reply to Crookshanks
Re: Human race is getting dumber I have good indoor reception with T-Mobile as well as with Sprint when I had them. Both carriers use 1900 MHz in my area, though granted different modulation.
If the frequency determined effective coverage, that wouldn't explain why I hardly ever lost reception during a storm with DirecTV.
What determines effective coverage is well.... coverage. How many cell sites, repeaters, etc a carrier deploys in any given area.
I used to use T-Mobile in the Binghamton market, and there were a bunch of buildings (Wal-Mart, Target, bars downtown that were in basements, Old Navy, the Oakdale Mall, Wegmans, want me to keep going?) where my T-Mobile phone had weak or no signal, but my buddy with Verizon had full bars.
Yes, you can build out a network in the PCS bands with the same coverage footprint of a cellular network, but it requires many more cell sites and a corresponding greater capital expense. T-Mobile never made the effort in Binghamton, and from what I've seen has not made the effort in Scranton/Wilkes Barre either. These markets just aren't big enough for them to justify the expense, so I'll stick with Verizon for the foreseeable future.
Don't get me wrong, I loved T-Mobile, their CSRs were genuinely pleasant to talk to, and I had 1,000 minutes/unlimited texting for less than Verizon was then charging for 450 minutes/500 texts. I'm just at a point in my life, personally (married, kids on the way) and professionally (consulting, which means working on the road) where dead zones are much more than a simple annoyance. Between T-Mobile and Verizon in terms of coverage it isn't even a contest. Hell, Verizon blows even AT&T out of the water in the Northeast, so that as they say is that.
reply to Network Guy
Frequency determines how well a signal penetrates obstructions. If two carriers use the same cell sites but one is on 1.7Ghz and one is using 2.1Ghz, the 1.7Ghz signal will penetrate obstructions better than the 2.1Ghz signal. If that means you can make a call inside an office building on the 1.7Ghz signal and you cannot make a call inside an office building on the 2.1Ghz signal, I call that a difference in coverage.
Regarding DBS (which uses down link frequencies north of 10Ghz) it depends on where the storm is and whether or not it has hail. In higher latitudes, storms directly overhead do not affect satellite transmissions as storms further to the south. The reasoning is similar to why the sun's intensity is greatest as noon -- it passes through the least amount of atmosphere.