So it’s been a month or so since installing the repeater and the initial glow has worn off. I pretty much cannot get a Verizon signal through it – but it makes my brother-in-law’s T-Mobile phone rock solid – he never has less than two bars whereas I keep rooting for my phone to get one bar (or switch to the strong roaming signal.) There are seriously times when I will wait for the little triangle to show up before I hit “Talk” since there is less risk of the call being dropped.
I logged a trouble ticket with Verizon who has confirmed what I already know – the coverage at my location does indeed blow. The good news is that I might be able to get out of my contract early (w/o a termination fee); the bad news is I’d be leaving Verizon’s customer service which truly has been stellar. I can hear the protests out there - I have heard quite a few stories of folks having billing issues with Verizon and not having the best of experience in trying to resolve those issues (much less get them resolved permanently, meaning the same billing error appears the next month requiring another call). Having spent a significant portion of my former life with my hands deep in the guts of a wireless billing system while writing interfaces, I know how much billing systems can leave to be desired especially when trying to integrate them with other systems. But, after being with Sprint PCS so long it is really weird to call customer service and talk to a CSR that is actually empowered to do something for their customers. Verizon admits this is an issue with my particular area and tells me they are working on it. They also admit that due to all the legal red tape they need to go through with the FCC, they really have no idea on when they are going to get more coverage.
As I mentioned, T-Mobile is definitely a viable option at this point, but I’ve yet to hear one good thing about their customer service. My brother-in-law has had less than nice words to describe them (thankfully not spoken in front of my two year old son). I co-worker of mine who recently moved to the area had a similar experience, except his former neighbor while living in the Seattle area was a VP of something or another at T-Mobile who he’d call if he was getting nowhere via normal channels. US Cellular is an option, too, but their equipment leaves a lot to be desired. Sprint PCS was originally ruled out before Verizon for signal issues. Which leaves ATT/Cingular – of which I have no idea what their signal is like – much less what their customer service is like. Time to start asking around.