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Thread: Is Verizon Still the Best for Coverage?

  1. #31
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    In my area, cellmapper really does not have enough info to draw conclusions; I mean, it actually appears to show much more LTE coverage than 1X (not saying there is, I'm saying that's what the map shows, simply due to so many devices running in VoLTE mode and not collecting 1x signal strength). Oddly, it shows a big stretch of red (poor or no coverage) for CDMA coverage along a big stretch of I80 where I know for a fact there's solid coverage, along with many many areas where there's simply no data collected for LTE or 1x. Even along the "northeast corridor" it looks like anything but the main few highways does not have data collected.

  2. #32
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    There's a sort of continuum of coverage that starts on one end with Iridium and other satellite phones and ends up on the other end with some regional, non-roaming prepaid plan (e.g. Choice Wireless). Verizon falls at the upper end of the terrestrial options. I've found them to be particularly good in rural areas of the Eastern States. The question is always ,"Just how much do you want to pay for that extra coverage?" I used to keep an Iridium phone active because I traveled all over the world. I know I guy who keeps one alive, just in case. He did the math and to him, it's worth the cost. The coverage calculus continues right on down to the cheapest prepaid phone.

    My son's job takes him to rural locations all over this state. His wireless decision was driven largely by rural coverage concerns. He uses Cricket. My sister is involved with equestrian events in similar locations. She uses Verizon. I stay mostly in suburban areas and have a really great rate with T-Mobile which allows me to keep a PAYG backup with PagePlus for those times I stray into the woods. Everyone gets to pick what works best for them.

    So, if you absolutely want the best coverage, regardless of cost, voice quality, data speed, etc., go Iridium. Everything else is just a compromise.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    There's a sort of continuum of coverage that starts on one end with Iridium and other satellite phones and ends up on the other end with some regional, non-roaming prepaid plan (e.g. Choice Wireless). Verizon falls at the upper end of the terrestrial options. I've found them to be particularly good in rural areas of the Eastern States. The question is always ,"Just how much do you want to pay for that extra coverage?" I used to keep an Iridium phone active because I traveled all over the world. I know I guy who keeps one alive, just in case. He did the math and to him, it's worth the cost. The coverage calculus continues right on down to the cheapest prepaid phone.

    My son's job takes him to rural locations all over this state. His wireless decision was driven largely by rural coverage concerns. He uses Cricket. My sister is involved with equestrian events in similar locations. She uses Verizon. I stay mostly in suburban areas and have a really great rate with T-Mobile which allows me to keep a PAYG backup with PagePlus for those times I stray into the woods. Everyone gets to pick what works best for them.

    So, if you absolutely want the best coverage, regardless of cost, voice quality, data speed, etc., go Iridium. Everything else is just a compromise.
    I understand that Iridium does not work indoors. Is that correct, or has that problem been solved?

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    There's a sort of continuum of coverage that starts on one end with Iridium and other satellite phones and ends up on the other end with some regional, non-roaming prepaid plan (e.g. Choice Wireless). Verizon falls at the upper end of the terrestrial options.
    Choice Wireless is fascinating. I never knew that was a thing, but I have heard of Commnet many times in regards to AT&T roaming coverage.

    So, if you absolutely want the best coverage, regardless of cost, voice quality, data speed, etc., go Iridium. Everything else is just a compromise.
    Iridium isn't exactly very practical, and doesn't offer usable data speeds. It would be far cheaper to have a few different smartphones on various terrestrial networks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CellGeek View Post
    I understand that Iridium does not work indoors. Is that correct, or has that problem been solved?
    Originally, Iridium was supposed to partner with terrestrial cellular for urban & indoor service. I think the phone will receive pages indoors but can't support a call inside, unless it's connected to an outside antenna. Onboard ship I'd run a cable out and stick a magnetic mount antenna outside to make calls.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    Choice Wireless is fascinating. I never knew that was a thing, but I have heard of Commnet many times in regards to AT&T roaming coverage.
    I think that in order to qualify for Federal rural wireless funds they had to actually offer retail service. That's why Choice exists.
    Iridium isn't exactly very practical, and doesn't offer usable data speeds. It would be far cheaper to have a few different smartphones on various terrestrial networks.
    I happen to agree. The point is valid when the discussion is "who has the best coverage?" or "coverage is more important than anything else." Satellite phones have their place but they also have limitations. But if you're only interested in coverage above everything else.....

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    If I was on the road a lot in the west, I would seriously consider a satellite phone for emergency use. Then I would just have to worry that I kept it charged so if I needed it I could use it.

    More practically, I keep a phone on both ATT and Verizon, the backup number on a cheap limited minute plan.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. But I have more phones than lines. Back to only Prepaid with the changes in the economy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    ..... Then I would just have to worry that I kept it charged so if I needed it I could use it.......
    Back when the whole world used Nokia 61XX & 51XX phones, I used to keep a zinc-air battery for a Nokia in the glove box, just in case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    I think that in order to qualify for Federal rural wireless funds they had to actually offer retail service. That's why Choice exists.
    Interesting. So they probably have few customers, and just push people who want it to Verizon, AT&T, or whomever has the best roaming deals to roam back onto Commnet.

    I happen to agree. The point is valid when the discussion is "who has the best coverage?" or "coverage is more important than anything else." Satellite phones have their place but they also have limitations. But if you're only interested in coverage above everything else.....
    True. They don't really compete with cell phones though. They are supplemental to cell phones in certain situations. Maritime uses them all the time.

    Once these new LEO satellite systems come, I wonder if there will be hybrid cellular-LEO phones with LEO data as well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    .....Once these new LEO satellite systems come, I wonder if there will be hybrid cellular-LEO phones with LEO data as well...
    Since rural coverage is generally a money loser, I'd like to see some sort of HAP technology to provide ubiquitous rural coverage (even in National Parks and the like). LEO satellites are one alternative. Project Loon is interesting but a tad "loony". Loon has the advantage of being able to use a carrier's allocated bands, provided that they are licensed over a large enough area. So, since Verizon has band 13 licensed across the US, a Loon-like system could provide wide-area rural coverage using band-13.

    Remember AT&T's tie-in with TerreStar? That was an attempt to provide hybrid terrestrial/satellite service in North America. It wasn't very popular for the same reason that the original Iridium went bankrupt. Thruraya currently provides hybrid terrestrial/satellite service throughout most of Eurasia and northern Africa.

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    Is Verizon Still the Best for Coverage?

    Quote Originally Posted by CellGeek View Post
    I understand that Iridium does not work indoors. Is that correct, or has that problem been solved?
    You need line of sight to a satellite. Depending on terrain, trees, etc. you may need to wait until you have line of sight to get coverage, even outdoors.
    "I didn't get fat by accident. This was a personal choice. " - Kevin Gillespie

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Since rural coverage is generally a money loser, I'd like to see some sort of HAP technology to provide ubiquitous rural coverage (even in National Parks and the like). LEO satellites are one alternative. Project Loon is interesting but a tad "loony". Loon has the advantage of being able to use a carrier's allocated bands, provided that they are licensed over a large enough area. So, since Verizon has band 13 licensed across the US, a Loon-like system could provide wide-area rural coverage using band-13.

    Remember AT&T's tie-in with TerreStar? That was an attempt to provide hybrid terrestrial/satellite service in North America. It wasn't very popular for the same reason that the original Iridium went bankrupt. Thruraya currently provides hybrid terrestrial/satellite service throughout most of Eurasia and northern Africa.
    I'd really just like to see the carriers step up and build out the networks to a point where they reliably work everywhere in the Lower 48. They couldn't cover all of Alaska, but they should be able to get all of the inhabited areas with LTE plus the haul road would probably only take 8 or 10 towers to cover.

    Since they seem to have stopped caring about rural coverage, that HAP technology could be interesting. It's a bit different than drones, but I know AT&T was looking at drones on tethers that could go higher than traditional cellular towers.

    LEO will offer decent data, or at least that's the idea, so it might be more viable than the TerreStar. I do remember those vaguely.

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    i have to agree with kevink1 about getting a satellite phone just for emergencies. though even those have there problems as well

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    I have an iPhone Xr with T-Mobile on the esim and Xfinity/Verizon in the physical sim tray. This gives me a bunch of options for a pretty decent price. If you can't get Xfinity, the base plans from several carriers should fill in nicely, and the setup options for dual sim iPhones are great. I usually have T-Mobile as my data service, and Verizon/Xfi as the voice and text carrier. So no $12 Gb charges from Comcast and I get to use all their WiFi hotspots, which are everywhere locally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daleraver View Post
    I have an iPhone Xr with T-Mobile on the esim and Xfinity/Verizon in the physical sim tray. This gives me a bunch of options for a pretty decent price. If you can't get Xfinity, the base plans from several carriers should fill in nicely, and the setup options for dual sim iPhones are great. I usually have T-Mobile as my data service, and Verizon/Xfi as the voice and text carrier. So no $12 Gb charges from Comcast and I get to use all their WiFi hotspots, which are everywhere locally.
    That's pretty awesome! And you still have $12/GB Verizon coverage when you need it!

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    Quite concerning that this is August 2019 and 1x is shutting down in 5 months. VoLTE around here is a fail -- many places that once had great Verizon coverage is just awash with dropped calls. I drop several calls daily when I once never had any for months at a time.

    For now I can switch back to CDMA and get back most (all?) of that lost coverage, including elevators and indoor areas, but what come Dec?

    People said earlier that Verizon will work to bring VoLTE coverage up but I haven't seen any improvements in the past year.

    VoLTE is nearly unusable around here, and its not just me. Verizon had been known as the premier carrier around here (Upstate NY) and many (half?) of my friends and colleagues are on Verizon. Now most folks are complaining of poor coverage and dropped calls.

    Prospects? switch to AT&T? its insane that they would let solid technology like CDMA be replaced by this. We're not talking rural America here.

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