Cell Phone Coverage
Posted by Karla Gleason (+25) 10 years ago
We are still planning on moving to your area (not sure where yet)this summer. The question is how is the cell phone coverage out there? We have to stand out on our front porch (even back porch won't work) to talk on our Verizon cell phone. Where I work gives us a 19% discount on Verison, but my daughter has AT&T and can walk all over our property and inside the house and have coverage. Our contract is up and before we change or renew I'd like to know which phone we should get so it will work in the Montana/Wyoming area. Once again thanks for the advice.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14554) 10 years ago
Cell phone coverage is generally good if you are close to a town or along the major roads. Both Verizon and ATT have coverage here.

ATT recently bought out Alltel in this area and is in the process of switching to GSM technology from CDMA. That switch is currently scheduled for the end of March. It was supposed to happen earlier and has been delayed due to the weather. ATT is also supposed to put up 200 new towers in the NE Wyoming SE Montana area in the next 12-18 months, which should greatly expand their coverage. ATT also has roam agreements in place with a couple of regional carriers, Cellular One and Union Wireless. The will keep those contracts after the switch to GSM. Long term, I think ATT will have better coverage with newer equipment in a year or two.

Verizon has fairly decent coverage as well, in most areas. There are no corporate Verizon Stores in the area just resellers, which has been problematic for me. I switched about 3 weeks ago from Verizon to ATT because of this issue. Your experience may be different. Hope that helps.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2308) 10 years ago
I've had VZW for a year and a half now, and not once have I not had signal or a dropped call. However, when on Alltel, if I was driving to forsyth I'd lose signal about 10 times on the way there. But who knows. Maybe AT&T will be better and not drop a call.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14554) 10 years ago
I would concur that VWZ has good coverage and does not drop calls. My issue with VWZ concerned their business practices and the attitude of the authorized retailer.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2308) 10 years ago
I understand that Richard. Some retailers are not the best, hence why I chose to purchase my D2 and (in transit) iPhone 4 from VZW & Apple Directly.
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Posted by spacekace (+886) 10 years ago
I am interested to see how AT&T will compare with Verizon once the merge is complete. I currently have Alltel, and the service is less than desirable north of Miles City. If I stand on the highest hill, with tin foil wrapped around my ear with my right leg and left arm in the air...I can get text messages... Never mind what it takes for me to make a call... People that come to visit have Verizon, and have great service. Someone was stranded on the road, he had Alltel and was not able to make a call, luckily his friend that was with him had Verizon and were able to call for help. Verizon shares with MidRivers cellular towers. Does anyone know if AT&T will as well?

I have the opportunity to opt out of the new AT&T contract once the merge is complete, and was considering since I seem to (as of now) get better Verizon service, but what does everyone think will happen with AT&T?

What is the take in cities where AT&T is available vs. Verizon?
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Posted by Dustin Lynam (+179) 10 years ago
Verizon is the best choice for South Eastern Montana. Ive been with tehm for 8 yrs now and am very happr with the call coverage for our rural area
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Posted by montanaman (+299) 10 years ago
A friend of mine works on both companies equipment and he has for awhile. He told me Vezrion spends hands down more money on everything from Antennas to repeater amps you name it. I believe it too when I'm hunting with another buddy he has Alltel and I have Verizon and his wife calls my phone to talk to him because the coverage is better in places away from the interstate that reapeaters are not concentrated on.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6167) 10 years ago
Josh, stop talking on your phone while you drive.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3715) 10 years ago
Verizon is by far the best carrier coverage-wise in Eastern Montana. In addition, since Midrivers is CDMA, being on Verizon allows you to roam on their towers which gets you coverage in some more rural areas. When Alltel converts to AT&T and goes GSM, you will not be able to roam on Midrivers anymore, which is just one more reason to go Verizon.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2308) 10 years ago
Wendy, I don't... kinda. Hence why I have the hands free kit. :P
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Posted by Rob Reukauf (+105) 10 years ago
Don't overlook Mid Rivers cellular. Those customers can also roam on Verizon for free as can Verizon customers on Mid Rivers towers. Mid Rivers has some very reasonable calling plans, and their customers can also roam for free on Sagebrush Cellular all over NE MT. Mid Rivers has a basic plan for $19.95 per month which is half the cost of the big boys. They have the best coverage in Eastern MT due to agreements with Verizon and other Co-ops. Alltel/ATT is going to have very spotty coverage for quite awhile due to the GSM standard technology they are using. Great in the East, not very great in MT.
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Posted by Bill Freese (+482) 10 years ago
Verizon also has the best coverage in Western Montana. Before I signed up, I asked a friend who is both a techy and a back country hiker. Nobody has coverage everywhere, but he had tried everything and had the best results with Verizon. As for ATT, I find it really difficult to assess their future service, but I remember that in the past ATT customer service was wildly incompetent.
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