Gilmore Girls: Can You Hear Me Now?

29 March 2017

Gilmore Girls Cell Phone Coverage

The long awaited Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix happened. It opened with one of the show’s running gags of poor cell phone reception. While sparse in previous seasons, this opening episode spent a fair amount of time with Rory struggling to get good reception on at least one of her phones. There are good, better, and best cell phone plans out there, you just need to take a minute to compare right here. 

With tech nostalgia like the Nokia 3310, and the endearing anachronistic palette of the town itself, it’s easy to forget that Gilmore Girls aired between 2000 and 2007. They had the technology. They just had the very worst in reception, which is unforgivable even if it is fake. 

Why You Should Care

The fictional town of Stars Hollow is based on the very real town of Washington, Connecticut. And if the first five-minutes of the 2016 Gilmore Girls revival is any indication, the struggle for good cell phone reception is as real there as it is in many towns just like it. 

Think about it: if the reception in that area wasn’t so bad, the show’s creator wouldn’t find it necessary to write the struggle into the script so very explicitly. And it’s not just the opening scene of the GG revival. Any true GG fan can tell you about the ongoing thorn in Rory and Lorelei’s side that is the cell phone coverage in Stars Hollow. It’s only been ridiculously pronounced in the opening episode. Why? Because terrible cell phone coverage in a small but bustling town is kind of ridiculous. In real life this would drive anyone nuts. In Stars Hollow, it’s a quirky kind of frustration. 

Hilarity ensues below:

Funny stuff. But we shouldn’t have to juggle three phones, make obscure pop culture references, and race to find a produce shelf to stand on for decent reception. No one has the energy to be that adorable. Looking at you, Rory. 

Let’s take a look at the very real coverage scores in the very real town of Washington, Connecticut. Then, maybe, just maybe you'll understand why comparing cell phone plans is so very major. 

Actual Coverage in Washington, Connecticut

Turns out, AT&T and T-Mobile have the best 4G coverage in 'Stars Hollow' by offering the most modern high speed LTE services in the area (we checked this lat,long: 41.6520228,-73.3539227).

4G 3G2G
AT&T YesYes Yes
T-Mobile Yes Yes Yes
Sprint No Yes Yes
Verizon No Yes Yes

Clearly, there's a solution for Rory. She might have that fancy new (extra large) white smartphone now, but she needs to get on AT&T or T-Mobile to get the full benefits. 

Don't be like Rory

If you seriously want to buy happy, know the area you live in and what you need from your carrier before you buy. 

  • Check the carrier's network maps online before deciding on a carrier
  • Ask around and talk to other people about experiences on each carrier
  • Find the actual network antennas in your town and look for line of sight. if you are on the other side of the mountain from the antenna, your reception will be terrible. The antennas look like this.

Too Late? How to Deal with Poor Reception

If you are already in an area with poor reception, here are some tips.

  • Upgrade your phone - The latest phones ALWAYS get the best reception (newer antennas and network specs that can handle the new extended range networks that the carriers. The difference can be night and day). 
  • Free coverage extender - If you're on T-Mobile you can get a Wi-Fi extender for your house for free ($25 returnable deposit) which will extend the coverage around your house to a perfect signal.
  • Third party network extender - You can also try a network extender for your house from a 3rd party.

If you're moving to Washington, Connecticut or stuck in 'Stars Hollow', check these out. Rory seems like an AT&T kind of girl but here are both AT&T and T-Mobile plans since these work the best in that area: 

Compare phones and plans from the following carriers...

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