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How do I improve my crappy cell phone reception in my apartment?
October 2, 2007 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I have a Samsung SCH-A990 cell phone with Verizon Wireless. For the past few months, I have been getting terrible (sometimes non-existent) reception in my apartment.

I used to get slightly better reception. My roommate has the same carrier (different phone) and gets much better reception. I have contacted Verizon several times about this and have found them to be totally unhelpful. I'm wondering whether getting a new phone or changing my number would help the situation. (I have a Long Island area code but live in Brooklyn.) I'm not sure why my reception has gradually worsened over the past few months, unless it's all those pesky condo towers going up in my neighborhood. I've tried dialing *228 to update the signal, but that hasn't really helped. Fyi - my apartment building materials haven't changed. It's still your standard concrete facade.
posted by zembla3 to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, I'd prefer not to change providers at this point because I'm in the middle of a two-year contract.
posted by zembla3 at 9:20 AM on October 2, 2007


Being that your phone has no external antenna, yes, a new phone may help. There are many things around you and your home that can change the reception you get. I don't get a reception when I am at home from around 8AM to 10AM. Why? I have no clue, but I know that my wife's phone works fine during this time frame. If you do end up getting a new phone and you are still having problems, you probably need to try out another provider.

Dirty Tactics: If you check out another provider and find that they are awesome, but you don't want to pay an early termination fee with Verizon, you might try one of my dirty little tricks. I used to be with T-Mobile, which has great customer service, but crappy service (in my area anyways). Not wanting to pay an early termination fee for three lines ($200 x 3 = eek), something had to be done. Here is the trick... If you move to an area where your current provider does not have coverage, they have to let you out of your contract, without paying the ETF. I guarantee you there is no coverage in Bellefontaine, Oh 43311. I can tell you that Sprint has done this for a friend of mine, while asking for no more than the zip code, while T-Mobile asked for a utility or lease from the new address. Finding blank rental agreements online is pretty simple. Fill it out and fax it over and your done.

I usually do not go out of my way to 'scam' a company, but what use are 3 phones that only work when I am in the middle of the damn city?
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 9:30 AM on October 2, 2007


Then again, maybe I am a scam artist, as I just came back to tell you about Sprint's Employee Referral Offer. If you decide to move providers that is..

Anyways, more information in this comment of mine.

As the comment says, 'I pay $30 a month for 500 minutes / unlimited data / unlimited texts and another $7 a month for insurance.'
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 9:37 AM on October 2, 2007


The first few google hits or SCH-A990 and reception bring up some pretty angry compaints. It might be that this phone just doesnt get good reception and you've been lucking out up until recently (condos, change in towers, etc). If you like your roommates phone and know it gets great reception then you should seriously consider buying one also. Perhaps you can call and muscle your cell company into subsidizing the phone because of reception issues.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:53 AM on October 2, 2007


Head over to Radio Shack. They sell cell phone external antennas that plug into your cell phone. Made a noticeable difference with my Motorola v330, and they're fairly universal.
posted by WCityMike at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2007


Note that putting an external antenna on your device will void the warranty. I'd make it a point to go into a store and tell them exactly what you've said here. Be cordial and the reps will normally work with you and possibly exchange your phone for another model although they will almost certainly try to replace with the current model first.
posted by Octoparrot at 2:28 PM on October 2, 2007


Does your phone have a SIM card? When ATT bought out Cingular here in Seattle, my reception went down the tubes until I get a replacement SIM that could use both networks (or something like that). They exchanged it free at a store for me. Might be worth a shot, especially if your phone is over a year old. You could probably swap in your roommate's SIM as a test first.
posted by bizwank at 3:55 PM on October 2, 2007


@Octoparrot: Note that putting an external antenna on your device will void the warranty.

This wasn't anything that needed surgery. I plugged it into an existing external antenna port on my cell phone (that had a rubber plug over it). I doubt anything for which a port was purposefully built into the phone would void the warranty ... although I'll admit corporate America has certainly had stupider policies.
posted by WCityMike at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2007


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