Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mobilz Becomes Cross Wireless

The Cross Telephone Company in eastern Oklahoma may have gotten a little too creative with their wireless service when they rolled out "Mobilz".  When you're a tiny rural phone operation, your wireless arm needs to support, not distract from, the main wireline/DSL/TV operation. So Cross wisely renamed their service to "Cross Wireless".  The cellular operation is small enough that when we call the helpful people there they have no idea that we are not seeking information about their wireless home Internet service.

Not to further confuse things, Cross also owns Sprocket Wireless which serves the area "a little farther out" from the Cross Wireless coverage area.  While Sprocket is a slightly more familiar name in that area east of Tulsa, it would be smart to further consolidate to just one name for their cellular operations.  The main reason to do so in larger markets is to get more bang for your marketing money, but in the smallest markets, there just might not be any.

In New Mexico, Leaco Rural Telephone Cooperative changed their cellular service to "NMobile", due to confusion over the "Leaco" name being limited to Lea County.  In central Texas, Mid-Tex Wireless finally assigned their acquired Five Star Wireless name to their wireless Internet service instead of having cellular stores with different names.  However. they also offer prepaid service under the Right Wireless name, so they still found a way to diffuse their marketing efforts.  At least in Oklahoma, consolidation makes sense without losing any more wireless carriers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

T-Mobile's Thousands of Cell Sites

The T-Mobile motorcycle spokesgal has traded her blurring speed in the city for a blurring view of T-Mobile's cell sites.  Indeed, T-Mobile does have a large number of cell sites, part of which was necessitated by their shorter range PCS signals.  However, they have gone one step further and placed a few strategic cell sites in areas ignored by other carriers.  Even the king of covering undercovered areas, Commnet Wireless, has a way to go to match some of T-Mobile's surprise cell sites. 

In my home state of Colorado there are wide stretches of National Forest lands that forbid cell sites either by federal decree or a lack of infrastructure.  However, there always seems to be some kind of RF facility on a mountain peak that begs the question, "Why not here?"  T-Mobile has climbed those mountains where other carriers fear to tread, and has made us huge fans.  There was a time when it took Verizon's extensive network AND its roaming partners to give us the confidence of universal coverage.  Now they seem to be only adding sites where it makes economic sense.  T-Mobile's surprise sites actually has us stopping and scratching our heads.  Not a single home or factory is within coverage of these sites...they are are here only to serve the traveling public.  What a concept!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rating the Small Carriers

As we try to be the champion of the smaller wireless carriers, we have decided to venture onto what may be rather thin ice.  For years we have Rated the top 10 wireless carriers (which has now dwindled to 8) with a numbering system that reflects how well these carriers best fulfill what we believe are our wireless needs.  In past cases our ratings have irritated a few fan boys, but overall, we find people agree with our observations.

Now, as part of our regular review of every wireless carrier in the nation, we have assigned an "MW Rating", a numeric value we will apply as we make our periodic update on each of these carriers.  Using a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, we decided there has to be carriers that rate a "1", and ones that rate a "10".  The absolute number reflects that "X" carrier is better than "Y" our informed opinion.   Over the years we have received complaints about our Reviews, so we expect the number we assign to some of these carriers will once again raise the rankles of those associated with these victims.

Often our view is skewed by incomplete or dated data and that view changes when we are supplied with the right information.  To assign a single number that takes so many different attributes into consideration is a close approximation at best.  We can make a better guess about carriers we are familiar with, and we realize giving a "6" rating to AT&T will be unpopular.  We are still getting stories about AT&T's poor urban coverage, as they continue to suffer through a lack of capacity in major cities.  Even JD Power agrees that Sprint (MW Rating: 7) rates higher than AT&T (MW Rating: 6).  Now we'll also try to compare the best, like Cincinnati Bell (MW Rating: 10) to the Wisconsin's Element Mobile (MW Rating: 3).  Agreed?