Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Joys of Sprint

I just caught a thread in one of the forums started by a traveler who was roaming in northern Arizona. A few months ago we were roaming in the area and wondered how to word a scathing report on the lack of service there. The coverage "hole" we were most concerned about is centered on the Navajo Reservation. The dominant cellular carrier in the area is Cellular One of NE Arizona, a GSM and analog carrier, but they don't seem to have roaming agreements with anyone other than AT&T, and that's only AT&T post-paid customers, not pre-paid.

Verizon Wireless has almost no coverage there and depends on what little signal is supplied by Commnet Wireless. Verizon has plenty of spectrum available there but has chosen to not only not build there, but actually shut down one or more of their Navajo County sites. Alltel, whose licenses and coverage are only available around the perimeter of the Navajo Nation, has an equal amount of "no service" areas.

But the story here is that the forum poster reported somewhat continuous coverage while roaming on Verizon, Alltel and Commnet, using his Sprint phone. In our reviews, one of Sprint's greatest assets is their ability to roam on more systems than any other carrier. Of course they are limited to CDMA and what's left of analog, but their roaming capabilities are extensive. This ability provides a glaring contrast between Sprint and all other carriers, especially in this area. Sure AT&T customers have no problems roaming in this part of Arizona, but they have problems in other surrounding areas, depending mostly on Alltel GSM roaming.

After searching for an acceptable solution to roaming problems in this area, whoda thought it would be Sprint. They needed some good news lately and until Verizon and Alltel start playing nice in the area, Sprint really rocks like nobody else in Arizona, especially when we "go native"...as in Native American.


Anonymous said...

The reason Verizon shut down cell sites on the "Res" and scrapped plans for additional coverage is because the Navajo nation demanded nearly 5 times the normal amount of money to operate cell sites when renewing the lease. Blame greedy indians for bad coverage on the res, not Verizon.

Oz Andrews said...

Ah yes, the Navajos often shoot themselves in the foot. While they feel loyalty to their local cellular company, they are hurting themselves by eliminating competition. But that's how they run their "nation". And half of their local cellular service is still analog-only.