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48 Network observations - Bits of Tesco, O2 and Three
#1
The 48 Network is by far the most unusual network I've come across between ordering it to getting it set up.  Being prepay, at least it does not have the hassle of setting up a direct debit or the risk of running up a bill.

I originally ordered a 48 SIM on the 23rd August before the network announced its €7.99 plan.  Apart from an order confirmation e-mail, I heard nothing afterwards, so tried re-ordering two weeks later.  A family member ordered a SIM and got a despatch notification (which I never got) and the SIM arrived a few days later.  I tried re-ordering it again and also via Chat, where the agent assured me one would be sent out.  That never happened.  So even though I never had the "Out of country" issue others reported, 48 didn't seem interested in sending me a SIM for some reason. The SIM finally arrived.

48 has a recruit feature where if someone orders a SIM for a friend, when both purchase a month's membership, both will get that membership fee refunded as credit.  So I got someone to order me a SIM, which I've now tried over a few days at home.  I activated it with a different e-mail address.

The SIM requires activation to work and just showed 'No service' until I activated the SIM on my account.  Once set up, the phone showed a 'H+' signal and started to work straight away. Despite showing '48' as the network name, it automatically configured itself with the Tesco Mobile APN:

   

Despite the wrong APN settings, data was working fine.  I went ahead and purchased the 100GB membership.  This also gave me €7.99 in credit, although I'm sure whether the next month's membership will come out of this or if this is just for out-of-bundle charges such as International calls.  Anyway, a short while later an SMS came in, this time from O2!?   Tongue

   

Seems like Three hasn't cleared out all the traces of the former O2 name from its systems.  Even then, it should be showing as from '48', not Three either. 

For the next few hours, I only had 3G data access as it seems like it takes the network a while to provision a new SIM for 4G access.  After restarting a few times over the following hours, it eventually got 4G access and I tried some speed tests.  From my limited testing so far, it appears to function identical to my Three SIM.

I then tried the SIM in two different routers.  With my MikroTik Chateau LTE12, I just had to input the SIM pin # and it connected straight away with the default auto APN.  At the time of testing (~12:30pm, 24th September), I tried 3 basic TestMy download tests with UK, Germany, Texas and Australia.  These are the averages:

TestMy Server - 48 - Three
  • UK - 18.18Mbps - 12.79Mbps 
  • Germany - 13.03Mbps - 12.55Mbps
  • Texas - 8.92Mbps - 5.33Mbps
  • Australia - 4.77Mbps - 5.28Mbps
  • UK (Upload) - 16.8Mbps - 13.71Mbps
The individual tests fluctuate quite a lot from one moment to the next, but otherwise it appears that both networks perform very similar. 

Traffic shaping is just like with the Three network - UK vs Colorado Springs (USA):
[Image: PQEd_sxir.png] [Image: nYQwwWvxE.png]

Besides the vast difference in speed, notice the Host name above - Three Ireland. Wink

When I tried the SIM in a Huawei B525, the network name shows up as "3Ireland" and automatically configured itself with "tmidata" as the APN, which is an APN Tesco Mobile originally used for its former mobile broadband plan.  Unlike the phone's Tesco mobile APN, it failed to connect until I changed the APN to 48months.liffeytelecom.com

As my landline is VoIP based (Goldfish), I plan running it over the 48 SIM and running the rest of my network over my current Three broadband.  Over the first day so far, the VoIP landline appears to work fine for both incoming and outgoing calls.  By running it on a separate data connection means it is not affected by latency spikes from usage on the network, a problem I was regularly having lately.
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#2
Hi,

I got a 48 SIM recently and plan to activate it this week.

On their website it states that the speeds are limited to DL 10Mbps / UL 2.8 Mbps:

26. Mobile Network Speeds
Contractual estimated maximum upload and download speeds - Regulation (EU) 2015/2120
The estimated maximum upload and download speeds achievable at least once in any 24 hour period in realistic usage conditions (the "Contractual Estimated Maximum Upload and Download Speeds") under your agreement (per technology) made available are as follows:
 
Estimated max. (download) 3G   2.5Mbps
Estimated max. (upload)              0.49Mbps

                                              4G   10Mbps
                                                      2.8Mbps

Your results indicate that this is not capped.

Interesting to know if others see their speeds capped as per the T&Cs?
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#3
Those are estimated maximum speeds as part of the T&C's. It basically means that if you are unable to reach these speeds over a five consequential day period, you can make a complaint to have this issue investigated. Three has a similar page on their website:
https://www.three.ie/legal/terms/mobile-network-speeds/

However, these are not speed caps like what Vodafone mention on some plans. It also does not make sense capping 5G at 25Mbps. Tongue

From my testing so far, 48 appears to perform the same as Three when tested with the same phone or router. Stability also seems good at least for me. Since setting up my VoIP phone with it on the 24th, the only outage the Fritz Box reported was around 4pm on the 27th during Three's major outage.

I'm curious to see whether 48 will offer 5G now that Three's 5G service has gone live.
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#4
Hi,

I purchased a 48 sim however it won't work in a 4g router. Has anybody else come across this?
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#5
Depending on your router, you may need to deactivate the SIM PIN or set the APN.  Make sure the SIM also works in a phone first as you need to activate the SIM in your 48 account before it will connect to the network.  

If it's a TP-Link router, follow the steps on the following link, but use the following APN for step 9: 48months.liffeytelecom.com
https://confusedbird.com/thread-12.html

For other routers, I suggest putting it in a phone temporarily to disable the PIN.  For many Android phones go into the Settings App -> Security -> Advanced -> SIM card lock, then disable "Lock SIM card"

In the router, you need to set the APN to: 48months.liffeytelecom.com
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#6
Thanks Sean that worked for me. Speed is no that great. It's better when I pug in Ethernet cable. I'm happy enough to have a back up when I need to move around and for €8 you can't go wrong.
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#7
Although it won't be a problem for a while, I had major issues with 48 data abroad. All the local foreign APNs would come in, spent week emailing 48 and couldn't fix it. Following year discovered it wasn't enough to reenter correct ANP settings, you also had to delete the others, even though they were not selected. From what I gathered Samsung phones more prone to this? Moved to GoMo since as better reception in the house.
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#8
I noticed 48 have started throttled speeds today. I usually get >150mb but it hitting a hard limit at 50mb now. Not a problem for me just interesting. Anyone else notice this ? I’ve hit the limit on a few different upgraded cells in Cork.

Update: I rebooted my device and back to +120mb Smile
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#9
It probably switched between bands. Since March, Three got temporary spectrum on 4G bands 1 and 28. This is in addition to their current spectrum on bands 20 and two band 3 frequencies.

If the masts in your area operate on multiple bands, your speed can vary depending on number of and combination of frequencies it aggregates, e.g. 20+3+1, 28+3+3, 1+3+3, etc. So when you rebooted, it likely switched to a combination of less congested bands. Wink If it's a phone and this happens again, you can try toggling aeroplane mode on/off or toggle between 3G only and back to auto 2G/3G/4G.
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#10
I seem to have 3+3+1 on my local mast with the 15mhz band 3 as an anchor band.

Would that indicate band 20 and 28 aren’t deployed on that mast or would they somehow be kept for more fringe coverage areas ? I’ve an iPhone so can’t identify what other bands they are broadcasting.

The site is shared with all 3 operators but for some reason Vodafone coverage is very weak, dropping to E in some places and getting 1 bar of 800mhz 4G in the attic. Since EIR completed the RAN rebuild in the area 4G coverage has increased dramatically. I’m guessing Vodafone are using older equipment.

https://siteviewer.comreg.ie/#site/CK154...te%20CK154
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#11
That mast very likely serves band 20 also, however, your phone probably does not support aggregating 20+3+3+1. You can check which combinations your phone supports here. I see that it also serves Three NR (5G), although it could be years before the 48 network gets access based on how long it took for them and Tesco to get 4G access.

Band 20 and 28 only have 10MHz of bandwidth each, so the phone will usually give preference to the bands with the wider bandwidth. One experiment you can try is bring your phone to where the signal is weaker, such as in a room the opposite end to which faces the mast. If the primary band signal dips below about -108dB, it will likely select band 20 (or 28 if available) as the primary band and either 3+3 or 1+3 as the secondary bands.

Three is only serving band 28 in a few areas as it requires 700MHz capable antennae on the mast. With band 1, they can just reprovision the existing 3G band 1 for 4G (either swap out the hardware or switch it to 4G if LTE capable) as they can reuse the existing 2100MHz antennae. The second band 3 comes from the former O2 band 3 spectrum when they bought out the O2 network. Similarly, band 20 was also former O2 spectrum as Three did not get spectrum on band 20 when the former 800MHz UHF TV band was auctioned off.

I'm surprised how weak Vodafone is from the same mast. My guess would be a failed sector that faces your direction as there are usually three sectors per operator, each covering a 120 degree arc.
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#12
After 3 months of use in a separate router for VoIP, today is the first day we had an outage. When I logged into 48, it showed that I had no active membership, so it failed to automatically renew. I purchased a new 100GB membership and selected Autorenew and the red light on the Fritz Box (running our VoIP) disappeared a minute later.

Interestingly, it did not touch the €7.99 credit that was on the SIM, so when the month's membership expires, the 48 network just disables data until the user purchases another month of membership. With the Three network, it gobbles up credit at €1/MB, even with their new 3 Pay 20 plan where one also needs to top-up additional cash credit for Voicemail, 5G add-on, etc.

Surprisingly, 48 has been more stable than my main Three Broadband SIM, at least with a router. I don't recall having to reboot the Huawei B525 once over the 3 months I've been using it for 48. I only rebooted it today not realising the membership failed to autorenew. When I previously was using it for Three, I had to reboot it every week or two. Even with using the MikroTik Chateau LTE12 for my Three Broadband, it needed rebooting a few times over that 3 month period.

For anyone curious why I use a separate 4G router and SIM for VoIP, it completely eliminates the issues with broken audio or delays on VoIP calls regardless of how busy our Internet connection is. As the second router has a separate connection to the mast, it gets its own timeslot of the available bandwidth, so as long as there is no other traffic on this router, it does not run into latency spikes.
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