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Cell phone woes

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Cell phone woes

Postby markkay » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:09 pm

I live on the near east side (Jenifer St, a few blocks east of the Willy St Coop) and get terrible wireless reception with AT&T and my wife gets terrible reception with Sprint. Calls are dropped more often than not. We're looking for solutions, and one thing that I came across was a cellular booster or repeater gizmo. Anybody have experience with one of those? Or does anybody have good reception in my neighborhood with a different wireless carrier?
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:39 am

We have the 3G Microcell for ATT. It works as advertised. Went from not being able to receive a text to full bars all over the house and yard. The deal we got was a little lame. You can buy it outright for 150 no service plan or you can buy it with unlimited Microcell minutes for 20/month and get a $100 rebate on the microcell. We went that route even though we don't need the minutes. after 3 months you can cancel and keep your rebate. So basically saved us $40. Sprint may have a similar device but would suck to have to buy two of them. You and your wife should be on a family plan anyway. Where are you in your respective contracts?
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby markkay » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:24 am

fisticuffs wrote:You and your wife should be on a family plan anyway. Where are you in your respective contracts?


Good point. I think I'm in the midst of a 2-year deal with AT&T, and my wife is way past her original contract period, so we should probably consolidate our billing with AT&T. And look into the gizmo you recommended. We have Charter broadband, and it looks like the AT&T gizmo would directly connect to the Charter broadband box, right?
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:29 am

It'll connect to any router or between the modem and your PC. Pretty easy stuff. It does take about half an hour to get going the first time though. Yeah family plan is the way to go. review your options but it will certainly save you money.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby eriedasch » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:08 pm

markkay wrote:so we should probably consolidate our billing with AT&T. And look into the gizmo you recommended.

Or you could consider another provider. US Cellular has great reception in/around Madison and the midwest. Rarely a dropped call. I've heard good things about Verizon as well.

I know people with IPhones who complain about constantly dropped calls and would switch in a minute to anything but AT&T if they could.

I'm also confused about this "gizmo" you need in order for you AT&T phone just to work properly. Seems like yet another charge you have with AT&T not necessary with competitors that have stronger signals in/around Madison.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby chris! » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:07 pm

eriedasch wrote:I'm also confused about this "gizmo" you need in order for you AT&T phone just to work properly. Seems like yet another charge you have with AT&T not necessary with competitors that have stronger signals in/around Madison.


this.

I find it ridiculous that AT&T wants you to to foot the bill for a device to fix their bad service. lolwut?
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby markkay » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:38 am

I went to an AT&T store and complained about bad reception and the rather helpful person there looked at my phone and saw that the SIM card was really old. So he replaced it with a new one at no charge. I think that reception in my house has improved a bit, but it's too early to tell whether the old SIM card was the culprit, or whether I'm only perceiving an improvement due to some sort of placebo effect. Still sticking with AT&T for the time being. Dancing with the devil that I know, I suppose.

If reception continues to be poor, I might buy the AT&T microcell signal booster. The list price is $150, but after a $100 rebate card, it's only $50. I really, really hate the pricing of telcom stuff. Everything involves a rebate! I'm not opposed to saving money, but why can't they just charge me $50? Argh.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby eriedasch » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:50 am

chris! wrote:I find it ridiculous that AT&T wants you to to foot the bill for a device to fix their bad service. lolwut?

I find it ridiculous that their customers stick with them when they could switch to a competitor that offers far better coverage.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby rabble » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:49 pm

markkay wrote:I live on the near east side (Jenifer St, a few blocks east of the Willy St Coop) and get terrible wireless reception with AT&T and my wife gets terrible reception with Sprint. Calls are dropped more often than not. We're looking for solutions, and one thing that I came across was a cellular booster or repeater gizmo. Anybody have experience with one of those? Or does anybody have good reception in my neighborhood with a different wireless carrier?

We live on the near east side and get okay reception with Verizon. Until we get to our house. Then we go roaming. Doesn't matter what part of the house or even what part of the yard. We have to get into a neighbor's yard to get a signal. Otherwise it's okay.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby Petro » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:29 pm

markkay wrote:I think that reception in my house has improved a bit, but it's too early to tell whether the old SIM card was the culprit, or whether I'm only perceiving an improvement due to some sort of placebo effect.


Placebo effect. What you're describing would be akin to insisting that your savings account's interest suddenly doubled simply because you replaced an expired ATM card.

The SIM has no effect on RF performance in the phone. It's completely binary, It either works or it doesn't.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:14 pm

rabble wrote:We live on the near east side and get okay reception with Verizon. Until we get to our house. Then we go roaming. Doesn't matter what part of the house or even what part of the yard. We have to get into a neighbor's yard to get a signal. Otherwise it's okay.


I quit Verizon years ago because I had to go to the back patio off my kitchen to get good reception. I lived on the near east side at that point and it sucked. I switched to US Cellular and the reception has been awesome. I often get service in places other friends don't with their fancy phones.

The customer service isn't that great and the phone selection doesn't compete with the big guns, but hopefully that may change.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby Remember_Me » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:56 pm

eriedasch wrote:
US Cellular has great reception in/around Madison and the midwest. Rarely a dropped call.


Agreed. Hands down, bar none, U.S. Cellular is far and away the better provider for call quality and signal retention.

HERE.

They suck in most other places.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby Petro » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:56 am

Remember_Me wrote:
eriedasch wrote:
US Cellular has great reception in/around Madison and the midwest. Rarely a dropped call.


Agreed. Hands down, bar none, U.S. Cellular is far and away the better provider for call quality and signal retention.

HERE.

They suck in most other places.


Verizon and Sprint can both roam on US Cellular's CDMA network. Crafty tinkerers with android (and in some cases, WinMo) handsets often toy with the phones PRL to force it to default to another carrier when they know they'll be in a situation that makes it useful. (IE: If you're a Verizon subscriber in a spot with terrible/spotty Verizon reception but strong US Cellular reception, the phone will keep trying to use Verizon anyway - and the constant flip-flopping and attempts to send to a remote tower will kill your battery in a much shorter span than usual.)

US Cellular is pretty good out in rural Western Wisco, but that's really the only place that I've found them to be dramatically better than the other CDMA carriers, especially since Verizon's Alltel acquisition.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby CoffeeJones » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:28 am

I used to carry a work cell phone (from Verizon) and my personal cell phone (Sprint). I situations where I was with co-workers in the same location, Verizon would lose connection much more frequently than Sprint, but in both cases, when my phones were upgraded the reception improved. Co-workers have had the same experience, and with phones from AT &T and US Cellular. My point is, often it's the phone, and not the network that is the problem. That being said, in the Greater Madsion Area, my indirect experience is that AT &T is the worst of these.
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Re: Cell phone woes

Postby markkay » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:44 am

Petro wrote:
markkay wrote:I think that reception in my house has improved a bit, but it's too early to tell whether the old SIM card was the culprit, or whether I'm only perceiving an improvement due to some sort of placebo effect.


Placebo effect. What you're describing would be akin to insisting that your savings account's interest suddenly doubled simply because you replaced an expired ATM card.

The SIM has no effect on RF performance in the phone. It's completely binary, It either works or it doesn't.


Damn! I hate being a salesman's mark....
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