Have problems with cell phone reception near your home? Read on.
Many parts of TCA seem to have problems with cell phone service.
Perhaps there is something we can do about this.
Mobile providers' supposed coverage areas are based on models where a user
should be able to establish a mobile connection and achieve certain upload
and download speeds - not on users’ actual, on-the-ground experience. That’s
why their coverage maps look so wonderfully complete.
In November 2022 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started providing
a way for consumers to challenge the coverage that mobile carriers claim.
Using a simple mobile phone app anyone can now submit test results
demonstrating that carriers' coverage claims are incorrect. “The results of
these tests will be aggregated to create Mobile Challenges that mobile
providers must respond to improve their coverage maps.”
Read more about this at the
FCC Broadband Data Collection Help Center.
I’ve been submitting test results around the neighborhood - but getting action
requires aggregate complaints. If more TCA residents were to submit test
results showing poor coverage maybe we could get some relief.
Open the FCC Speed Test app on your mobile phone. You will be asked to Configure Mobile Data
Usage the first time. Below are some snapshots of the set up steps.
The default values have been reasonable for me. I’ve run about a dozen
tests and challenges so far from various nearby locations and have used .2
(two tenths) of a gigabyte of data. If you test where coverage is great
you’ll consume more. Once you’ve run a test you can check the mobile data
usage under the app’s Settings.
Step outside your home, or walk around the neighborhood - test
results taken inside houses are not valid – too many walls and other
obstructions. But if outdoor coverage improves indoor coverage may too.
Be sure you have WiFi access turned off and you are using only
You’ll be presented with several consent screens before each challenge test
starts. Each test takes less than a minute to perform.
Example test results
Below are examples of some challenge test results I’ve gotten:
Please submit test results from wherever you think carriers should have better
coverage: right outside your home, in the parks, where you walk, in areas you
think might be unsafe. We, of course, don’t use our cell phones while driving
on residential streets.
If you have any questions, you may contact
If enough test results are submitted from our area, with luck we’ll
get the FCC’s and carriers' attention to our little cellular dead zone.
Examples of cell phone coverage issues
Your experience may include these too:
We generally have to go half way up the street before we get cellular service.
When contractors visit our house they have to leave to call their
offices. When they bring out their portable credit card reader at the end of
the job you can’t pay their bill.
If your internet service goes out after a storm good luck contacting your
provider and your provider contacting you, to schedule a repair.
At home my phone battery drains quickly with the placeholder “No Cell Coverage” app
consuming much of my battery on a daily basis. I have to make sure I turn off cell
access at home and use only WiFi, and remember to turn cell service back on
whenever I leave the house.