Cell phones

With recent mergers and new rate plan offerings the cell phone climate is changing so I wonder if anyone has any tidbits of wisdom to share regarding ths subject as it relates to chasing.
 
Cingular has the best plans and phones with good data and software apps- however, there coverage can be very poor in remote areas where Verizon seems to work very well... I bit more expensive but have better rural coverage. I used to work in the industry for Nextel during college... so, with that said. I have Verizon currently because I live in more of a growing rural area... However, I'm switching to Cingular in the summer! Hope the info helps.
 
I was an ATT sub and just ordered a new phone from Cingular, the Samsung Samsung X427M. I noticed how much better Cingular's plans were and figured it was a great time to get rid of the land-line in the apartment, which is draining me $40 per month for no reason.

I had been hanging onto my ancient Nokia 6160 because of the Ositech/Nokia/ATT cellular modem setup that was popular among chasers for a few years. But that phone is on the old TDMA network and my coverage is bad, compared to friends with newer phones on better protocols. Between XM and wifi, I should be fine for chasing data.

I also ordered the Data Connection kit for the Samsung phone. Anybody have experience with this? I thought it might be worth a try as it was only an extra $35. I figure if it sucks, I'll cancel the data portion of the plan.
 
I also ordered the Data Connection kit for the Samsung phone. Anybody have experience with this? I thought it might be worth a try as it was only an extra $35. I figure if it sucks, I'll cancel the data portion of the plan.

Amos, I was also on an older Nokia with ATT. It had a color screen and I could download pictures from the internet, but there was no way to zoom them or transfer them to the laptop.

So I bought a new Sony phone with connection kit and switched to Cingular with the intention of using that as basically just a data link. I would download the radar pictures one at a time like I did on my old phone, then manually transfer them over to the laptop so I could view them on a larger screen (one at a time).

Then I discovered I could use the phone as a modem, connecting my laptop at over 100 kbps directly to the internet and I'm in heaven. I like it so much in fact that I'm thinking about using one of the plans year round so I can surf while I commute or out of town.
 
Amos- Good call. I do have a ton of experience with using the phone as a modem etc... Works pretty well but can get frozen up especially trying to pull radar images, etc. It says it will pull at around 100k but usually is more like a regular dial up at 56k... However, when you're trying to pull data in the car--- you can't go wrong. Very cheap way to avoid buying expensive equipment.
 
Verizon would be my choice if it was available in Oklahoma. Since it isn't I've done my homework and reduced my choices to Sprint and Cingular.

For ten years I was with AT&T wireless and I loved it but they are now history and after finding I was among a block of their customers that Cingular was selling off to Alltel I decided to leave. I'm now with Sprint PCS on a 14 day trial based on the strong recommendation by a family member who is in a unique position to compare roaming coverage with various wireless companies. Sprint's network coverage isn't as good as Cingular's but their roaming agreements apparently are because he says his Sprint phone consistently pulls in a signal when his coworkers on different plans don't. He also recommends a Sanyo phone if you go to Sprint which is what I'm using now. So far I love the phone but I'll reserve final judgment on the service a little longer because the phone my wife is using on the same plan has some issues and much depends on how Sprint handles that situation.

So with that said I guess the expression, "your mileage may vary" is applicable which is why I'm going to very picky on this trial period and if I'm not fully satisfied I'll have no qualms about bailing out before the 2-year contract becomes ironclad, regardless what a trusted friend says. If Sprint doesn't work out I'll try Cingular. Outside these two providers I've not found any rate plans that I believe I can live with.

One final note, I will be using my phone for voice communications only so modem usage and other considerations are not being factored into my evaluation. Those things may come later. :)
 
I've got Cingular. According to their site, service down here isn't available, but I get full bars without roaming.
 
Sounds good. Thanks for the reports, guys. I'm hoping 2005 is the year that cellular internet connections are the last resort for me, behind wifi and XM.

I have a Sprint Connection Card, too, which is deactivated right now, but I'm thinking about not activating it again this year and going with the $80 unlimited Cingular data for April, May, and June. Maybe I won't even need that much. I'm anxious to see how XM changes what access I need post-morning forecast.

The best part of all this is the money I save by diconnecting my land-line telephone in the apartment once and for all. That will be a very happy service request. For about six months, I looked at that local phone service bill and wondered why I was allowing myself to get ripped off every four weeks.
 
I've got Cingular. According to their site, service down here isn't available, but I get full bars without roaming.


I've got cingular too and would recommend it. In the areas of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin that I've chased, the only place I had any trouble with service was central Wisconsin, and no one has any business chasing there anyways.
 
I've had cingular for a while, and have found there service is mediocre in regions where Verizon and Cellular One are dominant. Particular regions that have been tough include much of western IA, and the remote areas (away from cities and interstates) of NE and especially KS. Maybe it was just my phone..... which reminds me that when picking a phone I'm guessing you are better off to get one that supports as many possible bands as you can get.

Glen
 
Okay, I think we've covered this already ad nauseum, so forgive me for raising it yet again. Some friends of mine and I are trying to get clear answers and Cingular gives a different response every time we call.

For those who have Cingular phones right now and use the phone (not a PC Card) for data with a laptop, can you tell me:

(1) are all Cingular data plans available to you? (from $30 to $80 monthly) and;

(2) are you able to change from month to month withuot incurring additional fees or signing a new contract?

Thanks!

Amos
 
Amos,
I just switched to Cingular when I got an awesome deal on an MPX220. I was planning on getting a voice plan in addition to a data plan (which requires a PCMCIA data card), of which the unlimited data plan is $79.99. However, there is a 'loophole' in the Cingular data plans. Depending upon your phone, you can use the included USB cable to connect your phone to your computer. Now, there is a $19.99 option you can add on to your voice plan for unlimited data. This option is intended to allow you unlimited data ON your phone, unlike the $79.99/mo plan which is intended for use on your laptop. That said, if you get a phone that can tether to your computer via a USB cable (such as the Motorola MPX220) you can get the $19.99 unlimted data plan, and just use that as your data option for your laptop. There is no way for Cingular to know if you are using just your phone, or if the data is being passed through your phone to your laptop. I strongly suggest this method of data access, as it'll save you a lot of money through the year.
 
Amos,
... That said, if you get a phone that can tether to your computer via a USB cable (such as the Motorola MPX220) you can get the $19.99 unlimted data plan, and just use that as your data option for your laptop. There is no way for Cingular to know if you are using just your phone, or if the data is being passed through your phone to your laptop. I strongly suggest this method of data access, as it'll save you a lot of money through the year.

Jeff, this is golden information---thank you! I know others mentioned this before, but I wasn't paying close enough attention or didn't understand fully.

You mention the use of a USB cable to tether the phone and computer. I'm assuming the same loophole is possible if, instead of a USB cable, I connect my phone and laptop via a bluetooth wireless adapter. Would you think so?

Amos
 
Amos,
From what I've read, this can be done over Bluetooth, IR, and cable (USB and maybe serial, but I'm not sure about serial). I personally have only tried it using the USB cable. Just make sure that the phone you are using can be used as a GPRS modem. On my phone, I just choose "USB" under my 'modem options' menu, and go from there. I had to putz around with it for about 2 hours to learn how to set it up and enable it correctly, but now it works like a charm. I used [email protected] as the UserID and CINGULAR1 as the password. I don't remember exactly what number I used, as I don't have my phone on me at this time. A quick Google search brought up a thread in which someone posted the number "*99***3#", which seems right. There are some rumors that if you use the UserID of "[email protected]", you may get charger for the data, as the phone, by default, uses the WAP address. Haven't seen any concrete evidence of this, just rumor. Try Googling or searching cell phone forums such as www.howardforums.com for more specific information.

I think I've heard Skip T. say that he does this as well. Perhaps he can provide his specs.
 
Amos and others, keep us posted on whether or not this works for you and how Cingular responds. I know many of us are going to be using this loophole as our primary data option out in the field this spring. Rumor has that excessive downloading over the media works plan may prompt an upgrade to one of the more expensive data plans. But who knows how much excessive is or if Cingular will even notice at all. I would like to use this data all the time (commuting and trips), but Im cautious since Im basically exploiting the system.
 
Amos and others, keep us posted on whether or not this works for you and how Cingular responds. I know many of us are going to be using this loophole as our primary data option out in the field this spring. Rumor has that excessive downloading over the media works plan may prompt an upgrade to one of the more expensive data plans. But who knows how much excessive is or if Cingular will even notice at all. I would like to use this data all the time (commuting and trips), but Im cautious since Im basically exploiting the system.

As long as you don't use the GPRS/cell combo as your PRIMARY data retrieval source for everday web browsing, you'll be okay I think. The fact of the matter is that Cingular provides an unlimited data plan with phones that can tether. If they were really that concerned about it, they'd disable the tethering features in the phones they sell, or atleast not sell phones that have this capability. Heck, the instructions on how to use your phone as a GPRS modem are in the phone's instruction manual, so it's not a secret or manipulation of the system. They know people do it, but it's not advertised by Cingular because it's much more profitable to charge people $79.99 for unlimited data.
 
I should get my phone tomorrow and my Bluetooth adapter on Tuesday or Wednesday. So by the end of the week I'll have a sense of how it works. Some other friends have called Cingular and heard all kinds of different answers about this; it's amazing that they can't keep their own data plan information straight.

Somebody pointed out a moment ago that nowhere on their website do they mention the option for a $19.99 add-on for unlimited data.

Amos
 
Tonight I've successfully configured a connection between my Nokia 6820 and laptop via Bluetooth and am surfing at 115kbps, which is more than sufficient for my chasing needs.

I tip my hat to Jeff Snyder, whose info was INCREDIBLY valuable and who probably saved me the hassle and expense of a PC data card. First beer is on me.

I've read about every post on Howards Forums concerning "tethering," (connecting phone to computer), and it seems that in the case of Cingular, there could be some importance to what you specify for the GPRS modem settings. I'm on shaky ground here, but from what I've read, if you use "isp.cingular" rather than "wap.cingular", you might go outside what is 'provisioned' in the MEdia Works unlimted package for $19.99.

I have tried both tonight and they connect equally as fast. I have noted the data amounts and connect times to match against my bill so I can see which is the better choice.

Can anyone else confirm that wap.cingular is the smarter setting to use?

Again, thanks, Jeff.

Amos
 
Yes Amos, wap.cingular is for MEdia Works and isp.cingular is for the more costly laptop data options. Be careful using isp.... cingular might charge overages.
 
Yes Amos, wap.cingular is for MEdia Works and isp.cingular is for the more costly laptop data options. Be careful using isp.... cingular might charge overages.

That was my impression from reading the posts on Howards. I'm sticking with the wap.cingular now and will scan my online bill to see if the data I pulled from isp.cingular shows up. Didn't use too much, maybe 200k. I'll post the results back here.

Man, I can't get over how cool the conneciton is, and all without wires. I can keep the cell phone safely tucked away.
 
Skip's answer concerning Cingular access points is confirmed by a Cingular technician posting to the Howards Forum thread located here.


OK here's the skinny for all you who are wondering how the MW and DC plans work. Basically if you use the ISP.CINGULAR APN for anything, you are connecting through the DC proxy, and will get the accelerated speeds. If you connect through the WAP.CINGULAR APN, you are connecting through the WAP proxy, and will get roughly 70k-90k (kbps) with EDGE. Here's the catch. If you use the ISP.CINGULAR APN and don't have the unlimited DC on your plan, you will get charged per mb of usage. If you use the WAP.CINGULAR APN with the MW package, you will not get charged for usage. As far as the MW package going away, I believe this is true, but there is supposedly a new package coming out with the TREO 650 that will be around $29.99 for unlimited PDA usage. You should be able to get this plan for tethering. Hope this helps.

Chris

__________________
Cingular Wireless NOC Technician, NE Region
 
Guys, a little question:

Seeing coverage map of cingular you can see orange area and red area. What do you think about orange area?Does connection work in orange area or it's like orange area of Verizon(extended network) in wich connection didn't work?
And about red area?Does connection work?

If connection work in whole the orange area it looks so much interesting: the coverage is bigger than Verizon one.

Thanks
 
Guys, a little question:

Seeing coverage map of cingular you can see orange area and red area. What do you think about orange area?Does connection work in orange area or it's like orange area of Verizon(extended network) in wich connection didn't work?
And about red area?Does connection work?

If connection work in whole the orange area it looks so much interesting: the coverage is bigger than Verizon one.

Andrea, I'm not sure what coverage map you're using, but even if I did I couldn't answer the question because I haven't used my phone outside Bloomington, Indiana yet. :D

I'm not sure which connection you're asking about either. Do you mean only the basic voice connection? The EDGE network?
 
Back
Top