I was getting speeds of 200+Mbps in 4G band 1+3+28 areas that I haven't seen since early 2023 before Three started implement its energy saving measures.  Basically there were a lot more Three sites operating 4G band 1 again. 

Having made several trips through Northern Ireland between this and previous trips, the EE network appears to perform the best for speed even though I didn't come across any 5G areas on that network along the route.  With EE I was regularly on 4G band 3, sometimes aggregating a second band 3 carrier and 4G band 20.  For example, the following was a few km outside Kesh:

   

I am currently testing a roaming eSIM BNE as a potential workaround for patchy Three data coverage.  I know it sounds ridiculous paying to roam within your own home country, but it lets me use the Eir network in areas that I have no Three signal, such as the nearby village Carrick.  They currently charge €0.90 for 1GB per month, which is enough for WhatsApp and browsing there, such as while waiting in queue at the post office.  Even if I use it up, paying €0.90 for another 1GB only brings that monthly cost combined with 48 to what GoMo is charging and far cheaper than using a dedicated prepay Eir SIM where the cheapest data add on is €4.99 for 1GB.
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#6
Hi Sean a lot of good info there.
I have noticed more Eir sites in South Donegal using carrier aggregation in the last few weeks, are they updating their mast technology in Laghy and Dunkineely as never seen it before Mountcharles and Donegal had it this while.
I also see the Eir mast near the Frosses crossroads active, I had assumed it was Three in the past.
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#7
I will keep an eye on NetMonster the next time I pass through those areas. I did see that Eir is operating 4G bands 1+3+20+28 on the mast outside Sea Quest along with 5G DSS on band n3. Surprisingly Eir has not added it to its 5G coverage map. While going through Cavan on my way home I saw Eir now has 5G band n78 there.

Three has weekly update post mentioning which areas they are working on. They don't mention whether the works are upgrades or just maintenance / fault fixing, but gives a clue about what areas to monitor if they are nearby or along a route that I'll be on:

https://community.three.ie/t5/3MadeEasy/...a-p/773899

I have not come across anything similar for Eir or Vodafone, although Vodafone's website is down as I write this post. Big Grin
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#8
While 48 operates on 3 and clearly mentions this on its website and advertising, to my surprise I see they no longer use 3 UK as its roaming partner.  When I do a network search, it shows a "Forbidden" next to the 3 UK entries and shows the following message when I try selecting 3 UK:

       

It has been a while since I last tried manually selecting 3 UK in the North, so I'm not sure how long ago this happened but did notice my phone did not roam on 3 UK the last few months that I was in Northern Ireland.  I reckon this is due to 3 UK starting its phasing out of 3G as 48 does not support VoLTE and 3 UK does not have a 2G network to fall back to, unlike Vodafone.

It appears that 48 has 5G access on EE as I now get the 5G icon on EE.  Like Eir in Ireland, it appears that EE has the 5G indicator active on masts that do not operate a 5G carrier to show a false 5G icon on some phones, such as my phone (OnePlus Nord 2T):

       

The BNE eSIM I'm using has 3 UK access, but requires a UK or EU data plan for Internet access.  At least it can roam on the 3 UK network to see the signal readings:

       
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#9
While in Dublin a work colleague running countless speed tests down various streets sent me the following screenshot of what he managed to achieve on Vodafone.  I ran a few tests and got the following, the highest I've seen to date on the 48 network. Big Grin

       

It appears like Three (or 48) has done some tweaking recently as I'm regularly getting 200+Mbps again on multi-band sites, occasionally getting over 300Mbps, which I have not seen in a long time in areas not operating the high capacity 3.6GHz 5G band n78.   One drawback however is that I seem to be getting dropped to 3G more often.  

(13/04/2024, 03:33 PM)viking Wrote: I have noticed more Eir sites in South Donegal using carrier aggregation in the last few weeks,  are they updating their mast technology in Laghy and Dunkineely as never seen it before Mountcharles and Donegal had it this while.
I also see the Eir mast near the Frosses crossroads active, I had assumed it was Three in the past.

While travelling through Laghy and Dunkineely in both directions, I didn't see any sign of Eir operating bands 1 or 3.  However, both sites I picked up are operating 4G bands 20 and 28, which some devices can aggregate.  My OnePlus Nord 2T phone doesn't this CA combination, but shows the two bands briefly in Net Monster - Laghy and Frosses:

       

While leaving Donegal town, I switched to the BNE SIM (which roams on Eir) and to my surprise I saw it show 100MHz in the bandwidth CA list, which makes me wonder if Eir upgraded their site in Donegal town to band n78.  

   

By the time my phone showed the 5G band approaching the Texaco fuel station, the figure changed to 15MHz, i.e. band n3. Later this year whenever Amazon does a good sale on Samsung phones I plan upgrading as I really miss the live CA readouts and additional technical info Samsung phones provide via the *#0011# menu.
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#10
I suspect that 100mhz was an error as eir only have 85mhz of band n78 and only use 80mhz.
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#11
I didn't notice that, whoops Big Grin With Three it falsely reports some band n3 sites as 20MHz, such as the Three mast outside Sea Quest in Killybegs.

I also just heard that Samsung phones purchased in Germany have dropped TDD band support in certain counties due to losing a patent dispute with Datang. This does not appear to affect Ireland / UK (e.g. Eir's TDD band 40), but means I'll need to avoid buying one from Amazon Germany. I originally bought my OnePlus Nord 2T from Amazon Germany as it was somewhere around €150 cheaper than Amazon UK throughout November 2022 including the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weeks.
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