Additionally, Cingular doesn't offer a BIS-only Blackberry add-on. Granted, Cingular's add-on is still a bit pricier than TMO's BES add-on. You don't get anything extra with Cingular. Their Blackberry add-on is equivalent to TMO's BES add-on. In fact, you get an older version of BIS and tethering only at an extra $30 per month (tethering's included with TMO). Cingular seems to have a track record of having the better device exclusives and earlier device offerings if that matters to you. I bought my 7290 and 8700c from Cingular while I was with TMO because of that.
Coverage is always a YMMV issue. After two years of putting up with no TMO reception at my house in central Houston I switched to Cingular and have had perfect reception since then. I'm in the middle of the city and not off the beaten path by any means. It's probably worse in this situation because it's likely that I'm surrounded by TMO towers with weak signal which keeps me from roaming on a competitor's tower with better reception.
Discussing coverage is pretty pointless unless the two people discussing it are in the same market. Always fully check coverage in various locations before your trial period with your new carrier is up. I do agree with the recommendation that if TMO coverage is at least as good as Cingular's then you should go with TMO. Cingular CS reps are widely known for being inconsistent and billing and provisioning issues (sometimes randomly popping up even though you've been fine for months) aren't uncommon with the orange jack. Note that even my experience is only anecdotal but I'll state that the IT department I work in supports several hundred Blackberries. 90% of them are TMO. However, calls to Cingular make up the majority of our support calls to the carriers. What's worse is that calls to Cingular seem to take more of our time, on a per-call basis
, than calls to TMO. Make of it what you will -- that's just my experience. As I said, YMMV.
Originally Posted by mymitsu3kgt
Just because a company has a bigger coverage area shouldn't mean they can charge twice as much for the same service.
You're definitely in the minority. People do care about call reception with wireless carriers. However, I could personally care less about what a carrier's coverage maps says. The TMO personal coverage map indicates that my home should be in an area of good coverage. It's not. The majority of the time, it's impossible to place or receive calls or there's so much distortion due to poor reception that my phone is barely usable. I have no such issues at my home with Cingular. The price difference is definitely worth it to me. A cheap unusable carrier is still unusable. Or, to use a variation of your words, poorer coverage is not
"the same service". However
, if you don't have to worry about quality on your voice calls then you could probably make do with poor coverage. Data packets can get through with short and intermittent periods of coverage. In other words, coverage that might be unusable for a phone call can be perfectly fine for receiving email on your Blackberry. Browsing might be a different story though...
Note that really poor reception will eat your battery life faster as the device boosts its transmit power to try to compensate. It becomes an even bigger issue if your home or place of work (or any other place where you might spend a lot of time) is in an area with poor coverage.