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Thread: Three days in a prepaid black hole...

  1. #1
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    Cool Three days in a prepaid black hole...

    When you look at the overall country-wide coverage map it looks pretty well covered, but when you start zooming in the dead spots start to appear. I've lost coverage for short times, such as driving across western NE and in the hills of eastern PA, but only for a couple hours at a time. But our trip next week to Terlingua, TX -- just west of Big Bend N.P. -- shows zero coverage over the entire area that we'll be in for the first three days. The place we're staying has wifi, so I assume my wifi calling feature will work while we're in our room, but other than that we're unreachable (not always a bad thing!). Once we move up to Alpine and Marathon we should be good...

    This is one big difference with the postpaid plan, as their coverage map takes in most of that area other than in the mountainous areas of the park. It will also be interesting to see if my wife's el-cheapo Tracfone plan gives her coverage, as she sometimes gets a signal where I don't.

  2. #2
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    Get an Amateur Radio license. There is repeater coverage there. You don't have to know morse code anymore, just pass a test on proper radio operation.
    See ARRL.org to find out when/where the next "Hamfest" near you happens.

    All the cellphone carriers are deficient or non-existent there. Have fun, it's a great place.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    When you look at the overall country-wide coverage map it looks pretty well covered, but when you start zooming in the dead spots start to appear. I've lost coverage for short times, such as driving across western NE and in the hills of eastern PA, but only for a couple hours at a time. But our trip next week to Terlingua, TX -- just west of Big Bend N.P. -- shows zero coverage over the entire area that we'll be in for the first three days. The place we're staying has wifi, so I assume my wifi calling feature will work while we're in our room, but other than that we're unreachable (not always a bad thing!). Once we move up to Alpine and Marathon we should be good...

    This is one big difference with the postpaid plan, as their coverage map takes in most of that area other than in the mountainous areas of the park. It will also be interesting to see if my wife's el-cheapo Tracfone plan gives her coverage, as she sometimes gets a signal where I don't.
    AT&T prepaid has the same coverage is the same as post paid. AT&T has virtually no roaming agreements and in the very near future none. Because of First Net AT&T coverage is equal to Verizon and getting better all the time. I have both AT&T and Verizon. Both have holes here and there. T-Mobile coverage isn't holes there gaps or flat out nothing.

    Sent from my SHT-W09 using HoFo mobile app

  4. #4
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    My worries about issues like this is why I have a backup line on a Verizon MVNO.

    Increase my chance of having coverage. Presumably, I still have a disadvantage compared to, say, Verizon postpaid because if I'm in an area with no native ATT or Verizon coverage I'm likely to be without coverage. But likely even postpaid will be thin in those areas.
    iPhone 12 Pro is my current primary phone. And also have a Galaxy a10e as a backup travel phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfriz View Post
    Get an Amateur Radio license. There is repeater coverage there.
    Do you mean for calling for help, i.e., getting someone to call police, breakdown service etc, in case of an emergency?

    It might be of some use for that as a last resort but just to clear, amateur or "ham" radio is a hobby. I'm a (mostly inactive) ham myself of many years. It's a good hobby for someone interested but it doesn't solve rochrunner's problem which I suspect is to be able to make a non-emergency private phone call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tetranz View Post
    ...it doesn't solve rochrunner's problem...
    I don't really consider it a problem, but something to be aware of. It made me think back to the 1970s when I took off on a 3-week solo motorcycle trip across the country and back. A few days into the trip, lying comfortably in my tent at a campground somewhere in Yellowstone, it occurred to me that, for the first time in my life, nobody I knew -- friends, family, co-workers -- had any idea where I was or what I was doing, and I found that strangely liberating.

    Maybe I can use a break from the always-connected world again!

  7. #7
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    Amateur Radio can be used for personal well being info. Just can't call your broker, customers, etc. (ie: non-commercial) Can talk to others about local features, things to see, etc. Remember the whole world out there can hear what you are saying. Some of the repeaters have autopatch to make phone calls directly. Might be able to make a reservation but can't mention prices, give out personal or credit card info.

    A 5 watt handi-talkie will work well but a higher powered rig in the car is better. Can find these on Ebay or any Hamfest. Most older used rigs don't have "PL tones" which are necessary for most repeaters now.

  8. #8
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    Been on TMobile mvnos for years, vzw before that.

    Ive noticed that mvno coverage is typically about the same as that of their parent networks.

    Also, someone keeps incorrectly stating T-Mobile has no coverage, so let me make this very clear.

    My TMobile mvnos using devices that support b71 (not all of them do and vzw/att love "replacing" b12/71 with their own bands on devices they sell like b13 on vzw) has actually worked close to, and sometimes has gotten better coverage, than my friend on vzw.

    B12 (700 mhz) is used in suburbs and b71 is TMOs main band in use for rural coverage as part of their "extended range lte" all devices activated must support at least one of those bands (usually 12) and volte. To date, nearly all devices sold by T-Mobile support both bands, but even devices made/sold today on other carriers, including mvnos, don't. (This includes tmo mvnos)

    My apartment actually is one case where TMobile b12/71 are the only bands that work around and inside. No one else gets a signal here, and this is in South Seattle. I should note that my landlord officially coined the building as a "cell coverage black hole" yet tmo works when the others don't.

    Of my usage, I've gotten better signal in cases where b71 is king - and only used by T-Mobile - than any other carrier or other T-Mobile customers (on postpaid) with devices that don't support b71.

    That being said, taking all TMO bands into account, including b71 - and the coverage has been comparable/close to that of my friends on vzw/att - with some minor variation. Like small pockets where they don't get a signal and i do. And other small pockets vice versa.

    So far, the only time vzw "out covered" my tmo mvno on b71 was for an extra half mile on a Backcountry road (nearest sign of any civilization was 30 miles back) when we were driving up into the mountains to go camping. He had a signal for like an extra half mile before losing it - however, the signal wasn't usable to even make a call.

    Yes, TMO coverage used to be lackluster, but with their collection of bands and especially after they began rolling out extended range lte (b12 in 2016 and b71 in 2017) they have made drastic improvements in coverage. Even ill admit they may not be fully up to snuff with att/vzw, but they are now pretty darn close - and much closer than they used to be.

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    Drako Swiftclaw

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