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Old 09-10-2015, 14:55   #1
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Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

What are your experiences with cell carriers in coastal waters? I'm thinking about switching and just want some open opinions.
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Old 09-10-2015, 15:49   #2
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

... you might get (better) answers if you say which 'coastal waters' you mean ;-)

Carsten
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Old 09-10-2015, 16:34   #3
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

There's lots of coasts in the world. May wish to narrow it down a bit.
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Old 09-10-2015, 16:40   #4
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

Vodaphone in the GBR, Digicel in my local waters work OK
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Old 09-10-2015, 18:16   #5
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
... you might get (better) answers if you say which 'coastal waters' you mean ;-)

Carsten
Good point!

I just mean within reach of shore in Florida/East Coast of the US.
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Old 10-10-2015, 00:51   #6
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

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Good point!

I just mean within reach of shore in Florida/East Coast of the US.
It really helps other forum members if you go to User CP at the top of the page, then on the left hand side select "Edit your details" , scroll down the page and enter your location and vessel type.
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:51   #7
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

I have both Verizon and Spring on the east coast of Florida. Interestingly, I get a signal from Sprint much farther from the coast than I do from Verizon. Verizon seems to better tune their antennas to focus the available power over the populated land masses. I have also found good Sprint reception up the ICW to the Chesapeake.

Also, if you have never heard of Republic Wireless google it. It non contract unique service that gives unlimited voice and data for $30 a month. It also has the unique advantage that it makes calls over wifi when available and seamlessly switches from wifi to cell mid call if you move. You can change to different plans a couple of times a month to suit your needs. For us, the main benefit is that when we go to the Bahamas we change to the $5 a month plan and can make and receive calls on our regular number as well as send/receive text messages anytime we can access wifi. Republic used the Sprint backbone. Not selling anything here...just a happy user.
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Old 10-10-2015, 11:01   #8
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

I have had very good coverage with Sprint on the East Coast of the U.S. My phone is the finest of technology from 1913 (well, it's pretty old anyway), a palm Treo (yes, it still works well!). I was getting a reliable signal two to three miles out. I was able to use voice and data.


Please note that this distance will vary depending upon where on the coast you are. For example, there are some areas just north of the entrance to the Chesapeake that the distance from shore drops quite a bit and in a very few spots, I couldn't get any signal for ten or fifteen minutes while traveling at five knots. This was because the shore was mostly marshland and there were no towers nearby.


Overall however the signal was pretty good with Sprint down the coast. I should also point out that going up the Delaware, through the C-D canal, and down the Chesapeake I have had no problems with signal.


Laser, thanks for the heads up about Republic Wireless. I will check them out. Do you know if they use their own network or piggyback off of someone else's network, and if so, do you know which one?
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:21   #9
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

But you need to be within a wifi hotspot to make calls in the Bahamas right? Do you think the Republic phone/plan would work with an Iridium Go sat hotspot?
We'll be "fulltiming" in the Bahamas starting in December and are trying to stay connected.
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Old 10-10-2015, 18:42   #10
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

We have phones and hotspots from T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T. T-Mobile wins out of the three for best coverage and fastest speeds Gulf Coastal and Florida. Upper East Coast, we have better luck with AT&T.
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:11   #11
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

Delorme has worldwide unlimited text plans if u just want to stay in touch plus emergency services and tracking using birds not towers...pretty cool device no contract either if u like...
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:54   #12
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

We carried both AT&T and Verizon. Mostly, it didn't matter but some areas were better with one other areas with the other.

Plus it's a moving target as the systems are upgraded.
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Old 11-10-2015, 13:20   #13
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

Hi ArmyDave...Republic uses Sprint as their backbone

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
I have had very good coverage with Sprint on the East Coast of the U.S. My phone is the finest of technology from 1913 (well, it's pretty old anyway), a palm Treo (yes, it still works well!). I was getting a reliable signal two to three miles out. I was able to use voice and data.


Please note that this distance will vary depending upon where on the coast you are. For example, there are some areas just north of the entrance to the Chesapeake that the distance from shore drops quite a bit and in a very few spots, I couldn't get any signal for ten or fifteen minutes while traveling at five knots. This was because the shore was mostly marshland and there were no towers nearby.


Overall however the signal was pretty good with Sprint down the coast. I should also point out that going up the Delaware, through the C-D canal, and down the Chesapeake I have had no problems with signal.


Laser, thanks for the heads up about Republic Wireless. I will check them out. Do you know if they use their own network or piggyback off of someone else's network, and if so, do you know which one?
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Old 11-10-2015, 13:29   #14
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

Hi Napadiver

Maybe we will see you in the Bahamas this winter.

Yes, to use the $5 wifi only Republic plan in the Bahamas you need good wifi (which is often difficult to find). Always ask other cruisers where the best wifi is for any given area, They know.

From what I know about Iridium GO it is a very slow connection like the slowest dial up modem we had years ago. Im not sure if it could handle voice but I have not tried it.

In the Bahamas you can buy a very dumb Samsung phone for $20 and then buy a SIM card for $15 and then add minutes each month through phone cards. We have one to make calls from the boat but keep it off otherwise. It is also handy to make calls to Bahamian and based phones to establishments that dont answer on VHF. It is actually amazing the coverage that Batelco cell has throughout the Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by napadiver View Post
But you need to be within a wifi hotspot to make calls in the Bahamas right? Do you think the Republic phone/plan would work with an Iridium Go sat hotspot?
We'll be "fulltiming" in the Bahamas starting in December and are trying to stay connected.
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Old 11-10-2015, 13:50   #15
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Re: Did a Search but Didn't See Much About Cell Carriers

On a trip from Nanaimo, BC to Astoria using Verizon, I had reception as far as 25 miles off cities and ports.
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