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GSM Cell Phone Service

I'm under my dad's cell phone plan, and he was wondering about Cingular's GSM service. I was wondering if anyone out there has tried it and what the consensus is on it.
 
What are you looking at primarily using it for? Talking or data? GSM service is good around large cities and around some major road corridors. Outside of that, GSM does not exist. Thus, since storms seem to be afraid of good roads and only rarely make it into population centers, 95% of the time when you are chasing, you will not be able to get data. Once you exit these corridors, you will also be roaming, likely on analog.

On the other hand, when you can get data, it's apparently fast. Cingular has an "all you can eat data" plan for around $20 added to your bill, IIRC.

Verizon is the best provider for fetching data anywhere on the plains, though it is very slow (~14kbs). Alltel is also a good bet, if they're around in your area. AT&T and Cingular have spottier coverage, Sprint has better covereage depending on your plan, but you're not allowed to hook your phone to your PC.

-Ryan
 
I don't really care about data. I don't own a laptop or anything liek that. I am just talking about using the phone for talking.
 
Just completed month long chase using ATand T and Cingular both GSM - Cingular has the best receiption by far and I found it even worked in the boonies....I was using the new wireless phone on Cingular and was using the edge card on Atand T - but if you are looking for speed its still a little slow (they say 1450 baud rate but I doupt that)
 
Originally posted by Ryan McGinnis
What are you looking at primarily using it for? Talking or data? GSM service is good around large cities and around some major road corridors. Outside of that, GSM does not exist. Thus, since storms seem to be afraid of good roads and only rarely make it into population centers, 95% of the time when you are chasing, you will not be able to get data. Once you exit these corridors, you will also be roaming, likely on analog.

On the other hand, when you can get data, it's apparently fast. Cingular has an \"all you can eat data\" plan for around $20 added to your bill, IIRC.

Verizon is the best provider for fetching data anywhere on the plains, though it is very slow (~14kbs). Alltel is also a good bet, if they're around in your area. AT&T and Cingular have spottier coverage, Sprint has better covereage depending on your plan, but you're not allowed to hook your phone to your PC.

-Ryan

GSM (beit from ATT or Cingular) is still quite a bit better than any of Sprint's or TMobile's area. GSM is expanding pretty quickly... I'm actually going to dump my ATT OneRate (covers roaming, etc) for Cingular National and a data plan. I'm thinking about getting the GAIT plan (so I have coverage in analog/roaming/TDMA areas too), but there are only 2 phone options, neither of which do anything for me...

ATT worked well for me, but the whole 'cell-phone / Ositech' data thing just is too much of a pain-in-the-butt and no longer really worth the time/effort/cost... I'll see how I do w/ Cingular's data and voice plan next year... I thought about USCellular, which just came into the OKC/OUN market, but they don't have any data plans that I can see, so I'll try Cingular first... Granted, who knows what Cingular's coverage will look like when they absorb ATT here in a few months (I think)...
 
Jeff,
Not familiar with okc/oun - can you elaborate? is it a data feed?
Yea Im not fond of data downloads through a phone (just one more thing that could go dead you know) but I really need a laptop datafeed for weather maps and email since Im camping away from any land line connections....is there something else? besides the wx worx$1400 set up?)
bill
 
Originally posted by bill mudd
Jeff,
Not familiar with okc/oun - can you elaborate? is it a data feed?
Yea Im not fond of data downloads through a phone (just one more thing that could go dead you know) but I really need a laptop datafeed for weather maps and email since Im camping away from any land line connections....is there something else? besides the wx worx$1400 set up?)
bill

OKC/OUN = Oklahoma City / Norman
 
If you plan on using GSM for data, make sure the cell phone actually
works (will connect) with the computer. My son had fits while trying to
connect to a GSM network for data with his cell phone, eventhough
the dealer said it would work.

Make sure there are modem scripts for the phone you are using.
Most local cell phone store employees know little or nothing about
it, although they will sell you the equipment.

If you search out Google for the phone/computer combination you are thinking about using, you will likely find someone who knows if it will work.

I think the new Bluetooth technology is best, or so I have read.

Mike
 
I'm considering switching to GSM sometime soon. I've been doing research for the past couple of days and picked up a lot of knowledge on all the different systems and plans, from GSM, CDMA, and TDMA.

GSM is the global standard and America is just picking up on it. Check out www.gsmworld.com for more info. The best is looking at how good the coverage is in some of the most unexpected countries. GSM appeals to me because I like to travel a lot and taking my mobile around the world is important to me.

For now I am going to wait because the coverage in the rural areas that I travel to often in the US is still limited. I expect within a few months it will greatly improve. Cingular and ATT offer the biggest GSM networks in the country and they are planning a merger which will greatly benefit the consumer. For now, while GSM is still growing the GAIT plan is a good option. It gives you coverage on the analog and TDMA bands as well as GSM bands.
 
This is a little off topic but could some Cingular GSM customers give me your opinions on the service? How does the voice quality compare (on average) to your past provider. How is the coverage area? As good as Verizon? Any examples of some notable remote calls you completed on the GSM network?
 
In Europe GSM is the norm on either 900 or 1800 MHz Signal is good in most places just remember some back roads with leafy lanes can cause the signal to drop out. Most UK suppliers like T.Mobile, Virgin, Orange,Vodaphone and O2(was Cellnet) have roaming agreements with other European countries.
My two GSM phones havve worked in France,Spain,Germany and Holland.
Hope this helps
 
Not only in Europe, but in Africa, Asia, Australia...from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Sudan they all use GSM. The key to getting service in all those countries is to have a multi-frequency GSM phone.
 
Cingulars GSM is way better than ATand T as Ive chased with both - the download rates were twice as fast (but still slow at times compared to DSL or high speed of coarse)
the roll over minutes are great even with its problems
 
Originally posted by bill mudd
Cingulars GSM is way better than ATand T as Ive chased with both - the download rates were twice as fast (but still slow at times compared to DSL or high speed of coarse)
the roll over minutes are great even with its problems

Cingular and ATT are in the process of merging. It is all but formal. They share networks now.
 
Share or not I still can barely use mine at home due to no signal . Sometimes I get lucky and it will go into extended and give me a signal.... bites big time
 
During May I went to the trouble of using a USA pre paid cell phone and an Ositech card – never again! As I has just so many problems getting a connection while out side of Oklahoma (due to the roaming issues)

While my UK mobile phone worked just great on the US networks using GPRS which is a 56k digital connection – OK reception was not good one I was in the sticks but driving to the target areas along the interstates it worked very well.

BTW on a chase trip to hurricane Ivan my UK phone connected 100% of the time in Florida and Al.

During 2005 I am going to stick to a GPRS connection.
 
GPRS from Cingular is good to great in many areas... and the GPRS coverage is increasing, along with investments in expanding the EDGE portion of the data network. Got $80/month? Good. You're ready to go.
 
Matthew,

Can you provide any additional details about the current coverage availabe for EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution)? A friend told me that AT&T had been rolling out the upgrades to their towers since mid-2003, but doesn't know the status since Cingular bought them.

I'm very interesting in EDGE for my mobile connectivity solution, that is if prices aren't going to be too high.
 
Im currently looking to provide a more constant connection for radar and velocity data. At present I use Wifi with a very large Dbi antenna for reception. I would appreciate any ideas or feedback on what you think is the best choice/options. T-Mobile is pretty cheap for internet but the coverage for the northern plains is pretty bad. Im looking for Eastern SD, IA, MN and NE. Sprint PCS is pretty good, but bad in Iowa and like most 3g data is mostly avaliable around cities and interstates which is pretty unacceptable. So right now im looking at Verizon, there internet data package is pretty bad with terrible coverage in my area, but they have a lot of towers which means I could use a modem to dial in to the system. Aside from having a pretty slow BPS it would provide at least 80% coverage. Im curious if anyone has found a provider that offers some sort of package like this, I know I will need some sort of modem or PC card and software. The internet package for Verizon is $80 and provides the ability to dial in when the data is unavaliable. However, then the rates are ridiclouis. I am more opting for paying $50 and getting 600 minutes to use as dial-up data.

The other two I haven't ruled out is the Sprint PCS. With the addition of the Vision Plan the internet can actually be accessed with some software. The coverage is great around the cities and interstates and maybe with a good antenna can provide any area within 30 miles of a moderately sized city or interstate tower. Now when that doesn't work I could still dial-in since you have to have a general calling plan as well.

Here is my question to all of you who use mobile data, which service provides the best data network service for the northern/Central Northern Plains. Also, which network provides the best voice coverage? I notice t-mobile offers free roaming but there coverage map looked really bad. If I have to use a dial-in modem then it needs to be part of the in-network voice coverage not roaming as that could be way to much money.
 
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