February 20, 2014, 6:00 AM —
I'm a Verizon Wireless customer, but since I moved I don't get great reception in my apartment. I don't think anyone else around here does either; I see a lot of people standing in front of their buildings, talking on their cell phones.
I've been thinking of switching to one of the other providers but I'm worried about an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" situation. Verizon coverage is poor here but not non-existent. It's not solid enough that I can ditch my land line but at worst, I have to join my neighbors on the sidewalk when I want to chat with someone. What if I switched to AT&T or T-Mobile and there was no reception at all?! If only I knew ahead of time how good coverage would be.
Well guess what? There's an app for that. It's called Glove and for now it's only available for Android, and it only works in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area. An iOS version is coming as is coverage in other areas.
The idea is you install Glove and you let it run on your phone for 3 days as you go about your business. At the end of that time it tells you what network (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint) is going to give you the best coverage based on where your phone has been (so best to run it during a routine week). How does it do this? Well that's a little vague. The website just says "Glove benchmarks 100s of millions of crowdsourced data points to map out network coverage".
TechCrunch has a post on Glove and they offer a little more info:
"That is, the company analyzes subscriber usage patterns and combines those patterns with hundreds of millions of crowd-sourced data points to determine which carriers are best for each user based on where and how the phone is used."
Glove is free to use. The company plans to make its revenue by allowing users to switch carriers from within the app and taking a commission from that transaction. As TechCrunch pointed out, that may raise a few eyebrows. If Glove doesn't suggest you switch carriers they don't make any revenue off you. Honestly I'd be happier just paying a few bucks for the app and knowing everything is on the up and up.
Still, it seems like a really useful app. Sadly I'm not in New York or the Bay area so I can't test it myself, but I'll be waiting for coverage to expand to the Raleigh, NC area so I can give it a go.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.