Cell Phones in Northern Nevada - 2019

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Sep 19, 2007
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Washoe Valley NV
What carriers, bands, and phones are working well up here?

I used to prefer Verizon, but as they are dropping their 3G for 5G, and shifting entirely to VoLTE, the gaps seem a lot larger. Maybe it's just a problem during the transition. Up until now I preferred dumb phones for reliability and ruggedness, but Verizon's VoLTE offerings are limited to Kyocera junk. I'll go with a smart phone if I absolutely have to, but if I do I'm mostly interested in range, roaming compatibility, etc - which are not what the carriers advertise.

Post up what's working or what isn't...
 

gregnash

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Carson City, NV
Wife and I currently run current generation iPhone's on AT&T network. Like anything else, reception is spotty and based on where the necessary towers are for your connectivity and usage. We rarely find areas where we do not have some sort of usable signal, mostly that comes down to remote locations or those locations that are close enough to a mountain side is shielded from the signal.

The question then becomes.... What is the ultimate outcome you are looking for and the usage of said device(s)? It seems all the carriers are moving over to a 5G signal but it will be at least a generation or two before the lower level phones are able to access the technology adequately.
 

Tony_Farson

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Reno, NV
My family is on Cricket wireless. I have four unlimited everything lines for about $120/mo. The service seems great and we've never had issue with reception. My cell and both my work and GPS tablets are on Google Fi and is very impressed with them as well. Fi is cool b/c you only pay for what you use. I don't know if Fi supports none-smartphones though.
 
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Smart or Dumb, I still wound up with an LTE-only phone (I think) from Verizon, when their own network still has areas (Gerlach in particular - in town!) that aren't upgraded yet. Older Verizon phones seemed to be working. So, roam to another network, right? Wrong, as far as I could tell the phone's radio only hit Verizon's bands. Maybe back to AT&T again...
 

rusty_tlc

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I have the Keyocera Druaforce Pro on Verizion and have been pleased with the performance. Decent reception almost every where I have gone, waterproof (mostly, more on that later) great stand alone GPS.
Physically not so happy, it has some rubber trim that is falling apart. You wouldn't expect that to have much affect on the phone but it seems that the flimsy snap on trim pieces are part of the waterproofing. I took some video in the pool last summer, something I had done a few times in the past, and the screen got water behind it. It still works and eventually dried out.

The way I treat phones a ruggidized phone is a must. I had a Samsung Galaxy and it barley lasted long enough to get paid off.
 

Tony_Farson

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Reno, NV
I have the Keyocera Druaforce Pro on Verizion and have been pleased with the performance. Decent reception almost every where I have gone, waterproof (mostly, more on that later) great stand alone GPS.
Physically not so happy, it has some rubber trim that is falling apart. You wouldn't expect that to have much affect on the phone but it seems that the flimsy snap on trim pieces are part of the waterproofing. I took some video in the pool last summer, something I had done a few times in the past, and the screen got water behind it. It still works and eventually dried out.

The way I treat phones a ruggidized phone is a must. I had a Samsung Galaxy and it barley lasted long enough to get paid off.
Cat makes some milspec phones




I have used one and they are tough! One of the guys I used to work with at Cat ran over his with a backhoe and the thing was fine.

All of those are factory unlocked, so they'll work with any carrier that uses a sim card.

I read that Cat is developing a rugged tablet too, but in the meantime the Galaxy Tab Active 2 is available. It is milspec...

 

gregnash

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Carson City, NV
Do new phone actually roam networks? I remember it was basically you used the ATT network or you used the Sprint/Verizon network (which were two very different ones and required different chips to be installed) and so if you went with one you were stuck with whatever their "major user" connectivity was.
AT&T ain't much better. I live 6 blocks from the Capital Building in Carson (west). Our salon is right in the Bob McFadden Plaza and I get full bars with AT&T there. Once I move up the hill to our house, again 6 blocks, I drop to 1 maybe 2 bars (1 if I am in the house) and on a good day I MAY get 3. Where my office is in north carson I can literally walk out to the north facing street and look and see the cell towers (to the east) just off Roop, I literally have line of sight. I get 1 maybe 2 bars there until I move a couple blocks closer. This is on an iPhone 8 that is constantly updated to the latest iOS. Verizon aint much better as my buddy that has a new Galaxy can get 1 bar at the office if he is lucky.
 

Tony_Farson

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Hi @gregnash! The only way you would be able to roam from GSM to CDMA (Verizon, Sprint, etc) would be to have a phone with dual radio capabilities. They are out there! My Pixel runs on GSM/CDMA/HSPA+/ LTE and roams across all. This is one of the reasons I went with the Pixel and Google Fi for my phone.

@rusty_tlc: I just came across this site. I haven't used them, but they seem to be extremely affordable and have flip phone plans.


Might be worth checking out.
 
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Verizon is killing off CDMA, and I believe ATT is killing off 2G GSM. If I wait a year, and both are fully up on 4G LTE, as I understand it the radio would be the same. Maybe roaming would then work if they allow it. The frequencies overlap and the encoding is the same. The problem is you can't walk into a phone store and ask that question. I don't use the phone for much other than phone (I have a 4G tablet for everything else), so my preference is for cheap and simple. The irritating thing is almost a year ago Verizon told me I had to go with 4G LTE on the phone, so I got the cheap 4G LTE phone, then discovered the network wasn't built out yet where I needed it.

FWIW
 

rusty_tlc

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Reno, NV
Do new phone actually roam networks? I remember it was basically you used the ATT network or you used the Sprint/Verizon network (which were two very different ones and required different chips to be installed) and so if you went with one you were stuck with whatever their "major user" connectivity was.
AT&T ain't much better. I live 6 blocks from the Capital Building in Carson (west). Our salon is right in the Bob McFadden Plaza and I get full bars with AT&T there. Once I move up the hill to our house, again 6 blocks, I drop to 1 maybe 2 bars (1 if I am in the house) and on a good day I MAY get 3. Where my office is in north carson I can literally walk out to the north facing street and look and see the cell towers (to the east) just off Roop, I literally have line of sight. I get 1 maybe 2 bars there until I move a couple blocks closer. This is on an iPhone 8 that is constantly updated to the latest iOS. Verizon aint much better as my buddy that has a new Galaxy can get 1 bar at the office if he is lucky.
The funny thing about antennas is they are designed to transmit and receive at a distance. Imagine being really small and standing near a water sprinkler head, you wouldn't get as wet as you would further away.
 

rusty_tlc

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Reno, NV
Cat makes some milspec phones




I have used one and they are tough! One of the guys I used to work with at Cat ran over his with a backhoe and the thing was fine.

All of those are factory unlocked, so they'll work with any carrier that uses a sim card.

I read that Cat is developing a rugged tablet too, but in the meantime the Galaxy Tab Active 2 is available. It is milspec...

When I was shopping phones the Cat phones didn't rate as well as the Duraforce or newest Casio Gzone. For me the Duraforce won out because it has a better camera and longer battery life. FWIW I also owned a Gzone Commando which was a great phone but had sucky battery life.
 

rusty_tlc

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Reno, NV
Hi @gregnash! The only way you would be able to roam from GSM to CDMA (Verizon, Sprint, etc) would be to have a phone with dual radio capabilities. They are out there! My Pixel runs on GSM/CDMA/HSPA+/ LTE and roams across all. This is one of the reasons I went with the Pixel and Google Fi for my phone.

@rusty_tlc: I just came across this site. I haven't used them, but they seem to be extremely affordable and have flip phone plans.


Might be worth checking out.
I am happy with Verizion, it has good coverage coast to coast. My son drove OTR and he never had a problem with Verizion phone or data service anywhere in the US.
 

gregnash

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I am happy with Verizion, it has good coverage coast to coast. My son drove OTR and he never had a problem with Verizion phone or data service anywhere in the US.
Yeah, honestly if the wife and I were not grandfathered in to the old unlimited data plan with AT&T we would probably be on Verizon. For the main places we visit on a yearly basis, they seem to have better coverage.
 

rusty_tlc

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Yeah, honestly if the wife and I were not grandfathered in to the old unlimited data plan with AT&T we would probably be on Verizon. For the main places we visit on a yearly basis, they seem to have better coverage.
They have a new small data plan 2GB/month that lets you carry over data from month to month. $75 a line. Our plan is 2GB a month and we rarely use all of it.
 

gregnash

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They have a new small data plan 2GB/month that lets you carry over data from month to month. $75 a line. Our plan is 2GB a month and we rarely use all of it.
See we are the opposite, when it comes to data we use everything, calling is a different story, maybe use 200mins a month. Text is the same as data.
 

rusty_tlc

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See we are the opposite, when it comes to data we use everything, calling is a different story, maybe use 200mins a month. Text is the same as data.
Text is unlimited on any Verizon plan. Otherwise we would need a lot more data. I hardly use my phone for phone calls, its all texting, email, and googling stupid s*** to win (or lose) arguments with my wife.
 
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