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Phone differences

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by Guest, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I don't understand the differences between phones. When I review the phones offered by different company's (sprint, verizon etc) I find they have many of the same manufacturers and models. However, the salesment consistently tell me the phones purchased from one provider cannot be used on another's network.
    Why can't a provider configure and activate a phone that was purchased on another's network when a customer wants to swap providers??
     
  2. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
    Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Central Valley NorCA
    My Phone:
    Samsung S7-Edge
    Wireless Provider(s):
    AT&T & Verizon
    Can't and won't are two possibilities. To use a real example to follow:

    Example of "Can't": The Nokia 5100 and 6100-series phones were popular for a while and many people know those models better than the more recent, so I'll use those as an example. The 5160 is a TDMA phone, designed to work on TDMA networks. The 5190 is a GSM phone designed to work on GSM networks. Finally, the 5180 is a CDMA phone for CDMA networks. These terms may seem foreign to you if you are new to cellular. Suffice it to say, these are different wireless broadcasting technologies. (Phones are essentially glorified two-way radios.)

    Just as it is impossible to mate a dog with a cat, it is impossible to mate a phone of one technology with the network of another. Another example: Today you can buy a few different make/model vehicles with the engine burning regular gasoline or diesel or ethanol or propane or even battery powered. The exterior of these vehicles looks exactly the same (make/model), however, under the hood the engine is modified to handle the above power sources. You cannot put diesel fuel in a vehicle with a regular gas-burning engine. Likewise, the phone models you are seeing may look very similar on the outside, but "under the hood" they are a different technology. (The Nokia 8260 (TDMA-ATT, Cingular-Midwest) and the 8290 (GSM, Cingular-West, Voicestream) are actually not even the same size.)

    Example of "Won't": Sprint and Verizon both use CDMA technology. However, both companies use policies that either completely disallow or strongly discourage people from taking a phone from one company and putting it on another. There are special codes that can be entered into cellphones that prevent them from being transfered to another wireless provider (cell company). Another reason for companies refusing to allow you to transfer phones is that cell phones are heavily discounted, so much so that the wireless company takes a loss on the phone in favor of the service contract which, in the long run, will be much more profitable to them.

    Rather than concern yourself about this issue, concentrate on finding the best service plan that will fit your needs. See my website for further info on making a wireless decisions (Click Here).

    KevinJames
     
  3. Hugh

    Hugh New Member

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    I think that there's probably a lot of us who are in the "what the heck???" limbo-land of wireless phones...some of it is information overload.

    For example, my wife has an old Motorola "Tac"-type Analog phone (Verizon service) and due to recent events, she's interested in upgrading to something digital so as to increase her standby time (from hours to days). It appears that Verizon is using CDMA (correct?) Is it worth getting a tri-mode phone?

    The last time I did this research was probably ~5 years ago. At the time, cellular coverage for "West Orange Mountain" on I-280 in northern NJ was the acid test. My current inclination is to stay with Verizon because they currently seem okay, although it does appear that AT&T would be slightly cheaper for our needs. I tried researching the current state of coverage through www.decide.com, but it appears that they've gone off the web and no one has really taken their place.

    I have a feeling its going to be a pretty long learning curve.

    -hh
     
  4. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
    Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Central Valley NorCA
    My Phone:
    Samsung S7-Edge
    Wireless Provider(s):
    AT&T & Verizon
    Hugh:

    If you are ready to move up to digital, tri-mode is probably the best way to go. For the most part, Verizon uses the 800MHz range for both analog and digital. From what I've heard, few (if any) current markets have the 1900MHz infrastructure in place. This may have changed where you are at.

    If Verizon has been good to you thusfar, there really isn't much reason to change. If you are interested in ATT, speak to those who use it in your area and see what they have to say. In my market, ATT allows 30 days to decide whether to keep their service or not. You'll need to check with a local store to see if that is true in the market you reside.

    You are right that decide.com went bye bye.

    Sorry, but being on the West Coast, I can't offer much more than generalized info.

    Kevin
     

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