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How's Your Cell Service?

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the kinda-cruddy-actually dept.

Handhelds 342

Coldeagle writes "Well for those of us who are fed up with your current leash...Cellular phone providers... Here is an interesting article on various US cell phone providers and how their service adds up."

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ahh.. (-1, Offtopic)

Tirel (692085) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604831)

My mind blanks as the earth reforms. I focus on the the individual particles, it must be perfect, an action which would have taken me days and completely exausted me before, now takes only a few seconds. When the structure is completed I pick her up and levitate with her in my arms one last time. I set her down in the coffin, thinking about what could have been if I came to her help a few minutes earlier. I step outside the room and order the earth to seal it. Nobody shall ever know what lies beyond this barrier, I tell it. It obeys, knowing my pain.

I form a dagger of pure crystal out of nothing. I think about what powers will be lost to humanity, how many will die because I will not be there to help them, but it is meaningless to me. She was everything to me and I lost her to my greed. It is better this way, I tell myself.

I walk outside and see the sun setting behind the hills. It asks me if I need anything, and I tell it I need guardians. Moments later, the link is broken and out of the fire come four giant fire elementals. They request instruction. I tell them to destroy this forest and then return here, forever guarding this building, never to yield to any intruders. They turn and go.

I force my body fully into this plane. Feelings of vulnerability overwhelm me, I become mortal again. I walk back into the building and the earth understands, opening the passage for me. I sit next to her, touching her cold hand. I am sorry, I think, the thought echoing through the fabric of reality, a sign of how powerful I have become. I drive the dagger into my heart feeling not pain, but relief. I am sorry, I think again, and this time I feel she is responding. Perhaps we will be together in whatever is to come, I silently say to myself. I smile as I close my eyes and submit to the darkness.

But the powers that be will not let me rest. I have been assigned the role of the deathbringer of a strange world I have never seen before, with the promise that I will be reunited with my love at the end of time. There is nothing but death for those whom I set my gaze upon, and nobody understands why I do it. I am hated and feared by them, but I do not care.

I have become a Troll.

Re:ahh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605171)

Aww, the long lost art of epic trolling! Here's a +1 Offtopic pseudomod.

FROST PISS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604833)

Oooh look at that frozen yellow stream coming out of my penis. Ouch thats cold!

Check! (4, Funny)

vladid (694901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604836)

Can you hear me now??


Not anymore. (0, Offtopic)

numbski (515011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604893)

Funny mods that. :P Funny -1? How does *that* happen?

Re:Not anymore. (-1, Offtopic)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604921)

I think a post can receive more than 1 mod. so probably it got a couple of deservedly off topic or some such mods for being so stale. perhaps funny was just the most recent mod!?

anyway, looks like enough people felt it was funny to mod it back into the positive.

Re:Not anymore. (-1, Offtopic)

vladid (694901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604974)

I am new to all this. I, too, shall learn from my experiences. :)

No (5, Insightful)

computechnica (171054) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604951)

There are still alot of rural areas out west that do not have any service. I doubt some of the areas in the commercials really had service.

Re:Check! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605159)

I'm sorry, your call seems to have been dropped by my provider, t-mobile, again...


I don't have a cell phone. (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604838)

You insensitive clod!

Re:I don't have a cell phone. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604854)

You can have mine! Count yourself lucky.

Re:I don't have a cell phone. (2, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604945)

I bought a phone and had it for 3 years back in '92. contract was 2 years. Then I decided to upgrade, so I got a new 2 year contract with a new phone. 2 days later phone was stolen. They made me pay out the rest of the contract even without the phone, and would not give me a deal on a new phone. They wanted like $500 for a cheap ass motorola botom of the line phone.

From then on I quit Ameritech. Screw them. I just tought me I could live without a phone, and I have for 8 years running now...

I got one for my wife though. Married folks know how it is. Nice to to have your wife tethered, but not quite as nice to be tethered yourself.

How's My Cell Service? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604857)


Re:How's My Cell Service? (0)

DecimalThree (524862) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604928)

I have to wonder if the survey was biased. Their listed "best" provider has been among my worst in terms of experience. I can say that and not be biased; I work for them!

Re:How's My Cell Service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604935)

> Overpriced

You must be American. Over here (UK) t-mobile gives you 750mins a month of free offpeak calls to land lines and other t-mobiles. Wap access is included in the free time. And 50 text messages. All for 13.99.

Interesting article but (4, Interesting)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604859)

What about taking into consideration types of services offered? I had Verizon up until about 3 months ago when I decided I wanted to upgrade my phone. I found that Verizon had no GSM network and after talking on the phone with some representitives I found there was no plan to implement one either. The phone I wanted (ericsson t68i) was a tri-band GSM phone, so I decided to switch networks. I now have T-Mobile, and I admit that their coverage is not quite as good as Verizon's, but I have found it is getting better (I was in blacksburg, Va. in June and there was no service, I went back in July and had full coverage all over town.) Also you have to take into consideration the location of the individuals being polled. Some providers have excellent service in various regions, but very poor service elsewhere.

Re:Interesting article but (4, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604920)

Very true. I've used SprintPCS since 1998, and I would have sworn by them all the way up until last year. Then it seems like they started oversubscribing their network.

Well, I've moved a few times, and it seems that in some areas this network over-subscription began in 2000, combined with the fact that their newer phones didn't always get the best signal. I had an old Qualcomm 1100 and never had any issues, then I got an LG flip phone, and the signal was miserable, and a 2G phone too. Now my sanyo 4900 will get full signal right next to that LG phone that gets none....wierdness.

Some R+D and catchup work on their network would do them a world of good. I realize over-subscription is the profit ticket to a network provider, but it has to be done INTELLIGENTLY.

Re:Interesting article but (2, Interesting)

Misch (158807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605141)

I had Sprint back when I lived in Rochester. It was great, always had good reception (living near 2 major colleges really helps that). Now that Ive moved into a bassackwards town, I find that my apartment is in a no-sprint service zone. Even when it's plugged in, my phone shuts itself off at night because it can't find a signal anywhere, and I am constantly bombarded with the "Bloop-bleep!" of moving in and out of digital-analog ranges.

I'm dropping Sprint when my contract ends in 15 days. Verizon has a store just down the street from me. I think they'll have better service there :-)

I'd wait until November.... (4, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605161)

So you can keep your phone number when you switch. Just a thought.

Re:I'd wait until November.... (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605190)

My phone number is in a different area code. I'd really prefer to have a local number.

Re:Interesting article but (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605081)

after talking on the phone with some representitives I found there was no plan to implement one either.

A customer service rep told you that!!??!!

Re:Interesting article but (2, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605095)

Another aspect that's left out, of course, is actual customer service (as opposed to merely cellular network coverage). I'm sure the majority of people with cell phones have at least one horror story - like my wife who had to cancel her AT&T Wireless phone service on 4 separate occasions before they finally stopped sending us bills...

How to activate Office XP on more than 1 computer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604868)

LOL, MS is so lame. Just call them and act like you don't know much about computers. Just say you had your computer "serviced" and/or "upgraded." They'll then continue to activate it.

Re:How to activate Office XP on more than 1 comput (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604949)

Hey Poul-Henning Kamp, FUCK OFF. Not happy with making FreeBSD a fucking piece of shit, you now come here to troll with your shit.

Joseph Mallett

A note about SprintPCS + Vision (5, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604869)

If you purchased an account (or bought a new phone/got a new advantage agreement as an old customer) and had unlimited vision, and you removed unlimited vision since then, guess what?

You still have it. They've 'grandfathered' your account into having unlimimted vision anyway. Set that next to the fact that since the christmas season, the novelty of the vision network has worn off, and I'm now getting comparable to ISDN speeds off my phone using a USB cable hooked to my powerbook.

Ja ne!

Since last christmas (left that part out)... (4, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604938)

I got modded up anyway, but I meant to say if you bought a new phone/agreement this last christmas season while they were giving unlimited vision for free, and then removed it.

Hate to see a bunch of people remove it and find out they are getting metered because they didn't fall in that group. I'm saying if you've removed it since christmas, not to go do it now. :P

Re:A note about SprintPCS + Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604969)

comparable to ISDN speeds off my phone using a USB cable hooked to my powerbook

You still use cables? Sheesh, and I thought that it is annoying to take out your phone from pocket since IR has its limitations when compared to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but to actually need to cable the two together... man that is really annoying.

Verizon Wireless (4, Informative)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604871)

I have Verizon Wireless. Last month, I drove from Northern Virginia to northern Indiana (and back), and I never lost the signal and never went into roaming, even in the mountains of West Virginia. Can't get too much better than that...

You get what you pay for (5, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604885)

Verizon is significantly more expensive than most other US-based providers.

It has always been (in my opinion) worth the extra money, so I'm not surprised they were ranked #1.

Re:You get what you pay for (3, Informative)

Xrkun (160736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605041)

Actually, I have to correct you on the "expensive" thing. In the second quarter Verizon Wireless's average service revenue per subscriber was $48.66 This is a lot lower then the other major cell companies out there. The reason for this is Verizon does not pull tactics like placing you in plans that are not fit for you. I.E. Some other providers like to put you in lower plans and then when you use up your minutes your bill gets outragous. Verizon actually has a computer based tool that calculates your best rate plan based on the actual minutes you use. Plus with Verizon, you can change your plan at any time.

True (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605113)

That's part of why Verizon rocks.

But assuming that one chooses the optimum plan for a given provider, Verizon is significantly more expensive per minute - With other providers, you get more minutes for the same price.

Nonetheless, minutes aren't everything. Having tons of minutes is worthless when you waste them due to dropped calls or can't use them because you're roaming. Per-minute, Verizon is much more expensive, but they are worth every penny.

Re:True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605199)

Shut up, Dodd. I distinctly remember you defending PCS for Ithaca a while back.

Anyway, shut up.

-the band

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605134)

Verizon is significantly more expensive than most other US-based providers. It has always been (in my opinion) worth the extra money, so I'm not surprised they were ranked #1.

That's funny, a few posts up a guy was saying that AT&T's coverage kicked Verizon's booty. But he said he still used Verizon 'cause it was less expensive...

I don't know where he was, and I don't know where you are, but here in the Seattle area you can't beat AT&T's coverage. :-)

Re:Verizon Wireless (1)

slyckshoes (174544) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605088)

What kind of phone do you have?

My girlfriend and I (both loyal Verizon customers) have driven between RTP, NC and Chicago, IL several times. Usually we both get bumped to analog roaming somewhere in West Virginia. However, her signal deteriorates first and stays gone longer, and we both think it's because her phone was significantly cheaper than mine.

Re:Verizon Wireless (3, Insightful)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605091)

Good to hear that Verizon's coverage is good, but as a fellow motorist, I'd prefer that you had watched the road rather than stared at your signal strength bar the whole drive.

Re:Verizon Wireless (2, Insightful)

duckpoopy (585203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605104)

Try I-95 near the North Carolina-Virginia border. Very bad to no coverage. I guess it could also be my cheap (V-120) phone.

It seems that phone quality can skew the results of customer surveys, like those in the article. My phone is apparently prone to dropping calls, by no fault of Verizon. Perhaps the companies that push better phones have better perceived service quality.

T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (5, Interesting)

geddes (533463) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604876)

I use t-Mobile, the second to lowest scoring provider. I havn't had that many service problems, with the exception of coverage. Thier coverage could be a lot better, but I use them over Verizon because of the quality of their customer service. It is really excellent, and customer service, to me, makes all the difference. What I would like to know is how to honestly figure out a cell phone companies coverage (other than taking their 7 day trials or whatever and walking your route, that is annoying). Like, how can I find a map of all the cell phone towers in and around Groton, Massachusetts, and which companies run them. Having such a map at my disposal would be far more useful than the "coverage maps" the companies hand out with the entire nation shaded red. I have heard that some of the mobile shops have these, but that they really aren't allowed to share them. Surely these towers' locations have to be registered somewhere

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (3, Insightful)

ozbon (99708) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604914)

I'm sure the towers are registered somewhere - however, it's then got to be mapped against geographic features that nork up coverage etc.

In the UK we used to have these kind of maps, but there were too many cases of people thnking they'd get coverage then not doing so because of geographic features such as hills etc that were creating blackspots. So I think they've actually stopped doing them now - I'd assume they've done the same in the US, although this assumption is speculative rather than based in fact.

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605135)

If the providers cared they could actually map an area for pretty accurate maps of coverage zones. There is a company called wireless valley that maps a VERY good although terribly expensive package for doing just that. Then again it would probably cost way more to get a competent person to operate the software then it could possibly be worth to them.

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (4, Interesting)

ccoder (468480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604916)

if you are a complete sadist, you might be able to compile the information from

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (3, Interesting)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604944)

check usenet. alt.cellular [] and children have lots of info. I bet some people have made some nice detailed cell site maps. I actually have a friend who's hobby is finding cell towers, he has a big book with photos of just about every tower in the city he lives in, and he draws up maps of all the different providers. It is pretty cool, he looks at the pattern of existing towers, and says, "ok, I predict that Cingular will have a tower here", then goes to that spot, and sure enough, a tower! I had never previously heard of such a hobby, but he can't be the only one.

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (4, Interesting)

wolf- (54587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605111)

I was doing contract work for a cell provider in atlanta about 6 years ago. We had to have a serious background check done in order to even view the database with tower information in it. The cell companies claim that the hush hush is for security and anti-terrorism reasons. Personally I thought it was so we couldnt share just how lousy their coverage really was.

Re:T-Mobile isn't great, but good enough (2, Informative)

frane (630062) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605181)

Refer to the article, Grad Student's Work Reveals National Infrastructure (here) []

This guy used public information to build a very thourough mapping of communication, transportation, power, etc. infrastructure. IIRC, it included cell phone towers.
Of course, this caught the attention of politicians and various agencies, and he can't share his research.

Cellular One (0)

r0de (78438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604881)

Cellular one is pretty good in my area.
Sprint PCS isnt.

Becoming like monopoly's (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604890)

Their becoming useless and using bullying tactics. My sister wished to swap her service away from verizon and verizon proceeded to contact ME telling me i would be paying higher charges because she was leaving the network. their was no information ever about lowering costs if we had the same provider in the first place and I even had my plan at my exiosting price far before she ever had a cell phone. So now they wanted to raise my price probably to pressure me into making her stay, so I told them to get the hell out and I switched too. Their tactics are bullying and that's not service.

Re:Becoming like monopoly's (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605082)

Nextel is threatening to change our rates in mid-contract. A very rude Mr Harris was put on the phone a few days ago when we called up about a billing problem (cell minutes magically disappeared from the plan???) All he kept saying was "we are losing money on your account"

My answer was tough, your agent signed us up and for 6 months, you honored the contract. You make any changes to the accounts between now and December, a breech of contract suit will ensue.

Ends up, customer service passed us to him. He was in "Account deactivation". They are doing anything they can to get us to leave.

They have no idea how much money they will be losing. Unlimited nights and weekends are phone when you have one half of your phones call the other half all weekend, every weekend, for the rest of the year.

Screw you Nextel, I'm going to Verizon at the end of the contract.

Sprint PCS (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604894)

I've got Sprint. Im in the Boston suburbs, and I can't believe the amount of drop-outs I get on major roads. 128^W95 I get them, Route 2, even in some of the major town/cities, like Watertown, Framingham, Natick, I cant get signal.


Re:Sprint PCS (1)

lowmagnet (646428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604984)

Stop driving, or switch to automatic digital/analog roam. There is coverage of some sort for PCS phones everywhere. At my dad's it is a PCS dead spot, but I can still roam analog. It might cost, but at least you can still continue your call.

Re:Sprint PCS (1)

gesualdo (149094) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605025)

Forget the suburbs, coverage sucks downtown. I was staying with a friend a block away from Prudential, and while the phone would consistantly have four bars on its signal strength indicator, about 90% of the calls would get dropped.

On Long Island, the signal indicator jumped from zero to four bars at random, short intervals, and there was no chance of getting a call to go through. I must admit, however, that I was impressed that I had full and stable coverage while taking the ferry from Orient Point, Long Island to New London, CT.

Sprint PCS = Positively Crappy Service

This is an interesting article? (5, Insightful)

rlsnyder (231869) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604895)

The standards for "intersting article" seem to have gotten lower. This is a very brief writeup of a customer satisfaction survey. There is very little information on how the survey was taken, and the scoring on the survey ranks in the range of 0-104, with all services being ranked right next to each other at the top of the spectrum (with only a few % difference between each).

In other words, a short article vaguely describing a survey with largely insignificant differentiation in results. Whoo hoo!

Re:This is an interesting article? (2, Insightful)

lordDallan (685707) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605119)

Shout out to rlsnyder for laying the smack down on this being a seriously whack article!

I need to know where the approx. 16,000 folks they surveyed were located too! If they're all on the eastern seaboard or in southern California, what the hell does that tell me about the quality or lack thereof of each companies nationwide coverage. Nothing, that's what.

Re:This is an interesting article? (1)

VdG (633317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605137)

I was rather disappointed in it also. I was expecting more details on the survey and was interested to see how it compared with the UK and the rest of Europe.

Different results (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604896)

Here in NE Ohio between my father and I we have used all of the major cellular companies. Verizon has shit for voice quality (I might blame it on the phone but we've had 4 different sets from 3 manufacturers), AT&T I couldn't be happier with (and their coverage KILLS anyone else, I have used my phone from coast to coast and in some pretty damn remote areas like on Mt. Whitney Calif, The Grand Canyon, etc, finally Nextel is fine so long as you are in a major metro area or never get off the highway but because they have no analog backfill don't expect to get a signal in the boonies (or even the outskirts of the Cleveland/Akron metroplex in my case). Oh yeah the only reason I put up with Virizon? Price, $80/month for unlimited anytime minutes =) My dad and I both use up more minutes then even the jumbo plans that many carriers offer for well over $100 and none of them have reasonable per minute charges if you go over.

Here, in Switzerland... (2, Funny)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604898)

I remember being called while I was on the top of the Schilthorn (the Piz Gloria is the restaurant in which G. Lazenby plays "At Her Majesty's service").
So I guess the coverage is quite decent, even far up the mountains. :)

Useless (1)

tbase (666607) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604902)

With so many people having cell phones these days, all you have to do is ask around to see who's best in your area. This explains the high ratings and little spread in the study. By now people have figured out who they should go with in a particular area.

A useful study would ask how people rated their service when travelling. I think you'd see the ratings plummet. I have T-Mobile which is ok for where I normally use it, but I just went on vacation, and any distance at all off the highway or away from any cities, and it was useless. And at our family reunion at my folk's place in the boonies (about 45 minutes from the nearest town), I think we had every carrier represented, and not a single signal among them, including the ones that showed coverage on thier maps.

Theyre all pretty bad (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604904)

In my area I have had the following

Everyone of them had problems. Finally I got MetroPCS. The service isnt any better but it costs only $40/mo unlimited usage. I may not have the service I want but at least I am not paying for service I don't actually receive.

Nextel sucks. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604905)

Well it's great in the cities that are covered. but leave the city or highway and you are stranded. While traditional analog or tri-mode cellphones still work (at a higher "ohhh your roming? gimmie GOBS of cash" rate)

It's all about coverage for me. AT&T wireless has the worst coverage and the worst agreements with other carriers for roaming so you get no service more often.. while verizon has super crappy customer care.

I guess it's taking the lesser of the evils.

verizon in maine (1)

J05H (5625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604906)

Verizon service in Maine is aweful. It's fine in southern New England, but i end up having to call-back several times to hold a 10 minute conversation. That's why I'm going to get an i90 and nextel service today.

Some people I've talked with say that their cell phones get odd messages when calling sometimes, they say "Welcome to roaming services, credit card number please?" or similar. It seems like it might be a new "slam" or some telco trolling for extra cash.


Now that we know about coverage (2, Interesting)

LogicX (8327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604910)

The next thing I want to know is which provider gives the best wireless internet services, including unlimited connections for a reasonable price -- and services such as AIM with a real client instead of through SMS messages. [] is a start, but I want to hear from those of you who use the services.

I currently have cingular, who does not offer AIM, and I've had numerous problems trying to get the wireless web service to work (apparently it wasn't supported by the towers in my home calling area).

to cell or not to cell (4, Funny)

selderrr (523988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604911)

I'll probably get modded redundant, but I still don't have a cellphone. And so far, except for 2 occasions where I got stuck in traffic for several hours and got late to pick up our kids from school, I have never even thought "damd, I wish I wasn't so stubborn and bough that cellphone"

I honestly go whooptie-flip over those 15-year olds crammed together in the bus messanging or calling eachother, yelling in my ear, poking with their elbows and tripping over anything smaller than a shepperd-dog (I recently saw a teen running along the road while phoning. Neither he nor the road-sign pole had the immense fun I had when I saw him smack his forehead fullspeed into the metal, and then the back of his head into the asphalt as he bounced back. The silliest thing was that when I tried to help him get up, he could only utter 'mind your steps... my phone is on the ground somewhere overhere' The guy was nearly blind from the impact for christ sake !)... Not to speak of the near-constant phone ringing all around me whenever I step out the door. At a bus station for instance. Sometimes it's funny to just watch everyone grab for their phone (women in their purse, machos grab their crotch as those things seem to live in simbyosis with testicles)...

That's perhaps one reason to buy a cellphone : stand at the busstation with a friend, and secretly call him. He doesn't pick up. I hang up after 3 rings and repeat. Mr. Cleese would be proud of me.

Re:to cell or not to cell (2, Interesting)

Palos (527071) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604985)

The main reason I ended up with a cell phone was price vs a landline. For $40 a month I get unlimited nights/weekends, no charge for long distance, and a decent amount of anytime minutes. Compared to the phone in my house which used to cost about $30 after caller id/etc and included no minutes, this was very nice.
As far as the article itself goes, as has been mentioned before its 100% location based. If you're getting a cell phone talk to people who have one there, and find out what is best.

Re:to cell or not to cell (1)

espo812 (261758) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605216)

achos grab their crotch as those things seem to live in simbyosis with testicles
cellular = radiation + testicles = ball cancer. I'll be sure to keep my phone in my purse from now on.

Etiquette (3, Insightful)

div_2n (525075) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605222)

Just as with anything else, there is (or should be) etiquette for use. Sometimes it takes quite a while for the social norms to develop. Smokers still seem to think it is and should be acceptable for them to blow smoke right in a non-smokers breathing area. I don't think too many people would argue it is ok to have sex in public (can't wait for responses to that).

The point is that social norms will develop. It will probably take too long (as in smoking) so establishments will probably have no cell phone policies except in special areas. This makes sense anyway as phone conversations tend to be louder than normal conversation. Whenever I get a cell phone call in a public place I always move to a point where I am out of the way and talk just like I was having a conversation with someone right next to me.

Just as a car shouldn't be driven just anywhere (a neighbors lawn), a cell phone shouldn't be used anywhere and anytime. For example, answering a call while your girlfriend is yelling at you is likely to get it broken upside your head. Strangely if they go down while you are actually ON the phone it is ok. Go figure.

I hate the phone (5, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604922)

I absolutely hate the phone and will do nearly anything to avoid talking on one.

That said, I love shiny things. I have had a series of phones over the years and a series of carriers.

I started in '99 with a Nokia - I think it was a 6590 or something like that - it seemed cool at the time. It was with Sprint in Boston/Cambridge.
There were small, but frequent dead zones and when I walked into one while on a call, it would drop out. Frustrating.
I called Sprint about it and they actually said "yeah, we aren't planning on upgrading out networks at all"... so I told them I would be leaving their service, which I did.

I then got a Nokia 8860 - the shiny mirrored girly phone that Christina Aguilara had on one of her MTV interviews. That phone scratched easily and had terrible reception - but I was worshipped like a god whenever I pulled that out of my pocket. It was also excellent for finding nose hair issues.
The reception on that phone was so bad that it is hard to fault AT&T for any of that. That said, AT&T fucked up the billing on my phone and my cable service about 4 times in a row and led to a several month series of events that made me decided to never use them again. They were incredibly annoying to deal with - one person would say the situation was resolved, then I would get a letter from a collection agency - for something that I never needed to pay in the first place according to AT&T.
Finally, the last straw was when the woman (many supervisors up) said to me "I understand that you aren't supposed to have this charge, but you do, and I can't fix it, so how about you just pay $10 of it and then I will write off the rest (of a $100 charge)".
I was so pissed that I had to pay anything at all since I wasn't supposed to - but at that point, I saw the $10 fee as my way of getting out of their fucking phone annoyance hell - and I was sick of getting collection notices for things that weren't my problem.

So I will never go with them again. I later got some mail telling me that I was part of a class action suit against them and would in the end get like $1 off of my cable service if I upgraded - right.

Then I switched to VoiceStream, and they then renamed to T-Mobile. I have the Nokia 8890 with them. GSM - works in other countries and many cities.
Great service, great customer service - no billing errors - great phone.
Was very happy with them - they would upgrade my service for free as things came along - great stuff.

Then I moved to Bermuda and had to cancel that.
I can still use the same phone here, and the service is decent enough, considering I didn't want to get it in the first place (work made me get it, but then refused to pay for it, so as a result, I don't answer it much).
The customer service here is non-existant - but so far haven't had to deal with that yet. Have had a rude person and a nice person when signing up. That is pretty normal here - usually more rude.

In the end, the only way I would change phones is if I get one of the new Treo phones from Handspring/Palm, or if Nokia's upgrade to the 8890 comes here (I think it is the 8910 and 8910i - nice looking phones).

American vs Japanese cell service (0, Troll)

Stanley Feinbaum (622232) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604924)

I remember when I was in Japan I was impressed by their vastly superior cell phone technology. 3g phones which double as pdas and have video capability. And the size, very impressive. More people use cell phones in Japan than traditional copper wire service, which cost a lot there as it is.

I'm hoping one day we will catch up to the Japanese in cell phone technology but that is unlikely as they are far far ahead of America in almost every department. While our students are lazy and self centered individuals, the Japanese youth know the value of conformity and hard work. Ever hear of crime or poverty in Japan ? There isn't much. Gun control along with a generally more polite attitude keeps crime there very low. We Americans could learn a lot from the Japanese, although we are still the best damn country in the world our technology is slightly lacking!

Re:American vs Japanese cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605006)

Piss ass moron. "Japs are great!" Go live there. I for one, am quit happy with my country. Gun control, how does that compare to cell phones? In Australia, gun control went into play, and, guess what, crime went up! Hmm. Whatever.

Re:American vs Japanese cell service (-1, Offtopic)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605008)

I remember a sarin gas attack by Aum Shinrikyo and a kid going around beheading his schoolmates.

Re:American vs Japanese cell service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605208)

Pff, thats just the sort of high jinks that any Japanese school child gets upto at one time or another.

Re:American vs Japanese cell service (0, Offtopic)

duckpoopy (585203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605155)

I remember dirty, used panties being sold in vending machines, professional businessmen looking at hardcore porn on the subway, and Japanese teens urinating in the streets. I agree that Japan is a very nice place with a very different culture, but it is not nirvana.

Pretty bad in denmark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604926)

The service I'm using, DanmarkFon [] , has suffered from intermitent failures for months. Unfortunately I signed a 1 year contract with them, so I'll have to stay with this for 4 months.

Poul-Henning Kamp, FreeBSD committer

Regional Considerations (4, Insightful)

timothy_m_smith (222047) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604937)

The problem with this article is that mobile service should be rated regionally as opposed to nationally. I understand that some carriers have national plans, but in general each carrier has strengths in different geographic areas.

sprint PCS sucks! (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604940)

In Minneapolis anyways... my phone will drop connection just going under an overpass! it seems random how much signal strength I get. I can be in the same place, sometimes the signal is strong, sometimes there is none. My friend has verizon and he can get signal in many different places that I cant.

Re:sprint PCS sucks! (2, Informative)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605034)

When we had our Sprint PCS (Nokia?) "Dual Band" phone, we also had an old Analog cellphone (carrier and brand I can't recall). The wife and I took a roadtrip and plugged both into the car outlets (cig & accessory). Every time we saw a tower on the horizon, we'd check both phones. The Sprint phone got a signal maybe 80% of the time whereas the older analog got a signal more like 90% of the time.

Both plans reported that they had coverage on the highway we were driving on.

Some improvements.. (1)

kmak (692406) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604941)

The problem is that they rarely upgrade their structures to support more users after they sign on - and everyone has a year or two contracts, so they have to stay for that duration.

Luckily, it's changed nowadays, competition does that, I guess, and it's better, now that we can keep our cellphone numbers!

Most times...just like ewoks (5, Funny)

emo boy (586277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604942)

I have Sprint PCS and I would say over 50% of the time the people on the other end just sound like Ewoks. It could be the service quality or it could just be that I'm talking to Ewoks but I mean what sounds more likely...Eworks or the quality of service?? Yeah Ewoks...those damn ewoks.

AT&T (1)

gabeman-o (325552) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604948)

I just got AT&T service a few weeks ago and I am happy with it. Although coverage in my town is spotty (I live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but trees), their coverage elsewhere is excellent. I also got the Sony Ericsson T306 for free, which I have found to be a good, full featured phone.

Cingular (4, Informative)

LogicX (8327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604950)

Just wanted to toss out there that I went to get a new phone at cingular last week, and they've JUST switched everything to GSM networks from CDMA. All their new plans are for GSM service, all their new phones are GSM. If you are a currently customer you have TWO phones to choose from that still do CDMA. The GSM service has MUCH less coverage, they claim better quality and signal strength.

Does anyone have any good URLs showing what network types all the providers use, and maybe compares them?

Re:Cingular (1)

DemonMucha (553040) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605121)

Cingular was TDMA, not CDMA. They have alot of upgrading to do here in Conencticut (50+ towers) untill they reach the same footprint as they did with TDMA.

And let me put in a plug for Howardforums [] , find all your cell phone info there.

Re:Cingular (4, Informative)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605198)

cingular was never CDMA, they have been TDMA. That being said, the two phones that have TDMA and GSM (a combination known as GAIT) are the Sony-Ericsson T62u and the Nokia 6360. I have had a cingular phone for a year and a half and really love their coverage. I am on a national plan which includes roaming to analog and tdma, and I almost always have some signal. I don't care whether it is cingular, other tdma, or analog, since I don't pay any extra for it. My only complaint is the fact that calls made while off the cingular network are not billed immediately, so you might have to wait a month or two, then all of a sudden you wonder where those extra 150 minutes on your bill came from. I suppose that is probably not cingular's fault though, since they have to wait until they get the data from the roaming partners.

T-Mobile around DC (1)

zymurgyboy (532799) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604955)

I got tired of feeding the beast (Verizon) and I already have one dedicated ad server (tv) so I cut off local phone service and ditched my Verizon wireless phone for T-Mobile.

I love the phone, Sony Ericsson t68i, but I must admit the service doesn't come anywhere near Verizon's. I mostly have to go outside when I'm at home to use my phone. Admittedly, this may have as much to do with the phone as with T-Mobile's tower placement. I get good signal strength everywhere but in my house, and around my small town in some places.

I had the foresight to leave my wife with her Verizon cell phone, so we can get calls in our house. But truthfully, sometimes it's nice not to be reachable.

Most of my friends who have to be reachable at all hours here will tell you that that pretty much makes Verizon the only option around DC.

Isint this a poll question? ;p (3, Funny)

Comsn (686413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604958)

you insensitive clod! my tinfoil hat blocks cell service!

Towers Available (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604966)

I don't get it. Shouldn't something like T-Mobile, AT&T and Cingular all have the same amount of dropped calls when using the same towers? I have T-Mobile but when I go to San Francisco it shows me on a Cingular tower, when I go to detroit or something, I am on the AT&T tower.

Service is not too bad here, mostly indoors (1)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604976)

But this guy Bubba always stares at my soap, almost as if he wants me to drop it :s

I'm surprised.. (2)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604978)

.. Sprint PCS did better than T-Mobile. We had nothing but problems with our Sprint phone and I had absolutely no issues with my VoiceStream (now T-Mobile) phone.

I'd like to see another report, however, that takes cellular coverage issues as well as billing and customer support. I wouldn't be surprised to find Sprint at the bottom of that list.

Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6604990)

I've been using Verion here on the East Coast for 2 years. No drop outs. Can drive the PA turnpike(even tunnels) with full signal.

Not a big fan of Verizon, but in my opinion they rock on the East Coast cellphone wise.


survey reflects my experience (1)

mlong (160620) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604996)

I used to have alltel and had no end of problems. I'd be driving down a city street and get no service...I'd try to make a call and get a fast busy. I switched to verizon and have had almost no problem. The only time I have a problem is sometimes when I am in a large brick building, but that is to be expected I guess.

Re:survey reflects my experience (1)

bryanthompson (627923) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605073)

i get the fast busy with alltel all the time, plus they'll disconnect me after about 15 minutes. I'd switch, but i'm locked into the contract for another year :( Being only 18, they made me promise to stay for 2 years.

Bad experience with ATT (1, Interesting)

vladid (694901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6604997)

When I first applied for a cellphone, ATT seemed to have the best deal. But being a foreign student with no credit history at all, they wanted a $600 dollar deposit that I would have gotten back after 6 or 9 months with little interest. A real shame if you ask me.

Sprint however, cleared me within 5 minutes and I am a satisfied customer ever since.

uhh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605001)

Giving Cingular an above 100 score makes this article complete and utter nonsense.

Cingular and T-Mobile use the same network. They are constantly rated to have the worst reception among all cell phone companies.

Nextel and Verizon are constantly rated as having the best.

However, T-Mo is cheap. Nextel is expensive. It all depends on what you need.

But if you're too poor to pay more than $30/month, don't get a cell phone.

aka - Don't get Cingular or T-Mo!

Can you hear me now? (3, Funny)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605044)


At least according to those results.

Sprint Feedback from recent trip (2, Informative)

Metroid72 (654017) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605054)

Using Sprint, this weekend I was in: Detroit Pittsburg New York Washington DC And in all those sites I got the infamous "Signal Faded" (the other end was usually a landline). Are the other carriers as bad as Sprint?

Prepaid (4, Interesting)

Patik (584959) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605057)

Prepaid phones are a great resource for those who wish they had a phone for occasional usage (emergencies, quick short calls, etc.) but won't talk enough to justify $30/month. I've found Virgin Mobile [] to offer the best rates. You have to add $20 every 90 days, which works out to $7/month if you never use it (or use up to about a half hour a month). You can add money on their website, through the phone itself, or by buying a card at a store. The balance also carries over until you cancel the service. I've never had to add any more than the minimum, and I feel like I've adequate usage out of it. It's .25/min, which seems costly but if I had a $30/month plan I'd still only use it 30-60 minutes, and I'd be pay three times per minute when you average it out. Free text messages (10 cents to send) are very convenient.

For the 7 months I've had it the service has been great, phone has worked fine, and everything has run smoothly.

Since then I've convinced three people close to me to get their own. They, too, disregarded cell phones because of the daunting costs, but have found the occasional usage quite convenient.

Sprint PCS and weird reception problem (1)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605060)

I've been on Sprint for about 4 years now... not sure why, I barely use the damn thing anymore. But one odd problem pops up; when my dad calls me from his cordless phone at home (one of those 2GHz thingies), the noice-cancelling on each phone seems to be out of sync with the other, and I get nothing but talk-(drop)-talk-(drop)-talk.... any ideas on that one?

Other cell-phone fun... I bought one partially for emergency use while I'm traveling, but good luck getting a signal if you drive to most western US National Parks (esp. Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands)... even analog goes away out there.

Verizon / Nextel / Sprint (4, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605077)

I've driven all over the southwest with a friend of mine. I have Verizon, my work phone is Nextel, and he has Sprint PCS. Coverage wise, it was Verizon by far, then Nextel, then that POS Sprint. Even in dense areas like - ah, er, Phoenix -- he often had trouble getting a decent signal.

Then there's the entire southeast quadrant of New Mexico. All around Carlsbad, Roswell, and basically anywhere east of I-25 was a complete dead zone for Nextel and Sprint. Verizon was great except for a few isolated areas between some mountains.

Sprint's "all digital" shtick is supposed to be a selling point, but it's actually a disadvantage. If there's no digital signal, I'd much rather fall back to analog (plus not have to pay roaming charges) than have no service at all.

One more thing, modern cell phones pretty much suck. I've had a startac 7868W for years now, works like a champ, great sound quality, and goes ages on a charge. It's basically a very good telephone. OK, so it doesn't have solitaire or allow me to snap photos inside of locker rooms. I'd rather just have a good phone and reliable dependable phone service.

Comments about AT&T (1)

Infernon (460398) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605086)

Their customer service is actually pretty good, at least from what I've experienced. The problem that I have with them is that they're coverage areas on the GSM network aren't good at all and that they're not really getting much better.

maybe (4, Interesting)

Datasage (214357) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605116)

Verizon may be best for the entire country, but not best for every area. When i was choosing a cellular provider i did a bit of shopping around. sometimes by overhearing other customers talking to the guy at the counter about thier problems. Most of them were compaining about the quality of verizon's service. In the end i choose t-mobile.

Quality of service is not the only reason why i would choose a provider.

GSM vs CDMA: Because we in the US always have to be incompatible with the rest of the world we create the cdma standard. Generally i have found that the cdma based networks cant send sms outside of thier network or to very few others. while t-mobile to many of the networks around the world. T-mobile also can be used on many of the networks around the work, but you pay a premium price to do so (anywhere from $1-5 per minute). But if you were in those countries, it would be rather easy to just get a sim card for a local network. The last reason i like gsm over cdma, i can upgrade my handset by just moving the sim card to another phone, no programing needed.

Suncom rules (1)

freeefalln (541648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605120)

I had Alltel for two years and after tons of billing mistakes and horrible coverage in the Richmond, VA area. I went wtih SunCom/ AT&T. My plan is amazing. 60/month gets me unlimited calling with no roaming. its awesome!

And if you're sick of your provider... (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605148)

...Wireless Local Number Portability (LNP), meaning you can change to another wireless provider in your service area while keeping the same telephone number, goes into effect November 24, 2003:

FCC press release []

Customer Service?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6605154)

Alltel the worst uses Verizons network in most places and Verizon uses Alltels wherever there is Alltel AFAIK so I dont see how one can be the worst and one the best..

Sprint call quality etc is ok but has anbody ever tried to use Sprints customer service? I gave up Sprint just because they are out to screw you and the thick cust service people have no clue and talk thru their asses..

Don't use Sprint! (1, Informative)

rsheridan6 (600425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6605163)

Unless you like
  1. roaming charges in a major metropolitan area
  2. incompetent customer service people who will send your bill to the wrong place no matter how many times you tell them to correct your address
  3. a web site that doesn't work half the time
  4. sneaky tricks to lock you into a service agreement for a year. Your phone breaks? You better get a new one because you have to keep paying the bill, regardless of whether you actually have a working phone. Got a new phone? You have to sign on for another yearlong contract. Tried a new, cheaper plan? You signed yourself on for a year without even knowing it. Lost your job, like so many others in recent years? This is one bill you won't be able to cut, at least not without the credit bureaus hearing about it.
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