Chasing season 2007: best cell phone connection

Hi all guys and girls, it's 2007 and chasing season is coming. So I'm starting to see wich could be the best cell phone connection to have mobile internet while chasing.

I remember the last time I was on the Plains was during the chasing season 2005 and I and my chase partner had a PCMCIA card with a cingular plan. We had GPRS/EDGE connection(a bit faster) when we stayed near the most important cities and normal GPRS along the most of tornado alley interstates. Bad signal in S Dakota, not too much well in Nebraska and Kansas.

Anyone knows if today, in 2007 is there a newer connection with more signal and coverage and with a better plan?

Let's start speaking about this important point of chasing: mobile internet connection.
 
i have a very good friend who works for cingular. i also have a very good friend who works at radioshack. right now, sprints newest wireless card thing is a little better than cingular, as far as data speed. but my cingular friend said that the new one that they are releasing soon will blow sprint out of the water. for a few months at least. i'll see if i can squeeze a release date out of her.
 
I would apreciate if you could get a list of what citys will get 3G service and when for 2007. I used 3G in Bham and N.O and the speeds were rock solid on my treo 750 teethered to my dell laptop . Avg speeds around 965K :)
 
The fastest / "broadband" data networks will only cover you if you are in a major metropolitan area, which is not terribly common during chases. Therefore, I don't think the carrier's fastest data technology will be of much use during chasing (be it Sprint's EVDO Rev. A or Cingular's HSDPA). I'm certainly not trying to discourage, but the "broadband" speed techs are just too limited in spatial/areal scope.

Personally, I'm using a Cingular 2125 (MS Smartphone) on Cingular's EDGE and GPRS networks. The coverage is pretty good, especially since I'm based out of Oklahoma. There's an increasing number of cellphones that combine 3G data tech with WiFi, and I think this integration will continue (though not entirely applicable to chasers since most use their laptops for WiFi). I think the next big step will come with the wide release of mobile WiMAX / 802.16e, but that's a year or two away.
 
This thread is going to go on forever...

I personally feel that right now you can't beat a Sprint plan now that data roaming is enabled on Alltel and Verizon. To have the combination of all three is a no-brainer for me. With Alltel updating Nebraska, and much of Kansas already up to EVDO Rev. 0 and even some Rev.A on the way, it seems hard to top it. Cingular is having a hard time rolling out their high speed services, mostly because they don't really have anyone to partner with on GSM-based services in the US. But, you can get your iPhone through Cingular, and that's what we all really want anyways, isn't it? :eek: ;)

-John
 
The IPhone is going to be EDGE only. At work we we all let down by this thing being EDGE and not HSDPA. I just see LOTS of problems with that phone anyway!:confused:
 
Just as a quick suggestion, consider getting a good Wilson ceullular antenna to connect (assuming you can) and ideally if you want the best possible coverage get a 3 watt amp.

http://www.wilsoncellular.com/ViewProductB.php?ID=1

http://www.wilsoncellular.com/ViewProductB.php?ID=5

http://www.wilsoncellular.com/Products.php?Type=A

The antenna plus amp will cost 3 - 4 bills but it is worth it! The pre-amp will make weak incoming signals very strong (less dropped packets) and the out going signal will have much more punch when in those dead spots below the horizon.

***Just found this site in the buy/sell forum*** Good Prices!
http://www.maximumsignal.net/xcart/home.php
 
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The fastest / "broadband" data networks will only cover you if you are in a major metropolitan area, which is not terribly common during chases.

Depends who you use and where you are. Alltel's broadband (about 600kb/s) covers nearly all of Kansas and eastern Nebraska (even out in the sticks, 100 miles from civilization), though only a small part of Iowa and Oklahoma. Most other places are covered with 120kb/s ISDN-like speeds. Access to both of these things are included with a normal voice plan, so long as you have a phone that supports it (most of the new ones do.) Usage comes out of your voice plan's minutes, unless you pay $20 a month for unlimited access. You can turn the $20 a month feature on and off whenever you want.

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Depends who you use and where you are. Alltel's broadband (about 600kb/s) covers nearly all of Kansas and eastern Nebraska (even out in the sticks, 100 miles from civilization), though only a small part of Iowa and Oklahoma. Most other places are covered with 120kb/s ISDN-like speeds. Access to both of these things are included with a normal voice plan, so long as you have a phone that supports it (most of the new ones do.) Usage comes out of your voice plan's minutes, unless you pay $20 a month for unlimited access. You can turn the $20 a month feature on and off whenever you want.

I wonder where you can find that info on their site for the added $20 a month. All I can ever find is this link:

http://www.alltel.com/business/enhanced/data_access.html?bm

There it says unlimited for $29 more a month. Either way I plan to get it come spring(since I sold xm and will need something). I've already dropped my verizon plan(stupid I was on it so long for so much, since I wasn't even in their america's choice network being just 20 miles from Omaha....was paying $40 a month for only 150 minutes total....no nights or weekends....and it is still that way).

You were right about all those white open areas. You can still get data through there but at the 14.4 speeds. Now I wonder if you need your own ISP to dial in to in those cases. Hmmmm I hope not. In those areas it does say it takes away from your cell minutes. But just knowing you can connect in them is what matters, even if it is a bit slower and takes from one's minutes.
 
Depends who you use and where you are. Alltel's broadband (about 600kb/s) covers nearly all of Kansas and eastern Nebraska (even out in the sticks, 100 miles from civilization), though only a small part of Iowa and Oklahoma. Most other places are covered with 120kb/s ISDN-like speeds. Access to both of these things are included with a normal voice plan, so long as you have a phone that supports it (most of the new ones do.) Usage comes out of your voice plan's minutes, unless you pay $20 a month for unlimited access. You can turn the $20 a month feature on and off whenever you want.


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I don't if it's because it's data roaming, but my Sprint card can roam on the Alltel network in those areas, and I can tell you for sure in the areas around Lubbock they have outlined as higher speeds, at least on roaming, are about dialup speeds at best. In fact, even on the Sprint network there in west Texas it's all that slower speed.
 
I don't if it's because it's data roaming, but my Sprint card can roam on the Alltel network in those areas, and I can tell you for sure in the areas around Lubbock they have outlined as higher speeds, at least on roaming, are about dialup speeds at best. In fact, even on the Sprint network there in west Texas it's all that slower speed.

Last I checked the Sprint roaming switch hadn't been flipped yet -- Alltel was still ironing out a few gremlins in their network. However, that was a month or so ago, so things could have changed since then. :)
 
I've been on Alltel for several years and while it's not perfect it's the best option IMO. I've managed to get radar updates in both the sandhills of Nebraska and the Badlands. This is why I picked Cellular One (Alltel) since they had very good rural coverage, unlike some of the other services at the time. Of course now their is a lot of data sharing agreements so I'm sure the coverage has changed for the other companies in that regard.
 
I wonder where you can find that info on their site for the added $20 a month. All I can ever find is this link:

http://www.alltel.com/business/enhanced/data_access.html?bm

There it says unlimited for $29 more a month. Either way I plan to get it come spring(since I sold xm and will need something). I've already dropped my verizon plan(stupid I was on it so long for so much, since I wasn't even in their america's choice network being just 20 miles from Omaha....was paying $40 a month for only 150 minutes total....no nights or weekends....and it is still that way).

You were right about all those white open areas. You can still get data through there but at the 14.4 speeds. Now I wonder if you need your own ISP to dial in to in those cases. Hmmmm I hope not. In those areas it does say it takes away from your cell minutes. But just knowing you can connect in them is what matters, even if it is a bit slower and takes from one's minutes.

You might need an ISP, though I'm not sure. I know that back when I tried to connect at 14.4K in western Iowa east of Nebraska City last year, Verizon wouldn't let me on. However, western Iowa is now shown as being an Alltel broadband area. :) I haven't tried it out in northern Iowa yet. I will say that I've been to a few very rural places in eastern Nebraska now and have had broadband everywhere I've gone. Note that I think you have to make sure you get a handset that will support QNC if you plan to try to do the 14.4K thing. A lot of the new ones don't, since they're trying to phase QNC out. I don't think my Razr supports it.

The $29 a month plan is for smartphones. No idea why they charge more for smartphones than for adding on to connect to a laptop -- I mean, laptops can suck waaaay more data than a smartphone, so it doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe they just know how to milk the corporate customers, lol. Looks like the unlimited data plan is $25 a month right now. 25 bucks doesn't seem like much for a whole month of chasing, especially since you can turn the feature off when the season is over. :)

I've never found that offer on their website; however, it shows up as an option when I go to "My Account" on their site. You end up having to call Alltel if you want to turn it on, though.
 
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In NW IA the only way I could connect to the internet was by dialing back to my ISP, so yes I'm pretty sure you do in those areas (which isn't that large of an area).
 
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Last I checked the Sprint roaming switch hadn't been flipped yet -- Alltel was still ironing out a few gremlins in their network. However, that was a month or so ago, so things could have changed since then. :)

Yeah, I have been able to roam on Alltel in some areas since last spring actually. Cingular too in some places if you can believe that.
 
I have the new Cingular 8525 and thus far have not had any problems with it connecting to the web. It has a decent upload/download speed and the Cingular coverage I have found over the years is fairly widespread.
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Every where that is shaded in the darker orange for the edge network is where you will be able to connect to the web with your phone or pc card.
I have the "SmartPhone Connect Unlimited plan with Xpress Mail and it costs me $19.00 a month with unlimited data transfer in the states. If you are using a card for your pc it isn't very cheap with the unlimited plan costing $59.99 a month plus you need a voice plan (which cost $39.99) or pay just $79.99 a month.
 
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