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  1. Default Cell phone for I-90 through SD, WY and MT

    Hello! I'm driving from Indiana to Portland, OR at the end of the month, and I'm taking I-90 for a good stretch of the route (Minnesota to Ritzville, WA). I'm curious to hear from those who have driven that route–particularly the stretches in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana–about cell phone service. My car is in decent shape, and doesn't have an excessive amount of miles on it for its age (120000)…but it's also 16 years old. So I should get a cell phone, at least for the drive. I'm not as worried about SD as I am about Wyoming and Montana up to Billings.

    So, I'm asking two sets of questions:

    If you've driven that route and have a cell phone, can you tell me:

    –when you drove the route;
    –which cell phone company and plan you were with;
    –which phone you had; and
    –how was service? (notable dead spots, etc.)

    If you've driven that route at all, cell phone or no, please tell me which state you'd rather have a breakdown in without a cell phone, Wyoming or Montana before Billings? :-)

    My thanks for any information you can provide me!

  2. Default verison

    Hello,
    We drove I 90 from Chicago to MT. We did not have any NO service areas. Sometimes in a National Park there are some low signal areas but we never experienced no service. We had Tri mode phones. That means both digital plus analog. I don't remember if we were on analog in those states. Not sure of my husband's phone, but mine is LG, I believe a 3200. Not anything fancy, just trimode. We traveled this route in fall of 2004 and summer 2003. In 2003 I actually still had my old Startek. It had no out of service areas, I actually had better reception than my husband.

    I would not travel anywhere without a cell. They are just so important. Anything can happen even when close to home. I 90 through SD is barren, but through WY even more. MT is similar to SD in my opinion. I did travel Rt 90 many many years ago all the way to the coast. I would advise a cell at all times.
    Diana

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by D&D travelpartners
    I would not travel anywhere without a cell. They are just so important. Anything can happen even when close to home. I 90 through SD is barren, but through WY even more. MT is similar to SD in my opinion. I did travel Rt 90 many many years ago all the way to the coast. I would advise a cell at all times.
    Diana
    I should have been clearer in my original post. My plan is to have a cell phone–however, the two companies I am most closely considering (Verizon and T-Mobile) have gaps in their service. Verizon (at least, according to their maps) has almost no signal in large sections of Wyoming, and T-Mobile has about a 50-mile gap from the Wyoming border to just about the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Thus my tongue-in-cheek question about breaking down without a cell phone.

    The reason I'm mainly looking at T-Mobile and Verizon, and not Sprint and Cingular is simple: both promise coverage, but neither provides decent localized maps to support their claims of coverage.

    Thanks for the info!

  4. Default no problem

    Like I said we had service and good service and used the phones in all those areas I mentioned including Little Bighorn Battlefield. Just trying to help. As far as I recall Verizon maps did show service.

  5. Default see West Coast Cell plans

    There is a recent post listed bottom of this one. You should read it. Many opinions are given.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-14-2006 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Added a link

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Cell Phones

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would certanly check out the link to the West Coast Cell Phone thread at the bottom of this page. It doesn't talk about the exact same area, but many of the same rules apply.

    I'd also warn that just because a company is providing a good map of their service, it doesn't mean they actually provide good service in those areas - and vice versa.

    In general, when you are along the interstate you'll usually get service in rural areas - but when you leave the freeway, you'll likely soon be leaving the service area too.

    I'd probably lean towards Verizon or Sprint. From what I've seen, T-Mobile and Cingular are basically worthless once you leave major cities. Verizon has the largest rural coverage area, but Sprint -with the right phone- was pretty decent about finding a tower, even though it may have been roaming.

    Of course, I've stopped traveling with a Cell Phone. While they aren't a bad idea particuarly for emergencies, its a whole lot harder to "get away" when you've got a line connecting you right back to where you started. Plus, I tend to think that something that wasn't commonplace until 5 years ago could be an essential for a hobby that's been going on for decades. But that's just me.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-13-2006 at 08:18 AM.

  7. Default

    Well, our plan is not to deviate too much from the freeway, simply because we're moving, and we have to make it cross-country before our belongings do. We'll also be visiting friends and family along the way, which cuts down on the possibility of a more wandering route.

    I'm also not expecting great service even in the covered areas, but I figure that if there's coverage, there's a chance for a phone call to go through.

    As for the cell phone, I'm not entirely sure I'll keep it once I'm done with the trip. Generally speaking, I'm at work or home…and, if I'm not at one of those places, I don't feel the need to be reached. :-)

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