Weekly output: 5G in rural areas, Twitter dissent in Egypt, Twitter account suspensions

My second-shortest business trip of this year let me add yet another airport to the list of 90-plus that I’ve used. At some point, I should post that avgeek list here, because some of those airports are a tad unusual.

9/17/2019: Don’t You 4G About Me: 5G’s Prospects in Rural Areas, CCA Annual Convention

This breakfast panel, sponsored by FierceWireless, featured T-Mobile senior director for engineering and technology policy John Hunter, C Spire chief innovation officer Craig Sparks, Ericsson vice president and chief technology officer for regional carriers GS Sickand, and Strategy Analytics director of service provider strategies Susan Welsh de Grimaldo. Fierce picked up my travel costs, which was especially appreciated after a week after I’d paid to attend and travel to the Online News Association’s rewarding but notoriously monetization-resistant conference.

Speaking of, Patreon backers got an extra post from me there that covered some of my ONA takeaways on issues of disinformation and rebuilding trust in journalism.

9/17/2019: Twitter dissent in Egypt, Al Jazeera

This was not my finest 10 minutes, because I got a question I wasn’t expecting about the alleged erasure of a trending hashtag attacking Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Coverage I’ve seen of Egyptian Twitter users denouncing their dictatorial leader, including AJ’s English-language reporting, has not mentioned any such erasure, so I had to limit myself to saying that did not make an enormous amount of sense given my understanding of how Twitter works and how Twitter has dealt with authoritarian regimes.

9/20/2019: Twitter suspends thousands of accounts, Alhurra

Another day, another appearance on an Arabic-language news channel. But this time, instead of Qatar’s government supporting the channel it was my own: Alhurra, Arabic for “the free one,” is backed by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the same government agency behind Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other news services set up to bring quality reporting to people in unfree countries. They had me on to discuss Twitter booting a new batch of disinformation-minded accounts across the Middle East but also elsewhere. I couldn’t find video of my appearance on their site, but I did find their writeup of this situation.

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Where T-Mobile provides 3G service for older iPhones

T-Mobile iPhone 3GT-Mobile announced today that it’s getting the iPhone. But in a practical sense, it’s “had”  that smartphone since it kicked off a network “refarming” effort last year to provide 3G and HSPA+ 4G service on the 1900 MHz frequencies used by the iPhone 5 and older AT&T-specific models, then started marketing itself as a better option for unlocked iPhones. Before today’s news, the carrier said it already had more than two million unlocked iPhones on its network.

T-Mobile’s Web site, however, doesn’t get around to identifying all of these iPhone-friendly markets–an important detail, since without it you’re stuck with slow 2G “EDGE” data service. (6:59 p.m. Engadget reports that new-production iPhones, T-Mobile’s own model included, will support a wider range of frequencies. I’ve revised the title to reflect that.) T-Mobile’s coverage map doesn’t break them out, and a FAQ page only says “Check at your local T-Mobile store for network status in your area.”

(The screen shot above comes from the iPhone of my friend Paul Schreiber, who’s been keeping me updated on where he’s seen 3G service.)

So I asked a company publicist and got this reply:

The following 49 metro areas currently have 4G service in 1900 MHz. This covers 142 million people.

1. Ann Arbor, MI

2. Atlanta, GA

3. Austin, TX

4. Baltimore, MD

5. Boston, MA

6. Cambridge, MA

7. Chicago, IL

8. Dallas, TX

9. Denver, CO

10. Detroit, MI

11. Fort Lauderdale, FL

12. Fort Worth, TX

13. Fresno, CA

14. Houston, TX

15. Kansas City, KS/MO

16. Las Vegas, NV

17. Los Angeles, CA

18. Miami, FL

19. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

20. Modesto, CA

21. Napa, CA

22. New York, NY

23. Newark, NJ

24. Oakland, CA

25. Orlando, FL

26. Philadelphia, PA

27. Phoenix, AZ

28. Providence, RI

29. Reno, NV

30. Richmond, VA

31. Sacramento, CA

32. Salinas, CA

33. San Antonio, TX

34. San Diego, CA

35. San Francisco, CA

36. San Jose, CA

37. Santa Ana, CA

38. Santa Cruz, CA

39. Santa Rosa, CA

40. Seattle, WA

41. Springfield, MA

42. St. Cloud, MN

43. Stockton, CA

44. Tampa, FL

45. Tucson, AZ

46. Vallejo, CA

47. Virginia Beach, VA

48. Warren, MI

49. Washington, DC

Does that match your experience? Let me know in the comments.