What is the make and model of the phone that you are using? Does it support both the 850 & 1900 MHz bands? What is the zip code where you are using your phone? Do you have a prepaid or a postpaid account? There is a good chance that AT&T may not have any native coverage there and relies on roaming coverage in that area. If you have a postpaid account, you shouldn't have a problem roaming on Unicel's network. If you have a prepaid (GoPhone) account, there's a chance that you may not be allowed to roam on Unicel's network. Have you checked out the Coverage Viewer?
@Millennium Arch… Yes it's a new SIM card with the 3G logo.
@Blue4Life The phone supports all the standard GSM bands. I've got two and both worked in the same places last year.
It is pre-paid. But it worked last year. Is it common for that to change? I have checked the coverage viewer -- but it's not as precise as actually checking coverage with a phone -- which is what I did last year. And others have phones that work fine.
Back to the prepaid thing... why would the coverage be any different? at&t is at&t, no?
Prepaid (some plans) allow for roaming coverage... others do not. White Mountain NF (on the map) shows up as 'roaming'. When 'GoPhone' is selected, the roaming in that area disappears (aka No-Service/Emergency Only)
Maybe I need to just switch to Unicel. They seem to have good roaming rates in to Canada, as well (50 cents compared to at&t 99cents if it's the same as Mexico roaming). I do, however, like having a prepaid plan with a flat, $20 data charge. It gives me the free ability to switch -- which I may be forced to exercise soon.
I checked the coverage maps ... it had been a while. I didn't realize that they had the option for GoPhone or not and that it also could changed based on PAYG vs PYP. Looking very close to where I actually am, it looks like I could probably use a signal booster to pick up full non-partner coverage... not sure just how well the active signal boosters/repeaters actually work, though. (Any femtocell's coming to at&t?)
Canada roaming is $0.79/minute or $0.59/minute + $3.99/month feature There 'used' to be a good plan back when it was 'AT&T Wireless' (pre Cingular days), you could get a $9.99/month North America package and just use plan minutes in Canada (I used it more than once). This year I did not have it, and it cost me almost $50 in roaming.
Well, that's good to hear -- but it's interesting that Unicel's roaming to Canada is quite a bit cheaper.
Unicel responded to my email with a query to call them -- not quite what I had in mind. At least they seem to have email, unlike at&t who uses a form, but only if you have a postpaid account. (The prepaid accounts come here -- a place at&t employees seem to avoid).
My options appear to be:
1. cross my fingers for a nice, cheap femtocell roll out very soon on at&t (1a. switch to postpaid and hope they don't boot me) 2. see if I can check t-mobile coverage without committing (maps show coverage, and zip code works, unlike at&t) 3. see if Unicel actually has coverage without committing (they keep adding new towers and show as much, unlike other carriers)
AT&T's coverage viewer shows street level coverage, and has been fairly accurate. T-Mobile's is even more detailled, IMO, especially at http://compass.t-mobile.com If you have 'weak' AT&T service nearby, I'd actually look into purchasing a repeater vs. a femtocell.