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Roaming on 850 with Cingular, etc

Discussion in 'T-Mobile Forum' started by philmon, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    I just bought an unlocked quad band phone so I can take advantage of T-Mobile's 850 mhz roaming. I had a Sony Ericsson T610, but it got 1900/1800/900.

    I now have a Motorola V545. Works at least as well as the Ericsson. I took it on a test run out to a friend's house where I know I didn't get reception before, but where the 850 roaming map from T-Mobile's website said I ought to get it. The friend has Cingular and his works out there.

    Well, I got no bars at all. When I searched for a network, it apparently found a Cingular tower, but it wouldn't register. I drove to a couple of spots nearby (within 3/4 of a mile) and tried registering and I finally got a response from one that said "No Access".

    Now I will say that I was rarely even seeing a bar -- and I think that's where I got the "No Access" -- when I actually did see a bar. Otherwise, it was wimpiness and not even a response when I went to register.

    First question is -- is that how you do Roaming? You go search for a network and hope it's a roaming partner and try to access that tower by registering? With the Ericsson, I remember it automatically switching to WestLink and a few others out west on a trip to Colorado.

    Should all phones "auto roam"?

    Next question is -- is a "pullout" replacement antenna better than the little nub that comes on most phones?

    Can somebody fill me in on roaming in general? I have a national plan, so from what I've read I should be fine doing it if I only know how it works.

    The blue "X" (attached map) is approximately where I was, incidentally.

    -P
     

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  2. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Are you sure this is Cingular roaming and not another carrier? If you go under the network selection can you see a carrier other than Cingular?
     
  3. EdwardP

    EdwardP Bronze Senior Member
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    The area where the X is located, is 850 MHz Roaming.

    Since the first phone mentioned does not have the 850 MHz band in it, it will not work in any 850 MHz service area at all. You would need to use a phone with the 850 band in order to take advantage of any roaming coverage that might be available.

    Also, where T-Mobile and Cingular both have service, T-Mobile will not be able to roam on Cingular. My phone detects T-Mobile and both Cingular networks (orange and blue) on a manual network search, but it will not register on either Cingular network.
     
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  4. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Well, it IS right near the fringe. I got the map from T-Mobile.

    When I'm at my friend's house and I search for a network, the only one it finds is Cingular. But like I said, I don't even see one bar.

    Which makes me wonder about the other question I asked -- antenna. Does a telescoping antenna help?

    I need to test it in other areas. But I'd sure like to be able to use the phone out at Sam's place.
     
  5. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Oh, I guess I should mention -- the diagonal hatched area is where T-Mobile says it has 850 mhz roaming. There's also a very tall cell tower within a mile of his house. I got the "one bar" from a road nearby the tower -- it was maybe a half mile away at the time. Perhaps it is not a Cingular tower. Or maybe it only does 1900 mhz, I don't know.

    Just trying to figure out how all this works.
     
  6. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    So how many bars does your friend on Cingular get at home?
     
  7. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Ah, the plot thickens. He uses US Cellular, and his bars are maxed out. Which points to that tower being a US Cellular tower.

    So now I've got it narrowed down to a reception issue.

    Will a better antenna help? Are there better antennas?
     
  8. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    So your friend has U.S. Cellular, and not Cingular?

    Look at Cingular's coverage maps for your area:
    http://63.241.153.180/coverageviewer/B2B.html

    Or check out U.S. Cellular. Their coverage is generally awesome and unsurpassed, especially in rural areas.
     
  9. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Yes, he has US Cellular.

    Cingular coverage should be pretty freakin' awesome at his house, though -- still, I'm thinking that, according to the T-Mobile site, the roaming agreement with Cingular in this area is only on the 850 mhz band and that coverage could be on 1900.

    I'm not planning on switching, I just want to know what the issues and options are. I like to understand things.
     

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  10. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    Firstly a quad band phone is overkill unless you plan on doing traveling outside of North America since in North America they only use 850 or 1900 Mhz.

    A pullout antenna will not improve your service. Pull out antennas are meant for CDMA handsets such as sold by Sprint and VeriZon.

    Roaming simply means using a system that's not your home carrier. If you have a national plan you will not pay extra for using roaming coverage.
     
  11. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Yeah, I didn't buy it because it was quad band, but because it had 850 in addition to 1900 unlike my Ericsson T610.
     
  12. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    Generally, you'll save yourself some money by getting a dual band rather than a quad band phone.
     
  13. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    It was a phone that retails (or retailed) at ~$270. I paid $130. It had 850 mhz, and bluetooth. Believe me, I went on price and features.
     
  14. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    call t-mobile and complain that you can't roam in an area that compass says allows it.
     
  15. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Yes, I can -- but of course all of their maps carry a caviat that says something like "may not be entirely accurate" or "this is to give a rough idea".

    That being said, I went down to Rolla today and it automatically roamed to Cingular wireless right about where the map said it would.

    Now that could be for one of three reasons -- one... it could be that the area I was in the other day had too little signal in the 850 band and the one I was in today was fine, or I was denied in the other place because it was considered too close to where a T-Mobile service area ended (not likely since it picked up right away today about the place I crossed the "boundary"...

    or....

    Yesterday I added 310-410 (Cingular Wireless) to my "Network List" on the phone ... and maybe that means that the phone wouldn't auto-roam to a network that wasn't on its list and today, since it was ... it did it. There were other Network ID numbers on my list for Cingular, but not that one. Maybe it needs to be in your list for it to auto-register, or even manually register.

    I'll have to go back out to Sam's now and see if it works there.

    Note that I'm more interested in HOW this works and what I can expect, what kinds of things to look for, what special actions one might have to take... to do this.

    I shall try again as soon as I get the chance.
     
  16. SmArTeStChIlD421

    SmArTeStChIlD421 Silver Senior Member
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    i'm thinking that maybe your phone automatically started to roam on the old AT&T towers.......it could be possible that your phone wouldn't roam on cingulars old 850 towers because of registration problems like you said.....

    i've heard some people who said that they have had problems roaming on AT&T towers and not Cingular ones or had trouble on Cingular ones and not AT&T ones.......it might be just a matter of calling T-Mobile and having them do an over-the-air update
     
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  17. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    We're talking T-Mobile here. There's nothing that T-Mobile can do to make a phone roam where there's no roaming agreement. It's very rare to roam on AT&T areas and if there is roaming it will roam automatically on that signal if there's a roaming agreement in that area. T-Mobile doesn't have to send any over the air adjustment for it to work.
     
  18. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    I'm sure T-Mobile has a national roaming agreement With Cingular but it's that T-Mobile doesn't want to roam on Cingular in many areas. It's not that hard to add a LAC to the roaming list- T-Mobile can easily do that.
     
  19. SmArTeStChIlD421

    SmArTeStChIlD421 Silver Senior Member
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    i'm just saying that there is a slim possibility that both the AT&T and Cingular tower IDs were misprogrammed into the phone.......i know it is highly improbable but it is still possible
     
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  20. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    The odds of that happening are slim to none.
     
  21. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    T-Mobile probably wants to roam as little as possible on cingular considering that when they do roam on cingular they have to pay money to cingular which is something that they probably don't want to do unless it is absolutely necessary.
     
  22. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Oh by all means I agree completely, but what I'm saying is that either T-Mobile accidentally put that Cingular coverage/roaming on their compass maps, or they just accidentally 'forgot' to add that LAC to the allowed roaming.
     
  23. SmArTeStChIlD421

    SmArTeStChIlD421 Silver Senior Member
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    .......what he said

    and it might also be possible although highly improbable that the Cingular tower rejected the phones registration because if priority reasons.....the tower might have been almost full and was trying to leave a few spaces for its "real" customers
     
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  24. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    Do you really know if this is a possibility or are you just guessing that this is what might happen?

    I've never heard of anything like this ever.
     
  25. SmArTeStChIlD421

    SmArTeStChIlD421 Silver Senior Member
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    its an educated guess....like i said....

    technology isn't always perfect.......sometimes there are glitches that don't recur over and over again.......just a thought
     
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  26. EdwardP

    EdwardP Bronze Senior Member
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    With all this talk about T-Mobile roaming on Cingular, Cingular roaming on T-Mobile, etc., do you think it was a good idea for Cingular to acquire the former AT&T Wireless, since this effectively reduced competition by reducing the number of national GSM carriers from three to two?
     
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  27. SmArTeStChIlD421

    SmArTeStChIlD421 Silver Senior Member
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    it probably would have been a better idea to have kept them separate but the FCC obviously saw no harm in it and now the FCC has completed authorization of AT&Ts request to purchase BellSouth so that Cingular will actually end up being called AT&T Wireless anyway...........this is because the purchase will eliminate the joint ownership of Cingular by BellSouth and AT&T and make it owned by one company
     
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  28. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    In the end it really doesn't matter. In Canada the CRTC approved the sale of Fido to Rogers so for all practical purposes there's only one national GSM operator for all of Canada There's a regional GSM carrier in the Yukon but other than that there are no other GSM carriers in Canada.
     
  29. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    Well -- according to T-Mobile's website, 850 mhz roaming is available in the area in question from SOMEBODY (see attached graphic on one of the original posts)... and the only tower I can find via the phone is Cingular.

    I'm going to run up there and re-test at lunch time today and see if it'll do it now.
     
  30. philmon

    philmon New Member

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    And the verdict is in.

    It doesn't work there. I get registered with T-Mobile off and on with little or no "barrage" on US Hwy 63 North of there. It finds Cingular towers but won't register or get a "No Service" message. It isn't until I hit the overpass at Sturgeon (63 & 22) where it auto-roams over to USA-010.

    Hmmmm.

    Nowhere in the green crosshatched area (T-Mobile's 850 mhz roaming map) along N Tucker School or E Pinnacles do I get any access to anything. Perplexing.

    Need to find out how to contact T-Mobile and find out if I've done everything I need to do and if I'm just out of luck there.
     

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