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travelling in usa

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by paul collins, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. paul collins

    paul collins New Member

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    hi all,i am coming over to usa for a 6 week tour of the west.i want to know who will provide the best coverage in the places i will be visiting,which are. california,nevada,idaho,montana,wyoming,south dakota,&utah.is there any providor better than another in these areas.i know i will be out of citys most of the time but want to have a cell phone just in case of unforseen problems.any help will be greatly appreciated.thanks in advance.
     
  2. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    In the cities out west, Verizon (CDMA) or AT&T (GSM) are the preferred carriers overall.
    In the rural areas out west, Alltel is in lots of different places, and they give great coverage in their licensed areas.
    If Alltel is not available, then Verizon is usually great in the rural west.

    Coverage will depend on the type of phone you have (CDMA or GSM), and your area of travel at a given time.
    Different providers in the US are stronger in different areas, so choosing one won't help.
    Whatever you roam on, I'm sure that your experience on the USA's cellular network will be great though. ;)

    Hope this info helps...
     
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  3. markuhde

    markuhde Junior Member
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    For Montana I'd get a T-Mobile prepaid SIM. It'll allow you to roam on both the GSM networks here (Cellular One and Alltel GSM though it'll keep going back to Alltel if there is any Alltel signal and Alltel is much worse).

    T-Mobile will offer you the best overall prepaid coverage. Alltel U prepaid might be a little better in most of the west (since Alltel runs CDMA for their own customers and their CDMA network is much better), but you'll need a different phone while here and it's pricey to get started and a hassle since you have to double dial when off the Alltel network (as you'll be in any major city).

    I do NOT recommend Verizon or Cingular prepaid or most of the others as they don't give you roaming ability so when they have no network (for example, in all of Montana for Cingular) you'll have no service.
     
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  4. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    your going to alot of different markets, its hard to say. id say probably alltel though since your going into alot of rural areas.
     
  5. paul collins

    paul collins New Member

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    sorry i am so slow getting back to you.been way busy with things.havent found a solution yet & dont think i am going to.here in australia you go with a providor you get nationwide coverage,so i was surprised to find out that you only get limited areas there.thanks once again for your ideas.yahooooo we are off to the usa on tuesday.
     
  6. shango

    shango Junior Member
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    Places like Death Valley national park are still analog only. An alltel tri mode phone is going to get you the best coverage in the west. Alltels roaming list blocks very few towers unlike verizons does.
     
  7. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    I am just going to say for the states I highlighted dont get GSM you will be very disappointed unless you are not going off the beaten path then you would be ok. Trust me I have been to these states and would say either alltel or verizon is your best choice for most of this.
     
  8. gusher

    gusher New Member

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    I drive truck in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming and I have a edge gsm and a alltel cdma phone. In Id and Ut I think either gsm or cdma work about the same. But go to Wy and the gsm phone works alot better. The places I travel in Wy are way off the beaten path, but the gsm phone has service about 90% of the time and my cdma phone has service about 50% of the time.
     
  9. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Thing is though if he gets a prepaid phone the native gsm footprint in these states are not as well covered sure in wyoming you will have coverage beacause your phone will most of the time be roaming with union telephone and alltels gsm. I think he needs something with a larger native footprint. I of course am just sharing my experiences and opinions of this not trying to bring any one carrier down just want them to have the best coverage and I think alltel or verizon would do this if prepaid is going to be used.
     
  10. Eric47

    Eric47 Bronze Senior Member
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    wow thanks for that info!

    very helpful :)
     
  11. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    I think the reason for this is that the CDMA carriers were relying on analog roaming for rural coverage. GSM does not use analog roaming so they had to build a better network. Now that analog is gone in many areas the CDMA carriers have less coverage.

    -Jay
     
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  12. shango

    shango Junior Member
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    In Ca and most of Nevada the cdma and gsm are on the same tower. Generally cdma is good for 30-38 miles and gsm 21. Thats the big difference.
     
  13. paul collins

    paul collins New Member

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    thanks for all your help guys,even though now i am more confused than before.i am sure i will sort something out when i get there on tuesday.looking forward to another great holiday in your country.
     
  14. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    The cdma carriers don't rely on analog for rural coverage. Almost all of the cdma carriers have digital in place. There are some areas where analog is the only choice yes but not that many. CDMA digital is still more widespread then GSM.

    You can pick up a T-Mobile prepaid sim card if you want, although they do block some 850 roaming, I found that out the hard way, they just don't let you use your phone at all, even if you are willing to pay roaming fees. But it's possible that they do work on GSM for the former cellularone alltel gsm network, and If your phone you are bringing from Australia is GSM. I seem to remember australia forcing all there phones over to wcdma which is gsm's next evolution. So it may work.

    But for ease of roaming I would pick up an Alltel prepaid phone and service. But you would have to buy a phone and what not and it is usually a little more expensive to start the service out. OR you could also just pick up an mvno one....but i'll see what other ones are available.
     
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  15. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Excuse me to burst the bubble here, but GSM definitely did not build any sort of better network (if a network at all) in many rural places of the Western U.S. In a lot of the rural Western U.S., GSM relies on ALLTEL's GSM roamer network, which is often not even worth trying to make a call on.
    Edge Wireless, by now, has built a quality GSM network, although CDMA still has more rural coverage than Edge in Idaho and western WY.
    The reason why in some areas of Wyoming GSM is great is because of Union Telephone's GSM system, which is great, but most areas of the Western U.S. I would not want my worst enemy to rely on a GSM phone.
    ALLTEL has put CDMA on most of their Analog towers, and Verizon (who has a very extensive network in a lot of the rural western U.S) has been all digital from all cell sites for years.

    We can all sit here and think of reasons why our preferred technology is better, but the people who actually travel extensively through the areas someone asks a question about are the ones who should be giving their opinions. Coming up with hypothetical reasons as to why the technology we use and like is better doesn't make us look good sometimes and looks like major fanboyism.

    Sure, in a lot of places of Wyoming you will have a pleasant GSM experience, thanks to Union Telephone, Edge has also built out a nice network in Idaho, but go off the interstate in Utah and you'll be roaming on ALLTEL's horrible GSM network. GSM in Nevada in rural Nevada is either non-existent or mostly roaming (again on ALLTEL's GSM). Go to northern Arizona in some of the areas Cellular ONE of NE AZ covers and you may be better off with them, it all depends on the exact areas, but overall GSM is not the technology of choice for people who travel through the rural West. Sorry if that's not what some of you want to hear.
     
  16. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    You could pick up a Tracfone, they sell both CDMA and GSM phones. Their CDMA phones are the LG 3280, LG 200c. And there are older ones like the moto 120, c343, v60, nokia 5180, 2285, 2126 that are cdma from tracfone. You can pick those or Simple Freedom prepaid phones in stores and use those, if they still sell them.
     
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  17. music4praise

    music4praise Senior Member

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    A newer CDMA Tracfone such as the LG 3280 or the LG 200c would be a great option. You pay the same per minute rate wherever you are and it will work on a lot of carriers without double dialing. Some of the older CDMA phones charge double for roaming.
     
  18. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    Yeah definately. Problem will be finding one in stores. They really push the GSM models because it costs them less per minute to use T-mo or Att then it does verizon/alltel. It's also easier to get cheap phones. Page plus is another option but all other networks besides Verizon is roaming charges too. But I've also never used page so I can't really reccommend them, ha.
     
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  19. paul collins

    paul collins New Member

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    well i am off in an hour or so .i will post when i get back on my experience,thanks everyone.
     
  20. shango

    shango Junior Member
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    Yes, agree 100%. There is no doubt that alltel and sprint have the largest coverage area. Mostly because they allow in network roaming and dont 'lock' the prl to preferred only like Verizon.

    But based on the stupid double dialing thing I couldn't recommend alltel prepaid to anyone for roaming. I dont know if you have dealt with this but it can make the phone unusable.
     
  21. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    Yeah it is a pain, but for the amount of coverage compared to price with every other carrier I'd still take it. There are also a few special ways you can put numbers into the phone book so it limits the numbers to dial then press ok. The whole pause thing. Good news is that double dialing should be going away in the next few months according to things i've heard.
     
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  22. shango

    shango Junior Member
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    Yea I heard that too. Its mostly that features dont work. Like *71 etc. And every time someones voice mail picks up when calling from prepaid it goes to a fast busy. I will be so happy when double dialing is gone..
    Sorry to get off topic here.
     
  23. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Sorry I dont want to get off topic but I have to diagree by your statement. Verizon has just the same amount of coverage I would say if Verizon does not have service in places others do like when you go through Texas for an example they allow roaming so you at least can make your calls just like anyone else.

    Now it would be a fair assumption to say that Verizon does not have the ability to force roam as easy as the others but if there is something and you can use your phone why the need to get on other networks?

    Honestly on the topic of CDMA I think between Alltel, Sprint, and Verizon you really will be safe with having your phone get service. Cause honestly they all depend on each other to fill in voids in certain places.
     
  24. shango

    shango Junior Member
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    Not even, if your familiar with prls, Verizon check the box that says preferred only. That means that if the sid is not in the Verizon prl its blocked.

    I can tell you that in this area Alltel has several mountain top towers that cover large areas and the Alltel sid is not in the Verizon prl.

    Most of the law enforcement have Verizon phones and I have switched many of them to the Alltel prl so they have coverage.

    Lets look at Death Valley national park, it gets many European visitors. Verizon users can use 1 analog tower, the prl blocks the other 3 digital sites. Alltel/Sprint users with a tri-mode phone can use all 4.

    Its like that in several places.
     
  25. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Very informed about PRL's thanks. Yeah I know there is always an exception to the rule. But I hope you know what I was getting at. And it is very illegal to modify things like that. Not saying I havent done this but I was more of testing it out. I just like to be on the safe side.
     

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