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Call quality issues when phone switches between 5G and LTE

On my way home from work, I pass through an area that has known spotty coverage.  If I'm on a call, I tell the person "I'm near the dead zone!" and resume talking once I know I'm out.  However, I got an iPhone 13 Pro Max a few months ago, and I'm noticing that this "dead zone" has turned into a 10 minute back-and-forth between 5G and LTE.  

Each time my phone switches between 5G and LTE, the caller and I hear each other's voices breaking up.  This goes on for minutes!  I thought there was something wrong with my phone before I noticed the signal indicator changing on my CarPlay display.

I hate the idea of turning off the 5G Auto setting, since the 5G was such a big selling feature for both Apple and Verizon.  Has anyone had a similar experience and benefitted from switching back to LTE altogether, or just turning 5G On?

I guess I don't know if my phone is toggling between 5G and LTE because of truly spotty coverage, or if it's because my phone is trying its hardest to save battery life.  Either way, I'm tired of having half of my 20 minute drive being "Can you hear me now?"

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Who I have the same questioned this topic