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The influx of smartphones and tablets accessing video and pictures has increased the amount of data flowing across cell phone networks.  Cell phone towers can only hold so many more concurrent phone calls or users accessing video or data.  Cell towers can typically handle up to 500 simultaneous voice users at once while drastically less and only about 50 data users. Once this capacity has been reached, the cell tower rejects the calls or data connection which end up dropping those calls.  You may even see full bars on your phone which is a good indicator of network congestion.

This is why its usually impossible to get good data access inside stadiums during games with thousands of people clogging the network. This theory of network data congestion holds true with too many people accessing data on the same cell tower.  Everyone is competing for the same access on the cell phone tower and the tower only has so many capacity.  The more people accessing data on a cell tower, the weaker the signal. You might notice the strength of your cell signal in a certain area change depending upon the time of day because of rush hour or you are near a heavily populated area.

The number of simultaneous callers on a single tower was the primary cause for dropped calls years ago.  However, smartphones and their ability to view and stream data can put considerable strain on a tower data and voice backhaul. All these factors cause the cell tower cell signal strength to constantly change or breath.

This is one of the main reasons why many Verizon customers have suddenly started experiencing lack coverage in areas that they previous had 3, 4 or 5 bars of signal strength.  Coverage is not guaranteed and coverage maps don't really mean much these days.  Its up to you to submit your coverage complaints to our map where you experience frequent poor coverage.  Deadcellzones.com seems to be the only service that is trying hold carriers accountable for coverage the promise in areas.  

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