[Ansteorra] OT, Cellular coverage at event sites

Paul Gilbert niklas at pbgilbert.net
Thu May 17 20:44:54 PDT 2007


Being one that deals with this stuff in my job, I would suggest the 

1. Don't use T-Mobile.
Their coverage is spotty and their overall penetration of markets is 
very poor. They do fair in metro areas, but have little coverage in the 
rural areas or off the major highways.

2. Pick one of the big 3...Verizon, Sprint, Cingular (ATT).
I use Sprint and have the no roaming charges plan. If you use cellular 
data, they are one of the better ones also... as you can get near T-1 
speeds with them when you are in their data network coverage.

Quiz the vendor very closely on the roaming charges. What some vendors 
call roaming is you using it someplace else other than you local area 
and will tell you there are no roaming charges.

Roaming is when you are on another providers network cause you are out 
of range of your providers network.

The choice of phones is getting better also. The Sanyos are good. Stay 
away from the Mote-Holees (Motorola). LG is another one to avoid.
Samsung is ok. Check Consumer Reports on the phones. They are a fair 
source of test data.

3. Get 20% more minutes per month than what you think you will use.
If you have an overage in your plan, they will stick it to you at the 
rate of as much as 40 cents per minute. That adds up real! fast. The 20% 
extra per month in minutes will be a cheap buffer.

4. Of all the networks, ATT has by far the largest. But they are still 
trying (and failing in many areas) to merge the ATT GSM network with the 
Cingular GSM network. The problem is they use different infrastructures 
and the switches do not talk to each other. This is a big issue and is 
requiring fork-lift upgrades in a bunch of ATT's markets.

5. Of the technologies that are used by cellular companies, I personally 
prefer CDMA. ATT, T-Mobile, several Mom-Pop systems use GSM (it's 
cheaper and easier to maintain). The bit sampling rate on GSM is not as 
good as CDMA and thus the audio is not as good. CDMA is used by Sprint 
and Verizon, All-Tel and a few others. Ask the vendors, they should 
know. If they don't, go else where.

As far as customer service goes...they all suck. However, Verzion seems 
to have (IMHO) the best, Sprint next with ATT last.

By all means stay away from Nextel (better known in my circles as "Next 
Try"). Their network only covers the major highways and metro areas and 
is nearly non-existent in the rural and West Texas areas.

Don't believe a single thing that the marketing and ad people say. They 
all drop calls. They (all the providers) are very happy if they achieve 
a 90% call completion rate. That means 90% of their calls go thru, ring 
and someone answers. That does not include how long you talk or that you 
then shortly drop the call.

Some final words of cellular wisdom...

Don't take the free phone. They are free for a reason...their junk.

Get a middle tier phone. And get the insurance. If you loose the phone 
or it gets damage where it won't work, you will have to pay at least 
$150 for what would be for a new customer, the free phone. The 
warranties do not cover dropping them in that ditch of water or leaving 
them on top of your car as you drive away (or for that matter, slamming 
the hood of a truck on a 3 day old Palm Treo 700p...hummmmm).

For $5 to 7 a month, its worth it, especially if you get something like 
a Treo 700 or high end phone.

Be sure they have a 30 day test or try out period with a no cost bail 
out clause and get it in writing. If it does not work where you want it 
to, take it back and try another one.

Shop around on dealers. The company stores do not always have the best 
deals. READ! the fine print. Always remember that if the vendors mouth 
is moving they are most likely lying.

And most of all....preference in cellular providers is like car 
brands.... it's a religious argument.

In Service,


Mike Gideon wrote:
> Greetings,
> I have a rather modern question. I'm considering a different cellular service. I currently only have a choice of US Cellular (which I have) and Cellular One/Alltell. T-Mobile is becoming available in our area and offers some interesting phones and services, but I would like some input on anyone currently using them and the coverage at event sites across the kingdom.
> Thanks for your input.
> Yours in Service,
> Michel mac Donnchaid
> _______________________________________________
> Ansteorra mailing list
> Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
> http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/ansteorra-ansteorra.org

Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW             H.E. Niklas Vasilevich
niklas at pbgilbert.net      CB,CSM,KGA,OTR,ORH,Crane,AoA
512-733-3035 Cellular             Kingdom of Ansteorra

            Society for Creative Anachronism

     Texas Dept. Of Transportation, Radio Operations
      Austin, Texas                  512-506-5141
                pgilber at dot.state.tx.us

                "The Eagle has landed"
  "Sable, a double-headed eagle, a bordure engrailed or"


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