Cellular Service at USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by nick.cfrancis, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. nick.cfrancis

    nick.cfrancis New Member

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    Which cellular carrier has the best coverage at the Air Force Academy?

    How is Sprint's coverage at USAFA? (I am leaning towards Sprint, because they are the cheapest)

    Thank you,
    nick.cfrancis
     
  2. Texas2013

    Texas2013 Member

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    My son has AT&T and an iPhone and has never had any trouble with connection, dropped calls, etc. Remember, though, you won't have access to your phone for quite a while - possibly mid fall semester.
     
  3. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    We have Verizon and have never had problems his whole first year in Vandy. However, everyone is in Sijan in the summer, and the clarity and dropped calls are terrible. Glad our cadet is going to be in Sq. 20 for the next three years and that squadron is in Vandy.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Depends on where you room is. My son is right next to Mitch's and has verizon and an Eris android. No problems. We all have Verizon, so all the calls are free. Cheaper is relative to who you calls. The problem with Sprint, and the reason I wouldn't use them, is because they were designed around the PCS system. Which means, their coverage is mainly around the interstate and cities. Yes, it covers Colorado Springs and the Academy. However, go to sprint.com and look at their coverage map. You will see that even though they've expanded a little, there are way too many places they don't cover. Now, if you only stay in cities, the academy, and your home, then you might be OK. Coverage at the academy is dependent on where your room is. But other than that, most providers work at the academy. But from my experience, Verizon has the best national coverage, and their 3G is every place they have coverage. AT&T has great 3G service, but they don't have their fastest 3G every place their phone works. Which means, many places their data speeds are REALLY SLOW.

    Living in Wyoming, we definitely have some areas that have no coverage by anyone. So I keep up on this a lot. Plus, my job is to manage the cell phone system for our state. When your monthly cell phone bill is over $100,000 per month, you look at coverage a lot. I would definitely stay with either verizon or AT&T. And it's definitely cheaper if you get on the same provider that all your family and friends is on. Then, you can get the lowest minute plan they have, because most have free in-network calling. Best of luck. mike....
     
  5. bandit

    bandit Member

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    don't forget you can get a military discount also.

    with AT&T I believe it is 15%. Don't know about the others, but probably similar.
     
  6. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    can get a discount with t-mobile too through the AOG, dunno if ya haveta be a member or anythin.

    it all depends on your room. i have t-mobile, and down in the dungeons of vandy i dont have service, sometimes i dont have service in the hallways of sijan, it all just depends. the dorms are basically an aluminum casket; not the best for cell phones.
     
  7. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    We have Sprint, and have never had any issues with coverage from any location at USAFA. It has been very reliable.
     
  8. Texas2013

    Texas2013 Member

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    It is correct that AT&T offers 15% military discount if your cadet is on his/her own plan. The discount, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be applied to a family plan on which the cadet is just one of several users. A quick call to AT&T (or any carrier you are considering) can confirm this. Great point about choosing a carrier that most family and friends use...the free in-network calling is a great bonus.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Verizon also offers discounts for military. And cadetmom; definitely nothing wrong with Sprint if you pretty much hang around the academy, colorado springs, or along the I-25 corridor. Sprint has their issues when you're not along the PCS metro areas. So, if you don't do a lot of traveling around, it's perfectly fine. If you get off the beaten path more often, you might look into Verizon or ATT.
     
  10. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    I've been using AT&T for years, and the Academy has excellent reception throughout the base, but especially in dorm rooms. I've also heard good things about Verizon, and even though their overall prices are higher, I've been told that with them you get what you pay for. The only service I've heard complaints about is T-Mobile, and I can tell with my roommate that Sprint is FAR from perfect.
     
  11. jinsprings

    jinsprings New Member

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    We have Sprint drove from California to Colorado Springs in May and the only place we did not have service was through Wyoming. Once we got into Colorado we had service all the way through...even with our HOTSPOT from Sprint. Was nice to be able to have internet while driving! My daughter was at the Prep School last year and while in the buildings she had some difficulty..but as far as I know she never had a problem while outside ANYWHERE in Colorado that she went. Actually my husband could not use his Iphone hardly at all...for navigation at all...dropped calls alot...but my sprint was A OK!
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I had almost no problem with T-mobile while I was at USAFA. Only in Vandy on the TZO side on the 2nd floor where there was a good 50 feet of earth and concrete between it and the sky did it not work! (Even then sometimes it would!)
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    jinsprings, you are correct. As I mentioned, Sprint started what was known as PCS. It was designed around the metro areas and the interstates. So yes, if you're driving cross country, and you're on the interstates, there's a very good chance you'll do quite fine with sprint. If you get off the beaten path, that's another issue. So, if you look at a sprint coverage map, and compare it to a verizon or ATT coverage map, you'll see quite a difference. Sprint primarily is along major interstates and cities/towns. Verizon and ATT also extends out to the other areas also. Now mind you, Colorado, as well as surrounding states, is very mountainous, and there's certain areas where NO CELL PHONE WORKS. But when you get out of a major town/city, and off of a major interstate, Verizon/ATT are much more likely to work. Here's sprint's coverage of Colorado.

    [​IMG]

    And verizon's for the same basic area:
    [​IMG]

    AT&T is similar to Verizon, except their DATA capabilities change. Their 3g data network varies in speed, depending on where you are. e.g. Denver or colorado springs will be faster than on the interstate some place. And some places, it's even faster than Verizon. Verizon on the other hand, has their full 3g EVERYPLACE that their voice service works. So, the ATT map is harder to read, because they use like 5 shades of colors. But it's about the same as verizon.

    Anyway, nothing wrong with sprint. But if you're really into exploring, getting out and seeing the world, not always staying in the cities and along major interstates, Sprint might not be best for you. But if that's where you spend all your travels, then there's nothing wrong with sprint.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  14. jinsprings

    jinsprings New Member

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    Nope we went off the beaten path into the mountains househunting, etc and again had no problems with Sprint! But to each his own.
     
  15. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Current Sprint 3G roams to verizon whenever there is no Sprint service. That's what the grey on the chart above is, Verizon roaming coverage.

    The only time you'll have problems is if the spot you are in is right at the threshold of no service for sprint, not completely in or out. Otherwise it's just flips to Verizon.

    We view it as having the advantages of Sprint cost & metro speed with Verizon's rural network.
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Most people probably only care about voice. But have you tried 3G data when roaming. It's definitely not like being home. But again, to each their own.

    When people ask questions about cell service, the first question back should be: What provider does all your friends, family, and those you plan on talking with use? That will ALWAYS be the cheapest. In networks can't be beat. If that isn't an issue for you, then I personally prefer the 2 biggies. Verizon or AT&T. Can you save a couple dollars with sprint, t-mobile, alltel, etc..? Yes. I compare cell packages all the time. It's part of my job. And to be completely honest, they are ALL within about $10 a month. Complete 3G data/voice plans for blackberry, android, palm, etc... type of phones, range between $89-$99 a month. Traditional phone plans, with text, range from $39-$49 a month.

    So again, the first thing is: Who do you plan on talking to. if 9/10 of all the people you're calling are on the same network as you, you don't need a large minute plan. If you don't want to be on the same plan as mom, dad, sister, girlfriend, friends, etc... then you'll need one with more/unlimited voice. If you're really big into the 3G network, and need your data, you have to decide where you'll use it most. If it's mainly in the large cities, then AT&T is the better deal. If it's all over the place, then Verizon is the better deal. Yes, Sprint roams. but data and voice are 2 different things. Here's sprint's map for data in the Colorado Springs area. ONLY the orange is 3g. The roaming is LIMITED. Usually VERY limited. Go to their website and see. Yes, voice roams. But not much data. And with today's technology, text and data are almost required.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Something potentially to investigate. I had a friend (fellow firstie at the time) who had the Cricket network. He loved it and got great reception in the mountains when the rest of us with AT&T/T-mobile/Verizon/Sprint couldn't get any. It's also much cheaper. Though, CC might know quite a bit more about those up and comers.
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There's a lot of mom/pop outfits out there. Some have their own cellular service, like Union Cellular in Wyoming as an example. Some of these simply have towers/repeaters and lease them out to the cell providers. The thing to remember is that Voice is still the primary purpose of cell phones. And if that's what is all you mostly do, then between roaming agreement and leased 3rd party cell towers, almost any of the major providers will work.

    If you check out the cricket coverage, their primary coverage is limited, but their roaming covers most everywhere. And because they don't really charge roaming fees, it's great for voice. However, roaming many times does NOT INCLUDE TEXTING. Also, if you look at their 3g, it's very small. Smaller than Sprint's. It's pretty much ONLY in major cities. Yes, Colorado Springs is covered. Including the academy. But outside of the major populated areas, 3g is limited.

    So, we keep going back to where we were. When my son first got to the academy, all he cared about was voice and text. He lives right next to Mitch's. We use verizon; his friends use verizon; verizon works in his dorm; so he stayed with verizon. Me paying $10 a month additional for his line is cheaper than him paying $40+ for his own line. Now, he's turning into a geek like his father. He got an android and internet 3G service. We know it will work in his dorm, because he's already been using that. We prefer verizon because we know that if we have service, we have all 3. Voice, 3g data, and text. They have the largest coverage area. But again, it depends on what provider the people you're going to call has, what you're going to use it for, and where you're going to use. What's right for one person doesn't mean it's the only right choice. I think enough information has been given as to what the different providers can offer. It's up to the person to decide what they want it for, who they want to talk with it, and where they'll use it. Then pick the one that's best for you. best of luck. Mike....
     

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