Verizon

Why can't my phone work with my new carrier?

Episode 1435

Mark from Vienna, VA
Cell Phone Tower

Mark's wife got a mobile phone through Verizon and he had it unlocked to use with an MVNO carrier, but it doesn't work. Leo says that it could be due to radio frequency issues. Leo says that unlocking doesn't guarantee that he'll be able to use the phone anywhere. But it's the first step. That's why everyone is going to LTE. That will smooth out the system and make it easier to transfer from one carrier to another.

What new Android phone should I buy?

Episode 1434

Richard from Poway, CA
Pixel 2 XL

Richard really likes his phone, but the battery is starting to run out and Verizon says that since the battery is built-in, it can't be replaced. He'll have to replace the whole phone. Leo says that drives him nuts. Richard has a perfectly good phone that he likes, but he has to go to the extra expense of upgrading a phone and throw his old one away. What phone should he get now? Leo says that Google's Pixel 2 XL is exclusive to Verizon and it's a great phone. It runs pure Android. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is another great option, with a great screen.

What are my options for rural internet access?

Episode 1428

Lucas from Santa Barbara, CA
Network cable

Lucas does a lot of video streaming and gaming, but he's moving to a rural area and will have to find new high speed internet. What can he do? Leo says that rural internet access is a real issue here and Leo doesn't believe the FCC cares enough to make it happen. Satellite isn't the answer because it's got terrible latency and bandwidth caps. That being said, the best satellite provider is WildBlue's Exede. It's that or dialup.

Why can't my Pixel make phone calls?

Episode 1399

Naomi from Denver, CO
Google Pixel

Naomi bought a Google Pixel as her first smartphone. It takes great pictures, but she couldn't make a phone call unless she cleared the cache and rebooted. It was very frustrating. Leo says that there's clearly something wrong with Naomi's phone since it shouldn't do that. She can't get any help except through the online chat feature. She also got the wrong replacement phone. Leo says she'll have to go to where she bought it and have them replace it with the right model. Only the place she bought it can fix it.

What's the best carrier in LA?

Episode 1377

Rob from Santa Monica, CA
Cell Phone Tower

Rob wants to know who best provider is for the iPhone in Los Angeles? Leo says that in a huge metropolitan area like LA, he'll have his pick of the litter. He shouldn't trust the carrier coverage maps, as they are too optimistic. There are third party sites like OpenSignal.com that will give an independent assessment. T-Mobile and Sprint are also good, but they have dead pockets in the suburbs. AT&T and Verizon are best in LA.

Can I use my Google Fi phone on Verizon?

Episode 1377

Robert from Laguna Hills, CA
Google Pixel

Robert signed up for Google Fi and bought a new Google Pixel phone, but Google is having issues activating his account. Leo says that's disappointing, especially when they don't know what the problem is. Leo says it's a good system and Robert shouldn't give up on it yet.

Can he use it on Verizon until it does? Leo says yes. He should just ask them for a SIM and he'll be able to use it. It shouldn't add any software overlays, but it may download some apps. He'll be able to uninstall them, though.

ISPs Promise That User Data Is Safe in Spite of New Privacy Rules

Episode 1376

URL

It may not be an April Fool's Joke, but it sounds like one. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have moved to assure customers that while Congress has officially passed a law stripping privacy protections from internet users, their data will not be sold and they won't be spying on customers. This begs the question — why did they need the law passed in the first place?

Should I switch to Google Fi?

Episode 1375

Bob from New Mexico
Google Pixel

Bob is grandfathered in to unlimited data with Verizon, but he's thinking about leaving to go with Google Fi. Would it be worth it? Leo says that unlimited has a few caveats. It may be unlimited, but it could slow down dramatically after a few GBs. Google Fi takes connectivity from Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, picking the best one. It really comes down to how well the services work in his area. If Verizon is better, then he's better off staying with it.