Cell service around Lake Superior


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smilam
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Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by smilam » Thu May 24, 2018 9:31 pm



My wife and I are planning to leave Kansas City and ride around Lake Superior this July. Who has the best cell service coverage that will be able to keep us in touch if we need to be reached by family or if we need to contact somebody while we are on the road. I currently have Sprint but I am not very happy with their coverage when we take some of our road trips. By the coverage maps it looks like Verizon has the most complete coverage but the maps can be deceiving.
I am not worried about speed or lite or whatever wording they use I would just like to know that I can make and receive phone calls if needed.
Do the US cell services work in Canada or will I have to get something from a Canadian service provider?
Can I get a pay as you go phone that will work for 90 percent of my trip?
I know some of you travel back and forth all the time, who do you use?
Somebody mentioned an international phone but this is the first time we will be traveling outside the US and might be the last so am not really interested in spending money that we don’t need to spend.
As I get more of this trip planned out I will be asking for suggestions on places to go that we shouldn’t miss. Right now I am using the ridelakesuperior.com website to plan our trip.



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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by WingAdmin » Fri May 25, 2018 7:23 am

I can't speak to their coverage around Lake Superior, but I use T-Mobile and am very happy with them, for one reason: they have global coverage, at excellent rates. I have unlimited phone, text and data in the US, and unlimited text and data everywhere else in the world, with very low cost phone calls. If you use a VOIP app such as Whatsapp, you can make phone calls using your data allocation, which costs nothing.

That said, it's all about coverage.

You might want to think about using a Spot: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=29654

I carry one with me whenever I'm riding. They have a new unit out called the Spot X that lets you send and receive text messages as well:

Spot X
Spot X


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smilam
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by smilam » Fri May 25, 2018 8:39 pm

Thanks for the information. I just read your review on Spot and will have to look into that. I went to their website to start doing a little research on it and was disappointed to find out about their cancellation policy. When a company makes it difficult to cancel their service I tend to shy away because it appears that they are planning on you forgetting to cancel during a limited time period and if you miss it by a day or two it cost you for another whole year of service.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by AZgl1800 » Sat May 26, 2018 12:36 pm

sorry you feel that way,

I have carried a SPOT subscription for 10+ years.
Won't go anywhere without it.

this is my doggie tracks for last weekend
\https://share.findmespot.com/shared/fac ... yo4CbCZmdR
~John

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by minimac » Tue May 29, 2018 6:26 am

While I'm looking to switch my carrier soon, I have Verizon. I did a trip around Superior a couple of years ago, and although there were a few spots that I didn't get coverage, I had a lot better coverage than my riding buddies that had AT&T and Sprint.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by themainviking » Tue May 29, 2018 6:33 am

T-Bay Tel is the main server of voice communications around the north end of Lake Superior and is probably the only consistent coverage provider. This information was gleaned from personal experience, as I had the main provider in Canada, Bell, and could not get signal for more than 2/3 of the way from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie. Also, this information is two years old, and so could be so far out of date that it no longer holds any relevance. In addition, I had no cell service on the south side of Lake Superior, as roaming charges from Bell are atrocious, so the cell was just turned off. This portion of my experience will likely be the same today as it was two years ago. As you use a U.S. provider, your experience will undoubtedly be different on the south side.

The visual pleasure of the ride around Superior is greater if travelling from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie (easterly) as opposed to a westerly course, as it puts you on the outside of the highway, where you get to see all the splendor which is the Canadian Shield. I would recommend your planned trip to anyone who rides a motorcycle. I do it every two or three years.
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by LeMaitre » Tue May 29, 2018 8:34 pm

For the Minnesota side of Lake Superior Verizon is definitely the better choice. I live on the north shore. Yes there are dead spots but the highway corridor has the best coverage. Let's face it, we have low population densities on the north side of the lake in both US and Canada. You can add coverage for Canada that will cost less than roaming charges if being there for more than a day.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by smilam » Tue May 29, 2018 11:24 pm

Thanks for the information about cell service around Lake Superior. I will go to the local Verizon store and visit with them.
This is going to be slightly longer than a two week trip with about a week in Canada. I had read that going clockwise around the lake made for the best viewing so that is what I have planned. We will spend a couple of days in Thunder Bay with one day spent riding from Thunder Bay to Conmee to Kakabeka Falls and back to Thunder Bay. I also plan a few days in the Sault Ste. Marie area to see the sites.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by LeMaitre » Wed May 30, 2018 7:22 am

Consider when passing through Grand Marais, MN of taking a side trip up the Gunflint Trail. 65 miles of paved road with enough curves and lakes for a good ride. Clockwise around the lake is definitely better.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by landisr » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:32 am

My personal experience is that Verizon has the best coverage for calls, at least, in the States. However I must defer to others for advice on service or charges in Canada. While visiting various wireless stores, ask for clarification on emergency calls, as it is my understanding that even if you are in roaming mode (good signal but not 'in network'), supposedly you can still call 911 in an emergency. I've also heard people say that they on occasion found themselves with an extremely weak signal where a call wouldn't go through, but a short text msg would. Keep up the research, and enjoy your trip. It's definitely beautiful country up there.

If you have the time while heading back west in the UP, be sure to stop for a giant cinnamon roll at the Hilltop Restaurant in L'Anse. You might consider splitting one unless you like leftovers 😊. Also, check out the Copper Harbor area. I heartily suggest at least having a meal at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, better yet spend a night at the lodge or in one of the cabins. And follow Brockway Mtn Drive coming back down.

Ron
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:50 pm

landisr wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:32 am
My personal experience is that Verizon has the best coverage for calls, at least, in the States. However I must defer to others for advice on service or charges in Canada. While visiting various wireless stores, ask for clarification on emergency calls, as it is my understanding that even if you are in roaming mode (good signal but not 'in network'), supposedly you can still call 911 in an emergency.
Any cell phone, including a phone without current service or even a SIM card inserted, will call 911. You can buy a used phone off eBay, not activate it with any carrier, and if you turn it on and dial 911, the call will go through.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by landisr » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:21 pm

Ah soh. I guess I wasn't spinning wives' tales then. :lol: Thanx for the confirmation.

Ron
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by smilam » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:29 pm

That’s good information Ron. One of the days I have planned on riding from Marquette to Copper Harbor where I have room reservations. It’s only a 217 mile ride that day so it looks like we will be going thru Keweenaw Bay around lunch time and I will definitely stop in L’Anse for a cinnamon roll. I don’t have any high mileage days planned as I wanted to leave time to stop and enjoy the sights and see the different attractions. My routing has me going down Brockway Mountain Drive and stopping at Eagle Harbor Light House for a visit.

LeMaitre I will check out The Gunflint Trail. Is that the name of the road that I can find on a map or just what the locals call it? A little more research is in order. My wife is on Pinterest checking out pins about the Copper Harbor area I will have her check f there are any pins about Gunflint Trail.
Thanks everybody.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by LeMaitre » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:41 pm

Gunflint Trail is also Cook County 12.
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by smilam » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:33 pm

Just found it and it sounds interesting. I will just have to see how we are time wise because of other stops we are planning to see on that day. I will add it to the GPS routing.

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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by Alan_Hepburn » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:17 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:50 pm
landisr wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:32 am
My personal experience is that Verizon has the best coverage for calls, at least, in the States. However I must defer to others for advice on service or charges in Canada. While visiting various wireless stores, ask for clarification on emergency calls, as it is my understanding that even if you are in roaming mode (good signal but not 'in network'), supposedly you can still call 911 in an emergency.
Any cell phone, including a phone without current service or even a SIM card inserted, will call 911. You can buy a used phone off eBay, not activate it with any carrier, and if you turn it on and dial 911, the call will go through.
This, of course, relies on the phone being able to see a cell tower - if there's no towers in range you can call 911 all day long and nothing will happen.
Alan Hepburn - San Jose, Ca
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Re: Cell service around Lake Superior

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:17 pm

Alan_Hepburn wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:17 pm
WingAdmin wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:50 pm
landisr wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:32 am
My personal experience is that Verizon has the best coverage for calls, at least, in the States. However I must defer to others for advice on service or charges in Canada. While visiting various wireless stores, ask for clarification on emergency calls, as it is my understanding that even if you are in roaming mode (good signal but not 'in network'), supposedly you can still call 911 in an emergency.
Any cell phone, including a phone without current service or even a SIM card inserted, will call 911. You can buy a used phone off eBay, not activate it with any carrier, and if you turn it on and dial 911, the call will go through.
This, of course, relies on the phone being able to see a cell tower - if there's no towers in range you can call 911 all day long and nothing will happen.
At which point you get out your Spot tracker device and hit the helicopter button. :)



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