(Note: this is a post from 2000; a more up to date comparison of cellular
carriers can be found at the Wirelessnotes.$
Subject: Re: Sprint versus CellOne
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 07:21:58 -0800
In a recent message, Chris Stone wrote in message
>I currently subscribe to Sprint, but the coverage has been very spotty in
>the foothills on the East San Francisco Bay, where I place most of my
>Is CellOne's coverage better in that area? Any comments on the wisdom of
>making this move?
Yes....I'm surprised it took you so long! :)
(No offense, and I'm not trying to be flippant...)
As I have from time to time mentioned in other posts, Sprint is good for
what they are -- so incompetent and inept that they HAVE to give you a good
deal or you won't use their service ! :)
Calls drop regularly everywhere, NYC (Kotchiousko Bridge -- I know I
butchered that, it's the I-278 bridge between Brooklyn an Queens); LA
(Ventura Freeway/US-101 at Topanga, also on the grade heading into Oxnard,
in the Hollywood Hills, and just about any drive of more than 10 minutes),
Boston (Milton/Randolph MA-128/I-93 at MA-24 and Ponkapoag Trail (another
The point being that Sprint is NOT a good primary cellphone -- it should
NEVER be used IMO by someone who needs reliable cellular service with good
call delivery, good voice quality (ie, no ability to force analog other than
roaming, and their CDMA is the worst of all of them, not that CDMA is
anything to write home about; TDMA is a better digital standard audio
quality wise), and reliable connections while traveling.
Sprint is still building out, and at this stage of it's development is just
not the most reliable or anywhere near extensive carrier.
This being said, it does have its uses, such as reliable caller ID delivery
in it's markets (and in some roaming partners, like AT&T), nice integration
with it's roaming partners (better than most B carriers, which is amazing),
first incoming minute free with no call delivery charge, no call delivery
charges on any call (unlike most A and B carriers who charge you a toll
charge to receive a call outside your home area *in addition* to airtime
charges), and flat rate pricing while on SPRINT's system...
So these are pluses which is why we have a couple of Sprint phones...they
are good backups and have advantages while roaming (if you can stand the
poor coverage and dropped calls, but it beats getting local service in every
market we work in).
But in terms of local service in the SF Bay, EITHER GTE or Cell One/SF will
do you a lot better in terms of local coverage *on average*, as will
Pac*Tel. Note that I saw "on average" -- there may be certain towns (like
Piedmont with GTE) where one carrier is better than the other, and where
Sprint may have a tower nearby so they will get you at your house on top of
the hill or whatever where the other establishment carriers won't. However,
generally, GTE and Cell One do a pretty good job of covering the East Bay,
and you will have much better average call quality, call completion, and
call delivery ratios than you will with Sprint.
You can test this out by putting your Sprint phone (if it allowed this) in
analog ONLY mode, and then dialing 611 and listening to the "Welcome"
recording to see which analog system you are on (ie, either Cell One or GTE,
I think Sprint defaults to the "A" first so prob. Cell One). Once you are
sure of who you are on, play with their automated menu system while driving
around, etc., in areas where you are experiencing problems with Sprint, and
see how coverage on that carrier is. If you like it, then you know that it
will work well for you, and drop Sprint and sign up with whoever worked well
from your tests (a better test is to borrow a friend's phone and test both
the A and the B sides extensively where you drive before you sign up for
either so you can do some sort of suitable comparison, but even just testing
one of the carriers with the Sprint phone in analog mode should help in
determining how much better a given carrier is over Sprint.
Good Luck! :)
(This post and other cellular/CDPD posts and issues are also available at: