NFR Best Cell Phone For Marginal Reception Areas

Old406Kid

Active Member
#1
I have a cabin in a marginal reception area of western MT and currently have an I Phone SE with Verizon service.
On rare occasions I can make a call or text but more often than not I end up driving up the road several miles to an area of reception. I'm not one to be on the phone or text but I have an 87 year old mother and some rental properties so worry about emergencies.
Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Jim Darden

Active Member
#3
After traveling all over the US, including the area that you mention, my vote is for Verison, with ATT a close second. I have gotten calls with Verison in some of the most remote areas that even surprised me. Usually I outperform my buddies with ATT. Still places like Mid Canon on the Missouri only let me text....it is still not perfect. I'd like to go to one of the lower cost providers, but they just don't perform
 
#6
It's the carrier, not the phone. I've been side by side with friends who have different plans with other carriers and one of us could call; the other, "no service."
 

jwg

Active Member
#8
I have a cabin in a marginal reception area of western MT and currently have an I Phone SE with Verizon service.
On rare occasions I can make a call or text but more often than not I end up driving up the road several miles to an area of reception. I'm not one to be on the phone or text but I have an 87 year old mother and some rental properties so worry about emergencies.
Any suggestions appreciated.
sounds to me like your question is less about which carrier in general has better coverage, and more like, which carrier has better service to your specific location.

If there are others nearby, ask them what carrier they use, and how good the service is, or as implied by Steve, have multiple folks with different carriers all in the same place at your cabin and compare. if you can arrange it.

before getting our hs kids cell phones we had them ask around about carriers with their friends, and changed our carrier so they would have good service at high school, so we could coordinate transportation with all their after school activities

j
 

jwg

Active Member
#9
You can get a device that extends the cell network to your home via the internet. Verizon offers this device, https://www.verizonwireless.com/accessories/samsung-4g-lte-network-extender-2/, but you should talk to your Verizon rep. You should be able to get it for less.
seems like this would require a separate existing internet connection, via cable or wireless or something, and then enhances cellular locally. Is that right.
So if the cabin has not other service, this would not help?
j
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#10
Welcome to rural cell phone land. I chose ATT when we first moved here as my Boeing ATT cell phone got great coverage. It has worked pretty well but we definitely experience no service in various spots all around here. In speaking with locals who have Verizon, they too have dead areas, but it sounds like better coverage overall - which matches what I've read on the web (VZ best for Rocky Mountain west).

In addition to the mountain and valley terrain being a challenge, they simply don't invest in tower saturation in areas with low saturation of users (along interstates the exception). It's the trade you make for living in paradise.
 

Old406Kid

Active Member
#11
seems like this would require a separate existing internet connection, via cable or wireless or something, and then enhances cellular locally. Is that right.
So if the cabin has not other service, this would not help?
j
The closest electricity is 6 miles in one direction and 10 in the other but ironically we have internet.
Quite a number of years ago they ran a fiber optic line through the valley and this spring we were able to get a transmitter in a vault 1/4 mile away and a special modem that links to it at our house.

The reason I asked about various phones is that my wife has an iphone 5, same provider, and seems to be able to text most anytime where my SE rarely will.
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
#12
seems like this would require a separate existing internet connection, via cable or wireless or something, and then enhances cellular locally. Is that right.
So if the cabin has not other service, this would not help?
j
Yes, you need an always on internet connection but nothing more than what most households currently have. I have set these up at a number of different locations and they work fairly well. One thing I did notice if you make or accept a call while using the extender and hop in your car the call will not transfer to a cell tower and will be dropped.
 
#14
Out in the Driftless Area, ATT has no reception, Verizon only on the ridges, and the best of the lot in that area is US Cellular. OTOH, I can't even get a US Cellular contract living north of Chicago.

I got a handheld "ham" radio and license (KD9GGY) to operate it, and I carry that if there is an emergency. If I broadcast on 20 meters frequency, somebody will always answer; there's a lot of folks who sit around all day listening to amateur radio, and nothing would please them more than to answer a call to help. Usually, though, I'm listening to 70CM or 2M for the shorter range stuff.
 

gt

Active Member
#15
Wilson electronics makes cell phone amplifiers and repeaters. they boost the outgoing signal strength considerably. i had this installed on my boat and always had a strong cell phone signal. as always, it is the height of the antenna along with location that will make the difference for you.
 

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