1. thejackson5's Avatar
    Hey there,

    After months of deliberating and going back-and-forth, I've finally decided to go back to my favourite BlackBerry device ever, the Bold 9900/9930. While it has its limitations, it best serves my wants and needs.

    Only problem is, having just 2g data is a deal-breaker for me. For many reasons, I need 3g/3.5g data; if I can't get it on a 9900/9930. the 9900/9930 isn't for me.

    So, here's my question: are there currently any American networks today that still operate 3g/3.5 data on bands/frequencies that any of the various 9900/9930 variations support? And, if so, how likely is it that the carrier will end support for these frequencies in the next, say, two years?

    Thanks much!
    10-22-15 01:55 AM
  2. zocster's Avatar
    Hi there, AFAIK one of them has terminated BIS which cuts them out, and Verizon and AT&T should still support it.... let others chime in.
    10-22-15 09:01 AM
  3. thejackson5's Avatar
    Do you know which one killed support for BIS?

    Also, even if AT&T/Verizon still support BIS, it might only be over 2g. That's much more what I'm trying to figure out.
    10-22-15 12:41 PM
  4. raino's Avatar
    BIS is independent of 2G/3G. In other words, if the US carrier supports BIS on 2G, they do on 3G as well.

    As far as I know, AT&T still offers BIS (not their customer, but haven't heard anything about BIS being dropped.) So does TMO (I am a postpaid customer and my 9900 works fine. I have a BIS plan.)

    There are two variants of the 9900. One has UMTS bands 850/1900/2100 in it, while the other one has UMTS 900/1700/2100. With AT&T, it's simple: you get the former.

    With TMO, it's a bit complicated. TMO has a UMTS 1700 network, and a UMTS 1900 network. However they don't quite make it clear where they have a UMTS 1700 network or a 1900 network. Moreover, they're in midst of shutting down their UMTS 1700 network in some places. TMO has always sold the 900/1700/2100 models of BBOS phones so ironically, the very phones they sold risks losing 3G coverage in these shutdown markets. But that happens--it's part of the network development cycle.

    3.5G: the best a 9900 can pull down is 14.4mbps.

    9930: Verizon and Sprint have their respective versions that are interchangeable. I don't know much about their networks (or CDMA, in general,) but neither one can pull down LTE.
    10-22-15 04:56 PM
  5. thejackson5's Avatar
    Thanks for the reply, raino! A few follow-up questions, if I may:

    There are two variants of the 9900. One has UMTS bands 850/1900/2100 in it, while the other one has UMTS 900/1700/2100. With AT&T, it's simple: you get the former.

    With TMO, it's a bit complicated. TMO has a UMTS 1700 network, and a UMTS 1900 network. However they don't quite make it clear where they have a UMTS 1700 network or a 1900 network. Moreover, they're in midst of shutting down their UMTS 1700 network in some places. TMO has always sold the 900/1700/2100 models of BBOS phones so ironically, the very phones they sold risks losing 3G coverage in these shutdown markets. But that happens--it's part of the network development cycle.
    Following your link, I see that the market I'm in now (Chicago) has already had the 1700MHz UMTS network shut down. Given this, is there any advantage to buying the T-Mobile version? The way I see it, the 1700 is now useless as it's shut down for T-Mo here and not used by AT&T, the 2100 is in both versions, the 900 in the T-Mo isn't used by them, and the 850 in the AT&T is still being used, should I ever switch to them. So, as of 23 October 2015, it seems that the AT&T model is better on both AT&T and T-Mo, right?



    9930: Verizon and Sprint have their respective versions that are interchangeable. I don't know much about their networks (or CDMA, in general,) but neither one can pull down LTE.
    I've always had a GSM phone, too, so I have no experience with Verizon phones. That said, I'm open to switching if it means stronger 3/3.5g signal and for a longer period of time. Here's my one concern: Wikipedia lists the 9930 as supporting 800/1900MHz, but Verizon's network as being 850/1900MHz. Is this distinction between 800 and 850 important, or are they close enough that it'll still work?

    Thanks again!
    10-23-15 01:23 PM
  6. raino's Avatar
    Following your link, I see that the market I'm in now (Chicago) has already had the 1700MHz UMTS network shut down. Given this, is there any advantage to buying the T-Mobile version? The way I see it, the 1700 is now useless as it's shut down for T-Mo here and not used by AT&T, the 2100 is in both versions, the 900 in the T-Mo isn't used by them, and the 850 in the AT&T is still being used, should I ever switch to them. So, as of 23 October 2015, it seems that the AT&T model is better on both AT&T and T-Mo, right?
    Chicago is mighty big. I would try and localize the shutdown a bit more. It may be the entire city, but I'd make sure.

    You said in the OP that you are going back to the 9900. What phone do you have right now? It may be possible to check for UMTS 1900 coverage with it.

    Assuming that you can confirm a UMTS 1700 shutdown AND the presence of a UMTS 1900 network in your immediate surroundings (which "Chicago" does have, see here under re-farmed cities,) then the 850/1900 9900 would indeed be the one to get. The obvious downside would be that should you move or even just be visiting an area where TMO does not have a UMTS 1900 network, you will drop down to 2G.

    Have you considered the Q10 and/or the Classic? The TMO-friendly models of these phones have both UMTS bands, not to mention LTE.



    Here's my one concern: Wikipedia lists the 9930 as supporting 800/1900MHz, but Verizon's network as being 850/1900MHz. Is this distinction between 800 and 850 important, or are they close enough that it'll still work?
    I think Verizon's CDMA networks are 1900 and 850 (800 is Sprint's.) Regardless, the Verizon 9930 was built to work on Verizon's pre-LTE networks. So unless they have a re-farming going on as well, it will work.
    10-23-15 03:42 PM
  7. thejackson5's Avatar
    Thanks so much for the reply! You're super helpful.

    Chicago is mighty big. I would try and localize the shutdown a bit more. It may be the entire city, but I'd make sure.
    Good thinking. If it can vary within the city proper, it definitely can vary where I am—in the 'burbs, about 50km north of the city line.

    You said in the OP that you are going back to the 9900. What phone do you have right now? It may be possible to check for UMTS 1900 coverage with it.
    I have a SQW100-1 Passport, STA100-3 Z30, SQC100-4 Classic, and SQN100-1 Q10. Not all of them have the option to select between 2g/3g/4g networks manually, though. (And I only have a T-Mo micro SIM, not nano, but I suppose that's a secondary concern.)

    Have you considered the Q10 and/or the Classic? The TMO-friendly models of these phones have both UMTS bands, not to mention LTE.
    I've used both, and the Classic is my daily driver now and certainly favourite BB10 device thus far. (I won't be getting the Priv—I bought the YotaPhone 2 and used it for a couple months when it came out. Running even now one of the most recent releases of Android and high-end specs, I hated it. It felt like stepping back to days of my Nokia E6 running Symbian. I love BlackBerry and they can do nothing wrong in my eyes… except running Android. It's like buying a MacBook and only running Windows on it. Even an Apple fanboy can say they hate such a MacBook 'cuz, lez be real, it's not a MacBook.) Even though I like the Classic, I still miss my 9900. The keyboard was absolute heaven, nothing wrong with it. It felt like typing on air. Is the Classic's keyboard fantastic? Absolutely. Is it perfect? No, but the 9900's was. Also, ironically perhaps given the obvious processor speed bump on the Classic, everything just felt so much more immediate on the 9900. Not quicker, no, but more immediate. It focused on what was—indeed, is—most important to me: communication (texts, emails, calls, etc.). I am concerned though, that I'm looking back through rose-tinted specs. I had an experience the other day where I played GTA III for the first time in well over a decade. In my memory, it was top-notch in every aspect: gameplay, graphics, world size, you name it. When I played it just recently, however, I was so confused; it felt so limited, small, and laughably block-/polygon-y. It made me confront in a way I've never had to that it's not just technology that changes, but our expectations and interpretations of it as well. So, though I'd be very sad if it did happen, I admit freely that I might pick up a 3.5g-enabled 9900 and have the same sort of How in the world was I content with this? experience. I'm willing to chance it, though.

    I think Verizon's CDMA networks are 1900 and 850 (800 is Sprint's.) Regardless, the Verizon 9930 was built to work on Verizon's pre-LTE networks. So unless they have a re-farming going on as well, it will work.
    If it were anybody else on here saying this, I'd be super concerned with the 800/850 not matching up. But you're the frequency guru, so I'm trusting ya!

    One last concern: I know that, for some network technologies/frequencies/bands, one of them is used for upload, and a separate one for download (so that, if just one is missing, data don't work). Do any of these 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100 UMTS technologies have such qualities, or is that one thing I don't need to worry about here?

    Thanks once more for your awesome help!
    10-23-15 11:21 PM
  8. raino's Avatar
    I have a SQW100-1 Passport, STA100-3 Z30, SQC100-4 Classic, and SQN100-1 Q10. Not all of them have the option to select between 2g/3g/4g networks manually, though. (And I only have a T-Mo micro SIM, not nano, but I suppose that's a secondary concern.)
    I'm guessing the STA100-3 doesn't let you choose networks? What about the SQN100-1, with the TMO SIM in it?

    If you are able to get the Network Mode options to show up, disable LTE and are interested in finding out which UMTS network your phone is parked on, you will have to do so through a hidden menu called the engineering screen (escreen.) If you haven't messed with escreens before, or wouldn't feel comfortable going in there, don't--the escreens are very powerful and could mess up the phone if something is done incorrectly. That being said, this is a very simple test--relative to all that can be done through the escreens. Here are the instructions.

    I've used both, and the Classic is my daily driver now and certainly favourite BB10 device thus far. (I won't be getting the Priv—I bought the YotaPhone 2 and used it for a couple months when it came out. Running even now one of the most recent releases of Android and high-end specs, I hated it. It felt like stepping back to days of my Nokia E6 running Symbian. I love BlackBerry and they can do nothing wrong in my eyes… except running Android. It's like buying a MacBook and only running Windows on it. Even an Apple fanboy can say they hate such a MacBook 'cuz, lez be real, it's not a MacBook.) Even though I like the Classic, I still miss my 9900. The keyboard was absolute heaven, nothing wrong with it. It felt like typing on air. Is the Classic's keyboard fantastic? Absolutely. Is it perfect? No, but the 9900's was. Also, ironically perhaps given the obvious processor speed bump on the Classic, everything just felt so much more immediate on the 9900. Not quicker, no, but more immediate. It focused on what was—indeed, is—most important to me: communication (texts, emails, calls, etc.). I am concerned though, that I'm looking back through rose-tinted specs. I had an experience the other day where I played GTA III for the first time in well over a decade. In my memory, it was top-notch in every aspect: gameplay, graphics, world size, you name it. When I played it just recently, however, I was so confused; it felt so limited, small, and laughably block-/polygon-y. It made me confront in a way I've never had to that it's not just technology that changes, but our expectations and interpretations of it as well. So, though I'd be very sad if it did happen, I admit freely that I might pick up a 3.5g-enabled 9900 and have the same sort of How in the world was I content with this? experience. I'm willing to chance it, though.
    Fair enough. Actually I too prefer the 9900's keyboard over my Q10's

    One last concern: I know that, for some network technologies/frequencies/bands, one of them is used for upload, and a separate one for download (so that, if just one is missing, data don't work). Do any of these 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100 UMTS technologies have such qualities, or is that one thing I don't need to worry about here?
    UMTS band IV aka AWS aka UMTS 1700 technically uses two different frequency segments for uplink and downlink: ~1700s for uplink (UL) and ~2100s for downlink (DL.) This is why this band is also referred to as the 1700/2100 band. But this is not the same as UMTS band I (2100 MHz,) which has its own different uplink and downlink frequencies. So when looking at a phone and you want this band in it, it better refer to UMTS 1700 by its band number or one of its names. And when it does, you can be assured that it has the proper UL and DL frequencies for UMTS 1700, because band IV specifically refers to 1700/2100.
    10-24-15 02:29 PM
  9. idssteve's Avatar
    I travel quite a lot. Mostly mid-north-south west US. But some East. Including Chicago area. My Verizon 9930 indicates 3G more so lately than ever before. 3G seems pretty well covered still. FWIW.

    I also carry a Classic and frequently leverage its wifi hotspot for what seems faster speeds than 3G on my 99's. Also frequently use a 4G MIFI for same effect. Perceived or real. In short, i'm not missing 4G on my 99 much, if any. FWIW.
    10-24-15 05:12 PM
  10. Damian Montero's Avatar
    You are WAY over thinking it.

    I have your answer: YES!

    I have a ROGERS 9900 (which uses the AT&T BANDS ONLY, NO T-MOBILE) and a T-Mobile SIM. (T-mobile and AT&T share bands now)

    So my AT&T 9900 with a T-mobile SIM gives me H+ (3.5G) and I'm in miami. and NO t-mobile is NOT shutting down any 3G and definitely not 3.5

    Where did you get the idea that T-Mobile would be shutting down anything. It's Sprint that's about to turn off their WiMax Network, but NOT T-mobile!!!
    11-04-15 09:17 PM
  11. raino's Avatar
    11-04-15 09:37 PM
  12. bbtexcracker's Avatar
    Sprint 9930 still working with 3G and has 3G roaming agreement with Verizon (formerly with Alltel) until May 2016. No word yet on if that will be extended.

    Posted via CB10
    11-05-15 02:31 PM
  13. David Tyler's Avatar
    I had a 9900 from 2011 that I've been using recently on AT&T. It got BIS and would flip-flop between EDGE and 3G. I recently bagged a new 9900 from Sellphonebasement (via Amazon), and it indicates 4G (with the NOC symbol) consistently, again on AT&T. "About Device Versions" tells me "3G/4G bands 1, 2, 5, 6."


    Passport SE: All the snooty prestige of a device with a precious metal in the name at less than half the price!
    11-06-15 05:12 PM
  14. Damian Montero's Avatar
    Alright. I stand corrected. I know they were shutting down 2G (which cuts of a couple of "Internet of things" devices) but I didn't know they were going to go after UMTS!

    AMAZING!

    Is it maybe UMTS and not HSPA+?
    11-09-15 01:00 PM
  15. raino's Avatar
    Is it maybe UMTS and not HSPA+?
    (DC-)HSPA+ (what TMO calls 4G) and HSPA (3G) are both UMTS networks.
    11-09-15 01:06 PM

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