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When you purchase a cell phone, you expect it to work wherever you go. After all, you’re paying a cellular carrier for the opportunity to make calls, send texts, and access cellular data when streaming videos or using your GPS.
However, cell phone reception isn’t guaranteed with your cell phone carrier. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that cell phone coverage is not included in most carrier contracts. In the event of poor reception, people need to take matters into their own hands.
The problem really starts when you sign your contract with your cell phone carrier. In the fine print, all the major carriers say that customers agree to make their monthly payments whether their phone actually connects to a cellular signal or not. In other words, when customers sign their carriers’ two-year contracts, they are agreeing to terms of service that make no guarantees to provide adequate coverage.
For example, the Verizon Wireless Customer Agreement lists the following:
“Wireless devices use radio transmissions, so unfortunately you can't get service if your device isn't in range of a transmission signal. And please be aware that even within your Coverage Area, many things can affect the availability and quality of your Service, including network capacity, your device, terrain, buildings, foliage and weather.”
Translation? If you signed a contract with one of the four major cell phone carriers in the country and find yourself dealing with poor or nonexistent cell phone reception in your home or office, you probably won’t be able to argue your way out of your contract — or even get your money back.
Myths of Cellular Reception
There are some myths surrounding cell signal connectivity, from the role of carriers to what boosters can do:
- Carriers won’t fix the problem. Some people believe that the major cellular carriers will eventually fix the problem of poor reception, but that’s not the case. Carriers focus on erecting cell towers to expand their coverage regions, but they won’t fix your poor reception.
- Faster WiFi will improve cell signal. While you can use WiFi calling to make calls and send texts over a VoIP network, you cannot expect better cellular reception and just by getting faster wireless internet. Even a fiber WiFi connection won’t help you send images via text any faster.
While dispelling these myths may add to the frustration in the face of poor coverage, there are still some ways you can take connectivity into your own hands.
First, you can look online for coverage maps of your area. Better yet, look up the cell phone towers nearest to your home or office. One reliable resource is cellreception.com, which gives comments and coverage ratings for any given area code.
Case Study: Learn more about how WilsonPro boosters enhanced cellular signal for a prominent NYC retailer.
Another possible solution is to try and cancel your contract within the carrier’s grace period and avoid the carrier’s Early Termination Fee (ETF). This usually ranges from 14 to 30 days, so if you already know that you’ve got poor reception, take action quickly and switch to a different carrier.
Another solution? Install a signal booster. Cell signal boosters are devices use external and internal antennas to pick up any existing signal outdoors, amplify them, and broadcast them within a home or office building in order to strengthen the reception inside a building. Especially if you already have better reception by moving closer to a window or even going outside, a booster can help bring that signal in. After all, Verizon’s customer agreement was right. Obstructive terrain like hills and mountains, thick or reflective building materials like concrete and coated glass, lush foliage, and even certain weather conditions can all prevent cellular signals from making their way to your cellular device.
- Cell signal boosters are usually simple to install. Certified installation experts start by performing a site signal survey to determine the strength and direction of the cell signal, then install an outdoor antenna on the roof or near a window. Then, the booster acts as a conduit to the indoor antenna, which transmits the boosted signal inside the building.
- Perhaps the best part is that certain cell signal boosters are carrier-agnostic, meaning that boosters can improve cellular reception no matter which cell phone carrier you — or others in the building — are contracted with. This is especially important in a commercial setting where many users may be coming and going and accessing cellular reception all the time.
Cell signal boosters offer a far more affordable option than a distributed antenna system, or DAS, which is usually used in expansive enterprise scenarios. In fact, many people already use boosters in their apartment buildings, offices, schools or retail stores to ensure their users all have the best possible reception.
If you find yourself locked into a contract with your cell phone carrier and unable to enjoy the good reception you expected, consider a cell signal booster as a way to take cellular reception into your own hands.
Learn more about cell signal boosters by downloading our eBook.