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Which cell phone company has the BEST roaming?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Wireless525, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    AMPS is based off of FDMA, one user per channel that's it. No advanced feature s whatsoever. Regular analog transmissions (Remember when you could use a scanner to listen to cell phones?)

    DAMPS (IS54/136) is based off TDMA.
     
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  2. mframe

    mframe Senior Member
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    Cingular has 850 Mhz in most of their markets (except the Carolinas, and Eastern TN), which means they are required to carry AMPS (which any AMPS-capable phone could use, even from a CDMA provider). That said, Cingular has announced that they plan to shut down AMPS as soon as they are allowed to (Feb 2008). I believe Verizon also announced the same.
     
  3. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Everytime I've done a drive test here I only pick up VzW AMPS. I've never even received a Cingular/ATTWS AMPS signal. They're still running D-AMPS strong as can be but there isn't an AMPS signal to be found.
     
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  4. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    That is not correct. Sprint's own native CDMA network covers more than 255 million already. Add to that the 800 Mhz CDMA roaming agreements already in place and it brings it up to near 275+ million. Taking away analog is not going to be the huge decrease in coverage that many people think. Most CDMA carriers like Alltel & Verizon have already converted over 90% of their systems to CDMA overlay and will likely have nearly 100% by the time analog is turned off.
     
  5. mframe

    mframe Senior Member
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    If you are using a CDMA/AMPS phone (especially Verizon's), Cingular's SIDs are probably marked negative in the PRL, and you won't be able to connect to them (unless dialing 911, where there was no other carrier present). A TDMA/AMPS phone, of course, would have no reason to go to AMPS if Cingular's TDMA signal is also present.
     
  6. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Cingular/ATTWS AMPS has never been included in Sprint's PRL. Even dating back to the LA Cellular days. In the rare chance you land on it it can't be used automatically. It's basically worthless except for 911.
     
  7. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Can't speak for Verizon but Cingular's AMPS here in So. Cal is not marked negative in Sprint's PRL. It just isn't included at all so it is possible to land on it if no other signals in their PRL can be found.
     
  8. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    While I will concede that GSM is much better for international roaming, Sprint does have ways to utilize international coverage when traveling overseas. Sprint does offer special international phones that can work on GSM.
     
  9. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    I never stated what carriers phone I was using. When we doing testing, we compare ourselves to all other carriers. I'll typically have phones from all the carriers, Verizon, Sprint, Cingular and now T-Mobile. I'll say it again, even when it's been put into forced analog only here it won't connect on anything other than their DAMPS system. If they're doing it here in a major market, I wouldn't be surprised if it was happening elsewhere. From my friends at Cingular, once GSM was deployed here they started upgraded the rest to DAMPS.
     
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  10. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    I'm in Florida and Cingular Blue AMPS is in the PRL... I have used it a few times when I had my tri-Mode LG VX3300; call quality on it ranged from crystal clear to complete trash. Wherever VZW allows roaming, they seem to have some sort of AMPS in the PRL whether it's theirs, or another Company.
     
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  11. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    Maybe in SoCal, VZW disables roaming onto competitors' systems:confused:
    I went to ATLanta and for the heck of it, I attempted to roam on Sprint and I saw a SOLID triangle, leading me to believe that Sprint is not in the PRL in there
     
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  12. mframe

    mframe Senior Member
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    Well, please do state what phone and carrier you are using to try to connect to Cingular's AMPS.

    What we are trying to say is that CDMA carriers are more likely to have a CDMA carrier's AMPS SID preferred over a GSM carrier's AMPS SID, in the PRL, so that even if you force a phone to AMPS-only, it will most likely connect to the CDMA carrier's AMPS signal, first.

    If the GSM carrier's AMPS SID is negative in the PRL, the phone will never connect to it (unless 911).

    Verizon does not get along well with Cingular, and does mark their SIDs as negative in many areas, though not all. Sprint, Alltel, and US Cellular are more likely to either include Cingular's AMPS at a low priority in the PRL, or at least not mark it negative, but still most likely have a CDMA carrier's AMPS signal at a higher priority.
     
  13. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Look back at the posts, I never countered your statement about that. You assumed I was using a CDMA phone. I normally try to clarify my statements as only regarding the market I am in, I can't speak about any carrier outside the market I am in.

    About the phone I can't recall the exact model of the phone but it was a ATTWS branded Nokia, face keypad one of the larger ones. I'd have to search out some pictures to find the model number, but it was a TDMA/Analog phone.
     
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  14. mframe

    mframe Senior Member
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    OK. That was all I needed to know. My answer would have been much simpler. :) As mentioned previously, most TDMA phones won't go to AMPS if there is a TDMA signal present.

    You are correct that Cingular/AT&T had upgraded all their original AMPS systems to TDMA (D-AMPS) (but still including the old AMPS), well before they decided to add GSM.

    I have used a number of Nokia and Ericsson TDMA phones, but none of them had an analog-only setting, although I think old Motorolas did. The only way I could get an AMPS signal on them was to set the CDMA carriers SID as my home SID. But anyway, when those phones were on Cingular, AT&T, Unicel, or Dobson, it was always just TDMA unless the signal was really weak, then it would go to AMPS just before going to 'no service'.
     
  15. scotsboyuk

    scotsboyuk Senior Member
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    I wonder if Vodafone might actually have a larger coverage area than T-Mobile.
     
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  16. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    You are correct. I remember in fringe areas I used to put my StarTac into analog mode so I knew when I was going to drop out. I would hear the static and know things were not good. In digital mode I'd never know if I was fading out when I was speaking.

    -jay
     
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  17. AnthroMatt

    AnthroMatt Big Meanie
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    I like that Sprint allows you to force your phone to roam. I don't think Verizon allows this (though it can be done in a 'backdoor' way). Cingular doesn't allow it. T-Mobile allowed it when I used them and I am not sure about Alltel.
     
  18. Wireless525

    Wireless525 New Member

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    Thanks for the help everyone, really, i didn't expect this many replies or this much help. :D

    I'll be calling Sprint just to confirm that there is no charge switching from nextel to sprint, and if there is none then I'll be getting Sprint.
     
  19. noahm

    noahm Junior Member
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    Well good luck, and welcome to WirelessAdvisor. Hope you stick around!
     
  20. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    There shouldn't be a charge to do that.
     
  21. Jordan2005

    Jordan2005 Member
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    I'm Sorry Larry, My Mistake. The last time i checked that was the breakdown i read on sprint.com. However i do know from personal experience with sprint, that when i roamed, it was mainly analog, not digital. Then another thing i hated was that i was never able to send a txt mgs when roaming on sprint or verizon. With Cingular & T-Mobile, when roaming you are able to use all or most data services (this is a big thing for me). With Verizon & Sprint i have NEVER been able to do any of that. Also, from what i have read on the net, most all analog networks are being shut down in '08 due to them being too expensive to maintain.



    That map is only like a month old, but i know what you mean. And i agree with you, it does look real scary without analog being around anymore. Heres my question though. I read in another thread that TDMA (D-AMPS) is being shut down in march of '07. Why would they turn off TDMA before AMPS (FDMA)... I just don't understand..... Maybe i'm wrong..... but thats what i read...... What do you think???
     
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  22. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    I believe the Shutdown of AMPS still has to be approved by the FCC for the 2/08 date & the latest request for information ADT is fighting the shutdown due to the costs to convert their systems from Analog to digital & claiming the technology & time is both too expensive & short. Of course if they started working on this when the FCC announced it, they would have been fine.

    As for TDMA being shut down in 07, I was under the impression that they had to keep both going since TDMA is a form of AMPS, but I am not sure since I don't know the technology well enough to confirm this.
    I know Cingular wants to shut down AMPS & TDMA because as less users are on it, it does become more expensive to run and they want to convert everything to GSM for more bandwidth to be used.
     
  23. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    That has all changed now. Sprint phones now have a "roaming" setting that replaced "analog" and Sprint has also made a lot of changes in their PRL so that digital is preferred over analog in most markets. It also depends on the type of phone you used. Some of the Sprint phones that were put out from around 2001 to 2004 were designed (firmware) to favor AMPS over digital. Many of the Sanyos fell into that category. But that has also changed now. As far as I know text messages while roaming now work on every brand of phone except LG. But Sprint sms roaming is pretty much standard now.
     
  24. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    To answer this post, I used an LG VX3300. In my area, VZW has no analog and uses Cingy Blue and Alltel for AMPS.
    I see what you are saying now... I'm telling my self DUH!!! Of course a phone will try to seek a native signal:biggrin:
     
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  25. noahm

    noahm Junior Member
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    So are you saying that sprint will data roam on verizon? At least with most phones? If so thats great news for me.
     
  26. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Not sure about data roaming but text messaging while roaming on Verizon does work now on most new phones (except LG).
     
  27. noahm

    noahm Junior Member
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    Alright, thanks for the info.
     
  28. operasam

    operasam New Member

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    My guess would be Alltel or Sprint. Alltel covers the largest geographic area while Sprint covers the most people. Sprint has the added advantage of being the only carrier that permits in-market roaming. This means if, for some reason, you can't get a Sprint signal in an area within their PCS network Sprint will allow roaming on other networks. They always have a second option available within the Sprint network coverage areas as well as extensive roaming agreements in place for use outside of their network.
     
  29. Wireless525

    Wireless525 New Member

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    I got sprint now, and the Samsung A640.

    I tried out the roaming thing. (the three options: Automatic, force roam, or Sprint only).

    I tried force roam, just to test it out, and it switched over and said "Analog roam". The reception would change from 0-3 bars, back to none/searching for signal again, and back again to 0-3 bars But when it had 0-3 bars of reception (0 still meaning that it works, it's the last thing before it has no signal), I tried to make a call when in Analog roam, but the two times I tried it didn't work. I just heard static for about 45 seconds (the timer was running up, so it must have been connected), but my house phone that I was calling never rang. Then I tried to call my old cell phone, which I haven't disconnected yet and still works, well it didnt ring either. I just kept hearing static on my Sprint phone, but the call timer counter thing was rising so i'm assuming it was connected.

    Why does that happen? I would try again, but it says "press 1 to accept, roaming charges apply". I thought I had free roaming, though, but I didn't wanna keep testing it just in case it was charging me extra. So I don't get that part either.

    Is it suppose to switch to analog roam? I know that Verizon doesn't work very well in the place that I live, but I wasn't sure if it was suppose to go to analog or not. The thing I don't get is why it didn't have any ringing noise, or didn't ring when I called my house phone, but the counter was rising up the call timer thing, so it must have been connected, although all I heard was static.
     
  30. operasam

    operasam New Member

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    It sounds as if you have the roaming guard enabled in the roaming settings. You can disable it in the roaming settings thereby turning off the "press 1 to accept..." message. If you have confirmed with CS that you have free roaming then you will not be charged, regardless of the roaming guard setting on your phone. It's an old setting option designed to protect people from excess roaming charges and left over from the days when roaming was not included on most plans.
    Analog roaming is frequently iffy and fraught with static, unless you are very close to the tower. But it has more range than digital signals. Sprint's main roaming partners are Verizon and Alltel. They have other smaller roaming partners out there but if Verizon, Alltel or any of the others do not offer digital service in your area then you're stuck with analog roaming as the next available option. Your phone, when set to roaming only, first searches for a digital signal. When no digital signal is available it will then search for an analog signal. You are probably on the outer limits of an analog signal.
     

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