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AT&T or Verizon in southeast NC - who's better?

Discussion in 'Southern US Wireless Forum' started by Jules23, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Jules23

    Jules23 New Member

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    This is my first post so please forgive any forum faux pas!

    My husband and I have been Sprint customers for 8+ years and have lived in many places in the US. We've always had decent coverage but customer service has always been horrible too. We just put up with it for the nationwide coverage that Sprint offered.

    Our current contracts have expired and my husband has decided to get an iPhone from AT&T. We live in San Diego and coverage here is good so AT&T would be fine when we're at home.

    But here's my problem - my family lives in rural southeast NC and getting a good signal there is difficult. I visit my parents often and really need my cell phone to work out there. With Sprint I was able to get 1 to 3 bars depending on whether I was indoors or out. But I'm worried that AT&T's network in rural areas isn't as robust as a CDMA carrier and I'd be stranded without coverage.

    I'm totally fed up with Sprint's customer service and am ready to jump ship. But I can't decide between AT&T (we could get a family plan, but I might sacrifice reception in NC) or Verizon (reception will probably be at least as good as Sprint, but then we're paying two cell phone bills. Ouch!)

    Does anyone know which of these two providers has the most robust coverage in a backwoods rural area of southeastern NC?

    Thanks in advance for everyone's help!
     
  2. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    you will probably find that AT&T's coverage is as good or better than Sprint's in NC. id say go for it, great customer service, competitive rates, and innovative devices. i think youll be happy.

    good luck
     
  3. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    Usually, Alltel and/or USCellular will cover these areas quite well and you can save lots of money in the process. Some people on the various forums have complained about Verizon's PCS coverage in parts of North Carolina.... I'd say try the smaller companies when you get to North Carolina.... Alltel and USCC do offer national plans with more for your buck.... just in case AT&T doesn't work out for you.
     
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  4. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    Have you visited the AT&T coverage viewer yet? I find it gives a useful hint. You can relate the map colors in SD, where you're presently familiar with coverage, against NC.

    COtech
     
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  5. Jules23

    Jules23 New Member

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    I checked the coverage maps for my parent's address in NC. AT&T showed moderate coverage and Verizon's map showed coverage but no indication of signal strength which made me a little suspicious. (To compare our house in San Diego, AT&T showed good coverage for our address. Verizon simply showed that we were covered.)

    Since we live in San Diego I want to stick with a carrier that's also out here. That's why I'm not considering Alltel or the other smaller carriers in NC.

    Do you know if AT&T can roam on Alltel's network? My parents use Alltel and get decent (but not great) coverage at their home.
     
  6. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    AT&T uses GSM and UMTS technologys , not compatible with current Alltel networks which are CDMA.

    However, AT&T does use 850 and 1900mhz in NC and therefore tends to have just as good if not better rural coverage than many companys out there. i dont live in NC but i do have friends that live up there that goto school at UNC and ive noticed alot of them are using ATT
     
  7. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    In rural NC you NEED CDMA. GSM is 1900 only in all of NC and SC, and if you're in rural areas you're pretty much without service. Verizon's own network in that area is terrible, but if you competely lose their service you'll roam on Alltel first and U.S. Cellular second. I would at least give them a try. Sprint also roams on both of those carriers.

    Where do your parents live? Narrowing down at least a nearby town will help answer this question a lot.
     
  8. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    I've never had a problem using AT&T phones in rural NC, but if we had the zipcode we could look more closely at the area you would be visiting.

    -Jay
     
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  9. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    I regularly drive through large GSM no service areas. It's better than it was a couple years ago, but it's still not nearly what the 800MHz CDMA carriers provide.
     
  10. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    [​IMG]

    That's a SunCom map, but it shows both AT&T and SunCom's coverage. There's still an awful lot of white. Hopefully T-Mobile will fill in some of AT&T's holes when they take over the SunCom network.

    AT&T is great on highways and in town, but not so much if you venture far off the beaten path.
     
  11. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    the reason they are looking at AT&T is because they live in san diego which is going to be ATT stomping grounds, i dont believe that Alltel or USCC will be native there.

    also they already have 1 ATT phone i believe she said, so they are considering a family plan.

    i would suggest that you use AT&T Coverage Viewer that should help give you a general idea.

    i think that the above poster is exagerating, i live in rural GA which has far worse coverage than NC and i have ATT without any major problems, there is a couple places i have visited where inside a house i had no coverage...but neither did verizon, which is the main carrier in GA...so that says alot IMO.
     
  12. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    I'm not exaggerating one bit... AT&T is great in town but it goes away quick once you leave main roads. They have done a LOT to improve this, but it's still not the coverage a 800MHz provider can give. Isn't much of Georgia a 800MHz area for AT&T? I thought it was since that's big BellSouth territory.

    Really, to the original poster, check the coverage map, see if they provide good service where you need it. I would love to go GSM but the coverage just doesn't work out for me. It depends how "rural" your parents' place is. You're from San Diego... rural to me and rural to you are probably two different things :)
     
  13. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    It depends on what part of the state you're talking about.
    North Georgia, Macon, and Valdosta areas are 800 mhz areas for AT&T. Southwest GA (Newnan, Columbus, Albany, Thomasville), East/Southeast GA (augusta, Savannah, the coast) are PCS only areas... I think the East/SE parts of GA, along with the Carolinas, was part of the first AT&T GSM network....

    If "national" CDMA is the only hope for the OP, then it's Verizon or Sprint....
     
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  14. jerry 12

    jerry 12 Junior Member
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    verizon roams on uscc and Alltel's network in the eastern part of NC. call verizon and give them your moms zip code and they can look the coverage up. :)
     
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  15. jerry 12

    jerry 12 Junior Member
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    Scott is right at&t is not very good out in the rural areas of eastern , north Carolina. :)
     
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  16. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    if your going to be critical at least come up with a suggestion for the OP.

    the subject is ATT vs Verizon in NC.

    thx
     
  17. clock3687

    clock3687 Cell Signal?????? Use it!
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    Agreed, AT&T isnt the best option for NC. Let's not forget about SunCom either. :browani: To the OP, Verizon does have a 30 day test period where you can return the phone if you find that the coverage isnt good enough where you live. Verizon pays for all usage on their network if you return the phone.
     
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  18. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    What should also be pointed out is that AT&T also has a trial period. The unfortunate thing is that the OP does not live in that area, they just travel ther because of family. I think the best suggestion is to have the OP call their family in NC and have them ask friends with both ATT & Verizon and see what answers they get.

    -Jay
     
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  19. Jules23

    Jules23 New Member

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    Thanks for the info so far! Specifically, my parents' zip code is 28356. It's a little town with one stop sign. You'd drive through it and not even know you'd passed through a town. And they actually live outside of the town limits. We're talking cows, fields, and nothing else. The closest grocery store is 20 minutes away and pizza places don't deliver that far out. They still don't have cable tv lines run out there! It was horrible for my teenage social life, growing in the middle of nowhere!

    Back to the original question, I checked SunCom's map and the address is on the very edge of a partner area. I considered the trial periods of Verizon and AT&T but my next visit to NC will be for more than a month so that won't help.

    Right now my husband and I are both still with Sprint. We're very scared of porting the numbers from our Sprint family plan to two different carriers. I just know something will go wrong or a contract will magically be reinstituted and we'll be stuck for another two years. We called customer service to ask how porting our numbers to two different carriers would work and they were totally clueless.

    Maybe I'll just go with AT&T for simplicity and $$ savings. (My husband is sold on the iPhone so he's going AT&T for sure.) Looks like there's no great wireless company for the boondocks yet.

    If I find it isn't working in NC, I may just buy an Alltel pay-as-you-go when I get there and forward my calls to that phone. I guess that'll work... ? I've asked family about AT&T and Verizon coverage in their area but everyone they know has Alltel. Oh well.
     
  20. Jules23

    Jules23 New Member

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    Ya know... after all this discussion I think my best option is probably to just hold my nose and stay with Sprint for now. That's why I've put up with the poor customer service for so long - they actually have coverage in the areas where I need it. And for me, coverage is the primary issue.

    Maybe when I go to NC I'll see if I can get an AT&T or Verizon pay as you go just to see how the service is in the areas where I need it. Then when I come home to San Diego I can switch to the better of the two carriers - or stay with Sprint if they're best. Guess I'll be doing some cell phone coverage field experiments this summer!
     
  21. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    Linden looks like it's close enough to 95 and Fayetteville that you just might have AT&T coverage. Between the carriers you've listed as a possibility for you, they're most likely to give you a stronger native signal. There are of course still big coverage holes, but they are the only 1900MHz provider that has focused at all on building into any rural areas.

    Prepaid is the best idea to go with to test things out. I keep a prepaid T-Mobile phone; it gives me the means to keep track of AT&T and SunCom's coverage (though SunCom will be T-Mobile soon). Good luck and let us know what you find out on your next trip here!
     
  22. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    If you stay on Sprint you can actual use the "force roam" option to get onto Alltel's network in the Carolinas. Verizon would also allow you to roam on Alltel. At least have service where verizon and us cellular isn't.

    Alltel is the best carrier for coverage there and probably EVDO coverage. Suncom has the licenses but not the engineers and money to get it done. T-Mo bought them but it will be some time before that pans out and t-mobile isn't known for building out rural areas well. But they could change.

    Now as a disclaimer I'm not an Att fan. But that coverage viewer (which tends to exaggerate at times...) doesn't look too pretty for that zip code....swiss cheese-esque. (product of their PCS 1900 license.)

    There are very distant rumors of Alltel buying Sprint...so maybe you'll have a great carrier to take back and forth.:)
     
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  23. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    Here is just the data only coverage for Alltel in the carolinas (voice will be this or better). Dark blue is EVDO. other is 1x.
    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    OR call your family there and ask them what their neigbors and friends use and how well it works.
     
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  25. djjim

    djjim Senior Member
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    She did ask them and they said everyone they now have Alltel. My dad and grandparents live out there and that is pretty much the truth. nearly everyone has Alltel or USCC.
    If I were the op I would stay with Sprint or try Verizon. At least you can roam on Alltel and USCC when in NC. Have your family keep Alltel and add your numbers into their "My Circle" and then call Sprint and tell them you want "Pick 3." If they refuse, ask for retentions and tell them you will switch carriers. They will give it to you. Once you get "Pick 3", add your family who is on Alltel to your Pick 3 and voila...unlimited calling. Remember, when roaming on Sprint, there is no M2M or night and weekend minutes so if you are roaming while visiting Sprint will take those calls out of your anytime minutes. But at least when you are in CA, you can call your family for free.
     
  26. Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton 10 years scandal free....
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    Jules - Sadly you might be just as well off staying with Sprint. They are a nationwide carrier and they will roam from US Cellular and Alltel which have the best coverage in NC. AT&T being GSM won't roam off those carriers. Sprint will also roam off Verizon, but Verizon doesn't have great native coverage down there.

    Sprint can be a nightmare, my monthly bill came in the mail today, twice! So I got two bills, I don't look forward to calling customer care because that is always a drag, but other carriers have their issues too. If you can continue to tolerate Sprint, they are surprisingly your best bet for coverage because of their roaming agreements.

    Make sure you have the latest PRL available. Call *2 and say PRL update. You will wait for a real person and then he or she will flag your phone for a PRL update. You simply hang up and call *2 again and the phone will be automatically updated. This will provide your phone the latest information on roaming partners and preferences.
     
  27. jerry 12

    jerry 12 Junior Member
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    i am not being critical i am just telling the truth and i did give info that was verizon for a carrier if you can;t use alltel so cool your self down before things get out of control. :( i told her to call verizon and check with them.
     
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