Cell phones


If specified, this will replace the title that
Well my cell phone plan has expired and I'm looking to go with a new plan. And seeing as more hopefully than probably I may start being in more random places ('cause of flying) over the next year than I was this past year I was wondering if anyone had some experience with different plans and which ones were more "suited" to flying. In terms of calling/roaming - not calling in the air. That's a no no!
I like Sprint because if you can dial on their network, it's all considered local, with no roaming to worry about whatsoever.

You may want to check them out.
Wether he meant to or not tonyw hit upon a very important point regarding Sprint "...IF you can dial on their network....." - I've found the Sprint network to be terrible in terms of calling areas. I'm currently using Verizon - have had a strong digital local signal everywhere I've been except 2 places(Montreal and middle of Wyoming). I think I pay $75/mth for 900 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends. No long distance charges. Roaming charges do apply out of the calling area but like I said - I've been everywhere around the country and only found a couple of areas where you're not in the 'local' area. I've had 4 different services over the past 5 years and Verizon is by far the most useful for flying that I've ever had.

Also important is a quality phone. I'm not saying to spend $300 for a color screen web browsing PDA phone but don't let them hook you up with one of the 'free' phones - I've found they're generally not worth a crap. I used the Motorola Star Tac and have been very happy with it.

AT&T "One Rate" is the only way to go if you travel throughout the country.

I can get telephone calls everywhere from an Indian Reservation 20 miles east of Billings, all the way down to the intra-terminal underground cave in ATL.
I think everyone here will disagree on who to recommend (I prefer Cingular), but I bet you will find most of us AGREE that you should NOT go with Sprint. Their coverage is awful. I remember when they said they had the only Nationwide Digital Network. Yeah, They put one Tower in Manhattan, and on in LA, and they are Nationwide. Sure, whatever.

I used to have AT&T but I had problems with getting dropped. To be fair, it is known that the DC market is the worst for AT&T and they are trying ot fix the problem.

Since I switched to Sprint, I have been very satisfied. I really like the No Roaming charges. With Sprint, there is no roaming even if you choose the lowest plan.

Sprint's website sucks though. It seems like they purposely hide the featurs of their website. The first few visits, I couldn't figure out how to pay my bill online. I also get annoyed with "Clair" who is the computer response system that is supposed to make our calls to customer suppoert more efficient.

I use Sprint mainly because I can't get a real cell provider besides Nextel in my area, so Sprint works out real well. If I could, I would go with AT&T or Verizon. They both seem to have great service nationwide, and it's a cell phone so even if you're not on THEIR network it'll work. My PCS phone can get a cell signal if need be, but it is a roaming charge at that point of like $0.50 a minute.


John Herreshoff
Sprint works fine for me... Traveled to plenty of cities (east and west coast) and gotten consistent signals.
everybody has a suggestion... and here is mine:

I have used ATT for five years and once, and ONLY once, was I in an aera where the local carrier wouldnt not let the call go through It was in central New Hampshire, and all I had to do was use a regular phone to make my call and get my messages....

Where do you live, where will you live for the next year, and where are the places in the US that you xpect to be? That's what matters most in picking a phone and calling plan... I cant believe I am the first to ask it.

like Doug, I also had the one rate ATT plan for quite a while. You cant beat it. It'll feel a bit pricey perhaps, but ou just pay it and forget it.....
I'm very happy with my Verizon phone, and I have been since they took over my previous provider, Airtouch, several years ago. I'm paying $35/month which is 300 anytime "America's Choice" minutes and 4000 night and weekend with free long distance. It doesn't cover all of of the US, mainly the major cities and freeways. I've never roamed and it works seamlessly wherever I've been in the country, including driving I-10 through the desert between Phoenix and LA. It more than satisfies my phoning needs, I only use my home phone for calls from the damn telemarketers.

The customer service is great, they promise that they will solve any problem during one phone call and they have so far lived up to that promise. My pricing plan is locked in for life - no surprise rate hikes - or I can change it any time.
If your travelling withing several states, AT&T's regional plans are a lot cheaper than their one rate. Their coverage area maps are all online. Whatever you choose, they all WANT YOUR BUSINESS, there are usually killer deals going on...
When I moved here, I considered different companies. In the end, I stayed with the one I'd been using before I left LA. Verizon simply has the best coverage. Take a brochure from each and compare their national coverage maps. No one even comes close. And I'll second Jason's statement about roaming. Technically, it applies if you're out of the "local" area. But I've not incurred a roaming charge and I travel as much as possible.
I just started with AT&T on this plan ($39.99) and it's been good so far.

550 anytime minutes, free night/weekend, no long distance charges, I can call from any of their "Home Service Areas" for free (these tend to be the major cities, coverage map *need Adobe to view*).

Here's the rub. I am on AT&T's GSM system. As you can see from the coverage map you will only get reception in large cities. When you venture out of the large cities you do not get a "roaming" message you get nothing, no signal, nothing. The GSM system uses 1900hertz instead of the 900 used by regular cell phones. Good and bad. Lower hertz = shorter wave length which means it penetrates objects better. But, on the new GSM system even when I have 1 strength bar I still have crystal quality.

The only thing that differentiates what system you're on is your phone. I have the Sony Ericsson T68i and it's bitchin. If you plan to travel a lot and to non-major cities stay with the old digital system until the GSM is completely implemented (4-5 years). Siemens makes a phone that works on both systems but the phone itself is lacking.
If you aren't going with the GSM system I've had people recommend the Nokia 8265 to me.

As far as what not to get. I know 3 people that have dropped Sprint for other companies and haven't looked back. Starting to see a trend...

The Digital One Rate is sweet but you'll pay for it. It starts at $59.99 for 450 minutes and goes up from there.

you should have stopped reading this by now
T-Mobile is not bad, 1000 anytime minutes, whenever, whereever, except int'l of course. Only 39.99 per month. I got the phone for free and a $90 rebate. So they actually paid for the first two and a half months of service. Saweeeeet!
T-Mobile is not bad, 1000 anytime minutes, whenever, whereever, except int'l of course. Only 39.99 per month. I got the phone for free and a $90 rebate. So they actually paid for the first two and a half months of service. Saweeeeet!

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how is their service while travelling?
I have Sprint and have a great price for nationwide coverage - price was a big consideration. I just switched from Verizon in December. I was not on a nationwide plan with them, and I got sick and tired of $80-100 phone bills every time I traveled somewhere. So I got to comparing nationwide plans (no roaming), and for me, Verizon did not stack up to Sprint in that regard.

Now on to the actual coverage - yes, Sprint has sketchy coverage out in the sticks. I took that tradeoff when I switched from Verizon, knowing that when I'm out of town, I'm very seldom going to be in the sticks.
Wow. Didn't think I'd get this kinda response!

I looked at AT&T but they are rather pricey - for what I need. I used to get the "family" plan (I've been on Southwestern Bell, which turned into Cingular (crapola company there) then onto Voicestream which is now T-Mobil) and almost everywhere I flew with T-mobil I was on a roaming network) so the wife and I had free calls between us (we're really the major conversation path on our cells).

But she just got a phone from work (Sprint) and so I'm leaning towards Sprint as well because, once again, we'll get the free intra-phone calls. I don't make alot of calls to other folks on the cell.

But I do like Nextel's free incoming call thing, that's kinda cool. I dunno I'm still looking around - the thing I don't like about Sprint is the 2 year contract.

Maybe I'll look at AT&T again ... is that part of "mLife/Mode?"
I use a Cingular plan with no roaming. It also gives over 3000 night and weekend minutes (basically free since I never use that many).

I havn't had any problems with them that I havn't heard of from other companies as well.

The main problem with all cell companies right now is that they are investing more in gee-whiz James Bond gadget phones and not in the infrastructure that they need to support their expanding customer bases. Consequently, from time to time, you'll get bad service on all carriers.