RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

Reply To: Cell phone reception

Tony, July 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

ehlent is correct. ATT is awaiting FCC aprovial for a buy out of T-mobile. Unfortunately they already share towers and the merger will not improve reception. Verizon is the official cell service on RAGBRAI.  The supplement existing towers with COWS (cell on wheels). These portable tower are used at major events like football games. To take on the extra cell traffic. On RAGBRAI they will place them in the overnight towns and shaded areas. I have ATT service. In general I do not get any reception west of I35 unless near a major city. I don’t expect decent reception till we get near Des Moines.  For that reason I’m buying a pay as you go Verizon phone. The phones cost $15 at Walmart and the service is $2 a day. Unlimited mobile ot mobile. I spoke to a ATT engineer off the record about there cell service. ATT caters to companies with business phones. There towers are aligned with large metro areas and Interstate highways for 3G and 4G data service. They do not service small towns because it is not cost effective for the frequency bands they use. Verizon uses CDMA bands and has towers thought Iowa.  Sprint Nextel, US Cellular, and Alltel also use CDMA bands. Customers of those companies will have the ability to roam on Verizons towers. If your phone uses GSM you will be out of luck for the first half of the ride. If it uses CDMA you will be OK for the entire trip. As Helen said, due to high traffic. Voice transmission can get busied out. Text always gets through.  Iowa Telecom which is now Windstream provides several trailers on route that have laptops and voice over IP phones to use for free. Windstream also sets up free WiFi in the towns where there trailers are at.

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