GSM vs CDMA call quality and reception
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Was wondering if anyone had both GSM and CDMA phone service with Ting and if there were any distinctions between the number of bars that you got for voice calling, especially inside a home. Ting offers a choice of both for some of the phones they sell, even though it's the same base model. Does GSM run at a lower frequency and thus provide better call service? I'm thinking of upgrading my old Galaxy S2 CDMA phone, so I'm doing a bit of research before I jump.

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  • The signal difference between Ting GSM and CDMA depends primarily on your location. Where I live, both are marginal at best. Check the coverage maps for your location. GSM uses T-mobile towers and CDMA uses Sprint towers. Neither is particularly good at penetrating buildings. Both, however, offer work-arounds for the problem. For GSM, some T-mobile branded phones support WiFi calling which allows you to place calls over WiFi. For CDMA, you can purchase an Airrave which acts like your own cell tower to cover a home or office. Note though that calls over either of these methods still count as minutes used.

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  • Regarding signal differences, AT&T and Verizon have the most desirable frequencies that penetrate buildings well Most everybody else has to make due with what is left over.

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  • This is a great question, and something that would be helpful to know before buying. I'm sorry I have no help to offer, just experience/opinion:

    I switched to Ting from T-mobile a few years ago because my T-mobile coverage where I lived and worked (both in West LA) were both pretty bad (and wifi calling did not smoothly transition to cell when I was out of range). T-mobile had no solutions other than those involving me buying "repeater" type hardware for my home.

    It is possible the reception has changed now (I have coworkers who seem happy with T-mobile), but I'm not sure how to check. It would be great if either:

    1) carriers published some kind of reliable map of their service quality (ting could make a CDMA vs GSM map), or

    2) ting supported a dual-network phone (Nexus 6 can reportedly switch between CDMA, GSM, and Wi-Fi seamlessly -- that would be an amazing solution!)

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  • I just wanted to add that I'm in NYC, and my friends have had great reception through AT&T's and T-Mobile's GSM network...my guess is because of the frequency that they are on is able to go through walls better.

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  • I have a Nexus 5 I usually use with Ting on CDMA. But with an upcoming trip to Europe and T-Mobile's deal on international roaming, I've had a T-Mobile (not Ting) SIM in it for a week now. Where I am, in rural New England, both have good voice coverage in more populated areas, and roam to Verizon and AT&T respectively when outside of Sprint or T-Mobile coverage. The voice quality is better on Sprint, but okay on T-Mobile. Data coverage isn't that good for either. Sprint here is 3G, T-Mobile mostly 2G with a few spots of LTE. Both Sprint and T-Mobile signals penetrate my wooden house fine. My kid wants to get a Moto G with mods (hates the black case), so he'll probably end up with Ting's GSM SIM.

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  • We have a weaker signal at our home using Ting GSM than we have with our Sprint phones also on Ting. The signal bars are the same - 2 to 3 bars with 4G signal - but we never had dropped calls on Sprint, With 4gLTE, 4G, 3G, 2G set as the network settings it seems like the GSM phone loses its signal when it drops down from 4g to 3g or to 2g. I don't think this is just because of the Blackberry Silver Edition Passport, because other phones have reported the same problem. Since I use wifi for data at home, I set the network mode to 2G only. I have not had any dropped voice calls while using this setting. I realize that when I go to different areas with 4GLTE and higher strength signals my data rate is compromised and I can return to the optimum settings, but the frustrations of dropping calls at home goes away with this network setting. Hopefully the GSM carrier will upgrade the tower near us soon.

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  • I started TING service a couple years ago with CDMA android phones and the signal was pretty good in my area, we did not have a lot of issues. I checked the TING CDMA coverage map and it showed that my area had "GOOD" coverage. The bars on my android phones were usually at least 3-4 bars out of 5, but hardly ever 5. (It wasn't as good as US Cellular, but then again, US Cellular was charging us 3X the price for phones WITHOUT data than Ting, WITH data. )

    Then I bought a couple of used GSM iphone 5's and the connection is iffy at best. Three bars that rapidly go to 2, 1, none for what appears to be no reason. There are also a lot of lost signals and "no service" areas around where I live, that show "dark green" or "good" on the GSM map. Most cities however, are fine, and even some rural areas I have a good signal, just not where I live, even though I am right down the road from our city. The GSM map also has sort of a "disclaimer" that says "satisfactory coverage in some homes". So even though it may show good coverage, I guess it depends anyway.

    I would love to buy a new iphone 6 that is CDMA, just because our old android phones do well here, but it is so hard to tell until you get the phone and try it, whether or not it will work well in your home and other highly used areas. I think the TING CDMA coverage maps are more accurate than their GSM maps. In my case, the TING coverage maps are NOT accurate for GSM phones.

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  • The coverage map for GSM is totally unreliable, at least in my area. It showed excellent (or whatever "best" is) for my whole area - I switched to a GSM phone, and had to send it back, because I had no coverage in ninety percent of the area I work in. In and near town it was great - but I get into town maybe twice a month. I have no clue where they get their map data, but not from real life. I switched back, and it's still spotty - but I live near several large plots of state land, so that's to be expected. What I didn't expect was for the maps to show excellent or even passable coverage, where there was none...

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