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Author Topic: Which cellphone provider?  (Read 1504 times)

casehulsebosch

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Which cellphone provider?
« on: January 14, 2017, 04:28:49 AM »
Greetings.
We are travelling to the USA end of April for a 6 months period; visiting the Western half of the country on a birding trip.
We wish to use our Iphone mobile phone on a pay as you go system with internet access.(Down Under we call it pre pay)

Any particular phone company/provider we have to engage to get best coverage?
The question is posted as we have travelled outback Australia extensively over the last 10 years or so and there is only really one company to consider in the land Down Under as coverage is not extended over the whole continent.

Must add that we are used to not having any coverage of any sort whatsoever for extended periods.
The plus side has been that not having radio/tv/internet teaches one to communicate with his/her partner.

many thanks, Case


Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 07:03:30 AM »
Verizon has the broadest geographical coverage, while AT&T seems more focused on metropolitan areas. Other than that, they are pretty much equal.  In any given place one or the other will likely be superior, but it's impossible to predict which.

Your iPhone would need to have LTE capability to use Verizon network, while the AT&T network is GSM. It probably has both, but I mention it because I'm not familiar with the specific phones commonly sold Down Under.
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casehulsebosch

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 01:01:15 PM »
Thanks Gary.
Covers my question perfectly.

safe travels,
regards, Case

SeilerBird

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 02:28:44 PM »
Tracfone is a whole lot cheaper than Verizon.
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scottydl

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 10:20:09 PM »
I too was going to recommend Tracfone, which is the most popular prepaid service in the U.S. and operates on either CDMA or GSM systems depending on the phone you have and the primary area where you plan to use it.

The cost differences between prepaid vs. contract plan would depend on how much you plan to use the phone, whether you'll need international connectivity, calling vs. texting, if you plan to use the phone(s) for large amounts of data download or streaming, etc.
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 11:23:45 PM »
We've traveled the entire United States with Verizon and have had very good coverage.

Keep in mind that with any cellphone on ANY carrier if you dial 911 it will be answered by any carrier in the area no matter whether you are a customer of theirs or not. All cellphone companies, even very small private business companies, are required to answer a 911 call made from any cellphone within their coverage area.

Found that out on a trip in the middle of nowhere when we had a problem. 
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 08:31:45 AM »
We use Consumer Celluar (AT&T). It has the same or better coverage as AT&T but is less expensive, and no contract required. We've had it for three years and traveled all over the U.S. without problems.

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John From Detroit

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 11:50:40 AM »
There are basically 4 providers of nationwide service. And several resellers.

Verizon has long had the best coverage... however
At*T and T-Mobile have both made serious imprvements and now claim to have very nearly the same coverage..... Of course remember coverage maps are drawn by sales staff and thus may be a .. Tad.. Optimistic.
SPRINT Clames "in network reliablity" within 1% of Verizon... But has a very SMALL network

T-Mobile now offers the "One Plan" (The only plan they offer) which is .. Interesting.. Check it out. But do read the fine print, ALWAYS read the fine print.


Now; Other companies, Straight Talk, TracPhone,  Cricket,  __________ (you fill in the blank)  Most of them are resellers of one of the Big 4.. Some of them have very very good rates epically if it is voice only (Often Data kills the advantage though)  So if you look at those, be sure to find out who carries the signal.

At least one of them.  Uses multiple carriers depending on which model phone you buy.. I used that info to my advantage once when my T-mobile phone hit the drink and died.. At the time I was not using Data (not a smart phone) so I went to Wallgreens and for $15.00 got a cheap TracPhone.. the model I had used T-Mobile. Tossed the Trac-Phone SIM, dripped the SIM from my wet phone in, and ..  Viola, Operational
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RedandSilver

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2017, 02:16:31 PM »
There are basically 4 providers of nationwide service. And several resellers.

Verizon has long had the best coverage... however
At*T and T-Mobile have both made serious imprvements and now claim to have very nearly the same coverage..... Of course remember coverage maps are drawn by sales staff and thus may be a .. Tad.. Optimistic.
SPRINT Clames "in network reliablity" within 1% of Verizon... But has a very SMALL network

T-Mobile now offers the "One Plan" (The only plan they offer) which is .. Interesting.. Check it out. But do read the fine print, ALWAYS read the fine print.


Now; Other companies, Straight Talk, TracPhone,  Cricket,  __________ (you fill in the blank)  Most of them are resellers of one of the Big 4.. Some of them have very very good rates epically if it is voice only (Often Data kills the advantage though)  So if you look at those, be sure to find out who carries the signal.

At least one of them.  Uses multiple carriers depending on which model phone you buy.. I used that info to my advantage once when my T-mobile phone hit the drink and died.. At the time I was not using Data (not a smart phone) so I went to Wallgreens and for $15.00 got a cheap TracPhone.. the model I had used T-Mobile. Tossed the Trac-Phone SIM, dripped the SIM from my wet phone in, and ..  Viola, Operational

I'll add (correct me if I'm wrong) that ONLY the major 4 carriers allow you to use a phone as a Hot Spot.
All of the resellers don't and that is why they usually have a lower cost vs. the 4 major ones.  You get what you pay for - usually.......
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casehulsebosch

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2017, 04:50:59 PM »
Thank you for all the feedback everybody.

The hotspot is definitely an issue for use. will make a diary entry for when the time comes.

cheers, Case

SeilerBird

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 05:17:30 PM »
I'll add (correct me if I'm wrong) that ONLY the major 4 carriers allow you to use a phone as a Hot Spot.
All of the resellers don't and that is why they usually have a lower cost vs. the 4 major ones.  You get what you pay for - usually.......
MetroPCS allows a phone to be used as a hotspot without charge.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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scottydl

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 08:58:21 PM »
I'll add (correct me if I'm wrong) that ONLY the major 4 carriers allow you to use a phone as a Hot Spot.
All of the resellers don't and that is why they usually have a lower cost vs. the 4 major ones.  You get what you pay for - usually.......

Boost Mobile (operates on the Sprint Network) allows for hot spot usage too.  It's an extra fee that I don't pay for on my wife's phone, but it's available.

I pay $30/month for her phone that includes unlimited talk, unlimited texts, and up to 2gb/month of LTE data.  After the 2gb LTE is used up, the data speed drops to minimum available... so still there, just slow(er).  Boost offers unlimited everything for $50/month.  Her phone is an LG Power 4G LTE that I bought new on Cyber Monday for about $60.

On my Tracfone I buy a $100 card once per year that gives 1200 minutes / 1200 texts / 1200 mb data and I supplement with 1000 extra texts (mostly what I use) for $5 every couple months.  So I pay around $10/month for my 3G phone, which I bought gently used from Ebay a couple years ago for $35 I think.

With prices like that available, it baffles my mind that many people still pay $80-100+ per month for their smart phone plans... put their new $600 phones on payments, for versions that are barely any different than 4 versions ago... and are locked into an expensive contract on top of all that.
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Larry N.

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 08:16:55 AM »
We use Consumer Celluar (AT&T). It has the same or better coverage as AT&T but is less expensive, and no contract required. We've had it for three years and traveled all over the U.S. without problems.

Ernie
We, too, have Consumer Cellular. Over the last four (or is it five) years, they've gone in stages from 200 (I think) minutes a month to 1000, from 250 (I think) MB data to 1.5 GB, all at the same price. The "I think" is because I don't recall the actual figures, but those are close.

We, too, have been very pleased with the service and pricing, and (for our needs) have never come close to using all our minutes or data. And for $57/mo for our two lines (sharing data and minutes) including the AARP discount and all fees it's hard to beat, especially using the AT&T network, so we're rarely out of coverage and mostly see 4G service.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 08:24:35 AM by Larry N. »
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jackiemac

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 01:29:02 PM »
Boost Mobile (operates on the Sprint Network) allows for hot spot usage too.  It's an extra fee that I don't pay for on my wife's phone, but it's available.

I pay $30/month for her phone that includes unlimited talk, unlimited texts, and up to 2gb/month of LTE data.  After the 2gb LTE is used up, the data speed drops to minimum available... so still there, just slow(er).  Boost offers unlimited everything for $50/month.  Her phone is an LG Power 4G LTE that I bought new on Cyber Monday for about $60.

On my Tracfone I buy a $100 card once per year that gives 1200 minutes / 1200 texts / 1200 mb data and I supplement with 1000 extra texts (mostly what I use) for $5 every couple months.  So I pay around $10/month for my 3G phone, which I bought gently used from Ebay a couple years ago for $35 I think.

With prices like that available, it baffles my mind that many people still pay $80-100+ per month for their smart phone plans... put their new $600 phones on payments, for versions that are barely any different than 4 versions ago... and are locked into an expensive contract on top of all that.

Scott, on the plans we looked at although data shown as "unlimited" once you reach a certain limit they throttle back the speeds. Just something to look out for in small print!
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SeilerBird

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 01:44:03 PM »
Scott, on the plans we looked at although data shown as "unlimited" once you reach a certain limit they throttle back the speeds. Just something to look out for in small print!
There is no unlimited wireless plans available. They all throttle back at some point.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
Grand Canyon photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

scottydl

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 02:20:36 PM »
Scott, on the plans we looked at although data shown as "unlimited" once you reach a certain limit they throttle back the speeds. Just something to look out for in small print!

There is no unlimited wireless plans available. They all throttle back at some point.

^^ Both of those are what I suspected to some extent.  That's how my wife's 2GB plan is already, once the 2 gigs is used up.  My wife doesn't need anything unlimited, I just know that Boost Mobile offers it.  For their Unlimited Plan, the website fine print says "Mobile-Optimized Streaming Videos, Games, and Music.  Unlimited 4G LTE for most everything else."  I'm sure there is even finer print in there somewhere, to keep subscribers from using their phones to download huge files 24/7.  Although Boost's moneymaker on a cell phone being someone's primary internet supplier is that the hotspot option costs a daily fee, if you want that.  It can be turned on and off each day though, which could work well for limited use while camping.
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jackiemac

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Re: Which cellphone provider?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 05:42:08 PM »
We used to buy a Net10 phone for our trips which gave us free international calls back to the UK. We have found the pricing of mobiles in the US to have grown significantly over the last few years with no true pay as you go plans, they all tie you into a monthly fee somehow and the ones saying international calling to 30 countries unfortunately didn't include the UK! We still got a phone to use to call campgrounds etc but it's not very cheap think it's still $45 and that's with NO data!
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
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