Cell Phones at West Point

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by MI4980, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. MI4980

    MI4980 Member

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    I know cadets are allowed to use them on off-duty hours, but is it even worth it?

    With respect to the time that we will actually be able to use them and, from what I've heard, the lack of service in the area, is it worth it to keep a cell phone or should I save the $60/month and rely solely on the land line?
     
  2. debcst

    debcst Member

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    We were told at an admissions briefing that there will not be land lines this coming year, so you're gonna need that cell phone!

    Also WP has recently invested in some kind of signal "boosters" to improve reception in the barracks. Maybe some current cadets or parents can comment on how reception is now?
     
  3. lightfoot

    lightfoot Member

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    Reception is much better than it used to be. We used to have to stay by the windows to even get 1 bar. Now I can sit on my bed and call/text people with usually 4 or 5 bars.
     
  4. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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    Are any wireless carriers better than others in that area? I have Verizon Wireless, and wondering if any current cadets have comments on how it compares to AT&T, Sprint, etc, in terms of reception and service. Thanks!
     
  5. grad11

    grad11 Member

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    I would strongly suggest you have a cell phone after Beast. In my four years there I only knew of a couple (less than 5) that did not have a cell phone.
     
  6. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Mine has verizon and is very happy with it.
     
  7. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    It depends on your baracks (which depends on the randomly selected company you will be assigned to). I had terrible signal (1 bar, 2 if i stuck out my window with no internet) my first two years. Now that I changed companies I have 3-4 bars of 4G at all times in my entire baracks. It is definately worth it IMO unless you're one of those who never uses a phone or texts. It shouldn't cost you that much if you stay in your family's plan.

    Can you expand on this? The land lines are very popular in order to contact others here (you can easily search their 4 digit extension) and I just don't see them getting rid of them like that without us even hearing rumors about it.
     
  8. debcst

    debcst Member

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    America's Finest,

    My son and I were at West Point for an overnight visit last month and this information was mentioned during the series of briefings at the Admissions Office.

    It surprised me too- made me think we've got to figure out a cell phone carrier with good coverage.

    --Deborah



    \
     
  9. M2inOR

    M2inOR Parent

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    Son had AT&T plebe year and asked to be switched to Verizon, as it had better service in his barracks (Lee and Sherman). Fast forward to recent times, and both do well now. Yes, repeaters/boosters installed help improve service a lot. When we've visited, both AT&T and Verizon served us well. Sprint had some dead spots.

    Don't judge performance when thousands of visitors are there (R-Day and A-Day, and football game days) - everyone has bad service at those times, if at all!

    Why a cell phone when every cadet has a desk phone? It's a lot easier making a private call with one's cell phone. Also, best to not annoy your roommates with your calls.

    Finally, for those with smartphones that can serve as WiFi hotspots, nice to be able to update one's Xbox -- fine for updates, but the latency will certainly bother you with online games.

    If you can, piggyback onto your parents family plan, or investigate the various discounts offered to military personnel. Or for minimal effort, just pick up one of the many prepaid phone plans that are offered in the area.
     
  10. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    In reference to the cell boosters: Cell boosters were recently installed/turned on (I've heard they've always been there) after Christmas break. Whereas before there was almost no service in the Cadet Area (I have Verizon), now I have service pretty much everywhere.

    I've heard rumors of it happening (from Cadets and TACs-alike) but nothing official.
     
  11. pkneram

    pkneram Member

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    I would find it hard to believe that they would be getting rid of landlines. Everyone's land line extension is in a database that can be accessed by anyone at the Academy (teachers included) so that they can contact you. Without landlines we'd all have to input our personal cell-phone numbers into the database.
     
  12. bakermiddle

    bakermiddle Member

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    In response to the original question, I have Virgin Mobile (which runs off of Sprint's network) and I consistently get 2-4 bars in my room, which is extremely good considering that before the signal booster change I barely got 0 bars while leaning halfway out of my window.
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Not that I know, but let me think... hmmm... a big bill to whoever the local carrier is vs. everyone spending a few minutes updating a database to include their cell phone... hmmm.
     
  14. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Not everyone has a cell phone and perfect service in their baracks. Unless they plan on boosting the service for all carriers in every square inch of living space that just wouldn't be viable if they expect to have the same centralized system with everyone connected.

    I'm sure a large portion of those who have phones do do not want their personal number made public either.
     
  15. xenarian

    xenarian Cadet, Class of 2015

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    Yes, by all means invest in a cell phone. I have U.S. Cellular, and it works great, even a little bit at Buckner (which most cell phones cannot do).
     
  16. M2inOR

    M2inOR Parent

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    At the Board of Visitors meeting in Washington DC at the end of March, The Superintendent talked about this:

    This is from a parent of cadet who attended the meeting. Also discussed was that the desk phones aren't really free - a charge is made to the cadet account each month.

    I think the key here is that it is being planned, and won't be implemented until there is a reliable way for the CGR to contact all cadets.

    Of course, the plan will have to factor in the pros and cons of personal vs issued cell phones; whether WP will offer a plan similar to what some companies offer large organizations; whether there will be choices, etc.

    Should you purchase a cell phone if you don't already have one? No need for new cadet candidates to have one while at Beast. Most likely if the above comment leads to a plan for the incoming class of 2016, then you'll learn more about this during Beast or during Re-Organization week right after Beast.

    For more information about the Board of Visitors, as well as reports from past years, please visit: http://www.usma.edu/bov.asp
     
  17. parker1

    parker1 New Member

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    My son is a cadet. They are getting rid of the land lines, they will not be in the barracks for the class of 2016. I for one am a little sad as I could always count on great reception when he used his. The cell phone reception can be spotty-----all those granite walls! However, as has been mentioned, they are putting in additional towers to help with that.
     
  18. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    My son (Class of 2015) has a cell phone (AT&T). I talk to him often from his barracks room with no problems.
     
  19. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    This should be interesting, as coverage in the barracks is highly building and floor dependent even across the three carriers.

    In our parents club we've learn to position cell coverage carefully with candidates, one cadet's experience with one carrier in one location does not translate universally to other cadet potential experience.

    Shame their desk phones are not voip modern technology.... just plug them in and the network routes the call properly.
     
  20. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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    Is Skype allowed?

    OK, so (a) no land lines and (b) cell phone reception is Second World quality in some areas... which I guess means this thread needs a nudge to an orthogonal path:

    Can anyone comment on what's the policy at USMA towards cadets using Skype or ooVoo or any other video instant messaging application in their barracks rooms? Seems this would be a good option if cell phones are indeed as bad as some say.

    Thanks.
     

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