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tamias6

Cell Phones

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Since I'm new to cell phones and after being forced to make my phone calls from the roof of a Parking Ramp yesterday due to bad signal. I'm wondering what cell phone carriers work best and provides good service. I prefer prepay as contracts tend to make me nervous.

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Your phone might have a lot to do with as well. With the same carrier and two different phones I've had dramatically different results.

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I contracted with T-mobile. The service in the SE and NW sides isn't all that great. I heard Nextel and that guy who says, "Can you hear me now? -- Good!" provides decent service in the Metro area. I'm not sure if those two companies offer pay as you go.

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I have Nextel and would not recommend it unless you are in an industry that basically requires you to use/have Nextel such as construction. I think the coverage is absolutely horrible. Millions into NASCAR and there are places on I-96, I-196, US-131 in the greater GR area that have zero signal. Pure garbage if you ask me.

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I have Verizon and have had it for two years. I spend a lot of time downtown and around downtown and I've never had a coverage problem. I have had issues between Caledonia and Middleville and South of Hastings.

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I have Verizon and have had it for two years. I spend a lot of time downtown and around downtown and I've never had a coverage problem. I have had issues between Caledonia and Middleville and South of Hastings.

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Nextel on a Blackberry.

I think their service and coverage has improved greatly since the merger with Sprint, and I hear it's still evolving. There's a dead spot on I-196 near the zoo, but otherwise it's much better than it used to be.

Just don't go to da UP. eh?

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I have Nextel now and get echo quite often with it. Had Alltel for years, 15 or so, never had any problems with it and had really good signal strength everywhere. Only switched for the direct connect feature.

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I have Alltel and havent had any problems with coverage. The type of phone can make a big difference, too (or so I was told, but it was a salesguy, so take it with a grain of salt)

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I used to get the echo on Nextel as well. Annoying.

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I've had Verizon for about 10 years. I've always had good service. And I like their New Every Two deal.

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My wife and I have cingular and we have no absolutely great service throughout the state. They have great customer service too and a very nice pay as you go plan

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I have Alltel and havent had any problems with coverage. The type of phone can make a big difference, too (or so I was told, but it was a salesguy, so take it with a grain of salt)

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i have verizon (through work) and it's great. Before this i had alltel, which is cheaper and just as good of service. I would recommend alltel to anyone.

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I have Cingular/AT&T for personal, and found it to be iffy on Heritage Hill. For two years I had to stand in the street to make a call.

Work phone is Alltel, and its coverage seems to be much stronger throughout the city. (But that's on about ten calls per month.)

Someone mentioned Nextel's coverage issues. When I was a contractor for them, my group was required to obtain their phones. What a joke...we were putting up cell sites in zero coverage areas, and the client was preventing us from talking to each other! I've also experienced their complete absence of coverage for a week on vacation (southern Ohio).

Good luck getting decent info out of sales folk. They'll send you a coverage map showing the entire midwest. You can reduce that big orange blob by about 10% for more accurate coverage detail.

I think that any carrier has a try-it guarantee...couple years back I was looking at Verizon (see Heritage Hill issue) and that's what they told me.

Helpful hint: any tall/metallic structure can help boost coverage. On the Nextel gig I heard that visitors to Decatur would stand by the municipal water tower to make calls.

HTH

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I started with Prepay myself, and after having done about a month of research (2 years ago) I found T-Mobile to have the cheapest per-minute rates for pre-pay out of any other company, providing you buy the $100 or $50 cards. I've enjoyed T-Mobile enough that I upgraded to a contract. If you're going out into the middle of nowhere, T-Mobile doesn't have great coverage, but as long as you're in civilisation, you should be fine.

On top of that, having a Sidekick 3 with wireless broadband over the T-Mobile network is AWESOME.

Edit: to note about those coverage maps Veloise mentioned, T-Mobile actually provides street-level coverage maps on their website.

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I'm a big fan of jumping networks it would seem, I've had T-Mo, Verizon, and Sprint all here in GR. T-Mo was good for the area but didn't work outside of major metropolitan areas (no coverage in Big Rapids or Traverse City) so I dumped them. Went with Verizon, coverage there was OK, but I paid about 30% more than I needed to. Plus, Verizon cripples all their phones such that you can't use your own ringtones/wallpapers on them (instead, pay $2-5 a pop from their "store"). Also had issues with tower handoffs on Verizon (when you're driving and drive out of the range of one tower and into the range of the next, Verizon always dropped the call). Switched to Sprint b/c I get a good discount thru my employer - best service yet. Signal is strong everywhere, I get unlimited internet access as well for less than I paid for just voice with Verizon. Check out www.howardforums.com for opinions on both carriers and phones. CNet also does pretty good phone reviews.

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Skip the sales guys. My wife and I went through lowermybills.com to the cell phone section. You can compare a ton of different phones, different rate plans, and different service providers. We both got Razr phones with Cingular Wireless and only paid $30 for one phone and like $70 for the second (after rebate of course), and we pay $60 or $70/month for service for two of us. We haven't had any problems with coverage or the provider.

Just read the instructions for the rebates very carefully. There's only a certain window of opportunity to send them in, like between 120 - 150 days after service starts.

I just looked and they have a free Razr phone with Cingular. Grrr.

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I'm a t-mobile customer for life.

With a new quad-band phone you will roaming on cingular as well (for free) so you have SUPERB coverage. Only with newer quad band phones though. I have no problems with service anywhere in Grand Rapids, either voice, or EDGE data.

I've used it quite literally way out in the woods of the U.P, Pennsylvania, Washington (in rally cars!) and all over the place. France, U.K, Spain.. I very much love T-Mobile.

Coverage wasnt the best back about 2 years ago with a tri-band moto phone though.

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I'm a big fan of jumping networks it would seem, I've had T-Mo, Verizon, and Sprint all here in GR. T-Mo was good for the area but didn't work outside of major metropolitan areas (no coverage in Big Rapids or Traverse City) so I dumped them.

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I use Amp'd prepaid. Amp'd uses Verizon's network, so the coverage is very good. $20 every two months, $.10/minute.

Sometimes you can find really good deals on T-mobile prepaid, where you can get the phone very cheap by purchasing the $100 refill card, and you get a whole year to use those prepaid minutes with the $100 refill. And I think it ends up at something like $.08/minute.

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Had to get in on the cell talk - I've got Sprint and have been with them for a while. Overall pretty happy with the coverage, my rate and the extras (free national long distance whether calling from here or somewhere else, nights and weekends free, etc.) There are areas in town than send me to roaming (roaming rates apply) - Corner of Fulton and the Beltline is roaming. I've also been sent to roaming just outside of Eastown...strange! Could be my phone as I just checked the roaming setting and it was on "automatic" rather than "SPrint only." Not sure. The signal is also very,very weak at my office south of town (btw 60th & 68th).

*fish

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I myself have used a wide variety of carriers - but I am surprised that nobody has mentioned centennial wireless.

I have sort of a love-hate relationship with them , but it's mostly Greenville related because Greenville is in a borderline with "3" of their "different networks" so my phone was constantly changing networks (or towers I suppose) and my calls were always getting dropped. They are pretty much in the affordable category like sprint - I believe you can get a 600 min plan, free incoming calls, free incoming text messages for about 40 bucks a month. Although a stupid thing they like to do is charge all of your features separately like voicemail is 1.99, and call waiting is 1.99...so that can all add up.

I had a prepaid with the "then" at&t and I loved it, got service everywhere...but then the whole cingular thing happened and I can't get crap for service in my area.

I then went to Alltel - wonderful service - but I felt that the prices were a little too much for me. I was paying about 60 bucks for 1,000 minutes, unlimited txt messaging, and enhanced voicemail. Didn't care for it and canceled the contract.

Then I moved to Centennial - had the issues with the networks (but it works wonderfully everywhere else, especially GR. I also like the fact that you can buy a new phone anytime and you get discounted prices. That's a really cool feature. My mother is taking over my contract with this one right now and she got a new blue razr phone for about 80 bucks.

I then moved to Nextel for a few months - horrible service - horrible coverage - the echo factor - nobody I knew used the direct connect - so I felt it was a waste of time.

Sprint however was in the middle of all the merging so they allowed me to switch to the Sprint Network, they provided me with a free phone of my choice (within reason but I got a nice phone) and I am currently on a 29.99/mo 200 min fair and flex plan. I don't use the cell that much anymore so I'm just going with something cheap for now.

I have considered going back to pre-pay because I am now going to hook up with this new VOIP called Skype. It's a messenger and VOIP we use at work - and for about 60 dollars a year you get your own phone number, unlimited minutes, voicemail, and you can buy a phone (or a wifi phone that'll work in hotspots when you're not at home). You can also call from your computer. So that's the wave of my future :lol:

I heard Alltel has a very nice Prepaid plan that I think you can pay as you go online. And they have these "pay-by-day" extras you can get...you get to select 2 free ones, and then the other two you have to pay 25 cents per day. Their features are:

Unlimited Nights and Weekends

Unlimited Favorite Number Calling

Unlimited Text Messaging

Unlimited Mobile to Mobile

I will probably hook up with this when I cancel my Sprint account. Alltel has a few spotty areas (mostly suburbs).

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Since I'm new to cell phones and after being forced to make my phone calls from the roof of a Parking Ramp yesterday due to bad signal. I'm wondering what cell phone carriers work best and provides good service. I prefer prepay as contracts tend to make me nervous.

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