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Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

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Cincinnati, OH
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Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

I have Virgin Mobile cell phone. I checked with Virgin Mobile (which uses the Sprint network) (virginmobileusa.com/coverage/prepareCoverage…) and it shows no cell phone coverage in South Dakota away from I-29 in the eastern part of the state.

Does anyone know if they can get Virgin/Sprint service in the Black Hills? What about other carriers?

My son and wife have T-Mobile. It looks like there is spotty coverage for T-mobile there. http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/pcc.aspx

If not, has anyone used family service radios as an alternative? What is their range?

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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1. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

My dh and I now have Verizon. At the time of our last visit to SD, dh had Verizon, and I had Nextel (now Sprint). I had no service the entire trip until I got to the Denver airport for my connecting flight. In fact, my phone never worked again after that trip! It kept "roaming," looking for a signal. Luckily for me, I was out of contract and promptly switched to Verizon. I find them the best for travel. I don't know about T Mobile, but I do know service was nil with Nextel.

We used to own the radios, but never had too much luck with them. Of course, the ones we had weren't too expensive.

Cincinnati, OH
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2. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It looks like we'll have to depend on the spotty coverage of the T-Mobile using my son and wife's phone. We'll have to remember to split up the T-Mobile phones if we ever become separated, which probably won't be too often though.

The FRS is probably unreliable unless you happen to be in the same small valley since it probably won't have enough power to jump over a hill.

Minnesota
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385 posts
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3. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

We have a Virgin phone too, as their map shows coverage is pretty spotty in the western States. Heading for Wyoming on I-90 we had no reception from Sioux Falls on.

Minneapolis
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4. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

My husband and I have T-Mobile and we noticed that it was hit or miss at a campground on I-90 between Rapid City and Spearfish,certain parts of Rapid City and, in the canyon between Deadwood and Hill City, it didn't work at all. It worked on and off on I-90 all the way from Minnesota to Devils, Tower, Wyoming.

Rapid City, South...
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5. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

Verizon has the best coverage in the Black Hills and has bought Alltel. Reception is better but still doesn't reach all areas within the Hills.

As far as I know neither Sprint nor T-mobile have networks or sales outlets here.

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6. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

There are still many areas in the hills where there is no reception. You can get good reception in town at Custer, but none b/t Custer and various areas west of town. East of town, I can get reception on the flatter areas, but once I turn off the paved road reception ends. I use tracfone because of the phones different friends and people I know use out here, they seem to work best.

So. California
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7. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

This may not help because we have a different carrier, but we just returned from the Black Hills a couple of days ago. Our AT&T cellphones worked in Hill City and Custer, but not really elsewhere until we got down to Rapid City. Since I have free roaming with AT&T, I was able to use the telephone and data functions in those places.

Wisconsin
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8. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

We have Altell and had coverage our entire trip EXCEPT in Yellowstone.

When we were pulling up to Devil's Tower I got a phone call and it was clear as day. Same with the badlands and all other areas in South Dakots.

3-from-CO
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9. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

We have AT&T and we had zero service our whole stay ... DH managed to make a call while we were in Rapid City but that was spotty coverage at best.

Columbus, Ohio
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10. Re: Cell phone coverage in the Black Hills

We too have AT&T (only because my father is a retiree and we get an extremely good rate!).

I had no coverage in Hill City, Custer or Custer State Park. We did have service at Mt. Rushmore and spotty service in Keystone. On our way out of town, we were driving through Rapid City and my wife was on the phone and it cut out just out of the downtown area of Rapid City.

My mother in law has Verizon (which I wish we had but they can't come close to AT&T's rates) and she had coverage through Rapid City, Keystone and Mt. Rushmore and spotty service in Custer. She had spotty service in Hill City and no service in Custer State Park.

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