Is Cell Phone Reception a Carrier Issue?
27th Jul 2020 /
by Wilson Amplifiers / Comments

Is Cell Phone Reception a Carrier Issue?

is poor cell phone reception a carrier issue

Is My Carrier at Fault for Bad Cell Phone Reception?

When I worked at a cell phone store, I noticed that most people automatically blamed their service provider for cell phone reception problems. I have been on the receiving end of countless frustrated customers experiencing slow data, text messages that don't send, and dropped calls. They wanted to know why their cell phone service was not working even though they were paying high monthly bills. Some would consider changing wireless carriers, and many did. I can completely understand why.

Every cell phone carrier has different coverage maps, prices, and advertisements that make them seem more appealing when you're experiencing signal problems, encouraging you to switch companies.

However, I also found that the majority of cell reception issues are not the carrier's fault. A large number of my customers who switched carriers found that they were experiencing the same issues with a better and more expensive provider.

There are many factors you need to consider that cause bad cell phone reception. I will go over some of the most common questions I got as a sales rep, and I hope they help you understand why you’re experiencing bad cell phone service and ways to fix it.

See complete cell signal booster kits for your situation:

Can My Phone Be the Cause of Bad Cell Reception?

Yes, your phones can be the cause of bad cell phone reception. Things like battery life, blocked antennas, phone age, and phone settings affect your cell phone reception.

Battery Life

I know this sounds silly... Why would battery life have anything to do with your cellular signal? Battery life is very important in maintaining a good cellphone connection. In order for your phone to retain a network connection it needs energy, so the less battery your phone has the less signal it can grasp.

Try keeping your battery charged at least 25% and keep a phone charger handy just in case you need it.

Blocking Phone Antenna

In the past, phones had long visible antennas to help capture signal better. As cell phones evolved, the antennas were placed inside the phones making them more susceptible to being blocked. If the antenna is blocked, the cell signal coming from the nearest cell tower won't have a direct line to the phone antenna. The result is weak cell signal.

Different things can be blocking the antenna: thick cases, metal cases, even your hand position.

Try taking off your case, if that improves your signal, consider getting a thinner but protective case. Also, try holding your phone in a different position and see which position helps grasp cell signal better.

Phone Life

How long have you had your phone? Not many people know that newer phone models have better cell reception than older models. As telecommunication networks advance (i.e. 4G LTE and 5G) the newer phone models can tap into newer, faster "spectrums" rolled out by carriers.

For example, 5G is the fastest data network that is currently available. New phones have been developed to be compatible with 5G. If you have and iPhone 5s you will start experiencing slower speeds because your phone is not able to tap into the 5G network.

WIFI Setting is On

This is one that I experience constantly, and if it happens to me it must happen to others.

Do you ever leave your WIFI setting turned on even though you are not connected to a WIFI network? Have you ever tried to access the internet but it loads extremely slow or you get an error message saying no network connection? You're confused because the phone shows you have signal bars yet it's not working.

When your phone has the WIFI setting on it will try to access a WIFI network before using your cellular network. This process causes your phone to run slow, and sometimes if the phone doesn’t find a WIFI connection it won't load all.

When you are out of range from your WIFI network, turn off the WIFI setting and see if that helps improve your cell phone signal.

Can External Factors Cause Bad Cell Phone Signal?

Aside from issues caused by your smartphone, there are external factors that interfere with your cell phone signal. External factors like tower distance, building material, and natural obstructions are the most common reasons why people experience bad cell phone receptions. Unfortunately, these factors are things you and your cell phone provider can’t control.

Tower Distance

Cell tower distance is one of the main causes for bad cell phone reception, especially in rural areas. Typically, a cell phone has enough power to reach a cell phone tower that is up to 45 miles away under perfect conditions. Meaning, that there is a direct line between the cell phone tower and your phone antenna without anything blocking its path. In a more realistic scenario, a cell phone might reach a tower that is 22 miles away due to things like trees, buildings, and hills interfering with the radio waves.

Building Material

Do you have to walk around, climb chairs, or cabinets in your home or office trying to get signal bars on your phone? The reason why you have poor signal indoors is due to the building material. Material like metal, TechShield radiant barriers, drywall, tinted low e glass, concrete, and brick interfere with the signal strength. When cell signal travels from the cell tower to your phone, it has to penetrate the material to reach the phone. When it finally gets through the obstructions, the power of the signal has been weakened or killed.

Natural Obstructions

If you live near mountains, hills, and valleys you could be experiencing poor cell phone signal. Depending on where the cell tower is located, there might not be a direct line between your cell phone and the tower for good signal. Cell phone signal can be absorbed and reflected, as it travels from the tower to your phone, the natural obstructions interfere with it.

For example, if you live on one side of a hill, but the cell phone tower is on the other side, the waves have to travel through the hill. The hill is blocking a direct line from the cell tower to you. Therefore, it will absorb and reflect some of the waves as it travels. As a result, you will receive poor cell phone signal.

Even tree affect cell phone reception. If you live in the forest, you know what I'm talking about. The tree canopy works as a natural barrier between the cell phone towers and your phone.

Foliage is a great absorber of cell phone signal, especially the sap on pine trees.

How Can I Permanently Fix Bad Reception Without Having to Change Carriers?

If you have found that the reason you're receiving poor signal is due to the external factors and not because of your phone, I have some good news for you... You don’t have to go through the hassle of switching carriers.

The best way to permanently fix bad cell phone reception is by investing in a cell phone signal booster.

A cell phone signal booster is a device that takes EXISTING cell phone signal, amplifies it for better use, and rebroadcasts the boosted signal into the area you need it. They can amplify existing 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE signal substantially.

A cell phone signal booster will help mitigate external factors that cause bad cell phone service. If the cell phone tower is too far or if pine trees are weakening your signal, the signal booster will be able to amplify the EXISTING weak signal that you have. If building material is interfering with your signal, the cell phone booster can be used to bypass the building material and provide you with the best cell phone signal possible.

The benefits of owning a signal booster are:

  • Your phone will function the way it's supposed to. You'll no longer have to stress about slow data speeds, text messages that don't send, or dropping phone calls.
  • Signal boosters are compatible with ALL cell phone devices: Apple and Android
  • Signal boosters work with ALL carriers in the USA (i.e. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) and Canada, they are not carrier specific so you don’t have to worry about looking for the best one that works with your phone. As a result, you will be able to enjoy better cell service and not go through the pain of switching carriers.
  • You don't need WIFI or any type of broadband connection for your signal booster to work.

I hope now you have a better understanding of the different factors that affect your cell phone signal that aren't your carrier's fault.

How can we help you?

Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 3G & 4G LTE for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.

We seriously hate dropped calls and poor coverage, so it's our goal in life to rid the world of spotty signal, one happy customer at a time:

  • Free consultation (ask us anything) with our US-based customer support ( or call us at 1-800-568-2723.
  • Free shipping.
  • Better signal or industry-leading 90 money-back guaranteed. No questions asked.
  • We want everyone to be satisfied, so we provide lifetime technical support and a 2-year warranty for all products.

Ask us anything and we'll be glad to help.