I live in a rural, mountainous area. Starting a year ago the signal strength where I live has gotten worse. The dead areas are larger. Signal strength used to be better. Perhaps they had tower sharing agreements that expired. My guess is they have gotten over-reliant on wi-fi calling to cut costs and reduce the number of towers. Sadly, I don't expect it to get better if and when 5G rolls out in the area. It's gotten to the point where I need to check out other providers. It's too bad. I've been with them more than 25 years. Service to rural areas is what used to distinguish them. No more.
We would always want to know if you were having some sort of connection issue, so thank you for reaching out to us and providing so many details. Where are you located that this is happening? I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but reducing cell towers would be going against the expansion of our 5G network. All cell towers are limited to provide coverage to areas that are under them, so depending on where you are at, elevation-wise, when compared to cell towers in the area, that would mean you are outside of normal range physically. No carrier can accommodate that. You also mentioned Wi-Fi Calling - this is a feature we have included with all plans for several years. Is there a reason you didn't want to use it?
The loss of signal strength was reported at the time it happened. It happened very suddenly but I couldn't identify the date. I noticed the signal was reduced but thought it an anomaly so I didn't really pay attention. Over the next month it noticed it as the service area was also reduced. Areas where I had some signal now dropped calls. I was told all the equipment in the area was functioning properly. That's great that it is working but the service was still worse than it had been.
I do use wi-fi calling when I'm home but my phone is called a "mobile device". I live in the mountains of WNC in Madison County and there have always been dead spots and underserved areas where no signal is available. Now there are more of them. The coverage map may show where coverage is technically "available" but it is misleading. Driving down the road (as opposed to being 100 feet higher) there are many area with no or a very limited signal, perhaps or perhaps not enough to make a call but certainly not enough for data.
My point was Verizon used to have the best coverage in the area by a long shot. It deserved its reputation as the best provider in the area. Based on my experience and what other people in the community now say, that may not be true anymore. Something changed in the past year or two and changed for the worse.
I have an almost identical situation in Sullivan County NY. I've been a VZW customer since cell phones came out, and we always had "4-bar" cell service at our house which is up the mountain and down our dirt road. That's one reason we bought the house and for 10 years we had great voice signal and I could use a jetpack for internet (we are far, far away from wired broadband).
Mysteriously about a year ago the service degraded and I thought it was a one-off kind of thing. It's not. I have opened Tier-2 support tickets and got back a garbage condescending prerecorded video which stated "although Verizon has the BEST network your service area has less than optimal coverage..."
It never used to, so something changed. And now I too am reluctantly starting to look for another carrier for my business account.
As an update to the Community, I am about to open my 4th ticket with VZW for this same issue. Resolution would be nice, but at this point I'm just trying to get an answer.
As I posted originally, the first time I had an "advanced tech support" ticket opened I got back a prerecorded video acknowledging my "less than optimal" signal but offering no suggestions for bad data or the reported problem. Then I called back, and after a struggle with obviously offshore support reading from a script I got escalated a second time to tier-2 support, and got another really helpful guy. He wrote the incident up, assured me that it would receive automatic escalation being the second ticket on the same issue on the same number... and nothing.
I know the ticket was opened, because I got an automated text. But then there was silence for 2 weeks. Upon my next call to Support, the eager young person on the other end could confirm the existence of the second ticket, but that it was closed. Funny, I never heard anything. After putting me on hold he too came back and said he had permission to escalate my call, but then I was on hold waiting for an hour before he came back apologetically that he couldn't seem to get anyone to talk with, but that he had opened a ticket and I would get a call back.
I'm sure no one is surprised that it's been a week without a call.
IS ANYONE FROM VZW MONITORING THESE POSTS? Please - the rural community needs answers! We count on VZW for communications, for personal safety, and to run our businesses (especially in this work-from-home time). Does anyone in the community have any experience with third-party signal boosters to enhance a weak data signal?