Slingshot on Regional Cellular Carriers

Posted June 14th, 2012 in Industry News

We regularly receive the question, “Will you work on my local cellular network?” We have customers in rural markets where Verizon and AT&T are not the primary carriers.

The short answer to these customers is “No, but we do work on Verizon, AT&T, and a variety of additional major carriers which have roaming agreements with these regional cellular providers.”

Here is the long answer.

In an effort to ensure the best user experience for Slingshot services such as RTK corrections, file transfer, remote service and more, Slingshot was developed as a “managed solution”. Essentially what this means is that while you are using your Slingshot field hubs while farming, we have folks in our office monitoring not only the field hubs to ensure it has the latest firmware installed, but also the computer servers and various networks that it communicates with. This includes Slingshot base stations, CORS networks and the cellular networks. Because our top priority is to offer Slingshot customers the best experience possible, we offer Slingshot service only on cellular carriers with the correct certified hardware and configured network for the Slingshot solution.

Here are some supporting reasons why we have taken this position.

  1. Slingshot Field Hub’s and virtually all industrial modems are not officially certified on the regional carriers. This reason is both technical and economic. The local guys want the business but they simply don’t/can’t sell enough of the modems into their region to justify the considerable expense the modem manufacturer would need to pay to certify the modems on their network. As a result, the modem manufacturers are unwilling to make the investment as it does not make proper business sense for them to do it.
  2. A typical Slingshot customer has one or two units per account, which means that any customization on the cellular network side to support this type of implementation needs to be done on an account-by-account basis. The regional provider is not interested in implementing these customizations as they are typically labor intensive and therefore costly.
  3. Through our relationship with major cellular providers like Verizon, we can quickly diagnose network issues. This same level of interaction is not as available with regional carriers.
  4. Working with the major carriers allows us provide a much more consistent experience even when roaming onto the regional carriers. Using Verizon or AT&T is equivalent to using the local carrier but with much better support and stability.

Hopefully this illustrates that it does not make sense on many levels to use Slingshot on regional cellular carriers. Quite simply, we could not provide a level of service our customers have come to expect from us. If you have found yourself wondering these same things then contact your nearest Slingshot dealer or call us and we will be happy to help you out.