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Stiff

Cell Phone choice

26 posts in this topic

I'm one of those guys that just never got a cell phone and never really missed it. But I think I'm in a position where I will need one now.

Any of you guys have strong opinons on which coverage or which package to get? My main concerns are cost, free long distance / roaming.

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I think most national plans are fairly competitive in price. Depending on your use, you might want to look into some of the prepay plans. They often don't have the absolute best coverage, but they aren't tied to the two year contract that often has pitfalls to fall back to a full two year commitment.

Also, you might consider getting a base level cheap phone. Cameras and other bells and whistles generally burn through batteries and also often get poorer reception.

good luck, lb

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I've been very happy with Verizon. I have no roaming, free long distance, free voice mail and coverage just about anywhere. There are some remote areas with low populations and thus very few main roads that don't get coverage though. Also, they are radios so when your in a forested area, hilly country, inside steel buildings, or in bad weather, you have to accept the fact that they are not perfect 100% of the time. I found that the phones with the extendable pull out antennas work better when I'm on the ice on Mille Lacs too. Mine works good about 98% of the time.

You may to check what your friends and family have. Some plans, like Verizon don't charge you for the time for calls between phones on the same carrier (such as Verizon to Verizon customers), this may save you money in the long run.

I also suggest buying a "better" phone when you get one, not the free or cheap ones they offer and I think my old Motorola's have always worked better then my new LG. My next phone will be another Motorola.

Also, if you have failing eye sight and big hands and fingers, get one with adjustable font sizes on the screen and big, easy to use buttons though buttons sizes are limited. Make sure you can press the buttons.

Hope this helps.

And for the moderators, I'm not an employee or stock holder of Verizon or Motorola. Just a happy customer!

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I have Verizon as well.. always been pleased.

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I also am a Verizon customer.

I've had good luck with them and coverage is good.

When you choose a plan they now will let you adjust it to your useage and you are able to change the plan as you need.

The best advise I could give would be to go to a store that you have had good luck with in the past(big box store's) and TELL them what you are going to use it for and where you will be using it.

The internet is also a good place to start as on some site's you will be able to order right from them.

I second the thought on buying a upgraded phone.

Just when you are doing it becareful as with some you will need to buy a 2 or now 3 year plan to get the discount on the phone.

Sifty

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Stiff,

I've been pretty happy with Sprint. They have some of the better coverage for the Metro area, I think. If you plan on using it for "out in the bush", check with the different providers to see their coverage areas. You can usually access coverage maps on their respective websites, and they can vary quite a bit by provider. For example, on our URL trip, I was on roam up there but had no problem getting service (I could make calls, but it costs me a bit extra). Some of the other guys were SOL with no signal at all.

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Quote:

I've been pretty happy with Sprint... For example, on our URL trip, I was on roam up there but had no problem getting service (I could make calls, but it costs me a bit extra).


I use Verizon's family share plan. I've always been able to make calls from the URL and LOW areas at no extra cost. My only complaint is that you get forced into contract renewals anytime you upgrade equipment or change plan minutes.

If your concerned by price, as you said, and don't know if you will use it all that much, I would look at the prepay plans. My dad switched from Verizon to a prepay deal from a Mall Kiosk in Duluth. He only spends $20 for new minutes every few months, just the minimum to keep the minutes rolling over from his original setup - he doesn't use it all that much. His phone did not work at LOW, but it does work nationally pretty well. The rules are funny with each of them, but I believe the prepay plans are getting better and better.

I've been burned by AT&T wireless(bought out by Cingular, now switching back to AT&T)once too often. I would not recommend them at all.

lb

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[quote My only complaint is that you get forced into contract renewals anytime you upgrade equipment or change plan minutes.


Same thing with Sprint.

There's going to be things you love and things you hate from each provider. Just gotta find what works for you.

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In order I have had qwest, sprint, and now verizon. For around the metro all are fine. I have found dead spots with all of them. All are pretty decent on the highway as well. Sprint for me lost the signal afer I was north of Winnie. Verizon works for me both on Red and LOTW. Verizon is also the best for not paying roaming but I think you do pay a little more for the plans.

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One other thing you might want to consider, especially if your travels bring you to remote areas and/or other countries is this: Sprint and Verizon run on technology called CDMA. This is used in the US and primarily Asia. T-Mobile and Cingular/AT&T run on GSM. GSM is used in the US, Carribean and Europe. So, that might sway your decision if you do any travelling. I can't remember what Canada uses, but you could search Rogers Communication and see what network they run on (Canadian cell phone provider).

While digital service (both GSM and CDMA) has become pretty much widespread, there are times that you can't get a digital signal and would need a phone that has dual band/analog service. I've found this to be true in remote areas/lakes. I've found that CDMA providers usually have more dual band, digital/analog phone offerings, but I think there are some GSM providers that have the same.

The point is that before you sign any contracts, map out where you think you'll use it the most, where you might be travelling, and compare it to coverage maps of each carrier.

Good luck

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I am currently a Verizon user and have been for the last 5-6 years. Their coverage is very good and my phone roams where most others fail.

One way around the contracts and monthly fees is to buy a Trac Fone. I carried one for a couple years when I had Nextel and roamed out of the Nextel coverage areas. You pre-pay the minutes and are able to use the phone in any area where there is coverage. The upside is, cheap phone (I think they sell a Nokia for $19.99 right now) Buy you minutes on line in blocks and recieve 'bonus' minutes, 300 minutes was around $90.00 for a year with 10 or 15 bonus minutes for buying on line, no contracts or monthly fees, works pretty much every where, great for 'low end' users of cell minutes... The downside is when you are out of your home area, they charge you 2 minutes for each minute of roaming, if you are a heavy user, you will go broke buying minutes, if you don't use your minutes in the prescribed amount of time, you loose them, if you run out of minutes on your phone and don't buy new minutes before doing so, you need to download a new phone number.

I used mine on hunting and fishing trips to check in at home, contact a land owner or to coordinate with my buddies. I kept an eye on my usuage and generally got through each year with the 300 minutes... so it costed me $90 a year! Not to bad a deal for those who are not dependant on a cell phone...

Good Luck!

Ken

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I have Cell One and I'm counting hte days until my contract expires. I could go on and on about the poor service from this out fit. I'm switching to Verizon next month.

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I have been using Tmobile for 7yrs. They offer the best nation wide coverage. I drive a semi for a living so that says something. The only place Tmobile roams is Canada, anywhere else if it works its not roaming. I would concur that for local and up north use Verizon and Tmobile work very well. The couple stick haulers I know up around Babbit use Verizon.

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I checked each major provider about 3 years ago and my biggest thing was coverage; being able to get a signal in the Boundary Waters or on LOW and Verizon was the best overall for that. If you get off the highways at all T-Mobile's coverage is probably the worst. For the most part all the providers prices are in the same ballpark; so unless you are REALLY counting pennies that isn't a very big factor in my book. The 2 or 3 year contracts don't bother me all that much; however if you do bring your phone along with you on fishing/hunting trips be sure to buy the insurance. It only takes one time of knocking your phone down the fishing hole and reallizing the insurance is worth it.

TRITC

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I use virgin wireless. Availible at best buy. No contracts and if you choose you can buy and use top up cards so you remain totally anonymous. Usage charge is pretty expensive at a quarter a minute but I hardly use it. It is piggy backed on sprint so you have no roaming charges. I typically pay about 20 a month and mainly use it for work and emergencies. If you use the phone a lot it is not a good option. If you need a phone maybe 1 hour a month you cant beat the price.

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Verizon customer of 7 years. The best coverage, reception and no roaming anywhere in MN and all over the nation for the most part.

Cellular One for work and it's horrible...switching soon I hope.

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I guess it all depends on how much you plan on using it. Here is an alternative idea. I bought one of those pre-paid phones for each one of my parents...I forgot the name of it...but they can be found at most super stores. You just have to buy a card every other month or so to keep adding minutes to your phone. It appears relatively cheap and the phones seem to have good service. I think its worth checking out...depending on what you are looking for.

I have Verizon and its ok. I have to be honest....I am not the type of guy that wears his cell phone on his belt....or brings it everywhere I go. It mostly stays in the truck or in the boat....just in case of emergencies....so I dont use very many minutes per month. So, when our two year contract with Verizon is up, I am going with the pre-paid phone like my parents.

Just an alternative idea.

Cliffy.

I had to edit my post....I just saw LABS4ME's post and he was talking about the same thing I was trying to describe..the name of it is Trac Fone. Duh!!!. sorry I missed it.

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I have to totally disagree with the knocks on Tmobile. I've had tmobile for 4yrs now and its been nothing short of great. As long as there is some service in the area, I have service. My phone will bounce around to other networks if needed. No roaming charges.

I use my phone in the middle of nowhere near Aitkin area just fine, up in Ely, North shore, south dakota, you name it. I only picked up Tmobile after a friend chose it. He is the type to research everything religiously. If he chose it I decided to look into it. The price is right, the service is great and I usually get offered a new phone after every year or so as long as I extend my contract. I have no problems with extending my contract since I have no problems with my company.

Its important to find out what network operates where you plan on using your phone the most if you plan on being in not metro areas or off the interstate. Just because the map in Tmobile's website says I can't get cell service in Ely doens't mean that I can't get service on a different network with roaming (for FREE). Someone I recently fished with said he had his service cause it was the only company out where he hunts and that the big networks don't work there. Well, they do if the "big netowrk" has purchased the right to roam onto their network. He didn't have service way up north off the interstate but I had full service because I was on the local network.

You do yourself a disservice by using a smaller "local" network, like the Cell One. They can't roam onto the big networks, but the big networks can roam on theirs. I am on Cell One's network when I camp or fish around Lake Mille Lacs and north of there. Its worked fine for me when I've had to use it and I don't have any added charges.

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You've had much better luck with T-Mobile then I have. Mille Lacs is fine but if I get 30 yards off of any major Highway I have no service at all.

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If you go to the store the current Consumer Reports magizine has cell phones in it with coverage frome the MN area

Quote:

I'm one of those guys that just never got a cell phone and never really missed it. But I think I'm in a position where I will need one now.

Any of you guys have strong opinons on which coverage or which package to get? My main concerns are cost, free long distance / roaming.


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I,ve had t-mobile for about 3 or 4 years now too. I have had pretty decent luck with it ever since I found out that I should get what they call a quad band phone.

The first year I had t-mobile I only had a dual band phone. I was very disapointed because that phone for some reason could not pick up the the other networks towers so I never roamed. Then I talked to a t-mobile dealer because I was ready to switch back to verizon and he told me to try a quad band phone. Now I have pretty good luck with it.

I have no idea how it does on LOW or URL, but I know that I get excellent service in Hill City, Reamer, Mille Lacs, And most of the other places that I go frequently.

I still think that verizon has some of the best coverage over all, but t-mobile is a little cheaper I think.

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I've had Verizon for about 13 years now. I think it started as AirTouch.

Anyways I can't say I've had any major gripes. About 5 years ago I pulled the plug and went to my cell as my only phone and never looked back.

There was a period that I had to have a dual band phone when I went up north to Vermilion as there was no digital service up there. For the most part that is over and digital is all you need now.

The customer service has also been good.

Of course your mileage may vary.

Good Luck

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One more point. As with just about anything now, you can negotiate your price / minutes as well.

Call your company at the office, not go to a store.

Tell them you're going to switch to another company because they're offering a certain amount of minutes for a certain price.

Most likely, they'll match it or beat it.

Right now, I run 5 phones with 1400 minutes / month shared for $130.

I'm with Verizon, and 3 of the phones we've got "in" calling, so any calls to other Verizon phones are free. Other family members outside of these original 5 have Verizon as well, so we can call for free, anytime, no matter where anyone is in the country.

Also, these original 5, there's never a charge between them, which is better than 2-way.

All in all, I pay about $190 / month, 5 phones, the "in calling" on 2 (first one is free), plus for my business, I need to run subscription programs (radar, yellow pages, etc.) which are about $5 / month each.

We had nextel before, and were paying $30 / month more for just 2 phones and 400 minutes / month less. After we had Verizon for a year at $225 / month for 1000 minutes, we called and said to cancel, we were going to go to Sprint.

That's when Verizon lowered the price and increased the minutes.

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Quote:

I've had Verizon for about 13 years now. I think it started as AirTouch.


grin.gif Me Too! Airtouch Cellular never forget my first Star-Tac phone "analog"......man 13 years already.

502777-elec_lg-resized200.jpg

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Thanks very much for all the input. I settled on a Verizon.

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