Discussion:
PC World Cellphone Speedtest
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Roy
2014-06-12 22:37:26 UTC
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Here is the Bay Area test

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459264,00.asp

Here is the results for the US

http://www.pcmag.com/fastest-mobile-networks?mailingID=952ED1091987029D7563591A802A8F33
Bhairitu
2014-06-13 18:14:37 UTC
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Post by Roy
Here is the Bay Area test
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459264,00.asp
Here is the results for the US
http://www.pcmag.com/fastest-mobile-networks?mailingID=952ED1091987029D7563591A802A8F33
I'll confirm the T-Mobile experience. I consistently get speeds
comparable with my U-Verse 12 mbps broadband. Last weekend I tried a
speed test at Starbucks to see how Google Wi-fi does and it barely got
up to 1 mbps. Then switched the phone to data with T-Mobile and 10-11 mpbs.

Only thing is I don't get LTE at the house, mainly just Edge. But a few
years back T-Mobile wanted to fix that by putting a tower almost
literally behind my house. The neighbors fought it but I think the city
council would have approved it but then AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile which
put the plan on hold.

I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
sms
2014-06-13 18:50:08 UTC
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Post by Bhairitu
Post by Roy
Here is the Bay Area test
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459264,00.asp
Here is the results for the US
http://www.pcmag.com/fastest-mobile-networks?mailingID=952ED1091987029D7563591A802A8F33
I'll confirm the T-Mobile experience. I consistently get speeds
comparable with my U-Verse 12 mbps broadband. Last weekend I tried a
speed test at Starbucks to see how Google Wi-fi does and it barely got
up to 1 mbps. Then switched the phone to data with T-Mobile and 10-11 mpbs.
Only thing is I don't get LTE at the house, mainly just Edge. But a few
years back T-Mobile wanted to fix that by putting a tower almost
literally behind my house. The neighbors fought it but I think the city
council would have approved it but then AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile which
put the plan on hold.
I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
In my neighborhood, the effort to put up a 1900MHz GSM tower began with
Pac Bell Wireless, continued to Cingular, and finally got built years
after T-Mobile took over the old 1900MHz network from Cingular after
Cingular bought AT&T Wireless and changed the name of Cingular to AT&T.
My friend lived right behind where the carrier wanted to put the tower
and the neighborhood fought it. Eventually T-Mobile agreed to move the
tower out to Bollinger Road as a light pole,
<https://www.google.com/maps/@37.310226,-122.024418,3a,75y,278.9h,91.2t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sJ9BZ8qEKxQjRkeAQGiXYYw!2e0>.
Travis James
2014-07-02 05:23:15 UTC
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Post by sms
In my neighborhood, the effort to put up a 1900MHz GSM tower began with
Pac Bell Wireless, continued to Cingular, and finally got built years
after T-Mobile took over the old 1900MHz network from Cingular after
Cingular bought AT&T Wireless and changed the name of Cingular to AT&T.
My friend lived right behind where the carrier wanted to put the tower
and the neighborhood fought it. Eventually T-Mobile agreed to move the
tower out to Bollinger Road as a light pole,
Ah, that link takes me back to the simpler times, 1999, pre-kids when we
lived in the Villa Victoria apartments on Bollinger.
sms
2014-07-02 13:25:16 UTC
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Post by Travis James
Post by sms
In my neighborhood, the effort to put up a 1900MHz GSM tower began with
Pac Bell Wireless, continued to Cingular, and finally got built years
after T-Mobile took over the old 1900MHz network from Cingular after
Cingular bought AT&T Wireless and changed the name of Cingular to AT&T.
My friend lived right behind where the carrier wanted to put the tower
and the neighborhood fought it. Eventually T-Mobile agreed to move the
tower out to Bollinger Road as a light pole,
Ah, that link takes me back to the simpler times, 1999, pre-kids when we
lived in the Villa Victoria apartments on Bollinger.
I don't know why Google did that to the top of the T-Mobile cell, but
it's straight, not as shown in the photo.

sms
2014-06-13 20:30:52 UTC
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Post by Bhairitu
Post by Roy
Here is the Bay Area test
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459264,00.asp
Here is the results for the US
http://www.pcmag.com/fastest-mobile-networks?mailingID=952ED1091987029D7563591A802A8F33
I'll confirm the T-Mobile experience. I consistently get speeds
comparable with my U-Verse 12 mbps broadband. Last weekend I tried a
speed test at Starbucks to see how Google Wi-fi does and it barely got
up to 1 mbps. Then switched the phone to data with T-Mobile and 10-11 mpbs.
Only thing is I don't get LTE at the house, mainly just Edge. But a few
years back T-Mobile wanted to fix that by putting a tower almost
literally behind my house. The neighbors fought it but I think the city
council would have approved it but then AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile which
put the plan on hold.
Edge only is pretty bad. You don't even get 3G HSDPA?
Post by Bhairitu
I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
Two carriers with lousy coverage combining into one would not improve
anything for anyone.

I keep a T-Mobile account active for one reason--it's only $10 per year
and it's useful to have a GSM SIM card active. If one of my family is
traveling outside the U.S., and using a prepaid SIM card in the foreign
country, I want a GSM account for the U.S. part of the trip so they
don't have to carry a Verizon phone too (though since my present Verizon
phone also has an unlocked GSM side that's no longer an issue anyway). I
just did this for my daughter who is in Israel--she use the T-Mobile SIM
in the U.S. and the Orange Israel SIM in Israel and left her Verizon
(Page Plus) phone at home.

The big problem with T-Mobile is that their coverage outside urban areas
is often non-existent, especially in the western region. We often go to
locations in California with no T-Mobile coverage at all, and there is
little roaming. The fastest LTE data rates is great, but if there is no
coverage there's no value in it.

The "thing" I'm looking for is an MVNO with either Verizon or AT&T
native coverage, preferably with LTE data (not just 3G), plus
off-network roaming (preferably for both voice and at least 3G data).
This is very rare of course because neither AT&T or Verizon want to
undercut their own service plans. I want to keep our total cost for four
smart phones down to around $100 per month. We only need about 300-500
voice minutes per person, 100-300 texts per person, and maybe 0.5GB of
data per person.

Amazingly, the best option appears to be Consumer Cellular which I've
always been critical of in the past. It would be about $101 (after taxes
and surcharges) for 1200 shared minutes, 15,000 shared texts, and 2.5GB
of shared data for four phones. They include off-AT&T roaming for both
voice and data. Cheaper then Page Plus. But it would violate my pledge
to keep my life AT&T-free.
Steve Pope
2014-06-13 22:05:52 UTC
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Post by sms
Amazingly, the best option appears to be Consumer Cellular which I've
always been critical of in the past. It would be about $101 (after taxes
and surcharges) for 1200 shared minutes, 15,000 shared texts, and 2.5GB
of shared data for four phones. They include off-AT&T roaming for both
voice and data. Cheaper then Page Plus. But it would violate my pledge
to keep my life AT&T-free.
It's pretty good. We have one T-mobile, and one Consumer Cellular
phone in the household (the latter with the AARP discount; there
is supposedly a AAA discount on T-mobile but I've never successfully
been able to invoke it).

While T-mobile has spotty coverage through the rural Western U.S.,
so does AT&T (as accessed by Consumer Cellular) we have learned, and
there have often been areas where only T-mobile worked.

My suspicion is that not all of AT&T's roaming partners are
available to a Consumer Cellular handset, if so it's probably
less coverage than being on AT&T directly.

Steve
sms
2014-06-13 23:02:20 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
Post by sms
Amazingly, the best option appears to be Consumer Cellular which I've
always been critical of in the past. It would be about $101 (after taxes
and surcharges) for 1200 shared minutes, 15,000 shared texts, and 2.5GB
of shared data for four phones. They include off-AT&T roaming for both
voice and data. Cheaper then Page Plus. But it would violate my pledge
to keep my life AT&T-free.
It's pretty good. We have one T-mobile, and one Consumer Cellular
phone in the household (the latter with the AARP discount; there
is supposedly a AAA discount on T-mobile but I've never successfully
been able to invoke it).
Steve, send me an invitation to Consumer Cellular.
<https://www.consumercellular.com/About/Referral>

Just change geemail to gmail in my address.
sms
2014-06-13 23:31:23 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
While T-mobile has spotty coverage through the rural Western U.S.,
so does AT&T (as accessed by Consumer Cellular) we have learned, and
there have often been areas where only T-mobile worked.
My suspicion is that not all of AT&T's roaming partners are
available to a Consumer Cellular handset, if so it's probably
less coverage than being on AT&T directly.
Well from the maps the coverage looks the same, in fact CC just uses the
AT&T map.

I'm amazed that there are areas where only T-Mobile has coverage. Do you
remember any of those places?

GSM, almost by default, has poorer rural coverage than CDMA just because
so many rural carriers chose to move from AMPS/TDMA to CDMA rather than
to GSM because of the greater coverage area per cell of CDMA.

Definitely I would keep a Page Plus account active on the lowest cost
plan if I moved to an AT&T MVNO and I'd bring that phone along on road
trips.
Steve Pope
2014-06-15 14:04:13 UTC
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Post by sms
Post by Steve Pope
My suspicion is that not all of AT&T's roaming partners are
available to a Consumer Cellular handset, if so it's probably
less coverage than being on AT&T directly.
Well from the maps the coverage looks the same, in fact CC just uses the
AT&T map.
I'm amazed that there are areas where only T-Mobile has coverage. Do you
remember any of those places?
Yes, a remote part of New Mexico about halfway east from Taos to
I-25. It was a roaming partner that T-Mobile had and ATT did
not. And various other places on the highway between here and
the front range.

I think having one of each (GSM) carrier has definite advanages
to having two phones on one carrier.
Post by sms
GSM, almost by default, has poorer rural coverage than CDMA just because
so many rural carriers chose to move from AMPS/TDMA to CDMA rather than
to GSM because of the greater coverage area per cell of CDMA.
Well, okay, if there is only one person trying to use a given cell
tower, CDMA would have greater range than GSM. But it goes downhill
from there.
Post by sms
Definitely I would keep a Page Plus account active on the lowest cost
plan if I moved to an AT&T MVNO and I'd bring that phone along on road
trips.
Very good idea, especially since it does not cost much to do that.

Steve
Bhairitu
2014-06-14 19:09:50 UTC
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Post by sms
Post by Bhairitu
Post by Roy
Here is the Bay Area test
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459264,00.asp
Here is the results for the US
http://www.pcmag.com/fastest-mobile-networks?mailingID=952ED1091987029D7563591A802A8F33
I'll confirm the T-Mobile experience. I consistently get speeds
comparable with my U-Verse 12 mbps broadband. Last weekend I tried a
speed test at Starbucks to see how Google Wi-fi does and it barely got
up to 1 mbps. Then switched the phone to data with T-Mobile and 10-11 mpbs.
Only thing is I don't get LTE at the house, mainly just Edge. But a few
years back T-Mobile wanted to fix that by putting a tower almost
literally behind my house. The neighbors fought it but I think the city
council would have approved it but then AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile which
put the plan on hold.
Edge only is pretty bad. You don't even get 3G HSDPA?
3G will fade in and out and does okay outside the house. But Edge is
good enough for phone calls though there are months that there is not
one minute of phone time used. It's the $30 plan anyway with 5 GB of
data which I do use outside of my house (works fine on morning walks in
the neighborhood). I have a $25 land line from U-Verse for phone calls
in house.

Best coverage here is AT&T which I've had in the past because they have
antennas just up the hill on the hotel. Verizon was okay but not as
strong. Actually had more dropouts on my morning walks in the
neighborhood than with T-Mobile but they may have put a new antenna up
about a mile south of here (or somebody did).
poldy
2014-06-15 05:13:03 UTC
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Post by sms
Post by Bhairitu
I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
Two carriers with lousy coverage combining into one would not improve
anything for anyone.
FWIW, the Japanese guy who acquired Sprint said that if he could merge
with T-Mobile, he'd wage a price war against the two big carriers.

Supposedly that's what he did in Japan.
Roy
2014-06-15 05:54:57 UTC
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Post by poldy
Post by sms
Post by Bhairitu
I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
Two carriers with lousy coverage combining into one would not improve
anything for anyone.
FWIW, the Japanese guy who acquired Sprint said that if he could merge
with T-Mobile, he'd wage a price war against the two big carriers.
Supposedly that's what he did in Japan.
Coverage, reliability, cheap! Pick two

If your life centers around a very populated area, you might go for cheap.

Here is someone's guess as to the combined Sprint/Tmobile coverage
Steve Pope
2014-06-15 14:12:12 UTC
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Post by Roy
Coverage, reliability, cheap! Pick two
Excellent!


S.
sms
2014-06-15 18:36:59 UTC
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Post by Roy
Post by poldy
Post by sms
Post by Bhairitu
I would hate to see Sprint buy T-Mobile.
Two carriers with lousy coverage combining into one would not improve
anything for anyone.
FWIW, the Japanese guy who acquired Sprint said that if he could merge
with T-Mobile, he'd wage a price war against the two big carriers.
Supposedly that's what he did in Japan.
Coverage, reliability, cheap! Pick two
Well for voice and text, Page Plus has all three. You could make Ting
have all three if you forced roaming on Verizon.
Steve Pope
2014-06-15 14:11:49 UTC
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Post by poldy
FWIW, the Japanese guy who acquired Sprint said that if he could merge
with T-Mobile, he'd wage a price war against the two big carriers.
Supposedly that's what he did in Japan.
A price war would be a welcome outcome. T-Mobile is already doing
that in a sense. They have been upping the amount of data per
month on their cheaper plans proactively. I did not get the
$30/month plan when it was availble, but the $50/month plan
is now 1Gbyte/month "4G" (unlimited "3G" but it's actually sometimes
throttled a bit more than that, or sometimes it stays on 4G ...
I think they only throttle when they have to.)


Steve
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