Cell phone providers: best coverage/value?
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Posted by atomicg (+1010) 10 years ago
Just wondering who gets good/bad coverage and/or service in what areas near MC with various providers? Anyone recommend a provider for good coverage and value?

Verizon constantly cuts out and drops calls and my phone hardly works in some areas out of town. It wouldn't bother me if it wasn't so expensive. I don't expect miracles from a cell phone.

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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 10 years ago
That is surprising to me. Since I switched to Verizon when the DROID came out, I've had the best signal all around Miles City, and on every highway leaving. It drops in some places of course, but its rare I lose complete signal.

However, AT&T is far worse in and around MC than Verizon. My family and friends have issues with the service, and their "4G" here is really sparse. And their rate plans are much higher.

Honestly, the best carrier/phone for your buck is through Straight Talk. $45 a month, uses the Verizon/Mid-Rivers towers and give you everything unlimited. As long as you don't need a smartphone.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
My straight talk phone gets no signal in Broadus for some reason...
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 10 years ago
That happens to be the fault of all carriers except one. Mid-Rivers. They have a tower there, however AT&T & Verizon phones cannot connect. Been through there over the years and not one carrier I've had worked.
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Posted by julieinmc (+518) 10 years ago
My Straight Talk phone loses it's signal just north of Miles City. It's good in Jordan, but forget about most areas around Ft. Peck Reservoir. Just about everywhere else it works okay. I very rarely have dropped calls and the reception, for the most part is really clear.

If you go online to purchase a phone from them and enter Miles City's zip code there is a very limited choice of phones to purchase. But I have found if I enter my zip code here at my dad's in Cali there are quite a few Smart Phones, new and reconditioned, to chose from. It is getting close to time for me to replace my old phone and I'm going to try to get them to honor their advertisement that they have Smart Phones available or else use Dad's zip code when I order my new one and have it sent to his house. I think I should be able to port over my old number with the 406 area code even if I order my phone for use predominantly in California. Their prices aren't that great, but you can get a reconditioned one for $100 and new ones are under $200.

I hope this info has been helpful to you Paul. $45 a month for unlimited everything is hard to beat. Julie
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
You can get a phone directly from Midrivers as well, but it looks like their prices are similar to Verizon.

http://www.midrivers.com/...ble-plans/

I think they have some basic Android phones but not the high end stuff that you would get at Verizon.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
This question is really about the availability of CDMA signals vs GSM signals and what company(s) have contracts with the owners of those signals.

So the best way to figure out what your coverage will be like is to contact your preferred carrier and ask if they have contracts for signal in the areas you will be traveling most often. This isn't information your average ring-in-the-nose 22 year old cellphone salesperson will know. You need to find a company rep with some technical knowledge. It is a little difficult to do but well worth the time.

I have had ATT, Verizon, Union Wireless. There maybe CDMA signal available between Gillette and that I wouldn't pickup where Verizon doesn't have a contract. That said, my experience going north to from Gillette, the GSM (ATT, Cellularone, Union Wireless) signal is good for about 10-15 miles north of Gillette on Hwy 59. The CDMA (Verizon) signal is good for about 20 miles. From that point north to Broadus, neither a CDMA or a GSM signal is present.

At the Broadus chicken-coop/rest area, there is both a GSM and CDMA (Cable & Communications Corp.) signal. A Verizon phone in this location can pickup the CDMA signal. Straight Talk which uses CDMA likely doesn't have a contract with Cable & Communications Corp., which is why that phone doesn't work there. GSM signal on an ATT phone works pretty well.

Once you cross the hill north of the Broadus airport there is no GSM signal until you get very close to the SY school. The signal is good for about 3 miles either side of the school. There is no GSM signal from that point until you get to 10 mile hill just south of Ochsners. From there on into the GSM signal is excellent on my iPhone 4.

The CDMA signal north of Broadus is better but still intermittent; for example, you can pickup the CDMA signal on the hill above Volborg but lose it once you get down on Pumpkin creek. You will pick it back up about 4 miles south of the SY school and it is good until the Beaverslide/Powderville turnoff. The CDMA signal starts showing up intermittently about 5 miles south of the Tongue River road and is solid from 10 mile hill on in to Miles City.

IMO, the "best value" is the phone that works where you spend most of your time. That will likely be a different company for different areas. True cellular coverage is really all about whether your carrier has a contract with the signal owner in a specific location.

The following link displays a searchable map that tells you who owns each tower when you click on the pin marker. You can then contact that company and see if they have a contract with the Carrier of your choice.

http://www.cellreception.com

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (11/21/2011)]
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Posted by Heavychevy (+44) 10 years ago
Just buy a cell booster or antenna solve yur problem.
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Posted by JB (+113) 10 years ago
If you have a smart phone it does not matter if you have at&t or verizon service. You will not get service on a midrivers tower ever with a smart phone until they get 3G service, so with that said service is about the same with both carriers I dont think there is much difference. If you want to go to someone with lots of cell knowledge I would go to Rob @ TumbleWeed Wireless, he has been doing this longer than anyone around.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 10 years ago
JB: Smartphones have 1X(CDMA)/GSM Non 3G (EDGE? Not too sure, never had a GSM device) Capability. How do you think they still function when Verizon/AT&T lose 3G in a technical glitch? My phone (iPhone 4) has connected to Mid-Rivers Towers throughout the state. Never an issue.
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Posted by JB (+113) 10 years ago
Josh, I can promise you they dont connect to midrivers in broadus or ashland I have an At&t smart phone and it will not connect to midrivers. My inlaws have verizon non smart phones and they still get service just fine, my brother inlaw has a verizon smart phone and guess what no service in that area.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
My iPhone 4 (ATT) works just fine in Broadus.
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Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
which signal booster would help me with my straight talk phone...
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I think maybe JB is talking about data and not voice? I have a Verizon smart phone and use it on Midrivers towers almost exclusively. It works fine for making phone calls but there's no 3G on most of their towers.
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Posted by Rob (+156) 10 years ago
AT&T has a tower in Broadus. Verizon does not. Midrivers does, hence the Verizon smart phones not connecting. Voice calls with a Verizon handset work fine on a Midrivers tower, data does not.
Richard, well said on your previous post re: roaming agreements and travel patterns.
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