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  1.    #1  
    I'm in State College (PA) @ Penn State. I am very excited about the Pre, and would like to get it. But when I checked the type of coverage that I would get on Sprint, I was disappointed. I obtained the following from the Sprint coverage tool:

    Voice: Spring Coverage Varies.
    Data: Nationwide Sprint Network.
    This means that I'd be getting 50 kbps - 70 kbps only. Not 3G, and no GPS?

    (I can't link to the coverage tool because I don't have 10 posts, but try using zip code 16801 to see what I saw).

    In fact, it seems that the only networks with 3G in the area are verizon and AT&T. T-mobile doesn't either.

    Currently, I'm a iphone 2G (unlocked) user on Immix wireless. This provider is a local Pennsylvania one and doesn't have a data plan that works with my current phone. That means that I've been using the iphone solely on Wifi, and that consequently I have no idea what 2G and 3G "feel like" (although I did watch videos online).

    In terms of planned usage, I want to use my phone to chat, to email, to tweet and for facebook and google voice (awesome!). I don't watch videos much, but would like to use pandora.

    What are your experiences in areas with similar coverage? Do you think I should still get the Pre (How essential is the 3G for the phone to be worth it)? What does that really mean, "Sprint coverage varies" for voice?

    Thanks a lot

    P.S. Unfortunately, there's no Sprint store in the area and none of the stores that cell the Pre have a live demo in stock that I could play with.
  2. #2  
    None of the stores have a live demo? What kind of store is that?
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunsparc View Post
    None of the stores have a live demo? What kind of store is that?
    There's a Best Buy, and a Sprint Express. Neither had live demos.

    Either: neither did Radioshack.
    Last edited by blasimon; 07/20/2009 at 02:16 PM. Reason: omission
  4. #4  
    Usually when you see the "Sprint coverage Varies" on the locator tool it means that you are in an affiliate market and that Sprint doesn't have access to enough signal propagation information to accurately predict it on a map. So as far as voice coverage goes you may very well be in an area that has good Sprint signal, but there is no way to be sure without getting your hands on a phone to test. However; it does look like you would be in a 1xRTT (non 3g) area. So your data speeds would be considerably slower, 50 kbps - 70 kbps as you pointed out. I do believe however that GPS would still function for you. In areas of non 3g coverage the phone is still quite usable, but access to wifi would certainly help your situation. My suggestion would be to purchase a phone and use it extensively within the 30 day return period if you find it doesn't meet your needs you can always return it.
  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by ericmn1 View Post
    Usually when you see the "Sprint coverage Varies" on the locator tool it means that you are in an affiliate market and that Sprint doesn't have access to enough signal propagation information to accurately predict it on a map. So as far as voice coverage goes you may very well be in an area that has good Sprint signal, but there is no way to be sure without getting your hands on a phone to test. However; it does look like you would be in a 1xRTT (non 3g) area. So your data speeds would be considerably slower, 50 kbps - 70 kbps as you pointed out. I do believe however that GPS would still function for you. In areas of non 3g coverage the phone is still quite usable, but access to wifi would certainly help your situation. My suggestion would be to purchase a phone and use it extensively within the 30 day return period if you find it doesn't meet your needs you can always return it.
    Thank you very much Eric for your reply!

    The data service pop-up (that I still can't link to) suggests that I won't be able to use GPS (Sprint Navigation & Telenav) unless I'm on Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Wifi would be ideal. I have internet at home, but I spent most of my days on the penn state campus in my office where there is Wifi. the problem is that the PSU connection requires a CISCO VPN (IPSec). I understand that there is currently no VPN support on the Pre. Correct?
  6. #6  
    Sprint service in Pennsylvania is very poor. Where my parents live (not far from Central PA) I don't even roam...my phones just search until they die. When I lived in Pittsburgh I had so many dropped calls...and no service in the ghetto parts of Pittsburgh. I just thought that was how digital service was until I moved to Orlando. I have NEVER had a dropped call here in 5 years. I would do what ericmn1 suggested... buy it and use it, then return before 30 days if it isn't to your liking.
  7. #7  
    I live north west Pittsburgh and have great coverage (better then most other networks). A couple years ago I went to State college and had great coverage too. I did have trouble on some of the back roads getting there. Over the years, I've tried all three major cell phones, Sprint is the best so far (I traveled a lot too). Granted, month by month everything changes, so good luck with whatever you decide.
  8.    #8  
    thanks john and stashu11! I did exactly what Eric had suggested. I went to best buy and got the last one they had in stock.

    I'll update this post as it goes (in a day or two), given that other people at penn state might be considering my Pre and might want to know. It's not starting out too well, I have only 2 bar average reception in my office and could hardly hear the Sprint lady as I was activating my phone...
  9. yoshk's Avatar
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    #9  
    Yep, looks like it's something like 35 miles to a corporate store for you and those are in the better signal areas so it's not going to be a good representation of the signal you'll have in College Station.
    Store Manager, Authorized Sprint Retailer and Authorized Service Center for Sprint/Nextel devices. Please post inquiries to the "Ask a Sprint rep" sticky on the CDMA North America forum.
    Rocking the Evo Shift 4G till Pre3 lands.
  10.    #10  
    Yes, the Sprint reception is too bad around here in State College. Taking the palm back to best buy today. Oh well. I guess I just had to try.

    Thanks for the help/advice everybody
  11. efudd's Avatar
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    #11  
    good luck- maybe a verizon or att webos device will suit you better if you can wait another ~6 months....
  12. #12  
    Unless you have consistent access to Wifi I would say 3G is a necessity
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by blasimon View Post
    Yes, the Sprint reception is too bad around here in State College. Taking the palm back to best buy today. Oh well. I guess I just had to try.

    Thanks for the help/advice everybody
    Since AT&T is an option, I would look at the iPhone. Short of a non-QWERTY keyboard, it's a great phone.

    Phones: Sprint Blackberry Bold 9650, Sprint Blackberry Tour 9630, Nextel Blackberry 8350i Curve (Everything Plus Family Data 1600)



    "When I die bury me deep, put two speakers at my feet, a pair of ear phones on my head, and always play The Grateful Dead."
  14. pico23's Avatar
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    #14  
    Just as a heads up, for years I wanted out of verizon, but I loved the coverage which is excellent.

    Then my dad commented on driving back from the sticks and using his phone the whole way for voice and GPS. I called a bull****.

    Turns out sprint was as good as he said. Better, it roams of Verizon, so you get 1X data, and voice anyplace verizon gets a signal. Basically, sprints network (which is pretty damn good) is bolstered by Verizons network.

    Thus far I have not faired worse, all the places I didn't have service before I either have service (because of sprint) or have the same poor service because it's a CDMA dead zone.

    On a recent trip to a poor coverage area,my phone worked the whole time on sprint about 2 exits better (farther into the dead zone) then it did on VZW.

    I had VZW for 10 years, loved my service, hated the crappy phones, high prices and poor customer service (not that any cell company with a contract is better).

    2 months with Sprint and I am very happy.

    One question I have, and this won't solve your problem since 3G is sort of something I would want too at home, did you have the Pre set to DATA ROAM? If you didn't then it is probably why you had no coverage. If verizon covers state college than you would always have 1X and actually, I'd have turned off the EVDO, and forced 1X, and turned on the wifi to solve the issue.
  15. efudd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pico23 View Post
    ... it roams of Verizon, so you get 1X data, and voice anyplace verizon gets a signal. Basically, sprints network (which is pretty damn good) is bolstered by Verizons network.
    ....

    thats not exactly correct. thre's a reason why the phones have PRL's that list individual cell towers that are ok to use and not just acceptable carriers. Sprint phones can NOT roam on any verizon tower just like verizon phones can't roam on ANY sprint tower.

    THey limit which towers you can roam on, either so the billed carrier can save money or so the billing carrier can keep some towers for themselves to have a coverage edge (not sure which and might be both).

    Just read the OP's story- in his area the sprint coverage just didn't work out.

    Real world if it's someplace that your provider has no coverage AT ALL and the other has coverage then you will roam. But if it's just spotty or fringe coverage you WILL NOT ROAM.

    of course there will be places that one or the other carrier will have better service. But on the whole in the northeast at lease verizon has better. All one needss to do is look at the coverage maps.

    for most people sprints coverage will surely be "good enough" but in the northeast at least verizon is just a bit better. the question here remains is the extra coverage and larger free cell to cell calling pool worth the extra money and poor choice of phones on verizon.

    But all the CDMA carriers just dont have the same coverage becasue of roaming, nor do all the GSM ones either.

    people should try the different carriers takign advantage of the 30 day trial periods and see if the coverage where they need it is OK or not.
  16. gharkay's Avatar
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    #16  
    Hi Blasimon,
    I am in exactly the same situation as you! I have been following the Palm Pre since it was announced in January, and I've been using a Treo on Sprint for the last 6 years. I moved to State College this summer to start work early in a lab before I begin my studies as a grad students. I, too, was very disappointed to find that both Verizon and AT&T have 3G here, but not Sprint. So I've also been struggling with the decision to pay $70/mo (minus a discount) for no 3G.

    I went to Best Buy last Sunday for something else, and I was very surprised to find that they're selling the Pre. I had tried Radio Shack right after launch, but I didn't realize the BB here carried such things. Anyway, I really want a Pre!

    I found your comment about poor Sprint coverage interesting. I am on Sprint here, and I've found that it works everywhere except inside the physics building where I've been working. However, I can roam on Verizon just fine in that building, even in the sub-basement (though it is a weaker signal down there). Data roaming also works great on my Treo. I have heard plenty of people seeming to have weak reception on the Pre, so I wonder if that's something that might possibly get fixed with a firmware update. I wonder...did you have roaming and data roaming turned on?

    I convinced myself that if I could find a VPN client that would work with the Pre and allow me to access the PSU wireless, then I would get a Pre. I've been playing around with an IPSEC client by AnthaSoft on my Treo that could potentially run on Classic (an app that runs old Palm OS programs if you're not familiar) on the Pre. I haven't gotten it to work yet, but there are a million settings that I haven't figured out, too. It's a possibility, though.

    I thought I might also point out that I asked the BB Mobile manager about Sprint 3G, and he mentioned that he thought Sprint was planning to roll it out in State College, possibly in the next year. He said he would speak to his Sprint contact about it that visits every week or two, and I've got his card so I can call him about it after a week or so.

    Sorry for such a long message from someone you don't even know, but I'm happy to have found a kindred Pre spirit! Maybe you'll reconsider the Pre if things with Sprint improve. I'm really hoping for an AT&T or unlocked GSM version to appear soon. The Euro launch should be coming soon, so if that version comes with the right frequencies to be used in the US I would think it wouldn't be too hard to unlock.
  17. gharkay's Avatar
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    #17  
    By the way, I've done a little research using dslreports.com with my Treo, and I get the following data speeds fairly consistently:

    Sprint: 60-95 kbps with 1.7-2 seconds latency

    Verizon roaming: 90-110 kbps with 1.0-1.1 seconds latency

    Needless to say, if I plan on doing any "serious" web browsing I force roaming on Verizon to get the higher speeds.
  18. #18  
    FYI, according to the sprint maps, state college, PA is EVDO now.
  19. St0rmD's Avatar
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    #19  
    If I lived in an area with poor CDMA signal and had to use a 3G phone in 1xRTT mode, even if I could reliably connect to WiFi more than half the time, I would subscribe to AT&T instead. Even if you don't get 3G there either, EDGE is FAR more useable as a 2G mobile transport technology for data. Trying to use the Pre in 1x mode is an exercise in pain. Surfing the web on an EDGE phone isn't blazing or anything, but it doesn't make you want to stab yourself in the face.
    "Anyone who quotes me in their signature is an *****." -- StormD
  20. gharkay's Avatar
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    #20  
    Yankees: I actually did notice the change to EVDO because one morning a few weeks ago I woke up to the alarm on my Treo, and when I looked at it I saw the EVDO symbol. I was pretty excited! The only problem is that it still seems to be somewhat slow where the signal is strong (150-200 kbps w/latency of 0.3 ms), and I know EVDO Rev0 (what the Treo is limited to) should be better than that. Also, even though the EVDO has been turned on, the signal strength itself is still unfortunately quite poor in most areas within State College. With all that said, I think I'll still be jumping ship to Verizon when the Pre heads there because I've got a very strong Verizon signal everywhere in my area.

    StormD: I agree! I tried the Pre for 30 days on 1xRTT and it was unusable for browsing, especially since it was always trying to download full pages. Maybe the iPhone spoofing patch would alleviate that somewhat, but definitely not completely. When I use my Treo on 1xRTT I'm able to visit pages through Google's "mobilizer", and those load at a decent pace. However, they wouldn't render in a good way on the Pre. Everything was tiny, and if I zoomed in then lines of text went of the sides of the screen. Verizon and ATT seem to be about equal in my immediate area, but I think Verizon is better in other places in the northeast that I frequent, so I'll be heading to them. Also, they offer me a bigger discount, so it's win-win!
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