Joshua Tree National Park Has Zero Cell Coverage

Joshua Tree Dead Zones Map
Joshua Tree is a Huge Cell Phone Dead Zone

Over 1.25 million people visit Joshua Tree National Park each year.  However, I can tell you that you won't be able to make phone calls or receive data to your phone.  No carrier has coverage throughout the National Park.  You can drive almost 50 miles across the park and still not have one bar of reception.  If you are lucky you might have a faint signal if you climb on top of a mountain or hill to receive a text.  Good luck making a phone call if you are in an emergency situation.  

I guess its one of the last remaining places where you can truly unplug.  

How WiFi Offloading Affects Cellular Leases

Cellular 4G LTE vs WiFi

To cope with the exponential increase in data demand since the introduction of the Smartphone, many wireless carriers have been trying a variety of solutions to help meet the needs of their customers. In some cases, these service providers find themselves with a troubling choice: they can either offload their cellular traffic to public, unlicensed WiFi networks, or risk losing customers to their competitors. It is understandable that most would choose the former, but the increasingly widespread practice of WiFi offloading has many cell site owners concerned about the implications. Could this offloading practice take business from cellular providers and site owners, or worse– render them obsolete?

Experts think not. In fact, the practice of WiFi offloading isn’t nearly the threat to cellular service that it might seem at first glance. While there are certainly issues with this practice that will require a bit of patience, flexibility, and extra preparedness from cell site owners and renters, there are still several challenges in the wireless industry that make cellular service a necessity. In fact, issues particular to WiFi capability not only ensure cellular services’ secure position in the wireless data industry, but could also prove a boon to savvier investors.

Meeting Hotspot Requirements

No matter their size, any given WiFi access point will have limitations in both service radius and number of users that can be supported at once. Hence, the growing demand for WiFi hotspots, and the access points available at each, has many wireless carriers scrambling to develop new cellular sites and improve those already in existence. This means more investment opportunities for cell site owners and renters alike.

Even with their best efforts, there are still significant gaps to be found in WiFi coverage, particularly in more rural areas. As a result, customers continue to utilize cellular coverage as the more reliable option. Since WiFi planning and development often takes several years to process and implement, cell tower owners in these areas are particularly secure from any threats that could be posed by WiFi offloading.


On the other side of the coin, more population-dense areas are facing an over-saturation of data access points in WiFi hotspots. This overload of competing access points creates interference between WiFi carriers, which diminishes both security and quality of user experience. In these scenarios, cellular service provides an access point with greater security and protection from interference, enhancing the user experience on all points.

As a result, a large percentage of users continue to rely on cellular coverage even in thriving WiFi hotspots. Those owning or renting cell towers in these areas may do well to upgrade their sites to keep up with evolving WiFi technology, but maintaining the quality of cellular technology on site will also be crucial to the property’s value.

Meeting the Demands of High Call Volumes

Along with their limitations in terms of radius and user capacity, WiFi also faces challenges in terms of high call volumes. Most WiFi access points can only handle 15 calls simultaneously, and this number decreases in areas of high interference. As long as people continue making voice calls, the need for reliable cellular towers will remain constant. This is especially true in areas that experience higher call volumes, such as neighborhoods rich in multifamily housing and city business districts. 

Ensuring Seamless Connectivity

Currently, most WiFi access points require users to sign in at least once to be able to use the network. This inconvenience is strongly felt by those in transit, in the midst of a conference, or for those handling time-sensitive matters over the network. As such, most users opt for cellular service for hassle-free access to their data network. While steps are being taken to make WiFi access a smoother process for users, it will require protocol development and technological updates that will take several years to implement. The process will also require additional partnership and cooperation with cellular service providers, creating a potential benefaction for cell tower owners.

Maintaining Continued Security in a Changing Industry

With WiFi service providers facing challenges that only cellular providers can overcome, cell tower owners can take assurance that their property is certain to maintain its value in the years to come. However, there are steps that cell site owners and renters can take to not only ensure this security’s longevity, but to increase property value in the interim. By practicing savviness and adaptability, cell site owners can ensure the continued worth of their investment for many years to come. The consultants at Lease Advisors are prepared for such contingencies and are ready to help cell tower owners make the most of the changing times. By offering their expertise and insight, they can help turn this potentially worrying trend into a long-lasting advantage for you and your investment.

Why Are AT&T & Verizon Throttling Your Netflix Usage?

Are You Seeing A Message Like This While Watching Video on AT&T or Verizon Wireless?

Apparently, Netflix has recently begun paying both Comcast and Verizon to improve network performance and carry its video streams at higher bandwidths, but so far only Comcast has reciprocated with better service. Not only has Verizon’s performance become dramatically worse, the company has continued to try and foist the blame for the problem on Netflix, claiming that the online streaming giant is deliberately degrading performance by attempting to stuff data down specific congested Verizon pipes.

If you are streaming via wireless, you might want to check your data plan and usage.  You wireless carrier might be throttling your data usage.  Here is a video that shows using a VPN that data rates are faster proving that some sort of throttling is going on.  If you want to understand the technical details behind the issue read this article.

Why is Google Chrome Browser Constantly Crashing?

Does your Google Chrome browser crash all the time?  If you have not updated your browser software in a while its probably time that you do it.  Look for About Google Chrome in your menu in the upper right corner and you will see a screen like this below.  The browser will check for updates automatically.  The update should stabilize your computer a bit and it should not crash as frequently.

50% of e911 Calls Are "Pocket Dials"

The FCC commissioner says half of 911 calls are pocket dials. That would mean that approximately 84 million 911 calls a year are pocket dials.  The real question is why are phones doing this and what apps are enabling this?

I think the bigger problem frankly is many of these calls are also attempted in dead zones or areas where cell phone reception is not available. The FCC has address this issue over the years but has not been very transparent on the issue.   Read more

Bluetooth Beacons Are Used Like Mobile Phone Cookies

Bluetooth Beacon Transmitter

Bluetooth proximity marketing is the latest marketing technique being deployed by retailers, Governments and sporting venues to track users.  How these groups benefit from it?  They do it through proximity marketing and it is about connecting with your audience at the right place and time.

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless system found on most smartphones and tablets that transmit information and can receive information.  Most people currently use Bluetooth for hands free in our cars or to connect to a wireless speaker. Bluetooth proximity marketing involves setting up Bluetooth "broadcasting" equipment at a particular location.  If your Bluetooth is "turned on" and you are near one of these beacons.  Information can be sent to devices via be text, images, audio on enabled devices (aka cell phone, tablet) within range of the transmitter (beacon).  A Bluetooth enabled mobile device, when in range of the beacon (transmitter) receives the signal and then via the device's operating system, passes information to the appropriate mobile app(s).

Several things need to happen beforehand.
1)  Bluetooth is turned on
2)  A Bluetooth beacon transmitter must be nearby
3)  The targeted individual should have a specific application installed on the their phone that is capable of receiving a push notification.  

What information is collected?
1) The ID of the phone and user of the phone
2) Cellular or Wifi signal strength issues
3)  Locations traveled of other beacons in the area (for example locations within a store).  

Australia's Mobile Black Spot Program Has Located 6,000 Dead Zones

The Mobile Black Spot Programme is an Australian Government initiative to extend mobile phone coverage and competition in regional Australia. The programme will invest in telecommunications network infrastructure to improve coverage of high quality mobile voice and wireless broadband services and competition in the provision of these services. The Government has committed $100 million (GST exclusive) over four years to the delivery of the Mobile Black Spot Programme. The program will improve coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems.

Nominations of mobile black spot locations. From 16 December 2013 to 1 August 2014, the Department of Communications received reports of approximately 6,000 locations with poor or no mobile coverage. These locations have been included in a database which is now available as an interactive map. The database will be shared with mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to assist them in preparing funding proposals for the Mobile Black Spot Programme. The database of mobile black spot locations closed on 1 August 2014.

Some 6,000 mobile black spots (dead zones) exist across Australia, according to a recent database released by the government and compiled after submissions from the public. Victoria was the state reported to have the most nominations – 2,029 – for mobile black spots, followed by New South Wales, which had 1,780, while Queensland and Western Australia had 897 and 523, respectively. However, according to The Australian, the AUD100 million (USD92 million) set aside for its Mobile Black Spot Programme is only expected to be able to pay for the construction of between 250 and 300 new base stations. Despite this, Paul Fletcher, parliamentary secretary to the communications minister, was cited as saying that these new towers should help fill coverage gaps in multiple areas, saying: ‘It is important to understand that, although 6,000 locations have been nominated, this does not mean that there are 6,000 locations where a new base station is required.’

With mobile operators such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia expected to tap the AUD100 million government fund, the process is also reportedly expected to generate at least another AUD100 million investment from bidding parties, state governments and local councils. In terms of which locations will benefit from funding, this will be determined by a competitive selection process, with Mr Fletcher noting: ‘The final determination of the locations to receive funding will come through the competitive selection process, which is designed to allocate the funding to locations which will deliver the greatest benefit in terms of new coverage, for the public funding provided.’ This tender process will reportedly get underway this month, with a decision on successful bids expected by April 2015, ahead of new towers being rolled out in the second half of 2015.

VoLTE vs Wifi Calling

Wireless carrier voice revenues are declining almost to zero (many fees now include unlimited voice and SMS texts, charging only on the basis of data consumed).  Not to mention the reliability of voice coverage is on the declines as well with carrier networks seeing congestion in many areas throughout the World.
Have carriers lost control of voice and messaging services with the onset of the mobile data tsunami?  It appears to be that way seeing the growth of over the top messaging services.  Many wireless consumers suffering from poor quality or non-existent voice service at home have three main technical solutions to consider.
  • Install a femtocell, (often termed residential small cell) 
  • Use Wi-Fi calling 
  • Install a repeater
The wireless industry seems uncertain of which direction to take for future voice delivery.  VoLTE which stand for (Voice over LTE) seems the most popular choice and is considered by many to be the path of the future. However, the complexity of introducing the service late and alongside existing 2G/3G has delayed launch.  Despite the hype at the last CTIA conference, few operators and few devices actively support it today.  This could obviously change quickly over the coming year. Sprint's CTO advised they will wait until its more mature, offering HD Voice over 3G instead.

Several operators are introducing Voice over Wi-Fi including operators T-Mobile. This is quite independent of VoLTE and comes in several flavors - many operators offer a separate App that can be a bit clunky and inconvenient to use. Alternatively, the new iPhone iOS8 Wi-Fi calling feature is fully integrated as a seamless service - making it as easy to use as standard cellular calls.  Most T-Mobile android phones offer built in Wifi calling as well.  The iPhone could be a big trigger for greater take-up of Wifi calling and may affect sales of residential Femtocells.  Approximately, 10 million residential Femtocells deployed worldwide. 

How To Report Unsafe Cell Phone Towers

Have you ever been on a communications tower that's missing so much hardware, you are sure there is a structural issue? Andrew Brown has. Andrew is the owner of Orchard Telesolutions, based in Michigan. One morning Andrew posted a question on Facebook addressing this very issue. I decided to do something about this all too common problem.

That same day, less than a month ago, I created a Facebook page called 'Unsafe Towers’. In the week prior to writing this article, I saw on Facebook an antenna mounted with zip-ties and a tower with so much corrosion that you could actually see through the pipe. I have asked both of the men who posted those photos to let me know where those sites are located. They were each concerned with getting in trouble for actually reporting the problem. The irony is that their names are associated with their posts on Facebook.

The job hazard analysis / certification of hazard assessment (JHA/CHA) was created to reduce liability to the lowest level: the climber. If there is an accident onsite, everyone from the contractor up to the carrier will tell OSHA that the climber signed the JHA/CHA that morning. The climber's signature confirms that he/she knew what was being done that day (as well as the risks involved), had been properly trained, and had accepted responsibility. Now liability for the climber's accident is laid squarely at the feet of the climber. As if the liability of death wasn't enough, now their family is left with nothing. No husband/wife, father/mother, boyfriend/girlfriend, son/daughter, uncle/aunt or grandson/granddaughter. My intent is to level the playing field.

In the event of a major accident that results in major injuries or death, there will be an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Our industry is in OSHA's cross-hairs right now, and deservedly so. However, what if you went to a tower a month ago and saw that corrosion had eaten the tower to pieces? You reported it to your boss. More often than not in our industry there are two responses:

1.    “I know it's bad, but if we don't do it, someone else will. We are not giving up our PO because you are scared. Someone has to get this job done so it might as well be us”.
2.    Your boss does take your concern seriously. When he tells his vendor that the tower is unsafe, there is then this conversation. “We will pull this site back from you (your company) and get someone else to do that site and give you another one”.  That, your boss knows, may or may not happen.

I am not going to judge you.  I know the pressures associated with building cell phone sites.  I understand the deadlines and unrealistic expectations of carriers who are not on-site, turf management companies that have requirements that are questionable in theory and ridiculous in practice.  Enormous amounts of pressure are applied daily to your foreman and then on to the guys at elevation.  There has to be recourse and I really just want to be a resource. You can go to and in the very first post, click on the link that says “Tell me about your unsafe tower”. Or you can just go to and fill out the form there. You can remain completely anonymous in either case. When you click on the submit button at the bottom of the page, I will get an email with all the information you have provided me. The only part of the form that is not really needed is identifying information for the person reporting the unsafe tower and I understand the desire for anonymity.  If you so choose, I can also be reached at I need as much information as possible to be able to affect change. The truth of the matter is that in the event of an accident, the climber deserves to have OSHA obtain ALL the information relevant to their investigation.  I will post sites that are reported to me online.  Initially, it will be the Facebook page.  Later on I will post them on a website that will be linked to the ‘Unsafe Towers’ Facebook page.  I am in the process of getting up and running.  In the event of a death or an injury, I will contact Bridgette Hester at the Hubble Foundation or Wally Reardon who receives reports of injuries, and determine if the accident occurred at a tower that has been reported to me.  If there is a match, I will notify OSHA of my report. 

This doesn't work without the climbing community. You are the ones who are on these sites.  I know this industry and I know there are going to be those who doubt that anything will come of this.  Rest assured that there are important people who want this information. The day that the Facebook page launched, I received a message from a national director for cell sites at a major carrier. I was told that this is information that he wants but has difficulty getting. I was asked to call or email him if one of their towers was reported. He asked me to notify him immediately. There is a desire for this feedback from you in the field and I need your support to make this work.

            Here is the information I ask for on the form linked above.

1.    What state is the tower in?
2.    Who owns the tower?
3.    How many carriers are on the tower?
4.    Is there a specific way to identify the tower?
5.    Type of tower?
6.    Latitude and Longitude?
7.    Address the crew was given for the site?
8.    What carrier are you working for?
9.    Who issued your PO?
10.  Has your chain of command been notified? (I don’t care either way)
11.  What work were you to perform?
12.  What is the safety issue that   caused concern?
13.  Any additional information?
14.  If you have photos, you can upload those also.

This is information I need if I am going to notify the tower owner/carrier that there is an issue. This is our livelihood and we should demand that we are NOT required to pay for the privilege with our lives.  But, the most important issue remains. If the tower is unsafe, I don’t have the right to NOT report it.  If I walk away from the site, you might pay with your life for my silence.  Due to the extreme dangers that are inherent with this industry, we are truly our brothers' keepers.

My desire is to create a database where we can track towers that for many different reasons are unsafe.  Whether it is splice or stitch bolts, a collar that is peeling off of a tower, or booms that are not able to handle today’s loads, these are all items that require attention.  We are not doing ourselves or our brothers and sisters in the industry any favors by passing the buck.  So, I am asking for your help to make this work.  After all, I wasn’t on your site today, you were.  Your help benefits everyone from the carriers to the climbers.  Let’s work together and change our industry. 
Vern Fitzgerel

Dead Cell Zones Monthly Website Visitors

Chart of our historical web site visitor traffic and page views since 2006. 
The web site gets well over 1 million visitors per year looking for solutions to solve their cell phone coverage issues.  This summer we have had a big spike in traffic likely due to 4G LTE upgrades, increased network congestion, carrier network signaling issues and most notably carriers removing 2G in certain markets.  We also think users are doing their homework before they purchase an Apple iPhone 6 this fall.  Switching carriers from AT&T and Verizon to a smaller carrier is now more than ever a viable option.   

5,000 People Per Day Visit Dead Cell Zones

A Profile of our Daily Visitors to
5,000 visitors per day visitor our web site from these cities above.  

Verizon Coverage Map Problems Heat Map

Verizon Wireless Coverage Map of Reported Cellular Coverage Problems 
Dropped calls, dead zones, network congestion. 
Add your coverage problems to our Verizon Wireless Coverage Map 
Learn more about using our wireless coverage data.

AT&T Coverage Map Problems Heat Map

AT&T Wireless Coverage Map of Reported Cellular Coverage Problems
Dropped calls, dead zones, network congestion.  
Add your coverage problems to our AT&T Coverage Map
Learn more about using our coverage data

Why Does Pandora Randomly Start Playing?

Pandora is automatically starting
Why Is My Pandora Android App Randomly Turning On?

Its very frustrating as a fan of Pandora to see my Pandora app randomly turn on.  It happens to me on an Android phone. It is also very hard to find the quit button.   You have to hit menu button which is not easy to find.  Are they trying to sell ads or boost their ratings?  Are they trying to make it hard for me to turn off the app?  See also our reviews and articles on the Pandora.  

How to Market Land to Tower Companies for New Towers

For every landowner with an open parcel of land that isn’t currently under use, a cell tower sounds like a great way to add value to the land and bring in an extra monthly income. If you know anyone who owns a cell tower lease, you’ve probably heard that the income is a welcome addition to their finances and that having a cell tower on the land turns out to be a lucrative investment. So how do you get a cell tower on your own plot of land? The answer to this question is not so clear, as cell tower leasing isn’t a simple matter of getting a tower company to build a tower and solicit a wireless company for tenancy. Here are some suggestions for marketing your land and increasing your chances of getting a tower built.

Getting a Cell Tower on Your Land
Before we get started, you should know that the chances of getting a new tower built on your land is close to 1%. That’s right: wireless carriers are very selective about where to build a new tower. A wireless company will select a parcel of land to build on based on a set of narrow criteria in the form of a “Search Ring.” A Search Ring is an area on a map chosen by company engineers as the best location to build a new tower. This area takes into account the topography of the land, gaps in wireless coverage, surrounding populations of customers, zoning conditions, distance to adjacent towers, and other characteristics that make a given stretch of land more desirable for cell tower placement.

Most cell tower lease owners are contacted by a company agent requesting usage of their land. So really if you think your land is a viable location for a cell site, the waiting game is the best chance you’ve got at being selected for a tower lease. However if your land exhibits a lot of the characteristics required by a wireless carrier to build a tower, there are certainly some things you can do to actively improve your chances.

Land Characteristics
If you decide to market your land, you should think about the characteristics your land demonstrates; otherwise you risk wasting your time. First of all, your land shouldn’t be less than a mile away from another cell tower. Due to the current demand of coverage and data usage, wireless companies are having towers built every mile or so. Are you surrounded by a dense population, or is your land located next to a major highway? These things help.

You should also see about getting into contact with your local zoning department and find out whether your land is even zoned for cell tower usage. Many jurisdictions don’t allow cell towers on residentially zoned plots, and they will have other regulatory requirements that your land should meet. One last question to ask yourself is this: is your land unique? If your land is perfect for a cell tower, is it the only area that can accept a cell tower in the region, or could a neighbor possibly accept a cell tower as well?

Market Your Property

If you think your land uniquely exhibits the characteristics required for a cell tower, there are some things you can do to make yourself more visible to wireless carriers, tower companies, and their agents. Put out a sign on your property or near the closest highway that advertises your availability for a cell site, along with a phone number you can be reached at. You can also attend any local zoning hearings for new cell tower construction and see if you can talk to a company agent or representative.

Contact Carriers and Tower Companies Directly
Carriers are not always easy to approach directly. Many of them have their own procedures for scouting out cell tower sites and they are solicited by landowners all of the time. However you can try getting through to major carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, and Sprint to see whether they are interested in scouting out new cell sites.

Tower companies tend to work with carriers when they build new towers. They can’t just build towers all over the country and hope to get paying tenants for the reason mentioned above: wireless carriers are very selective about where they lease cell towers because they have particular plans for their wireless networks. Plus if a cell tower is going to be built at all, many localities require a letter of intent from a licensed carrier that is going to be using the cell tower as part of the zoning regulations. However it doesn’t hurt to try to contact these companies for prospects, or to simply gather more information about your own region.

Get Professional Help
It also helps your chances if you network with professionals that are involved in the industry. There are various databases that tower companies and carriers set up to make their searches easier; getting your information into one of these databases can help. The closer you are to industry professionals, the more you’ll know about what is happening in your region and you’ll be positioned to take advantage of an opportunity if it comes your way.

There are also leasing acquisition and consultation companies, like Lease Advisors, which mediate between cell tower lease owners and other industry professionals. Companies like these offer negotiation services, enabling everyday people to more easily access and communicate with tower companies. Whatever path you choose, make sure you don’t go it alone. A professional helping hand is an invaluable asset, and the right lease agreement pays huge dividends. So be patient, be persistent, and be practical.

Why Does My Phone Keep Dropping Calls?

Social Networking Apps Causing  Cell Tower Signaling Issues

A recent survey by found that 72% of Americans experience some form of dropped calls, and 32% experience dropped calls at least a few times per week or more. Like it or not, dropped calls and poor coverage are still a major problem for a large number of people. Carriers continue to add cell towers and expand coverage areas, this is not a problem that's going to go away soon. So what is there to do?   Get a small cell (aka femtocell) or a cell phone booster for your house.

You can also, tell all of your friends kids and neighbors using the same cell phone tower to stop using their chatty messaging apps.  If you see the chart above it is looks like these apps are constantly pinging the cell towers which is causing people to drop calls.  Would love additional feedback below.  

Yes, dead zones or poor signal strength areas do causing many dropped calls.  However, the majority of dropped calls are in areas near cell phone towers.  The more smartphones pinging the tower the more dropped calls will persist.  

Where Are Wireless Carriers Turning Off 2G & Why?

Why Are Carriers Are Turning Off 2G Reception?

AT&T & Verizon are slowly turning off 2G cell phone towers in many rural markets.  Why?  Because they they need the capacity and or spectrum in that market for 4G and LTE.  3G and 4G provide faster data speeds but voice service can often be less reliable.  

If you have been a long time customer with an older phone and suddenly you don't have coverage any longer, you are probably one of those people who either has to upgrade their phone or find a new carrier.  Many carriers still service 2G customers so its best you do you homework in a particular market and find out who has 2G service.   

I think the FCC has done an incredible disservice to consumers not mandating that carriers provide transparency on where they are turning off 2G service.  Thus, our map database has exploded with contributions of dead zone problems this year on our map.  Consumers are confused and don't know what to do.  These presents an opportunity for an aggressive smaller carrier to capitalize on this incredibly horrible service and transparency the big carriers are providing.  Stay tuned because the fireworks are just beginning!  

Samsung Galaxy S5 Water Test

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is water and dust resistance with an IP67 rating, meaning that you can take your device for a swim in about 3.3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes.

There is one drawback to the water resistance factor, though: you’ve got to keep the built-in flap over your Galaxy S5 USB port in order to protect the device from permanent damage. 
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 back cover doesn’t feel flimsy as though you could snap the back plate into pieces. Rather, it’s a more premium feel than it’s ever had and certainly assures me as to the back cover protection of my device.
To test out Samsung’s water resistance claims, I took my Galaxy S5 out in a pool. I then left it in a bowl of water. The Galaxy S5 continues to function just fine during the test. After this I simply took off the back cover and dried it off with a towel.

 Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the smartphone sold by U.S. carriers that is advertised as water resistant. Samsung managed to make the Galaxy S5 water resistant without adding any unnecessary thickness or bulk.

The Galaxy S5 has an IP67 rating from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).  The first two letters (IP) stands for Ingress Protection. The first number (6) signifies that the Galaxy S5 is completely sealed from solids such as dust and dirt.  The second number signifies that the Galaxy S5 can survive for up to 30 minutes in up to a meter of water. Dropping the Galaxy S5 in water deeper than a meter could cause the Galaxy S5s water seals to fail due to the increased pressure. 
Waterproofing is more important in smartwatches than smartphones & only some of the top smartwatches are water proof. Like a lot of devices, including Apple’s iOS devices, the Galaxy S5s display is water proof. It’s the seams and ports that are the problem. How did Samsung make Samsung Galaxy s5 waterproof? To start with there’s a watertight cover that protects the USB charging port on the bottom edge of the device. There’s a rubber gasket attached to the inside of the cover that seals against the metal edge of the USB port. When you unplug he Galaxy S5 from its charging cable it will remind you to close the charging cover tightly.

While the Galaxy S5 safely protected against dust and water to some degree, the IP67 rating doesn’t mean that it’s any more shock resistant than the average smartphone. Dropping it in a puddle, swimming pool or bathtub could be a problem if the force is sufficient to crack the phone or dislodge either of the protective covers. If you work or play with the elements you should consider a ruggedized case for further protection.

We recommend the Samsung for stepping up to the plate and protecting users’ phones from common hazards. This will save many Galaxy S5 users money and a lot of frustration over the next couple of years. With the Galaxy S5, a spilled soda or dust won’t damage your display or smartphone.

What Cellular Service Does Your Connected Car Use?

Based on Our Research These Are the Announced Connected Car & Carrier Deals We Found! 

Telsa Motors




5 Must Have Mobile Games

Mobile phone games have exploded over the past couple years thanks to the rise of the smartphone and tablets like the iPad. These days phone games aren't just Tetris and Pong, but more like an arcade in your pocket with sophisticated titles. With so many to choose from, it's sometimes hard to sift through the deluge and find that diamond in the rough. A prepaid cell phone doesn't have to be left out of the gaming fun, either. There are plenty of great free mobile games out there, which are ideal when you're on a prepaid or limited data plan. Whether you're on a budget or just like a good deal, here are 5 great free games available to get your T-mobile phone gaming today.

1. Words with Friends (Zynga) - The latest sensation from Zynga (the studio which brought you Farmville), this game can be played with Facebook friends, a random online opponent, or between you and another friend live. It's essentially Scrabble with a few tweaks, but as a free game it can't be beat for linguaphiles everywhere.

2. Zynga Poker (Zynga) - Zynga Poker is the largest free-to-play online poker game in the world. Players can choose from casual Hold ‘Em tables, tournament play or VIP tables.  According to AppData, it is the fourth most popular game on Facebook, four years after its launch. Also available on Google Android and Apple iOS, Zynga Poker has been a top 10 grossing game in the Apple App Store.  If you are interested in real online gambling see these top 5 mobile casino games.

3. Madden NFL 10 (EA Mobile) - The classic football sim comes to your phone with this game free for T-Mobile Android phone users. This includes all 32 NFL teams and 300 plays to choose from, it's a full gaming experience. The latest edition, Madden NFL 12, can be had for only $6.99.

4. Angry Birds (Rovio Mobile Ltd.) - Free for most Android phones and iPhones, no list would be complete without this titan of the mobile gaming industry. It's popular for good reason, too. Tight physics puzzle game-play is paired up with a whimsical design and simple controls to make this an addictive game perfect for he mobile platform.  Its a perfect game for the youngest of kids to learn the basics of using an iPad or touch tablet computer.
5.  Tomb Raider – This mobile slot game is based on the popular Tomb Raider game. What we were first able to play on computers and later to see on movies, can now be played on your mobile with chance to win some big money! Enjoy this 5-reel game's graphics and sounds on the Platinum Play or Roxy Palace Casino. Get ready to see Lara Croft on your mobile and maybe even win the $56,250 available jackpot. Once you’re done with this themed slot game, then see this great page for a list of other mobile slots games, just pick the one you like the most!

What Are Small Cells?

10 Ways to Improve WiFi Reception

Many times it happens that you place a wireless network in your home, but unable to make maximum out of it. People may face slow network connection or intermittent connectivity issues. It may be possible that your router, your network topology or your computer is responsible for this inconvenience. Here, I am going to elaborate top 10 essential aspects that people should keep in mind while setting up their personal wireless network.

1. Router's positioning

Router should be placed in the center space of your home or office. If not, then few computers will unable to connect Internet via wireless router, and result in poor or no signals. For instance, if you place wireless router in the corner of your kitchen and your computer is at the second floor in the complete opposite direction of the router, then you may suffer from weak signal strength.

2. Wireless card

Wireless card installation in the PC is one of the main components responsible for the superior performance of wireless network. A high speed wireless router is useless if the wireless card is unable to cope with it. It is highly recommended that people should install recently updated wireless card that can work at the same speed with wireless router.

3. Wireless channel

Usually, wireless router transmits their signal on radio frequency of 2.4 GHz. some other household objects such as cordless phones, radios, etc. also operate around the same frequency. Therefore, it may lead the channel to bog down with excess traffic, which will affect the speed of wireless connection. In the United States, wireless router has predefined set of 11 channels. Most of them have channel 6 as default. So, changing the channel can reduce interference to some extent.

4. Buy equipments from same vendor

It is a little bit tough that you should buy all network equipments from the same vendor because you don't go for shopping at the same time for all network devices. For instance, DLink card can definite work with NetGear, but DLink-Dlink, or NetGear-NetGear setup can work always better.

5. Driver or Firmware update

Companies keep on updating their drivers or firmware for improving their network devices. So, you should regularly update wireless card's driver and router's firmware. It will enhance the performance and reliability of your wireless network connection. It will also add some latest features to your wireless router.

6. Replace antenna

Most routers are equipped with omnidirectional antenna. This antenna broadcasts the network signal equally within the described area. Therefore, it will be complete waste if you place wireless router in a corner because lots of transmitted signal will go outside your home or office area. A high gain antenna is available in the market these days. It focuses in one direction generally. It is quite simple. You just need to check that your wi-fi router has a removable antenna or external antenna jack.

7. Use 802.11g

The most commonly used network is 802.11b that is widely used by wireless cards. Now, the new standard is out which is 802.11g. This network is five times faster than the previous b standard. If your wireless card supports 802.11g network, then go for latest g standard network for your wireless router.

8. Replace wireless adapter

It may be possible that the slow Internet connection is caused by the wireless adapter equipped in the PC. It comes in the USB form that is inserted into the computer. If your computer is unable to send signals back to wireless router, then also the same issue takes place. It is because the wireless Internet is a two way transmission. You can switch to an external antenna that can improve signal strength. Usually, it is applicable to personal computers. Laptops come with in-built adapter. Most probably they are of high quality installations.

9. Wireless Interference

Generally, wireless routers work on 2.4 GHz frequency. Other household electronics such as microwave ovens or cordless phones can interfere in your wireless network as they also work on the same frequency. To solve this issue, you should use cordless phones and electronic gadgets that operate on 900 MHz or 5.8 GHz frequency.

10. Wireless repeater

If you have a large office or home area where wireless router is unable to send signal to all computer, then you can use wireless repeater to enhance the signal strength. This wireless repeater will receive network signals from main wireless router and will amplify it to resend them. The resulted signals are able to spread in larger area that increases the range of wireless network connection. It will remove the need to install additional wiring.

About the author: Kelly is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of technology. Recently an article on johnny walker blue label attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on honda jazz review.

#1 Way to Improve Your Phone Battery Life

Delete The Facebook App on Your Phone

I cannot tell you how much battery life this has saved me since I have deleted the app.  Before deleting the app I tried everything from removing notifications to killing the app process on the phone.  Nothing seemed to stop the app from running in the background on my Android phone.  I deleted the app and phone lasts probably 50% longer even on Wifi mode.  

I will continue to use Facebook but on my iPad only as a solution.  I am disappointed that Facebook and Google Android have not resolved this problem as I see this problem posted all over the internet.  I am curious if others using an iPhone have found similar problems with their battery life?  Please post in the comments below.   

New Sample Data Access via Google Maps & Google Earth

Sample Data for Google Maps, Google Earth & API
If you want to try using our data as a layer within your own map platform or on Google Earth or via an API.  

Verizon 4G LTE Wireless Signal Booster

Verizon & AT&T 4G LTE Signal Booster

Now there’s a mobile signal booster for those using Verizon Wireless LTE devices.  The Sleek 4G-V from Wilson Electronics was announced this week.  You can boost AT&T's 700 MHz LTE (bands 12 & 17) signal as well as all carriers 3G & 2G cellular signals on 800 MHz & 1900 MHz.  The boost provides more than 20 times the power of your cell phone alone.  This booster will help you stay connected by providing a strong reliable signal in weak-signal areas indoors and outdoors in a car (1 or 2 bars), reducing lost dropped calls and speeding data rates.  Its designed for the car but will work anywhere.
The Sleek 4G-V works with all devices on all conventional 2G and 3G networks, except Nextel.  FCC type accepted.  Below is a diagram on how to setup the antenna for a typical car.

Verizon 4G LTE Signal Booster 

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Do Dropped Calls Cause More Traffic Accidents?

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We are interested to know if anyone has information to share on where traffic accidents frequently occur.  We would like to publish this data on a map for a study.  We would like to find out if there is a correlation of distracted drivers either dropping a call or losing a call completing and traffic accidents.   A new report from the National Safety Council suggests that cell phones play a more frequent role in car crashes than is typically reported.

How to Understand the Different iPhone Models

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All iPhone Models Compared

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Will RadioShack Go Out of Business?

It looks like Radio Shack is probably going out of business and will be filing for bankruptcy soon.  My assumption is based on the current stock price falling near $1, the Target mobile phone kiosk deal closing and 1000+ retail stores closing as well.  Did Lance Armstrong start this company down a path of destruction?  

I am been claiming for over a decade the retail mobile phone stores add zero value to the mobile phone sale.  They should been provide retail cell phone coverage map showing choices of who has the best coverage in there area.  They could also provide solutions like femtocells to fix problems.  Instead they buy into the same coverage map propaganda and don't give consumers any help in making a purchasing decision other than price discounts.  Radio Shack is not the only one to blame.  Best Buy is just as bad providing no value and look what they have done in the mobile space.  Nothing as well.  

Walmart & TracFone Offer Prepaid Wireless

The prepaid cell phone market continues to gain lots of momentum as consumers are still looking to save money. The new discount cell phone service is offered exclusively from Walmart through Tracfone Wireless, a subsidiary of America Movil. Walmart is currently offering two plans: the first is a $30 plan that provides 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts, 30 megabytes of data and unlimited 411 for 30 days; the second for $45 gets you unlimited talk, text and data for 30 days. The discount plans prices do not include phones, which on's Straight Talk brand shop range from LG and Samsung models between a basic $39.98 device and a $328.88 phone with touch-screen, camera and video.

Free Ground Shipping

Free Ground Shipping

This should bring lots more competition from new sources that AT&T or Verizon cannot just buy out (i.e Alltell or Cingular). This should also translate into more reasonable prices for current plans in the not so distant future.

Ironically there are currently 16 Walmart stores listed in our database as having poor cell phone coverage around the US.  Hopefully, someone diligence from Walmart or Tracfone will find this information and take some action to fix the problems for its' customers.

Largest Arena Naming Rights Deals

Top 20 Arena Naming Rights Deals

Verizon & AT&T Have Spent Millions on Naming Rights Deals. I can't tell you how many times I have heard reporters say the stadium has no reception or connectivity.  Last night Patrick O'Neal from Fox Sports West was covering the Los Angeles Kings playing the Washington Capitals at the "Verizon Center" in Washington DC.  @Patrick_Oneal was frustrated on the broadcast he was not able to get updates on scores and probably connect to social media while at the game.  

Common sense would tell you that if you are a carrier owning naming rights to a stadium you would go out of your way to provide the best coverage.  However, reception and network data congestion at stadiums is still a huge problem despite efforts install more antennas, WiFI and DAS.  Here is list of naming rights sponsor ships that shows you its all about marketing and not about providing quality service.  Here is another example of AT&T Cowboy Stadium cell reception problems.  I am curious how the reception is at the AT&T Center in San Antonio?  

Don't Give Up Your Unlimited Mobile Data Plan

Consumers and service providers alike, are thrilled about the future, most notably in the exciting implications of a ‘connected world’. Consequently, reasoning amongst the two groups will most certainly vary. Mobile users, listen to my words - DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR UNLIMITED DATA PLAN. Sure T-Mobile and others still offer it, but the cellular savvy know that other companies like Verizon and AT&T are essentially ‘where it’s at’. For starters, carefully scrutinize all ‘new offers’, weighing your decision before taking an attractive subsidy on a free phone, rendering your hard-earned unlimited data plan moot by being forced into a tiered/family plan. There are a number of paths to go here, and in this case, I’d recommend the one less traveled for the purposes of saving money and long-term entrapment.

By all means, continue to enjoy HD video, rich media, and robust offerings – with discretion and planning of course. Naturally, all of these great things consume exorbitant amounts of data, and it's especially difficult to keep track of such usage since these numbers are not as cut and dry as minutes. Though companies like AT&T and Verizon offer online data calculators to give ballpark figures for data use, it is hardly an exact science. Alas, you may quickly find yourself speeding towards or exceeding your cap, racking up an exorbitant bill in the process (Note: AT&T and Verizon charge $10 per GB in overages) All things considered, it’s simply impossible to keep track of usage progressively, with apps running in the background and data spikes incurred from streaming high definition video or audio – so what’s the problem if I’m holding onto my unlimited data plan, you ask?

Well, big providers have mulled this over for a long time, and are truly never losing on the infinite media playground. In fact, both AT&T and Verizon were found to have throttled the top 5 percent of data users. One you’ve been marked as a heavy data user, your access will be slowed during congested network times to free up bandwidth. What does this mean? It means you should definitely use Wi-Fi hotspots wherever possible to bypass the provider network. In the event you need to upgrade in the future, make sure your phone supports 4G LTE (with more becoming available as the technology matures). The reasoning for this? In short, unlimited users will not have to deal with that limit as both Verizon and AT&T have noted a handling of less than half their mobile data traffic on the 4G LTE network last year – this equates to less network strain, higher efficiency in data streaming, and zero governance over the enjoyment of a right you’ve earned - unlimited data.

Still, the number of unlimited data customers is beginning to dwindle – while usage is predicted to grow 13-fold over the next half decade, according to Cisco. In the report, the networking giant predicted that mobile data traffic will expand to about 46 times the total amount of mobile IP traffic since 2010, with more than 10 billion connected devices by 2017. In the meantime, service providers will continue to throw out lines with attractive offers attached to lure consumers into abandoning their boundless access which will cost them and not you in due time [better yet, cost them less while costing you the same].

For now, companies are trapped into continuing to offer unlimited data to existing customers by abiding to the original terms of contract, or face legal backlash. The catch-22 is that these long-time, loyal subscribers won’t be able to fully enjoy new rollouts with an outdated phone that struggles to run them. I offer this advice: for the avid user of advanced features (who still have an unlimited data plan), it simply makes sense to hold on tight to that infinite data allowance by purchasing new devices on eBay (or comparable online marketplace) for a one-time fee, and selling old ones to mitigate total cost. For the rest of us, high expectations are going to naturally come with likewise prices. Without vigilance, the term pay now or pay later comes to mind in more than a literal sense. Whatever your circumstances, I wish you the best.

This article was written by Michael Roden, a VoIP Enthusiast & writer at, a VoIP Provider directory and service comparison guide.

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