Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help..............

   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #1  


Elite Member
Feb 12, 2006
Central New Hampshire
Kubota B3030HSDC
I'm having a problem with my cell service, and I need advice from the folks that know more about the system than I do.

Problem: Whenever I use the phone in my home area (one tower), the person I'm talking to starts breaking up terribly (although they seem to hear me fine), then it will frequently drop the call. Texts often fail. This happens ONLY near home, everywhere else I go, the phone works fine. This just started about 60 days ago. I have been living here eight years, and have never had a problem until recently. I would estimate I have been with Sprint about 15 years continuously. I have a line of sight to this tower. It is about 2 - 3 hundred yards from my house..... quite close.

Observations: It looks to me that the tower I'm on at home is not owned by Sprint. Perhaps they pay to use it, or have some reciprocal agreement with the company that owns the tower???? I say this because when I've called Sprint to complain, they tell me they have a service ticket open on my area, then within a couple days I see a Fairpoint Communications (local communication company)truck at the tower. It appears to me that since Sprint is relying on a third party to make repairs, the third party has no 'skin in the game' to make Sprint customers (me) happy.

When I've called Sprint to complain about the problem, their customer service representatives appear to read from a list of things to appease customers. That is fine, however, I'd like to know how to get through to someone who actually might understand what would cause such problems. They have issued me credit in an attempt to make me happy, but the problem remains that my cell phone is now a paperweight. I'm hoping to get this resolved, as I'd actually prefer to stay with Sprint. We have had a few disagreements in the past, but I've always come away feeling that they valued me as a customer. As I said earlier, I've been with them for about fifteen years.

Does anyone here know enough about the workings of a cell tower to have any idea what might be the problem? I feel that I'd be better armed when talking to their customer service if might have an idea what the actual problem is. Is there an easy way to get through to someone beyond the generic customer service reps, including a 'supervisor' ?
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #2  
I don't know about your situation, but we use Sprint/Nextel at work and reportedly Nextel is shutting down some services as cost cutting measures. About 1/4 of our employees can no longer send/receive texts at their home from our work system due tower/services being shut down. This started several months ago, not sure if you are on the Sprint system or the Nextel system, apparently they are separate systems and the Nextel system is the one getting the cuts.
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help..............
  • Thread Starter
I'm with Sprint, not Nextel. It is not an issue with my phone either, as my wife is also a Sprint customer and is having the same problems..... only with the tower near our house.
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #4  
I ended up purchasing a booster from Wilson Electronics, i can see the tower while talking in my garage with the door open, and they can't hear me. Walk out to the driveway and everything is great, what the heck?
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #5  
I have a feeling you are going to have an on going problem. My BIL had to change from Sprint recently, his work phone, and was told by Sprint that with Nextel cutting back that some service areas are not going to be supported as they were in the past. They actually removed a tower in my BIL's area which caused his problem. Sprint was most likely leasing space on the tower near you and have discontinued the lease in that location. That is very common to lease tower space, my SIL is in that business. Personally I would start looking for a new provider. There is no way you should be dropping calls if a Sprint were active on a tower that close to you. Good luck.

   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #6  
Here's what I know. Cell towers operate on one of two protocols. Either TDMA or CDMA. TDMA allocates a particular block of time for each cell phone. CDMA is a coded signal with each cell phone. Either way, there are only so many connections that can be supported by 1 tower. So, I'm not sure how populated the area is around that tower of yours, but this could be part of the problem. With the emergence of many other devices like Kindles, iPads, and smartphones, this could be really taking up the towers bandwidth, too. The tower always keeps one channel open with each cell/device that it is servicing. When your device, phone or iPad, either receives a call or is getting info from the internet, then a second channel must be opened. Since a tower can only support so many channels at anyone time, when there are more connections needed than it can support, it shrinks its coverage area. Meaning if you are on the edge of its coverage area, you will be dropped and it will focus on the people closest to the tower. In regards to you being able to hear the person you're talking to, but your signal coming in broken up is due to which is better at sending and receiving, and the tower has a much better antenna on it and a lot more power available to transmit than your phone does. Your symptoms make me think of either a tower that is in very high use or your signal is very weak. With only being a short distance to the tower, I would say it's overloaded as I would think a tower could easily do a couple of miles in a rural area. I have even received a brief connection from a tower while on a plane at 35,000 ft. And this reminds me of why they say turn off cell phones on planes. Towers can only support 400 or so devices in active 2 way communication at anyone time. As a plane files overhead, the phones will try to handshake with the tower (connect). Since many 747 can carry over 400 people this is why they don't want you to have your phone on. No one would want a plane flying overhead to suck up the towers bandwidth, especially because it would be like a rolling brown out hitting every tower the plane flew over. lol
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help..............
  • Thread Starter
Well, just to add some info......

I just took a picture of the tower out my front window. I know it is a bad picture, but hopefully shows how close the tower is (OK.... technically not a tower, the antennae are mounted to a massive brick chimney, likely the tallest structure in my town.)..... clearly in my line of sight looking out any window facing south or east. I've never measured the distance, but again, it can't be more than 250 yards?. Right now my phone has full signal strength, going by the indicator on my screen. However, if I make a call, it will be very broken, leaving me hearing a few portions of words out of several complete sentences. Frequently the signal strength indicator will plummet, dropping the call. Again, this is not just my phone. My wife has the same problem.

If Sprint is reducing coverage, and was no longer servicing this tower, how would I have full signal strength in my livingroom?

I suppose that leaves only two options. Sprint having too many customers in my area, or there being a problem with the tower. Anyone want to speculate on why they have told me they have repair tickets open for my area when I have called to complain? Is this just BS they tell people to keep them quiet? This is what leads me to believe there is a problem with the tower. Again, I can drive across town, drive down the highway, drive to the city (basically anywhere away from this tower), and my phone works fine. It has worked fine at my house for eight years prior to the past 60 days or so.

Perhaps there will be no alternative but to switch providers. :confused:

Edit: forgot the pic to show how close the tower is.....
It is the tall dark thing sticking up to the left of my neighbor's house.

   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #8  
I know of when people will start having problems such as not being able to use a tower after software updates to the hardware on that tower. Getting access to the people that can really help you can be a pain. Do you know which carrier actually maintains the tower?
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #9  
I'd talk to Sprint again and tell them I'm not happy with the service, and that I am looking for another provider.

It is disappointing that communications regulators don't seem to have built in consumer protection for quality of service. The airwaves are public domain and those licensing them should have to meet standards. I'm not sure if it is still the case in Canada but power providers had strict standards to maintain. For example, nominal 120v service could fluctuate from 110 to 125v with emergency conditions allowing 107 to 127v. There were also standards for flicker due to large loads stop/starting based on the percent of fluctuation and number of times per hour. It's been a long time so I may be off on some of these values.

It would not be hard to set and monitor standards for communications and put in consequences such as fines or loss of spectrum license if they are not met. It's a lot more complex than power monitoring, but doable.

Such monitoring would need access to communication equipment statistics. Power is much easier as anyone with a decent voltmeter can see what the voltage is doing.

Are you phones modern? The reason I ask is some just work on certain frequencies while others work on the newer ones also.
   / Cellular Experts, I Need Your Help.............. #10  
i would try at&t this solved all my problems.i live in the country where the other providers dont have good coverage.