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Best Cell phone data coverage in the Chesapeake and ICW to Oriental NC

Mar 1, 2016
238
Oday 28 Tracy's Landing
I'm making a trip from Deale MD to Oriental NC on my O'Day 28 and have a need to maintain at least cell phone accessibility and most of the time I need to have data network accessibility while sailing or motoring down the ICW. I'm wondering how good the coverage is? I have AT&T and Sprint cell phones. I could buy a Verizon device to have data coverage if that would really help. Coverage maps from the carriers that I've found only show their land coverage, not coverage over the bays or sounds.
 
Nov 26, 2008
1,879
Endeavour 42 Cruisin
South of Norfolk it's a crap shoot. Even in the town of Oriental, cell reception is very spotty for all carriers. Verizon seems to get the most votes from cruising boats.
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,671
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
I have sailed all the way from Baltimore to Oriental NC. I have had very little trouble with Verizon Wireless. Can't say about the other carriers but I have no motivation to switch.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,172
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I just switched to T-Mobile They were promoting a hefty discount for Veterans.
 
Feb 11, 2017
15
Rosborough 246 Upper Chesapeake
We brought our boat from Oriental to Rock Hall in 2016. With Verizon we noticed one remote place in the Alligator Pungo canal with no coverage and one in the Chesapeake somewhere between Crisfield and Solomons. In both cases we got coverage again in less than an hour.
 
Jun 8, 2004
7,563
-na -NA Anywhere USA
Second all comments in N C from a dealer perspective to include the Dismal Swamp passage being squaty
Have all documentation and safety gear going thru Norfolk and stay away from the naval ships.
Going thru the Dismal be cautious of snakes in the trees. You probably are aware but some do not know
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,172
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
What? They (the cell companies) do not share the cell towers?
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,671
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
What? They (the cell companies) do not share the cell towers?
Not sure but where I used to live in Virginia, Sprint was notorious for dropping calls. I have had company with Sprint who claimed no bars at my house but I had 4 bars on my Verizon account.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,172
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
@rgranger Did you try the Root Metrics app? It is pretty cool as it is based on actual use.
 
Mar 16, 2010
5,943
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
You will need to get to a marina or facility that offers wi-fi to get reliable data services. Voice and text are better.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,172
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Here are images of the coverage. Verizon sure looks like broad coverage. Perhaps there are more Verizon users.
0C205696-A225-4660-9ADD-950187550D57.png
6A0E29B7-3BFE-4660-ACA3-E7EA9512D544.png
A8026361-D308-486D-B8BD-E2D968A736EF.png
32ED7D29-5286-4D29-8758-9DF32823CDD7.png
 
Feb 11, 2017
15
Rosborough 246 Upper Chesapeake
You will need to get to a marina or facility that offers wi-fi to get reliable data services. Voice and text are better.
Our experience was different. With the two exceptions noted above almost all of the coverage we saw between Oriental and Rock Hall provided data - most of it 4g.
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,671
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Our experience was different. With the two exceptions noted above almost all of the coverage we saw between Oriental and Rock Hall provided data - most of it 4g.
:plus:

Yep! Even used the mobile hotspot on my iPhone so the laptop could connect.