Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cell Phone service

Our cell phones are our only phones. Us, and every other full-time RVer we know! We went with Verizon when we first started this lifestyle 4 years ago and we've been pretty happy. We have a national plan with no roaming. That means we can use our phones anywhere in the US, provided there is signal. If we're in an area that would normally work, but incur roaming charges - ours won't work. We don't use our phones that much since 90% of all our communications is via computer. If only Verizon plans had 'rollover' minutes we wouldn't think of switching. Our plan includes 1500 minutes/month shared between the two of us. Often, we only use 400. Occasionally we do go over the 1500, and, boy do those extra charges hurt! Our normal bill is $115/mo. Way too high, in my opinion, for our normal 700 minutes. But, I can't lower the plan because of those 'sometimes' that we go over. We've had $300+ bills when overages apply.

No cell service works *everywhere*, but consensus has been pretty clear that Verizon is the best for nationwide coverage. The landscape is different now though, than it was four years ago. I'm looking at AT&T/Cingular because they have rollover minutes. If we sign up for a 700 minute plan, and only use 500, the extra 200 'rollover' to the following month. That would sure be nice! But, it's coverage that counts when you travel. From their coverage maps, it still looks like Verizon is the winner. The maps don't tell the whole story though, let's hear from people who actually use the service.  I googled for the zip code - 97756 - and I checked it out. Here are some of the comments:
"Cingular: I get great service all over central oregon"
"Cingular: This phone works fine in Lapine, but at my house I have to lean against a certain window to get 2 bars. The old TDMA was fine, but when I switched to GSM is hardly works at all.
"Verizon: Verizon is horrific in Bend. Treo is impossible to use as it locks up and is worthless. Over 1000 people work at the Bend Airport, but Verizon does not support the area"
"Verizon: My reception is good"
Well, that doesn't help much does it? If you read a lot of these comments, you learn that the particular phone makes a lot of difference as well. We learned early on that having an external antenna like this Wilson Trucker cell antenna, makes a LOT of difference. I think there's even more to learn about cell phones than about Wi-Fi! If you're going thru this process too - good luck! And, let me know what you find out.

1 comment:

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