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Within 4G coverage area but can't get a 4G signal. Is there ANYTHING I can do?

I bought a Pantech 4G card the week they came out because I saw that LTE was coming to Columbus Ohio and more specifically to the Rickenbacker Airport which is about a mile from my house.  I was severely disappointed when I could not get a signal on my new aircard and called Verizon support about 10 times to help me get this fixed. To make a long story short I ended up returning the card b/c a tier 3 tech finally told me that the service just wasn't available. 


Keep in mind that on the 4G coverage map my house is well within the 4G range of reliable coverage not to mention the less reliable coverage areas and still can't even get one bar of signal.  Fast forward to the HTC Thunderbolt release and I bought one on the day it was released because my OG Droid was on it's last legs and I wanted a fairly future proof phone.  This time I can see exactly what the coverage area is since I can be in a car (not driving mind you) and see how the service drops literally a mile down the road from my house!!!  I cannot hardly describe the frustration of having such great technology that is advertised as being available to me yet will not work. 


I have no other options for high speed Internet where I live and this just kills me that I'm paying for a service that should work yet only does if I get in my car and drive a mile down the road.  Does anyone have any suggestions whatsoever as to what my options are or what I can do to get a better signal?  I'm considering an external antenna, but they are fairly expensive and in no way promise I'll be able to get a much better signal.




Thanks in advance for any advice,


Ken D.

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Re: Within 4G coverage area but can't get a 4G signal. Is there ANYTHING I can do?

Yeah,  interesting story.  You have just discovered something called the  "digital brick wall effect".    In the old days of analog cell phones (yes,  I was there) and even analog black and white television (yes,  I was there as well),  the system would degrade "gracefully"  from  OK to bad, to worse and to even worse.  I could even receive Canadian TV stations at times with the right antenna.  


With digital communication,   the system is rather complex these days.    Mobile radios data (modems)  "fall back" to maintain the best level of service.  When the bit errors can no longer be corrected, they will fall back to slower rates and eventually to nothing - a brick wall.  


You have a few things you can do.  

  • Wait for a new tower in your area (if it's sparsely populated, it's going to take a long time)
  • Move closer to the center of a coverage area (like the airport lounge)
  • Move to a higher density area with good 4G coverage.
  • Use a land based system,  if available
  • Or,  use a directional antenna, repeater setup.  

The last option is not as bad as you think.   If you own the property, you can try using a large piece of metal mesh/chicken wire, or aluminum foil on a wall,  as a "mirror" reflector for the radio signal.  Face the flat chickenwire/fencing toward the cell tower and rotate it until you get the best signal in your apartment.   Putting it on the roof and facing it 45 degrees down towards your living area may work.   This is called "passive" repeater technology.   It's simple.  If you curve the wire, like a satellite dish you may be able to focus the signal a bit better.   The area of wire/mesh/foil should be at least  6 feet square if possible.   You can try smaller and larger shapes.  It may be safer to try it on a wall of your house before trying outside - lightning and other dangers.    Do this at your own risk.   If you fall off the roof or get struck by lightning,  it ain't my fault.   Caveat emptor.


Re: Within 4G coverage area but can't get a 4G signal. Is there ANYTHING I can do?
Sr. Member



Thank you  for being eager to assist and taking the time to provide technical information. It is very much appreciated.


NinKenDo79, for this particular situation, we will need to obtain account specific information from you that is not appropriate to be posted on the forums.  For immediate assistance, and using an alternate phone, please call our Technical Support department directly at 1-800-922-0204, option 3 for assistance. 


We look forward to hearing from you at the number provided to allow us to research this further and determine a resolution.


Thank you.






Re: Within 4G coverage area but can't get a 4G signal. Is there ANYTHING I can do?

First of all I appreciate your response and advice and trying to  help me with this problem, however I called the support number as you suggested and the result was less than satisfactory.  


The first person I talked to was very nice and listened to my whole story and offered to get a higher level technician on the phone to look into my problem.  The technician she found flat out asked me "why are you calling about this? you don't have coverage. What do you want?"  pretty much telling me to deal with it and maybe I'll have coverage in a year or two as Verizon rolls out their network.


Now, if I was off of the coverage map that is listed on the website and on big banners in Verizon stores and Best Buy (where I work and bought this phone), and there wasn't a huge billboard proclaiming 4G LTE just a couple of miles from my house, I would be okay with that response.  The problem is that I live in an area that is marked as covered, which tells me that in the eyes of Verizon Wireless my house is bathed in the glorious 700Mhz specturm, thus telling me that little to no efforts will be made to further increase or improve my coverage.  This is the part I have a problem with.  I can handle waiting, I have lived in this house for 5 years without good or reliable Internet, so I have waited and waited and been very patient to say the least.  What bothers me is that I may very well be overlooked and NEVER get coverage.   I need to have Internet for my work, my school, my hobbies and about everything else and it is becoming more critical to have high speed.  I am in a situation where I cannot move otherwise I certainly would.  I am stuck for at least a few more years and the "no Internet" problem is no longer acceptable.


So what I want from all of this is one of two options: 


1.  Verizon recognizes that I am in an "LTE deadzone" and updates the coverage map clearly showing where coverage is not available and I would be back on the list of areas awaiting coverage in the future.  I would not be too excited by this option, but at least I would feel like my voice was heard and Verizon knows I cannot get a good signal and can take that into account when new towers are setup or upgrades are rolled out.


2.  Verizon makes the coverage map correct by upgrading the towers near Lockbourne, OH or gives me a date that service will be available to me.  This would thrill me to no end and probably ensure a customer for life.  Not only that, but about 300 or so other residents in my village would have a viable Internet option for the first time and I would make sure to let each and every one of my neighbors know about it.  Children that need Internet for school and businesses that need it to expand an grow their business would be immediate new customers.  I also work at a major retailer (Best Buy) and have quite a bit of influence on customer's purchase decisions and I would be a much more vocal advocate of Verizon if they made the effort to help a customer who is desperate to use this service.


I know that a large company like Verizon cannot cater to every whim of their customers, but to me, this is a big deal and I am simply asking for what is currenly offered to be honored.  I hate to complain, but this is one issue that has been a thorn in my side and is a daily effort and stuggle to get work done or enjoy the modern conveniences of a downloadable movie or streaming audio.


Hopefully one of these things can happen relatively soon.


Thanks for your help!


Ken D

Re: Within 4G coverage area but can't get a 4G signal. Is there ANYTHING I can do?

My sympathies.  :smileyhappy:    I hope your post got a few things off your chest.   I am wondering, ironically,  if that billboard is blocking your signal.  They are notorious for causing havoc with microwaves - big flat reflectors.  Not to mention how ugly they are.    Now,  as I'm sure you know,  when dealing with a mega-corporation there are only certain ways to go - and they do take a long time.   You have to ask,  will I get any enjoyment out of this?   If you have lawyerly inclinations, then you may like it.  Being an engineer,  I would have more fun playing around with repeaters, antennas and stuff.     There are a things you can do.   Write a letter to the top executive at Verizon Wireless  - not too long but voicing your dissatisfaction.   File a complaint with the FCC consumer dept.   Locally,  find out who zones that billboard.   Also,  contact your state and local officials about your coverage "hole", in writing and also at a town meeting, etc.   Talk with your neighbors -  and  map out the bad spots in your area - make a one page presentation with the map,  make some flyers,  send the map to the local newspaper,  local and state reps. Good luck.  Let us know how it goes.