Go Phone Coverage

Teacher

Go Phone Coverage

Several people have mentioned that Go Phone Pre-paid does not have as good coverage as contract post paid coverage.  However, when I bring up the voice coverage map for the go phone and for for post paid contract, they look nearly identical in the southeast.  We live in NC, have vacation home in SC and travel to Fl often.  I brought up both coverage maps, enlarged them and put them side by side and it was very hard to see any difference.  I also picked up a go phone coverage map from local AT&T store and it looks same as online map.

So, my question to those who use go phone:  Have you had problems with coverage?  Have you had wide areas where there is no phone service?  Do any of you live or travel in NC, SC or along east coast?

 

I was checking out Boost and Virgin Mobil recently and many, many complained about poor coverage.  So, since we travel a lot, I felt like those carriers were not an option.

 

Just would like to hear of your experiences.

Thanks so much!

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Message 1 of 27
Teacher

Re: Go Phone Coverage

Thanks for explaining ilikewireless. One of the reasons for moving to pre- paid was to get a decent smart phone without having to pay a fortune in monthly fees. We don't text, but may reconsider that sometime. Also don't make a lot of voice calls. Want to access the web occasionally. Must have a phone that works and coverage in our house, our town and where we travel. When I looked at the GoPhone coverage, it looked good for those areas and for those areas in the west, if we ever visit there, hopefully wifi will be available so we can email. Our current post paid phone doesn't work in some of the rural, higher NC mountains, but Verizon does so we use friend' s phone or stay in touch via email from laptop. So for those occasional areas with poor or no coverage, I think we can manage as long as it isn't where we spend most of our time. I will pot an update after my visit to the AT&T store tomorrow.
Message 16 of 27
Scholar

Re: Go Phone Coverage


ilikewireless wrote:For most people, they would pick a carrier based on where they work, live and spend their leisure time.

 

My experience with the Thrive on the west coast is excellent.

 


+1. I get the same signal with my Thrive on GoPhone prepaid as I do with my iPhone on AT&T postpaid in the Southern California area (barring differences due to device antenna, etc).

 

Unless you're planning on porting your number already, you don't need to go to an AT&T store to activate your new Thrive. It should have come with instructions on how to activate. You could do it either by using the phone or via the website.

Message 17 of 27
Master

Re: Go Phone Coverage

It's nice that Radio Shack is allowing you thirty days to try out the phones and see if they meet your standards, and most important, meet your needs. 30 days should be plenty of time to determine if prepaid service is right for you.

I think you and your husband will enjoy the phones. Smiley Happy

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 18 of 27
Professor

Re: Go Phone Coverage


elliern wrote:

 

When I got home, I saw that he had active apps and was concerned that he would be charged for data, even though he didn't use any of them.  The clerk at Radio Shack told him he could just put his sim in and he would not need a data plan if he never used that service.  I am not sure about that.  So, had him remove his sim until we get the phones activated in the morning.

 

 


For prepaid smartphones, if you don't use data, you would not need a data plan.

 

I bought my Thrive with the intent not to use data. After 2 weeks of use without a data plan, my experience has been that without a data plan, a smartphone is not going to work to its full capability. Functions like GPS Navigation do not work well without a data plan.

 

So I bought a 500MB/$25 data plan to start, only to find to my pleasant surprise that I use about 10MB per month for GPS, e-mail and browsing this wireless forum. For subsequent refills, I have been buying the 10MB/$5.00 data plan. I don't watch youtube, nor use Netflix, so my data use will remain low.

 

The Thrive has a way to control data use that I have been using effectively:

  • Whenever I'm on WiFi, I check that "3G Data" is OFF.
  • At all other times, my "3G Data" indicator stays OFF (greyed out).
  • If I absolutely must use 3G Data due to lack of WiFi, I turn on "3G Data".
  • I set WiFi Sleep Policy to NEVER, so that the phone will not revert to the 3G Data mode.

In summary, having a pre-paid data plan is the way to go.

 

Message 19 of 27
Guru

Re: Go Phone Coverage


ilikewireless wrote:

elliern wrote:

 

When I got home, I saw that he had active apps and was concerned that he would be charged for data, even though he didn't use any of them.  The clerk at Radio Shack told him he could just put his sim in and he would not need a data plan if he never used that service.  I am not sure about that.  So, had him remove his sim until we get the phones activated in the morning.

 

 


For prepaid smartphones, if you don't use data, you would not need a data plan.

 

I bought my Thrive with the intent not to use data. After 2 weeks of use without a data plan, my experience has been that without a data plan, a smartphone is not going to work to its full capability. Functions like GPS Navigation do not work well without a data plan.

 

So I bought a 500MB/$25 data plan to start, only to find to my pleasant surprise that I use about 10MB per month for GPS, e-mail and browsing this wireless forum. For subsequent refills, I have been buying the 10MB/$5.00 data plan. I don't watch youtube, nor use Netflix, so my data use will remain low.

 

The Thrive has a way to control data use that I have been using effectively:

  • Whenever I'm on WiFi, I check that "3G Data" is OFF.
  • At all other times, my "3G Data" indicator stays OFF (greyed out).
  • If I absolutely must use 3G Data due to lack of WiFi, I turn on "3G Data".
  • I set WiFi Sleep Policy to NEVER, so that the phone will not revert to the 3G Data mode.

In summary, having a pre-paid data plan is the way to go.

 


Ilikewireless, it seems that data usage for you on prepaid is very flexible.

Message 20 of 27
Scholar

Re: Go Phone Coverage


ilikewireless wrote:

For prepaid smartphones, if you don't use data, you would not need a data plan.


True, but from my understanding, I think that was the postpaid SIM that the husband had installed. If there was any data usage that inadvertently went through cellular data, that's a pay per use charge of either $2/MB or $0.01/KB (if still on the old rate). In this case, it was prudent to take out the SIM card while getting familiarized with the phone's display and indicators.


ilikewireless wrote:

I bought my Thrive with the intent not to use data. After 2 weeks of use without a data plan, my experience has been that without a data plan, a smartphone is not going to work to its full capability. Functions like GPS Navigation do not work well without a data plan.

 

So I bought a 500MB/$25 data plan to start, only to find to my pleasant surprise that I use about 10MB per month for GPS, e-mail and browsing this wireless forum. For subsequent refills, I have been buying the 10MB/$5.00 data plan. I don't watch youtube, nor use Netflix, so my data use will remain low.

 

The Thrive has a way to control data use that I have been using effectively:

  • Whenever I'm on WiFi, I check that "3G Data" is OFF.
  • At all other times, my "3G Data" indicator stays OFF (greyed out).
  • If I absolutely must use 3G Data due to lack of WiFi, I turn on "3G Data".
  • I set WiFi Sleep Policy to NEVER, so that the phone will not revert to the 3G Data mode.

In summary, having a pre-paid data plan is the way to go.

 


I do agree that a smartphone with access to cellular data is more useful than one without. There are a lot of times when we're in the car and we've had to look up phone numbers, hours and locations for stores and restaurants, etc on the phone. We have a GPS in each car so I doubt the smartphone will start filling navigational duties anytime soon (besides, the screen for inexpensive smartphones is too small). Whatever you use it for, having a smartphone with ready access to the internet certainly is convenient.

Message 21 of 27
Master

Re: Go Phone Coverage

Using the coverage viewer link from the top of the page -

 

Coverage Viewer

 

you can see that there is a pretty large difference between post paid coverage and that of prepaid service in the middle to western part of the US simply by toggling back and forth between the "Voice" (i.e. post paid service) and the "GoPhone" (i.e. prepaid service) tabs.  As has been stated previously, the differences aren't as large in the eastern part of the US and along the west coast area.  If the coverage appears fine with the GoPhone tab as you drill further down (more coverage differences become apparent as you drill to a further level of detail) in the areas where you need the service, then you will probably be fine. Smiley Happy

 

And just to clarify, it's not about signal strength - it's about whether you are allowed access to a roaming partner's network or not.  You can have full "signal strength/bars" in an area from the network that your phone is "seeing", yet still receive a "No Network Access"  or "No Service" failure.  At&t doesn't own the network in all the areas they provide service (i.e. "coverage").  They have roaming agreements with other carriers to provide the service in many areas; and generally speaking at&t's roaming agreements with partner carriers do not cover prepaid customers; so with prepaid service you will be denied access to the network (other than for 911 calls), while a post paid customer will have service and likely never know that they are not operating on at&t's native network. Smiley Wink  {At&t masks the operator information when an at&t SIM is in the phone to always display at&t.  Without account level intervention by at&t to add the "off network" indicator (EON) to your line of service or some other network related informational tools (which may be inherent/available for a particular device or may not be - likely not on an at&t branded device that hasn't been modified by the user), you'll never know when you are actually roaming on a post paid line of service.}

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 22 of 27
Professor

Re: Go Phone Coverage

hme83 is right.

Message 23 of 27
Professor

Re: Go Phone Coverage


hnzw_rui wrote:

ilikewireless wrote:

For prepaid smartphones, if you don't use data, you would not need a data plan.


True, but from my understanding, I think that was the postpaid SIM that the husband had installed. If there was any data usage that inadvertently went through cellular data, that's a pay per use charge of either $2/MB or $0.01/KB (if still on the old rate). In this case, it was prudent to take out the SIM card while getting familiarized with the phone's display and indicators.


ilikewireless wrote:

I bought my Thrive with the intent not to use data. After 2 weeks of use without a data plan, my experience has been that without a data plan, a smartphone is not going to work to its full capability. Functions like GPS Navigation do not work well without a data plan.

 

So I bought a 500MB/$25 data plan to start, only to find to my pleasant surprise that I use about 10MB per month for GPS, e-mail and browsing this wireless forum. For subsequent refills, I have been buying the 10MB/$5.00 data plan. I don't watch youtube, nor use Netflix, so my data use will remain low.

 

The Thrive has a way to control data use that I have been using effectively:

  • Whenever I'm on WiFi, I check that "3G Data" is OFF.
  • At all other times, my "3G Data" indicator stays OFF (greyed out).
  • If I absolutely must use 3G Data due to lack of WiFi, I turn on "3G Data".
  • I set WiFi Sleep Policy to NEVER, so that the phone will not revert to the 3G Data mode.

In summary, having a pre-paid data plan is the way to go.

 


I do agree that a smartphone with access to cellular data is more useful than one without. There are a lot of times when we're in the car and we've had to look up phone numbers, hours and locations for stores and restaurants, etc on the phone. We have a GPS in each car so I doubt the smartphone will start filling navigational duties anytime soon (besides, the screen for inexpensive smartphones is too small). Whatever you use it for, having a smartphone with ready access to the internet certainly is convenient.


Good thinking!!!

Message 24 of 27
Teacher

Re: Go Phone Coverage

Update:  Well, I went to the AT&T store first thing Saturday morning.  The assistant manager actually was who waited on me.  He could not have been more pleasant or helpful.  He answered all my questions, gave my husband a new sim card and 'activiated the phones only' on our current AT&T plan.  He suggested we wait until October 24-26 to activate the go phone account.  He said we were paid up through October 25th and we could save a month's fee by waiting until then.  He said all we had to do was return to the store on that day and they would cancel our current account and then activate the go phone account.  Said our numbers would immediately port over since our phones were already set up and all of our contacts are on the sim cards in our phones.  So it should be a simple process to change plans on that day.  I hope so.  We are using this time to get used to actually figuring out how the phone works.  Then we should have another 2 weeks to try out the go phone coverage before our time runs out to return them to Radio Shack if we decide this is not the way to go for us.  My husband is having a difficult time getting used to his phone.  He never did anything with his prior phone except receive and make calls. So this is a totally new experience for him.  I am getting more used to mine.  But there are a couple of things I wish i could change.  I would like to be able to answer a call without first having to unlock the phone.  I keep forgetting to do that and have missed my call because I forgot to swipe first to unlock it.  Hoping that will become a habit soon.  Hoping that using the phone will become easier the more I use it.

Thanks again to all of you kind people for giving me such good advice and information.  I really appreciate it.

Message 25 of 27
Master

Re: Go Phone Coverage

You're welcome. When I think about it, you could not have gotten this far without our input here. I would also like to thank everyone that chimed in. Smiley Happy

I hope both your husband and yourself enjoy the GoPhone service if you're going to stick with it. In the meantime, don't forget to slide that unlock button - and be sure to answer your husband's questions if he needs any help. Smiley Wink

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 26 of 27
Highlighted
Professor

Re: Go Phone Coverage

You're welcomeSmiley Happy

 

 

Message 27 of 27
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