Verizon. And they now own alltell, which used to own the cell towers. Cell phones work best at Mammoth and Old Faithful; coverage is spotty at best elsewhere in the park. I got Verizon in 2007 and had good coverage unless I was in the backcountry....when I had none.
A friend had a Verizon pre paid phone that I think he got at the Radio Shack in West Yellowstone, not sure about that. The problem he had was that he was considered to be in roaming when he was at OF, he was only in his home area when he was close to West or near Lake. It was a real hassle because in roaming it just ate through his minutes. He called everybody and tried everything to get it so he was not in roaming at OF but nothing worked. I was with him a couple of times that he tried to get it resolved out at the Radio Shack and they did all these checks and said it was set up right but that was about it. Having a cell at OF is worth it though. They didn't have phones in the individual dorm rooms when I was there so trying to coordinate with others locally was not easy if you didn't have a cell like me. They do have pay phones around but they eat up your minutes using a calling card pretty quick. My recommendation is to get a re-chargeable calling card. I got one from Costco that gave me 700 minutes for $23. I then found out about what are called "Blue phones" on location. These "Blue phones" are actually blue in color and they don't charge your calling card the crazy rates that the pay phones do. If your card says its 2.9 cents per minute thats what it gets charged. These phones also allow you to call West Yellowstone and Bozeman as a local call and its free, no card involved. The only one I ever found was in the Obsidian Dorm, 2nd Floor Lounge. So that was what I used to call family and friends using my Costco calling card. When the funds ran out on the card I recharged it over the phone using my debit card. Anyways, more info than you were probably looking for but other people at OF were always very gracious and shared with me so I thought I should give back a little.
I have a cheapo trac phone, prepaid. yea, it cost more but if there is anykind of service in the area at all, then I have service. it cost the same rate to call in the U.S. no matter where I'm at. The phone cost me $20. the minutes depend on how many ya buy, it's anywhere from 35 cents a minute and lower. You can buy minutes online or at most retail stores.
I have not worked in Yellowstone before but I have visited and based upon my experience a few years ago, there is not really any (well, good) service. I actually went to the At&t Store because I will be there this summer and saw that around the lake area is the only place they provide service. I was surprised they provided that much service because last time we went there was nothing. They don't really have service anywhere else though. Hope I helped and good luck!
I got an Alltel phone when I worked there several years ago and it worked great didn't roam at OF or the rest of the park as long as I was close enough to a tower to get reception. Just a side note the alltel service plan I got was a National plan maybe that was it. If you get a local or regional plan who knows where they draw the line for the towers you can use.
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