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Best Prepaid phone service in Alaska?

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by kitty15, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. kitty15

    kitty15 New Member

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    Hi,
    We will be traveling in Alaska in August and would like to purchase a prepaid wireless phone for the road....Does anyone know which one is best...and has the widest network in Alaska?....we will be in South Central most of the time....but starting our trip up in Fairbanks.
    A make and model number would help immensely!
    Thanks so Much!
    Kitty
     
    #1
  2. ShoresGuy

    ShoresGuy Euer WA Experte in Europa
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    Welcome to WA!!

    Here are some answers which will hopefully help:

    GSM works best in large cities of Alaska but you will want to seriously consider CDMA since many, if not all, rural areas of Alaska are still using AMPS (the very first analog cell networks introduced in the 80s) as fallback for when digital CDMA networks are not available.

    Here is a listing of some providers:

    Alaska Digitel (GSM 1900):
    http://www.gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/net_usad.shtml

    Verizon and Sprint roam up there:
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=626518&highlight=alaska

    Other threads:
    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=8752&highlight=Alaska
    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=5100&highlight=Alaska
    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=2296&highlight=Alaska
    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=4427&highlight=Alaska
    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=384&highlight=Alaska

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=597394&highlight=alaska
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=575964&highlight=alaska
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=530346&highlight=alaska
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=524752&highlight=alaska

    http://www.mountainwireless.com/

    As for a make and model number, I would suggest waiting until others comment on this. The links provided above should give you some detailed answers :).

    Good Luck
     
    #2
  3. TProphet

    TProphet I *am* a mobile phone
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    Finding a prepaid cellular provider that works there at all is going to be your biggest challenge. VZW is the only prepaid service I know of that works in Alaska, and the rate is less than attractive at $1 per day and $1 per minute.

    ACS offers a TDMA prepaid service, but it only works in the ACS native coverage areas. This includes most, but not all, of the populated areas of the state. You might be able to arrange the purchase of one of these handsets from ACS before your trip.

    Your best bet is probably to sign up for a post-paid account and return it before the trial period is up. My recommendation, even though GSM coverage is inferior to CDMA in Alaska, is to go with Cingular. You'd pay for the activation fee and a month of service, but they have nationwide coverage and cover Alaska well enough that you won't lack for service in populated areas and along major highways. Cingular gives you a full 30 days to return the phone and close your account without penalty; Sprint and VZW only give you 14 and 15 days, respectively, which may not be long enough for your vacation.

    If you'll be driving to Alaska, remember not to use the phone in Canada! You will be billed exorbitant roaming charges. Virgin Mobile Canada offers excellent CDMA coverage throughout BC and Alberta, so you might pick up one of their handsets for your use there after you cross the border (they are sold at London Drugs).
     
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  4. ShoresGuy

    ShoresGuy Euer WA Experte in Europa
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    Thanks for supplementing the original info, TProphet.
     
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