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Best Coverage for Boiling Springs, PA

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by smylegirl, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. smylegirl

    smylegirl New Member

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    Hi there,
    My husband and I currently have a shared plan with Cingular-- started out with AT&T back in 2002 and just got new phones (his died) and renewed our shared plan contract with Cingular in March of this year.

    Generally we like the service we've been getting with AT&T/Cingular. However, we have always had the problem of very bad signal strength at our home in Boiling Springs (near Carlisle). As you come from Mechanicsburg into Boiling Springs, the signal becomes really weak. Basically the whole area is one big dead spot for us (no offense to the town itself!). :O

    We're kind of getting tired of not being able to make or receive mobile calls at home, but I don't know if there is a company that has better service in our area. Several of our friends also have trouble with signal strength at our house, and I don't think all of them have Cingular.

    I know a lot of you are experts on the number, type, and location of cell phone towers all over the place... is there anyone out there who knows which company provides the best signal strength or coverage for the Boiling Springs area? Or maybe you know of improvements that are planned for the area??

    I guess if it's the best signal comes from someone other than Cingular, my next question will be "how hard is it going to be to get out of the contract-- how much will it cost me?"

    Thanks in advance for any information. :)
     
  2. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    I live in York, and drive near Boiling Springs from time to time. I use Verizon right now, and although I haven't been in your house, I'm pretty sure there is pretty good signal throughout the area. I sometimes use rte 74 from York, to go to Carlisle, and that's near there....signal all the way.
    If coverage at and in your house is that critical to you, you can looke at the T-mobile webiste for example,.....they have a coverage map thing that allows you to look very directly at your location, to see if their service will work.
    Probably the most honest in that respect, of all the carriers.
    Good luck.
    Steve
     
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  3. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    On the 2nd part, if you signed or re-upped a new aggreement, and it's past 30 days, you will likely have to pay the cancellation fee. (ouch!) I did that one time, with ATT, because it was such a miserable service. They lie even more than Verizon. If you're happy otherwise with them....you may want to reconsider this deal.
     
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  4. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    I doubt other carriers would fare any better. Maybe Verizon, but I've found them to be very poor in many areas of Nothern/Eastern PA, places where Cingular works well. If you are happy with Cingular everywhere else--then that might just be the best carrier--at least they work well elsewhere!

    Which phones are you using? The Nokia 6230, Samsung X427m, and Motorola Razr are known for their good reception. It might be worth it to buy one of them to test out and if it works better, then sell your old phones.
     
  5. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    first report the problem to them by calling CS & get a trouble ticket.
    Maybe you have guest coming to your House w/ phones from
    another carrier and see how they compare.
     
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  6. smylegirl

    smylegirl New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

    I went to the T-Mobile website and was quite suprised to see that for our neighborhood, the map says the coverage is "great." But then as you get farther out of town, the coverage decreases pretty quickly and dramatically. It looks pretty good in downtown Carlisle, but Mechanicsbug is pretty shoddy. It seems like it would probably be a wash-out switching from Cingular to T-Mobile-- we'd have better coverage at home, but worse coverage in areas where we currently have decent coverage.

    As for phones, we have pretty much the bottom of the barrel, I suppose-- Nokia 6010. (They were free.) Our original phones were Nokia 3360. (Believe they were also free.) Do phone models really make that much difference in signal strength? I wasn't aware of that-- figured it mostly had to do with the location and ownership of towers.

    Also, would it really do any good to create a trouble ticket with Cingular? I mean, if there aren't any Cingular towers nearby, and we have poor phones, what can really be done to fix that situation, other than I guess maybe getting better phones?

    We have two friends coming over tomorrow-- I believe both of them have trouble with signal strength at our house. I'll find out which providers they have. I think one may also have Cingular, but I'm not sure about the other.

    Thanks again for all your help. :)
     
  7. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    I think the T Mobile coverage map thing is farely honest. Alot of the carrier's coverage maps are where "they are licensed to operate". However, be aware that T Mobile network uses 1900 MHZ freq. spectrum. 1900 by nature has poorer building penetration, than perhaps a carrier (Cing./Verizon) using lower freq's in the 800 ~ 900 MHZ range. So, it is possible that it would die inside your house anyway, but be full signal in the driveway.
    On phones: Your cellphone is really a radio transceiver. Yes, there is a difference. Some have better RF (the radio part) than others, and some have better digital voice decoders. Generally, it stands to reason (although ofcourse not always true) that a more expensive handset may be better.
     
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  8. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    To answer your 1st question, yes sometimes the phones can be different from each other, but with Nokia's you shouldn't see that happen often. I have a 6010 & it's a very good phone on the Rf end.
    You stated you have always had a problem with coverage at home, was this with AWE as well?
    Also you said T-Mobile is listed as great in your area, I wonder if you are allowed to roam on T-Mobile, and if so maybe an OTA update would help, which you can get by calling CS & explaining the situation to them.
    But before doing that, with your phone on, remove the battery & SIM and leave them out for at least 3+ mins, then put them back & see if there is an improvment. This is a recommended procedure from Cingular to get the phone to re-register with the network & if you didn't get any of the updates, this may help your phone get them. ( I have heard people say there have been network issues in PA, and it's probobly due to the integration).

    As for filling out the trouble ticket, it doesn't hurt they do check the issues and if there is a tower near you , they will check it and if not and enough people complain, they may look into putting 1 up in the area (I know it may be a long shot, but worth doing)
    To fill out the report, click on the link in my signature line, it will bring you to the site.
     
  9. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    On trouble reports:
    It is always a possibility that a functioning tower nearby, may not be functioning up to 100% potential. These cellsites all feed back to the telephone network by way of T1 lines, etc. as well. There really is alot involved, but, the site itself could be in need of some attention.
    Believe me, all the carriers have maintenance issues, due to the fact that they are all running with minimum staffing. If you can actually get a "trouble report" in their system, it could result in a Tech being dispatched to the / a site that is nearest to your address, or at least some remote testing to perhaps evaluate performance. Good luck !!
     
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  10. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    The 6010 may be a cheap phone, but it is an excellent performer. I'd stick with that model. Definitely check out your friend's phones. Are there any places inside where the phones work better? Perhaps buying an external antenna would help. I don't know much about them, but for $50 or so, it could help reception. Only problem is the phone would have to be plugged into it. Bobolito and other posters know more. Keep us informed!
     
  11. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Yes, historically, Nokia GSM phones are all pretty good performers.

    Also, there is a good possibility that any tech. repsonding to a "trouble ticket" in this region (southeast PA.) may be from the former ATTWS house. There are some very good ones working this region,.....I only hope Cing had enough sense to hang on to these folks. My guess is that would be dispatched out of Harrisburg, PA. - former ATTWS tech. area.
     
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  12. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    What about bluetooth ? How far does that stuff travel. This sub. could upgrade (somehow) to a bluetooth eqpd. phone, keep the phone on a charger plugged into the external antenna, and not then be tethered, using the bluetooth earpiece / headset, while at home.
    Note: not all phones are equipped with external antenna connectors.
     
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  13. PADutchman

    PADutchman Senior Member
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    Not to get too far off topic, but my VZW account (s) are up Aug 27th
    Cing is a contender for my business, for a variety of reasons.
    Are the GSM Siemens phones any good ? I kinda like the S66
     
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  14. smylegirl

    smylegirl New Member

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    Wow! Thanks again to everyone for all the helpful responses.

    I'm glad to hear that our phones are at least of decent quality. When we do have a good signal available, they do seem to work well, and I guess when we don't, they do the best with what they have.

    Only one of our friends came over yesterday, but he now has two phones-- one is for work, and it's a Motorola with Nextel service. He said he was getting 'four bars' on that phone. His other phone uses Cingular, although I forget what model it is (some kind of flip phone, I believe) and he had the same weak signal as we do.

    As for signal strength in various parts of the house, sometimes the signal is better on the second floor of the house, but not phenomenally (or consistently) better.

    And to answer another poster's question, yes, we had the same signal strength issues back in our days with ATTW. I thought maybe after the merge we would see an improvement, but not really.

    Since we just got these phones in March, would there really be a chance that they are not updated with the latest info-- as in post-merge network info? I can try that trick about removing the battery and SIM card, but since we have always had these problems, and got the phones relatively recently, I have little faith it would help. My same lack of faith applies to the idea of calling in a trouble ticket, for the same reasons listed above--mostly because we had these problems with ATTW as well.

    I guess I should have done more research in March before just continuing to go with Cingular, but I was under a time constraint because my husband's phone was dying. :(

    Is there a FAQ somewhere that says how you can find out what cell phone towers are in your area, and who owns them? I thought I had seen information on this at one time, but I can't remember where.

    I guess in the end I probably won't do anything about this right now anyway, because I'm not really keen on the idea of paying a hefty penalty for getting out of the Cingular contract early. It would be nice to have a better signal at home, but we've lived with a poor one for three years, and I don't know how much I'm willing to pay for a better one (as in contract cancellation fees, possible increased rate plan charges, possible new phone charges, etc). :(

    Once again, thanks to everyone for all your very helpful responses. This is such a great board! :)
     
  15. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    There are a couple of sites out there, but honestly they aren't worth a whole lot. Most of the web sites are for the tower companies themselves (American Tower and Crown Castle are two large players) - the problem is AFAIK they don't tell you the carriers that are on their towers, only the location of a tower. So it doesn't help much.

    T-Mobile is certainly the most honest about their coverage. Although I live in Virginia, I travel to Lancaster county often to visit family. My experiences with T-Mobile (formerly PCS One in that area) have been very good. You don't need to be in a green dot on the TM map to get outdoor service, although it certainly does help for indoor service. I've looked at the TM maps for Mechaniscburg - I wouldn't consider the service to be shoddy in that area...I think you are just seeing more details about the coverage than any other provides, at least online. No carrier will give you full strength all the time, most of the time you don't even notice as your signal strength varies as you travel. I have heard that Sprint and Cingular might be able to give you more coverage information if you visit one of their stores.
     
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