Which "consumer generated cell phone coverage map" DeadCellZones.com, GotReception.comCellReception.com, SignalMap.com com has the best user experience? Please submit comments below.

1) Search by carrier
2) Easily search by zip code, address, city, state
3) Easily submit a coverage complaint that is indoors or outdoors

in reference to:
"GotReception.com, DeadCellZones.com and CellReception.com"
- Phone Smart - In Choosing a New Phone, Be Sure to Try It in Person - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

We would like to apologize for the recent outage of our map since Friday afternoon, November 4th.  Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the volume of traffic that the Lifehacker.com blog post on Friday generated. See our latest traffic stats on Quantcast/deadcellzones.com.  Our site has been up for over 8 years and never before have we seen a spike in traffic like this.  Articles have been written about Deadcellzones.com in the WallStreet Journal, NY Times and USA Today and Friday's traffic was off the charts compared to the traditional news coverage.  Kudos to the audience that Life Hacker has built as it is huge.

We are customer of Pushpin (technology and management team sold to Apple in July) and the services portion of the business was not sold to Apple.  Pushpin map customers were taken over by a new team Urban Mapping who is currently trying to deal with the high volume traffic problem so it does not disturb other customers on the shared server. Please follow our updates on @deadzones for updates when the map will be available.

Mobile Video will Drive Adoption of Advertising Subsided Phones
One of the most exciting things about wireless broadband technology (4G, Wimax, LTE) is the ability to view video content on the go at your leisure from anywhere.  Rarely do I ever sit down and watch a 30 minute episode of The Office on my TV anymore because I just don't have the patience for the commercials that are not targeted to me or my location .  I am either watching on computer through my Slingbox / DVR while multitasking or laying in bed falling asleep and not engaged.   However, if I could watch content from anywhere around my home on my mobile phone I might A) watch more content B) be a higher paying customer C) watch ads that are targeted towards me.
I live in Los Angeles and have the luxury of seeing two trends that are happening as a result of this recession.  One is the much discussed "Mobile Internet Tsunami" and the other is the "Internet Advertising Renaissance".  It's my belief that we are at the early stages of a major wireless telecom subscription disruption that will ultimately drive voice and data subscriber access fees on mobile phones to be free?  Google "gets it" but big Telecom giants don't and they always always the excuse we can't possibly recoup the data costs for fear of cannibalizing their revenue streams.  Its a rubbish excuse! The industry "drinks a lot of Coolaid" and nearly all of the 500,000 wireless telecom industry employees would say I am crazy we can't make any money at that.   They are all wrong and don't see the future of targeted location based video, text and display adverting.  We have the technology to allow advertisers to target consumers down to very granular levels on mobile phones and charge premium $25-$100 CPMs but there just isn't any inventory yet (no content).  Its pretty hard to lose money selling advertising at that rate isn't it? If Clearwire owned Hulu they might just give their Wimax service away for free and wouldn't that be disruptive?
Early adopters will always buy the latest Wimax, 4G, LTE smartphones and femtocells.  However, in order to "cross the kasem" and "reach the masses" of consumers (arguably 200M+ US) carriers will have to offer unique content and video offerings on the mobile handset.  Time shifting TV onto the phone seamlessly throughout the home, office and car is going to be what gets consumers to adopt Clearwire Wimax and pay extra for femtocells in their home.  Right now the only company that is in drivers seat is Comcast with their $1 billion dollar investment in Clearwire and I am waiting patiently for them to make thier first move.  Oh wait, they already did and they are buying NBC / Universal.  Stay tuned.

Which Carriers Offer Unlimited Calling Plans with No Contract?

Until recently the prepaid or pay as you go carriers were the only companies playing in the no contract unlimited calling plan space.  T-Mobile USA has seen its growth stall in recent months as pre-paid discount cell phone service providers grab budget-conscious customers, and as AT&T and Verizon Wireless continue to target high-end users. T-Mobile is not the US's fourth-largest carrier is taking aim at both segments at we enter the holiday season with disruptive calling plans and two new Android phones. However, it’s the prepaid carriers Tracfone, MetroPCS and Leap who have the most to fear.

The T-Mobile “Even More Plus” plan, does not require a contract and includes an unlimited (data and voice) option for $80 a month and a voice-only unlimited plan for $50 a month. Keep in mind these offers will not help lower the cost of buying a new phone from them without a contract and works well if you are keeping your current phone.  These plans do allow users to pay for expensive smart phones over a 20 month period without interest; users who already have a handset can also take advantage without additional fees.

This seems to be a recurring theme when you ask AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint when you will be able to buy a femtocell for your home to fix your dead zone.  Femtocells have become available for a few select US cities and it doesn't appear that will be changing any time soon.  Carriers are dipping their toes into the water in the US in a few select cities where they have complimentary cable and fiber footprints.  I think Verizon and AT&T are waiting for the first move from Comcast and Cox and will offer a competing offer once they know how far they need to bend over.  I am expecting a lot of competition and subsidies especially for customers who have suffered from poor in-building coverage.  Stay tuned as 2010 could be the year where the femtocell industry finally takes off.

Guess what AT&T and Verizon? You are both guilty of providing bogus coverage maps and there is an app for that its called The People's Court of Dead Cell Zones. I would like to offer up our services in on a prime time network show of The Peoples Court and have both the Plaintiff (AT&T) and the Defendant (Verizon) in the room for cross examination. I would subpoena all of their dead zone records that they hide internally and get it out in the open public first.  I also think I might be able to get 160 million viewers watching who are all customers of both companies.

AT&T is seeking an emergency injunction to stop the ads. It also seeks unspecified damages, accusing Verizon of false advertising, and claims the ads harm AT&T's ability to compete. AT&T also said Verizon's ads are causing AT&T to lose "incalculable market share" and goodwill with customers. The maps in the ads show 3G service in blue colors for both carriers, with Verizon covering more of the U.S. map. But AT&T has focused on the white areas for the lawsuit.  All of these issue could be resolved had the telecom industry established its' out rating / audit agency for coverage.  Instead they have left it up to entrepreneurs like us to fill lack of transparency gaps.  I have some red areas and blue areas of dead zones on my maps to show each company.  See our maps on the right. >>>

How to Choose a Wifi (Woops I mean Wireless) Carrier? 

Enhanced coverage: We recommend choosing a cell phone service that works in your neighborhood first.  If all carriers have spotty coverage in your neighborhood and at your home we recommend selecting a provider that offers femtocells, microcells, UMA phones, SIP phones you can use to enhance your in home coverage. Most carriers do not currently offer these features because they fear it will cannibalize their voice minutes.  The reality is carriers need to start subsiding voice minutes through location based advertising which will open up more VoIP features. After you have determined this selected a compatible phone and plan that also has the UMA, SIP or VoIP options.  See related articles:  Using Wifi to get Cell Phone Reception & UMA Phone + Wi-Fi = Home Cell Coverage

Voice usage: Estimate the number of minutes you need by taking an average of minutes from previous months.  You can do this by simply calling customer service and ask them how many minutes on average do I use each month. Keep in mind that you will be using your minutes both on outgoing and incoming calls with most plans. If you make less than about 200 minutes of calls per month or use mostly test services, a prepaid cell phone plans will generally be the best choice. If you'll make more than 400 minutes of calls per month, a monthly plan is probably the best option.

Data usage. TXT messaging, browsing the internet, MMS messaging are hardly ever free, and fees can add up fast as people use these features more often.  Especially if you are downloading lots of music, ring-tones and media.  Most carriers offer both ala carte pricing: 10 to 25 cents per text message for instance as well as unlimited plans for $5 to $10 per month.  Make sure you monitor your usage if you buy a package of text messages because going over can be costly. 

Roll-over minutes: Before you select a prepaid plan, check the terms and conditions. Some prepay plans require minimum monthly or daily usage fees and minutes may expire after a certain period of time (30, 60, 90 or a full year). Minutes may have different prices depending upon which the times of the day, and some plans include free night, weekend and mobile-to-mobile minutes. The best plans let you roll over minutes by adding funds before existing minutes expire.

International travel: If you travel internationally frequently, be sure to choose a carrier that lets customers "roam" without additional charge. Some carriers may charge you a small fee to roam on another GSM network but it will cost you a lot to call home to the US.  We recommend UMA, Wifi, VoIP phones in this case.  Rates are very reaons able at 5 to 10 cents per minute from most SIP phone carriers.

Best Cell Service Phone Service In Your Area

The single most common question we get asked on a regular basis is "Which carrier has the best cell phone service"?  My answer is always, "it depends where you live and work."  Cell phone coverage is a very personal issue due to the number of variables that can create coverage like terrain, distance the tower handsets, building material, weather and heavy users competing for the network near you.  The US carriers have been pulling the wool over our eyes for the last two decades and have conditioned consumers to look at their coverage maps from a 20,000 foot level and assume all customers are equal.  We all know that their coverage maps are useless especially if you are indoors, on the fringe of their network or roaming on another carriers network.

So we have developed a methodology of benchmarking cell phone service to determine who has the best cell phone coverage based on who has the worst coverage.  The proper questions should be stated as who has "less bad coverage" or who has the most pins on your "inverse coverage map".   The only challenge with this methodology is it assumes that you are reaching equal amounts of customers for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.  For better or worse AT&T and Verizon have two thirds of the entire US mobile phone consumer market so our data is a bit skewed to them right now.
Choosing a cell phone carrier can be a little overwhelming especially if you are moving to a new area or traveling.  Understand equally your wireless needs, coverage in your neighborhood and what features each carrier offers is important before selecting coverage.  Once you find the best cell phone coverage or learn how to fix your in-building coverage using femtocell, microcell, UMA phone, VoIP, or repeater it is easy to pick the plan that fits you best.  The top four carrier service plans and coverage are compared below.

We recently launched National reviews on the top four cell phone carriers and we are starting to get a lot of feedback.  However, we are starting to focus more granularly on states as well and one state that we lack a lot of data on is Nevada and the Las Vegas and Reno surrounding areas.  We would like to ask for your help and contribute areas to our map where you experience dead zones around the state.  We would especially like to know about dead zones on I-80 out of Reno in the Northern part of the state as well as I-95, I-93, I-15, 1-60 around the Las Vegas area.

Nevada Deadcellzones.com Map

Click on the map image below for and type in your zip code, state, city or address.  Then double click on the map in the problem location and add your comments such as indoor, or outdoors and other details of problem. We have a searchable database of over 100,000+ cell phone carrier comments in major metropolitan areas around the U.S. and we are looking of your contributors in rural areas like Nevada where we have limited data. Wireless coverage is a personal issue and users want relevant feedback of places where their phone most likely will get little or no reception.  Can you hear us now Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile?

Coverage: Sprint has coverage in every state, but coverage in Alaska is limited to analog roaming only. They have also been rolling out their Sprint 4G which speeds rank near the top.  Nextel's iDEN network has coverage in every state except Alaska and Montana. As with all carriers, individual coverage will vary by location and we recommend searching  our consumer generated Sprint coverage map for coverage complaints on the right. For international coverage CDMA roaming is available in 26 countries while Nextel iDEN roaming is available in 11 countries. Their coverage is spotty in a few areas around the United States and roaming charges do apply to some areas. However, if you live in a major metropolitan area it is likely you will have comparable coverage to AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in most areas. One benefit of being a customer of a smaller carrier means you are likely competing against less users for network capacity. This usually results in less data and voice congestion problems when you are at a stadium or on a crowded freeway. Sprint and Clearwire Communications announced plans to launch their respective 4G mobile Internet services in 2009 and is rolling out in many large cities. Sprint offers in-building home coverage with their Airwave enhanced coverage microcell tower for 2G and 3G.  

Plans: Sprint is beginning to attract more customers with the a compelling device line-up like the and the clarity and simplicity of unlimited plans. Plans are typically less expensive, particularly for unlimited internet access, text and messaging services. They offer several plans pre-paid, family and individual plans.  Nextel offers plans with unlimited incoming calls and a strong set of business-friendly features, including adding a second line to a handset. Nextel pioneered push-to-talk technology with its Direct Connect (now called Walkie-Talkie) service.

Other features:
  • Sprint offers a 3G (EV-DO) network but coverage limited to urban areas.
  • Rolling out 4G services in major cities in partnership with Clearwire. 
  • Sprint Airave femtocell or mini cell tower for enhanced in-building coverage. 
  • Push-to-talk technology with Direct Connect (now called Walkie-Talkie)
  • Sprint's CDMA network and Nextel's iDEN network are distinct technologies that use separate networks with different coverage areas.
  • International CDMA and iDEN coverage has a smaller footprint than GSM, though the carrier now offers dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets and a dualmode iDEN/GSM device.
  • We recommended you monitor your text messaging usage closely and get on an unlimited plan so you don't get charged the outrageous .25 cents per message if you go over.
  • Sprint has many Android phones with unlimited data plans. We highly recommend them! 
Other Reviews: 
Feedback is always welcome. Please submit your comments below.

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