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5G routers, antennae and testing
That price hike didn't last long, Three has dropped their 5G broadband prices again. Big Grin This time they are finally competitive against the Eir and Vodafone offerings at €6 cheaper and removal of the 4.5% annual price increase on the 5G plan.

Their 5G broadband plans are now called 3 Broadband Unlimited 5G Silver and Gold, both priced at €39 per month and provide a 1000GB allowance. The Gold plan involves a technician installation of an outdoor CPE antenna unit. Both are free installation, including the technician installation on the gold plan:

Their 4G broadband plan which is €29.99 still has the 4.5% annual price increase in April and a lower 750GB allowance.

One concern with their new plans is they mention a 6.15c per MB out of bundle charge, i.e. roughly €63 per GB. For anyone considering either plan, definitely keep a close watch on the usage meter. At present, they are not metering my broadband usage, so am not sure how long they will continue doing this with the easing of the pandemic restrictions.
It appears that Three now supplies the ZTE MC801A as their 5G router based on a few messages I saw on their forum. The following is their product page:

Compared to the Huawei CPE Pro 2, it appears to have a few advantages over it:

2 x TS9 antenna ports - These appear for the 3.6GHz band only, so will not improve 4G reception.

CA information - The network information page shows the aggregated carriers and bandwidths and the 4G/5G cell, signal strength and SINR readings.

Band and Cell locking - Has a secret debug menu that lets the user lock the 4G band, 5G band and EARFCN+PCI.

The following is a 30 minute video covering all the main web interface menus of the Three UK router (likely correspond to Three Ireland):

The following covers signal read outs, band and cell locking (not English):

The following (not in English) shows photos inside the router. External antenna modding is possible, but looks more awkward than the Huawei due to the IPX connectors being under heat sinks:

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