Friday, November 10, 2017

Sprint Says New Coverage is Coming

In the wake of the end of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger talks, Sprint president Marcelo Claure recent said tower companies are, "going to be very happy."  Sprint has been expanding mostly in the micro-cell area and now is hinting that they're going to expand coverage in a bigger way.  This brings to mind the kind of topics this news page reported in the 2007 to 2013 time period.  We often reported when a carrier made a significant expansion along this road or in that town.  Now, we're hoping those days are back again.


While AT&T and Verizon made significant coverage expansions several years ago, T-Mobile has grown across rural America just in the last few years.  In comparison, Sprint's lack of expansion beyond urban areas has almost been embarrassing.  It's not where we live, it's where we might go.  Sprint has made meager attempts to cover these areas, but we're spoiled...we want coverage everywhere.  We really hope that Sprint will try to accommodate our selfish wireless desires.

Small cell sites look like they're the path to 5G, and Sprint has done well in filling these "holes".  Now let's see them expand along the rest of the Interstate highways and appear in states that need a 4th...or even a 3rd, national player.  And, the tower companies Mr. Claure refers to already have most of the cell site locations already in place...no new permits needed.  Sprint also has the spectrum, both at 1900 and 2500 MHz.  We're ready to cover the new coverage.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

T-Mobile and Sprint See the Light

T-Mobile made the announcement, that T-Mobile and Sprint just can't get along.  For them it's a power thing, or a money thing.  For us it's a good thing.  We don't want 3 carriers...we want 4.


 That was close.. Sprint is now free to pursue life seeking a cable company hookup, and that will be OK.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

T-Mobile Finds a Way To Use New Spectrum

While other carriers and the FCC say using their new 600 MHz wireless spectrum will take years, T-Mobile is doing it in months.  In order for a carrier to begin using the new spectrum won in the 600 MHz FCC auction, several broadcast TV stations must move to another channel.  This involves channel re-assignments and the cost of modified antennas and equipment.  Most carriers are waiting for that step before investing in their newly-won spectrum.

T-Mobile analyzed the 600 MHz locations and channels and decided they could start operating immediately in areas where the TV channels are already vacant, and help broadcasters with the expenses of moving others.  They actually started using their new spectrum in Wyoming earlier this year, and are now helping free up the channels in the largest US market, New York City.  T-Mobile is also helping several PBS stations make their moves as well.


T-Mobile will help the local TV station in New York that will be moving, move sooner, to make room for T-Mobile to start operating on these new channels in NYC.  This is very pro-active on the part of T-Mobile on their path toward becoming a coverage leader in the US.  It also helps the TV stations involved get their move done faster and cheaper than would happen by pressing the FCC for their share of auction funds.  More coverage is better, but remember, those of us who view TV Over the Air need to 're-tune' our TV's from time to time. Hey, more coverage at the push of a button.

Monday, October 9, 2017

T-Mobile & Sprint Together? No!

We have been saying it for years since before the failed AT&T and T-Mobile merger.  The US will be a sad place with only 3 large wireless carriers if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge.  We agree that Sprint needs a partner, but it does not need to be T-Mobile.  We just need to look to Canada where wireless users decry the high prices of wireless.


Not only will there be problems with a T-Mobile and Sprint combination, we will also see changes in the wholesale market where most of our value-priced prepaid carriers live.  Other ramifications include a deterioration in customer service and a slower roll out of technological development.  We won't go into this dark subject we have dreaded for so long, we will only make sure everyone knows we think this is not a good thing for wireless users in the US.

We can hope that another investor will come forth and offer to take Sprint and make it the happy place it once was.  They have so much spectrum and value to offer, and most important, the will and the need to be aggressive on pricing.  Call our friends up north and ask what they think of having only 3 national carriers.  Thumbs down.

Friday, September 29, 2017

T-Mobile Takes Over iWireless in Iowa

This is pretty much a non-story since iWireless in Iowa has always looked, tasted, and smelled like a twin of T-Mobile. This will result in a few slight improvements for Iowa customers in the short term and eventually better coverage in rural Iowa.  Prepaid plans should get better and T-Mobile will start to upgrade the network to even more 4G - LTE using their newly-acquired 600 and 700 MHz spectrum.


The only downside we can find is that dealing with iWireless was a bit more personal as you were dealing with local people, but T-Mobile will also open more Iowa stores.  There's also the end of confusion of the iWireless name with Kroger.  The net result is better for the Hawkeye state.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

More Dirt Cheap Plans

At the beginning of the year we reported on the absolute, lowest-cost plans available in wireless.  Since then there have actually been improvements in these dirt cheap prices.  Most of the changes involve getting more for your money, but several of these providers have actually lowered some of their prices:

  • TWIGBY
    Here's a new player to us with a usable plan with UNLIMITED Text and 200 Minutes Talk for only $9.  Add small chunks of additional Talk or Data for correspondingly low prices.  Twigby mostly uses the Sprint network but also includes Talk and Text on Verizon Wireless when you're outside Sprint coverage.
  • T-MOBILE UNLIMITED FOR $30!
    This is a secret plan for special friends of the Noise:  Get ALL of T-Mobile's radical features for 2 people for only $60/month with No other fees attached!  Here's the catch: you need to be 55 or over to get the plan.  If you don't qualify, it's something to look forward to.
  • T-MOBILE FOR $3 
    They may not be the cheapest, but their $3/month plan is still one of the lowest-cost ways to keep in touch, although when you pay a small price, expect a small plan.  The upside is that "extras" won't break the bank, either.
  • TELLO
    Tello still lets you construct your plan to whittle it down to a minimum price, $9 for a plan with some Talk, Text and Data.  They normally offer incentives to get you to sign up such as a month of FREE Data or 15% of your initial purchase with the Coupon Code: 15OFFAFF.  Larger Tello plans have had their prices recently reduced big time, some over 28% less.  They also have doubled their 5GB of Data at the same rate. (Some of these promotions start in October)
  • FREEDOMPOP
    The leader in cheap wireless still has plans that start at FREE.  Freedompop also now offers a hefty 2GB package for only $10.

There are still some other low-cost options, but these are the ones that made some recent improvements.  We also need to tell you we have a marketing relationship with these carriers (as we do with almost all carriers) and that we didn't get paid for this post and never do.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Reviewing the Reviewers

We operate over a dozen web sites, each based on a specific wireless theme.  We recently moved our "front door" back to our first web site, MountainWireless.net.  While many of our pages provide a review of each cellular specialty, we never provided a review of these reviews...until now.  This page gives you a thumbnail report of what is available among our individual wireless web sites.  If you like one of our sites, you'll probably like one of the others.


On MountainWireless.net you'll also find a Search Tool to wade through our hundreds of pages as well as our Wireless News section.  As part of online evolution, we have gone through the birth and death of web sites based on material that was hot one day and cold the next.  So this review page is quite dynamic as the popularity of each subject rises and falls. Expect it to change weekly.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lost Carriers in Montana, North Dakota & Tennessee

Three more wireless carriers have exited the cellular business.  DTC Wireless, east of Nashville, has stopped offering cell phones and is now using their network for fixed wireless for broadband Internet access.  DTC has a good network and should be able to offer a quality wireless product.

In Montana, Big Sky Mobile has discontinued service.  We're not sure if the network was operational but they have agreed to sell their licenses to T-Mobile which is waiting FCC approval.  The phone number at Big Sky has been disconnected but they continue to post on Facebook.  With this acquisition, T-Mobile has the potential for a substantial presence in Montana along with their newly-acquired 600 and 700 MHz licenses.


Also, serving both sides of the border between Montana and North Dakota, SRT Wireless of Minot has discontinued offering wireless phones and has sold their cellular network to Verizon Wireless.  Verizon plans to upgrade the SRT sites to 4G-LTE. If you have an SRT iPhone, you'll need to get it unlocked at one of the SRT stores before you can switch it to Verizon.  Fortunately, SRT will stay in business providing their other communications products, but make sure you switch before the end of the year.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Better Wireless Coverage for the Eclipse

Here is a full list of the towns the four major carriers will be boosting coverage either through network upgrades or through adding mobile cell sites:
AT&T
Madras, Oregon
Mitchell, Oregon
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Glendo Reservoir, Wyoming
Carbondale, Illinois
Columbia, Missouri
Owensville, Missouri
Washington, Missouri
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Beatrice, Nebraska
Verizon
Madras, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Sprint
Rexburg, Idaho
Silverton, Oregon
Madras, Oregon
Brownsville, Oregon
T-Mobile (key markets)
Madras, Oregon
Snake River Valley, Idaho
Carbondale, Illinois
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Keep in mind, in the event of an emergency, Text Messaging is the most reliable form of communication.

Originally we were headed to Glendo, WY, but now that the word is out, we will be at an undisclosed location somewhere east of there...or west of there.  We will not be using any Interstate highways and instead of phones we will communicate by ham radio.  We're anticipating that the warnings about impassable roads, throngs of people and scarce supplies will cause everyone else to stay home and watch the eclipse on their phones (or TV?) instead.