What's the best cell phone for Salem, Oregon?
June 29, 2005 8:20 AM   Subscribe

A question for a friend: "What can you tell me regarding cell phone coverage in Salem, Oregon? Specifically, I'm looking for recommendations as to which company has the best coverage in the area. (I'll be moving to a new house a few miles south of town, toward Independence.) I don't want to get a new phone and then never use it because the coverage sucks. The three companies I'm thinking about are Cingular, Verizon, and T-Mobile." We realize this is a long-shot, but it cannot hurt to ask.
posted by jdroth to Technology (9 answers total)
According to T-Mobile's visualization of the signal strength in the area, it looks like they'd be good as long as you didn't live too far out of town.
posted by pwb503 at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2005

T-Mobile is excellent on the I-5 corridor (I lived in Eugene, not Salem, but I had good luck whenever I traveled up to Portland.) Verizon seems to have a wider coverage area, but I know where I lived, Verizon calls weren't that good for signal strength even in the busy areas. Cingular is still pretty weak in the area -- I had it for about a year and it was always pretty awful in the Willamette Valley. But then again, your friend isn't exactly moving to a metro area if he's between Independence and Salem.
posted by Happydaz at 9:10 AM on June 29, 2005

When I travelled with a group out towards Newport, OR last summer, we compared cellphone reception as we left I-5 and headed west towards the coast. Cingular dropped out pretty fast, T-mobile lasted a bit longer, but Verizon had coverage the entire way.

Verizon has definitely won out in many similar situations around Washington & Oregon, in my experience. Of course, that may have changed in the last 12 months...
posted by Aquaman at 9:21 AM on June 29, 2005

Unfortunately, Cingular doesn't have a street-level signal strength tool on their website like T-Mo does, but if you walk into a Cingular store, they should be able to show you the one on the computer that they use.
posted by zsazsa at 9:28 AM on June 29, 2005

My sister has Verizon in Monmouth and she has never had problems, except for the occasional dropped call in her dorm room (but that is due to the thick concrete walls). She has used the phone all over the area without issues - Salem, Corvallis, driving to the coast and even driving back up to Portland.
posted by miss meg at 10:20 AM on June 29, 2005

I'm in Salem and tried T-mobile once, but nothing has been as dependable as Verizon, which I've used 5+ years.

I can't say anything about who has the best plan, or who's best at covering a specific small region where your friend might be travelling, but V. overall has been awesome. I really don't check price much as long as the service is good.

If your friend needs help finding a doc have them email me.
posted by docpops at 10:44 AM on June 29, 2005

Verizon has the best rural coverage, but their customer service sucks big dogballs. T-Mobile has been pretty good to me, but I live in Portland,... the coverage here is pretty darned good if your phone has decent reception.
posted by SpecialK at 10:57 AM on June 29, 2005

T-mobile has a call center in Salem and I know at least 5 people that work there and actually like it! I didn't know it was possible for customer support people to like their jobs and company, so that really impressed me. T-mobile has much better service in Salem, and Oregon in general, than Verizon (which many of my friends use) does. Verizon has two spots on I-5 between Salem and Albany where it completely drops service. Not so good.

Plus, one big factor for me is that T-mobile has one year contracts, and the other companies don't, last I checked.
posted by evilbeck at 12:01 PM on June 29, 2005

Driving home last night I got 5 bars on Verizon driving through Salem. They cover the I5 corridor great. I live in Corvallis, not Salem, but I've gotten reception way back in the hills and all the way over to the coast.

I'm on a 1 year contract with Verizon, and all the issues I've had (3 or 4 over 6 mos or so) were eventually taken care of.

On a side note, the past week I've gotten more dropped calls than I have in the entire time I've been with Verizon. Does this point to a phone problem, or is Verizon going downhill?
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:38 PM on June 29, 2005

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