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payaso

Cell Phones, Analog vs Digital?

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So recently I waded into the realm of cell phone plans and new phones and such and realized that analog phones seem to be on the way out.

 

Analog is the setting on my phone that allows me to pick up a signal in Marblemount and other remote locations. It is also the only glimmer of hope that mountaineers have of making an emergency call out in the wilderness. I haven't seen much noise being made out of this by the climbing community. What are people's experiences with the latest phones?

 

For me one of the main reasons I bought a cell phone was for the ability to place an emergency call if I needed to. While I know that few phones will work deep in the mountains, there are some strategic points where you can pick up a weak signal if you need to.

 

Here is an interesting letter.

http://www.sarinfo.bc.ca/Library/Communications/CellphoneOperation.txt

 

I think we should be a little concerned.

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If you are really worried buy a Iridium satellite phone for $500 on eBay and get a 50 minute prepaid plan for $75. Much more useful, not that much more expensive. You do have other, better, options than crappy old analog phones.

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There are still a few--I got as phone that has Ana and Digi both from Verizon less than six months ago.

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There is no way that cell phone companies are going to care about the issues that SAR or climber people raise. They make no money supporting analog so a few people can feel safe in the mountains. They make more money putting up higher-density digital towers to expand business and personal cell phone use.

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Cell companies make more mony when you use analog on your phone than digital. They will always make that option availble to you and may even limit towers to keep a healthy dose of analog users.

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It doesn't matter whether or not the service provider "supports" analog or not if the phones don't receive analog signals. As far as I and others I've talked to can gather, Verizon is the only company in our region that still sells phones that receive analog. Here is a good source to check if a phone you're considering will receive analog:

http://cellphones.about.com/od/allcellphonespecs/

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Cell companies make more mony when you use analog on your phone than digital. They will always make that option availble to you and may even limit towers to keep a healthy dose of analog users.

 

I sure haven't found that to be the case in South King County. My 10-year old analog phone finally got retired because it could barely get a signal anymore. Found that to be the case out in the woods too - ridges that used to get great reception just returned "no service" on my display. Maybe it's better in downtown Seattle or something, but the sudden decline in analog service around my area really surprised me. And I'm talking a 5 miles swath on either side of I-5, not out in the boonies.

 

-kurt

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Dunno, up here in canada we have this network called Fido and it was super cheap cause all it had acess to was the digital network so it didnt work in squamish or on the highway...so it seemed that if you chose a tri mode or dual mode phone to have acess to analog they charged you more then whenever you used the analog portion they charged you more for its use. I noticed this when staying at a friends house with poor reception it was always on analog and when I got the bill it was more money.

 

Doesnt the digital network only work near major cities and such...

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