How to Fix your Cell Phone Coverage

Having poor AT&T, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile coverage service isn’t exactly a reason to break your carrier contract or move to a new carrier, but living in a dead zone can create some problems.  The industry versus consumer battle for fixing home and office coverage problems created by faster data speeds and cell tower zoning restrictions has started a new revolution.  The revolution is very simply about free open unlicensed mobile access versus very expensive licensed mobile spectrum access and carrier services.  It appears the unlicensed access consumer tsunami wave is gaining momentum full steam ahead as the worldwide recession continues to persist.  It remains to be seen if carriers can truly provide value-added services to differentiate their 3G and 4G offers from free Wi-Fi VoIP.  So here are 5 relatively inexpensive and sometimes free ways to make the reception problem more tolerable assuming you have broadband service available.

1. Get a Femtocell - The cheapest and quickest way is to purchase and install a femtocell (mini cell phone tower) on your property which only covers 5,000 square feet on average and works for approximately 8 registered phones or people on your network. This is not for public access but can fix problems for one carrier only especially if you are in a remote area. Costs range from free to $300 and require broadband services on the premises for back-haul and possibly a monthly service fee of $5-$20.. AT&T is the only carrier that has a 3G Femtocell and Sprint femtocell and Verizon femtocell also have femtocells but they are only 2G.  See our List of Femtocell Manufacturers.  The AT&T U-Verse Femtocell  DVR pictured above is what we think the future of femtocells will likely be for all TV and broadband providers.  Here are some tricks on how to get a femtocell for free.

2. VoIP Apps - Make phone calls over broadband lines using Wi-Fi. This is also known as VoIP or (Voice over Internet Protocol).  Skype is a wonderful service if you have a camera on your PC and you have broadband.  Strangely, Skype users often experience better connectivity and reception for international calls than they do for local or domestic calls within the US.  If you have a smartphone check for available apps.    Read more Use Wi-Fi to Get Cell Phone Reception

3. UMA Phone - Some international carriers such as T-Mobile have used UMA which stands for Unlicensed Mobile Access providing access to cellular mobile voice and data services over unlicensed spectrum or Wifi.  This can be a very effective way to receive free international calls while traveling.  However, many carriers have stopped promoting the free service for obvious reasons . . . they don't make any money from it.  If you have a smartphone check for available apps.  Read more about the details here UMA Phone + Wi-Fi = Home Cell Coverage.

4. Signal Repeater, Booster or Amplifier - If you have a weak signal in your home there are some ways you can amplify the signal throughout the home by grabbing the signal outsider and repeating it inside.  See our post How To Select A Cellular Amplifier  If you frequently experience dropped calls in the car you might want to try and cellular amplifier which is annoying to the carriers but it often makes your signal stronger than those phones around you and will likely give you priority on the network when making phone calls.  See also how to boost your WiFi signal.

5. Forward calls to a landline-  Forwarding your cell phone to your home phone number is generally your most reliable bet for making sure you don’t miss any calls to your cell phone.  Another option is to use Google Voice which may save you some money with call forwarding minutes counting against your plan.

Keep in mind there are over 160 smaller regional rural carriers around around US and if you haven't done your research you might be surprised to know that Rural Wireless Carriers Can Have Better Coverage.

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