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This page contains some info and responses regarding Canadian Lakes cell phone reception. Click the section you'd like to visit (there should be a "top" link and a street map link near each section heading):

I'll be glad to make any additions or changes if you'll email me (click name in next paragraph). Tried to keep maps to a printable size, but may vary depending on your screen resolution. Sorry about the ads on top and the pop-ups--they are VERY annoying. Click the "x" box in the upper right corner of the popup window. When I opened this account years ago, you could choose NO POPUPS, but guess that option is no longer available.

Thanks for the help -- I think my husband is going to go with Nextel (needs a Blackberry for work). I'll let you know if we feel confident enough to cancel that "too-darned-expensive" land line in the future. --Donna McGarrell

Off phone topic from (LS) -- "A great idea ... in fact I believe when person asks for help with a "need" (ie need a painter/plumber/etc) they should in turn share their responses with everyone on a central bulletin board and then rank (1-10, let's say) how they found the service from who/m they selected." I agree, too often questions are asked via newsletter, but we never see the answer or a review of the performance. Let's remember to share, people! That's what a "community" is for.


General from the Web:

Searched the forum on Got some good general info about phones and how wireless works at You have to do some major "mining" however, to find what might be helpful. Try different searches (begin with "Michigan" at and try whatever other terms you may want). A couple of examples are below. Use zip code and visit menu items on the right at

from wirelessadvisor:

Originally Posted by deplep: I just recently switched from Sprint to Verizon (2 weeks ago). I had "the best reception" phone from Sprint - so they told me. While I had good service in heavily populated areas and on most of the freeways, the reception was so poor in rural towns that I was left with no service.

We had 4 phones (1 sanyo, 1 samsung, 2 nokia's) and the reception off Sprint's network was awful.

Switched to Verizon hoping it would be better and so far it has EXCEPT for the fact that I had to trade in the newly purchased LG VX6100's for Motorola's. The LG's didn't hold a signal (yes I updated the PRL). So, we traded the really cool LG 6100's for the uncool Motorola v265 but guess what, we were in rural NE Michigan and had great signal's all weekend.

I also have a cell phone through my office (ATT/Cingular) and I get poor / no signals in fringe areas either.

Looks like Verizon is the only game in town - at least if you are travelling in NE and UP Michigan.

Reply: Well you should be able to digital roam off network with Sprint if you had:
A) a dual band, tri-mode phone
B) your phone set to 'automatic' mode
C) Used anything but a Sanyo (Sanyos have trouble roaming in 800 Mhz mode)
__________________ SuperModerator


Originally Posted by jrip: We spend alot of time all over michigan in the summer. My parents are retired and they own a consession wagon. Just to keep busy. All of us "kids" and some of our kids help out. Anyway there is a very large area from about Hesperia north way past Baldwin. I cant remember how far north the VZW dead area goes. East it goes to about US-131. When we/they are up there, usually visiting she needs to borrow either my phone(Sprint) or my uncles phone(Alltel). Because hers (VZW) can't even get a analog signal. Same goes for my sister and her husband. Their phones wouldn't work at all in Coruna this past summer for the 4th of July. They had to use a payphone to call and ask for more help. Or when they were in Wyoming for the dog show. Everybody in my family that has VZW is complaining alot lately that when they get off the main highways in most places they can't even roam. For the most part we are west of US-131 most of the time.VZW's maps show very few areas that don't have coverage. My family is finding out that it's the other way around. As soon as their contracts are up they will be switching to either Sprint or Nextel.

Reply: I don't think they will be happy with those 2 either. Nextel and Sprint are spotty at best on the west side. Cingular roams on Dobson in NW MI and they just bought out NPI, so their coverage should be superb and all GSM. Alltel would be another good choice. Check out their coverage maps.


OK -- now on to our Canadian Lakes responses!

Area in general (view whole area map with clickable street name sections in new window):

My name is Gerry Cercone. I am the new outside sales rep. for Centennial Wireless, and also a Canadian Lakes resident. I just started Feb. 1st, so I don't know all of the technical info as yet, but will be at your service for questions, or phone use in certain areas of our community. I can go to anywhere, in short notice, to see if a certain phone will work. It would be my pleasure to assist anyone that may have questions, so please feel free to pass along my phone number. Thank you, and I am here to help. Gerry Cell number is 231-598-3119 Office number is 231-796- 0086 ext. 1.

I have Sprint wireless service ... using it on a PalmOne Treo phone - I get absolutely no reception whatsoever in and around the entire CL area. I have to almost get to Remus or to Stanwood before service kicks in. (LS)

Have T-mobile service and a three year old Nokia 53xx (or 35xx) phone (lost paperwork, model not noted on phone). Absolutely no service in CL -- only near 131 and 127, some on M66 (south of M-20). (DM)

We have used AllTel for several years now without any service here in Canadian Lakes. News of an AllTel tower is good news to us and we will now wait to see the improvement before trying any other services. (DW)

Cingular seems to work pretty good in the Canadian Lakes area since they joined with AT&T. (IG)

I use Nextel and have good coverage in many places, and poor coverage in the rest. Wife has Cingular but cannot obtain a 231 number so anyone that calls her would have to use long distance. She kept her California number so at least her sister can call her toll-free. (JS) (DM--guess if your Cingular home location is other than CL, it will have reception for you here.)

I picked up on your interest in cell phone service and reception in Canadian Lakes from Ann Mudel's email and offer you my input... I have Nexted service and have a 2 year old phone, Motorola model I 50sx. With my phone on, I drove around the entire development and observed the signal strength that was indicated on my phone. It varied from 1 bar (weak signal) to 5 bars (strong signal) with much of the area showing at least 3 bars. I found one area near St Ives club house with 1 bar signal strength and an area near Mayfair on 7 Mile Rd at the Little Muskegon River. As I sat by the river with a single bar signal strength, I called my wife in Chicago and had a 10 minute conversation. ...before they activated the new tower about a year ago I got no reception in CL. Now I am very happy with their service. (BB)

We have a vacation home on Toronto St just off of East Royal. We have Cingular cell phone service, Nokia phones with GSM technology (that is pretty old-they now have a newer format but we would have to change phones to get it). We can get a really strong signal from the middle of any of the lakes, from anywhere on Buchanan on our way to Country Corners. We can get a good signal from our cottage if we stand still in certain corners of the family room or on the front porch. It is unpredictable though. My husband also carries a Nextel phone for his work and the reception is much the same as our Cingular phones. It always seems that in the lower areas that ring the lake are the worst. (BV)

We have Alltel service. Our phones are Motorola V260N262 (new as of Jan. '05). We can get service at Country Corners, other places in C.L. are irregularly available. We were told, by an Alltel service person in Mt. Pleasant, that we should call Alltel everyday to request a tower to serve C.L. He said C.L. residents have stopped the addtion of towers. I understand this. Maybe we need to work together as a community to decide what service we would like to have available to provide service for our entire community. (BP)

I had Alltel last year but cancelled due to cost and poor reception I now have Tracfone and the only time it faded out on me was going up Timberlane near Belle Isle but I do not use it a lot. Alltel was $40/mo while I think I can get by with Tracfone at around $20/mo. If anyone wants to order Tracfone, contact me first and they can get 100 free minutes if I refer them. I have long distance land line at $.025 instate and $.035 outstate with no access numbers to dial and only $0.99 monthly service charge. Again contact me for referral. (Dale Doepker - and from Fall '04 newsletter: I have found that the GM Onstar Personal Calling works everywhere but is only available inside the car.

We have been Centenial Wireless customers for over 10 years. Most of that time period, our cell phone usage was non existent anywhere around Canadian Lakes. On M20 by the Sanctuary, we would have full signal through Big Rapids. On M20-east by Hansuls Marina we would have full signal up to Coldwater Rd - then dead for a mile or two then back on with full signal to Mt. Pleasant. Since the new tower by Marvels ranch, we have full signal EVERYWHERE in Canadian Lakes, we're iffy toward Big Rapids until we are close to town. M20 toward Mt. Pleasant is full signal most of the way, EXCEPT a mile or two by Coldwater Rd. Most people I know have trouble there. I heard from Centennial that the area by Coldwater Rd. is a dead zone for most everybody. We love Centenial Wireless! Our phone coverage is wonderful and the people in the office in Mt. Pleasant are very friendly and helpful. We have a Motorola. I have a flip (3 years old - Analog type. Not many of those around . Digital is the current craze) My husband has a bag phone in his truck with an antenna on the roof. He can get service ANYWHERE . He'll never get rid of it. Bag phones have three times the power of a handheld. Our daughters have Motorola , digital flip phones. Digitals have a strange sound when you talk on them. They cut out any outside noise. Only the person's voice will come through, nothing in the background. It sounds like the phone is cutting out when they're not. Also, both our girls and my friends who have digitals, sound muffled at times. Centennial people tell me there is a newer type of phone that is a combo of analog/digital that has the clarity of an analog phone. (LS)

I have both Nextel and Centennial, ... Centennial gives me more signal here at Canadian Lakes then Nextel. But then again when I don't have a signal from Centennial, Nextel has one. I guess it is because of the towers. Centennial has one on M-20 and 120th and will soon add Alltel. Nextel's tower is at M-20 and 60th. Since, I work here at Canadian Lakes, its nice to have a phone that works when I need one. Of course there are still places here where neither one gets a signal. (MR)

We have Verizon and have terrible reception at CL. We are part-timers and CL is the only place where we don't have good reception. I had heard that Verizon and Alltel were joining forces. Does anyone know if this is true or if our reception will get better once the new receiver is in place? (SM)

from Fall '04 newsletter: I could not get any reception on my AT&T cell phone plan until the new tower was completed. Since that has been finished I make all my long distance calls on my AT&T cell phone very clear no problems. Maybe Ma Bell knows best. (PE)

This came from someone who didn't identify himself or his location in CL, so take it or leave it. "Cingular works everywhere, no blind spots in Michigan." My question: Is person speaking from experience or Cingular's coverage map (which cannot be reliable)???


North of Buchanan (view this area with street names in new window):

I use Centennial and since they put up the new tower it works really good. I live in Lost Canyon on Birdie Dr and get full strength signal from my house. My neighbor, who also has Centennial, uses hers for all their long distance calls. (MS)

We are in the area of the Highland House and use Cingular with a Nokia phone and it works fine. Our phone is part analog and part digital. We are going to change to a complete digital system which will work even better with Centennial Tower (GSM) system. We will switch to a Motorola T180 phone. (DD)

I have Verizon which works well downstate and the rest of the nation but not at Canadian Lakes, even with the new tower. Could be in poor reception area, on Birwood just north of Buchanan. Maybe Verizon hasn't hooked up to that tower yet. (JS)


South of Buchanan - west (view this area with street names in new window):

We have a place on S. Lookout Ridge by Tulleymore. I am very frustrated with the reception I get with our cell phones (like none). I have Verizon, and my husband has Sprint; and we both have to go to Stanwood to use them. (KH)

I live on Montreal off of East Royal. I have Verizon. My cell phone barely works at my house. I don't even try to use it. If it rings, I pick it up and the reception doesn't last long and I usually lose the call. Very rarely I can finish a call of a couple of minutes. At Country Corners it is a little better but not much. At Denslows it works pretty good. I have a Samsung digital/anolog phone, as diiferent phones will help/hinder in the way the reception is. People with the older larger analog phones probably have better reception. and the old bag phones will probably work well all over. (JV)

We have Centenniel and are not happy w/the reception in C/L. We live off West Royal near the Ball Diamond on 10th St. Using the cell phone, during a recent phone conversation w/a friend in the downstate area, our land line rang from the person who my husband was conversing with on the cell phone. He didn't realize that the cell phone went dead and the friend called him back on the land line. However, the phone reception was very good in Florida. (DM)

from Fall '04 newsletter: I had regular AT&T and had very bad reception in and around Canadian Lakes. I changed over to AT&T GSM Service and the reception has been great. (DO)

from Fall '04 newsletter: Thank you all who gave me cell phone advise. Have a contract with Centennial and a way cool motorola phone. Did business in Big Rapids with Jim Martin. (VO)


South of Buchanan - east (view this area with street names in new window):

I have used Centennial for many years and am gettng ready to switch. I live on Pierce Rd. and even with the tower I still get a weak signal. This means I can't really take advantage of the 2000 weekend/evening messages that I pay for. As far as I can see, it depends on your location in C.L. IF centennial works. It works just fine if I drive up to the shopping center and sit in the parking lot. A bit cold to do so and impractical. (LM)

(some editing to shorten) ...signed a contract with Nextel. The told us they had Canadian Lakes covered. (agent was in Mt. Pleasant) He gave us names of people in C/L's that had phones and were happy. ... first time we used our phone in C/L from our home on East Royal Rd. we were dropped due to no signal.... I asked S. if B. was happy with his service. He laughed and said "Hell he is always getting dropped." That confirmed my opinion that Alltel had had been less than honest with us so we cancelled or contract and returned all equipment. Only a few weeks later the Centennial tower was complete and we signed a contract with them at their promotion held at Country Corners. Everyone was singing the praises of Centennial and cell phone joy spread throughout the community. As we used our cell phone */from our home/* we were getting dropped over half the time. After several calls to Jim Martin at Centennial and conversations with neighbors that were having the same problems, Jim came to our house and upgraded us to GSM technology. */Only then/* did our phone start working to an acceptable level from our home and around Canadian Lakes. They charged us no more for the GSM phone and we have been satisfied ever since. So in my opinion the Centennial tower solved some of the problem but not all until we were switched to GSM. It has been our experience and our opinion that the cell phone companies are competing and being less than honest with people (news flash). Also the people that have different types of cell phones all feel that theirs is the best and are hesitant to be completely honest when you ask them about their service. We had people that swore their service was the best (a year ago) and have since silently switched to another service because they were having problems. Only when confronted about their switch in service do they admit their prior service wasn't what they had hoped. With this said I hope the feed back you get is honest and not swayed by peoples ego and sometimes unexplainable loyalty to companies that really aren't providing what they say. (I guess people hate to admit to their friends and neighbors that they sometimes have made a less than perfect choice). Our phone is a Nokia 3595, we have Centennial wireless and we live at East Royal Rd. Only on rare occasions due we get dropped, usually associated with bad weather. I am still not confident enough to go solely with a cell phone. Our's has worked so far, wherever we are in C/L's but realize that is mostly from our home and on the golf Courses. Traveling we had no problems calling anywhere between here and Florida. Last year before we got GSM we were dropped the minute we got into S. Dakota and were still within Centennial's coverage area. I hope that next time we will get a signal now that we have GSM. Hope you enjoyed the story, it is as factual and honest as I can give you. (WL)

from Fall '04 newsletter: Centennial Tower -- Just to let everyone know there is a large area at CL that does not get benefit from the Centennial tower. East Royal is bad. I cannot call from my home or from the houses surrounding it. I have been working with Jim and Connie but still have poor service. (KA)

from Fall '04 newsletter: We have been using CellularOne for three years. It works here in Sunset Shores, our house in south Florida - which had some damage - as well as most of Michigan, Texas, Alberta and British Columbia. (JB)

from Fall '04 newsletter: I am a Centennial Wireless user as of Friday 13, 2004. I had some real problems and now I want all of my friends and neighbors to know that Centennial's Rep. Jim Martin has given 200% in trying to get things working for me and making sure I am happy. I can receive and make calls from home, something I was not able to do with Verizon, the reception is very good and the telephone holds a charge for days. Thank you Mr. Martin. (GD)


Royal/Mayfair (view this area with street names in new window):

Just purchased Nextel i730 works well in Canadian Lakes All our staff is on Nextel service.We live on Mayfair next to the Royal. (LW)