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Thread: Verizon or AT&T for best rural western US coverage

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    Verizon or AT&T for best rural western US coverage

    I'm on prepaid Tracfone Verizon. There is also AT&T coverage with Tracfone. No roaming with either of these.

    I'm a light user. A few brief phone calls, a couple texts, a bit of data for checking email, google maps, and weather reports.

    I've been happy with the Verizon covarage as I travel around the western US. I get some bars in most places I'd expect to along interstates and highways. Off the beaten path I will get some service if I'm up high enough.

    I'm considering moving to the AT&T side of Tracfone, mainly because there seems to be a better selection of budget GSM phones available for BYOP, mainly the Go Phones. I like to get one or two new phones a year if I see them on sale cheap (<$50)

    I've looked at coverage maps but it's hard to tell which is better.

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    For tracfone the verizon flip phones do roam. The android phones do not roam.

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    In Central & Western WA, TracFone "feature" & "dumb" phones on Verizon do well. I think they also roam onto US Cellular in some areas. Our Verizon feature phone has service in Packwood, top of White Pass, in places on both sides of White Pass, in places on east side of Chinook Pass, near McKenna, and Everett-Mukilteo area. All places that have spotty coverage by other providers. My go-to for service until recently* had been this feature phone, with 2nd choice being any phone using ATT. Generally, Sprint and Tmo don't have great coverage for me in those places.

    As october262 said, the Tracfone smartphones don't roam. I have tried it with the CDMA (Verizon) using a Galaxy Centura and did not have service in those areas. That test is why I think the dumb and feature phones must be roaming onto US Cellular, because they have service the same places US Cellular does best as I can discern. Also, because US Cellular service we had in prior years had good reception in those same areas listed above.

    Cross-country trip this year to Maine and back, that same feature phone had service far more often than the RedPocket (ATT) SIMs in a Blu Advance 4.5 or iPhone 6 smart phone.

    * Currently playing with Project Fi now that it has US Cellular, which means now it has something to offer us.
    Last edited by GeezLouise; 11-16-2016 at 12:45 AM. Reason: complete thoughts...

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    Quote Originally Posted by october262 View Post
    For tracfone the verizon flip phones do roam. The android phones do not roam.
    Yes. I have an Android phone, so no roaming.

    I'm in the western CO/eastern UT area.

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    Verizon or AT&amp;T for best rural western US coverage

    My experience carrying both in western WA/OR is that Verizon is slightly better in terms of rural coverage. However, it really does depend on exactly where you are.

    I don't have any experience with CO and UT.
    "I didn't get fat by accident. This was a personal choice. " - Kevin Gillespie

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    I do see that prepaid/Go Phone AT&T has big holes in WY, southern UT, and northern AZ.

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    Check out Selectel Wireless for Verizon coverage on prepaid. You get roaming for text and voice included. Also Boom Mobile is a brand new service that also offers plans on Verizon. They have roaming for voice, text and data included.

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    I always travel with both technologies. One is my contract phone the other a prepaid. Generally western is Verizon. My son was putting out wildfires in Idaho and wash. Att was useless. I shipped a vzw phone to him.
    trying to come up with better signature.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrGW View Post
    Check out Selectel Wireless for Verizon coverage on prepaid. You get roaming for text and voice included. Also Boom Mobile is a brand new service that also offers plans on Verizon. They have roaming for voice, text and data included.
    I'll be sticking with Tracfone. I have enough service time stacked up with them for years (it rolls over forever).

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    I agree with MrGW about Boom & Selectel. However, like you, I have a nice balance on my BYOP CDMA Verizon Tracfone service.

    So, purchasing a roaming TF feature phones (AT&T or Verizon) is one option. Probably what I will do when/ if traveling out west.

    Another option - enjoy the scenery & don't worry about no coverage. Tap into any wifi you may run across, using Hangouts. I did that in

    Canyonlands NP needles district, the visitors center had wifi - wala ! Temporary service on a full roaming provider - ATT Consumer Cellular?

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    If you want atnt i heighly recomend cricket unl talk and text 1 gb fast data then unl 2g
    Also for liht use look at ci9nsumer cellular
    I have been a few places that vzw had nothing and atnt worked great

    Sent from my SM-N910P using HoFo mobile app

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    Cticket has nice prices on phones to

    Sent from my SM-N910P using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by eohippus View Post
    I'm on prepaid Tracfone Verizon. There is also AT&T coverage with Tracfone. No roaming with either of these.

    I'm a light user. A few brief phone calls, a couple texts, a bit of data for checking email, google maps, and weather reports.

    I've been happy with the Verizon covarage as I travel around the western US. I get some bars in most places I'd expect to along interstates and highways. Off the beaten path I will get some service if I'm up high enough.

    I'm considering moving to the AT&T side of Tracfone, mainly because there seems to be a better selection of budget GSM phones available for BYOP, mainly the Go Phones. I like to get one or two new phones a year if I see them on sale cheap (<$50)

    I've looked at coverage maps but it's hard to tell which is better.
    I hate to generalize because there will always be areas where one will be better than the other, but overall - especially if you are looking at native only coverage, I would choose Verizon.

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    eohippus, how light of a user are you?

    Boom has UTnT+250MB for $19.99, but what makes it unique is that it includes the full Vzw postpaid network for talk, text, and data.

    Expo Mobile has a $30/120 days PayGo plan, deducted at $0.02/$0.02/$0.05. Data speeds are capped at 128kbps, but that should be plenty for the data activities you mentioned. Depending on your usage needs, it could cost as little as ~$7.50/mo (30/~4 mo). The $30 will provide 1,500 minutes, or ~375/mo, which would be reduced by any texts or data used. Expo uses the same Vzw prepaid coverage as Tracfone Verizon.

    Neither of the above MVNOs add taxes or fees, and both allow 4G LTE phones.

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    Here in N. California, it's a toss up for coverage between the two. I cover a large sales territory (Sacramento to Oregon, SF to Reno) and I backpack 2-3 times a month in our Sierras and I can't say one is better. I have used both, but settled on Cricket (At&T native) as I have not encountered any area where I needed roaming with Att. You could chose GoPhone and they include roaming. I've been up at 11,000' and getting solid 4G/LTE on both, but dipping down into a valley, coverage is very spotty for both. I do get faster data with At&t if that matters. Surprisingly, T-Mo has greatly improved their network and their data speed is faster than both. I much prefer GSM as I can easily move the SIM to any GSM phone (and GoPhones are easy to unlock). No wrong choice with At&t, Cricket, Verizon, Verizofn prepaid, Total Wireless, and their other MVNO's.

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