Revisions to the FCC Mobile Data dated 12/2019

New FCC Wireless Data Organization

Prior to December 2019, the FCC reported wireless coverage in ”consumer” English. Basically, the labels indicated the kind of coverage that would show up on your phone. It had names like:

  • 2G,
  • 3G,
  • 4G (non LTE),
  • 4G (LTE), or
  • Other

The FCC also provided a choice of Any, which included all of the technology types.

With the December 2019 data release, the wireless categories have been reorganized around the underlying technology. The new categories include:

  • LTE technology
  • CDMA-based technology that includes CDMA and EVDO/EVDO Rev A;
  • GSM-based technology that includes GSM, WCDMA/UMTS/HSPA, and HSPA+;
  • 5G-NR (“New Radio”) technology, or
  • Other

TL;DR

Each cellular provider chooses to deploy selected technologies. Your phone may be tied to one or more of those technologies.

There are resources on the web that compare the various technology types and that allow you to map the technologies back to cellular providers, but the easiest way to figure this out is to use the I3 Connectivity Explorer — for each given technology type, it lists the providers who offer that technology.

Changes to the I3 Connectivity Explorer

The I3 Connectivity Explorer will move to the newer terms in the 0.30 release which includes the updated FCC Data. The following mapping for your existing preference will be used:

Older Preference Defaults to
4G (LTE) LTE
Other Other
2G Any
3G Any
4G (non LTE) Any

In simple terms, if your preferences specify any technology other than 4G (LTE), or Other, your preference will be revised to Any. You can then change the preference to one of the newer categories (e.g. GSM, CDMA, 5G-NR) as you desired.

When you list the Wireless Providers in the tables, you can see both the technology type and the name of the provider!