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Discussion Starter #1
I will be sailing from northern Maine to Florida. I am interested in sailors real experience along the East Coast for reception of phone calls and 4G data (and 2G data) for Verizon and AT&T. Which is better? Problem areas may be the Outer Banks, parts of Georgia, Carolinas, and Maine. What do you think, and what have you heard from other sailors. Let 'er rip.
 

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I am a Verizon fan BUT all coverage is hit and miss with 1/8 mile making a big difference

On Long Island Sound I have no problems how ever in many Long Island anchorages you got nothing and then I can be in what would seem a bad place on Shelter island and have 4G :)
 

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I had no problem with Verizon out to the beginning of the 1000 foot charted depth when going from Florida to Georgia.

ATT crew mates did.
 

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Even in the "wilds" of NC, there where only a couple of places where I couldn't get a reliable signal with Verizon and I don't recall any dead spots further south, though I'm sure some exist. Nor did I have any problems running offshore from Beaufort south (I pretty much stay in sight of land).
 

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Verizon, very few spots on the ICW without a good signal.
 

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Verizon has better coverage than AT&T along the US East Coast. AT&T has been improving steadily but still has more gaps than Verizon.

I've had crew aboard on deliveries with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint so we've been able to make side-by-side comparisons.

What makes sense depends on where you're heading. If you are going to the Bahamas AT&T makes sense since they use GSM like Batelco. If you're staying in the US Verizon has better coverage.

I have found that where AT&T does have data coverage in the US it is faster than Verizon.
 

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Although Verizon is still CDMA, most Verizon LTE phones now support the use of SIM cards and come factory SIM unlocked so they are usable on GSM networks. AT&T and T-Mobile phones are GSM but generally don't come SIM unlocked unless you pay for the phone in full. Even then, there is often a waiting period to unlock.
 

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Fully agree with the consensus above. Better coverage with Verizon in general. ATT advantage is (or was) international.

However, it doesn't matter what carrier you have in remote parts of Maine, zero towers.
 

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I've been happy with ATT coverage in the Chesapeake and coastal to NY.

Tod
 

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Agree with comments regarding Verizon. There are some spotty service areas in NC, SC & GA. Surprisingly not many, but they exist. Other times I find 4-G service where I least expect. I've no experience with AT&T nor T-Mobile along the ICW and Atlantic coast.
 

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We have both a Verizon and AT&T when cruising Maine. AT&T is mostly useless once out of Casco Bay, and Verizon can be a bit spotty here and there approaching down East, but overall is better than the AT&T reception.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you everyone for the great feedback, it's much appreciated. I will add my two cents, t mobile data coverage is terrible.
 

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Although Verizon is still CDMA, most Verizon LTE phones now support the use of SIM cards and come factory SIM unlocked so they are usable on GSM networks. AT&T and T-Mobile phones are GSM but generally don't come SIM unlocked unless you pay for the phone in full. Even then, there is often a waiting period to unlock.
I've had three phones unlocked by AT&T at no charge. I explained my needs and they gave me unlock codes. One quite old phone required support from the manufacturer. My two iPhones (a 3G now drowned and a 4) they did right away during a technical support call.

Interestingly the next generation of cellular technology called Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a wideband version of CDMA. Unfortunately carriers are using different frequency bands with different 3G backup systems. In the near-term that means truly world phones will be more difficult to come by.

Aren't the Verizon SIM card phones for 4G LTE only? If so, they will only work where LTE coverage exists on the right frequencies for the phone.
 

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I've had three phones unlocked by AT&T at no charge. I explained my needs and they gave me unlock codes. One quite old phone required support from the manufacturer. My two iPhones (a 3G now drowned and a 4) they did right away during a technical support call.

Interestingly the next generation of cellular technology called Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a wideband version of CDMA. Unfortunately carriers are using different frequency bands with different 3G backup systems. In the near-term that means truly world phones will be more difficult to come by.

Aren't the Verizon SIM card phones for 4G LTE only? If so, they will only work where LTE coverage exists on the right frequencies for the phone.
My 5S seems to work for talking on 1x , 3G and LTE, data pretty much only works on LTE

I know my daughter on a Verizon 4S had no problems paying the piper to use the phone over in the EU
 

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I can access data over my 5S with Verizon in all modes, its just a question of speed.
 

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My fiancé has Verizon, I have At&t. Hands down Verizon is better in our cruising area. She has coverage 99% of the time. Me about 25%. I plan on going on her Verizon plan soon.
 

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AT&T seems to have better coverage in populous areas, verizon seems to have better coverage in the sticks.

My work phone is AT&T but my iPad (personal) is Verizon. My iPad is my principal computer on the boat and it tends to be better than my phone when in the water (I'm not sure if this is affected by the phone/iPads ability to receive a signal).
 

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I am flirting into stuff I don't really understand. However, I had one of our IT guys tell me that ATT wireless is the successor to Cingular. Apparently, the name was a reference to technology that only require contact with a single tower, while most others required more than one, so you would hand off or have backup or something I didn't quite follow. The "singular" technology does work better in heavily populated areas, as you move less and have better signals. The standard tech is better everywhere else.

Not my story, I'm just trying to repeat it. Poorly, perhaps.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks everyone! Seems the consensus is that sailors on the East Coast have best luck with Verizon. Anyone have experience using Verizon in Europe? I have heard ATT is a bit better there.
 
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