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Thread: GSM Straight talk coverage in Neb.

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    GSM Straight talk coverage in Neb.

    Hello, i'm from eastern Nebraska where straight talk partner coverage with AT&T and T-mobile are pretty good. However there is almost no coverage with either provider in the middle or western part of Nebraska. There is a GSM company that does cover this area called Viaero. Im wodering why when 1 of my friends bought a straight talk fone that uses T-mobile and when we both went to a town in the western part of Nebraska called Lexington he DID have service. Now according to both AT&T and T-mobile coverage maps, their service ends about 150 miles to the east, and the other GSM, Viaero, only has EDGE coverage and no partnership with straighttalk as far as I know. I also think it was not Viaero because he had no service until about 10 miles from town and Viaero would have had coverage for most of the 150 miles from where AT&T and T-mobile coverage ended. So my question is does T-mobile or AT&T have coverage there with straighttalk, cause I would love to switch my iphone to straighttalk since I am moving out there. Or is it just some weird parnership with Viaero where they only partly provide service to straight talkers? P.S. Keep in mind there is no roaming with straightalk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SIM Jim View Post
    P.S. Keep in mind there is no roaming with straightalk.
    Technically, since ST is an MVNO, all of its coverage is roaming. Reportedly, ST has native ATT and TMO coverage, as well as coverage offered by the roaming partners of those carriers. In additon, ST also appears to have some direct agreements with regional/local carriers.

    Obviously, based on your friends experience, ST has some form of coverage in the location you mentioned. I'll let others chime in on if there is a way to determine exactly which carrier is providing that service.

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    I knew they had some local partners. I still wonder if the Viaero coverage map shows most of I-80 (the main road to west NE) covered, how come my friend only had coverage in a small area. And yes I would appreciate if someone else happened to know if there are any other GSM providers in Nebraska.

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    If it helps, I had EDGE coverage throughout Nebraska along the Amtrak route this past week. It wasn't AT&T, but it worked for as long as I was awake (and when I would sporadically wake up.)
    Internet at work and with a Nexus 4 on Straight Talk with AT&T.

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    ST buys coverage where it wants to have coverage. It could be buying coverage on 2 or 3 of Viaero's towers and not the rest. (No one - not even the ST reps - actually knows exactly what the coverage is, other than the people who work in that department. And the coverage can change at ST's will.)

    BTW, ST has no roaming - all coverage is ST's home coverage. If you have an AT&T SIM and are using a T-Mobile tower you're not roaming, you're just using a T-Mobile tower. You're still on ST's home coverage. An MVNO's "roaming" and a carrier's "roaming" are different things.

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    Rural Nebraska also has some Verizon GSM towers. Intermittent signal, crappy GPRS data (typically 20k while I've hit 150k on Viaero EDGE). Viaero is a primary roaming partner for T-Mobile. Unfortunately, AT&T usually prefers the Verizon GSM when available. Thankfully, it's far less reliable than Viaero and with fewer towers, so my iPhone often falls back on Viaero anyway. But perhaps the AT&T Straight Talk phone is just looking for Verizon GSM.

    Along the AMTRAK route you're using Viaero EDGE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelwnelson View Post
    Rural Nebraska also has some Verizon GSM towers. Intermittent signal, crappy GPRS data (typically 20k while I've hit 150k on Viaero EDGE). Viaero is a primary roaming partner for T-Mobile. Unfortunately, AT&T usually prefers the Verizon GSM when available. Thankfully, it's far less reliable than Viaero and with fewer towers, so my iPhone often falls back on Viaero anyway. But perhaps the AT&T Straight Talk phone is just looking for Verizon GSM.

    Along the AMTRAK route you're using Viaero EDGE.
    I use the ATT SIM, and would get EDGE between Fremont and Sioux City. That stopped suddenly about 10 days ago. ST reps give me various answers, none of which satisfy my question of why I don't roam on Viaero. I wonder if switching to a TMo SIM if that would help?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirosisofliver View Post
    I use the ATT SIM, and would get EDGE between Fremont and Sioux City. That stopped suddenly about 10 days ago. ST reps give me various answers, none of which satisfy my question of why I don't roam on Viaero. I wonder if switching to a TMo SIM if that would help?
    That area doesn't even have great Viaero coverage. The Hwy. 77 corridor has old Alltel GSM roaming only aside from a Viaero tower near Winslow, and Long Lines Wireless towers in Winnebago and Walthill. An occasional Viaero signal from the Hwy. 275 corridor can come in, but for the most part in Uehling, Oakland, and Lyons, you're on the Alltel/Verizon GSM. If they ever decide to shut that down -- which may have just happened -- that corridor is out of luck.

    I read a while back that Long Lines is looking at moving into Burt County but their deployment schedule isn't very fast. The Walthill tower took 3 years to bring online, though part of that was due to negotiations with the tribe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelwnelson View Post
    That area doesn't even have great Viaero coverage. The Hwy. 77 corridor has old Alltel GSM roaming only aside from a Viaero tower near Winslow, and Long Lines Wireless towers in Winnebago and Walthill. An occasional Viaero signal from the Hwy. 275 corridor can come in, but for the most part in Uehling, Oakland, and Lyons, you're on the Alltel/Verizon GSM. If they ever decide to shut that down -- which may have just happened -- that corridor is out of luck.

    I read a while back that Long Lines is looking at moving into Burt County but their deployment schedule isn't very fast. The Walthill tower took 3 years to bring online, though part of that was due to negotiations with the tribe.
    That makes sense...I even have a penta-band phone (Nokia N8). The Proclaim might l be my next step. I drive it 4 times a day for work..lol It sounds like anyone can start a GSM company...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirosisofliver View Post
    That makes sense...I even have a penta-band phone (Nokia N8). The Proclaim might l be my next step. I drive it 4 times a day for work..lol It sounds like anyone can start a GSM company...
    BTW, I also don't have data in Norfolk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirosisofliver View Post
    That makes sense...I even have a penta-band phone (Nokia N8). The Proclaim might l be my next step. I drive it 4 times a day for work..lol It sounds like anyone can start a GSM company...
    I have an AT&T iPhone so I'll check coverage next time I am on 77, though I usually take Hwy. 75 going north from Omaha so I'm not sure when that will be. 75 is all native AT&T coverage.

    If Verizon did shut down the old GSM/GPRS roaming network they had, then much of southeast Nebraska including Hebron, Fairbury, Friend, Crete, Wilber, Beatrice, Valparaiso, Tecumseh, Pawnee City, and Humboldt may be without signals too as those were all GPRS roaming areas. That would be a big loss so I wonder how AT&T and Viaero would respond. It's about time AT&T gets native coverage into some of those areas near Lincoln.

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    Do you have any coverage in Norfolk? That's a Viaero market, so if you have voice coverage you're still roaming on them. Sometimes their data network just vanishes for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelwnelson View Post
    Do you have any coverage in Norfolk? That's a Viaero market, so if you have voice coverage you're still roaming on them. Sometimes their data network just vanishes for a while.
    yep..voice is fine. I could see Viaero not keeping the towers up to spec. Only thing spottier than my coverage is ST's CS...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirosisofliver View Post
    yep..voice is fine. I could see Viaero not keeping the towers up to spec.
    Let me say something in Viareo's defense. They are technically one of the best run networks in the country. The company is run by an RF geek who does things because they make technical sense, not just a profit.

    For example, in areas where Viaero owns both 850 and 1900 MHz spectrum, they offer all services on both to provide the best signal under differing circumstamces. They have completely bypassed the local telco for backhaul so they can get better bandwidth...and costs, and to that end, have installed redundant RF links at each site to compensate for any link signal variations.

    Yes, Viaero does have a better relationship with T-Mobile than AT&T, so there could very well be more coverage for ST customers using T-Mobile. I would guess that Straight Talk has more say in who roams where in the area. It is also possible that there are some inconsistancies with Viaero's network, for example, they have only installed 4G gear in their newest cell sites, but intend to add it to all of them.

    Since there is no contract with ST, i would try your current service after the move and have a new ST/T-Mobile SIM at the ready to try out. You may also be happy joining Viaero. Like gas prices, power, or cheese whiz, you may end up paying higher rates for stuff after you move, including wireless, something we all face from time to time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billradio View Post
    Let me say something in Viareo's defense. They are technically one of the best run networks in the country. The company is run by an RF geek who does things because they make technical sense, not just a profit.

    For example, in areas where Viaero owns both 850 and 1900 MHz spectrum, they offer all services on both to provide the best signal under differing circumstamces. They have completely bypassed the local telco for backhaul so they can get better bandwidth...and costs, and to that end, have installed redundant RF links at each site to compensate for any link signal variations.

    Yes, Viaero does have a better relationship with T-Mobile than AT&T, so there could very well be more coverage for ST customers using T-Mobile. I would guess that Straight Talk has more say in who roams where in the area. It is also possible that there are some inconsistancies with Viaero's network, for example, they have only installed 4G gear in their newest cell sites, but intend to add it to all of them.
    Bingo.

    Something people also fail to realize is that these rural providers have a lot more ground to cover per subscriber than nationwide carriers. Yes, AT&T and Verizon have large networks, but they can create large expansion through cross-subsidization with urban areas. Basically, AT&T, Verizon, and other national carriers can cover metro areas and highways well, build out rural areas that are appealing to them, and cover a lot of ground (and thus have more people to sell their service to) than these regional carriers.

    As such, regional carriers cannot always afford to upgrade as fast as the national carriers.

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