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Old 03-21-2010, 09:38 AM   #1
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Cell Phone Service

I wanted to ask the SOC members for their opinions on cell phone service. I really like the idea of an IPhone but have heard that the AT&T service is not as good as Verizon. I currently have Verizon but don't care for the phones available as none are as nice and easy to use (in my opinion) as the IPhone. So my question is to those of you using AT&T, are you satisfied with the service?

TIA!
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
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I'm a Verizon guy but my son and his family have IPhones. They happen to live in a town with good ATT service but when they leave the town they frequently have dropped calls. As well, though ATT has good national coverage, they have poor high speed coverage (3G).

They do love their IPhones. We have a Blackberry and find it to be very good as well. Definitely not as many aps but for the 90% of phone work it's great and solid. My kids both tell me I should switch to a Droid from Verizon, more like the IPhone.

If you're a traveler like us, Verizon is the way to go. Any person that ranges far and wide will tell you that. If you're a regional traveler, IPhone may do the job very well for you.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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We switched from AT&T to Verizon in December and haven't looked back. I've never had an iPhone but I chose the Droid when we did the switch. I have been very happy with it.

With a free program I found, I can also tether it to the computer to use it to access most things on the internet.

We also had an AT&T air card which did get signal a good portion of the time, but rarely 3G. I used it coming back from the M&G last year and all along the highway, the only time it had 3G was in Ohio about an hour outside of Toledo. I'll admit I drove a good part of the time, but I think I was on in most of Ohio and we only had the 3G for maybe 15 miles.

The main reason for the switch was I had no service at school with AT&T. I would get a little outside, but I wasn't about to stand outside for however long in the middle of winter. With Verizon I don't have perfect service, but it isn't bad for a steel and concrete building where no one gets perfect service. Outside is just about full.

I have only encountered one area so far that I didn't have the internet service, and that was somewhere in central Florida where there were few exits even.

The only downside with Verizon is they charge you for minutes, and there are associated overage charges if you go over your plan limit (ours is 1400). We use so few phone minutes though, or at least in the winter especially, that it isn't too big of a deal. The internet usage is unlimited as is the texting. A year ago I hadn't sent a text in my life, but now that's about all I do.

Jon
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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Jon,

How do you like the droid? Any interesting Aps?
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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Hi Norm,

I like it a lot. I really haven't done much in the way of apps, beyond the tethering thing. I use the browser for pretty much everything I do on there, and I even shy away from using mobile versions of sites because I just get the feeling that I'm missing something on those. While the full sites are very small on there, at least I still have the eyes to see most of it...


The best thing I could have done was to get the actual Motorola model. I have always had Motorola phones so that was a major factor, but the regular Droid just looked difficult to use. I believe it didn't have an actual keyboard of any kind, either. I like the Motorola's slide out keyboard, though it is just a little difficult to use. I mainly have problems with the top keys because the keys are somewhat close to the top part of the phone and sometimes my fat fingers don't fit up there too well... But I'm learning and it's getting much better now. Also, because they don't have a number pad either on top or on the side, they have done a nice job of putting all of those functions around as alternate features. There is an alternate key that I hold down to get numbers and symbols. Some of the more commonly used symbols actually have their own button, like the question mark and @ sign. The exclamation point does not, which kind of surprised me.

There are available on-screen keyboards too, both landscape and portrait depending on the way the phone is held. I rarely use that method though, besides the phone dialing keypad because it would take longer using the alternate numbers on the physical keyboard.

Battery life has been less than I thought, but not bad considering it is a mini-computer almost. If I really use it for a lot of browsing, I could drain it in a couple hours. I found this site actually drains a lot because it has to load all the old posts just to show the new one. I can be on the browser checking e-mail, Facebook, and other similar type sites and text during it all and still not use a whole lot of battery, but as soon as I come on here, I can see the battery level drop down. My old phone (Razr) would last maybe 3-4 days on a charge with a lot of use, but of course it didn't do much.

Charging is pretty easy. A car charger cord is available, but the main power cord that comes with the phone is like a modern day camera cord. It is essentially a USB cord with a plug attachment that the USB plugs into to make it charge off 120V. However, the USB could certainly be connected to a computer to charge it from there, as well as somehow transfer files (I haven't learned how to do that yet) as well as that is how the tethering is connected.

I really like the setup for texting. They have the messages show up like IM's in a conversation type format instead of individual messages, so I can see previous messages when I'm typing a new one or reading a new one. Some people probably don't like that old ones still show up if not deleted, but you wouldn't know unless a text hasn't happened with that person in a while.

The camera seems pretty good, I think it's supposed to be like 5 megapixel or somewhere around there, and the flash is a very bright white LED. I haven't used it beyond just experimenting initially because I usually carry my regular camera with me. It has a slot for a mini-SD chip, I assume which can be used to transfer files/pictures.

There is a lot of room for apps, the main screen can scroll to reveal an entire left and right screen panel beyond the home panel. So basically I can only see the center 1/3 of the screen as the home position.

It also has voice assisted turn by turn directions with Google Maps, which we used to go see Pat & Cindy almost two weeks ago. It could almost eliminate the need for a basic GPS.

Another minor complaint I have is the sound setup. I'm not much for having ringtones, I like to have it vibrate. I can get the phone to vibrate for a ring, but I can't for a text. There is a small green light on the corner of the screen that will blink when I have one though, after the screen has gone off. BTW, the stock ringtones are what I think a bit on the weird side...

I like the mobile PDF viewer as well. I opened a Sunline brochure when I first got the phone to see if it would work, and I was amazed that it opened it pretty quickly! I have had an issue when I tried to download a MS Office document one time (I think it was Word, can't remember though). I suspect I could cure that with what I'm sure is an available app somewhere.

The most difficult thing with the whole phone has been getting used to all the mobile versions of websites, which really has nothing to do with the phone itself as I'm sure the same sites are used with Blackberries and other smart phones. They are much simpler, which I like, but everything is laid out differently so it's like having to learn the sites all over again. Some sites, like Yahoo mail, is just easier to do the mobile version than to do the full site due to the possibility of clicking on ads and stuff with my fat fingers.

Jon
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:46 PM   #6
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Over the years we've had AT&T, Nextel, and now Verizon. Verizon has had the best coverage by far.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:08 PM   #7
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We treated ourselves to a pair of the new BlackBerry Curve 8530's in December. And we are delighted with them. Plenty of apps and more released all the time.

Our experience with Verizon is pretty much the same as above. Coverage, especially 3G, is better than any others. We've rarely seen a dead spot in several years now, and that includes deep in the Adirondacks.

With the BlackBerries, you have to get the unlimited package for text and internet, but it's worth it to us. We use even less voice minutes and only have the 500 minute per month plan.

We'd be hard pressed to switch away from Verizon.

This question comes up regularly, and those who travel all over pretty consistently recommend Verizon. Norm's experiences in particular are the best recommendation.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #8
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We have 700 minutes a month, partially because we cancelled our land line. We're not home that much and we've found that the people that ever so often use our NH home, all have cell phones so we bumped our minutes.

Except for the month of December I admit that 500 minutes seems to be plenty though I'm not a big chatter and Ginny saves most of her chat for the weekend. As well many of the people we call our Verizon users making for no charge calls.

We do have friends where one member of the extended family has an unlimited family plan and provides phones to his parents under his 'family plan' making the calls between them free and costing only $20 a month for his parents to have cell service with unlimited minutes.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honda03842
We do have friends where one member of the extended family has an unlimited family plan and provides phones to his parents under his 'family plan' making the calls between them free and costing only $20 a month for his parents to have cell service with unlimited minutes.
That's exactly what we did. We have five phones on the 1400 minute plan, with two of them for the grandparents. One doesn't use it much, though they are pretty old and they should have it in case anything bad happens. The other set uses their cell phones for pretty much all of their calls, mainly because just up until earlier this month, they had dial up internet and often times the phone line would be occupied with that.

We initially had no plans to get the extra phones, but the store told us about these senior phones that have larger numbers and loud rings and had no additional cost except the $9.99 extra phone charge.

Actually, come to think of it, that is one complaint I have about the Verizon service. They have the ten friends and family numbers that you can set online. While they can be changed at any time and as frequently as one would want, they are only ten numbers for the whole account, not each phone. This is especially a problem when we have a couple frequent numbers of our own and then the grandparents all have many more, as a good portion of their friends and relatives are as old as they are and don't have cell phones.

Jon
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:08 AM   #10
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There is a new phone (rumored) being announced by HTC/Verizon at CTIA this week...the HTC Incredible... looks to pretty sweet, will be running andriod 2.1 with the latest version HTC's Sense user interface, which should make it very user friendly. The specs for the devise look great! If you can wait you may want see how this one is. I do not work for HTC or Verizon! I am in sales, I'm on the Verzon network and have a Blackberry Storm and absolutly hate it! I have been waiting for a long time for a new, fast, easy to use, business oriented, smartphone to come out on Verizon...so I am really hoping this one is it!?
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:26 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the information! Looks like we will stay with Verizon and will be watching for the new phone to come out. We still have time before our contract expires so perhaps Verizon will have a phone as easy to use as the IPhone.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:49 AM   #12
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Even when your contract runs out you don't need to sign a new one. Verizon continues your old plan without the obligation of a contract. Then when the new phone comes out you can get the new phone
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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If the reason for a cell phone is to make phone calls, Verizon is the best in my opinion. Co-owned by Vodaphone in London, it's also the better chioce for a global phone. I've never had a problem taking or making a call with one number in many countries. Twice, once in Ireland and once in Australia, I loaned my phone to an AT&T subscriber because theirs didn't work. It works seamlessly in the Carabbean too where it automatically switches between systems from island to island.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:49 PM   #14
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pwb01,
Please enlighten me.
I was under the impression that Verizon, as well as Sprint, operated on the CDMA system, whereas Europe and most of the rest of the world are GSM.
I thought that GSM and CDMA were incompatible, and therefore a Verizon phone would not work in Europe.
Do you know how this works?
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:11 PM   #15
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Verizon global phones do use cdma for this country, but have a sim card that works on GSM in those countries.
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:01 AM   #16
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I can say that I am very happy with my service though AT&T and I also do have an IPhone. I have tried many phones before, and I have not come across one better thus far. The Iphone is way much more than just a cell with net service. There are many apps that I use just for camping and rving.
If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:53 PM   #17
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pwb01,
You never answered my question., and if you are not able to, that's all right.
I am curious because we are on Sprint family plan, so it would not be easy for us to move to Verizon. We'd have to move everybody, and we have good deal on our present plan.
Sprint is CDMA, and as far as I know, Verizon is too.
So, if your phone also works in Any part of Europe, it must be capable of switching to GSM. Can I ask you what model you have? Does it have a place to insert a SIM card?
I am asking because I end up carrying two phones when I travel abroad.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:13 PM   #18
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I have a Blackberry Tour and it is capable of operation Internationally - titled Global Ready.

Verizon Definition.
Devices are GSM capable, allowing voice calling in over 200 destinations worldwide, and data access in over 160 destinations worldwide. Please refer to the country list for specific service availability. A valid SIM card and global plan or global feature are required for GSM global roaming.

As well it is projected that by year end Verizon will be offering the IPhone.

I agree that the changing of plans and equipment is painful. We switched to my Blackberry this year and it is very solidly built with a zillion features. Every day there seems to be some new ability I stumble across and this has nothing to do with all the possible external apps that can be added.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:15 PM   #19
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Thanks Norm!
I'll check with Sprint to see if they have something similar.
I have SIM cards for service in the two countries I spend time in.
It is a lot cheaper, I think, than using a US based service overseas.
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Old 04-03-2010, 03:49 PM   #20
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Verizon will have the Iphone shortly.

I have a buddy who works for them and this is what he told me. I dont know how long, but from all the scuttlebutt i hear it wont be too long.

I hope i made Diane happy!
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