Even though you're close to the tower, it's still possible that you have a weak 3G signal. The 3G signal doesn't penetrate as well as 1X (which is what is used for calling and texting). Can you browse the web effectively from your phone at times when you cannot do it on your computer?
Also, its possible that the tower is just congested. If too many people try to use the bandwidth on a tower, it slows down everyone, and can even prevent people from getting consistent data connections. Are you in a heavily populated area, or an area where many people may be relying on Verizon for their data service?
I live in a rather large neighborhood, but no, it is as if the phone doesn't want to to even try to pick up a signal. It shows 3G, but never even see it try to upload/ down load anything. I would doubt congestion because this happens for days on end (24 hrs or more), not a few hours. I can be inside or outside, differnt parts of town, doesn't matter. Seems to be within the phone, that's why I want to know if there is a way to force it to start accepting the signal.
I saw a post from budone that some towers have had 3G antennae (sp) removed to make room for 4G. On my commute to work I used to have data connection the entire hour. Now I have 3 or 4 bars but a small circle instead of a 3G showing up in the data signal strength location. I am assuming that this means their is no longer data service available from these towers? If Verizon is going to continue to sell 3G equipment and service contracts, I feel they should also provide continuing service also.