View Full Version : Cellphones. Which Service is better for the mountains?

01-07-2016, 01:33
Hey guys,

I am currently in a pickle about my phone. I have two iphone 5's, and use straight talk. ST uses At&T. Along the AT, what got you guys better service?

I am currently have major issues with my phone company/phone and am considering going back to Verizon (pre-paid) just for the fact that they have always worked. Why spend 45 a month for a phone that wont connect to the internet faster than snail speed?

01-07-2016, 08:08
You may find what you are looking for in a Topic Search. There are several threads on this that you can look through for some information. Theres another thread up now that is discussing this issue.

01-07-2016, 08:34
On my Thru Verizon was the only one the really worked for the hikers. It is sketchy, but does and can work.

You will need to adapt your methods and expectations, such as checking email. Sometimes it will work, sometimes no signal, sometimes however I needed to set a 10 minute timer and hike, giving it ten minutes to try, and a reminder to shut it off after the 10 minutes to save the battery. Read and reply, they those can go out over another 10 minute cycle if/when needed.

01-07-2016, 10:49
Verizon, hands down. I was continually surprised at how much connectivity I had throughout NC and NH/ME in the 2011-2014 timeframe. Data access was very spotty or slow, but I had a signal a lot more often than I had anticipated.

Gambit McCrae
01-07-2016, 10:50
Would have been a good poll opportunity


01-07-2016, 11:32
I have AT&T and it is terrible. My regular hiking buddy uses Verizon and he seems to have service most of the time.

01-07-2016, 11:35
I have AT&T also and during all my section hikes in different areas, AT&T struggled. On the other hand, it forced me to just leave it off and get more solitude so I suppose it ended up a plus for me. When I start my thru hike next month, I don't intend to change me service. I will however take a SPOT for my wife's peace of mind.

Old Hiker
01-07-2016, 12:25
2012 - VERY bad service with my ATT Galaxy 2. I would have NO bars, while Verizon peeples would be chatting/texting away. Even in Damascus, no service.

2016 - not sure - has ATT upgraded their coverage? Don't know - don't care. Upgraded to a new Galaxy 5 with Verizon. Lower bill, better service (so far).

01-07-2016, 12:57
Verizon has far better coverage in Maine and Northern NH.

01-07-2016, 13:15
I'll save you extremely difficult task of searching WhiteBlaze. :eek: :D :cool:


Next question?


01-07-2016, 15:36
+100 for Verizon. Don't expect to get good (if any) service around the shelters but you can get pretty good service elsewhere.

01-07-2016, 15:41
besides the unamious carrier - flip (dumb phones) usually put out more power resulting in wider service area

01-07-2016, 15:52
Thanks guys. I am probably going to switch to Verizon before my hike. I don't mind the data issue on the trail just so long as I can call when needing to check hours/hostels/etc etc.

I did find out last night that for the past three months..ST has been throttling my data even when I get a new refill for the month. How? I put the sim card in another phone. ****ty service still. I use my phone to drive. Gps, maps, etc. Its hard to do that when I can't get a app to load.

01-07-2016, 16:48
I have a page plus prepaid phone that is on the Verizon network that I take hiking. I paid $10 to recharge it every 4 months.

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk

01-07-2016, 17:21
From living in New England for nearly 45 years I can verify that in western MA, NH and long stretches of Maine you will toss your phone in the nearest lake if you have AT&T and need to connect.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

01-07-2016, 22:43
In 2013, Verizon seemed to have the best coverage on the AT overall. That being said, not all Verizon phones are the same. I had a StraightTalk phone w/ Verizon as the carrier. I hiked w/ a buddy who had a Verizon contract phone. He consistently had better coverage than I did. YMMV.

The Cleaner
01-07-2016, 22:57
Cellphone coverage should be the least of your worries about completing a thru hike.Hundreds of hikers completed thru hikes in the time before cell phones.

Wise Old Owl
01-08-2016, 00:02
There isn't a cell phone or service that works 100% of the trail...

Feel free to look up satellite phone for better service.... Nothing else works other than an amateur radio.

01-09-2016, 17:20
Cellphone coverage should be the least of your worries about completing a thru hike.Hundreds of hikers completed thru hikes in the time before cell phones.

Right? I have only ever used my cell phone once while hiking and it was because I came into a coverage area and a dear friend of mine had called and left a voicemail and I knew her dad had been sick so I checked it. After learning he had passed away I called her and then my husband and then headed out to drive home.

01-09-2016, 19:28
Getting to a hilltop once a day or so, and turning on the phone only to check messages, weather, etc. works best for me. Saves battery for emergencies and prevents interrupting your hike with calls from the boss. At the same time, I don't want to simply give up the ability to communicate when hiking. I've used the phone to deal with a home emergency while hiking, likely saving a family member from injury, and used it to monitor a thunderstorm outbreak that included tornadoes.

In the past several years, I've had a half-dozen work calls while hiking. I need to get more disciplined about shutting off the phone while day-hiking.

The real solution to the work thing, called retirement, is at least two years off.