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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Verizon, Where for Art Thou?

Let the record show I have been a happy Verizon Wireless customer for over 15 years. I can remember back in the day when cell phone bills could catch you off guard to the tune of $800 if you did not pay attention to your usage.

I have kept every cell phone I have had going all the way back to my original Motorola flip phone. You know, the blocky square phone with the big floppy plastic antenna?
Anyway, now that I have moved outside of town I seem to be having constant connection issues with Verizon. For some reason out on the farm around 10 p.m. all of my text messages will stop going out. I still get incoming messages but all the outgoing lock up. Incoming voice calls will sometimes go straight to voicemail. The only way I know that someone called me is when the voicemail icon pops up and I listen to the message.

So I called Verizon and told them about the problem. My Droid  Incredible 4G is brand new. It replaced my Droid Incredible version 2 that I got in August of 2012. I really liked my Incredible 2 but it locked up on me two weeks before I moved to Oklahoma. Still under warranty, Verizon sent me a replacement free of charge and that is how I acquired my new Droid Incredible 4G.

After calling Verizon about the issues I'm having,  it appears that the only solution (for now) is to buy an external antenna for the farmhouse. A good Wilson brand runs $250 and is sold at Walmart. As much as I like electronic gadgets, I find this is unacceptable.

In the meantime, verizon says it is working on a solution and is also attempting to determine if they have a cell phone with a better internal antenna. If they ever return my call (to tell me they have found a better phone) then I suppose I will try it . But I really don't like switching equipment very often. The more advanced the smart phones become, the longer the learning curve becomes on how to use them.

One very helpful Verizon tech researched my situation and told me the nearest cell tower is about 15 miles southeast of me. He is the one that recommended the external antenna and advised me to aim it in the southeastern direction. The odd thing is that my phone always shows that I have a good strong signal when I'm at the farm. So it is a little confusing.

Folks around town are telling me that Verizon is not very good out here. They recommend I switch to AT&T or something local. After being with Verizon for so many years I really do not want to switch companies. I am kind of a loyal customer in that respect. I feel my cell phone bill is reasonable and so is their customer service. Most of all I like the unlimited data package that I get.

So, do we have any Verizon employees or experts in the audience? Is there a fix to my problem? I'd really like to stay onboard but my job at the hospital requires me to be instantly available at any given time. I cannot risk a hospital emergency not making it through to my phone because of coverage issues.

~OJD

24 comments:

JimmyPx said...

Hi Orange Jeep Dad,

I love your blog and I have run into some of the same issues being out in the country.

You can check your coverage at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/consumer/4g-lte.html

Also the Verizon guy is right and you should get a really good antenna AND a booster. I bought my stuff at: http://3gstore.com/

I don't work at either place, but 3gstore was reasonably priced and both my Internet and cell phone works great now. I recommend the Wilson brand as well.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Thanks for the input Jimmy. I kinda feel like if I have to buy more equipment just to get the phone to work properly then they should offer me an adequate phone. However, I'm starting to think that this just may be one of the struggles of living in the country and I may just have to give in and buy the external antenna.

Dean Carder said...

I have used Verizon for many years with no complaints. Then... we moved and dropped the home phone and went totally wireless. The hotspots for internet connectivity seem to turn themselves on and we would use 5-6 gig of service in no time. Then we got smartphones that could be used as a hot spot. Same damn story. The techs at Verizon tell us the only way we could used 5-6 gig was if we watched videos all day every day. We don't do that. They have no better answer for me so off to T-Mobile I go. Unlimited text and date for less money and no contract to boot.

Dizzy-Dick said...

If you are getting a good input signal, then you should be able to get out, too. Maybe there is someting wrong with the transmit part of your phone.

Tricia said...

Verizon has a program that allows you to shut off incoming text and voice calls after a certain time at night. It is one of their programs that is being advertised on the website. Sounds like someone accidentally signed you up for this program.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with Verizon at my country house. Can you advise what model booster and antenna you purchased?

Crustyrusty said...

Get a cheapie tracfone and see if it gets signal out there; if it does you can take your phone and switch it to straighttalk for 45 bucks a month.

JimmyPx said...

Hi Anonymous,

Well I full time in my RV and use a Millenicom 4G mifi for Internet (really from Verizon but I get 20gb a month instead of 10gb for the same money), so my needs may be different than yours. I bought a Wilson vehicle 4G booster and the omnidirectional antenna for the roof.

The problem in the country is that besides poor cell coverage, broadband coverage is also an issue as well. If you can get cable modem or dsl, definitely do it but if you can't, then satellite or cell is your only other option. Satellite is SLOOOW and cell is the way to go, but your back to the signal strength issue (and have to watch your bandwidth like a hawk).

For a house, look at the repeater for building section at http://3gstore.com/. Even if you don't buy there you can get an idea of what products are out there and their prices.

For more mobile or rural broadband stuff, Cherie & Chris at Technomadia are good folks who explain this stuff better than anyone: http://www.technomadia.com/2012/12/mobile-internet-for-rvers/

Anonymous said...

Welcome to NWOK, at&t is not much better, if your close to or in Pioneer tel. area its the best to go with. Steve

Anonymous said...

OJD,

What are you doing????

Your a farmer now!

You wanted to Go Galt, well Go Galt. Scale back on cell phone stuff and dump Verizon.

Cell phones should only be used for basic communication, not handheld toys for adults. Free up some cash flow for farm equipment and stuff you need. Look' OJD, The economy will collapse, I don't know how bad (or when) but owning the latest and greatest gadget from china wont feed your family or put of roof over their heads.
Your Grandfather owned that farm, you gotta ask yourself what would he do. Also look at all the old school farmers in the area. How many of them embrace new fangled technology. If they lived as long as they have and stayed out of debt, then they gotta be doing something right.

My Grandfather was a cattle rancher. If he saw all the gadgets today and saw how much they cost, he would laugh at all this stuff.

If you want to live the life you want to live, start by scaling back to basic cell phones. Simplify you lives with basic rural technology that will keep you and your family alive when everything else crashes.

That wonderful old tractor is an example of what I am talking about. Made in 1949, still running strong and that old girl is paid for.

Tex Texan

B said...

If you have high speed internet, then you may be able to get a microcell

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Tex, I'm on call for my hospital often. If they call at 2am, I go to work. No phone, no call.

Kris said...

I've always had at&t and had no problems with them, but I've lived mostly in metro areas in Oklahoma (Stillwater and OKC), so I can't speak for the country areas. My best advice would be to get to know your neighbors and see what they've had the most luck with. Antennas and boosters are expensive, but if you can't get dependable coverage from any carrier without them, it may just be part of the price of privacy and security. OR, you could just go back to a land line, or a land line AND cell phones.

Anonymous said...

OJD,

I understand being on call. Maybe just scale back to a simpler, yet reliable cell phone with another carrier.

Tex Texan

Anonymous said...

I have verizon and have for a while. As one of the other few individuals with unlimited data it would be hard for me to leave too. It sounds like the customer service rep didn't just blow you off and was actually being helpful. I would wait a little bit and see what they come back to you with. The advice to ask your neighbors what they have is good too. It maybe that you will have no choice but to buy the extra equipment. Check to see if your hospital has a reimbursement for it since it is for their ability to contact you. As far as going Galt and gettting rid of the cell phone I don't recommend it. Their are too many benifits to modern day smart phones, i.e. all those safety apps you showed as well as weather reports. Keep the cell phone, don't ever get cable. Just my two cents. Keep building the dream. Chris from NC

Expat said...

Had the same problem - sort of. Moved to the boonies and off grid. My phone is with Sprint and on continuous roaming, so I keep it turned off mostly.
I do use a verizon hotspot for the internet. Didn't work worth a damn till I bought a Wilson booster with the desk attachment. Cost around $150 @ amazon. The desk attachment comes with an external antenna. Don't buy the second separate antenna some offer as a 3 pack deal since (believe it or not) you can't actually hook it up as the antenna fittings are incompatible with the booster. I use 4 gigs a month with no large downloads. With 6 girls you'll need, oh around 50.

Anonymous said...

The real question is how much will you lose on missed callouts and how much will ot tick off your new employer, not to mention the patients. $250 might be small potatoes in comparision.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Truer words were never spoken my good sir. Set, point, match. Heading to Walmart...

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Point, set, match

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

I think you're right. That's what I like about my Verizon account, it has unlimited data. I use PDAnet app on my Droid to get an Internet connection on my laptop. Works flawlessly and I run apps while I watch movies. Phone still works even when using for Internet.

Anonymous said...

One thing about the cost....You can probably write it off as a work expense since you are required to be available and on call.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

oh, that's a good one!

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Hi Kris. I'm gonna go with the external antenna idea. So, does the wind EVER stop blowing? LoL.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Thanks Chris. I agree.

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