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  How can one test a different carrier for little or no cost? 
 
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Reason   Mar 31, 2013, 03:50pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 31, 2013, 03:50pm EDT

Replies: 3 - Views: 1367
I have Verizon, because their coverage has worked for me. Their plans ($17.50/GB!?, customer service, and CDMA network compatibility - not so much. I REALLY like the idea of switching to something like T-Mobile's no-contract plan, but I don't want to go through the hassle of transporting my number before I test it. This difficulty is compounded by having multiple lines on my account, ie, my wife's phone.

If the reception is no good, the carrier is no good. Plans, cost, and customer service can be stellar and not matter if my phone doesn't work.

My thinking is, get a cheap flip phone or maybe an older smart phone, and set it up with service. I'd have to buy the phone outright and pay for a month or two of service in addition to my current plan, but the investment might be worth it.

Anyone else done anything similar? How did you do it?


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Naveen Goud Apr 04, 2013, 07:57am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: How can one test a different carrier for little or no cost?
Hi,

May be you need to research on internet or need to enquire about it in your friend circle. I think this is the best way to get the review for free. In my view, no telecom operator will entertain a user for free atleast for one day.

Why don't you opt for a prepaid services...i mean if the services specified by you exist. I guess this is the only best way for now.

Best of Luck!

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john albrich Apr 04, 2013, 09:08am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 04, 2013, 09:29am EDT

 
>> Re: How can one test a different carrier for little or no cost?
.
Are there cellphone/mobile rentals available in your area? If none are specifically listed as such, check with travel agencies and local car rental agencies, too. If that ends up being your only source, you might be able to arrange something re a phone with the agency manager even if you don't rent a vehicle. Different agencies may provide access via different carriers.

On a few overseas trips I've rented a "local" mobile. You'd want to rent a phone with the same features and carrier modalities (e.g. 4G, CDMA, etc) you're looking to use, and you may have to rent for a minimum amount of time. Remember that just because you use a phone from a specific carrier, they may have multiple modalities and it might be using a different modality or frequency(ies) than you will want to use in your final scenario. So, to assure you're testing what you want to end up with, ask detailed questions. For example, one can get a no-contract phone from one carrier that uses CDMA, or you can get a different phone from the same carrier that uses other modalities depending on usage requirements. Such factors also may affect which tower is used at your given location which could significantly affect connectivity.

Also keep in mind that time of day can make a difference. With one carrier CDMA connectivity became VERY limited in my area. As the business day started, it became increasingly difficult to be able to make and receive voice calls as the local tower couldn't handle the amount of traffic. But, my unilaterally switching to a GSM phone solved the problem completely. The carrier had reduced the CDMA handling capacity on that tower to make room for hardware to increase the GSM capacity on that tower (I found that out from a field technician...customer support over a period of months wouldn't/couldn't tell me why my ability to make/receive calls suddenly nose-dived. They kept giving technically BS "answers"). I soon switched carriers (after having been their customer for over 5 years) as a result of that very prolonged, financially painful, and no apologies experience.

Also keep in mind that different phone brands/models have different receiver specifications and while model X might reliably work at your house, model Y might not. I've run into that problem several times with phones offered by one major carrier. Also keep in mind that the signal-strength "bars" aren't calibrated or correlated and don't necessarily mean the same thing between phone models. You could have less reliable connectivity on phone X showing 3 bars than on phone Y showing only 1 bar.


edit:
added some info about different towers and time of day testing.

Dr. Peaceful Apr 04, 2013, 04:27pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 04, 2013, 05:30pm EDT

 
>> Re: How can one test a different carrier for little or no cost?
john albrich said:
...Also keep in mind that time of day can make a difference. With one carrier CDMA connectivity became VERY limited in my area. As the business day started, it became increasingly difficult to be able to make and receive voice calls as the local tower couldn't handle the amount of traffic. But, my unilaterally switching to a GSM phone solved the problem completely. The carrier had reduced the CDMA handling capacity on that tower to make room for hardware to increase the GSM capacity on that tower (I found that out from a field technician...customer support over a period of months wouldn't/couldn't tell me why my ability to make/receive calls suddenly nose-dived. They kept giving technically BS "answers"). I soon switched carriers (after having been their customer for over 5 years) as a result of that very prolonged, financially painful, and no apologies experience.

Also keep in mind that different phone brands/models have different receiver specifications and while model X might reliably work at your house, model Y might not. I've run into that problem several times with phones offered by one major carrier. Also keep in mind that the signal-strength "bars" aren't calibrated or correlated and don't necessarily mean the same thing between phone models. You could have less reliable connectivity on phone X showing 3 bars than on phone Y showing only 1 bar...

Very true for your points above, John. Also to add, CDMA network is actually a rarity for mobile phones in other countries. Most countries use GSM network primarily, so if you want your phone to be able to use internationally, GSM is the way to go, all you need is to change the Sim card. CDMA on the other hand, you're pretty much stuck for use within U.S. or need to pay a hefty roaming charge for use in other countries.

As an extension to the discussion for weak cellular signal. Verizon Wireless (a CDMA provider), upon request, can provide you a network extender. Yes, you need to pay for it (~$200), of course! They will provide you a device such as this: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SCS-26UC4 Given that you have broadband internet (from any ISP), you can use that device to "transfer" the cellular network to your place via internet, and broadcast the signal locally. And here's something very interesting, since most users probably won't bother with setting up access restrictions, everybody with a Vz cellphone can use the signal in the vicinity (theoretically only covers 5000 sq.ft. or ~12 meters radius). That's not much area for a single family home, but for an apartment complex, for example, could be quite a few people. So you're paying for your own internet AND your cellular extender, to help out Vz to extend their signal to an area where they can not reach, and increase their customers in the area. Think about it, it's a win win situation for them. ;) They should really give the device for free.


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