Ivor O’Connor

December 11, 2012

Crowd Sourcing Cell Phone Coverage

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:43 pm

Sales reps will always point to wonderful maps showing you will be getting fabulous coverage. However reality is always different. For years I have wistfully thought of writing an app that would crowd source coverage. It would take into account:

  1. The phone. Some phones have better reception than others because they don’t have good antennaes or perhaps too many crapware applications preinstalled slowing everything down.
  2. The time. Traffic jambs in the morning also cause traffic jambs on the cell phone networks. So any map should include a time travel setting so one can see when the network is stressed. Ideally one would be able to see when some big event had taken place by the degradation of the network on the maps at that time.  Or one could go back historically and see when cell phone coverage was added in the community of their interest. (Assuming it was added.)
  3. Weather conditions. When it rains cell phone towers operate at about 1/10th their capability. So weather would need to be added to the time display.
  4. The carrier. This is obvious.

Root Metrics does some of this. It is an application one can download for free too. Not many people are currently using this application in my area so I’m having to paint the maps myself. I’ve got three phones to do this with, each on a separate carrier, and I now have a routine. When I get in the car I turn on all the phones and set them for thirty minutes of continuous logging. My Net10 which uses AT&T is the worst. I’m using it to literally paint the map black everywhere I go. My Straight Talk using Verizon is the best. It is usually painting the maps green. I’m not sure what to do about this because I want to sell that Verizon phone and Nexus 4 does not support the CDMA network Verizon uses. Maybe the future Nexus 5 will support Verizon in 2014? I suppose after I finish painting everything in a 30 mile radius black I’ll switch from Net10/AT&T to T-Mobile.

I’m kind of spiteful. I want others to see just how bad Net10/AT&T is before I switch off of them. Since very few others are using this application in my area the black spots I add will probably stay for the next couple of years. And I will be gleefully referring anybody who asks what carrier they should use to look at the maps at http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/

Don’t be a dumb dumb dad. Tell the kid there are several carriers offering the same deals at the same prices but that the deciding factor must be the maps Root Metrics supplies for the areas they must use their cell phones in.

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