How to truly boost smartphone cell signal and get better reception

How to truly boost smartphone cell signal and get better reception
MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Virgin Mobile — all of these are brand names that many of you in the US will have heard of. But these aren't, technically speaking, network carriers. They're MVNOs, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Put simply, they don't own the network — they rent it.

And who do they rent it from? The Big Four, or AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Those are the hundred billion dollar companies that own the infrastructure and basically have themselves a wireless quadropoly. Why are we telling you this? Because it's a good example of the enormous difficulties network carriers have when having to blanket as large masses of land with cell coverage. It's why it's unlikely that any new entrant will be at all successful in the US, but also in many other countries, unless it has some seriously deep pockets.

But even the Big Four don't guarantee you good, or any, reception where you live. In fact, so common are cell signal woes that smartphone app developers have been churning out software of questionable benefit. That's because, in the end, there's only so much a software tweak can do to help performance if your smartphone's antenna is weak, or if there's simply no cell tower around. Since we're mostly talking about lack of infrastructure or poor hardware, there's no magical tweak that you can carry out and suddenly get better coverage. And yet, there are things you can do if you're really struggling, but most of them will only apply in certain scenarios.

We compiled a list of what are, hopefully, helpful tips and suggestions. Let's go through each in detail.



1. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Renting from sprint is like renting that beat up car down the street from the drunk homeless man.

5. TheRequiem

Posts: 245; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Dumbest and most un-related comment of the day!!

10. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Let me guess you didnt read the first paragraph about renting and MNVO;s?

8. waddup121 unregistered


2. zig8100

Posts: 244; Member since: Dec 13, 2012

Renting from TMo is like renting a paddle boat with no paddles and then get thrown into a river leading to 100 ft waterfall

3. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Not useful article.

4. hortizano

Posts: 294; Member since: May 22, 2013

This I can read on any blog... they are not solutions, just suggestions.. =(

9. Proxy.from.Deep

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 09, 2015

Booster case ? Whut ? Can someone explain this wonder ? with science and facts ?

11. JaneChenLong

Posts: 374; Member since: Mar 18, 2015

Or, just buy the DUAL SIM CARD phone, and have 2 phone number from 2 different carrier.

13. ibap

Posts: 871; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

Where my home is located (it's not really in the boonies, been there since 1984, might not have built there nowadays) T-mob is a goose egg, Sprint is weak, AT&T maybe, Verizon prepaid roams and receives calls but won't make them. When we last had Verizon on contract, we were constantly doing "can you hear me now" performances. Here's another option - port your number to Google Voice (I wish there were some other service that enabled this), and be able to receive calls/SMS/MMS on whatever phone your'e carrying in a given area, or over wifi on Google Voice where necessary. You could even route it to a landline, but that might lose timely SMS or MMS if you really have no signal. If it's your home that's the problem, consider Republic Wireless for there, at $5 per month for wifi calling and SMS/MMS.

14. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Changing basebands...I forgot about that. That is one thing I love about Android...customization. I changed the baseband to an older one one my Droid 1 years ago, worked great. I cant remember what the downside of it was but it had better reception than later basebands.

18. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

I've used Straight Talk for over 2 years. Never had a signal problem. Granted, I live in the heart of the Ozark Mountains (to me they are hills, but it's called mountains), so there are times when you are in the bottom of a canyon, which there isn't a cell, wi-fi, car radio FM signal, but that is expected. 10-15mbs on the data side, is fast enough for my use, less than 3 gb a month. NOT being on a contract is worth it for me. Every couple years, I save enough to buy a new device, off contract.

28. der88

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 01, 2016

I'm using metro pcs, and signal booster, and it's working against weak signal.

29. der88

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 01, 2016

Try signal booster, they are the best I use them!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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