Does Verizon Wireless work well in Baja for the 2017 Baja 1000?

Chris Tobin

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The last time I was down in Baja for a Peninsula run Baja 1000 was in 2012 and AT&T was the best bet for cell coverage for voice or text. I used an old iPhone with a prepaid AT&T sim card and number. I can use that again this year but I was hoping to maybe use a newer phone with Verizon coverage for this year.

What about now? Is AT&T still the best down there or does Verizon now have good coverage. I will need text and voice, I am not too worried about data...

What is the best way to go?
 

Kritter

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so 2 years ago I was fed up with carrying a burner phone that was ATT and my verizon phone for baja. I switched to T-Mobile which uses GSM. 2 years later I am fed up with T-mobile and my domestic adventures via moto, mtb, rig etc where it seems verizon still is the best, ATT is there but so so and my t-mobile is garbage. Sometimes it will even say i have LTE but data doesnt work, texts via imessage dotn go thru, etc...

Verizon now (as of 2 weeks ago) has an unlimited plan that includes canada and mexico for $80 or $85. Looking into it more the past few weeks and talking with some folks who live in baja it is claimed that verizon is as good as ATT BUT it depends on phone and phone settings. Thats a big but.

Baja only has 1 CDMA carrier (iusacell)and they are small so service will suck on CDMA. Verizon phones are dual band so you can turn off CDMA so they pick up GSM (tel cel, movistar)something I learned this past week. So as I say goodbye to my T-mobile and hello to good ol trusty verizon I will be giving a test run with alternative settings in baja to see if it actually works as good with a few tweaks.

If it doesnt, I will go back to the burner sim card for baja from t-mobile or ATT and my iphone works with both technologies which is important to check before makign any rash decisions. There are ATT/T-mobile versions of the 7 and Verizon/Sprint versions. THe verizon/sprint version work with all carrier technologies. The ATT/T-mobile only work on GSM so youre hosed if you buy an $850 iphone from ATT/T-mobile and wantt to switch to verizon. I learned the hardway but luckily T-mobile was cool and let me take it back after the return timeframe had expired.
 

Baja Dad

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AT&T is the best
My I phone 7 works GREAT
Unlimited Mexico Talk,Text and Data
 

El Mamito USMC

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I got T mobile and away from the border works great. no complains here.
 

johndjmix

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ATT works as good as your going to get, but you should defiantly have a sat phone. Wouldn't go to Baja without one.

--John


Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert
 

Brandt_Anderson

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I'm very interested in this as well. I switched to T-Mobile years ago when they were the best deal for Mexico by far. Clearly, Verizon, which at the time was almost worthless in Baja, has stepped up their game, so has AT&T.

With the new iPhone coming out I may just have to switch back to AT&T or Verizon.
 

Chris Tobin

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Personally, I won't be taking a new phone down there. I will be using one of my old phones (probably one of my old Droid RAZR2 phones), but I want to have good service while I am down there... It is a Verizon phone, but I think it will work with the prepaid AT&T service too... For sure I can turn it on with the Verizon Prepaid service with the month of unlimited text/talk and 6GB data for like $50 or so.

I'll use the old phone to be able to take pics and be able to text or call family while I have service and not be worried about risking my current phone getting lost or broken in the Baja desert!!! Plus it is smaller than my NOTE4 by quite a bit. I would not take a new $800-1000 phone with me down to Baja, I do not have that kind of disposable income available to me...
 

Kritter

Krittro Campbell
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I'm very interested in this as well. I switched to T-Mobile years ago when they were the best deal for Mexico by far. Clearly, Verizon, which at the time was almost worthless in Baja, has stepped up their game, so has AT&T.

With the new iPhone coming out I may just have to switch back to AT&T or Verizon.

verify whatever phone you buy is dual band if you ever plan to go back to Verizon or just buy a dual band phone direct from apple to be activated on any carrier. Buying hte wrong phone is a crap reason to be stuck with a specific network but I know a lot of people get lured into the no interest $30/month phone purchase contract.


Also in general in my experience ATT and T-mobile are hands down the best in baja for US carriers using GSM technology. Hopefully the phone tweaks to a verizon phone to work on GSM arent BS but Travis above comment makes me think its not. I will report back to this thread.
 

az_amsoil

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Verizon and AT&T use two completely different wireless standards...Verizon uses CDMA and AT&T (along with T-mobile) use GSM. So your Verizon phone will not work on the GSM network down in Mexico. I struggled with service using Verizon outside of the cities centers (San Felipe, Ensenada). I've since switch to Google Fi (uses GSM) and haven't had any issues. AT&T does seems to had a much stronger signal.
 

Stuck Sucks

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I used to have Verizon which worked only OK. I ended up buying a Telcel SIM card which I refilled before going south - a better option. Finally, a few years ago, we went with AT&T and the service is seamless in Mexico. AT&T works significantly better south of the border with no special international dialing or anything. Just text and call as usual. AT&T seems to work better where there is money, e.g. burly, fast service in Los Cabos, OK service in San Felipe or Loreto. I hate AT&T but sold my soul to the devil for good service.
 

Kritter

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Verizon and AT&T use two completely different wireless standards...Verizon uses CDMA and AT&T (along with T-mobile) use GSM. So your Verizon phone will not work on the GSM network down in Mexico. I struggled with service using Verizon outside of the cities centers (San Felipe, Ensenada). I've since switch to Google Fi (uses GSM) and haven't had any issues. AT&T does seems to had a much stronger signal.
apparently you didnt read through the thread before tossing in your 2 cents.

For verizon users with dual band phones (CDMA and GSM) they have to turn OFF CDMA since CDMA network coverage is crap in mexico with only 1 small carrier.

so more correctly, certain verizon phones will not work on GSM and if a verizon customer has a CDMA phone only their service in baja will suck as was my issue 2 years back and all years previous to that.

I know my iphone 6s is both CDMA and GSM compatible and can be set to run GSM only.
 

Ilovebaja

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as long as a phone carrier does not connect to moviestar your fine, I have a pay as you go att&t and works fine connects to at&t mexcio or telcel sometimes I or others with T-Mobile have to turn off the phone and turn back on so it connects
 

Baja Dad

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Personally, I won't be taking a new phone down there. I will be using one of my old phones (probably one of my old Droid RAZR2 phones), but I want to have good service while I am down there... It is a Verizon phone, but I think it will work with the prepaid AT&T service too... For sure I can turn it on with the Verizon Prepaid service with the month of unlimited text/talk and 6GB data for like $50 or so.

I'll use the old phone to be able to take pics and be able to text or call family while I have service and not be worried about risking my current phone getting lost or broken in the Baja desert!!! Plus it is smaller than my NOTE4 by quite a bit. I would not take a new $800-1000 phone with me down to Baja, I do not have that kind of disposable income available to me...

Have you heard of cell phone Insurance???? AT&T $10.00 per month
my son carries his I phone 6 with him on the Race bike.
It has come handy a few times over the past few years...
 

Baja Bryan

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Best option is take a tmobile unlocked phone and go to a Oxxo and buy a Tecel sim card. then you can add money anytime anywhere. Telcel / Tmobile work better now since Att is competition in mexico. Att in mex is not even close to tecel in mex. if you roam with USA company you might not get 4g lte. With tecel sim you will. At&T use to be the best but not any longer. AT&T used tecel towers in the past so you can imagine since that deal is done T-mobile phones will work better. I noticed a tmobile S7 with telcel sim works better than a At&T s7 with tecel sim. I believe t mobile has a few different frequencies that line up better with tecel now days. There lots of apps to get free usa number like google voice, talktone, text now, all of them you can text and call to usa for free.

For the 1000 best option is rent a sat phone. Or iridum go with leadnav.
 
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pdailey

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Verizon and AT&T use two completely different wireless standards...Verizon uses CDMA and AT&T (along with T-mobile) use GSM. So your Verizon phone will not work on the GSM network down in Mexico. I struggled with service using Verizon outside of the cities centers (San Felipe, Ensenada). I've since switch to Google Fi (uses GSM) and haven't had any issues. AT&T does seems to had a much stronger signal.
It does on the newer iPhones. It's dual band. My phone has worked everywhere I've been. Even in the middle of Borrego.
 

El Mamito USMC

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Chris Tobin

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How about a Delorme or Garmin InReach Explorer??? They use Iridium sat for 2-way texting and have GPS with mapping and tracking so family in the states can see progress. I was thinking about a Spot Tracker for that purpose, but the InReach seems like it might be good for texting and tracking, but we won't have voice... Amazon has new Delorme units for around $300 and the Garmin (that bought Delorme) is $450 or so... Then the month of service with unlimited text messages is $65.

Having one unit that will for sure work everywhere might be a better option than a cell and a Spot.

What do you guys think???
 

Chris Tobin

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Have you heard of cell phone Insurance???? AT&T $10.00 per month
my son carries his I phone 6 with him on the Race bike.
It has come handy a few times over the past few years...
That gets expensive too... I bought Note 4 phones for my wife, son and myself (new old stock) after the Note 5 came out for $169 each so paying $120 per year each seems like wasted money. We don't feel the need to have the latest and greatest phones at all...

But we are pretty much tied to Verizon because in the rural area where we live Verizon is the only carrier with decent service. Sprint, T-mobile and even AT&T are nowhere near as good here in Southeast Tennessee and the areas we travel to on a regular basis for the diesel shows and events that we travel to cover for work.

The iPhone I used in 2012 will still work, I just need to add $ to the prepaid sim card with AT&T again. But if I can use my Droid RAZR2 with Verizon or AT&T (not sure if it is dual band or not, or if it can be used with an AT&T prepaid sim card) it would offer a better camera for pics while we are down there and if it gets broke, I'm not out anything since it is not my primary phone anymore, it literally is just sitting in my desk drawer.
 
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