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Old 02-11-2015, 01:54 PM   #1
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Will my old cell phone work in Alaska?

Hi,

This seems like an easy question but my provider can't give me a yes or no; just maybe.

Here is my question;
I plan on driving my motor home up to Alaska during the summer of 2015, and meeting two other couples when we get to Anchorage. I'd like to be able to use my cell phone to make the connection with friends, if for nothing else.
My cell phone was bought from Verizon in March of 2007, I believe it's an LGVX8300; which is supposed to be 1X Generation. It works fine everywhere we have coverage in the states. My provider is Verizon. I don't use a cell phone very much.

I went to my local Verizon store in Santa Maria, Ca.and asked the associate there if it will work in Anchorage and he told me No, because I need to have a 4G phone (4th generation). I believe the only 4G phones available are "Smart Phones" and I'm not interested in having one and paying extra for the monthly data connection charge.

I called the Verizon 1-800 Help line and talked to someone who said it might work in Anchorage, but it might not...

I called the local Verizon store in Anchorage and asked the sales associate there and at first he said yes, but then put me on hold and came back on line and said it might not, because they use a 4G system...

So before I drive all the way there with my old phone, has anyone had any recent experience with using their old cell phones near Anchorage?
I understand that my phone will not work in Canada and cell phone coverage is spotty in Alaska, but where there is cell phone coverage, will it work with their 4G system?

Sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to present as much info as possible.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:37 PM   #2
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You might want to got to RV.net site and go to the Alaska/Canada forum and ask the question there. It's very active with those that went to Alaska or are going this summer. It's also monitored by folks who live there.
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:52 PM   #3
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Thanks, I'll try that

Thanks, I'll try that.
Mike
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:04 PM   #4
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Yes, your phone should work in AK. Not too long ago a lot of service in AK was analog service, well after the rest of the US went to digital. Verizon did not have any service in AK so all your calls would be roaming off their network, but it'll still work. They have recently begun buying Alaskan towers, so who knows, they may soon surprise us all and get a Verizon store in the state.

I'm sure you realize that phone service is generally available only in the larger towns and cities. You may go 100 miles without a signal, but it's Alaska. We go up every 2 years and see it gradually getting better, but the lower 48 it ain't.
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:15 PM   #5
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OK, I'm not surprised the people selling things at Verizon have no clue that 4G is the data speed (for internet connection) and has NOTHING to do with basic cell phone service. They can run any app but have no idea how the hardware works.

The cell phone portion uses either analog (80's technology), CDMA (90's and early 2K tech and still works almost everywhere in North America.) or GSM (almost all new phones) technology to make a phone call.

The phone model you mention (Verizon LG VX8300) in the post uses CDMA 850/CDMA 1900 frequencies. It should work in Alaska but if you ask Verizon tech support about CDMA service where your going they can verify.

According to this map, yes it will Verizon Coverage Maps - 2G,3G and 4G LTE Coverage Map | OpenSignalMaps - OpenSignal
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:24 PM   #6
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Are you certain your phone is analog (1x)? If 2008 it probably is digital (2x) voice with no data. Ran a digital voice phone in Anchorage and the Kenai for the last 12 years with good. Coverage.
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:26 PM   #7
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Are you certain your phone is analog (1x)? If 2008 it probably is digital (2x) voice with no data. Ran a digital voice phone in Anchorage and the Kenai for the last 12 years with good CDMA coverage.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:18 PM   #8
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CDMA is digital
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:23 AM   #9
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Go and purchase a new dumb phone either from Verizon or anywhere. Then activate that phone. You are talking very little money. Or if you are on a Verizon monthly and wish to keep with Verizon you are do a free dumb phone you like. Careful they will try to update you to a smart phone, just don't go for it. You can also purchase used phones off the internet at good prices, just find someone that knows a bit about doing this for help.

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Old 02-12-2015, 11:12 AM   #10
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If you find different Verizon phone, just swap the SIM card into your "new" one. The phone network(for us AT&T) will work identically. I did that in 2012 going to AK. I reverted from our smart phone to an old dumb phone because roaming and internet charges while traveling through CA are staggering. Our old flip-phone worked in AK just as it does in the lower 48. Some of our group had smart iphones that worked fine too.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:26 PM   #11
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My advice is buy/rent a SATPHONE, or a satellite device that allows your smart phone to work through it. I used a Satphone for many years all over the world. Bought a new one recently. It works great as long as you can see the Sky. I have Iridium service, and based on my experience, Iridium has the best coverage. Great peace of mind knowing you can get help from anywhere.
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:34 PM   #12
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When we went to Alaska we bought SPOT - go to findmespot.com for more information - it sends a typed message to your customized phone numbers or email addresses as to your location. It also has a feature to send an SOS call for rescue if you are in trouble. We SPOT ever time we hit the road and change locations - it saves calling time and let's everyone know the coordinates of the motorhome.
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #13
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We had Verizon service most of the places we traveled in Alaska this past summer. We even had 4g LTE service at Riley Campground in Denali. We did not turn our phones on in Canada though.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:24 AM   #14
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We had no problem with Verizon in AK. in 2012. I would look into adding the plan that includes Canada. We activated it just before crossing into Canada, and cancelled it when we crossed back into the U.S. Can't remember what it's called, or how much additional it was. But I don't remember it being that expensive. It'll certainly save you from being hammered by roaming charges. On that note we were surprised once by getting hit with roaming charges when we spent some time in Northern Idaho. The phone was using a tower across the border in Canada. Had to call Verizon and explain that we weren't north of the border. Had no problem getting the charge removed.
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