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Cingular Customers Dropped from Suncom Towers in NC

Discussion in 'Southern US Wireless Forum' started by Skeeter, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    I'm a Cingular customer in Lee County NC (30 miles Southwest of Raleigh). I live within a half mile of a formerly AT&T Wireless tower that was acquired by Suncom. Effective Monday Sept. 11, 2006 I can no longer get service from the Suncom tower. I have several questions:

    (1.) Is this a general experience of Cingular customers within NC or is it only some specific towers that have been turned off?

    (2.) I see a number of posts regarding new Cingular towers going up in NC. I've also heard Cingular is investing here in NC. Does anyone have any insight into additional towers for Cingular in the Lee County area?

    (3.) How soon will Cingular update their coverage maps? Today they still show partner coverage for my area.
     
  2. guy2

    guy2 Senior Member
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    Then you will probably have no tower near you since you are not going to be able to use that one..Who knows maybe you should go with another carrier.
     
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  3. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    Sketer, I located a relevant press release of July 28 describing changes around Sanford, NC. I extracted the most pertinent part, but you know the area better.
    - Enhanced coverage in residential areas along US Highway 421 and NC 87 east of Sanford, NC and along US 1 south of Sanford.
    Perhaps the work isn't done yet? By the way, are you using a GSM or a TDMA handset--which model?

    COtech
     
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  4. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    Thanks COtech for the press release, not my side of town but it's promising. I was using a GSM Sony Ericsson T616 which had an AT&T 32k SIM card. The service personnel at Cingular speculated that if I upgrading to a 64k Cingular SIM card that I could potentially get coverage. I got a Razor V3 upgrade but expeienced the same lack of coverage from the Suncom tower.

    I appreciate Guy2's adivce, I received a similar suggestion from Cingular. However I really was satisfied with Cingular's service and would like to stick with a nationwide carrier. Sounds like it's Verizon or Alltel for me.
     
  5. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    The reason why the guy at the store wanted you to upgrade to a Cingular SIM/Plan is because that way he makes commisson and Cingular has you back under contract for another two years.

    You have 30 days from today- if you still have no coverage at your house within the next week, I would see as to what your other options are. Please, DON"T GO WITH SUNCOM WHATEVER YOU DO!!!! I have only heard bad things about that company.
     
  6. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    Pick Alltel! :)
     
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  7. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    Skeeter,

    I travel a lot in the area you are talking about outside of Raleigh. And let me first say do not switch to SunCom because you will regret it.

    But I have lived through both Alltel and Verizon service in the area and Alltel really does cover your area better. There are a number of Alltel towers in and around Sanford, I'm thinking I've picked out at least 4 but it's been about 2 months since I've been to that area. Outside of the metro areas down there, Verizon starts to get weaker in more places than Alltel and you have an unusable signal in more places, especially since you are several miles away from Raleigh as well as I-95. The place that you are talking about is one big place in NC that I have received much better service with Alltel. I've never had Cingular but the places people complain about Cingular south of Raleigh I haven't experienced any problems since switching to Alltel either. The Alltel signal carries really well in your area.

    You should give them a try because their prices are much better than Verizon or Cingular, especially with MyCircle. You'll get more minutes and much better coverage in your area. I will vouch for Alltel in your area because they cover your region great and I think you would be really happy with them.

    -UFO

    Link to Verizon's Native coverage of Sanford
     
    #7 UFO, Sep 18, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2006
  8. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    The 64K SIM won't help with no signal, and you got one with the Cingular RAZR upgrade. Take it back, and resume with your T616 and AWS SIM (if possible).

    Then try the suggested Alltel for the trial period. Then, if you like Alltel coverage, port out your number which will close your AT&T/Cingular account. If you are still in contract (by the upgrade), you'd be liable for the Early Termination Fee.

    COtech
     
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  9. FrontierDriver28

    FrontierDriver28 New Member

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    Skeeter, I was surprised when I read your post because I know exactly what tower you are talking about. I live and work just a few minutes away. I am a SunCom customer. The old AT&T tower has not been turned off, it works just fine but definetly not as well as it used to. I used to get a full signal but now only 1 or 2 bars and it drops calls alot. This is just within minutes of the tower. Evidently it's just not maintained, I have no idea.

    On the flip side, I am no longer able to access a great number of Cingular towers. The Cingular tower is located off U.S. 1 and Tramway road, I can see it from my workplace. You should be getting great service from that tower. I can request service from the tower, but just get a "no network access"

    I have talked with SunCom about these problems, and they simply tell me they cant guarantee roaming access on any tower. So really, it's not just that you as a Cingular cant access SunCom anymore. SunCom can often not access Cingular anymore either. The roaming agreement has evidently changed.

    SunCom and Cingular service has gone downhill here, im done with both of them in February.
     
  10. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    FrontierDriver:

    I live in the Northern part of Lee County. Therefore not the same tower you are describing. However before I was dropped from my Suncom tower I experienced exactly the same loss of coverage as you are describing. Where it used to be (4-5) bars it would be (1-2) bars. Also I could not successfully jump from a Cingular tower onto the Suncom tower as I approached the Suncom tower and would be dropped every time.

    I am still a Cingular fan but will have to switch. The prevailing winds are blowing me towards Alltel.
     
  11. nKrypteD1

    nKrypteD1 Software Architect
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    Good luck I have heard nothing but good stuff about alltel here recently, sad to see you leave GSM.

    Just as a question have you talked to customer service in regards to your area (611 not the store?)
     
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  12. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    nKrypteD1;

    I also hate to leave GSM. I like it because my phone works around the world (well I've not tested all the places but several). I did in fact talk extensively to the 611 folks. It's my understand that this is the same place you land as if you call the 1-800 number.
     
  13. nKrypteD1

    nKrypteD1 Software Architect
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    You are correct, did the not give you an idea of what was going on. Ie. Roaming agreement solution, tower dead in the water etc? They should have at least tried to give you an idea of what's happening with the tower. There are other short term solutions as well, they aren't cheap though. You could, for example, purchase an external antenna (most phones have an adapter) this would be a simple and base level addition, the most effective and most expensive would be a repeater.
     
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  14. hillbilly44

    hillbilly44 Senior Member
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    Skeeter,

    If you're looking for a small repeater check out spotwave.com. they have a small repeater that works well for about $350.:D
     
  15. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    Sounds like it would be much cheaper to get a GSM prepaid plan whenever you are overseas rather than buying a repeater. But in order for a repeater to work there has to be some signal for it to amplify. I can understand why somebody would buy a repeater if they can't get reliable service with anybody, but it's much simpler (and cheaper) to just find the carrier that covers you in my opinion. I do think you would be happy with Alltel's coverage in your area and their plans & prices if you let the prevailing winds blow you that way. If you truly like GSM that much better you can always switch back when Cingular is better established in your exact location. They probably have something in the works for covering their new coverage holes or they wouldn't have ended the agreement with SunCom if that's what did happen. But who knows how long it might take to fill those holes, or if they definitely will be filled?
     
  16. nKrypteD1

    nKrypteD1 Software Architect
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    All I said was cingular is in his area, a repeater (while expensive) would mean he wouldn't have to leave the carrier he's happy with. I don't understand the overseas analogy
     
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  17. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    Skeeter said that he liked his GSM phone because it "works around the world." So I just assumed he traveled overseas and used his phone there. I could have been wrong about that, sorry for the confusion.

    Yes, your are right, a repeater would probably work, I just couldn't understand from Skeeter's post if he was picking up any signal at all. I just wanted to clarify that without any signal a repeater wouldn't amplify anything before he thought about spending the money on one because to me, they do seem expensive.

    Sorry for any confusion. :O
     
  18. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    UFO had it correct, my statement about "overseas" was that my GSM phone worked in different geographies.

    I essentially get no signal so I'm not sure the repeater would solve the problem. Again my thanks and appreciation to all for your input. Going with a carrier that provides coverage until Cingular upgrades sounds like the reasonable approach.
     
  19. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Let us know what you decide on and how well that works out for you.
     
  20. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    I'm posting an update of my progress (or lack thereof). I converted to a Verizon service plan using a Razor V3m phone. I chose Verizon over Alltel because of a corporate discount, no other real reason. My presumption here is that due to carrier agreements between Verizon and Alltel I should see no better coverage with an Alltel service plan.

    What I've found is that I'm using an "extended network" the majority of the time which I presume is Alltel. The good news is that I now have coverage at my home however it is very marginal. Calls placed to me when I'm in my house get connected occasionally. I am really on the fringe of digital coverage for CDMA.

    I am still getting used to the Verizon coverage area. It seems to be spotty in places that I would not expect (e.g. along US 1 going North to Raleigh near Chatam and Wake county line).

    The bottom line is that I have made a minor improvement at my home but I do not have the coverage that I had previously prior to being dropped from the Suncom tower.

    One question is if would be worth it to try to move to a Tri-Mode phone to pick up better coverage (e.g. Moto 325 or LG VX5300)
     
  21. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    I didn't think about it until now, but I think Verizon's Sanford network is part of the new 1900mhz one, which in NC is TERRIBLE.

    You will spend a lot of time roaming on Alltel.
     
  22. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    It's always kind of funny when I hear people going with Verizon because of a corporate discount. They do offer these, but with the additional minutes on plans that Alltel offers and MyCircle, you can often still get a plan for much cheaper through Alltel because you don't need to get near as many peak time minutes. I saved $20/month because I cut down on 900 mins I think it was.

    If service in your area is just too bad, it would still probably help you out a lot to switch to Alltel while you are still in your trial period. Your presumption that Alltel wouldn't provide better coverage in your area is not quite right. They do have a roaming agreement, but before your phone will switch over to an Alltel signal, it will hold onto an unusable Verizon signal until the bitter end, even if you can't use it to make a call for a couple miles. If you would look at the map I posted earlier in the thread, Verizon covers a lot of places near you but not your area so you will continue to get an unusable VZW signal in many locations in your town and your phone wouldn't switch over to the better Alltel signal. The only way to know if anybody else would be better at your house is to try it. VZW also roams off of USCC in some places in NC so you might be locking onto that signal at your house.

    A tri-mode phone wouldn't help much because everything down there is digital and your phone would stick to a weaker digital signal before switching over to analog. If you are in an area digital doesn't pickup, it's doubtful you'll get much help from an analog signal with the layout of the land down there. Some of those hills just block all signal, digital and analog.
     
  23. nKrypteD1

    nKrypteD1 Software Architect
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    Not to forget to mention that you could very easily have a problem with the Back and forth of digital and analog when digital is weak, which will easily kill your battery, I would talk to cingular or another provider about what the options are, in regards to a cheap repeater and them covering the area you're house is in. Cingular is the best option there because they are the ones investing the most in NC at the moment.
     
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  24. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    UFO's point about the corporate discount versus the Alltel My Circle Plan is a very good one and when considered probably will be a wash (i.e. go with a lower number of minutes on Alltel with My Circle matching the current Verizon plan with the corporate discount).

    One item to note in regard to being on a Verizon tower when a stronger Alltel tower is available does not appear to be my issue. I've found that my phone indicates I am on an "Extended Network" the vast majority of the time. This is absolutely the case when I'm near my home. Again I speculate that this is the Alltel towers and that if I were on a lower power Verizon tower it would say "Verizon Network" which I have never seen.
     
  25. nKrypteD1

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    Not Neccesarily so, Granted Extended Network means roaming, but it doesn't mean it's neccessarily alltel, I don't recall what all providers there are in Raleigh and surrounding area (locals and so forth) but it all depends on the preferred roaming list asto which provider you're pulling from first.
     
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  26. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    edited post because nKrypteD1 beat me to the point.

    I am not certain, but I think Verizon has USCC above Alltel in the PRL for that region of NC. The only way to know is to use your trial with Verizon, and then try Alltel for their trial period.

    Also, this point has been debated extensively on this site, but some people strongly believe that for instance, if you are getting service from an Alltel tower, you will get a much better signal if you are an Alltel customer. Some believe that towers give cell customers with a home SID on their phone a higher priority. This has been debated and it could differ from provider to provider and location to location. But I think your phone doesn't search for it's home signal as frequently and it picks up the signal better. I'm not trying to get into another debate about this, but some people have some convincing evidence that this is true.
     
  27. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    When you are on extended network at your home what is the "Current SID", in the current status, or network status settings?
     
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  28. AndThenScottSays...

    AndThenScottSays... Junior Member
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    Alltel is always over USCC in Verizon PRL's

    You know, an even better way to tell if you are on Alltel... when you call someone, do you hear "click, click, click" when you call someone? Or when they call you?
     
  29. Skeeter

    Skeeter New Member

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    My SID information is:
    NAM:69
    Current:1528

    And in answer to the "click, click, click" question I get this when calling another Verizon subscriber but not when dialing a land line.
     
  30. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    Hmm, yep SID 1528 is Alltel.
     
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