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Thread: Sprint vs. Virgin: same coverage?

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    Sprint vs. Virgin: same coverage?

    I was under the impression that Virgin uses the Sprint network and therefore I would have the same coverage as Sprint customers. But then a Sprint customer told me that his phone automatically ROAMs to Verizon when there's a weak or no Sprint signal. They are both CDMA services so it would seem that this is possible. Does Virgin also roam? There is no "roam indicator" on my Rumor Touch. If not, then Sprint customers would seem to have much wider coverage than Virgin. Does anybody know if this is true?

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    Virgin Mobile phones do not roam. That is the downside to using a Sprint Prepaid service. If you want to roam, you must let Sprint put a big ol postpaid hook into your wallet.

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    Virgin Mobile only uses native Sprint network. VM DOES NOT ROAM, look at sprint coverage, you'll see a gray area, that means roaming. you won't have coverage on that gray area with VM

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    my rumor 2 would go on "digital roam" though, im not sure why... any ideas?

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    From what I've read there are two reasons the major carriers don't offer roaming on their prepaid plans. The most often stated is that the roaming fees are expensive and that would drive up the cost. I'm not sure how true that is since all of the major carriers "trade" roaming rights since all have that need on their contract accounts. Probably the more likely reason is that the major carriers would really rather you didn't go the prepaid / no contract route.

    My personal opinion is that eventually someone will break ranks and offer roaming and the whole roaming thing will just go away. For me it's not much of an issue since Sprint pretty much covers all the major areas although there are weak signal areas that can be a pain. For some however I can understand how it would be a major consideration. The difference between Sprint's $70 all-you-can-eat plan and VM's $25 plan is also a major consideration and certainly not explained by roaming fees (or free phones).

    Cell phone life is full of trade-offs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty913 View Post
    From what I've read there are two reasons the major carriers don't offer roaming on their prepaid plans.
    Not all the major carriers don't offer roaming on their prepaid plans.
    Verizon Prepaid, and some of its prepaid MVNOs, offer roaming. In fact, Verizon Prepaid, including its roaming areas, has better coverage than current VZW postpaid plans.

    I'm pretty sure T-Mobile Prepaid has some roaming, as well, though I'm less familiar with them.

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    I have used VM for several years. In that time I have traveled across the United States and have had coverage in all of those places. I have friends on different carriers surprised at my coverage when they would normally have "dead spots." One of the reasons I chose VM is because Sprint's coverage is so good.

    Tari

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    Sprint does an excellent job of covering populated areas *and* major routes between them. In a way that's a natural side-effect of their system using lower-range towers --they have to put in more towers in areas they want to cover, so there are fewer/smaller dead spots.

    OTOH if you regularly go far off the beaten path then you might run into more problems than with other carriers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
    Not all the major carriers don't offer roaming on their prepaid plans.
    Verizon Prepaid, and some of its prepaid MVNOs, offer roaming. In fact, Verizon Prepaid, including its roaming areas, has better coverage than current VZW postpaid plans.

    I'm pretty sure T-Mobile Prepaid has some roaming, as well, though I'm less familiar with them.
    Yes Verizon does but it's prepaid rates start at 25 cents a minute (20 per text) and then move to $1 a day plus 10 cents a minute / text. At those rates you should be able to roam to Mongolia. It seems they built the roaming in and then some.

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    I'm confused. The Virgin Mobile coverage map here

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/check...phone-coverage

    Is much different from the Sprint coverage map here

    http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.js...anity:coverage

    For example, the Sprint map shows almost all of western Kansas in green -- meaning covered by Sprint, not roaming. The Virgin Mobile map shows almost no coverage in western Kansas.

    Can anyone explain?

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    I would buy a cheap VM phone and test it out.

    Maybe VM doesnt update their maps as frequently as sprint postpaid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardK View Post
    I'm confused. The Virgin Mobile coverage map here

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/check...phone-coverage

    Is much different from the Sprint coverage map here

    http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.js...anity:coverage

    For example, the Sprint map shows almost all of western Kansas in green -- meaning covered by Sprint, not roaming. The Virgin Mobile map shows almost no coverage in western Kansas.

    Can anyone explain?
    Verizon and Sprint have reciprocal roaming agreements; neither company's towers are considered "roaming". If you look at a proprietary Sprint service coverage map (Direct Connect), it is exactly the same as VM coverage, as it only uses Sprint towers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTwannabe View Post
    Verizon and Sprint have reciprocal roaming agreements; neither company's towers are considered "roaming". If you look at a proprietary Sprint service coverage map (Direct Connect), it is exactly the same as VM coverage, as it only uses Sprint towers.
    Thanks. That makes sense...but is a little disappointing. It won't be a problem most of the time, but it will leave us without coverage on long stretches of highway. I guess you have to give up something for the low price of Virgin Mobile's service.

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    Roaming works in several degrees in prepaid.
    1)No roaming. Sprint mvnos/prepaid divisions are like this as are some Tmobile mvnos like Simple and Tuyo.
    2)Roaming with extra charge. The option is available but you pay for every minute that you use. Some Verizon prepaid/mvnos are like this.
    3)Postpaid coverage or close. Tmobile prepaid offers 97% of the roaming capabilities of their postpaid sister and a few Verizon mvnos offer postpaid coverage (Siri Wireless for example. )
    4)ALL roaming. Some carriers have roaming ONLY. Well, actually they have one major carrier and vastly extend their coverage with roaming agreements with everyone else of that technology. Tracfone and Net10 are two of the best examples. They usually run Verizon on their cdma phones and Att/Tmobile on their gsm stuff and have roaming with everyone in their areas (for paygo). Idk about unlimited as usually most carriers have such a different rate for unlimited plans (if they even offer it) that creating an average reseller price is a lot harder to do with such a plan then a per minute rate . Most carriers can probably be averaged into a 10 cent a minute paygo rate but trying to get everyone on the roaming agreements to say it's okay to price everything the same for $50 unlimited everything may be a bit harder.

    My belief is that Straight Talk gsm is either Att only or Tmobile only depending on area. And for cdma , Verizon only. Both with no roaming. Net10 unlimited was first Att native only, then Tmobile native only. Now it has cdma versions out. I'm assuming it's Tmo, Verizon and Att depending on the region with no roaming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardK View Post
    I'm confused. The Virgin Mobile coverage map here

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/check...phone-coverage

    Is much different from the Sprint coverage map here

    http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.js...anity:coverage

    For example, the Sprint map shows almost all of western Kansas in green -- meaning covered by Sprint, not roaming. The Virgin Mobile map shows almost no coverage in western Kansas.

    Can anyone explain?
    The Sprint map includes Sprint Rural Alliance partners as native Sprint coverage. These companies are typically small "Mom and Pop" carriers serving a rural area. Sprint gets their localized coverage without spending on infrastructure, and the little company gets to claim national coverage.

    Your western Kansas example is served by either United Wireless or Nextech Wireless, both Sprint Rural Alliance partners. As you surmised, Sprint Rural Alliance partners do not serve VM users.

    Verizon is a Sprint roaming partner, and shows in gray on the Sprint map. (Sprint has roaming partners besides Verizon, of course.)

    And yes, Verizon likes to lie on their maps and claim their roaming partners as "native" coverage. To see Verizon's roaming areas, switch the Verizon coverage map to prepaid view.

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