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Shera
02-01-2011, 10:56
Do any past thru-hikers have any idea which network has the best smartphone coverage on the entire AT? I have a British Samsung touchscreen smartphone.

(please don't write in to say not to bring a phone. I didn't on my 1st thru-hike and have a good reason this time)

flemdawg1
02-01-2011, 12:18
Many folks have reproted that Verizon has the best cell coverage on the trail with AT&T 2nd. Many people have also said that Trac-phone is the best of all, since they are not directly tied to a specific net. However, I would suggest that regardless of the net you use, get a phone that uses Wifi also. As most McDonalds restaraunts and hotels here have Wifi for free.

BrianLe
02-01-2011, 14:35
I agree with the comment about Verizon and AT&T (no knowledge of Trac-phone); my AT&T service was pretty poor last year south of the Mason-Dixon line. Once north of there I got pretty darned good coverage, until the farthest northern bits where I'm not sure that either do very well --- though perhaps Verizon does better there too. I know for certain that it's better in the south overall.

pafarmboy
02-01-2011, 19:57
Verizon. Have hiked from Springer to Daleville (700 miles) Never went more than a day or 2 where I couldnt get coverage.

BigHodag
02-01-2011, 23:38
I bought a $20 Verizon disposable phone last May for my MD & PA section. Came with $10 of service which lasted 10 days at 2-3 minutes per day. Verizon had good coverage including in the midst of forests. Only surprise was no coverage on porch of General Store at the ice cream challenge. ATT works on the porch, Verizon users must cross the road and stand by the young tree for a signal.

Shera
02-02-2011, 10:31
Thanks for the comments. The lady at the AT&T store thought they couldn't manage it & showed me a corridor where they get no coverage in the south--it was the AT.

Can anyone speak to the use of Smartphones specifically? And the Samsung touchscreen (I think it's a wave) specifically?

Enic
02-02-2011, 10:42
I bought a $20 Verizon disposable phone last May for my MD & PA section. Came with $10 of service which lasted 10 days at 2-3 minutes per day. Verizon had good coverage including in the midst of forests. Only surprise was no coverage on porch of General Store at the ice cream challenge. ATT works on the porch, Verizon users must cross the road and stand by the young tree for a signal.

My Verizon phone works at the general store in Pine Grove Furnace, so maybe it's just the wind? I've had great service for phone and data along the trail in all of PA and MD... meaning at shelters when I turned on the phone, it worked everytime so far. I've no idea what it will be like further south though.

balloonatic
02-02-2011, 11:36
any one have luck with sprint?

Red Beard
02-02-2011, 12:58
any one have luck with sprint?

Sprint uses CDMA just like Verizon. From what I've read, they will use Verizon's towers (roaming) when necessary.

HockeyGirl
02-03-2011, 08:58
Hijacking the thread a bit here, but does anyone have experience of bringing a foreign phone/blackberry to the trail?

I'll be coming over to hike from the UK. Currently when I visit the US my mobile phone will pick up whatever provider is best, so it will flash up Verizon/AT&T etc.

Does this not happen with US phones? Do you have to stick with one provider only?

I'm trying to decide if it's best for me to bring my phone from the UK or to specifically buy a phone in the States.

Anyone had this experience or can give me some advice?
Cheers!

Red Beard
02-03-2011, 12:02
Hijacking the thread a bit here, but does anyone have experience of bringing a foreign phone/blackberry to the trail?

I'll be coming over to hike from the UK. Currently when I visit the US my mobile phone will pick up whatever provider is best, so it will flash up Verizon/AT&T etc.

Does this not happen with US phones? Do you have to stick with one provider only?

I'm trying to decide if it's best for me to bring my phone from the UK or to specifically buy a phone in the States.

Anyone had this experience or can give me some advice?
Cheers!

If you have a GSM provider in the UK (which from what I understand most if not all are) you could order a new SIM card for use in the States. You could use it on either AT&T's or T-Mobile's network. Just remove your old SIM, pop in the new one, and you should be good to go.

Delta-Dawn
02-03-2011, 12:31
Last summer, my 18 year old son, his best friend, my youngest daughter and I did a 4 day trip in the Blood Mountain wilderness. My son has Verizon, his best friend has an AT&T iphone, and I and my daughter both have Sprint. She and I were the only ones who had consistent service, with the boys asking for my phone all the time. In the GSMNP, once again, I was the one with service when others did not. I love Sprint, have had them since we dumped AT&T in the late 90s and have never had an issue. They have a price friendly data plan and customer service has always been top notch, at least for my experiences. I have a Blackberry now but am about to switch to the new HTC Evo Slide, which runs 4g and can wifi other electronics like my itouch or laptop. The android based apps (Googlesky is what I'm excited about) are great, the keyboard is good for quick trail entries. :)

BrianLe
02-03-2011, 12:44
Foreign phone: when I went to the UK this past September, I got a SIM chip for my GSM phone from Orange via some local shop, which worked fine. I would expect that you could do something similar here; I would look for an AT&T store (not T-Mobile) and see what they can offer. I can't see Verizon working with your phone, as it uses a different technology (CDMA).

Better yet, I would contact AT&T via their website ahead of time to ask via the inevitable "contact us" eForm just what you can do that will limit your total $$ outlay for using your phone on their network for a few months.

Bucherm
02-04-2011, 00:44
Hijacking the thread a bit here, but does anyone have experience of bringing a foreign phone/blackberry to the trail?

I'll be coming over to hike from the UK. Currently when I visit the US my mobile phone will pick up whatever provider is best, so it will flash up Verizon/AT&T etc.

Does this not happen with US phones? Do you have to stick with one provider only?

I'm trying to decide if it's best for me to bring my phone from the UK or to specifically buy a phone in the States.

Anyone had this experience or can give me some advice?
Cheers!


When I travel to Europe on work I would have to get my provider(Verizon) to activate the GSM Radio on the Blackberry so it would pick up with whomever(Usually Vodafone) when I went to the UK/Germany/Low Countries. Of course when I got out of the abusive relationship that was the Blackberry Storm I picked a phone that lacks a GSM radio(Droid X) leading to hijinks using my Kindle as my mobile data device.

Basically for Americans if you are using a GSM provider(T-Mobile or AT&T) you just need to tell them that you'll be overseas for that week or whatever, whereas with CDMA providers you have to ensure that the phone you bought is a "World Phone" and has a GSM Radio included, which has to be activated before you leave.




But to answer YOUR question...

For Europeans traveling to the States I suspect that T-mobile(as it's owned by Deutsch Telecom, I believe it operates on a different GSM band than ATT phones) will be the defaulted GSM carrier. I would honestly just ask your provider and just see what additional costs would be accrued with international usage. It may turn out to be easier than spending a day or two in the States finding a AT&T or T-Mobile store and getting it sorted out there.

HockeyGirl
02-05-2011, 17:31
Thanks for the info - will look further into it.
Was just trying to find the cheapest option - don't intend to use the phone for anything but emails to update family/friends back home in UK.

Monkeywrench
02-07-2011, 12:27
any one have luck with sprint?

I carried my Palm Treo 755p on my thru, with Sprint service. I very rarely went more than a day without service. Sprint doesn't seem to tell you unless you ask, but Sprint service includes free roaming. I just set my phone to automatically roam, which it did most of the time down south. I assume it was actually the Verizon network I was mostly roaming on, but have no way to know for sure.

If you have Sprint, call them up and ask about roaming. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Shera
02-07-2011, 15:26
HockeyGirl,

That's my situation exactly. I have a smartphone from the UK. I'm thinking of either (1) finding a U.S. carrier that uses non-CDMA (e.g., Tmobile) and get a month-to-month plan with them to use my British phone or (2) buying a Verizon phone and get a month-to-month plan with them. You can check with your British carrier, but I'm guessing it's cheaper to get a U.S. carrier rather than use a British sim card over here.

When are you starting?


Hijacking the thread a bit here, but does anyone have experience of bringing a foreign phone/blackberry to the trail?

I'll be coming over to hike from the UK. Currently when I visit the US my mobile phone will pick up whatever provider is best, so it will flash up Verizon/AT&T etc.

Does this not happen with US phones? Do you have to stick with one provider only?

I'm trying to decide if it's best for me to bring my phone from the UK or to specifically buy a phone in the States.

Anyone had this experience or can give me some advice?
Cheers!

Shera
02-07-2011, 15:28
The salesperson at AT&T said that they don't have good coverage for the AT. Also, she said that foreign phones particularly experience bad coverage in rural U.S. areas, even with the AT&T sim card.


Foreign phone: when I went to the UK this past September, I got a SIM chip for my GSM phone from Orange via some local shop, which worked fine. I would expect that you could do something similar here; I would look for an AT&T store (not T-Mobile) and see what they can offer. I can't see Verizon working with your phone, as it uses a different technology (CDMA).

Better yet, I would contact AT&T via their website ahead of time to ask via the inevitable "contact us" eForm just what you can do that will limit your total $$ outlay for using your phone on their network for a few months.

HockeyGirl
02-07-2011, 18:13
Hi Shera

Not hiking till 2012, but trying to plan some basic logistics now.
I'm probably being a bit slow here as I'm not technologically minded but can someone share...CDMA/GSM? No idea what these terms mean?

BrianLe
02-07-2011, 19:29
CDMA/GSM:

Wikipedia is pretty good for this sort of thing.

CDMA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cdma) --- cell phone technology used in the U.S. and not too many other places, incompatible with ...

GSM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gsm) --- the underlying tech that the majority of the world uses for Cell phones.

Ashevillian
02-07-2011, 19:42
US Cellular for WNC and SW VA, can't comment on the rest of the way. Most of the cell towers I do hit lcoally are Verizon.