Sprint vs. Cingular Broadband Cards

I will be purchasing a new broadband card this upcoming week and have pretty much narrowed it down to Cingular or Sprint. I have seen the coverage maps, pricing and plans and now I'd love to hear some first hand accounts from anyone out there who has used either or both of them. I would welcome any advice or info you may be able to offer. Thanks!

Fabian
 
I will be purchasing a new broadband card this upcoming week and have pretty much narrowed it down to Cingular or Sprint. I have seen the coverage maps, pricing and plans and now I'd love to hear some first hand accounts from anyone out there who has used either or both of them. I would welcome any advice or info you may be able to offer. Thanks!

Fabian
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If it were me and i didnt want any coverage for my service outside of large metropolatin areas I would buy Sprint.

I can fully attest that their lack of coverage in most any chasing area makes them ideal for use and the reason to choose Sprint.

And of course my reccomendation is based on using Sprint on a regular basis since 2001.. What I love most is the ability to check my messages after a long chase day late at night when I get back on a major highway to check all the calls I missed because I was out of their service area. :rolleyes:
 
If it were me and i didnt want any coverage for my service outside of large metropolatin areas I would buy Sprint.

I can fully attest that their lack of coverage in most any chasing area makes them ideal for use and the reason to choose Sprint.

And of course my reccomendation is based on using Sprint on a regular basis since 2001.. What I love most is the ability to check my messages after a long chase day late at night when I get back on a major highway to check all the calls I missed because I was out of their service area. :rolleyes:
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I'm hearing ya loud and clear fplowman. Thanks.
 
Fabian,

I assume you are wanting the card for chasing? I have a Cingular air card and have had very good results with it so far. Here in Oklahoma most of the state is under EDGE service and I can get speeds up to 200k using my external antenna on my car. Of course the signal gets weaker as you move away from a tower but picks up nicely when you get back near one again. Like Fred said I have heard Sprint is very good around major cities and interstates. I guess a lot of it goes with where will you be using your service the most and what will you be using it for. I am very satisfied with Cingular, esp. if I am in the EDGE service area. Just be sure to get an air card that is capable of attaching an external antenna to.....whether you chose Sprint or Cingular as it greatly improves your speed/signal strength.
 
Although i dont have a cingular data feed.. I have chased with others that did. it is as Im aware the best service you can have for our purposes. Their coverage as far as I know is the best for what we are doing. There are other threads miles long here about the same thing. If you search you will find them Im sure..

The external antenna is a good bet as well as Chris stated. Im using Baron so my need is diminished.. however next year I will have both internet and satellite data. :D

Fred
 
If it were me and i didnt want any coverage for my service outside of large metropolatin areas I would buy Sprint.

I can fully attest that their lack of coverage in most any chasing area makes them ideal for use and the reason to choose Sprint.

And of course my reccomendation is based on using Sprint on a regular basis since 2001.. What I love most is the ability to check my messages after a long chase day late at night when I get back on a major highway to check all the calls I missed because I was out of their service area. :rolleyes:
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Fred, I am curious about your statement here. While they don't yet have coverage is some of the most rural areas (pretty much all of western KS but some new towers are in west of DDC) Sprint's coverage area has expanced greatly into rural areas in the last 2 years I have been using it. This year we have even found data service in digital roaming with the card. I guess this all varies by area, but I have found service in 80% of western TX now, and along two of the truck routes across western North Texas which used to be horrible for ANY cell service. I had service in all of SW OK. We even had it a lot of places down south of I10 where we didn't expect we would. I even had service in most of rural eastern NM plains.

The station recently upgraded us to the top of the line Sprint card and that seems to have helped the speed a little bit as well.

Overall I recommend it if you recognize the limitations in the most rural areas. I suspect that is the case with any cellular internet though.
 
I tell you one thing...if you intend to chase in west texas you can forget about Verizon. I lost service a few miles outside Dallas/Fort Worth and never got it back until I came back to town 4 days later.

Voice coverage worked fine..but the data card was flat lined for days.

Of course their coverage map said as much. If I had it to do all over again (eg: no 2 year contracts) I'd have picked Cingular. Those that had cingular cards with me were just fine.
 
Cingular has done well for me for two seasons so far, and that is without any external extender antenna. I would probably side with them...though you will run into some dead spots that will annoy you - especially in Oklahoma (around Hollis and about 20 miles west of I-35 south of Chickasha). One thing that will be nice, is that a laptops are going to start being equiped with the devices internally - such as Dell with Cingular and Verizon devices.
 
Like others have said I am sure there are pros and cons for both services. Like I said as a Cingular user I am very satisfied. If you look at their coverage map it seems to be really accurate and where they had dead spots on the coverage map sure enouch I didnt have coverage. I know Cingular is decent in Kansas and not so good in Nebraska(at least as far as EDGE service goes). If anybody has a Sprint coverage map for data service can you please post it or the link. Fred has the right idea with having both XM and internet if you can afford it. GRlevel2 or GRlevel3 is very good if you have internet service as it can give you couplets and velocities that XM radar cant. I have both XM and internet service and it is a very valuable combination.
 
I've been going back and forth on this subject for the last week or so. I saved up the cash to invest in whichever system I would like - between XM, or high speed cellular data, etc.

Here are the three data coverage maps for the major providers:

Cingular:

CingularData.gif



Sprint (dark green is in network, light green is roaming):

Sprint.gif



Verizon (light yellow is in network, dark is roaming):

Verizon.jpg




No one service seems to be comprehensive in the plains ... you can have Sprint and be well off in Texas, but have lousy service in Nebraska. Or have Cingular, with outstanding service in Oklahoma, and virtually non-existent service in Iowa and Nebraska. Verizon and Sprint still seem to me to have the edge on across-the-map coverage at this point.

Next I've been considering a new phone - thinking of a smartphone. Would like one with an HTML viewer so I can download radar right to the phone, rather than worrying about linking to the laptop, which will be used for GPS mapping. If the map issue is confusing, the phone issue is ten times moreso. One phone will have an html viewer, but you can't use it to double as a modem, etc. Some phones utilize the new MS Windows Mobile 5.0 OS, while others use Palm or proprietary OS.

It just seems like - I can use a cell service with Swift and be able to use the service for a variety of things all year long, where XM is limited to chasing only - and represents a huge startup investment. I've been chasing with the eyes-only method for so long now, I really don't know if it's a good idea for me to try to become techno-reliant at this point, even though the option is certainly there. I was going back and forth on this all night last night.
 
Most of my chasing of course is Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa. I just dont get any service worth a crap for a chasing data link with them where i chase.. North of 70 in KS. doesnt work.. West of Hays in Kansas doesnt either.. Southern Nebraska where i find myself alot has no service either.. It mainly seems I 70 to Hays I 35 and I 29 are the only spots I can get any coverage when it comes to chasing on the plains.

On the other hand.. I have chased with Dan Hinch frequently in the past and I am quit impressed with his data coverage he gets with his Cingular setup. I am sold on it and will have it for chasing next year. So I think geographic location may be the determining factor on who's best, maybe..

No Sprint for me! ( soup nazi voice )
 
Go with Cingular. It has the best coverage for the Plains. IMO, and based on my experience, I believe the coverage is a bit better than what they illustrate on the above map. 30 day return period with Cingular products as well. Verizon is just 15 (I think).
 
I'm surprised no one has brought up Alltel.
uswlssmap.jpg

(Larger Map: http://www.alltel.com/corporate/media/down...lssmaphires.jpg)
That is JUST their network coverage area, meaning they provide their own service, and trust me, there are few holes in those areas, as their goal and purpose is to be a rural carrier. The hole in KS is covered by VZW data, and basically everything north of Waco in Texas is covered between Alltel and VZW. Their only real problem area is Oklahoma, where they are limited to Sprint and Verizon roaming when out of Alltel's home network, and even when off of those two, Alltel allows you to fall back onto cellular data, which is slow as sin, but able to get the text only pages just fine. Anywhere's else, its friggin amazing. I have been up and down the plains, not always for chasing, but almost always off of the beaten path, and my Alltel data card has seriously very few times not had a usable connection.
 
I'm surprised no one has brought up Alltel.

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Probably because the discussion subject is Sprint vs. Cingular. :) Seriously, however, I have Alltel mobile link setup to access my Nokia 6255i phone and I cannot access the remote computer anywhere outside the OKC metro area. What gives with that?
 
Just as an update - I decided to give Cingular a shot, since so many people seem to like it. If it doesn't work out well, I can always chuck it in a month. Will pick up the card tonight and test it out.

I have a feeling these coverage maps aren't all that accurate - for any of the providers. Although I will say that even though I've had trouble with Verizon data in the past, I've NEVER had a problem with voice. I can get a call through in the middle of no-man's land, Kansas these days.

By the way - what's up with the Cingular coverage map for Alberta, Canada? It has nearly complete coverage for Alberta's population of 16 people and 12 million moose and grizzly bear. The only thing I can guess is that the president of Cingular must be from Edmonton.
 
We use Cingular at the station. It's very good service. We got the roof top antennas for the cards, which helped when we get off into the boonies. I have had no problems with download speeds and I am able to keep up to date with the weather situation.
 
Well, I made my choice today and went with Cingular's broadband card & unlimited data plan. It seems the best one out there and suits my purposes better than Sprint. Thanks for all your posts and advice. Hopefully, I'll be happy with their service. I'll post a review of sorts later on in the summer...

Fabian
 
I got the Cingular GC-83 data card last year and have been happy. I notice a distinct improvement by using an external mag mount antenna. Reception this year has been solid on the interstates, where we routinely have a constant high speed connection while driving. On May 5th, when we went on a chase to West Texas, we had a reliable and constant connection while on I-20 all of the way from the DFW metroplex to Big Spring. We turned north to Lamesa on Hwy 87 and lost the connection about 10 miles north of I-20, which was a disappointing, but it is quite a rural area. We got the connection back with no problem as we neared I-20 again later that evening.
 
I got the Cingular GC-83 data card last year and have been happy. I notice a distinct improvement by using an external mag mount antenna. Reception this year has been solid on the interstates, where we routinely have a constant high speed connection while driving. On May 5th, when we went on a chase to West Texas, we had a reliable and constant connection while on I-20 all of the way from the DFW metroplex to Big Spring. We turned north to Lamesa on Hwy 87 and lost the connection about 10 miles north of I-20, which was a disappointing, but it is quite a rural area. We got the connection back with no problem as we neared I-20 again later that evening.
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Just for comparison purposes. With my Sprint card I have data the entire length of I20 in Texas from border to border, and I also have Sprint coverage all the way up Hwy 87 to Lubbock. East of Lamesa to the caprock, west to Seminole and north up 137 to Brownfield save for about a 2 miles stretch there that is in between towers. And your right, it is pretty rural.
 
Just for comparison purposes. With my Sprint card I have data the entire length of I20 in Texas from border to border, and I also have Sprint coverage all the way up Hwy 87 to Lubbock. East of Lamesa to the caprock, west to Seminole and north up 137 to Brownfield save for about a 2 miles stretch there that is in between towers. And your right, it is pretty rural.
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Just curious about the antenna you use with your GC-83. I have a mag mount antenna from Mobile Mounting Solutions (www.mobilemounts.com). It seems to work pretty well but there could be better antennas out there. Where did you get your antenna?

Matt
 
Just curious about the antenna you use with your GC-83. I have a mag mount antenna from Mobile Mounting Solutions (www.mobilemounts.com). It seems to work pretty well but there could be better antennas out there. Where did you get your antenna?

Matt
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Matt,

I have the Sony gc83 card with Cingular service that works great. Not sure if Sprint has the gc83, but I am sure they would. The external antenna I use with my Cingular service and gc83 card is can be found here on ebay. It works excellent where there is coverage.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Sony-Ericsson-GC75-GC8...1QQcmdZViewItem

Chris
 
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