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Service in Boston

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by ok, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. ok

    ok New Member

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    My son will be attending school in Boston(Harvard) next year, I was hoping that someone familiar with that section of town could give me an idea of serice and coverage available. We live in central NJ, if that is needed information.

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. dobby10

    dobby10 Senior Member
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  3. aiwapro

    aiwapro Silver Senior Member
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    That article gives information but not really enough. First of all they didn't even have the right equipment to do the tests, so they came up with a generic way.
     
  4. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    They don't say what kind of equipment they were using Chris. They only say:

    Thursday, Jan. 17, 11:30 a.m., Egleston Square, Boston: One Verizon caller says "Can you hear me now?" but there was no reponse. The call needs two attempts; 17 others go through fine.
     
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  5. aiwapro

    aiwapro Silver Senior Member
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    It says around the beginning that most places use vans loaded with alot of electronic equipment, buy they just used phones on one route or something.
     
  6. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    I guess that's what they call a lot of equipment.
     
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  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey,

    Does anyone know if any wireless services in the Boston area still have nights and weekend minutes beginning at 8pm instead of 9? Thanks.
     
  8. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    I don't think so....
     
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  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Cingular and Verizon seem to be the best (they have been building out their systems the longest up here ) - Sprint has some holes in their coverage, can't speak to Voice Stream or any others.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Cingular's local plan of 39.99 has nights starting at 7 pm. They are the only one doing this as far as I know.
     
  11. daekim

    daekim New Member

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    I live in Somerville, MA, which is right next to Cambridge, MA, where Harvard and MIT are. First of all, all six major wireless companies have good coverage here. Sprint, Verizon, Cingular, Voicestream, AT&T and nextel, those are five I mean. But the problem is if he travels middle or western Mass. Nextel's coverage only covers eastern Mass, around up to Worcester. And once we went to city around Springfield and Amherst, AT&T shows it is roaming area. Verizon, Cingular, VStream, and Sprint have not much problem at all almost all over Major cities in MA.

    I am using Sprint, my parents are using ATT, my boss is using VStream, and one of my friends is using Verizon. I didn't see many people using Cingular. So, I cannot say it's good or bad, but I heard it's not bad. Sprint, VStream, ATT and Verizon are perfect in eastern Mass. So, one suggestion is.. find a good service plan, that's it.

    DK
     
  12. MVL

    MVL New Member

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    I've tried, switched, and dumped many Cell Phone providers here over the past five years, and I'll tell you my experiences. Things may have changed so I'll put the timeframes of my experience in parentheses:

    First off, everyone covers downtown Boston well receiption-wise, although sprint had capacity problems in the last year, and Cingular had capacity problems when I dumped them in 2000. All the features of all providers (internet/SMS/etc.) work in Boston. For the latest night start times, put in any Boston Zip code to their web sites, such as 02111.

    AT&T (2001-present) - decent reception in urban areas and highways. Free roaming on Cingular (with loss of caller ID) in most rural areas. No capacity issues. 24 hour CS.

    Cingular (1999-2001) - 7PM customer service closings forced me to quit them. Has coverage almost everywhere urban and rurally (A-band cellular provider). Started to get system busies making calls and I heard it has gotten worse with the Cingular buyout.

    Nextel - Don't know anyone who ever used them.

    SprintPCS - never had it, but I have had numerous problems getting calls through to friends on peak hours/locations (such as clubs on Friday nights). I hear they are starting to improve, though. Reception is not as good indoors and in some rural areas. Would take Verizon over them any day.

    Verizon (2000-present) - my favorite in Boston. Great, helpful 24 hour CS, reception pretty much everywhere. Never got a system busy in Boston. (B-band celllular provider)

    Voicestream (Omnipoint 1997-1999) - GSM, best features in phones. Back then coverage was lacking (no rural areas, and some urban deadspots), but since it was a new system, it never had any overcrowding. I hear it's coverage is comparible to Sprint's these days, but remember there's no analog network to fall back on in an emergency.

    -MVL
     
  13. scotty

    scotty New Member

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    The article means nothing, the only meaningful way this test can be conducted is with an RF feild strength analizer, this will give true to life readings on how strong a signal is, and you can punch in a network code(GSM) or a SID number to test signal in areas. and even after all this---every person will have a different experiance with every carrier it all depends where they are going to be placing calls. Gsm technology allows for more clarity in comparrison due to the enhanced full rate (EFR) Vocoders utilized in all of voicestreams GPRS handsets and the why signals are sent and received from the towers. Network capacity is also larger due to more efficent frequency allocation. This is why the goverment contracted voicestream to provide for emergency Priority calling for FEMA and other goverment agencys. Note: bill clinton and hillary and many cabinent members use Voicestream wireless for its clarity- cause trust me they need it.
     
  14. aiwapro

    aiwapro Silver Senior Member
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    This is what I meant when I said this, "That article gives information but not really enough. First of all they didn't even have the right equipment to do the tests, so they came up with a generic way." I knew that they didn't use the right equipment, so that really throws these tests down the drain.

    That is good to know that such high, very high government officials use Voicestream. I just love to see more and more Voicestream customers.

    Hey 'scotty,' would you like to join my Voicestream Wireless Community/Group? Please do, and anyone else who wants to join. It's not just for Voicestream customers, but for anyone who wishes to find out and/or exchange information about Voicestream Wireless (T-Mobile). Hmmm, I don't know how I will go about changing the website from Voicestream Wireless to T-Mobile, since Voicestream Wireless is in the URL.
     
  15. tompug

    tompug Junior Member
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    Verizon!
     
  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Here is anexcellent article I found in the tech section on boston.com





    Can you hear me now?
    By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff, 01/28/02
    As costs for wireless calling plans have dropped and ownership and use of cellphones have soared, customers are increasingly looking to the quality of network coverage as the key factor in choosing which carrier to use.


    Who has the best coverage in Boston? It's one of the most widely asked questions among people thinking about getting a cellphone — or switching from a carrier they find unreliable.

    It's also not easy to answer definitively. But over the last three weeks, the Globe has given it a try, getting comparable phones from the six major carriers in the market and making a total of 2,400 phone calls from 375 locations throughout the region extending from Boston to Interstate 495.

    So who did best? In our experience, Verizon Wireless, but only by a whisker. In the simplest calculation, calls attempted with a Verizon Nokia phone went through clearly on the first try 92.3 percent of the time. VoiceStream Wireless came in last, at 85.5 percent, and the rest of the pack — AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, and Sprint PCS — were closely bunched in between.

    The gap between Verizon and number two AT&T, for example, amounted to just one dead spot and four scratchy calls. And in the case of Sprint PCS and VoiceStream, many of the dead spots we found were in places where the network maps they provide to customers clearly show they do not claim to have coverage. (We included them in those areas to assemble six identical regional comparisons.)

    Some other tests, like trying to keep a call going along a certain stretch of highway, or trying to get a call out while stuck in a traffic jam, also indicated little variance in network quality among the carriers.

    Viewed one way, the numbers indicate that all six major carriers in Boston have worked hard to improve coverage compared to even five years ago, when using a cellphone was much more of a hit-or-miss proposition. Given that Cingular and Verizon were the first cell carriers in the Boston market in 1985 and had a roughly decade-long head start on the four others in the often-contentious process of erecting transmitting towers, AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, and VoiceStream can plausibly claim to have rapidly caught up with or, in some areas, surpassed the original two carriers.

    But at the same time, a 90 percent reliability rate may be nothing to brag about. If landline phones gave no dial tone one out of 10 times you picked them up — or homeowners had electric blackouts and brownouts 36 days a year — it's hard to imagine that anyone would call that acceptable.

    There's little question that for many current and prospective wireless customers, the quality of network coverage is coming to be as important or even more important than price and phone models as a factor in choosing which carrier to use.

    Last August, Telephia, a San Francisco consulting firm that conducts professional evaluations of network coverage for wireless carriers, surveyed Boston-area wireless customers who had switched carriers in the prior year. For 30 percent, the reason was to get better coverage — double the percent of those who moved for a lower price or better customer service.

    "For the majority of wireless customers, the ability to continue a cogent conversation is absolutely paramount compared to the cost, especially if it's covered by your employer," said Stephen R. Dill, an interactive-marketing executive with State Street Corp. in Boston. Dill switched from Cingular to Sprint last year, but he still finds lots of dead spots in his home town of Sharon, the commuter rail line into Back Bay station, and elsewhere.

    Nancy Burke, a Waltham Fire Department secretary who recently switched from Sprint to AT&T Wireless after four years of unreliable service, said poor coverage "seems to be a real problem, and I don't know if they can't fix it, or they figure people are just going to use their phones anyway" and tolerate places where they can't make or continue calls.

    David Zopf, a software sales account manager in Belmont, said: "I'm interested in figuring out how these guys classify their coverage." Zopf has a Verizon phone that, at his home near Waverly Square, gets a signal "that is so weak you could probably call it nonexistent. I'm sure they would say they have Belmont covered, but I find it only really works if I get closer to Cambridge or Waltham."

    To try to get a handle on the relative reliability of carriers in the Boston market, the Globe got comparable phones from the six carriers, and then made calls on each phone from the same location in the same two-minute period over the last three weeks, recording when they went through clearly on the first try, failed to connect after three attempts, or got a demonstrably weak connection. (See accompanying article for a longer explanation of the methodology.)

    The results for 400 calls on each carrier were as follows:

    Verizon Wireless: 11 dead spots, 20 weak coverage spots, 92.3 percent of calls went through clearly on the first attempt.

    AT&T: 10 dead spots, 24 weak spots, 91.5 percent of calls were fine.

    Sprint PCS: 15 dead spots, 24 weak spots, 90.25 percent of calls were fine.

    Cingular: 10 dead spots, 33 weak spots, 89.25 percent of calls were fine.

    Nextel: 12 dead spots, 35 weak spots, 88.25 percent of calls were fine.

    VoiceStream: 17 dead spots, 41 weak spots, 85.5 percent of calls were fine.

    One clear limitation to this approach is the sample size of 400 calls. The differences among carriers are clearly within the margin of error you would have in conducting a public-opinion poll. There is every likelihood that carriers would rank in a different order if the same test were done a second or third time. Also, this survey measured only your relative ability to start a call on each carrier in a given location. At best, that indirectly suggests the relative risk that a call you have already started will fade out or get dropped entirely.

    "You aren't going to get data about holding a call, but you'd think there should be a correlation" between the percentage of dead or weak zones and the rate of dropped calls, said David Thomson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless.

    To evaluate network quality locally, Verizon uses a car outfitted with $250,000 worth of electronics, including phones from all six carriers, that are automatically dialed by computers with speech synthesizers that attempt 150-second calls over and over again across more than 1,000 miles of roads tested each month. The data then crunched to produce detailed comparisons, which the company will not disclose.

    All six of the major carriers perform or commission similar surveys. But generally they guard them as top-secret competitive information. There are exceptions. Greg Slemons, executive vice president of AT&T Wireless, said his firm conducted a test of all six carriers, involving 3,360 to 3,600 calls, during a 30-day period last year. AT&T came in third after Verizon and Cingular — a little worse than the second-place finish we found, but still in close contention with the two original carriers.

    Slemons said AT&T's survey found it had the best coverage inside Route 128, but weaker results in areas closer to I -495 put its overall performance in third place. AT&T gets some help by tapping into Cingular's network in remote areas of Eastern Massachusetts where it has no cell sites of its own, through a deal that does not involve roaming fees for subscribers.

    Nextel's John E. Redman said his company has found through repeated surveys that it has the third-best coverage in Greater Boston, after Verizon and Cingular, not the fifth-place showing we found, but said he could not divulge more specifics.

    The possibility that slight differences in the performance of each phone influenced results can't be dismissed, either. With Cingular, for example, we used a small Nokia 8260 phone with no external antenna. The VoiceStream phone was a Nokia 3360 that also has no antenna stub. With Verizon and AT&T, we used two nearly identical Nokia phones, a 5165 with AT&T and a 5185i with Verizon, but the Verizon phone has a pull-out antenna that over the course of 400 calls could have given Verizon an edge.

    While getting a truly solid picture of which carriers perform better than others in Greater Boston may be difficult, carriers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars this year to beef up coverage. Verizon, for example, says it will invest $250 million this year adding 80 to 100 sites around southern New England, and Sprint PCS says its local network-improvement budget is $150 million for this year.

    "We try to add about 10 percent every year, on average, in capacity and coverage sites," said Mark Bees, southern New England general manager for Cingular, which launched service in 1985 with a dozen cell towers and has grown to hundreds.

    Carriers are trying to cope not only with a huge increase in the number of wireless subscribers, but also much greater usage as wireless communication becomes an increasingly common part of life. Telephia, a San Francisco wireless consulting firm, found that as of October, 55 percent of adults in metropolitan Boston had a cellphone, and 14 percent of non-subscribers expected to get a cellphone this year. Among subscribers, 41 percent are now using them more than 150 minutes a month.

    Bees said Cingular handled 50 percent more minutes of calls last year than it did in 2000, even as coverage expansions cut the frequency of "blocked calls" by 50 percent. Cingular would not disclose, however, its numbers on what percent of the time attempted calls fail because service in a cell zone has been exhausted.

    One small but apparently growing trend in the wireless industry involves highly mobile people, particularly college students and people in their 20s, who opt to use a cellphone as their sole phone. Surveys by Boston's Yankee Group indicate about 3 percent of all US wireless subscribers are people who have abandoned landline service, up from 2 percent three years ago.

    It's a trend cellphone companies have hardly tried to dampen, but our results indicate that in many parts of Greater Boston, you would be out on a limb using your cellphone as a lifeline.
     
  17. Guest

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    Voicestream sucks...........[​IMG]
     
  18. aiwapro

    aiwapro Silver Senior Member
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    You suck!
     
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    NEXTEL starts at 8 pm
     
  20. tompug

    tompug Junior Member
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    Nextel starts at nine pm.
     
  21. Mooby

    Mooby Senior Member
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    Now now, let's not fuel the fire further. Man everyone on this board needs to bring it down a few notches. [​IMG]
    To the original poster, it seems like all of the major providers work well in Boston. Examine if your son would go outside of the Boston area much, his minute requirements, price, and his preference for phones and go from there.
     
  22. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Solid advice mooby.
     
  23. Jack

    Jack Silver Senior Member
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    agreed

    Jack
     
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