CDMA vs GSM coverage in Montana

I am currently using a CDMA phone from RW in Bozeman, Montana and want to upgrade my phone thru RW. When I check T-Mobile’s coverage for our area (GSM) it shows we have both 3G and 4G LTE. When I look at Sprint’s coverage (CDMA) it only shows roaming. I was informed via RW Support/Help that if I order a CDMA/GSM phone I will get a CDMA phone since, according to RW, I only get roaming coverage here. My questions are:

  1. Can I trust the T-Mobile coverage site, or is there something I don’t know about RW’s arrangement with T-Mobile?

  2. Can I request a GSM phone/SIM from RW, or do I have to buy the phone elsewhere and order a SIM from RW?

Thanks, Bruce

When I look at the T-Mobile map for the area, there is far more roaming coverage than anything else. When you drill down, the non-roaming coverage in the area is at best “fair” which in my experience means “none”. Others have a different experience with fair, but that’s mine.

The Republic coverage checker essentially reports no coverage in that area, which to my understanding means that if you order a phone that is CDMA capable from Republic, that’s what you’ll get. If you order a SIM, right now they’re only GSM.

Hi @brucem.clb7k9 ,

The T-Mobile “Fair” coverage is, in my opinion, a bit optimistic. At least with the T-Mobile coverage in your area you will have data if you buy data. Buying data with Sprint in Bozeman is pointless since there is no roaming data and Sprint only offers off-network roaming.

As far as buying a phone from RW is concerned the only way you can get one that works on GSM (T-Mobile) is to buy one of their phones that only works on GSM. If you buy one of those that works on both CDMA and GSM they will ship that phone to you configured for CDMA because your present phone is CDMA.

The RW T-Mobile coverage is identical to the native T-Mobile coverage.

When you buy a phone from RW you have 14 days to return it for a refund. Your out-of-pocket cost is one-way shipping.

If you want a phone that works on both CDMA and GSM (my personal preference) and if you want it configured for GSM you will have to order it from some other vendor and buy the SIM separately.

Well one of you fellow Montanans didn’t think much of TMobile’s coverage. With Sprint’s coverage, he had roaming with Verizon, which worked better for him.

So with everything being said here, and recognizing we’re on a Republic Wireless forum, you’re much better off getting a phone from AT&T or Verizon (or one of their MVNOs) that have native coverage in Montana.

I wonder if he can order a phone with Sprint’s service and order another SIM from Amazon. Add the Amazon SIM as a new line of service and then swap SIM’s. Keep the line of service that works the best.

He might run that past support to see if that would work.

While that may be possible, both Sprint and T-Mobile have suck-o coverage in that area. I wouldn’t think about using either carrier if I was there any significant time.

I will cost a little more, but I would certainly look in to it. Unfortunately, Total Wireless seems to be going through some start up pains so there may be some issues with one of the Verizon MVNO’s.

I believe he can port his number to Google Voice so he can use Hangout’s with his current phone number for WiFi calling. So that may be something he wants to look at too.

If he can get Total Wireless or Cricket to work, then I would agree. It’s going to cost a bit more, but the additional cellular data and phone call experience may be worth it.

If the thought is to acquire a CDMA activated Republic phone and swap a GSM Republic SIM activated as an additional service line to compare coverage, I wouldn’t recommend it. My experience swapping a single Republic GSM SIM between multiple Republic 3.0 phones is flawless. My experience swapping multiple Republic GSM SIMs into a single Republic 3.0 phone less so. It can be done but I’ve run into some anomalies. Having two GSM SIMs that Republic sees as active on the same IMEI doesn’t work so well.

A far better way to test the coverage of Republic’s GSM partner would be to acquire a SIM for that partner’s network proper. I’ve noticed zero difference between using that partner’s network proper and a Republic phone activated on that partner’s network. I realize there was an issue with Band 12 coverage in some areas but that has since been resolved. In fact, if @brucem.clb7k9 is willing to trust a complete stranger (which I’d understand perfectly he might not want to) with his address, I’ll ship him a SIM for Republic’s GSM partner proper that he could activate on a prepaid plan for $10. That’s $10 to activate the SIM not for me. I have a spare and will provide it for free. He’s welcome to friend me and follow-up via private message if interested.

Presently he has a legacy RW phone that works fine roaming in the Bozeman area. Sending him a SIM isn’t going to help at this point in time. Please see his other thread:

No Cellular Coverage in my area? Since when…

If I’m understanding, he’s interested in the possibility of using a Republic phone with GSM coverage. I’m not there, so am not suggesting GSM coverage would provide better coverage merely offering a method he might check it out for himself if he wishes.

ETA: Anyway I was reacting to @marshallh’s apparent suggestion that he might consider swapping a GSM Republic SIM (attached to a separate line of service) into a Republic CDMA activated phone. Based on personal experience, I believe this to be a bad idea.

Yes, I understand that, but I don’t want him to think a GSM SIM you are generously willing to send him will work in the RW phone he has now.

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