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Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:37 am
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Default Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Hi there,

Can anybody help me with their thoughts on the best mobile provider for Washington DC and surroundings? For me, having the best network is more important than price.

Would like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.

Daan
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Verizon.

Verizon was originally called "Bell Atlantic" and was the primary "baby bell" phone company in the Washington DC metro area. It has grown to be nationwide since then but the DC area is still their "home" in that sense.

One of the neat things about Verizon is that they use CDMA technology instead of GSM. As a result a basic Verizon phone will not work in Europe or in other countries, but thanks to a strange and generally unpublicized rule an iPhone and many other smartphones sold by Verizon actually have working GSM slots built in. This means you can take a Verizon CDMA iPhone over to the UK and then just slot in a local GSM on arrival and you are good to go. No hassles about locking/unlocking as the law prevents them from interfering with the GSM port they don't use for USA service.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
..... One of the neat things about Verizon is that they use CDMA technology instead of GSM. As a result a basic Verizon phone will not work in Europe or in other countries, but thanks to a strange and generally unpublicized rule an iPhone and many other smartphones sold by Verizon actually have working GSM slots built in. This means you can take a Verizon CDMA iPhone over to the UK and then just slot in a local GSM on arrival and you are good to go. No hassles about locking/unlocking as the law prevents them from interfering with the GSM port they don't use for USA service. .....
I am not sure how much of that is still true. Verizon has been transitioning its data network to LTE (the successor to GSM) since 2010, and for voice since 2014. While the CDSM network still exists, I am not sure how widely it is still used nor how much longer it will be maintained, especially as CDSM calls reportedly use three times the bandwidth of LTE calls.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I am not sure how much of that is still true. Verizon has been transitioning its data network to LTE (the successor to GSM) since 2010, and for voice since 2014. While the CDSM network still exists, I am not sure how widely it is still used nor how much longer it will be maintained, especially as CDSM calls reportedly use three times the bandwidth of LTE calls.
Yup, it's certainly the case that a Verizon-bought iPhone 6 or above will work on non-CDMA networks: we've had no problems using ours with a UK SIM when there. Verizon iPhones are SIM-unlocked and so will work on GSM-based US networks like T-Mobile and AT&T with one of their SIMs. AIUI the only US network a Verizon iPhone can't be used on easily is Sprint which is TD-CDMA. I can't speak for other manufacturers' phones transferability to and from Verizon.

In the NYC area Verizon is a better network than AT&T or T-Mobile's. That said, it's more expensive and when our contracts expire I think we might switch to one of those others.

OP should also note that if they have SIM-unlocked UK phones, they should work with AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

I'd suggest that you take a look at Project Fi
https://fi.google.com/about/

Network is great and there's plenty of free WiFi.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

In metro areas - I love TMobile. Fast data, great service, cheap rates and free international roaming / texting. Start driving out into the sticks and its good, but nowhere near as deep as Verizon or AT&T coverage.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
One of the neat things about Verizon is that they use CDMA technology instead of GSM.
This is (kinda) a bit out of date now.

Verizon only falls back to CDMA where a customer cannot use VoLTE. Given VZW has most of the country covered with LTE, VoLTE is almost certainly handling a significant proportion of voice traffic for phones which support it.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Back to the OP's question, the DC area is well served by wireless providers and basically any of them will do the job with small dead zones around the region. The difference really comes into play when you get away from the DC Metro area. Verizon and AT&T will generally work best in rural areas, but that doesn't mean you have to get one of these two.

There are several smaller companies that piggy-back on the services of these carriers, often offering much more service for less. Companies like StraightTalk, Net10, Boost Mobile and Cricket are examples with both having online presence. Consumer Cellular is probably the best rated for customer support and has some attractive rate too.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
.... There are several smaller companies that piggy-back on the services of these carriers, often offering much more service for less. Companies like ...... Cricket are examples ......
Cricket is now the prepaid division of AT&T.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Howards Forums is a useful site for background on carriers.

HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Resource
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
There are several smaller companies that piggy-back on the services of these carriers, often offering much more service for less. Companies like StraightTalk, Net10, Boost Mobile and Cricket are examples with both having online presence. Consumer Cellular is probably the best rated for customer support and has some attractive rate too.
A lot of these companies have problems with sms short codes. So if your bank or other institution uses sms for 2 factor authentication you may have issues.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Howards Forums is a useful site for background on carriers.

HowardForums: Your Mobile Phone Community & Resource
The mods there are such a bunch of sensitive wankers. It's a constant censorship brigade.
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

This is great information. Thank you all.

So far, I am leaning towards T-Mobile as their service seems to be better.
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Originally Posted by Daan View Post
.... So far, I am leaning towards T-Mobile as their service seems to be better.
I don't know about "better", as they are generally considered to have poorer coverage than Verizon and AT&T, especially once you leave built-up areas, but T-Mobile is almost certainly going to be cheaper.
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Best mobile providers in Washington DC area

Are you just visiting or moving to the US? If you're just visiting then T-Mobile will probably be fine.

I went with T-Mobile when I first arrived but ditched them a couple of months ago as I was fed up of their poor coverage - losing signal going into buildings even with a band 12 phone and no coverage or terrible capped roaming on AT&T in rural areas.

This week I'm up in Maine and T-Mobile has basically no native coverage up here but Verizon coverage is excellent so I'm doubly glad I left right now!
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