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Cell phone service providers not named Verizon


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Been Verizon, long time.

Interested in experience with other providers, and comparison with Verizon.

Coverage, issues, etc.

Anecdotal wrt mountains, travel, area of the country, or any relevant info.

The ads make it seem like they're all ok, now.


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Unfortunately, where we live we have a choice of VZ or a reseller of VZ.  ATT now, finally, claims to have us covered, but they actually cost more.  No one else has service here.  My point:  Check coverage maps carefully, and have a friend who uses that carrier come over and verify. 

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A good buddy recently went to T-Mobile because he lets 4 or 5 relatives on his plan and it's a good deal, I've always had ATT.  He rides with me in the Trans-Fla (two day remote dirt m/c ride) rescue truck every year. They gave out his number at last years rider's meeting and no one called all day, we later discovered he had no service anywhere except cities and we don't go near any. Now they're back to giving out my number because I have service everywhere, and it seems like ATT keeps getting more coverage all the time. I like to remind him, cell providers are like almost anything, you get what you pay for..

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Near as I can tell by talking with friends living in various places, it depends.  All the major companies have great coverage and quality in one area and lousy in another.  Not a problem if one doesn't travel much and determines which outfit is best in your local area.  But venture out and it all changes.

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I went to the Sprint store to see about their plans.  The person entered my address in the computer and said, "By company policy I am not even supposed to talk with you. We do not have coverage at your house."  I give them a great deal of credit for that alone.

ATT's map said excellent 5 bar 4g coverage for miles around my house.  I went to their store and asked they said, "the map shows it, it must be true."  I asked if it isn't can I bring back the phone and they answered with, "Sure - there's a 30% restocking fee."  Being suspect, I contacted a business associate with ATT, had him send me a loaner phone (brand new iPhone), I received it, let it charge, and tried.  No signal at the house.  I walked 1/2 mile in all directions with the phone, still no signal.

Verizon is all that provides any kind of signal where I live.

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We have used TING for the last few years, they buy tower time from Sprint.  Price is the biggest factor for us.  Each phone on the plan is $6 a month, you pay based on usage.  Phone calls, Texting, Data.  We have 3 phones on the plan, two of which are smart phones.  Average bill for us is $44 a month, total.


Coverage is a factor, when i visit family in Ohio i have to go to the barn to get a good signal sometimes...

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My experience is in the west obviously. I have both AT&T and Verizon. In cities there is little to choose between them, both have good coverage and signal strength, sometimes one or the other is totally missing but it's random. Here in Torrey I can only get AT&T (Verizon canceled my contract when I moved here). Generally though I find that Verizon definitely has better coverage in rural and remote areas, I've had some amazing signals in the middle of nowhere.

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Be careful to check out the details of the plan.  I had Sprint but was dissatisfied with service in rural areas.  I switched to ATT since others had coverage in areas where I didn't.  I always own my own phones and so I chose an ATT plan for those who had their own phones.  First trip with it down toward Wickenburg, AZ left me without service in most areas.  It turns out that the plan I selected is on the ATT network, but not the full ATT network.  The store employees insisted the coverage was the same, but luckily a more experienced guy at the store knew the difference.  I got a different plan for a few dollars more and I'm now on the full network.

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Eddd's problem with using only the dedicated towers can happen with Verizon too though it's the plan rather than the phone. Plans with 'unlimited' data seem to suffer from this most, I don't know of a definitive list, there are so many plans.

This site is aimed at RVers but has loads of information about cell phone plans, unfortunately some of the good stuff is behind a paywall.


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This business of roaming is one reason I have stayed with VZ, rather than a reseller...  VZ is a few $'s a month more, but it's full network with no roaming charges, and in some places they actually use other network's towers with no fee to me.  The resellers I have seen all add roaming fees for that.  We are paying $75 base rate, total $80/mo for two smart phones, unlimited talk and text, 2 GB data/mo.  

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I'm pretty happy with Google FI, used to be called Project FI.  Uses phones that switch from Sprint, to T-Mobile, and US Cellular.  Two of us have been at 50 total most months.  When up a bit when we were in Mexico, and had no wifi.  Look up Google Fi.


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I had Sprint for years because that was the only coverage in my daughters' college area. I've since switched to Cricket. Service is better than Sprint and it's only $55/mo for 2 lines 5GB. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses their towers. Works great with our unlocked iPhone 5S and 7. Only annoyance is that there's no outgoing CallerID info sent to others receiving calls.

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