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Thread: Whats up with TMO MVNO's Nebraska coverage black hole?

  1. #1
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    Whats up with TMO MVNO's Nebraska coverage black hole?

    Just switched from Visible to Mint Mobile because I was having problems with native Verizon service in my new condo by the Mall of America. My phone would go straight to VM and constant drops.

    I found a great deal on Best Buy for a 3 month Mint Mobile pre-paid and the coverage is now fantastic and I am planning on keeping it. However, looking at the coverage map for many TMO MVNO's shows a huge gap in Nebraska. However, TMO shows coverage for their native post-paid plans. Any idea what the root of this huge gap is and will it be fixed by the Sprint integration?

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    Most of Nebraska is covered by Viaero Wireless or Verizon. I know this because I live in western Iowa, and I was wondering why too.

    T-Mobile and AT&T has a roaming agreement with Viaero Wireless in Nebraska, but that roaming agreement might not get passed on to their MVNO.

  3. #3
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    Whats up with TMO MVNO's Nebraska coverage black hole?

    It depends on the MVNO.

    My Truphone has full coverage in Viaero areas. Mint does not.

    I donít think Iíll be able to test Cricket before my plan runs out, but might be able to at the end of April.

    As an aside: Mint coverage in Nebraska sucks in general. Even in the cities listed as fully covered, it depends which towers youíre connecting to.

    Source: have lots of family in Omaha & Lincoln & Kearney that I visit often. Iíll have great Mint coverage at some houses and not at others. (None in Kearney for obvious reasons) And itís gotten worse since the Sprint merger.

    Iím looking into Verizon post-paid, since it seems the most stable across the state, but I hate having to pay that much just because I travel to see family. (Considering jumping onto one of their plans.)


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    If you zoom in onto NE, it changes to show nearly the entire state is roaming.

    This is one of the tricks of the big 3. When you look at the national maps, its all one color to indicate coverage of any type, including roaming.

    It's not until you zoom in that you find the inky details of how much is roaming.

    Only the prepaid maps show an accurate depiction of home coverage for any carrier at the national level, because many prepaid/MVNO customers only have access to the native home coverage.

    Sprint did it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctk74 View Post
    ...the coverage map for many TMO MVNO's shows a huge gap in Nebraska.
    TotalWireless (Verizon MVNO) coverage map for Nebraska:

    https://www.totalwireless.com/coverage/check



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    Verizon appears to have native coverage for the majority of Nebraska, so all of their MVNO's should as well.

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    Sprint (legacy, native) had huge coverage holes, too: although I'm not familiar with NE.
    So simply re-purposing towers from Sprint to T-Mobile won't help everywhere, because neither network had towers.
    T-Mobile definitely has the spectrum available to change that, if/when they decide to invest the money to build towers to address this. Not surprisingly, low density population areas are probably not their priority, despite the talking points they made for the merger.

    My solution for years has been to carry a backup Verizon MVNO phone. (I've used Tracfone for this.) Relatively smooth for me, since I use Google Voice as my outward-facing number-- not so convenient if your primary number is with your provider.
    My Tello referral code is P3BSR5HV, and gets both of us 10 Tello Dollars to pay for a plan.
    https://tello.com/account/register?_referral=P3BSR5HV

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    Last night, I just looked at Nebraska again. I found out that US Cellular has native coverage in parts of Nebraska.

    So the main tower carriers in lots of Nebraska is US Cellular, Verizon, and Viaero Wireless.

    The only areas that might have other towers is Omaha, Lincoln, South Sioux City, along the interstate 80, and Highway 275 and 81/30 between Norfolk and Fremont.

    So you might need to have Verizon based MVNO or a MVNO with roaming on US Cellular or Viaero Wireless from what I can tell.

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    Whats up with TMO MVNO's Nebraska coverage black hole?

    Thatís not quite true.
    My sister who has always had native ATT has never had a problem in any part of NE she travelled to.

    MVNOs generally do not have good coverage in Viaero territories because MVNOs tend to lock out the roaming options and Viaero is one of the last holdouts maintaining its own system, so you always roam onto them. (Even native Verizon technically roams onto Viaero in those areas.)

    Native Sprint used to be very good in NE as well. But not as good as Verizon. And with the Tmo merger (Tmo has always been terrible in NE) who can say for sure?

    Viaero is only west of Lincoln in NE, in similar parts of KS and west into eastern CO. (Maybe eastern WY too, I forget). So telling people to get Viaero is a really bad idea unless they actually live in those parts of those states.

    ETA: I had US Cellular a long time ago (15 years?) And their reception was horrible outside of Omaha and Lincoln. It might have improved since then, but their prices make me not want to try it.



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    I appreciate all the responses, thanks everyone it has been helpful. Seems like this is something the new T-Mobile will eventually have to address even if it means a buyout of the local provider or the eventual demise of US Cellular. In the era of the big three and the emergence of Dish as an eventual nationwide carrier, these small niche carriers are going to eventually disappear IMO. It truly is stunning when you think of where we are now compared to 20 years ago with regards to size, scale and consolidation.

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    Theyíve been saying that about Viaero since the late 90s. I donít see Them selling out. I kind of admire them for it. Even if it makes it challenging for me to find the right carrier.


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    Quote Originally Posted by minij View Post
    Thatís not quite true.
    My sister who has always had native ATT has never had a problem in any part of NE she travelled to.

    MVNOs generally do not have good coverage in Viaero territories because MVNOs tend to lock out the roaming options and Viaero is one of the last holdouts maintaining its own system, so you always roam onto them. (Even native Verizon technically roams onto Viaero in those areas.)

    Native Sprint used to be very good in NE as well. But not as good as Verizon. And with the Tmo merger (Tmo has always been terrible in NE) who can say for sure?

    Viaero is only west of Lincoln in NE, in similar parts of KS and west into eastern CO. (Maybe eastern WY too, I forget). So telling people to get Viaero is a really bad idea unless they actually live in those parts of those states.

    ETA: I had US Cellular a long time ago (15 years?) And their reception was horrible outside of Omaha and Lincoln. It might have improved since then, but their prices make me not want to try it.



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    Sometimes some carriers have different agreements.

    So AT&T might look like they have native coverage, but it might not be. You do not know what agreements they have too.

    I know a few years ago, my friend with AT&T based Straight Talk did not have coverage in the O'Neill and Randolph areas. So my info might be a few year old too.

    Also, I did not know US Cellular had coverage in that area.

    I knew Viaero was the biggest GSM coverage in most of Nebraska tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by minij View Post
    Thatís not quite true.
    My sister who has always had native ATT has never had a problem in any part of NE she travelled to.

    MVNOs generally do not have good coverage in Viaero territories because MVNOs tend to lock out the roaming options and Viaero is one of the last holdouts maintaining its own system, so you always roam onto them. (Even native Verizon technically roams onto Viaero in those areas.)

    Native Sprint used to be very good in NE as well. But not as good as Verizon. And with the Tmo merger (Tmo has always been terrible in NE) who can say for sure?

    Viaero is only west of Lincoln in NE, in similar parts of KS and west into eastern CO. (Maybe eastern WY too, I forget). So telling people to get Viaero is a really bad idea unless they actually live in those parts of those states.

    ETA: I had US Cellular a long time ago (15 years?) And their reception was horrible outside of Omaha and Lincoln. It might have improved since then, but their prices make me not want to try it.



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    Dumb question, how is it not quite true regarding T-Mobile MVNO's not having coverage in NE?
    Your argument instantly goes to ATT/VZW not T-Mobile or their MVNO's.

    The MVNOs cannot always get roaming, so if T-Mo doesn't have native coverage in NE, then that explains why the MVNO's have a huge coverage hole there.

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    I had already explained Tmo further up. So you brought up ATT Native and said that it didnít have good coverage and thatís what I responded to.

    Iím surprised it didnít work near OíNiell. Iíve got family there too and some of them use ATT. Maybe postpaid and prepaid agreements with Viaero are different. (I can see Viaero doing that.).


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