Identifying Dropped Call Locations

Dropped calls are often more annoying than dead zones themselves. Most people I know and especially those with iPhone's can identify many locations near their home or office where their cell phone consistently drops calls.  Here is a sample complaint I submitted on my recent ski trip visit to Vail, Colorado.  I experienced some very poor coverage problems in very high traffic areas that should have good coverage indoors and outside.  I submitted the complaint because carriers want to know about these locations so they can prioritize problem areas and fix them.  We think by providing more transparency and an open platform to communicate these locations that network improvements will happen faster.  Click on the map links on the right of the blog or follow this link to report dropped calls.  Here are some steps to follow after you have submitted your complaint on our map:
  • The most common cause of dropped calls is your proximity to the cell phone tower or location. Obviously, your cell phone will have the strongest signal out of doors. Some buildings may contain areas with no reception at all because signals do not penetrate building materials well. When a call drops, check your signal strength and move to an area where it is stronger if you can. Avoid making or taking calls around electronics, especially computers, as the devices may also cause interference with your signal.
  • Check your phone settings to see if your phone is set to roam to your network only or any available tower. If your calling plan includes unlimited roaming, set your phone to roam to any available tower. More towers mean more chances of catching a strong signal.
  • If your signal strength has always been good in an area, but suddenly goes bad, try removing the battery from your phone.  Do remember that 3G networks will "breath" which means signal strengths are constantly being adjusted by the carrier.  Leave the battery out for at least 10 seconds. Replace it and check your signal strength again.   
  • If the first two steps don't work, try updating your cell phone's Preferred Roaming List, aka PRL. This list helps your cell phone find available towers. New towers are added all the time, so it is important to update this list periodically. You can find specific instructions either on your wireless provider's website or by calling Technical Support. This process will require you to call a special number and the programming will take place automatically.
  • At this point, if you are still experiencing dropped calls, call Technical Support. There may be issues with towers in your area or other network problems. Your cell phone itself might be the problem and Technical Support can advise you on the best way to proceed with needed repairs.

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