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Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:37 pm

My current plan is $70 with US Cellular. I'm pretty sure these are the going rates for phone and data plans. Virgin mobile is cheaper, but I've been told their service is bad.

Alas, I checked into it again and ATT is offering the Iphone4 not 4s for a buck. No need to change my service for a much crappier phone than I have.
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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby jjoyce » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:43 pm

Virgin Mobile's service is, indeed, not as good.

Unless you're in Green Bay or Eau Claire or another of Wisconsin's five-bar cities.
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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:52 pm

One explanation for why my Sprint experience may be better than yours, JJ: My wife and I have an unlimited data plan (I'm sure we pay too much given our usage but that's another matter) and since we're exempt from roaming fees I have my phone configured to connect wherever it can without warning. So where you may get cruddy service attempting to connect to the nearest Sprint tower, I may be fine because I've (virtually unknowingly) hopped aboard a non-Sprint network.

Should have occurred to me before. Mea culpa.
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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby jjoyce » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:02 pm

This might not be an option on my admittedly crappy phone. I also have unlimited data (although I do have a limit on talk minutes), but don't know if I can do what you do when it comes to hopping networks.

I do know that when I use my phone from my desk, where I can count the buttons on Hans Christian Heg's coat, I get three or four bars. But when I'm sitting at a scrubby ball field in Allouez, I get the full six.

The other thing that happens with a cheap phone like mine: Sometimes I'm in a big crowd (Minn. State Fair, UW football game) and get max reception, but because there are so many other phones pinging the network, my texts don't send and my calls don't connect.
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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby wallrock » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:41 am

jjoyce wrote:The other thing that happens with a cheap phone like mine: Sometimes I'm in a big crowd (Minn. State Fair, UW football game) and get max reception, but because there are so many other phones pinging the network, my texts don't send and my calls don't connect.

That's not your phone, it's the local cells being at capacity. Mine does the same at Camp Randall. At these larger venues the carriers have been installing specialized systems within the building itself (Miller Park has a number of antennas on and around the scoreboard). Your phone is registering the availability of outgoing signal (max reception) but as you said the amount of people on the system has clogged the circuits and the cell is unable to handle any further incoming requests.

My buddy and I both downloaded the UW Gameday app which works great everywhere but the stadium. It's pretty annoying but the carriers are definitely hamstrung in their ability to ramp up infrastructure to keep pace with the handsets. It's not like the University is going to let Sprint stick a 90' tower next to the Field House, though if I had a say I'd have made the Football Dong into a stealth tower.
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Re: Mobile service in downtown Madison bites. Why?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:56 am

I'm pleased to report that Virgin Mobile service is much better in my new hometown of Knoxville, Tenn. Lotsa bars at home and everywhere else. At my old house in Midvale Heights and at the Isthmus office, that wasn't really the case. I realize this doesn't help you, Jason.
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