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Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Member

I live in Bowie Maryland (a suburb of Washington DC) and have an iPhone 6. I keep it in the mode where my signal strength shows in dB, not bars.  Two years ago I was getting a signal strength of about -75 and experienced occasional dropped calls around my home.  Since then the service has continued to worsen.  Last year I would get dropped calls in certain parts of the house but strength was in the mid -80s.  Now I rarely get a signal above -95 and usually it shows -113 to -120; occasionally it just says "No Service".  There is no difference inside or outside. If I go somewhere else I can get better service, but it's always fairly low.

My phone has become nearly unusable for my business.  I have to use my residential landline for business calls or I will get either failed connections or dropped calls every few minutes.  On a teleconference I can call in 5-6 times.  Really problematic when I'm leading the call.

Seems that Verizon is turning down the power of the cell towers.  Is this a widespread phenomenon?  They seem to be pushing extenders, so I have to assume they are just operating at a lower power and expecting the consumer to pay extra to still be able to use it.  I'm concerned that if the signal is that poor will an extender do anything?  I'd hate to spend the money to be in the same boat I am now.

My 2-year agreement ends in a couple months and I'm looking at alternatives since I must have a phone.  Am I correct that a Verizon iPhone is essentially a paperweight if you don't have a Verizon plan?  That means I will need to buy new phones if I change.

Also, is there any way of telling what kind of service you can get without buying into a plan?  I'd hate to shell out all the money to go to AT&T or T-Mobile only to find that their signal is terrible too.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Sr. Member

i say yes. i too am only 10 miles from a tower, and lucky to get above 3 bars. i say yes the powers been reduced.this has been in last two months. i say its to make money limiting our usage. i have full right to day that. its like paying for 8 gallons of gas and only getting 6 gallons of usage.whilst we demand better power, all were told id our devices are bad.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Member

So, I called Customer Support and they verified that I have terrible service and politely invited me to pound sand.  Guess I'll check out T-Mobile.  They have a tower nearby.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Sr. Member

were being lied to about the truth of 4g strength we pay for.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Customer Support

DAVLYN53,

This isn't the experience I want you to have, nor do I want to see you leave the family. I've sent a Private Message to further discuss the concern you are having.

KatiM_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport
If my response answered your question please click the �Correct Answer� button under my response. This ensures others can benefit from our conversation. Thanks in advance for your help with this!!

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Member

I'm somewhat at a loss to understand the "private message".  All I see is the thread from this in my inbox.  Is someone asking me a question?

To further elaborate, I spent some quality time on the phone (had to use the landline) with a couple of very nice young ladies trying to resolve this.  The first made me reset everything on my phone (I'm still trying to get it reconfigured back the way I had it) and, as you would expect, there was no change at all.  Test calls worked, but since my problem was dropped calls and initiating failures off and on throughout the day (all day, every day), that wasn't a surprise.  Signal strength read -117dB.  Since no amount of futzing with my phone will increase the power output of a cell tower, nothing changed.  Then I was transferred to a second lady to see if a technician should come out.  She looked on a detailed map and said that I actually lived on the fringe of a "No Service Area", and the rather significant number of homes to my West are fully in that area.  Bottom line, nothing to be done.  They stated that they had no plans to increase service in these known trouble areas, notwithstanding they are fairly well-populated.

I have been a Verizon Wireless customer since they were Bell Atlantic in 1994 when I bought my first cell phone.  A big flip phone with a pull out antenna.  At this point, all I want is the same cell phone reliability I had in 1994.  I'd make a call, I'd talk, I'd hang up when I'm done.  Could do it back then, can't do it now.  Progress.

Of course it's frustrating.  Verizon knows I don't get good service. They sell me a full-price plan anyway.  Legally they're ok.  This tells me that Verizon sells phone service to people while knowing full well that they are not served and sees no problem with that.  The detailed map is not available to the consumer, so you only find out that you have weak or no service after engaging in a contract.  If the service is weak, you can't really tell right away so before you know it you are in my position.  2-yr contract, sunk equipment costs, calling from the landline.

This service issue is fairly recent (2 yrs) so I know the service has changed.  I just didn't know that Verizon already knew that.  When I started my contract I had stronger service (not great, but acceptable).  After 2 years I can't reliably use my phone.  What'll happen if I renew?  Can I look forward to carrying around an expensive paperweight for another 2 years?  Or do I pony up the bucks for all new hardware and try again with someone else?

You do the math.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Customer Support

DAVLYN53,

Your long time service means so much to us. We want to make sure we continue our long time relationship. I have sent you a Private Message as well. You can view this in your Inbox. It will allow you to read and reply to our messages. Kati and I look forward to working with you on your service.


RobinD_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport
If my response answered your question please click the �Correct Answer� button under my response. This ensures others can benefit from our conversation. Thanks in advance for your help with this!!

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Sr. Member

Degraded reception can be caused by many things, so hard to say exactly why signal reliability has become more of an issue in your area.

Verizon & other providers usually allow at least 14 days to back out of a contract if you decide to back out for any reason. (30 days at some places like Costco)

If in your shoes, I would buy an unlocked phone that works on all US carriers. You can then use any provider that you would like with no strings attached.

All the "smoke & mirrors'' involved with contracts isn't worth it to me personally. Anytime they say something is free or almost free, it is likely not true at the end of the day.

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

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Yeah on all points.  Sadly, Verizon phones don't work with other carriers, so, unlocked or not, you are stuck with their hardware (unless I'm wrong..I hope).  As for the 2-weeks, it's mostly degradation over time.  It worked fine at the start just not lately.  I don't usually upgrade my phone every time, so I'm kinda annoyed to have to shell out a thousand bucks to get new devices just to try out someone else's service, but I may just have to do that.

This morning I was leading a teleconference when, you guessed it, call dropped.  Took a few tries to get back in.  They're used to it from me anyway.  I'm making sure everytime it happens I tell the group who my cell service is.  Just passing along information, of course, no judgement. 

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Re: Phone becoming unusable in Bowie Maryland

Member

I have the very same issue and am close to being willing to break my contract completely as it is affecting my business.  Never had this problem until a few months ago (it seemed).  Had my SIM card replaced and worked with both with Verizon store employees as well as online personnel to switch settings, etc.  The last Verizon employee told me to go to an Apple store to see if they can do a diagnostics on my phone.  That will be my last resort.  I really don't think it's my phone as some of my employees are experiencing the same thing and they haven't upgraded their phones recently (unlike myself, who recently upgraded to an SE).

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