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What To Do When Your Cell Phone Shows No Service

So your phone shows "No Service" on it. Now what?

There are a few questions to cover under this broad topic:

1) Do you have "no service" in a building, yet the phone works outside?

2) Do you have "no service" in various areas outside on the road or in the car?

3) Does your phone show "no service" EVERYWHERE?

Let's start:

1) Do you have "no service" in a building, yet the phone works outside?

Alright, this is pretty basic. Yes, some people have no signal inside some houses or buildings. This is normal. It amazes me how many people complain about indoor coverage. YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE. Please understand that indoor coverage can never be guaranteed.

Yes, some phones do better than other models or manufacturers. Yes, some other carriers will have great indoor service in a building while other carriers will not. Just keep in mind that you're also sometimes going to get indoor signal where other people can not. It's hit & miss. Do not expect your carrier to come build a $ 250,000 tower next to your house.

Possible Solutions:

a) If you represent a big company with a lot of phones, you can ask your provider to give you a quote on an in-building system. Be prepared to pay a lot. But sometimes your provider will be willing to go half-and-half on the cost if you have a lot of units.

b) If you're a small company or just want coverage inside your home or condo or apartment, you should look into buying a smaller indoor solution with indoor repeaters from a company like SpotWave or Wilson Electronics. You should plan on spending $ 300 to $ 1000.

c) If you're always sitting in the office, you should buy a base station unit. These are cradles that your phone will fit into along with an antenna running up to your roof.

d) If you do not want to pay over $ 1000 for a base station, buy a cheaper solution from a company like Advancetec. Just do a search for "cell phone base station" and choose one that comes with a nice big antenna.

e) Try out different phones; some are better than others. Pantechs are amazing, but I think they're out of business now. Try to stick to candy-bar phones with extendable antennas.

f) Find a carrier that sells wifi enabled cell phones so you can use it for free at home with the wifi router they give you. You get indoor signal and get to talk for free via VoIP. So far, I think there's a couple in the US to offer this, like T-Mobile. In Canada there's one firm to offer it called Harmony Mobile.

2) Do you have "no service" in various areas outside on the road or in the car?

Yes, just like indoor dead spots, you're also going to find dead spots outside while you're outside. If you live in a small country, I'd be surprised if you found a dead spot since it would be pretty easy for your carrier to put up a ton of sites all over the place and cover most of the population. But what if you live in the US or even Canada? Are the carriers there going to be able to justify the cost of building a site all over the place? Probably not.

You are going to find some dead spots, even in the city. Wireless carriers probably already know about most of them and will get to them in their own good time.

Solutions? Some of the ones from point # 1 will apply here as well.

a) Buy a better phone,

b) Change carriers,

c) Get a satellite phone

d) Install an in-car kit into your vehicle

e) Just deal with it.

3) Does your phone show "no service" EVERYWHERE?

If yes, your phone is dead or has a provisioning issue. Call your carrier.

In the end, you need to have realistic expectations about cell phones. They do not work everywhere and they're going to lose signal, period. Luckily, you now know some things you can do about it.

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