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Best cell network for Squaw Valley?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Last season we found ATT to be worse than previous years. I'm in the hunt for a smartphone and new network and curious who'd had good experiences. Looking to work on the lifts and in the lodge.

What say you? Verizon, T-Mobile, etc?

Anyone have any experience with some of the cheaper plans like Boost Mobile?

 

Thanks!

 

 

post #2 of 21

Verizon sucked big time around last year Tahoe, threw phone away after 1 week. Don't know if they are any better now.  No problems in April with AT&T on a 2,500 mile road trip from SF to Jackson Hole and back, including a week around Tahoe.

post #3 of 21

ATT sucked, but not more than other networks.  The iPhone went dead at the bottom of Granite, but worked more or less everywhere else. If you are buying a smartphone, it is more of a question of whether you want an iPhone, a BBerry or one of the Androids...  it is probably more important to have it work well around the place where you live and work...  I have friends whose contracted TMobile cellphones don;t work at their house.  Ouch...

post #4 of 21

At ski resorts around Tahoe ATT and Verizon networks work somewhat similar - there is reception on some parts of mountains and there is no reception on others. However, at Tahoe Donner - Verizon rules. ATT is useless over there. I have ATT and my wife has Verizon - the only way to communicate with external world from Tahoe Donner is thru land line or my wife's Verizon.

 

Cheers,

 

cfr

post #5 of 21

There is going to be no network that works perfectly at the ski areas in Tahoe. It is the mountains!! I guess I just don't understand the need to up date your facebook profile while on every lift ride.

 

Anyway, I have used AT&T up here for many years and seems to work well, there are dead areas here and there, but you learn to work around them. I have friends that have Verizon and are switching to AT&T. Now Sprint does have issues up here.

post #6 of 21

I personally think it was how the phone worked.  I switched from Verizon to ATT (bought an iphone), and could literally be standing next to someone at Squaw who had full use of phone, and my phone did nothing.  The Apple store said there wasn't an issue, so who knows.  Reception along the 89 from Truckee to TC drops at the same places for both Verizon and ATT.  Overall, having tried both networks, I stuck with Verizon.  It is covered the best throughout the basin and Truckee.  Whatever you do, don't get the little droid phone.  I have it, and wish I didn't.  I can't speak to the other phones.  I'm hoping in the future iphones will be able to service Verizon, as it is a superior machine. 

post #7 of 21

I second the phone issue, I have htc on AT&T and have reception issues where my other cheap ass Nokia phone (when my smart thingy was out of the commission I bough goPhone for $20 at AT&T store) has three bars. That happens in many places - our office building, Mt Hood Meadows ski area, you name it...

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post

I second the phone issue, I have htc on AT&T and have reception issues where my other cheap ass Nokia phone (when my smart thingy was out of the commission I bough goPhone for $20 at AT&T store) has three bars. That happens in many places - our office building, Mt Hood Meadows ski area, you name it...


If you have reception at Meadows, then you're not doing it right.

post #9 of 21

hey, don't hijack this  - the point is that the phone itself is a major contributor 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post




If you have reception at Meadows, then you're not doing it right.


Well, meet me up there next season and show me the right way of doing it, eh? 

post #10 of 21

T Mobile SUCKS pretty much everywhere in north lake.I bought a verizion instead and that was MUCH better, pretty decent most places i went. Got coverage pretty much everywhere. I'd say go AT&T or Verizion. Both are pretty decent in the area.

 

I went through about 3 prepaid phones this past winter trying to find the best one.

post #11 of 21

Cell companies are like airlines, they all suck equally different. I currently have T-Mobile which worked marginally OK in the Tahoe/Truckee area. As mentioned here, either Verizon or ATT work the best out there. Since I will be going with an iPhone next, ATT is the only choice. 

post #12 of 21

maybe its your only choice, maybe. 

 

depends on where you are, in general, Verizon has better coverage than AT&T and certainly much better 3G network so if you want that phone to do all the fancy stuff, unless your network can support it, it will make a fine paper weight, just ask Steve Jobs!  AT&T sends voice and data on same bandwidth, so that's parft of the problem.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

maybe its your only choice, maybe. 

 

depends on where you are, in general, Verizon has better coverage than AT&T and certainly much better 3G network so if you want that phone to do all the fancy stuff, unless your network can support it, it will make a fine paper weight, just ask Steve Jobs!  AT&T sends voice and data on same bandwidth, so that's parft of the problem.


One can't really claim Verizon is better until Verizon carries similar data load as AT&T. The iPhone 4 demo problem is caused by too many wifi connections if that is what you are talking about.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your replies.

It sounds like Verizon or ATT are the likely choices, although I half expected Verizon to be the clear coverage winner, it didn't seem to be. Doesn't sound like Sprint or BoostMobile (their pre-paid subsidiary) got any votes. That said, we really did see (between my dad, wife and myself) a clear dropoff from ATT last season in reception. Maybe they'll fix it.

It's kind of a trivial subject, but not when you have a work deadline you're tying to take care of in the lodge quickly, to get out and ski some more powder, and you need a good connection! and my ATT contract is finally up in a month, and I need to jump in to smartphone land.

Enjoy the summer.

post #15 of 21

I don't want this to be a pissing match but Verizon's coverage is better in general, they already hashed this through in the courts...... there can be very small pockets where Verizon is not as strong due to local ownership of some of the last holdout indies.  voice coverage is less of an issue, but 3g network is another story, Verizon is clearly better.

 

http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/03/atandt-sues-verizon-over-theres-a-map-for-that-ads/

 

Here's a great study by PC world.

 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/167391/a_day_in_the_life_of_3g.html

 

 

lots more if you search

post #16 of 21

Yeah, that is all well and good. In Tahoe there are places it doesn't matter, you aren't getting a signal with anything less then a sat phone. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I don't want this to be a pissing match but Verizon's coverage is better in general, they already hashed this through in the courts...... there can be very small pockets where Verizon is not as strong due to local ownership of some of the last holdout indies.  voice coverage is less of an issue, but 3g network is another story, Verizon is clearly better.

 

 

post #17 of 21

yeah,  actually the US lags many countries in coverage and services.  there a lots of reasons, one is that the cell companies can't get permits or permission to build towers by private land owners and/or towns. Some areas are just so remote that they are way down on the list. Doesn't help folks like you though. Sorry!

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellside View Post




One can't really claim Verizon is better until Verizon carries similar data load as AT&T. The iPhone 4 demo problem is caused by too many wifi connections if that is what you are talking about.


Highly doubtful it was because too many people on Wi-Fi. He had 2 devices. The 3g was working perfectly. Any company who is going to d a demo on this scale will not be using a public Wi-Fi portal. Especially at a huge gathering like that. Nice try though.

 

Verizon and Sprint have the most robust networks in America at the moment. ATT has always been behind the times. However both Verizon, and Sprint have not marketed their product as well. I know that Sprint was offered the iphone first but turned it down. Like morons. Still as far as network quality both of them trounce the competition. Why do you think ATT has changed it's data plans up. It can't handle th loads that modern devices put on it's network.

post #19 of 21

there's even more to that story......  But,  Thanks. well-said. You can have your own min-cells for just those purposes but the problem is just we both stated, bandwidth load. Voice and data on same= problems.

 

Spring turning down phone? maybe one should look at profit and not at units sold...

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post

I second the phone issue, I have htc on AT&T and have reception issues where my other cheap ass Nokia phone (when my smart thingy was out of the commission I bough goPhone for $20 at AT&T store) has three bars. That happens in many places - our office building, Mt Hood Meadows ski area, you name it...


All cell phones are not created equal. Where I live reception varies so I always go for the phone that works best for placing calls, then other features second. The call quality factor doesn't matter much in urban areas, but it is a different story in the Sierras. I have had good experiences with Nokia and Sony-Eric for reception. Not so much with Samsung or Blackberry. LG seems to be OK

 

For the Sierras there are really only two choices. ATT or Verizon. Sprint and T Mobile are basically urban area phones. Neither work where I live. T Mobile stops 10 miles from house.
 

post #21 of 21

Sprint works well in Squaw Valley (residential area) and throughout most of the Squaw Valley ski resort.  Anywhere inbounds on Squaw Creek, Red Dog, Olympic Lady, KT, Headwall, Palisades, Emigrant, Funitel, and remarkably, Silverado (top-to-bottom) is fine.  The bottom of Shirley & Granite is spotty, but once you get about 1/5 of the way up either chair, the coverage is OK.  Service can be spotty from the Gold Coast Lodge to the bottom of the Broken Arrow chair, but once you get about halfway up Broken Arrow, service is OK.  (I don't actually ski any green or blue chairs and don't spend much time in the terrain park so I can't speak about those areas.)

 

Sprint has free roaming (at least on my plan but I think on all plans nowadays), which basically means Sprint customers can roam onto Verizon's compatible (CDMA) network.  (ATT's & T-Mobile's GSM networks are incompatible with Sprint.)  So Sprint customers get to take advantage of the coverage of Sprint and Verizon-- which are probably the best two networks, coverage-wise, at Squaw (if not Tahoe in general).  (I think Verizon customers can roam onto Sprint networks too, but I don't know if it's free.)

 

Based on my research, Sprint has the cheapest plans-- especially if you want unlimited data (which is pretty much the only way Sprint sells data).

 

FYIs:

I have several friends (Squaw regulars) who loved their iPhones but left AT&T because they couldn't get coverage on the mountain.

 

Sprint service works well at my house in Tahoe-Donner, and all the way from Squaw to Tahoe-Donner.

 

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are owned by Sprint so they use Sprint's network (though I don't think they're allowed to roam onto Verizon's network).

 

If you get an Android phone, there are apps available that let you force roaming onto other networks.  Sprint's phones are normally programmed to connect to a Sprint network, if at all possible, even if there is an essentially useless 1-bar Sprint signal, in the middle of 5-bar Verizon coverage.  So if you find yourself in spotty Sprint coverage, you can invoke a roaming override app and potentially take advantage of solid Verizon coverage.

 

There are cool apps available for Android phones, like TiKL (Walkie-talkie), GPS tools that let you see and track altitude, vertical skied, and track your maximum speed, compass bearing, etc.  And the speech-to-text on Android phones works amazingly well so you don't have to freeze your fingers typing texts/emails on cold days.  You can just push a physcial button with your glove on and dictate: "Text to John"  (The text messaging app automatically opens and selects John.)  "Great powder on West Face."  Glove off.  Hit send.  Glove on.

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