Alltel’s Florida Coverage

January 24th, 2008

Mobile Gadgets

A few years ago when AT&T Wireless was bought by Cingular, Alltel Wireless had plans to cover the entire state of Florida by buying up AT&T’s old space, however the FCC let Cingular keep the cellular bands which put Alltel in a pickle. Fast-forward a few years to 2008 and Alltel is spotty at best in a lot of Sunshine State areas, relying on extensive roaming agreements with Sprint and Verizon to cover their asses.

While this is great for the normal cell phone user, high-speed EvDO coverage doesn’t come with Sprint or Verizon roaming in all areas because it’s based on availability. Of course, Sprint and Verizon customers would have priority over the EvDO network. 1X data is steady but slow, peaking an average of 40-50kbps in most areas of Orlando verses the 500-800kbps at my old house in rural Georgia.

The inconvenience is so great that I am seriously considering switching mobile providers in a few months when my Alltel contract is up. I won’t be able to obtain a local phone number for my smartphone because Alltel doesn’t exist in the 407. I will probably end up going back with Sprint who has done a lot of upgrades and changes since 2005 when I last used them.

I spoke with Alltel for a couple hours going over something strange I found. The latest PRL for Alltel’s network right now is 30029, however after taking a closer look at the file, it appears that this is for “regular” phones and not data cards or smartphones which require EvDO roaming. A quick chat with Level 2 data support (after being on hold for ages) forced an update on my Treo 700p to 40029 which includes Sprint EvDO roaming for most areas.

…And you learn something new every day. While trying to help out Mike, the guy who bought my PocketPC on eBay, I learned that the Treo 700p has had an open issue with three-way calling on Alltel. It appears until Palm releases an update, I cannot make a conference call.

How long has this been an open issue? Oh, since April of 2007.

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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