Let's talk U.S. GSM cellular phones...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Matt Gordon, May 2, 2003.

  1. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    What carriers are good? I'm looking at moving from my current carrier (Named after the Southern Pacific Railroad followed by the letters "PCS.") to either the T-Mobile or AT&T Wireless GSM networks. As far as equipment, I'm eyeing the Nokia 3650, which I can get from either vendor.

    So what's good? What's bad? If you have either T-Mobile or AT&T (Next Generation), are you happy with them?

    I live in the St. Louis area, so if anyone has any opinion about the GSM coverage in that area specifically, I'd be glad to hear it.



    Matt
     
  2. Jason_H

    Jason_H Second Unit

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    I use T-mobile and have been happy with them. Even the coverage has been good, I've been out in some pretty small towns around Texas and still had coverage. I use an unlocked Motorola v60 that I also can use when I travel overseas.
     
  3. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    GSM service is the best. I have had AT&T forever and switched to their GSM what a difference.
     
  4. Scott Barnhart

    Scott Barnhart Stunt Coordinator

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    For GSM, AT&T seems to be the one to beat right now in the US, although nobody really offers stellar, standout service in my opinion. But the advantages of GSM are so many, it is definitely the way to go. Just to be able to use SIM cards makes it worth it.

    The Nokia 3650 is a pretty cool phone, running a really nice OS (Symbian) and having a TON of cool features. I don't use it as my cell phone, but at work I do a lot of work simulating its behavior, and writing some J2ME apps for it. The only 2 possible drawbacks I have seen with it so far are:

    1) It has a pretty small battery to run all that hardware, so battery life is not best-in-class, but considering everything it is powering, it is decent.

    2) If you do a lot of SMS-ing, emailing, or web-browsing, and come from a triple-typing or T9-ing background on a normal phone, the key layout on the 3650 will drive you crazy! However, if you are starting to learn triple-typing or T9 key input from scratch, this won't be an issue.
     
  5. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    About 2 weeks ago I decided to try ATT GSM service. I don't care about being able to surf the web from a phone but what I did want was the ultra compact size available in GSM phones.

    I bought the Siemens c56 for $50 with a $50 rebate. Since ATT has a 30 return no questions asked return policy and the phone would end up being "free" then I decided to try it.

    First off while TDMA typically (with ATT anyway) sounds anywhere from hideous to okay GSM sounded , to me, a lot better. Also with only one "bar" on the signal meter it still sounded great. Only problem was that if there was no bar at all it would just say "network search".

    Needless to say I had to return the phone and go back to TDMA having my Panasonic Duramax re-enabled. I really hated doing that but the service was unuseable in many areas where I live. TDMA may not sound all that great, but at least it was useable.

    In about 6 months I may try it again as the ATT store told me that they have roaming agreements with T-Mobile and Cingular awaiting final approval. One night my phone did say T-Mobile and it was a pretty good signal. Assuming the salesman isn't full of shit (this one in particular has never tried to BS me so I figure he's probably pretty straight up)
    then that would take care of the no signal problem. I would happily wait until reaching an ATT GSM service area to use my phone if it meant getting a really small phone.

    I considered the S46 TDMA and GSM capable phone from Siemens but it wasn't any smaller than my Duramax which negates the whole reason for getting another phone.
     
  6. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Second Unit

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    Ive had one with ATT for about 2 months now. Bascially its ended up costing more and its very frustrating. I lost my 8pm night and weekend minutes, they went to 9pm. They don't offer mobile to mobile minutes with GSM to TDMA. Im pretty sure GSM to GSM mobile to mobile have to be under the same bill.

    And heres the most annoying one: If you are going over in minutes in a cycle, you cant change your plan in the middle of a it and expect your bill to be adjusted accordingly! I knew I went over my alloted 600 anytime minutes so wanted to change to 800 toward the end of my cycle. Well I still got a .40 per minute charge for the 245 minutes I went over before I changed the plan. the rest of the month was pro-rated on the new plan and i got charged for that too! I had a $250 bill. I called and complained and they did a one time adjustment and it came down to $100.

    The wireless web is a joke on their system anyway. Never seen it anywhere else. During the month I had it for free quite often the signal would drop while browsing. Not only that but to actually look at anything so many screens have to be scrolled through. I dropped this option.

    I do agree GSM sounds a hell of a lot better. I have the 3650 also btw.
     
  7. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Can someone explain the difference between GSM and CDMA? Which do you think is better and why?
     
  8. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I have Verizon which is cdma, I would not change for anything, I have had a TDMA phone and the service and sound quality was terrible and I have friends with tdma phones and you can always tell when they call because of of the crappy sound quality
     
  9. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    The features of the AT&T mLife look pretty interesting, so I may try them. I only know one person who has T-Mobile, and he says the customer service is terrible.

    AT&T has some new promos coming out in about a week, so I may wait until then. Hopefully, they will add mobile to mobile minutes, because I'll be buying phones for both my fiancee (getting married in 13 days!) and myself. I would probably get her the Siemens (heh, heh, he said Siemens) S46, so she can do both TDMA and GSM.


    Matt
     
  10. Alf S

    Alf S Banned
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    I renewed my ATT wireless for myself and my wife recently and was SO close to switching my service to GSM.

    However talking to a buddy of mine at work (arranges and maintains all our companies cell plans) he said although an awesome upgrade from digital, he said in this part of the world at least, the GSM can leave you high and dry the second you stray from the limited GSM areas. The second you do, call is dropped..now if you have a GSM phone that also offers digital back-up, then the phone will switch to the digital signal, thus not leaving you in the lurch.

    Read the coverage maps carefully, and make sure you get a multi function GSM phone.

    Alfer
     
  11. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Second Unit

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    GSM *is* digital - so is everything except the old analog system :)

    CDMA and GSM are both great. One can argue the merits of each forever, but bottom line they both work great.

    I switched from Sprint for many reasons. My wife didn't have to deal with customer service as much as I, so she took longer to switch. But in the end, the dropped signals and delayed voicemail got to her too. I went to t-mobile and was very happy, but got no reception when I moved office. Doh!

    Now my wife and I are on AT&T - she's got a TDMA phone, I went GSM and just upgraded to the Nokia 3650. It's a great phone! I love the large color screen. Battery time is great. Keypad no problem to adjust to. The phone is not tiny (I had an 8390 before!), - it is very light though. Features wonderful and plenty of extra software to download. Definitely recommended. It's nice seeing a goofy photo of your friends when they call :) And I like having my baby showing as my screen background.

    Generally we find the GSM coverage just fine, but when we go on trips there are certainly places that the TDMA phone has coverage, and the GSM phone doesn't. It seems AT&T is building out the GSM network as fast as they can though!

    I would certainly sign up on GSM again today. I would look at T-mobile as well in the future (once I've moved office :)

    AT&T signed the roaming agreement with T-mobile (last week I think), so that should expand the GSM coverage of each.

    Some links:

    http://midlet.org/index.jsp
    http://www.nokia3650.com
    http://support.attws.com and check out the forums
     
  12. Devin U

    Devin U Second Unit

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    Ive had tmobile for a while now. as far as service, its ok in Phoenix, but get too far out of town, and you get nothing. I would go ATT for one reason. They will start supporting 850mh GSM soon, which means older cell towers can be upgrated to broden the service area. since att already has these towers or agreements to use these towers, they will have faster rollout and cheaper prices for the service. as far a GSM vs CDMA, I cant tell a diffrence. CDMA is in use in the majority of the us, Japan, and Korea, and GSM is pretty much everywhere else. They say CDMA, especialy the new standard WCDMA, which is soon to roll out, is better for data. and CDMA will soon be sporting SIM card type moduals, so as soon as that happens, I may go back to CDMA. But nothing has beat the convienience of IDEN (nextell) to me. Id love to go back to them.
     
  13. Devin U

    Devin U Second Unit

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  14. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Graham,

    Thanks for the links! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Looks like I can get this phone "free" from Ultimate Electronics with a $150 mail-in rebate. Not a bad deal... [​IMG]


    Matt
     
  15. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    And now those wishing to subscribe to T-mobile can get their "Free" Nokia 3650 at Amazon.com.


    ...Um, well, looks like that "deal" lasted for for about a day. Now it's up to $149, the going rate for T-Mobile.
     

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