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Thread: Driftless Wisconsin

  1. #1
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    Driftless Wisconsin

    I've noticed what looks like a big coverage hole for T-Mobile roughly equivalent to the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin that spills over someone into Minnesota and Iowa. not entirely free of coverage, but it looks rather poor.

    Is this real ? Are from me misinterpreting maps? Or does T-Mobile actually roam onto another carrier and so there is coverage here?

    This is a place I love to travel to so I am wondering what the deal is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    I've noticed what looks like a big coverage hole for T-Mobile roughly equivalent to the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin that spills over someone into Minnesota and Iowa. not entirely free of coverage, but it looks rather poor.

    Is this real ? Are from me misinterpreting maps? Or does T-Mobile actually roam onto another carrier and so there is coverage here?

    This is a place I love to travel to so I am wondering what the deal is.
    Any white spaces on the map are pretty much guaranteed not to have any T-Mo coverage, roaming or otherwise.* Roaming areas are already included on T-Mo's maps. They look like regular T-Mobile "magenta" coverage when zoomed out, but when you zoom in, they'll change to the roaming color. Keep in mind also that T-Mo limits you to 100MB/month of roaming data, so if you find yourself in roaming areas often, you'll eventually find yourself with talk/text coverage only. (This is the bane of my existence when we visit my wife's family in Sioux City, IA!)


    (*These days, the colored areas on the map aren't guaranteed to have coverage either! T-Mo used to have the most accurate maps in the biz, but in recent years they've started overstating coverage like everyone else.)


    To paraphrase an old tagline from a competitor, I often joke T-Mo's slogan should be "NO bars in more places!"

    Weak or no coverage on the road is just something you put up with on T-Mo in return for fast data speeds on urban areas, cheap rates, and free weekly tacos. Many of us who use T-Mo on the road tend to also carry a backup device with AT&T- or Verizon-based prepaid service (e.g. PagePlus, FreedomPop, RedPocket, etc.) I figure the money I save with T-Mo justifies spending a few bucks a month on a backup prepaid SIM.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    --
    Todd Allcock, Microsoft MVP: Mobile Devices 2007-2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    I've noticed what looks like a big coverage hole for T-Mobile roughly equivalent to the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin that spills over someone into Minnesota and Iowa. not entirely free of coverage, but it looks rather poor.

    Is this real ? Are from me misinterpreting maps? Or does T-Mobile actually roam onto another carrier and so there is coverage here?

    This is a place I love to travel to so I am wondering what the deal is.
    Interesting as when I pull up the map I see partner coverage in that area. The roaming would be on USCC if your phone is compatible. USCC roaming is treated as if being on T-Mobile so no 100 MB limit. If you ever find yourself roaming on Viaero (often reported as Cell One of NE CO) that is also treated the same as being on T-Mobile. The only time I have found the 100 MB to be enforced is on Union Wireless and I would guess ATT if you happen to find an area where roaming is allowed on them. I would also say the number that carry a backup phone is relatively few. I don't pay extra for a backup phone nor have I found it necessary.

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    So there I have two well-written informative and interesting answers which appear to be contradictory to each other.

    I also noticed that bugtussle provides coverage on the Eastern edge of this region. Does T-Mobile roam on to bugtussle? I don't think so, but it's always amusing to mention bugtussle in any conversation.

    I just hope that by the time I return to that region, T-Mobile is starting to pepper it with band 71 towers. I don't plan on going there right away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    So there I have two well-written informative and interesting answers which appear to be contradictory to each other.

    I also noticed that bugtussle provides coverage on the Eastern edge of this region. Does T-Mobile roam on to bugtussle? I don't think so, but it's always amusing to mention bugtussle in any conversation.

    I just hope that by the time I return to that region, T-Mobile is starting to pepper it with band 71 towers. I don't plan on going there right away.
    Your roaming in that area (but not indicated on coverage maps) is probably similar to me roaming on Commnet 311-020 near Grand Junction, CO. Interestingly enough, near Ridgway, CO, 311-010 exists but was not available for roaming.
    AT&T... your world, throttled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    So there I have two well-written informative and interesting answers which appear to be contradictory to each other.

    I also noticed that bugtussle provides coverage on the Eastern edge of this region. Does T-Mobile roam on to bugtussle? I don't think so, but it's always amusing to mention bugtussle in any conversation.

    I just hope that by the time I return to that region, T-Mobile is starting to pepper it with band 71 towers. I don't plan on going there right away.
    Which phone are you using? That will determine if you have access to USCC roaming. If you have access to USCC roaming, that roaming will be treated as if on T-Mobile. With a T-Mobile SIM, the phone will prefer USCC roaming (partner coverage) over anyone else. There are a few areas of hatch lines indicating 2G roaming which could be Bug Tussle or another provider. You would need to check the maps for the specific areas you will be visiting, if you see partner you can assume that is USCC and with access to LTE/VoLTE in the WI, IL, IA areas.

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    Pixel 3. I have no familiarity with US Cellular needs.

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    It does not look like the Pixel 3 is on the list for USCC roaming as of 6 months ago. That list does not look to be actively updated. So if you see partner coverage, you may not see any service in those areas and instead be in emergency only. T-Mobile has been slow to activate phones for roaming on USCC. That may be why we see different things on the maps.

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    well I might get there next year, and maybe or maybe not the problem will be resolved. Otherwise I will be like the Amish in that area, and the Amish don't seem like the most miserable people

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    Quote Originally Posted by macuser09 View Post
    It does not look like the Pixel 3 is on the list for USCC roaming as of 6 months ago. That list does not look to be actively updated. So if you see partner coverage, you may not see any service in those areas and instead be in emergency only. T-Mobile has been slow to activate phones for roaming on USCC. That may be why we see different things on the maps.
    I have been informed by a source in Bellevue that the USCC phone list is actually meaningless. All reasonably current phones with VoLTE and bands 5 & 12 should work on USCC. I did run into an issue of not being able to roam USCC in eastern TN, so I called T-Mobile and filed a complaint ticket about it, since the USCC LAC that I had visited had no T-Mobile service anywhere nearby. Roaming had not been shown on the map, so this didn't come as a surprise. Within about a week the map changed and since shows roaming in this area. I have not been back to check if I can roam there.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    I also noticed that bugtussle provides coverage on the Eastern edge of this region. Does T-Mobile roam on to bugtussle? I don't think so, but it's always amusing to mention bugtussle in any conversation.
    I'd guess not. I'd much rather have 5mbps LTE on USCC than GSM/GPRS with no working data on Bug Tussle. AT&T should just pony up the cash for USCC roaming instead of relying on Bug Tussle's ancient GSM mess. iWireless is pretty bad too, I know T-Mobile owns that now, so that roaming may just not have been upgraded at the time I use it.

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    Well, the hatches of 2G are probably Bug Tussle. To be honest, the coverage in that whole area sucks. I have Verizon Wireless, and they roam off US Cellular. Due to the terrain, get off highway 151 (which VZW covers well and USCC does too AFAIK) and you have probably 90% coverage between the two providers combined, but MAYBE 75% coverage from each; so it might work if you're stationary but in a moving vehicle you only get service for 15 or 20 seconds at a time as it flips back and forth. The cell sites are just wherever, so being in one of the small towns does not in any way guarantee a decent signal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    Well, the hatches of 2G are probably Bug Tussle. To be honest, the coverage in that whole area sucks. I have Verizon Wireless, and they roam off US Cellular. Due to the terrain, get off highway 151 (which VZW covers well and USCC does too AFAIK) and you have probably 90% coverage between the two providers combined, but MAYBE 75% coverage from each; so it might work if you're stationary but in a moving vehicle you only get service for 15 or 20 seconds at a time as it flips back and forth. The cell sites are just wherever, so being in one of the small towns does not in any way guarantee a decent signal.
    Yeah, that was about my experience with an AT&T (Bug Tussel), and Sprint (USCC) phone.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    I've noticed what looks like a big coverage hole for T-Mobile roughly equivalent to the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin that spills over someone into Minnesota and Iowa. not entirely free of coverage, but it looks rather poor.

    Is this real ? Are from me misinterpreting maps? Or does T-Mobile actually roam onto another carrier and so there is coverage here?

    This is a place I love to travel to so I am wondering what the deal is.
    The Driftless area really is great. I love to travel there too!

    Yes, the coverage in this area is spotty on T-Mobile. It's spotty on all networks actually. Verizon's footprint is hit-and-miss where folks often roam on USCellular CDMA. USCellular CDMA coverage is the best in this region. Their LTE coverage is slow and spotty. I've never been able to roam on USCC LTE via T-Mobile, because all my phones have been carrier unlocked. Although I have friends that use T-Mobile sourced phones, and they still don't roam on USCC LTE. So who knows?

    What I can say is that I primarily roam on Bug Tussle 2G GSM, Bug Tussle 4G LTE, and ATT HSPA networks in this region. This is not blanket coverage by any means, but it will sometimes prove useful when you have to make a call. There have been some improvements with T-Mobile B71. I've noticed better native service in the Wisconsin River Valley and La Crosse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elecconnec View Post
    Weak or no coverage on the road is just something you put up with on T-Mo in return for fast data speeds on urban areas, cheap rates, and free weekly tacos. Many of us who use T-Mo on the road tend to also carry a backup device with AT&T- or Verizon-based prepaid service (e.g. PagePlus, FreedomPop, RedPocket, etc.) I figure the money I save with T-Mo justifies spending a few bucks a month on a backup prepaid SIM.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    I got a Verizon work phone earlier this year and didn't realize that there's a decent amount of personal use allowed on it (any texts or calls, and try not to use more than 3GB data). So yes I have a "backup phone" just as you describe.

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