Can You Hear Me?
October 1, 2004 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I just moved 15 minutes from where I used to live and my cell phone is suddenly getting bad reception (Motorola v120t). Can buying a new phone help me to get better reception in this town without changing service providers?
posted by TurkishGolds to Technology (6 answers total)
From the model, I'm guessing you're with AT&T Wireless. The v120t is a TDMA phone and AT&T is moving to GSM (plus, they're going to be absorbed by Cingular, giving you better GSM coverage). I recommend moving to a GSM phone, but that probably means you'll have to change plans, though. If that's not an option, you can pick a different TDMA phone up on eBay, and call AT&T up and they can set the phone up for you. The problem is that those Motos are supposed to have pretty good reception, and trying another phone probably won't fix your problem.
posted by zsazsa at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2004

Maybe, although TDMA is a dying technology. The main TDMA providers, Cingular and AT&T, are transitioning to GSM in all of their markets.

One of the best bare bones phones out there is the nokia 5165. Yes, it's from about 5 years ago and is the old style bulky candy bar phone, but it works well and is incredibly cheap. Try that out before switching to GSM.
posted by calwatch at 9:53 PM on October 1, 2004

Response by poster: I have Cingular in Western MA
posted by TurkishGolds at 9:56 PM on October 1, 2004

This problem is extremely regional -- down to the placement of individual cell towers -- and you aren't going to get a definitive answer here. For example, I have Cingular GSM here in the Bay Area, and coverage is generally pretty spotty even though the territorial GSM network -- one of the first -- has been in place (under the aegis of Pac Bell) for a long time. Inside my home, I have no signal at all whereas friends have used TDMA and CDMA phones in my house without the slightest problem.
posted by majick at 7:26 AM on October 2, 2004

Yes, a new phone can help. You won't like the solution, though.

You'll need to get a bag phone. These are allowed to operate at up to 3 watts (because they're closer to your nuts rather than your face -- don't ask me, ask them) rather than the 0.7 watts maximum for face-held cellphones.

Choice number 2 is to fine a phone that allows an external antenna. Of course, you'll have to use RG-11 super expensive cable if you want to locate it any distance away. *sigh*

Some face-held phones are better than others, but none are miracles. The only way to be sure is a bag phone. Which you won't want.
posted by shepd at 8:11 AM on October 2, 2004

Here's my first hand experience with "the phone does matter".

My g/f just dumped Verizon and we transferred her number to a second line on my (Sprint) account.

She got a free phone for defecting to Sprint so we picked out one from the web site. When it arrived we hooked it up and *shazam* ==digital roam==. Sitting side by side with my Sanyo 8100 on the same service and while I had max reception, her crappy little Audiovox was lost in the woods.

We promptly took it to a Sprint store where a very helpful guy (with an "In Training" nametag, which might explain why he was so helpful) took the Audiovox (holding it by two fingers as one would a long dead mouse) and replaced it with a Samsung something-or-other.

I'm looking at them right now, side by side, her's has one less 'bar' of signal strength but it works 10x better than the crap Audiovox.
posted by m@ at 9:33 AM on October 2, 2004

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