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Thread: Very Disappointed - NY to SC (and back) over 3 days...

  1. #1
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    Very Disappointed - NY to SC (and back) over 3 days...

    Just back from a 3-day road trip from my home in suburban NYC to pick up my college kid that goes school in SC. Verizon was AWFUL on this trip – total distance was a bit over 1,500 miles round trip, and I’ve done this trip a couple of prior times and never had issues anything like this.

    This is an all intestate trip, basically taking:
    • I-287 (starting ~20 miles west of Hudson River), to
    • I-78 through NJ through Harrisburg PA, to
    • I-81 past Roanoke, to
    • I-77 through Charlotte, to
    • I-85 to Anderson, SC which is about 15 miles from the school



    Here are the major issues we came across:
    • There were several spots in each direction where the phone showed 2 or more signal bars, but there was nothing coming through. One or two spots could be blamed on construction, but this happened multiple times, in separate states, on separate days and on multiple devices. Between my wife and me, we had 3 late model iPhones (iPhone 11, 12 and 13), and I checked both LTE (iPhone 11) and 5G (iPhone 12/13). I rebooted the devices on some occasions, but still had the same issues.
    • I dropped two Zoom calls in different places in Virginia (I keep video off when in a moving vehicle to limit upload issues), and even dropped a couple of cellular calls in Pennsylvania. I know some of the route runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, so I didn’t even try in that 50-75 mile area on I-81 -- these were all in non-mountainous areas.
    • Speed tests were mostly dismal – lots of single-digit / low double-digit download speeds, and it was very rare that we got over 20Mbps (even sometimes on UWB). I was dumbfounded by this, as all three devices are on postpaid plans and nowhere near our premium data allotment (my iPhone 11 is on a corporate pooled data plan, and the 12/13 are on the newer unlimited plans). These are the speed tests from the iPhone 13:


    Name:  iPhone 13 Speed Tests.jpg
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    For comparison, I also used an extra T-Mobile Mobile Internet SIM in a spare iPhone 12 and ran similar tests on that on the way down. That worked much better almost everywhere, until I got throttled at 2GB of data and speeds went to 2G despite about an hour from getting to Anderson (I found out you could actually use 200-500MB per speed test as your speed in Mbps is slightly higher than your data usage for the test). I also had my LTE iPad with me, and that performed well on my other T-Mobile SIM almost everywhere I used it (this was my primary device for the time each day I wasn’t driving), but I didn’t run speed tests on that as I can’t afford to have that 2GB Mobile Internet line throttled...

    I read a lot about people complaining about network congestion, but figured many are deprioritized or are on MVNOs. Until recently, I haven’t run across these issues, and I blamed the few times there was little/nothing coming through on network upgrades for 5G being in progress. My speeds in the NY suburbs have been fine, and the few post-COVID times I went into NYC things also worked well despite seeing very little UWB.

    I switched from Sprint about 18 months ago, and didn't mind paying a higher price for better service and some perks (Disney, $20 off my combined mobile/FiOS bills, $5 Up monthly reward, etc.), but my bill is over $250/month for 5 lines of wireless excluding the device payments (and FiOS is billed separately). It's no longer a premium product at a higher price, customer service is terrible (they lost one device trade-in when we switched and it took months to resolve) and in the last 3 months, the $10 of the mobile/FiOS credit stopped and the $5 UP rewards just got discontinued.

    We're probably headed to T-Mobile soon, though my work device will stay on Verizon since I don't want to go to AT&T (which are my only two choices from work).

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    and the 12/13 are on the newer unlimited plans
    there are several you need to be mroe specific. Enjoy getting your identity stolen over at T-Mobile and possibly SIM swapped. Oh by the way new customers are not covered under T-Mobile's new price lock. Sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    there are several you need to be mroe specific. Enjoy getting your identity stolen over at T-Mobile and possibly SIM swapped. Oh by the way new customers are not covered under T-Mobile's new price lock. Sorry
    My information from 2004 was found in the dark web due to a T-Mobile breach! And I haven't been their customer since 2005!

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

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    The problem is that there really aren’t good alternatives to Verizon if you need coverage in rural areas. T-Mobile is not present in a lot of the mountain and desert communities in California. So my choices are limited to Verizon with coverage in very rural areas with poor data performance, or T-Mobile with no coverage in very rural areas, but superb coverage in urban areas.

    You have to pick your poison based upon your needs and the areas where you travel. There is no magic service that you will be completely satisfied with. If you go looking for problems, you will surely find them and even more than you originally expected! Even the “can do no wrong” perfect T-Mobile service that everyone raves about has issues.

    Also, I’m under the impression that Verizon in throttling the crap out of most customers to compensate for their bandwidth issues. Only customers that are paying for the highest performance data plans are exempt from the throttling. It is a way for Verizon to mitigate their network problems without having to spend money on infrastructure to fix their bandwidth problems. Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CellGeek View Post
    Thoughts?
    As was pointed out to you in the other thread, the elimination of cdma(3G) with no viable LTE substitute in those rural areas..

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    OP: Did you drive through Shentel country? There are areas of the Virginias that Big Red doesn’t cover very well.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    My plans are the current versions of Play More (mine) and Do More (other 4 family lines), each of which have 50GB of premium data, and my work device is on some pooled metered plan (#3282 tells me we get like 800GB of data and we used about 80% of that -- I think we have a few hundred lines on Verizon). So none of these are subject to a less favorable QCI priority.

    I don't know if I was in any areas covered by Shentel (I've heard of them, but never came across them before) -- but their wireless is now T-Mobile which might help explain some of the Virginia experience where T-Mobile worked very well. But it doesn't explain why I had so many issues with Verizon in VA and NC, when last year it worked fine (and I did the same trip twice). Many of these aren't rural -- one area I had issues was a few miles from the airport in Charlotte -- we stopped for dinner and I had 3 bars and no data in the restaurant. Every speed test above was taken on an Interstate, and only one was in any sort of traffic / congestion (which I could attribute to slower speeds) -- but that isn't an excuse on free flowing interstate roadways.

    As noted above, this is not my first trip using Verizon on this route, and it's definitely worse now than before. I've also been using cellular since 1989 when cell phones had cords (car mounted handsets with the electronics in the trunk). My work number was formerly my personal number since 1989 and started on NYNEX/Bell Atlantic before they morphed into Verizon -- that number hasn't ever been transferred to another carrier. I've been through Analog, 1X, 3G, LTE and now 5G with Verizon over the years and I am very familiar with how cellular works (it's been a "hobby" for well over 20 years -- right now I personally own 5 iPhones, 2 androids, an iPad and a hotspot myself and have 6 active SIMs (2 on each of the big three networks) -- these are all mine, and don't include the other family members.


    It's not just this trip -- overall the service has degraded over the past year or so, including places that I have frequented for over a decade. As I said in my original post, I was fine paying a premium price for premium service, but now it seems to have become a premium price for premium marketing.

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    no cellular provider is going to offer 100% coverage everywhere.
    there's still gonna be deadzones & other factors to consider.
    perhaps if you have a dual sim phone, you could put Verizon on
    one sim and use either AT&T or T mobile on the second sim.

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    Very Disappointed - NY to SC (and back) over 3 days...

    How much of the time we’re you on 5G NW versus LTE? I often find turning off 5G helps as there seems to be more lowband/CA configs on LTE only.

    Certainly the CDMA shutdown and spectrum refarming activities are having some impact. Also, just because your device shows 2 bars (assuming they are really even there) doesn’t mean the return channel from your weakly transmitting handset is getting back to the tower.

    But after having been a Comcast Metrophone/Cellular-One/Cingular/AT&T user for many (20+) years, after switching to Verizon about 5 years ago, I cannot say I’m that impressed.

    It’s fine, no intention of switching. It’s actually cheaper for me with the various multi line, bundling, and add on device discounts.

    And C-Band, finally, is a nice perk.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSchnee21 View Post
    How much of the time we’re you on 5G NW versus LTE? I often find turning off 5G helps as there seems to be more lowband/CA configs on LTE only.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    I would say probably 60% 5G NW and 40% LTE on the iPhone 13. Of course the iPhone 11 was only LTE. Rather than switching off 5G, I tried a comparable speed test on the iPhone 11. I don't know enough about how NSA works, so I wasn't sure if the iPhone 13 would stay on the same band(s) whereas the iPhone 11 would presumably be on the LTE bands (if they were different in a particular area).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    there are several you need to be mroe specific. Enjoy getting your identity stolen over at T-Mobile and possibly SIM swapped. Oh by the way new customers are not covered under T-Mobile's new price lock. Sorry
    I really love this is all you've got on T-Mobile.. Fact is they've actually invested and bought useful lowband spectrum.. and people are finding out Rurually, it's not perfect.. but once Sprint is fully absorbed and the current network fully integrated.. they've already got the agreements in place with Crown Castle/American Tower to use those sites that AT&T and Verizon sold and now lease back to build out.. I'm geniuinely eager to see where they end up in a few years.

    Also, it's actually more secure now than my Verizon line was - I have to reply to on the device that's trying to be SIM swapped now, or wait a period of time... I do agree ALL of them could do better on security, but they have improved in that department since that last one.

    And traveling for work, until C-Band is able to be deployed around airports and Verizon gets these cities 100% covered at least outdoors.. verizon is just flat a no-go for me, as I regularly see speeds like OP here when traveling around thanks to dysmal low-band performance.

    Regardless, it just mostly seems people with crypto accounts being SIM swapped/hacked.. and that's on them for doing such a foolish thing.
    T-Mobile: Magenta Amplified

  12. #12
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    Last summer, I drove Raleigh -> Durham -> Roanoke -> Lewisburg WV --> Greenbank --> Hazelton PA --> Bangor ME on T-Mobile.
    In general service was usable, however, there were a lot of poor areas.
    Durham -> Roanoke, Lewisburg -> was pretty 'meh' - rural NC was unusable in many areas. Areas between Lewisburg and PA, service was not the greatest, often roaming (or attempting to roam) on Sprint, AT&T or Verizon.. and even another carrier in WV.
    Going through WV, VA, and much of PA (south of Harrisburg). Service was ok up in the Service improved (performance) a LOT after crossing to NJ/NY on I-84. Many stops in VA/PA ended up in roaming on Sprint B26/B41, as T-Mobile was very weak. I'm hopeful that T-Mobile is keeping many of these Sprint sites, as the east coast was not very good on T-Mobile alone, but many areas ended up on Sprint. After crossing to NJ, Sprint roaming effectively ceased.

    NH and MA as well as ME going up to Bangor was good. ME ended up with a lot of NR-SA 600, and much of these urban areas now have n41 which should give good performance - not necessarily range. Places like Bangor were ok, and didn't have n41, however, Bar Harbor - which was roaming up until last summer went with n41 and was pushing good speed (~400-500Mbps).

    In general, I'm not and east coast (US) resident, and can't speak well for it. If I was in rural NC, VA/PA, I'd think twice about T-Mobile until their rebuild of Sprint is complete.
    Out here on the West coast, Verizon (and even AT&T) cover small communities typically much better than Verizon. The main difference is that places like CA, T-Mobile has old Pacbell Wireless network (which was well built), and in many areas they now have a lot of capacity with n41.
    Places like LA still are hot/cold due to the sheer number of sites that T-Mobile has to upgrade.

    Personally... I'd "try before I buy" approach, and get a phone on t-Mobile (prepaid?) to verify it works for you where you need it. Rural America, T-Mobile is still far behind... on Interstates, its getting better. In many urban areas and suburbia, it is hit or miss. Similarly, CS on T-Mobile is not very good.
    AT&T... your world, throttled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
    Last summer, I drove Raleigh -> Durham -> Roanoke -> Lewisburg WV --> Greenbank --> Hazelton PA --> Bangor ME on T-Mobile.
    In general service was usable, however, there were a lot of poor areas.
    Durham -> Roanoke, Lewisburg -> was pretty 'meh' - rural NC was unusable in many areas. Areas between Lewisburg and PA, service was not the greatest, often roaming (or attempting to roam) on Sprint, AT&T or Verizon.. and even another carrier in WV.
    Going through WV, VA, and much of PA (south of Harrisburg). Service was ok up in the Service improved (performance) a LOT after crossing to NJ/NY on I-84. Many stops in VA/PA ended up in roaming on Sprint B26/B41, as T-Mobile was very weak. I'm hopeful that T-Mobile is keeping many of these Sprint sites, as the east coast was not very good on T-Mobile alone, but many areas ended up on Sprint. After crossing to NJ, Sprint roaming effectively ceased.

    NH and MA as well as ME going up to Bangor was good. ME ended up with a lot of NR-SA 600, and much of these urban areas now have n41 which should give good performance - not necessarily range. Places like Bangor were ok, and didn't have n41, however, Bar Harbor - which was roaming up until last summer went with n41 and was pushing good speed (~400-500Mbps).

    In general, I'm not and east coast (US) resident, and can't speak well for it. If I was in rural NC, VA/PA, I'd think twice about T-Mobile until their rebuild of Sprint is complete.
    Out here on the West coast, Verizon (and even AT&T) cover small communities typically much better than Verizon. The main difference is that places like CA, T-Mobile has old Pacbell Wireless network (which was well built), and in many areas they now have a lot of capacity with n41.
    Places like LA still are hot/cold due to the sheer number of sites that T-Mobile has to upgrade.

    Personally... I'd "try before I buy" approach, and get a phone on t-Mobile (prepaid?) to verify it works for you where you need it. Rural America, T-Mobile is still far behind... on Interstates, its getting better. In many urban areas and suburbia, it is hit or miss. Similarly, CS on T-Mobile is not very good.
    Last summer you were going through a Shentel area, which is actively being converted now to T-Mobile.. so your experience made sense. Once T-Mobile converts all of it, they will be the dominant carrier in the area as all the locals had Shentel/Sprint for a reason.

    Last year, on that particular drive you did.. i'd not use anything but AT&T as far as a national carrier, as Verizon's spectrum holdings in that partcular area are just odd and terrible overall (especially around WV)

    I'm from SE Ohio originally, and it was not long ago I was carrying three SIM cards when driving around (and having two of them installed in the iPhone - depending on where I was going that day).. It's gotten to a point T-Mobile covers 95-98% of the places I go now, and an AT&T prepaid backup sim with minimal minutes/data cover the rest.

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    I wasn't too concerned about WV, as I went to Greenbank to get out of cell range from all. The biggest area of concern was rural NC
    I did mention that service will probably get better in WV/VA/PA areas, but since I'm west coast, I can't really speak for it.
    Similarly, last summer was mostly LTE in Boston, but I'd expect that to be much better now.
    I'll be there in a couple of months to validate on my drive to Halifax from Boston. And most likely bring my work at&t iPhone 12.
    I haven't used Verizon in a long time due to issues that I had with them and their billing (long story)

    Sent from my SM-G991U using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
    I wasn't too concerned about WV, as I went to Greenbank to get out of cell range from all. The biggest area of concern was rural NC
    I did mention that service will probably get better in WV/VA/PA areas, but since I'm west coast, I can't really speak for it.
    Similarly, last summer was mostly LTE in Boston, but I'd expect that to be much better now.
    I'll be there in a couple of months to validate on my drive to Halifax from Boston. And most likely bring my work at&t iPhone 12.
    I haven't used Verizon in a long time due to issues that I had with them and their billing (long story)

    Sent from my SM-G991U using HoFo mobile app
    You're not missing much with Verizon.. a Visible SIM for $25 on the months I need it has been sufficent in the once place I go once a year that only VZ works (T-Mobile now works at the end of the driveway and up high on the 2nd floor), so i'm not even sure if I care about it now to be honest, as a b71/n71 booster would fix that now anyway)

    Verizon overall to me now is just meh, I really have zero reson to use them as my primary cellular carrier - speeds are generally lackluster, throttling, higer pricing, and international roaming is nowhere near as good as AT&T or T-Mobile.

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