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multi-band phones (tri, quad)

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by bheb, May 6, 2008.

  1. bheb

    bheb New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm not sure where to post this, tried here. I have a question regarding phones that have multiple band capabilities. Does this in any way enhance there ability to get/maintain signal? I live in an area w/ very poor service. No one has good enough coverage that I can get reliable service at my home. I'm wondering if a phone w/ a quad band (nokai 6086, ex.) would help it work in this rural area. Even in Augusta, service is very sketchy w/ most providers. I think much worse since the big guys turned off analog.

    Are smartphones/blackberrys any better at grabbing signal?

    Thanks!
    barb
     
  2. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    It depends on your carrier, and what frequencies are in use in your area. For example, if you are using AT&T in most areas they use 850 and 1900. If you buy a phone on Ebay you may end up with a European model that does not have 850. In that case you will probably experience reduced coverage. There are only 2 bands used right now in the US. The other 2 bands on a quadband phone are for use in foreign countries. If you purchased your phone from your carrier then it has all the necessary bands.

    You may have a broken, damaged, or poor quality phone that is causing your reception problems though.

    If you could give us more details on exactly which model phone, how old it is, what carrier you use, and the zip code of the area where you are having problems we can probably narrow this down for you and give you some good recommendations.

    -Jay
     
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  3. bheb

    bheb New Member

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    Hi, I've had trouble w/ multiple carriers (Cingular, VZW, Unicel) & phones (moto 180 & 550 on Unicel old cing- were the only ones that somewhat worked at home; moto razr couldnt' get reception anywhere even in Augusta, same for the moto 385 & lg 8350 on vzw). I'm in & around Augusta Maine. We are known for crappy service in this state. So, I'm not looking for miracles, just something I can actually use in the state capital & slightly outside in Manchester/West Gardiner area (that's where home is).

    We've been told about numerous "problems" with carriers:
    Unicel doesn't share well w/ roaming partner
    Cingular doesn't allow roaming if it picks up even a hint of their own signal,
    etc.

    Whatever the problems really are, there are whole areas along highways that drop out (in populated area), Unicel doesn't work well in Portland because it's someone elses market, vzw in Augusta in a store where they sell vzw had horrible signal. Unicel doesn't work where my husband works near portland, & after every storm, it seems weeks before service comes back to normal. My husbands old work vzw phone worked ok, but I think it had analog capability & was roaming on uscellular. Am not sure if they've turned off their analog yet.

    So I was hoping that a multibanded phone would solve some of these issues & get decent enough service. I'm not looking for internet & to watch tv on my cell or anything fancy. It will be years before we get anything close to capability here. Just be able to make a phone call w/o multiple drops or crappy call quality. Have tried everyones suggestions for service & phones & little actually works well enough to not feel like a complete waste of money.

    So sorry for the rant. It seems like every few months I'm trying something new only to be disappointed that it's actually worse than the service & phones we currently have. Was looking at T-Mobile, but I'm not convinced I'll get signal at my house. It's not like I'm really in the big woods, or anything. And I don't want to spend hundreds$ on a "bag" phone. It seems to me that phones &/or service around here has actually gotten worse.
     
  4. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Hi Barb,

    A quad band GSM phone will have 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz, frequency bands. Of these four the only two that are used in the US to date. are 850 and 1900. As long as your phone has 850 and 1900, the reception unfortunately will not get any better with a quad band phone,

    It sounds like you are just in an area with poor coverage by all providers, maybe you want to look into an external antenna/signal booster type of device.

    PS: Smartphones and Blackberrys will not necessarily give you better reception either. BBs are not exactly known for strong reception and other SmartPhones vary.
     
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  5. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Ok, I looked at several different carrier's coverage maps in your area. Alltel does not offer service in your area. T-Mobile looked like it had a very weak network in your area, and would be constantly trying to roam. AT&T looked like it had native coverage in the towns & highways, but roamed elsewhere. Sprint & Unicel also seemed to have just the main areas covered. Verizon is hard to tell, because they do not show what predicted signal would be an any area. Apparently they do have a 3G network operating in your town though, so you would have mobile broadband available to you.

    My recommendation would probably to try either Verizon or AT&T. Make full use of the trial period, and if the coverage does not work for you get out before the trial period is over. Try to get either a Motorola or Nokia phone, as they tend to do better than the free phones you usually get with a plan. You may also want to try to find one with an external antenna port. I had external antennas for my old Motorola V551 and that did great in rural areas.

    -Jay
     
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  6. bheb

    bheb New Member

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    Could you give me a little info on the external antenna idea? How do I know if a phone can use one? Is it something that I install at my house? Is there a service plan that needs to go w/ this (like TM hotspot @ home?). Ideally, I'd like to save some money each month & lose my landline, so if this would make it so I can use cell at home, that would be a big plus.

    From talking w/ a vzw rep, it sounds like all phones run on .6 MHz. So what really makes a difference between phones as far as call/signal quality?
     
  7. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    There is a difference in call quality between different phones. They broadcast on the same band, but some are more sensitive than others. Most phones with external antenna ports will have a port on the rear of the phone, usually covered with a small, round rubber stopper. External antennas will not increase your bill. You buy an antenna, hook it up, and that's it. You may also want to consider a repeater. These will take an external antenna, amplify the signal, then rebroadcast it inside the home. We have a member here, MaximumSignal, that deals in these devices, and if you sent him a PM he might be able to help you choose something for your area and budget.

    -Jay
     
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  8. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Here's one example of an external antenna. You can get a cradle and mount it in your car, or just connect it anywhere and it should improve your signal. I don't know what model phone you have, but just check if it has an external connector. Here's one for a Motorola V3

    Amazon.com: Drivetime Cell Phone Antenna Booster Kit for Motorola V3c Razr: Cell Phones & Service

    Generally speaking, I'd say the phones with the best sensitivities are SonyEricsson, Nokia and Motorola, since they all have long experience in RF, Motorola back to the 1940's and Ericsson back to the late 1800's!!

    As for carriers, go with someone who uses the 850 Mhz band, as lower frequencies travel farther and are generally used in rural areas ....note: Sprint and T-Mobile are 1900 Mhz only, so you probably want to avoid them. Verizon and AT&T use 850Mhz so I'd say try them. I know some poeple in NH who use US Cellular in the sticks and are happy with them. But I don't know how they are in Maine.
     
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  9. mframe

    mframe Senior Member
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    Have you tried US Cellular (not just Verizon, roaming on them)? They seem to have a pretty strong network for rural Maine.
     
  10. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    If you have poor signal it won't improve anything. Tri-band or quad band only means that it will work in more places. For the US having more than 850 and 1900 will not benefit you in any way. Having one or two bands that are not used in North America will benefit you if you visit countries where that/those band(s) are used.
     
  11. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Hey how about that Telekom! You repeated exactly what I said on my post prior to yours. I will take it as "imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    Excellent suggestion. I don't know about Maine in particular but in my experience wherever US Cellular has a presence, they have done an excellent job whether it be rural or urban. :)
     
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  12. BombayBadboy

    BombayBadboy New Member

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    Yes! i just found that out today....

    I have a sony ericcson P1i, and it is a quadband, but does not include 850Mhz! i am with Unicel now(going on 2 days) and havn't been able to recieve/make ANYTHING! it supports 1900mhz but i cannot get any signal....
    When i bought my phone, the battery cover has never sat right,..;.. Apparently the phone was brand new.... Could this cause a drop in reception???

    Slight correction here, there are actually 5 Frequencies that network providers use..... 850/900/1800/1900/2100 ....2100Mhz is used for video Calls only, and usually not many carriers carry that frequency.... My P1i is quadband, but only 900/1800/1900/2100...

    I have been on the phone with unicel, sony ericcson, and at&t and i eventually figured out my original problem,... why my phone wasn't connecting, due to no support for 850mhz...
    AT&T told me that they use all frequencies, AND have contracts with other providers to use their towers also!!1

    So with my ORIGINAL problem of not being able to use 850mhz, onlly 1900mhz, my best bet would be to go with AT&T????

    My phone is 3g capable... What exactly does that mean? is it only used for mobile broadband(what is this?)


    I live in maine also and was happy when i came across this site!!! Any help on my problem would be great, Email me if you need to!!! THANK YOU
     
  13. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Mobile broadband is broadband internet carried over the 3G network. My recommendation though is to get a phone that supports both 850 and 1900. Yes, AT&T may have some 1900 sites up there, but it sounds like the majority of the coverage up there is on 850. It doesn't matter how many roaming agreements there are, if there aren't many 1900 sites, you will still experience reduced coverage.
     
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  14. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    Slight correction to your statement, as there is a band you missed, which is one now being used in the US, 1700mhz, so make that six frequencies, not 5.

    Your P1 is European quad band, not American quad band. American quad band is what Charlyee was talking about in the quote you referenced.

    For AT&T, you need 850/1900. T-Mobile mostly 1900, but having a phone with 850 helps where T-Mobile has roaming agreements. Their new 3G network will be on the 1700mhz band. So a phone with 850/1700/1900 will have you covered with T-Mobile.
     
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  15. Barciurek

    Barciurek Junior Member
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    900/1800/1900/2100 is not really considered a quad-band (at least not in Europe where you have it from).. and it's not three GSM and one UMTS..
     
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