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Wyoming and Montana help

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by klm, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. klm

    klm New Member

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    Ugh! This is so confusing! I'm in Europe trying to find out what to get for pre-paid service on my trip in Wyoming and Montana. You know, it'd be nice to have a cell-phone in case of emergency when out on the road. But darned if I can figure out what provider could help. Is GSM supported out under the big sky, or is it only CDMA? And does anyone have coverage over the whole of the two states, or are each carved into bits by the various providers?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MOTOhooligan

    MOTOhooligan Former Mobile Data Addict
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    I'm sure between Cingular, T-Mobile and CellularONE (Dobson) you would be able to find a prepaid service that would work for you... possibly not with GSM, however. Also, unless you have a quad-band phone, you won't be able to use your European phone in the US.

    Alltel and Verizon probably have better service in WY & MT than a GSM provider would, but you'd have to buy a CDMA phone as well as minutes to use. Alltel actually has GSM roaming on many of their sites, so if your carrier has a roaming agreement with Alltel, you may just be able to use your phone and pay a certain per minute rate.

    You should contact your GSM provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with Alltel. If you post who your provider is, I can find out if there is a GSM agreement in place with Alltel, but I won't be able to get the per-minute rate or any specifics.
     
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  3. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    For the best coverage in WY and MT I would also suggest a CDMA provider, but since that's not the best option for you coming from Europe, I would suggest finding a carrier that roams on Union Wireless and ALLTEL in WY and MT respectively.
    Not sure if any European Providers actually do roam on Union or ALLTEL, but getting a U.S. prepay phone to roam on these carriers may also be tricky.
     
  4. BillRadio

    BillRadio Wireless Consultant
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    Overall, the best choices are Verizon and Alltel. CDMA coverage is several times greater than GSM with all kinds of places not covered by GSM at all. Of those 2, Alltel's "U" prepaid is the more economical, http://www.alltelu.com/.

    Also available is Alltel's Simple Freedom, http://www.simplefreedom.net/SimpleFreedom/Home.htm, which must be purchased at Wal-Mart or K-Mart, and in Alltel's territory.

    Verizon's prepaid is a little more expensive,
    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/index.html?my=off
    but easier to get.

    And there is a Verizon reseller, Page Plus,
    http://www.pagepluscellular.com/
    who offers more economical Verizon service.

    You can inquire with the companies, but most likely, you'll need to buy their phones in the states, they can tell you where...maybe in your arrival airport.

    If you choose to stick with GSM, service will be limited to the main highways, and if you do, service will be pretty good, but it's all roaming. The CDMA advantage comes into play when you get farther out. Unfortunately, the U.S. GSM prepaid providers do not offer roaming coverage in those states as much as GSM postpaid accounts. Of that group, I found Cingular's GoPhone,
    http://onlinestorez.cingular.com/cell-phone-service/gophone/index.jsp
    to offer the most, followed closely by their Pay As You Go,


    Enjoy!
     
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  5. klm

    klm New Member

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    Okay, this is what I know so far:
    • Europe uses only GSM, so phones with CDMA capability are wacky expensive here.
    • Montana and Wyoming are reasonably well covered by CDMA, and if I run out of gas or have an accident 30 miles away from the nearest two-dot town, a cell phone call will be on CDMA, not GSM.
    • If I have such trouble on I-80, I-25, or I-90, the cell phone might use GSM.
    • I can buy pre-paid service from Verizon in Denver, but it would be more expensive than buying Alltel when I get to Wyoming.
    That leaves the following question: Where can I get a phone? I've heard of cell phone rental, but that seems like a whole 'nother can of worms trying to find a rental I can use in MT & WY...
    Or, should I just go back to life as it was before cell phones? I mean, this cell phone really would only be for emergencies, and more useful in those remote, possibly/probably uncovered areas.
     
  6. elmo01

    elmo01 Senior Member
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    Cingular is not licesensed for wyoming or montana

    Tmobile is not licensed for montana but is for some areas of wyoming

    it looks like verizon is the way to go for you... licensed in both areas you can get a prepaid service ...50 bux 350 min 3000 Night and Weekend and 50 bux for the phone
     
  7. BillRadio

    BillRadio Wireless Consultant
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    Prepaid phones are so cheap, there is little market here for rental phones. But you can price-shop online before you arrive, and hope to find sales at retail stores.

    If you choose Verizon, you would need to exit the airport and head to the nearest Verizon store. If you're headed north, that would be the Verizon store on 120th av near I-25. If you choose Alltel U, you would need to take I-25 to the Alltel store in Cheyenne, WY on Dell Range Blvd. Seperate retail stores also carry them, but if you're unfamiliar with 'big box' stores, you're better dealing with the carriers themselves. If you choose Simple Freedom, visit the Wal-Mart in Cheyenne.

    All this info is available online, and if you call ahead, it can all be waiting for you. By calling, you might get further recommendations and prices before you get here. If you really want to rent a phone, the airport car rental agencies handle them, but for anything longer than a few days, prepaid is cheaper. Once again, info can be had online or by calling.
     
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  8. storkus

    storkus Junior Member
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    One thing you didn't mention is the reason Montana and Wyoming are in your
    travel destinations. if it's just to go see the parks and such and you'll be spending
    most of your time outside, renting a sat phone may be a possibility as well,
    particularly if your visit is short. However, if your stay is long or you're spending
    most of the time inside, it sounds like a pre-pay CDMA account is what you want,
    depending on where you'll be ending up.

    Mike
     
  9. hinano_paradise

    hinano_paradise Junior Member
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    I traveled extensively through Wyoming and Montana this summer. I had a Verizon Wireless post-pay phone and a T-Mobile prepay phone. My Verizon phone got slightly better signal, but I was surprised at how much signal T-Mobile actually got. I would caution you though that there is VERY little signal in Montana. I had better luck on the main freeways in Wyoming, but I roamed a lot on Alltel with my Verizon phone.
     
  10. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Nobody has mentioned Sprint so far in this thread I don't think. Sprint has some native CDMA 1900 Mhz service in the big cities in both Wyoming and Montana. They also have a partnership with Alltel where any Sprint user can get NATIVE Sprint service with all features included while using Alltel's network (which has been overlayed with Sprint's own service). This is NOT roaming. It is actual Sprint service. But I don't think Sprint actually sells phones and service in Montana. So in other words you can buy and activate a Sprint phone using a Montana address.
     

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