TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Consumer Reports Story on Cell Phone Providers

Re: Consumer Reports Story on Cell Phone Providers

Marcus Didius Falco (
Fri, 31 Dec 2004 02:07:37 -0500

At 01:22 AM 12/31/04, Joseph <>
responded to Re: Consumer Reports Story on Cell Phone Providers:

> On Thu, 30 Dec 2004 07:09:56 -0500, wrote:

>> The new Consumer Reports magazine has a large story on cell phone
>> providers and cell phones. You can get better info in this group, but
>> the mag has lots of info. Will be very handy for those times when a
>> "friend" is looking for info. I think the mag should be on newsstands
>> now.

> Take what Consumer Reports magazine has to say about cell phones with
> a grain of salt. In past "cellular" issues they poo-pooh'd some
> carriers basically T-Mobile (then VoiceStream) because they didn't
> have fallback to older first generation analog technology. Guess
> what?! Lots of phones now being offered by *all* the carriers and
> don't have analog. They out and out refused to even look at
> VoiceStream/T-Mobile because they are luddites and couldn't see what
> was coming down the pike. If you want good recommendations or
> information about cellular service look at what they have to say, but
> take it with a grain of salt. They do much better testing washing
> machines, riding lawn mowers or crash worthiness of automobiles.

Depends on what you want to use the phone for and where. Coverage of
T-Mobile is still a bit spotty, even on interstates. But digital
coverage has improved for all networks. For emergency calls you best
carry an inactivated bag phone in the trunk (I still do), which will
let you call 911 almost anywhere.

There's also the issue of how much roaming the carrier will permit. In
England, using Virgin, I had trouble in Port Isaac, but friends using
Orange had no trouble at all. In Washington, if you're not on Verizon,
when you're in the Metro you're roaming. Sprint is the only other CDMA
carrier: everyone else is out of luck (or in luck, depending on your
attitude toward not getting calls for a few minutes).

Some newspapers will, from time to time, do a feature story about cell
phone reception in their city. The Washington Post does it about once
a year, testing all the carriers from some busy corners and from some
notorious dead zones. This is the most important information. I know
people who have poor reception in their own houses. Indeed, until they
put in a new tower a while ago, I often missed calls when I was in my
second-story suburban office. And my children, with different
carriers, had to go outside to make calls.

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