Thursday, March 21, 2019

End of the Wireless Home Phone

We watched the decline of the home landline, as alternatives for the home phone became widely available and much less expensive.  Our favorite of these was the wireless home phone which was available from all of the major carriers, and a few alternative suppliers.  The advantage that attracted us was that the wireless base unit was Internet connection, computer or router was needed.

Now, all carriers, other than Verizon Wireless, have discontinued sales of plain wireless home phone units, although they still offer plans for existing units.  Even our best-selling unit from Straight Talk is currently listed as "out of stock."  For now, there are a few outside sources for these units.  Wireless units that provide both home phone and Internet service are still available, some of which should eventually be replaced by 5G wireless broadband.

Noting this trend, we decided to reconstruct our Wireless Home Phone web site to one that reflects all of the alternatives available for a phone that serves your entire home: The Home Phone Zone. Today, there are several methods available for replacing or establishing a "home" phone, the potentially outdated notion that a family would want to share a separate phone line throughout the house.  Fortunately, wireless home phones are still available from a smaller number of suppliers.  Our new favorite home phone product is the home cell phone adapter which overcomes the downside of cellular signal problems, the inconvenience of carrying your smart phone around the house, and the concern of running out of battery power.  And you aren't adding yet another phone number to the family collection.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Mid Rivers in Montana Exits Cellular

The Mid Rivers phone cooperative in Montana has agreed to sell their cellular network to Verizon Wireless.  Like other rural phone companies, they will focus on their landline and DSL service.  Fortunately, the competition has improved in the area, so switching to another carrier may get you better service, if not a better price.  If you have a good signal with Mid Rivers, Verizon will probably provide as good as or better than what you have now. Both AT&T and T-Mobile have expanded in Montana but you won't know if they cover your home as well until you try.

Mid Rivers maintained an excellent cellular-band network but there's no guarantee that Verizon won't switch off some of the Mid-Rivers cell sites that are close to Verizon's existing locations.  We expect a slight improvement in wireless service for Mid Rivers customers but it's always sad to lose a local wireless presence.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The First 5G Zoom-in Maps

Credit to the author, Sascha Segan of PCMag for taking the verbal description of Verizon's 5G coverage and creating maps for it.  We thought about copying the maps to our Cellular Maps site, but we're afraid you wouldn't believe how small it is.  Follow this link to the article to understand the methodology and limits of this coverage.

Of course it's early in the process.  We expect 5G coverage to expand...but it looks like it will be v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.