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Thread: Extremely Poor Coverage in Wyoming (Yellowstone) and Montana

  1. #1
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    Extremely Poor Coverage in Wyoming (Yellowstone) and Montana

    What's up with AT&T's coverage (or lack thereof) in Yellowstone and Montana.

    I went to Idaho Falls to view the eclipse, flying into Bozeman, and stopping by Yellowstone (Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful) on the way there. Coverage in the Old Faithful area was EXTREMELY poor. Most of the time, I had the phone displaying "Emergency Calls Only", and even when it did get a usable signal, I was unable to use data. I was last in this area about 8 years ago, and although it was partner coverage (Union Wireless I believe), the signal was very usable in the Old Faithful and surrounding areas. In other words, coverage has gotten much worse. This became an issue when one member of my party became separated from the group, and I was unable to call or text her (all of us have AT&T, and I expected it to work because it had worked in 2009).

    Then, along I-15, between Lima and Dillon, there was a 3-4 mile long traffic jam caused by MDT doing construction on eclipse day . In any case I was stuck in it with NO SERVICE displaying on my phone, so not only could I not get any information about the traffic, and not only did I miss my flight, but I could not proactively reschedule my flight either. Seriously, this is a major interstate highway and in 2017, AT&T has no service?!?!? By the time I got to Dillon, and got a usable signal again, all of the flights out of Bozeman for Tuesday, August 22 had been oversold. And I got the NO SERVICE message *again* in some areas of MT-41 and MT-55 (Twin Bridges, Silver Star).

    There are also huge gaps in coverage along US-191 through the Gallatin Valley, and on US-20 between West Yellowstone and Ashton, although the former gaps in coverage were there in 2009, and I was half expecting that AT&T hadn't improved things since then. In any case, I'd give AT&T a D for coverage in WY and MT in general, and an F for coverage inside Yellowstone, where things have actually gotten worse in the last 8 years.

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    didn't they say that there could be cellular outages because of the eclipse ??

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    No question there are coverage gaps in that area, but at least part of your experience sounds like it had to do with the network being overloaded due to all the extra traffic on it.
    AT&T customer since 2007; Alltel 2004-07. Android user since 2014 and will never go back to Apple.
    I recommend and use CellMapper and Sensorly for testing and mapping signal coverage and have contributed extensively to both projects in the greater St. Louis region and surrounding states.

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    Unfortunately the parks don’t like cell phone towers put in so phone companies have very few places they can be placed. I can tell you that I also believe there was some congestion issues here because these areas are typically at least decent coverage. Not the best but sufficient

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    Quote Originally Posted by awj223 View Post
    What's up with AT&T's coverage (or lack thereof) in Yellowstone and Montana....
    Sorry you missed your flight and all, but First World Problems.

    IIRC, the National Park Service policy is that they will not cellify rural, scenic, wilderness areas. Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, etc. have never been known for more than rudimentary cell service. The rural mountain West where cows > people is not known for good cell service. Throw in how many thousand extra city and town folk for the eclipse and that is a recipe for cell service failure. That is what I would have expected.

    I had great cell service all the way and back from Loudon Tn for the eclipse. I did experience bad traffic the day of and the day after. Speed up to 70 and come to a crawl or stop over and over for 400 miles.

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    It's a national park. The purpose of a national park is to preserve the property for future generations against human interference and contamination..................like cellular towers and such. Turn your phone off and enjoy the park.

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    Extremely Poor Coverage In Wyoming (Yellowstone) And Montana

    Wow, I couldn't disagree with the above post more. Here is why. I grew up in very rural Minnesota. I now live in a suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Two of my favorite hobbies get me out in very rural areas. We have two horses and two ATVs.

    In fact, just this past weekend we were ATVing in very rural country. We are Verizon users, but I also have an AT&T hotspot that I bring with in case I need to make a wifi text or call when I run out of Verizon coverage.

    There are two big reasons that come to mind when I disagree about turning off the cell phone. The first one is that many people use there smartphone camera feature. I know we do. I love taking photographs in the wilderness, particularly the deer and other animals. To me, that would enhance my enjoyment of the park by taking photographs.

    The other part is safety. Things can and do happen all over. In fact, this past Saturday, we came across an overturned side by side ATV on the trail. Both of the occupants were injured, not not so seriously that I called 911. Could I have left my phone off? Of course, I could have. Just know that when you power your phone up, it can take a little bit to get signal again.

    Folks that have served in the armed forces sometimes use the phrase, "two is one and one is none." There is actually quite a bit of wisdom to this advice. In this case, having something that works on AT&T and something else, perhaps prepaid, that works on Verizon is worthy of consideration.

    You might also be interested to know that something called FirstNet is coming. It will take some time. AT&T has been selected and this will enhance rural coverage.
    https://www.firstnet.com/?WT.srch=1&...&cid=898762998

    So, to sum up my advice, leave your phone on and enjoy the park!

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    I've been to Yellowstone several times. It's beautiful, it's raw and natural wilderness, the way most of the country used to be before white man's settlement. I've never had use for a cell phone. Okay, use it for a camera if you wish, you don't need a cell signal for that. However, the last thing I want to see when out enjoying Yellowstone is a 200' steel tower sticking up out of the trees.

    To each his own. I grew up in a time when we didn't even have a phone in our house, so I guess I may be a bit more resourceful than some.

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    Extremely Poor Coverage In Wyoming (Yellowstone) And Montana

    http://www.friends-bwca.org/issues/cell-tower/

    And, I am probably more sensitive to this issue than most because I grew up in a very rural area and I know what can happen in remote areas. My background is law enforcement and emergency management, with a side of amateur radio as a hobby. During an emergency, communications are critical.

    They also dealt with that issue in the BWCA. The local first responders want cell coverage up there for emergency response. Many don't want unsightly towers. Again, I get both sides of it. When the 800 MHz ARMER radio network went in, additional towers had to be added because 800 MHz doesn't have the coverage that VHF does. Every year, deer hunters get lost up there. Now, with better cell coverage, it is reducing the number of times that the sheriff's rescue squads have to perform search and rescue missions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Sorry you missed your flight and all, but First World Problems.

    IIRC, the National Park Service policy is that they will not cellify rural, scenic, wilderness areas. Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, etc. have never been known for more than rudimentary cell service. The rural mountain West where cows > people is not known for good cell service. Throw in how many thousand extra city and town folk for the eclipse and that is a recipe for cell service failure. That is what I would have expected.

    I had great cell service all the way and back from Loudon Tn for the eclipse. I did experience bad traffic the day of and the day after. Speed up to 70 and come to a crawl or stop over and over for 400 miles.
    Not really true anymore. The Grand Canyon has excellent coverage. There's a cell tower right in the village with 3G/LTE coverage on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. I was just there and had 4-5 bars everywhere.

    Yosemite also has good coverage. There are several cell towers within the park and Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have good coverage.

    All of the 5 national parks in Utah also have coverage on at the very least AT&T and Verizon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwtmd View Post
    Not really true anymore. The Grand Canyon has excellent coverage.
    Crickets coverage map shows no service around the Grand Canyon, so wouldn't that indicate no AT&T native coverage? I'm assuming only AT&T post-paid customers would see any coverage through a roaming partner.

    Just noticed the AT&T coverage map only shows 3rd party coverage. Are the maps outdated?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Rules View Post
    Crickets coverage map shows no service around the Grand Canyon, so wouldn't that indicate no AT&T native coverage? I'm assuming only AT&T post-paid customers would see any coverage through a roaming partner.

    Just noticed the AT&T coverage map only shows 3rd party coverage. Are the maps outdated?
    To my knowledge it is through a roaming partner, Commnet Four Corners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
    http://www.friends-bwca.org/issues/cell-tower/

    And, I am probably more sensitive to this issue than most because I grew up in a very rural area and I know what can happen in remote areas. My background is law enforcement and emergency management, with a side of amateur radio as a hobby. During an emergency, communications are critical.

    They also dealt with that issue in the BWCA. The local first responders want cell coverage up there for emergency response. Many don't want unsightly towers. Again, I get both sides of it. When the 800 MHz ARMER radio network went in, additional towers had to be added because 800 MHz doesn't have the coverage that VHF does. Every year, deer hunters get lost up there. Now, with better cell coverage, it is reducing the number of times that the sheriff's rescue squads have to perform search and rescue missions.
    I have over 40 years in public safety as a first responder. I have a very refined appreciation for these concerns and I totally agree that communication is paramount in public safety. I just happen to believe that safety should not be the priority at Yellowstone. If perfect safety is one's goal, then there are many places where one can go where they will see sub five minute response times of police, fire, and ems services. One can even visit Yellowstone during it's peak visitation times and stay on the pavement. I doubt they'd be able to fart without someone close by to smell it.

    My goal for Yellowstone is that my grandchildren can visit it in thirty years and still have that pristine, pure, wilderness experience free from all the trappings of civilization. There's no question that many things can be done to make Yellowstone safer and more convenient for tourists, I just don't support those measures. I guess it is an ideological debate.

    Someone mentioned the Grand Canyon. Good example. The Grand Canyon has become like Wallyworld. I don't want to see that happen to Yellowstone. JMO

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    No coverage for GoPhone either at the Grand Canyon. . . . . ONLY AT&T Postpaid will work there.

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    Earlier this summer at Mammoth my AT&T postpaid phone was a brick but my prepaid T-Mobile phone worked great.

    I think it roamed on Union if I recall.


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