Cell Phones/Cell Phone Service/Cell Phone Reception in the Finger Lakes
Don't get someone from the Finger Lakes started on the topic of cell/mobile phone service and reception. You'll never get them to stop. It is a real bone of contention.
Verizon and Cingular (which now includes ATT) are the major providers of cell phone service in the Finger Lakes. Sprint, Nextel, QSR, and other companies also provide service, often using Verizon and Cingular towers. Satellite service is extremely expensive and, consequently, used only by companies whose employees require it for work (surveyors, for example). The individual cell phone user would not find it cost effective.
Certainly most major cities have adequate cell phone service and reception. And you will see cell phone towers lined up on the tops of hills running along major highway so that, in general, these roads also have adequate cell phone reception, though there are exceptions. However, the minute you turn off a major highway, the hilly terrain begins to present major problems for reception. Consequently, much of the Finger Lakes has no cell phone reception.
NEVER RELY ON A CELL PHONE WHILE WALKING IN THE WOODS OR SOME OTHER OUT-OF-THE-WAY PLACE.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
1. Both Verizon and Cingular have pay-as-you-go plans that don't involve a contract and allow you to have short-term use of airwaves while in the United State without paying a roaming charge.
2. Cell phone users from Canada don't have to worry about the megahertz of their phone, which will operate in the Finger Lakes and elsewhere in the U.S., but you may have to pay a per minute roaming charge depending on your plan. Contact your cell phone service provider about this.
3. The European tri-band phones work in North America but the dual-band phones don't. Evidently, converters that will work in the U.S. can be expensive and costly. One travel writer suggested bringing an extra charged battery.
4. If you're coming from outside of North America, you need to remember that your battery charger will need to have an adapter/converter to fit North American electrical outlets which have flat plugs and are on 120 voltage at 60 Hz.
Of the two Web sites--Verizon and Cingular--Cingular appears to have the most information about international calls. You may want to start with http://www.cingular.com/international/visiting_us.
Don't forget to check with your own cell phone service provider to see what overseas plans are available.
WHAT TO DO?
If you know you'll be driving in the rural parts of the Finger Lakes:
● Don't make promises to call home every day. It might not be possible.
● Don't feel funny about stopping at someone's house to ask directions. That's what everyone else does.
● Carry a considerable number of quarters or a phone card in the glove box of your car in case you need to use a pay phone (if you can find one). Quarters are also good for parking meters in cities.
● Don't go hiking, biking, or driving in out-of-the-way places without a companion. You may never know when you will need them to seek help.