Best cell phone coverage - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
ShirleyA's Avatar
Name: Shirley
Trailer: Casita patriot
Posts: 92
Best cell phone coverage

Well, it is time to change my cell phone provider. Why....because I have no cell phone coverage at my house. Very aggravating and my provider (three letters and an & sign) doesn't seem to care.
So, with RV travel in mind, what cell phone service have you found that gives you good coverage? Which ones don't have good coverage?
I haven't had a chance to travel far from home yet but am trying to be
prepared when I am lucky enough to do that. I appreciate the input of the folks who are on the road.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:25 AM   #2
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Name: jim
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British Columbia
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You will find that all carriers have "dead zones" throughout the US. Your carrier is 3 bars in my area while big V and others have -0-. Look at their maps.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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Name: Alice
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I use Verizon because:
1. Find it has the best coverage for what I need
2. My employer gets a 27% discount with them.

Was with AT&T many years ago, but when they insisted they could not port my home phone number to my cell phone, I went over to V. The phone is only used for emergencies and long distance, I have a land line at home. That way, in case of disaster, the land lines will be up and running, not overloaded.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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We have had Verizon for years, originally no coverage at our house but now we do. we've had good luck with their service when traveling, and recently bought their Jetpak for mobile Wifi.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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I use Page Plus, which uses the Verizon network but it a heck of a lot cheaper. As I rarely use the phone, I have their cheapest plan which is $10 every 120 days. I picked up an Android Verizon smartphone off eBay for $80, though I shut off the 3G and just use WiFi. The smartphone also gets me GPS, an MP3 player (for podcasts) and a world of apps. And in an emergency, I can turn on 3G. and burn off my excess credits.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:15 PM   #6
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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We've traveled using Verizon for 12 years. Each year the coverage has increased. Last year on our 315 day loop of the USA we only had two days without coverage.

We were surprised when we were deep in a Ruby Mt canyon in Neveda that we had other carrier did. (There were 60 people at the wedding and only Verizon worked.)

We also have a Verizon wifi hotspot. I would say that more long distance RVers have Verizon, at least in my experience.

Of course there are always someplace where the phone doesn't work but we've been enormously satisfied over the years.

Now that we both have smart phones we are always using them. They are now sort of like my Leatherman multi-tool, I'm forever using my phone for all kinds of things, another topic.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:33 AM   #7
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Name: Bob Ruggles
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We've had and have good luck with Sprint and we ported our AT&T landline number to a second Sprint cell phone.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:49 AM   #8
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Name: Josie&Craig
Trailer: Escape 21
South Carolina
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For us Verizon has been a most reliable provider...we've been with them for decades (really). The coverage is EXCELLENT (as would be any small name providers who buys space from Verizon....think both T-mobile and Walmart offer services with Verizon phones)

My only real gripe about Verizon is that they are not the cheapest guys on the block and I could kick myself time over time for not being psyic enough to have said "yes" to their unlimited texting plan while it was 1) really unlimited and 2) cheap before they changed to their current tier of offerings.

That said we've found remote the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge and Shennandoah Mts. and North Central Gulf Coast Florida where it would have been nice if we hadn't blown out our signal booster and had next to no coverage waiting for the new one to arrive (tomorrow). That will improve as they bring more 4G towers online.

Also we don't currently own "smart" phones or iPhones...just down and dirty flip phones so we have the most basic plan they offer. Only my former boss texts me so the current "pay as you text" plan is still serviceable.

With most providers you can keep your number and if you know what system (CDMA or GSM) you may even be able to use your own phone if the new service is compatible.

We're shopping, too, so input from others will be really helpful for us as well...thanks for asking the question.


"Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkein from Lord of the Rings..."Strider's Poem")
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:59 AM   #9
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On my last two trips across the US I carried an AT&T iPhone in a Wilson Sleek amplifier in the tow vehicle & for data, a Millenicom 3G USB stick modem that ran on the Verizon system plugged into a WiFi Ranger router in the trailer. The trailer also has a Wilson trucker antenna feeding a 3 watt amplifier that rebroadcasts to a "ice cream sandwich" antenna in the trailer. As long as you are within 5'-7' of the internal antenna you get a boosted signal on either Verizon or AT&T.

With that equipment, I had Verizon & AT&T coverage along any major highway and most towns & cities. Once I moved to minor roads, state & national parks, etc, I found spotty coverage by both networks, however it was far more likely that Verizon would be available than AT&T. There were exceptions - for example, in the Furnace Creek campground in Death Valley, there was no Verizon coverage but a strong AT&T signal. Still, it was usually the other way around. There were many state & national parks where there was no signal from either company, but I never found a place that, by driving 15 - 20 miles, I couldn't find a connection.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:00 AM   #10
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Escape 19
Posts: 99

Did you choose the WiFi Ranger "Go" or "Mobile"? Also, could you explain the need for a trucker antenna rebroadcasting to an "ice cream sandwich" antenna?
Does this give you a needed boosted signal when your iPhone is out of the tow vehicle's Wilson mount, say, in the trailer at night?


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Old 03-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
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Name: Jon
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I purchased a WiFi Ranger "Home" before the "Go" became available, if fact, when it was he only device they sold. If I was purchasing now, it would be the Go. I have not added a Mobile since I don't use WiFi from campgrounds all that often, finding the Millenicom based Verizon 3G service usually as fast & as reliable as campground WiFi. The exception is when traveling in Canada where the Millenicom service is not available.

The reason for the particular Wilson system I purchased was to have both services available & amplified in the trailer. While the Wilson booster kit is still available, they have other products that are newer. Since the booster kit only works on voice & 3G, I probably would not purchase it today. If I wanted 4G data, I'd purchase Millenicom's 3G/4G Hotspot plan and place it in a Wilson Sleek 4G-V amplifier. I'd still use the Wilson Trucker antenna since the one that comes with the 4G Sleek is magnetic & tough to "stick" to a fiberglass trailer (and wouldn't have the necessary ground plane). As of today, there is no "rebroadcasting" 4G solution available that would work in a small trailer so I'd have to give up a dual amplified solution that also covers the AT&T iPhone.

By the way, another advantage of having the WiFi Ranger router is the WiFi signal is strong enough to cover the tow vehicle. I like to listen to my hometown public radio station while traveling - if the AT&T coverage is not available, I switch to WiFi & use the Verizon signal from the trailer. I don't know if the MiFi WiFi from the hotspot is strong enough to cover the tow vehicle.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:40 AM   #12
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Name: Shirley
Trailer: Casita patriot
Posts: 92
Great info everyone. Thank you.
Now another question along the same lines. I do not have a land line at home and so do not have internet service either. Is there some sort of mobile internet I could couple with my cell phone so I could have internet at home or on the road?
I don't spend hours on the internet but would certainly like that option if I can do it.
Land line is really not possible at my house....long story.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:00 PM   #13
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Name: Gene
Trailer: Scamp
North Dakota
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Have you checked to see where the local cell towers are in your area. One option no matter what you do it to get a Wilson booster.
Here's one supplier.
Wilson Electronics Cell Phone Repeaters |
You may have a weak signal no matter who you go with. One of these might be a choice.
You can get a plan with a mobile hotspot feature to allow you to get on the internet. They work pretty good as long as you have a decent cell signal.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
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Maybe not exactly what you are looking for, but both AT&T & Verizon offer a "Home Connect" device. It is a cell that rather than having a built in phone has a connector for your home phone system. Either plug a single land line type phone into it or, after disconnecting your home wiring from the local telco system, connect it to any phone jack in the house. Basic prices are around $200.00 for the device with no contract or no charge for a 2 year contract. Monthly cost is $20.00 for unlimited local & long distance service. Note - will not do data, talk only.

You can take the device on the road. As long as you have cell service, it acts like your landline phone.

While both may have provisions for an exterior antenna, I know the Verizon version does. An exterior antenna on your roof combined with an amplifier may be a practical way to provide phone service.

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