Discussion:
Wife hates our cell phone company -- favorites?
(too old to reply)
s***@gmail.com
2015-07-10 04:38:37 UTC
Permalink
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.

What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
Julian Macassey
2015-07-10 05:23:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
You don't say what carrier she uses, this is important.

But I would guess if reception sucked in the Columbia
river gorge I would guess it is AT&T.

AT&T coverage sucks around Oregon. AT&T don't care.
--
"That's what saddens me, not that Microsoft has won, but that Microsoft's
products don't display, er more insight and more creativity."
- Steve Jobs 1995 TV interview
Peter Lawrence
2015-07-10 16:27:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
No cellular network in the United States is without gaps in service, not
even Verizon's vaunted network. So when it comes to deciding which
mobile network is best for one, there's not an automatic correct answer.
It's a classic, YMMV.

That said, if the T-Mobile network is satisfactory for her needs then a
WalMart Family Mobile plan is probably the best best for her.

They offer two plans with data: $29.88 (+ taxes & fees) for unlimited
talk and texting, plus 1 GB of 4G LTE high-speed data (and unlimited
slower speed data after that), or for $10 more, 3GB of 4G LTE high-speed
data (and unlimited slower speed data after that)

What ever plan she chooses (1GB or 3GB of 4G LTE data), it's a flat
monthly charge of either $29.88 or $39.88 (plus taxes & fees).

The downside of course, is that it uses the T-Mobile GSM network which
isn't as extensive as either Verizon's or AT&T's domestic network. And
they offer only very limited international roaming (while in Canada,
Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost. No roaming
at all in Europe, Africa or Asia.

Still, if she can live with the T-Mobile network, it's the best "peace
of mind" plan for those who worry about getting an unexpected large
monthly bill.


- Peter
(null)
2015-07-11 14:48:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lawrence
And
they offer only very limited international roaming (while in Canada,
Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost.
While I haven't read the exact terms yet, they made a press release just
two days ago extending unlimited everything to Canada and Mexico for free.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/technology/tmobile-announcement/
sms
2015-07-11 18:43:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by (null)
Post by Peter Lawrence
And
they offer only very limited international roaming (while in Canada,
Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost.
While I haven't read the exact terms yet, they made a press release just
two days ago extending unlimited everything to Canada and Mexico for free.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/technology/tmobile-announcement/
I think that Peter was referring to Walmart's "Family Mobile" plan, not
T-Mobile itself.

I would avoid the Family Mobile plan at all costs. For $35/month you can
get Cricket with 2.5GB of LTE data and it's the AT&T native network
which has far better coverage than the T-Mobile native network. That $5
adder over Family Mobile's $30 plan gets you another 1.5GB of high speed
data as well as the much better coverage.
Peter Lawrence
2015-07-11 19:44:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by sms
Post by (null)
And they offer only very limited international roaming (while in
Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost.
While I haven't read the exact terms yet, they made a press release just
two days ago extending unlimited everything to Canada and Mexico for free.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/technology/tmobile-announcement/
I think that Peter was referring to Walmart's "Family Mobile" plan, not
T-Mobile itself.
I would avoid the Family Mobile plan at all costs. For $35/month you can
get Cricket with 2.5GB of LTE data and it's the AT&T native network
which has far better coverage than the T-Mobile native network. That $5
adder over Family Mobile's $30 plan gets you another 1.5GB of high speed
data as well as the much better coverage.
That's a better deal if you're going to use over 1 GB of data on most
months. But as you've stated before, with free WiFi access everywhere
one might not even be using a gig of data each month. So why pay $60
more a year for data you won't be using?

But it's a definite plus that they use AT&T's network and not T-Mobile's.


- Peter
sms
2015-07-11 21:13:49 UTC
Permalink
On 7/11/2015 12:44 PM, Peter Lawrence wrote:

<snip>
Post by Peter Lawrence
That's a better deal if you're going to use over 1 GB of data on most
months. But as you've stated before, with free WiFi access everywhere
one might not even be using a gig of data each month. So why pay $60
more a year for data you won't be using?
It's not for the extra data that I'd pay the extra $5/mo, it's for the
much better coverage.

Or I'd pay Carlos Slim $28.15 per month (29.95-6% discount) for a Page
Plus plan with just 500MB of data and I'd be on Verizon and I'd have
roaming (for voice and text) if I really needed it.

Cricket is really appealing for its family plans. Five lines would be
$100, with 2.5GB each.
Roy
2015-07-11 22:56:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by sms
Post by (null)
And they offer only very limited international roaming (while in
Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost.
While I haven't read the exact terms yet, they made a press release just
two days ago extending unlimited everything to Canada and Mexico for free.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/technology/tmobile-announcement/
I think that Peter was referring to Walmart's "Family Mobile" plan, not
T-Mobile itself.
I would avoid the Family Mobile plan at all costs. For $35/month you can
get Cricket with 2.5GB of LTE data and it's the AT&T native network
which has far better coverage than the T-Mobile native network. That $5
adder over Family Mobile's $30 plan gets you another 1.5GB of high speed
data as well as the much better coverage.
That's a better deal if you're going to use over 1 GB of data on most
months. But as you've stated before, with free WiFi access everywhere
one might not even be using a gig of data each month. So why pay $60
more a year for data you won't be using?
But it's a definite plus that they use AT&T's network and not T-Mobile's.
- Peter
The OP said that one of the requirements was "Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra."

So no Wifi at that location and it also means that any supplier not
providing hotspot capability on the phone is also out of consideration
sms
2015-07-12 00:25:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roy
The OP said that one of the requirements was "Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra."
So no Wifi at that location and it also means that any supplier not
providing hotspot capability on the phone is also out of consideration
Yeah, so Cricket would not work. Page Plus is okay for this.
Eric Weaver
2015-07-14 15:34:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by sms
Post by Roy
The OP said that one of the requirements was "Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra."
So no Wifi at that location and it also means that any supplier not
providing hotspot capability on the phone is also out of consideration
Yeah, so Cricket would not work. Page Plus is okay for this.
Is that a recent change? Last time I asked, they didn't allow it.
been a few years, admittedly.
Aahz Maruch
2015-07-17 18:23:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
No cellular network in the United States is without gaps in service, not
even Verizon's vaunted network. So when it comes to deciding which
mobile network is best for one, there's not an automatic correct answer.
It's a classic, YMMV.
I've been using Ting for three years now and am mostly happy with them
(with a few caveats). Until recently, they were strictly a Sprint MVNO
but now they also offer service on T-Mobile's network. Which means that
if you want to keep two phones on two networks, it's an extremely cheap
method for that.

https://ting.com/

My main complaints about Ting are that customer service can be a bit
spotty (though obviously no worse than any other provider) and that
out-of-stock phones disappear from their website.

Ting's primary claim to fame is that you don't get a plan. They just
bill you for whatever amount you use. It's a huge plus if you have
either low or highly variable usage (my bill usually runs around
$20/month).
Post by Peter Lawrence
The downside of course, is that it uses the T-Mobile GSM network which
isn't as extensive as either Verizon's or AT&T's domestic network. And
they offer only very limited international roaming (while in Canada,
Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti) at an additional cost. No roaming
at all in Europe, Africa or Asia.
With GSM (i.e. T-Mobile or AT&T), you just pop in a different SIM for
international roaming. Ting offers decent roaming on its own (including
voice roaming over Verizon, which gives you excellent emergency backup).
--
Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6 http://rule6.info/
<*> <*> <*>
"Crisis management is a contradiction in terms." --M.A. Foster
sms
2015-07-10 17:32:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
If you're going to go outside urban and suburban areas you want to stick
with either Verizon's network or AT&T's network. T-Mobile lacks coverage
in many areas, including many parts of California.

In some buildings in San Francisco you'll get only Verizon coverage,
some you'll get both Verizon and AT&T coverage, but in a lot of them you
won't get T-Mobile or Sprint coverage. It's not just the number and
location of cells, it's the frequency they use. On T-Mo, if you can get
a phone with VOLTE and LTE band 12, it will help in some rural areas,
but not all of them, see
<http://www.spectrumgateway.com/t-mobile-700a-spectrum>

If coverage is vital, and not going over a data plan is important, then
the best choice is probably Verizon MVNO Page Plus Cellular. It's $30
for 1200 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500MB of data. That's not a lot of
data, but with so much Wi-Fi around it may be sufficient if you're not
watching movies or downloading music. You can't go over as long as you
don't put extra money on your account to pay for more data.

Consumer Cellular uses AT&T's network, with roaming, and is a good deal
for family plans but not for individual plans. We had it for a year and
will go back to it eventually. We switched to T-Mo a few weeks ago, for
a couple of months, because the child unit is going to Europe and T-Mo
includes texting and low speed data and 20¢/minute calling in Europe.
But we have already traveled to places in California with no T-Mo
coverage at all, where Verizon and AT&T coverage is present.

Cricket is AT&T native coverage only (no roaming) and gives you a lot of
data for the price. Ditto for GoPhone.

The bottom line is that Verizon and AT&T are well aware that they can
charge a premium for better coverage. So you're not going to find any
big bargains on services from them.

One solution, which is a bit of a hassle, is to use T-Mobile, or one of
its MVNOs, but keep a Page Plus phone active for traveling.
Kevin McMurtrie
2015-07-15 05:50:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
T-Mobile : Very fast urban LTE service, free low-speed international
service in many countries, little rural coverage, weak LTE indoors, BYO
phone, trivial to cancel or modify service.

AT&T : Probably the best US coverage, though sometimes with minimal
service.

Verizon : Probably the best US speed/coverage blend if you don't mind
the price and contract.

Sprint : Patches of fast service, some international roaming, roams
almost anywhere in the US, generally a clusterfuck of dysfunctional cell
towers and roaming agreements, nasty contracts.
--
I will not see posts from astraweb, theremailer, dizum, or google
because they host Usenet flooders.
sms
2015-07-19 14:30:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevin McMurtrie
Post by s***@gmail.com
I do not know why, exactly. Part is that she thinks we pay too much, and
part is her cell phone did not work in her SF hotel at a conference
two weeks ago. And part is that she was the only one of her girlfriends
whose phone did not work at the Columbia River Gorge during their outing
last year.
What do people like for price/performance? Plus she's afraid of going
over the data plan (any data plan) and getting a huge bill. Finally, when
she visits her mother she wants to be able to turn the phone into a WiFi
hotspot without paying extra.
T-Mobile : Very fast urban LTE service, free low-speed international
service in many countries, little rural coverage, weak LTE indoors, BYO
phone, trivial to cancel or modify service.
AT&T : Probably the best US coverage, though sometimes with minimal
service.
Verizon : Probably the best US speed/coverage blend if you don't mind
the price and contract.
Sprint : Patches of fast service, some international roaming, roams
almost anywhere in the US, generally a clusterfuck of dysfunctional cell
towers and roaming agreements, nasty contracts.
I recently, and temporarily, switched to T-Mo for the free international
texting and low speed data. But geez their domestic U.S. coverage is
terrible. Went down to San Diego a few days ago and big gaps in coverage
in non-urban areas of the drive. We didn't do I-5 (or the I-5) the whole
way because of road construction. Cutting over to 99 we had no coverage
for about an hour. Then on CA 58 and U.S. 395 there was often no coverage.

I brought along a Page Plus phone for emergency use. It had excellent
coverage.
Peter Lawrence
2015-07-20 06:23:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by sms
I recently, and temporarily, switched to T-Mo for the free international
texting and low speed data. But geez their domestic U.S. coverage is
terrible. Went down to San Diego a few days ago and big gaps in coverage in
non-urban areas of the drive. We didn't do I-5 (or the I-5) the whole way
because of road construction. Cutting over to 99 we had no coverage for
about an hour. Then on CA 58 and U.S. 395 there was often no coverage.
Yes, T-Mobile has very little rural coverage in California. If you're not
near (at the very least) a suburban housing tract, you'll most likely be out
of luck. Even Sprint has better rural coverage than T-Mobile (or at least
that's how it feel like).

That said, for places (urban and suburban metro areas) where some people
might spend 99% of their lives, T-Mobile does provide good voice and
high-speed data coverage.

But that's not for everyone. Like you (it seems), I like to travel the
rural highways and byways of California, and in those areas (as you've
discovered) T-Mobile cell service is often non-existent.


- Peter
n***@sbcglobal.net
2015-07-20 18:35:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by sms
I recently, and temporarily, switched to T-Mo for the free international
texting and low speed data. But geez their domestic U.S. coverage is
terrible. Went down to San Diego a few days ago and big gaps in coverage in
non-urban areas of the drive. We didn't do I-5 (or the I-5) the whole way
because of road construction. Cutting over to 99 we had no coverage for
about an hour. Then on CA 58 and U.S. 395 there was often no coverage.
Yes, T-Mobile has very little rural coverage in California. If you're not
near (at the very least) a suburban housing tract, you'll most likely be out
of luck. Even Sprint has better rural coverage than T-Mobile (or at least
that's how it feel like).
That said, for places (urban and suburban metro areas) where some people
might spend 99% of their lives, T-Mobile does provide good voice and
high-speed data coverage.
But that's not for everyone. Like you (it seems), I like to travel the
rural highways and byways of California, and in those areas (as you've
discovered) T-Mobile cell service is often non-existent.
- Peter
We need to see what happens as they have required Metro PCS people to come in and get a new free phone that is GSM. Then they will be using the Metro PCS network to extend their LTE coverage. A friend who has Metro PCS got a new phone from them a couple weeks back.
Brad Allen
2015-09-17 06:14:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by sms
I recently, and temporarily, switched to T-Mo for the free
international texting and low speed data. But geez their domestic
U.S. coverage is terrible. Went down to San Diego a few days ago
and big gaps in coverage in non-urban areas of the drive. We didn't
do I-5 (or the I-5) the whole way because of road
construction. Cutting over to 99 we had no coverage for about an
hour. Then on CA 58 and U.S. 395 there was often no coverage.
Yes, T-Mobile has very little rural coverage in California. If
you're not near (at the very lEast) a suburban housing tract, you'll
most likely be out of luck. Even Sprint has better rural coverage
than T-Mobile (or at lEast that's how it feel like).
That said, for places (urban and suburban metro areas) where some
people might spend 99% of their lives, T-Mobile does provide good
voice and high-speed data coverage.
But that's not for everyone. Like you (it seems), I like to travel
the rural highways and byways of California, and in those areas (as
you've discovered) T-Mobile cell service is often non-existent.
My experience is identical to both of yours. I found an odd case
though; there's some weird odd places with T-Mobile coverage
inconsistencies, a week ago during my travels:

Just as a foundation, in Visalia, downtown, T-Mobile is OK, not great,
but passable. Usually 4G, sometimes weak (1/5 to 2/5) but operational
LTE.

But where I was most of my time there, in Northern Visalia, in the
newer suburban areas, T-Mobile is nonexistant, except for unreliable
EDGE service without data (must be some sort of weak voice roaming
agreement with some lame coverage, coverage so bad that I couldn't
make or receive calls and couldn't send or receive text messages,
neither iMessage nor regular SMS; I suspect complete saturation by
tens of thousands of T-Mobile phones that can't compete for a single
56kbit channel, essentially a black-out due to the crush of numbers,
probably not even enough bandwidth to keep up with phone registration
traffic). Those areas are "newer", but by no means brand new.
They've been there for quite a while.

Now, to the weird part: drive toward the foothills through the
farmlands, which is NorthEast of Visalia, up Road 132, right on Avenue
320 (or perhaps Avenue 328, I forget), and after the first couple
farms you'll start to get excellent LTE service, way way way away from
Visalia and any suburban or urban areas. This lasts for many dozens
of miles before/on Milwood Drive. This goes up toward, by and past
Ivanhoe and Elderwood on Milwood Drive with the exact limits on that
path forgotten by me (a ground survey would be needed to confirm and
specify what location I'm talking about). This is not Band 12,
confirmed by the fact my iPhone 6+ doesn't have a Band 12 chip (and my
cheap $100 band 12 capable phone registered band 4 as far as I
remember). (Yes, I want to get the iPhone 6S+ as a result, which does
have band 12.) Not only that, but it is excellent LTE, strong LTE
signal (4/5 or 5/5), very fast speeds, low latency, and relatively
error free. This cuts out as I rise into the foothills, and "No
Service" rears its head to the point where I'm up there in the hills
with literally no cars on some roads for hours and no cell service at
all that I can find (not even Verizon signal on my disconnected
Verizon phone I keep for 911). I have experienced a similar
strong-LTE thing in farmlands East of Firebaugh on Avenue 7 1/2 (that
rural highway road name is, read aloud from its name, then written
into this posting, "Avenue Seven and A Half", in case you thought I
tendered a typo) (also not Band 12), due North of Mendota, to a much
lesser extent. My theory there was a very high tower that gets over
the curvature of the earth, and is pointed at those particular hiways,
with extremely high gain and highly directional microwave-like
antennas, but what if it is actually more localized high quality cell
towers? Or is this some sort of secret experimental low-flying
satellite experimental coverage (unlikely, as the coverage footprint
is stable near the area near Visalia)? I'm vastly curious, for both
the area East of Firebaugh and the area beyond Visalia toward the
foothills.

Obviously this LTE area in the rural areas wasn't meant for Visalia's
Northern suburbs since it didn't reach them at all. Is there some big
city planned for there we don't know about? Or was it just a case of
pump and dump on new tech, without sense of where to put it? Does it
have a miniscule backhaul which is why they don't mind offering such a
fat air pipe in an extremely rural area with almost no users? Is it
the newest area they deployed which is why they used the newest tech,
but it is positioned in such a manner as to reach a wide area without
being provisioned for heavy usage associated with dense users?

Is it the policy of cheap phone companies to treat new suburbs with
disdain as they most likely contain the highest concentration of
non-geriatric users, the most children, the most young parents, with
the least expendable income, that use the most bandwidth, and since
they're vested in their new suburban homes, they aren't going to move,
and they won't have a leg to stand on with respect to coverage
complaints since they aren't going to move anyway? I wonder. I
didn't have other carriers to compare to.

We no longer have the industry knowledge hanging out on these USENET
groups to straight up answer my questions, so informed conjecture is
welcomed :)


I hate capitalizing East and North. It seems wrong. But I did just
because it is "right".
sms
2015-09-17 17:05:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brad Allen
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by sms
I recently, and temporarily, switched to T-Mo for the free
international texting and low speed data. But geez their domestic
U.S. coverage is terrible. Went down to San Diego a few days ago
and big gaps in coverage in non-urban areas of the drive. We didn't
do I-5 (or the I-5) the whole way because of road
construction. Cutting over to 99 we had no coverage for about an
hour. Then on CA 58 and U.S. 395 there was often no coverage.
Yes, T-Mobile has very little rural coverage in California. If
you're not near (at the very lEast) a suburban housing tract, you'll
most likely be out of luck. Even Sprint has better rural coverage
than T-Mobile (or at lEast that's how it feel like).
That said, for places (urban and suburban metro areas) where some
people might spend 99% of their lives, T-Mobile does provide good
voice and high-speed data coverage.
But that's not for everyone. Like you (it seems), I like to travel
the rural highways and byways of California, and in those areas (as
you've discovered) T-Mobile cell service is often non-existent.
My experience is identical to both of yours. I found an odd case
though; there's some weird odd places with T-Mobile coverage
Just as a foundation, in Visalia, downtown, T-Mobile is OK, not great,
but passable. Usually 4G, sometimes weak (1/5 to 2/5) but operational
LTE.
But where I was most of my time there, in Northern Visalia, in the
newer suburban areas, T-Mobile is nonexistant, except for unreliable
EDGE service without data (must be some sort of weak voice roaming
agreement with some lame coverage, coverage so bad that I couldn't
make or receive calls and couldn't send or receive text messages,
neither iMessage nor regular SMS; I suspect complete saturation by
tens of thousands of T-Mobile phones that can't compete for a single
56kbit channel, essentially a black-out due to the crush of numbers,
probably not even enough bandwidth to keep up with phone registration
traffic). Those areas are "newer", but by no means brand new.
They've been there for quite a while.
Now, to the weird part: drive toward the foothills through the
farmlands, which is NorthEast of Visalia, up Road 132, right on Avenue
320 (or perhaps Avenue 328, I forget), and after the first couple
farms you'll start to get excellent LTE service, way way way away from
Visalia and any suburban or urban areas. This lasts for many dozens
of miles before/on Milwood Drive. This goes up toward, by and past
Ivanhoe and Elderwood on Milwood Drive with the exact limits on that
path forgotten by me (a ground survey would be needed to confirm and
specify what location I'm talking about). This is not Band 12,
confirmed by the fact my iPhone 6+ doesn't have a Band 12 chip (and my
cheap $100 band 12 capable phone registered band 4 as far as I
remember). (Yes, I want to get the iPhone 6S+ as a result, which does
have band 12.) Not only that, but it is excellent LTE, strong LTE
signal (4/5 or 5/5), very fast speeds, low latency, and relatively
error free. This cuts out as I rise into the foothills, and "No
Service" rears its head to the point where I'm up there in the hills
with literally no cars on some roads for hours and no cell service at
all that I can find (not even Verizon signal on my disconnected
Verizon phone I keep for 911). I have experienced a similar
strong-LTE thing in farmlands East of Firebaugh on Avenue 7 1/2 (that
rural highway road name is, read aloud from its name, then written
into this posting, "Avenue Seven and A Half", in case you thought I
tendered a typo) (also not Band 12), due North of Mendota, to a much
lesser extent. My theory there was a very high tower that gets over
the curvature of the earth, and is pointed at those particular hiways,
with extremely high gain and highly directional microwave-like
antennas, but what if it is actually more localized high quality cell
towers? Or is this some sort of secret experimental low-flying
satellite experimental coverage (unlikely, as the coverage footprint
is stable near the area near Visalia)? I'm vastly curious, for both
the area East of Firebaugh and the area beyond Visalia toward the
foothills.
Obviously this LTE area in the rural areas wasn't meant for Visalia's
Northern suburbs since it didn't reach them at all. Is there some big
city planned for there we don't know about? Or was it just a case of
pump and dump on new tech, without sense of where to put it? Does it
have a miniscule backhaul which is why they don't mind offering such a
fat air pipe in an extremely rural area with almost no users? Is it
the newest area they deployed which is why they used the newest tech,
but it is positioned in such a manner as to reach a wide area without
being provisioned for heavy usage associated with dense users?
Is it the policy of cheap phone companies to treat new suburbs with
disdain as they most likely contain the highest concentration of
non-geriatric users, the most children, the most young parents, with
the least expendable income, that use the most bandwidth, and since
they're vested in their new suburban homes, they aren't going to move,
and they won't have a leg to stand on with respect to coverage
complaints since they aren't going to move anyway? I wonder. I
didn't have other carriers to compare to.
The suburbs are tough to cover if there are no commercial areas where
towers can be easily placed. Suburban users often don't want towers in
parks, schools, or playgrounds.

Cupertino is like this. When the iPhone was AT&T only there were endless
complaints about the lack of AT&T coverage but when AT&T wanted to put
in towers to improve coverage people objected.

It's especially hard for T-Mobile and Sprint since they use the higher
frequencies which have less range (other than T-Mobile's new 700 MHz LTE
band, and Sprint's new 800 MHz band, neither of which have support in
any but the latest phones).

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