Sprint Data "Roaming" ??

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k9bm
Sprint Data "Roaming" ??

When Verizon purchased Alltel, the FCC compelled them to sell off properties in markets where Verizon already had substantial coverage. In many if not most cases, those markets went to AT&T. Although Sprint had a 10-year roaming agreement with Alltel that should have run through 2016, the FCC only compelled Verizon to honor it until 2012.

So, now Sprint has ZERO data coverage (3G) in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and almost zero data coverage in Nebraska, Nevada, and North Dakota. That's a LOT of real estate! As far as I can tell, it also means there is no Republic Wireless cellular data service in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and very little in Nebraska, Nevada, and North Dakota.

Are there any negotiations under way with Verizon to include folks in these 6 states, or is it WiFi only for non-voice use? This is sort of a big deal for those of us who need to access email, etc. when traveling--and coincidentally these 6 states don't exactly have WiFi hotspots on every corner. I currently use Page Plus Cellular for my voice cell phone, and it works very, very well. It's a superb way to control your cellular costs because of its prepaid options (no contract, cost is 4 to 10 cents per minute depending on card amount purchased), and they are a Verizon MVNO so you have superb nationwide coverage.

My hope was to transfer to RW and enjoy similar cost savings, but with the addition of data capability so I could access email, weather forecasts, online hotel reservations, etc. while traveling. But if RW is only using Sprint and Sprint doesn't negotiate new data roaming agreements with Verizon, about 10% of the states will be excluded from cellular data capability.

Has this been discussed before? My apologies if it has, I couldn't find it. But I'd be grateful if someone could clarify the issue for me....

rippie
well, there may be a band-use problem

well, there may be a band-use problem, so this is something that you need to check with Sprint directly about. when those deals were made, ATT had been finishing conversion from TDMA (motorola's expensive folly) to GSM, and to EDGE technology (fast for its time). DIFFERENT MARKETS used different band pairings for voice and data, so ATT got into the habit of selling quad-band phones, and even making many available completely unlocked so that they could travel, just with a SIM-card swap.

the Sprint supplied phone in use now is only dual-band, the bands that Sprint have been using for years. the reality is that you need to look up what bands are paired where you are, and if the ATT buyoff included changing licenses (since the switches at the towers have most certainly been replaced at least a once since 2006.

RW obviously has nothing to do with forcing agreements out of Sprint other than being able to use all they have available. it is possible, though, that like another MVNO, RW may be offering service on either side of the fence, depending where a person lives or travels. will RW work more to your advantage on GSM maybe, but unless Sprint have a deal with VZ in those areas, you are out of luck. Sprint has roaming agreements with other carriers for specific individual towers and not others, which is what make all networks somewhat "virtual," in that they all have their little side-deals for filling in coverage. there is more coopetition going on in this business than people realize.

billmeek
Alltel

About a year ago, the Sprint coverage maps were updated to show a massive lose of coverage in both voice and 3G. If you check the coverage today, it's not significantly different than prior to that coverage loss other than portions are now roaming rather than part of the home network. This effects Sprint customers in that certain Sprint branded features do not work while roaming. Since Republic Wireless doesn't offer those branded features, it has no effect on us.

k9bm
Yes, I know all about the

Yes, I know all about the coverage map changes, they changed because of the loss of Verizon data roaming agreements. Since Sprint has NO physical presence in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota, obviously Sprint has no data coverage in those states. There's no other CDMA carrier to roam on for data, which means without a separate agreement with Verizon, RW subscribers will have NO data service in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota--and very little data coverage in Nebraska, Nevada, and North Dakota.

Again, I'm not talking about "Sprint branded features," I'm talking about data service--data above 50-70 kbps. I sure wish someone with RW would weigh in on this, because I think they should have an asterisk somewhere on the website letting folks know their phones will not have cellular data anywhere Sprint has no physical service....

billmeek
k9bm wrote:
k9bm wrote:

their phones will not have cellular data anywhere Sprint has no physical service

This statement is flat out wrong. I am not in a metro market, am not on a Sprint owned tower, and yet have 3G service. I just checked and speedtest currently reports 957kbps down and 227kbps up.

Check the Sprint maps again. They DO show data coverage in every state.

rippie
that should be obvious, though.

that should be obvious, though. and everyone including myself has said often and over a long period to check the coverage maps. no coverage on the Sprint map? no services at all. that's just logic.

so this makes RW a very marginal option for you, if at all, unless you travel often outside those states. towering is costly for long range coverage in sparsely populated areas, which are what you are talking about here. there are huge parts of those states with no coverage of any kind from anyone, so people use two-way radios with repeaters and phone patches or even satellite in some critical situations. hell, touch tone telco service just came to the last town in american in maine last year. some stuff just takes time. if there is nothing on the map where you are, it won't work on cellular for you, neither on voice nor on 3G. it's not RW's fault.

k9bm
Maybe it won't work...

Rippie you may be right, I'm just trying to find out if anyone in RW management is considering this hole in the map. In fact the majority of the traveled areas of these states is very well covered, again by Verizon and AT&T, and there's very good 3G service from both in my tiny little town of 1,200. There's wireless broadband from 2 providers, cable broadband, and ADSL. But there's no Sprint, no Leap/Cricket, no MetroPCS, etc.

The wireless landscape has been collapsing for some time now, and were it not for the fact that they use incompatible technology Sprint and T-Mobile would probably have combined. Ultimately, it will almost ALL be Verizon and AT&T--Sprint doesn't have a nationwide network, they never have, and they never will, not unless someone buys them and hands them an awfully big check. I've worked in this industry for 22 years, 13 of them for Verizon and a couple of years for Sprint in engineering management, so I'm not just tossing out idle speculation....

rippie
i sincerely wished that the Sprint/TMo merger had happened

but instead ATT had to muck up the works and get all indignant about it, saying their "feelings got hurt" at which the USSC FINALLY put a limit on this "personhood" baloney that corporations have been carving out for themselves. what a load of crap THAT is.

having a dual format system would be a HUGE competitive edge for Sprinty-Mobile (nice name, huh?) or SprinT-Mobile... the system most useful for where the person lives is what they'd be activated on, and high-end users could buy (sadly very expensibe) dual format phones. TracFone offers service in a couple brands on both GSM and on CDMA. Even the their Lifeline or whatever it's called (subsidized) service offers both. so even an MVNO like RW could, theoretically, like TF do, offer a "parallel" service and handset line on GSM to complement the CDMA setup. it may not be able to be priced as advantageously, but would solve the problem in a different way, if they could work a deal with ATT or even TMob, at present.

maybe they are working on a way to use the wifi side of the service from a GSM phone with a SIM Card swapout. that would be kinda cool. i just don't see RW going out and creating their own separate tow-by-tower agreements when they are still having trouble (i think) getting their own SID to be recognized on all switches. methinks that comes first.

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