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Old 09-22-2021, 09:00 AM   #1
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Who's Cell Provider

My wife and I have Verizon cell coverage with unlimited data, hotspot, 5G, etc. I have been considering switching to T-Mobile who offers the best senior plan at the best rate for 5G with unlimited everything plus free new 5G phones out of the major carriers. I'm not including Consumer Cell and all of the second-tier providers.

Two weeks ago I was ready to head to my nearest T-Mobile store to make the switch but last minute I read a review online of their coverage. They got high marks for coverage up and down the East coast, however, very low marks West of the Mississippi except for major metro areas. This was the deal-breaker as we plan our two-plus month cross-country trip starting next May. We don't want to be in Nowhereville, WY, break down, and not have cell service to make needed calls.

What cell provider do you use? How has it impacted your travels and communications on the road? Tell us if you would on how good or bad coverage is in more rural areas. Are you considering changing carriers too?

Thanks for any and all replies in advance.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:57 AM   #2
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If you're truly in Nowheresville out west here I think you'll have issues with most/all cell providers. Peruse the reviews of various non-commercial campgrounds that are off the beaten path and that include whether cell service is available and you'll see what I mean.

We have T-Mobile and, with a few exceptions, as long as we're on or near most well-traveled routes or near a town of any size we have service.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:10 AM   #3
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My brothers live in northeast WY and with a few exceptions, as long as you’re on a main route coverage is usually not too bad. That’s with an AT&T phone. Now it does tend to drop off quickly when you get off the beaten path.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:17 AM   #4
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Nothing is always the best, I have Verizon, my wife has AT&T through puretalk. Generally at least one works. We recently spent a week in southeast OH and had to go 5-10 miles from the campground for either to work. Some direction hers worked 1st, some mine did.

I can only imagine how bad it can be out west. A satellite phone is probably the only option if it is critical.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:17 AM   #5
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We learned to always use Verizon when we still worked, as it worked the best in most places where work took us across the country.
Once we retired we stayed with Verizon. Our friends on other carriers (especially T-mobile) borrow our phones when theirs do not work. In fact, our best friends who frequently travel with us use T-Mobile. They do seem to have problems anytime we are away from major interstates and metro areas.
So as long as you travel with someone that has Verizon, you will be fine
My favorite RV destination is the Gila National Forest where none of the carriers have a signal. No cell coverage can be a wonderful thing, like going back in time
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:25 AM   #6
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Verizon here. We get the best coverage with Verizon also with hotspot.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:47 AM   #7
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Consumer Cellular, mine with T-Mobile & wife’s with AT&T. Plan B is we are on the Starlink wait list.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherman12 View Post
My wife and I have Verizon cell coverage with unlimited data, hotspot, 5G, etc. I have been considering switching to T-Mobile who offers the best senior plan at the best rate for 5G with unlimited everything plus free new 5G phones out of the major carriers. I'm not including Consumer Cell and all of the second-tier providers.

Two weeks ago I was ready to head to my nearest T-Mobile store to make the switch but last minute I read a review online of their coverage. They got high marks for coverage up and down the East coast, however, very low marks West of the Mississippi except for major metro areas. This was the deal-breaker as we plan our two-plus month cross-country trip starting next May. We don't want to be in Nowhereville, WY, break down, and not have cell service to make needed calls.

What cell provider do you use? How has it impacted your travels and communications on the road? Tell us if you would on how good or bad coverage is in more rural areas. Are you considering changing carriers too?

Thanks for any and all replies in advance.

If you are really worried about phone coverage than get a true SAT phone. It maybe a little costly but you will have phone coverage.

My wife and I have traveled out west as far as Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. We never worried about cell phone coverage when traveling, if the phone didn't have any phone coverage than OK.

I remember when we first started to go RVing in a pop-up trailer. We traveled all the way to ROCKY Mountain National Park with three kids and no cell phone what so ever. You know what we all survived. The greatest thing about no cell phones back than is work or anyone else could not ruin my vacation. We were alone with our kids and enjoyed nature and did things with them.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:11 AM   #9
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We carry both AT&T and Verizon. We've been coast to coast and traveled fulltime for 5 years where we moved every 8 nights on average. I can say, without a doubt, neither is better than the other. There were days that both were fast, neither works, and one was good vs. the other.

As for the original post, I don't think I'd drop down to T-Mobile as my only provider. I have heard they're good for cities and populated areas but their coverage drops off pretty quickly outside of that.

If I were in your shoes, I would do T-Mobile for one person and Verizon (or AT&T) for the other. It gives you the best chance of having service as much as possible.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sherman12 View Post
We don't want to be in Nowhereville, WY, break down, and not have cell service to make needed calls.
As others have stated repeatedly, coverage can be iffy no matter which carrier you have, but that a drive back to a major highway or larger town usually fixes that. You pull a toad. Why worry? Very doubtful, if you do even minimal maintenance, that both your class A and the toad would down at the same time. So use whichever carrier you like best. If something happens outside of coverage, just use the vehicle that is still working to get to where you do have coverage.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:42 AM   #11
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Coverage can vary by carrier. That is the honest truth and anyone that say different doesn't know. T-Mobile and At&T both require more cell towers to cover the same area Verizon can. That's why almost always you'll see Verizon coverage especially in a rural area.

Verizon has the best coverage in the nation. Root metrics does a study every year and Verizon is always on top. That being said, it's price is right in line with the other major wireless carriers. If you like the convenience of having a store you can go into, that is what I'd recommend you stick with. Talk.to them the next time you're there about discounts you may be eligible for.. could save you a bit.

The MVNO's (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) like One talk Google Voice, etc don't have the support. Verizon does have its own MVNO which is "Visible". Don't expect to walk into your local Verizon store for support as they don't have access to your account but the service does offer Verizon coverage at a lower cost because Verizon doesn't need to pay for the same overhead.

Just something to think about. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:25 PM   #12
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Was camping this past wk in door cty, wi with 2 other couples, their att and verizon service did fine, our tmobile wasnt worth a crap. Looking to switch to Verizon very soon.


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Old 09-22-2021, 03:04 PM   #13
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Great responses so far, keep them coming.

Yukongold makes a good point regarding having the toad and we experience a breakdown and no cell service regardless of carrier.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scottnlindsay View Post
Verizon here. We get the best coverage with Verizon also with hotspot.
X2. We almost always have coverage, but I do check the CGs we stay at on Campground Reviews before booking for cell coverage.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:26 PM   #15
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Have a 2nd home in Lake Havasu, AZ. Decided to cancel our ATT and go with T-Mobile. Had ZERO signal at our Havasu Home. Switched to Verizon and life is good again. Verizon has always worked. Why screw around with the others.
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Old 09-22-2021, 05:00 PM   #16
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We went cross country with 3 carriers!

I've had Verizon service since cell phones could fit in your pocket! It was always good service in CT and down the East Coast, as well as 20 miles out to sea and out west to South Dakota.
Now that we live and work in our TT, I thought it would be prudent to have more options. My wife has AT&T, where we traded in her Galaxy S9 and got a 5G S21 for free. I bought an unlocked S21 and went with Visible (Verizon's MVNO). And I tried Mint Mobile (T-Mobile network) with my old S9 phone.
We've been on the road since July and my results are as follows:
- Mint Mobile (T-Mobile) sucks. It had dead spots even back in CT where Verizon & AT&T both worked fine. Out of all 3 carriers this one is the worst.
- Visible (Verizon) generally works great. The only places that had no coverage were in the mountains of SD and WY, and there was spotty coverage on Rt.16 in WY. (Coverage may have been better than I thought because the display on my truck showed no bars unless I pressed a button to wake up the phone.)
- AT&T also generally works great. Usually, in areas where Verizon showed no bars, AT&T had coverage and vice-versa.
Granted, out in the middle of nowhere, there is no coverage from any provider, until nearing a rise, highway or city.

If I had to pick just one carrier it would be Verizon. Oh, and Visible has the unlimited Hot Spot. That's why I use it. Verizon charges lots more for big data plans.
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Old 09-22-2021, 05:05 PM   #17
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I live in the west. We have Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. We need all three in order to pull off working remote. Even having all 3 carriers and over $1500 in boosters and other technology, there are still plenty of places in the west without signal. That being said... T-Mobile is the worst.
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Old 09-22-2021, 05:28 PM   #18
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I'm in Oregon. I hated T-Mobile. We switched to AT&T. We were actually camping when we switched. No signal in the morning with T-Mobile, went into town and switched, came back to 3 bars with AT&T same campground. Many of the campgrounds we are at last year with no T-Mobile, when we returned this year with AT&T we had signal.

Verizon is more expensive than AT&T (at least for veterans), but I do think the combination of AT&T and Verizon would be the best. Maybe get a pre-paid Verizon phone with limited talk/text and keep it in reserve.
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Old 09-22-2021, 06:19 PM   #19
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I have the Verizon senior special. I am happy with the cell coverage in Alaska.

In fact this last trip, I found more coverage on a 2nd trip north of Fairbanks that was a dead zone in July.

We only Boondock and our Internet is only available from our Verizon phones.

Kuskulana River canyon bridge on Sept 10, 2021 with Verizon Internet coverage.
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Copper River and Northwestern Railway Kuskulana River canyon bridge was built in 1910 and is in the WRANGELL - ST ELIAS NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE.

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Old 09-22-2021, 08:49 PM   #20
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Another option if you are just wanting something for brief or emergency use is tracfone. We have 3 unlocked refurbished phones that we purchased ourselves at very reasonable prices. We put tracfone Sims in them, one for each of the carriers- verizon, at&t, and T-Mobile. Don't get a lot of minutes or data but a very cheap way to have them all covered in case of emergencies. For around $60 we get 3 months service on all 3 phones. Just an idea. Happy camping.
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