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Chris Bell

Why Does My Cellphone Drop Calls?



It is estimated that about 72% of all cellphone users deal with the frustration of dropped calls at least occasionally. When you consider that there are over a billion users worldwide, this is a staggering percentage.

When your phone drops a call, sometimes you are able to simply call your friend back and pick up your chat where you left off. In other situations – such as if you’re stranded along a highway in freezing temperatures – a dropped emergency phone call might mean the difference between life and you freezing to death.

As cellphone networks are such complex systems, there are a lot of dynamic variables which contribute to challenges with voice calls and the transfer of data. Signals seem to wax and wane, many times often in the same spot and for no logical reason.

Why Is Getting Signal Quality And Strength Often Challenging?

It’s partially because electromagnetic fields continuously change. These reflect and refract, expand and contract in response to a plethora of different variables which network engineers repeatedly anticipate but are helpless to address in real-time.

So while oftentimes you can’t do anything about a dropped call, here are a number of reasons why it happens.

How Far Are You From The Nearest Cell Tower?

This is almost always the first thing that we focus on when calls keep on dropping. After all, cellular signals are radio frequency (RF) waves which behave like any other RF signal. Think about the radio in a car. If the receiver (in this instance, your cellphone or tablet) is too far away from the signal source – in other words, a cell tower – then the signal will be weak or may be undetectable.

Rainy Weather

Wind, vehicle speed and Bluetooth signals don’t affect cellphone signals so you can still play for grand rush signup bonuses, make calls and text. Rain, conversely, disrupts cellphone signals – badly. This is because the high-frequency wavelengths used by cellphones don’t travel efficiently through the water. Water has the tendency of blocking the radio signal between the cellphone tower and your phone. Even dust particles that are present in the air can reflect can refract RF signals. On a foggy day, water vapour can diffuse RF signals.

In addition, snow and hail are problematic; however, they have lower water content than rain, so they aren’t as disruptive as a downpour. Temperature may also affect signals as warmer air can hold more water vapour and more vapour means that there’s a greater chance of signal reduction.

Natural Obstacles Which Block Cell Signal

Local terrain – such as hills, mountains, ridges, bluffs as well as similar terrain – will block cellular signals. Any location in which there is higher ground between your phone and the cellular tower may cause signal issues.

Vegetation – such as trees, shrubbery and almost any kind of foliage – can deflect RF signals and meddle with your cell reception. Ask any person who lives in a heavily wooded area how their cell reception is and they’ll tell you that trees are wonderful things, but they do not improve signals.