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by Wildflower-nut on Sat Nov 05, 2022 11:12 am
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I'm getting ready to buy an iPhone 14 pro.  At one time, many years ago (15-20), I had at&t who said they had service in places like Gardiner MT but didn't unless you called customer service.  Also had problems on interstate from Knoxville TN to Chicago on interstate with dark zones.  I moved to Verizon and in general have been satisfied. 

What seems to be the best carrier these days for small towns and on the road?
 

by SantaFeJoe on Sat Nov 05, 2022 12:29 pm
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One thing to consider is that the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy s22 and some other newer models have dual sim cards or e sims. You can have two different carriers (and phone numbers) on the same phone. For traveling, you could have one primary carrier on one network and a secondary on another as a backup for areas where the primary carrier doesn’t have great coverage. You can use something like Tracfone too, because you don’t have to have a contract and can discontinue service at any time when you don’t need it. Tracfone uses different major network carriers, so you have to make sure you get a different one than your primary or you won’t be gaining any advantage. When traveling out of the country, you can get a sim for that, as well. Also, coverage is far better now than 15-20 years ago.
Edit: Here’s more info:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209044

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso


Last edited by SantaFeJoe on Sat Nov 05, 2022 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 

by Wildflower-nut on Sat Nov 05, 2022 2:09 pm
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For travel overseas, I've used Verizon's $10/day option which makes my phone work in places like Iceland text, data, and voice. Basic plan gives me Canada and Mexico. The e sim is interesting. I'll look into it.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Sat Nov 05, 2022 2:37 pm
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It really depends on where you are going. Both carriers (also T-mobile) have maps on their websites that tell you the coverage and also what type of coverage. I have found them to be reasonably accurate. In my case we cover both bases with me on AT&T and my SO on Verizon.
 

by Tom Reichner on Sat Nov 05, 2022 4:20 pm
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I have not found the coverage maps to be at all accurate for either AT&T or for Verizon. This is because almost any time I am 15 to 20 miles from any town or paved road, there is basically zero coverage, even though the maps show that there is coverage. Heck, there are still lots and lots of dead zones even on state highways, that are shown as full coverage on the maps that the carriers show you. It seems that in much of the rural U.S. that is primarily dominated by wilderness and national forests, with no cities anywhere within hours, and only tiny little towns, there is no carrier that provides a good reliable signal to these areas once you get out away from the town itself. And it's not like switching from one carrier to another helps, because it doesn't make any difference.
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by Ed1946 on Sat Nov 05, 2022 4:32 pm
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Tom Reichner wrote:
I have not found the coverage maps to be at all accurate for either AT&T or for Verizon.  This is because almost any time I am 15 to 20 miles from any town or paved road, there is basically zero coverage, even though the maps show that there is coverage.  Heck, there are still lots and lots of dead zones even on state highways, that are shown as full coverage on the maps that the carriers show you.  It seems that in much of the rural U.S. that is primarily dominated by wilderness and national forests, with no cities anywhere within hours, and only tiny little towns, there is no carrier that provides a good reliable signal to these areas once you get out away from the town itself.  And it's not like switching from one carrier to another helps, because it doesn't make any difference.


I find the same thing.  Your communication depends on more things than carrier, cel phone, 4G, 5G, etc.  If you go places where the cell signals are blocked by terrain ( mountain, hills, geology) then it doesn't matter.  I have a dead zone even in a populated place where I live ( I have to drive in a low place surrounded by hills). Cel tower locations and spacing matter too.  I have used AT&T east coast, west coast and in-between and find that I can live thru it.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Sat Nov 05, 2022 4:41 pm
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Tom Reichner wrote:
I have not found the coverage maps to be at all accurate for either AT&T or for Verizon.  This is because almost any time I am 15 to 20 miles from any town or paved road, there is basically zero coverage, even though the maps show that there is coverage.

..........  And it's not like switching from one carrier to another helps, because it doesn't make any difference.

I agree about the coverage maps. I disagree about switching carriers. Not all carriers use the same towers. I can often be right next to a cell tower and have no service because it does not belong to my carrier.

https://help.backmarket.com/hc/en-us/articles/360014382160-How-do-I-know-which-network-my-carrier-uses-

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/att-coverage-map

https://www.wilsonsignalbooster.com/blog/indispensable-guide-finding-closest-cell-tower-locations/

Boosters can also help when tower signal is not strong:

https://www.wilsonsignalbooster.com/blog/best-cell-phone-signal-boosters/

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by Tom Reichner on Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:22 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
 I disagree about switching carriers. Not all carriers use the same towers. I can often be right next to a cell tower and have no service because it does not belong to my carrier.
 

Joe,

Which carrier you use only makes a difference when you are in areas that are not terribly far from some forms of civilization.  When you are in truly remote areas, many many many miles from any paved roads or structures, then it doesn't make any difference at all which carrier you have.  You need to trust me on this, as I have been in many remote areas as a wildland firefighter, with other firefighters who have different carriers than I have.  

Get far enough away from the towns and roads, and none of us have any signal at all.  This holds true anywhere I have been in truly remote areas - Washington state, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, and the Sierra Nevada range of California.  Basically, if you are far far far away from a town or a paved road, it absolutely does not matter who your carrier is - you will not have service, no matter what those silly coverage maps say.
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by SantaFeJoe on Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:40 pm
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Tom Reichner wrote:
SantaFeJoe wrote:
 I disagree about switching carriers. Not all carriers use the same towers. I can often be right next to a cell tower and have no service because it does not belong to my carrier.
 

Joe,

Which carrier you use only makes a difference when you are in areas that are not terribly far from some forms of civilization.  When you are in truly remote areas, many many many miles from any paved roads or structures, then it doesn't make any difference at all which carrier you have.  You need to trust me on this, as I have been in many remote areas as a wildland firefighter, with other firefighters who have different carriers than I have.  

Get far enough away from the towns and roads, and none of us have any signal at all.  This holds true anywhere I have been in truly remote areas - Washington state, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, and the Sierra Nevada range of California.  Basically, if you are far far far away from a town or a paved road, it absolutely does not matter who your carrier is - you will not have service, no matter what those silly coverage maps say.

I don’t disagree about remote areas, but the OP did not mention that type of area. Living in NM, I know all about remote areas and cell service. A satellite phone is probably the best option in those situations. I do miss the power of the old 3 watt analog car phone I had in the ‘90’s. It was way more powerful than other cell phones (.6 watt) of that era or the present. That was a time when towers were really scarce.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by E.J. Peiker on Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:12 am
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When you actually zoom in on the maps from Verizon and AT&T they do show a lot more granularity and are much more accurate even down to the neighborhood level - you can't just look at a large scale wide area map. As for "the carrier you use doesn't matter" that is very untrue - there are many areas, some towns in Alaska for example that ONLY have AT&T service so if you have AT&T you have service, if you don't then you don't. In Arizona there are some small towns that ONLY have Verizon, if you have anything else, you have no service.
 

by Tom Reichner on Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:22 am
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Again, in very remote areas, far from any towns or paved roads, it doesn't matter what carrier you use. That is a solid fact.
Wildlife photographed in the wild

http://www.tomreichner.com/Wildlife
 

by E.J. Peiker on Mon Nov 07, 2022 10:14 am
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My SO's son has a Sprinter camper van rental business and he recently put a higher end booster in the Sprinter and I am really floored by the results - out in an area where there is absolutely no signal for many miles to be had on the phone, when he switched it on, it went from nothing to teetering between 2 and 3 bars and it was a very useable signal.

But the only way you are going to be guaranteed coverage, except in very bad weather, is with a satellite phone.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Mon Nov 07, 2022 10:38 am
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
When you actually zoom in on the maps from Verizon and AT&T they do show a lot more granularity and are much more accurate even down to the neighborhood level - you can't just look at a large scale wide area map.  As for "the carrier you use doesn't matter" that is very untrue - there are many areas, some towns in Alaska for example that ONLY have AT&T service so if you have AT&T you have service, if you don't then you don't.  In Arizona there are some small towns that ONLY have Verizon, if you have anything else, you have no service.


That’s where the dual sim phone comes in handy. If you have an unlocked phone, you can use two separate carriers on the same phone. From what I have read and posted above, if you have a CDMA carrier, your second number must be a GSM carrier. (I’m not sure if that’s always true, since a locked phone must use the same carrier on both numbers.) That works out well, as AT&T and T-mobile use GSM and Verizon uses CDMA. And, again, I am not talking about remote areas since the OP did not imply that’s what the problem was. 

Regarding satellite phones, they don’t cost much more than a high end cell phone anymore:

https://satellitephonestore.com/catalog/sale/satellite-phones


Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by Wildflower-nut on Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:07 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
Tom Reichner wrote:
I have not found the coverage maps to be at all accurate for either AT&T or for Verizon.  This is because almost any time I am 15 to 20 miles from any town or paved road, there is basically zero coverage, even though the maps show that there is coverage.

..........  And it's not like switching from one carrier to another helps, because it doesn't make any difference.

I agree about the coverage maps. I disagree about switching carriers. Not all carriers use the same towers. I can often be right next to a cell tower and have no service because it does not belong to my carrier.

https://help.backmarket.com/hc/en-us/articles/360014382160-How-do-I-know-which-network-my-carrier-uses-

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/att-coverage-map

https://www.wilsonsignalbooster.com/blog/indispensable-guide-finding-closest-cell-tower-locations/

Boosters can also help when tower signal is not strong:

https://www.wilsonsignalbooster.com/blog/best-cell-phone-signal-boosters/

Joe


I've go a wBoost system in my "out west" RV and cars.  It does help and I think worth doing.  Helps but does not solve the problem
 

by Wildflower-nut on Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:49 pm
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I'm mostly a nature photographer and spend a lot of time in the San Juans of Colorado and other locations out west. I've traveled roads where you would be lucky to have someone come by if you broke down (no cars passed most of the day). I've carried an iridium sat phone for years and have used it for non-emergency in US, Africa, and Antarctica.  I'm exploring the Garmin inReach option as I can carry it on the trail.  The sat phone is expensive as a never used emergency device.  Neither device is cost effective for a long chat.  The fall back is a much cheaper and probably more reliable ARC PLB  which I've also carried for years and never used.  The InReach and Sat phone have the advantage that you can communicate the nature of the emergency ie life threatening or non life threatening.  You trigger the PLB and when search and rescue shows up it had better have been life threatening.  So far I've been lucky and have never had a situation requiring help.

The phone is simply for communication.  The booster certainly has increased my range as I move further into the wilds.  When I switched to Verizon it was because of my frustration with AT&T for lack of service where I should have service Interstates and ground zero on their maps.  Switching to Verizon solved that.  Things have changed and it seems like many people are having success with AT&T.  Should I switch back.
 

by ricardo00 on Fri Nov 11, 2022 3:26 pm
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Wildflower-nut wrote:
I'm mostly a nature photographer and spend a lot of time in the San Juans of Colorado and other locations out west. I've traveled roads where you would be lucky to have someone come by if you broke down (no cars passed most of the day). I've carried an iridium sat phone for years and have used it for non-emergency in US, Africa, and Antarctica.  I'm exploring the Garmin inReach option as I can carry it on the trail.  The sat phone is expensive as a never used emergency device.  Neither device is cost effective for a long chat.  The fall back is a much cheaper and probably more reliable ARC PLB  which I've also carried for years and never used.  The InReach and Sat phone have the advantage that you can communicate the nature of the emergency ie life threatening or non life threatening.  You trigger the PLB and when search and rescue shows up it had better have been life threatening.  So far I've been lucky and have never had a situation requiring help.

The phone is simply for communication.  The booster certainly has increased my range as I move further into the wilds.  When I switched to Verizon it was because of my frustration with AT&T for lack of service where I should have service Interstates and ground zero on their maps.  Switching to Verizon solved that.  Things have changed and it seems like many people are having success with AT&T.  Should I switch back.



The new iPhone 14 can send an emergency text via satellite in the US if there is no phone service where you are:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT213426 
 

by SantaFeJoe on Fri Nov 11, 2022 3:41 pm
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ricardo00 wrote:
..........


The new iPhone 14 can send an emergency text via satellite in the US if there is no phone service where you are:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT213426 

That's great to know. It does mention that it will be in a November update. Thanks for posting this info.

Joe
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by Wildflower-nut on Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:32 am
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
ricardo00 wrote:
..........


The new iPhone 14 can send an emergency text via satellite in the US if there is no phone service where you are:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT213426 

That's great to know. It does mention that it will be in a November update. Thanks for posting this info.

Joe



looks like they are not using iridium satellite network.  "Emergency SOS via satellite might not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska" 
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:51 am
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Apple uses Globalstar for their satellite based SOS system.
 

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