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Thread: What advantage does Consumer Cellular have over other AT&T MVNOs?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broadus View Post
    ....
    Being in the Southeast, I don't think that I'll be affected if on only native AT&T.....
    Actually, unless things have changed very recent, AT&T has relatively poor coverage in the SouthEast unless you're in Florida or something.

    Verizon is much better.

    No AT&T voice coverage in parts of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

    No low band coverage in most of the Carolinas (being 1900 MHz only, not 700 Mhz.).

    I think there are issues in West Virginia too.

    But there is no real evidence that I can see that Consumer Cellular supports roaming anyway. All they ever said on their web site was "no extra charges for roaming" which is because they do not have roaming. More exactly it dates back to earlier days when roaming meant coverage outside your own state. But people misinterpreted it.
    Last edited by comintel; 10-04-2017 at 02:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broadus View Post
    Wow: 15-20% is high. For the less than total price sharing 3GB on two lines with CC, I could get 3GB on each line with PureTalk and for a few dollars more 4GB on each line with Cricket.

    Being in the Southeast, I don't think that I'll be affected if on only native AT&T. One thing in Cricket's favor over PureTalk is HD Voice, although I don't know whether that's a big deal.

    Thanks for your perspective. That helps.
    It's not just CC, it's all the carriers that don't include taxes and fees. See "State Tax Rankings" http://www.actwireless.org/taxes-and...-tax-rankings/ and "Average taxes on wireless bills in California reach a record 18%" http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...24-column.html

    Also, remember that besides government taxes, carriers add their own non-governmental fees.

    Plus in my city, there's a 2.4% city wireless tax as well, and that's by no means the highest city tax. In California, cities are in a desperate state because of Prop. 13 limits on property tax and look for other tax revenue so they love cellular taxes, hotel occupancy taxes, etc.

    A carrier that includes taxes and fees in their rates is basically having subscribers in low tax states subsidize those in high tax states. If T-Mobile didn't have such horrible coverage their ONE Now plan would be a lot more popular.

    I think AT&T was pretty brilliant with the launch of Cricket. A lot better to offer a de-featured lower rate service at retail prices than wholesaling data and voice and SMS to MVNOs. Multiple lines is where the other MVNOs really can't compete with Cricket, and the lack of roaming and tethering is not an issue to most people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by comintel View Post
    Actually, unless things have changed very recent, AT&T has relatively poor coverage in the SouthEast unless you're in Florida or something.

    Verizon is much better.

    No AT&T voice coverage in parts of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

    No low band data coverage in most of the Carolinas (being 1900 MHz only, not 700 Mhz.).

    I think there are issues in West Virginia too.

    But there is no real evidence that I can see that Consumer Cellular supports roaming anyway. All they ever said on their web site was "no extra charges for roaming" which is because they do not have roaming. More exactly it dates back to earlier days when roaming meant coverage outside your own state. But people misinterpreted it.
    While it's true that Verizon is much better than AT&T, the question was postpaid AT&T coverage with roaming, versus AT&T MVNO coverage.

    CC's map does show roaming,but the map is titled "Domestic Wireless Voice Coverage." Compare it with Cricket's map which has very little roaming. What's not clear is if the CC roaming is voice/SMS only, or if it includes data, and if it does included data is it only 2G data (AT&T no longer has 2G data).

    You can see the light orange roaming areas on CC map versus the white areas (no coverage) on Cricket.Name:  cricketversuscc.jpg
Views: 197
Size:  78.4 KB

    While it would be nice to have data when in remote areas, at least having voice and SMS is useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smsgator View Post
    While it's true that Verizon is much better than AT&T, the question was postpaid AT&T coverage with roaming, versus AT&T MVNO coverage.

    CC's map does show roaming,but the map is titled "Domestic Wireless Voice Coverage." Compare it with Cricket's map which has very little roaming. What's not clear is if the CC roaming is voice/SMS only, or if it includes data, and if it does included data is it only 2G data (AT&T no longer has 2G data).

    You can see the light orange areas on CC map versus the white areas (no coverage) on Cricket.Name:  cricketversuscc.jpg
Views: 197
Size:  78.4 KB
    I naively assumed that they might have some roaming arrangements in areas where they have otherwise poorer coverage relative to Verizon. That seems logical to me but maybe it is not the case?

    I hope the maps are correct and that one is not just older or newer than the other.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by comintel View Post
    Actually, unless things have changed very recent, AT&T has relatively poor coverage in the SouthEast unless you're in Florida or something.

    Verizon is much better.

    No AT&T voice coverage in parts of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

    No low band coverage in most of the Carolinas (being 1900 MHz only, not 700 Mhz.).

    I think there are issues in West Virginia too.

    But there is no real evidence that I can see that Consumer Cellular supports roaming anyway. All they ever said on their web site was "no extra charges for roaming" which is because they do not have roaming. More exactly it dates back to earlier days when roaming meant coverage outside your own state. But people misinterpreted it.
    The only evidence regarding CDMA and GSM that I have comparing AT&T MVNOs and Verizon MVNOs are in our particular small town is anecdotal. My secretary and I are each on separate Verizon MVNOs: she with Straighttalk and I with Selectel. We both often have to go outside to make a phone call on our cell phones.

    The secretary has an adult son and daughter. The son was on Straighttalk CDMA, couldn't get decent coverage where lives on Lake Greenwood, and was persuaded by his girlfriend to switch to Cricket. He said his reception improved significantly.

    The daughter was on Straighttalk CDMA and couldn't get reception in her school building, not really surprising with metal roofs and such. She replaced her ZTE CDMA phone with the same model but GSM and went to Straighttalk GSM, and she now can make and receive phone calls in her building.

    Verizon does have a better reputation at rural coverage than does AT&T, but do CDMA (Verizon) MVNOs get the same frequencies and such that postpaid Verizon uses, or maybe is it Verizon VoLTE that CDMA MVNOs don't have that makes the difference?
    Last edited by Broadus; 10-04-2017 at 03:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smsgator View Post

    CC's map does show roaming,but the map is titled "Domestic Wireless Voice Coverage." Compare it with Cricket's map which has very little roaming. What's not clear is if the CC roaming is voice/SMS only, or if it includes data, and if it does included data is it only 2G data (AT&T no longer has 2G data).
    When we refer to 2G data, we're actually stating 2G speeds, not literally connecting to EDGE/GPRS/GSM/2G network, which, as you've stated, doesn't exist on AT&T anymore.

    If there is what we call "2G data," it is actually connecting to the network's 3G or LTE networks, but it will just simply be a slower speed (usually around 128 kbps).

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    Quote Originally Posted by comintel View Post
    I naively assumed that they might have some roaming arrangements in areas where they have otherwise poorer coverage relative to Verizon. That seems logical to me but maybe it is not the case?
    It's not the case because there is no rural carrier to roam on and because AT&T's coverage is poorer by default, especially for voice because GSM is so much poorer than CDMA when it comes to range.

    Another issue is that the rural carriers tended to migrate from TDMA/AMPS to CDMA, rather than from TDMA/AMPS to GSM because they needed fewer towers to cover a given area. For example, in California, Golden State Cellular did an excellent job of covering rural areas in Gold Country and Yosemite with CDMA, while AT&T did not have nearly as good coverage (Sprint and T-Mobile didn't even bother at all). Verizon roamed on GSC, then ended up buying them. U.S. Cellular is CDMA and they have good coverage in far north California and in Oregon, including areas that Verizon doesn't cover. When I had Page Plus, I would roam on GSC and U.S. Cellular and get dinged for roaming charges (and have to double-dial on outgoing calls). I was glad when Verizon bought GSC and ended the roaming charges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by comintel View Post
    Actually, unless things have changed very recent, AT&T has relatively poor coverage in the SouthEast unless you're in Florida or something.

    Verizon is much better.

    No AT&T voice coverage in parts of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
    Yeah, my sister moved to a development near Weaverville, NC. Verizon only. Plus no cable service. DSL is super slow. They use tethering on Verizon, which is expensive for the amount of data they use.

  9. #24
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    CS is not higher for some lower use scenarios.

    Example: we currently have 250 min/unlimited texts/3 GB data with hotspot tethering enabled, shared across two lines for just under $51, taxes and fees included. On Cricket, it looks like we'd be charged $60 for UL talk/text and only 2GB data.

    It all depends on the usage needs of the individual subscriber.
    Trying to come up with some sort of signature line...

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
    CS is not higher for some lower use scenarios.

    Example: we currently have 250 min/unlimited texts/3 GB data with hotspot tethering enabled, shared across two lines for just under $51, taxes and fees included. On Cricket, it looks like we'd be charged $60 for UL talk/text and only 2GB data.

    It all depends on the usage needs of the individual subscriber.
    When I plug your numbers into the new plans, it total $50 plus taxes/fees. What am I missing?

    But your point is well taken. Some scenarios work out well on CC.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
    CS is not higher for some lower use scenarios.

    Example: we currently have 250 min/unlimited texts/3 GB data with hotspot tethering enabled, shared across two lines for just under $51, taxes and fees included. On Cricket, it looks like we'd be charged $60 for UL talk/text and only 2GB data.

    It all depends on the usage needs of the individual subscriber.
    I assume that CC is grandfathering you in with the old $10 per-extra-line charge, which they recently raised by 50%. If I were to sign up for two CC lines with 3GB and 250 minutes shared it would cost about $61, without the 5% AARP discount.

    And of course on Cricket you'd have had unlimited talk and text per line, not just 250 minutes to share.

    If CC had had the 10GB data plan six months ago then I would have stayed with them rather than switching to Cricket, since for four of us they didn't have a large enough data plan. If they had retained the $10 per additional line charge then I would probably have switched back to them, but with their increased per line charge I would not go back.
    Last edited by smsgator; 10-04-2017 at 05:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broadus View Post
    When I plug your numbers into the new plans, it total $50 plus taxes/fees. What am I missing?

    But your point is well taken. Some scenarios work out well on CC.
    CC recently raised the cost for each extra line from $10 to $15, but I assume that existing customers were grandfathered in. Also be sure to take into account the AARP discount.

  13. #28
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    CC also does not have wifi calling, a feature which is terrific if you are inside with borderline service or no cell service at all. It just works. Consumer Cellular doesn't have it at all. Cricket does have it. I find I use the wifi calling a lot.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc View Post
    CC also does not have wifi calling, a feature which is terrific if you are inside with borderline service or no cell service at all. It just works. Consumer Cellular doesn't have it at all. Cricket does have it. I find I use the wifi calling a lot.
    That’s a good point. I thought PureTalk has WiFi calling, but I think it is tethering for iPhones instead.

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    The only definitive way to find out is to go out their with your phone and check coverage.

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