No, I can't really hear you now
November 9, 2007 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Please help me choose a wireless provider (for Blackberry) to use in Virginia, mainly around Charlottesville.

I'm considering giving Sprint the boot, and I'm looking for suggestions for what works in the following areas:

Charlottesville, Crozet, Waynesboro, Staunton, and Verona.

Big bonus points if it works well in Kilmarnock, Blackstone, and Scottsville. The more back roads that work the better.

I'm looking hard at AT&T because they have the best selection of Blackberries. Verizon does not service my area, so the choices are Alltel, U.S. Cellular, AT&T, and maybe NTelos.

I just don't always trust their coverage maps, and I don't want to sign a bunch of contracts and then return the phones if I can avoid it, so I'm looking for what other Virginians are happy with.

Also, if Sprint is my best option, let me know that as well.

Thank you all.
posted by 4ster to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why not T-Mobile? In my (few) treks around VA - twixt Cville and Richmond - it seemed pretty good coverage. Their Blackberry data plan is $20 a month for unlimited traffic. I'm very happy with my Pearl and being able to use it as a tethered modem gives me reasonable interwebs access virtually everywhere at no additional cost.
posted by NailsTheCat at 1:05 AM on November 10, 2007

If you are really seriously going out into the boondocks of Albemarle, I think that unless things have improved that Alltel probably still has the best coverage (followed immediately on by Ntelos). Similarly, unless things have improved Alltel has absolute crap customer service. I got really, really shafted by Alltel and I'm not at all happy with them.

However, AskMe is not the best place for asking this; if you google cell phone coverage albemarle alltel ntelos sprint or something like that, you will see loads and loads of online forums where people come on line to praise or knock down different cell phone providers, including detailed info on cell phone coverage and reception.

T-Mobile is a horrible choice unless you plan on spending all of your time on highways.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:09 AM on November 10, 2007

I have Virgin Mobile now, which is riding the Sprint network. However, in the past I had Verizon and it seemed to have the best coverage in VA.
posted by COD at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2007

Sprint will be the best option in Charlottesville right now, but the Verizon network will be on in about 6 months and after that it will probably be the best.
posted by Phoenix42 at 9:11 AM on November 10, 2007

I haven't had any problems with AT&T in Charlottesville proper and on the main roads in and out (i.e. 29, 64, and 250). I don't spend much time in the other areas. If I recall, it works fine in Crozet and Waynesboro, but was completely dead the one time I went deep into Ivy. Here's a pretty accurate map of Charlottesville-area AT&T coverage. Doesn't seem all that great for back road usage, to be honest.
posted by Partial Law at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2007

I use Cingular/now ATT, and routinely visit C'ville and Crozet for family. In town, coverage is fine. However, once you start driving out into the county, especially up and over hills, it gets spotty at best. My general rule is that once I start heading west on 250, I stop worrying about phone calls. I know last summer, I had zero reception just outside of Crozet. My parents house is located only a number of miles from Charlottesville city limits and was drastically affected by line of sight. I.E., my parents' house is on a hill. I had to walk towards the crest of the hill to get a reasonable signal and virtually lost it once I walked back down to the house.

My father uses Sprint and I know it had coverage fine in Crozet (was forced to use his phone out there). In general, Sprint seems a better choice, at least over ATT.
posted by Atreides at 6:33 AM on November 11, 2007

AT&T totally sucks in CVille. I suffered for years with dropped calls every time I crossed a cell boundary, and did not have coverage at my house (I live in Ivy). The daughter unit could not get coverage at Western Albemarle in Crozet. I switched to Alltel a few months ago, and all these problems disappeared. And the sound quality is better too.
posted by Wet Spot at 1:40 PM on November 12, 2007

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