Doesn't support most used German Network Frequences?

In this German documentation (Handys im Vergleich: Fairphones und wiederaufbereitete Handys | Gut zu wissen | BR - YouTube) they said, that the Fairphone 3 does not support the most used German mobile network fequences. They said they have tested it in a specific chamber for bandwidth tests. Because of that it’s likely, that the connection is very bad on the country side. (Worse than it is anyway.) Is that true?

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You do not need to support all frequencies of your network. In rural areas low frequencies are used. 800 MHz, LTE band 20, is used by all German networks and is supported; as is 900 MHz, band 8, also commonly used (Vodafone for instance.) Also, all 2G and 3G network frequencies of Germany are supported as backup when 4G is unavailable. Which missing frequency is the documentary referring to?


Just watched the video.
They did not elaborate on the frequencies, but stated, that the connection might get lost, when e.g. driving on the motorway.
It was absolutely unclear, if the frequencies are missing or were not working, though they should be supported. Further, no mention, how many phones they tested and if they checked for broken hardware. From the video, I had the impression, that they in fact had just one FP3 for testing, which would make it possible, that it’s an individual failure.

The phones were tested by the laboratory of the German magazine “Connect
And their articles on the FP3 or FP3+ do not mention this problem. They say, that the FP is technically outdated, but no reference to connection problems.
That makes me believe, that the bands, they are talking about, are not generally missing, but might have not worked as expected in the test for the German tv-station BR.
Here’s the (German) articles:


From 10:32 on he says

“Das Fairphone war in einigen Bändern gut, in anderen Bändern hatte es gar keinen Empfang und das sind leider die Bänder in denen die Bundesrepublik sehr gut versorgt ist, das heißt, wenn Sie auf der Autobahn fahren, kann es passieren, dass Sie gar keinen Empfang haben.”

In English:

“The Fairphone was good in some bands, in other bands it had no reception at all and unfortunately these are the bands in which the Federal Republic [of Germany] is very well supplied, if you are driving on the motorway it can happen that you have no reception at all.”

“Band” is short for “Frequenzband” or “Radio spectrum” so a spectrum of frequences.
But I agree that the device that was tested could be broken.

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I live in germany and travel quite frequently for work. Of course not as much as last year but I am on the road nonetheless. I switched from Note 9 to Fairphone 3. I can’t see any difference in connectivity and broadband coverage - my carrier is O2 / Telefonica - never had problems in the last 3 months (that’s how long I am using Fairphone 3 as my fulltime phone).

Since I saw the above mentioned documentary months before I considered switching to a Fairphone 3, I specifically eyed my signal strength the first few weeks. After the third week or so I completly forgot about it, because it was never an issue.

I don’t want to imply that I have no areas with bad reception or signal, but that are the same areas I had problems with my Note 9 - and iPhone 8 before it - so I would blame O2, not the phone. :wink:

Edited for typos, german grammar might still be found :).


And rightly so, since they have the worst coverage in Germany overall.
I’m only mentioning this because I was shocked to learn recently that apparently not every O2 user knows this.
(Seems to default to 5G for bragging, you have to select the rest of the Gs you are interested in.)
(Defaults to everything, you can use the smartphone icon to deselect every G you’re not interested in.)
(There’s a reason why they don’t let you select the G and why they proudly state on the page that 2G coverage is almost at 100% :slight_smile: .)


Oh I know this but 1) they have gotten much better - at least in my usage - and 2) I only had real problems until mid 2018, beginning 2019, since then I never had a problem using the network. Combined with really good prices - for long term customers at least :slight_smile: - for my unlimited data plan and good LTE speed I am satisfied :).

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I’ve found a Website, where it is shown. The Fairphone is missing B28, B32 and B38. Of these O2 uses B28, Telekom B28 and B32 and Vodafone all three. They also use other Bands, so it’s just a problem in special cases:

The compared Shift 6m and Xiaomi only miss the B32


Bands 32 and 38 are high-frequency bands, so those are used for additional capacity in busy spots in cities (especially 38 at 2,6 GHz.) The people with new high-end phones connecting to those bands, will leave more capacity on the existing bands 3 and 7 for us.

Band 28 was introduced fairly recently (2019) and there was already a nearly nationwide coverage of low-frequency bands before. While there may be specific situations where band 8 and 20 don’t reach, I don’t expect a huge difference because of it. I don’t think O2 suddenly went to place masts along the Autobahnen because they had one more frequency to choose from.

Of course, your home may be specifically located in a spot where only one band reaches, but the FP3 supports wifi calling so it’ll be possible to reach you by phone anyway. You’re already in a better situation than FP2 users because the FP2 is missing band 1 and 8 and lacks wifi calling. I will be moving to Germany soon and when viewing my new apartment, my FP2 had poor connectivity; I may switch to an FP3 with wifi calling at some point.


Vodafone Germany offers the FP3 with contract and even more employees can order it as a corporate device,


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