Finding a better cell provider

We have google fi and liked it well enough before we moved. In this house, it’s a disaster. I stand outside in front of my house and get two bars. Calls get dropped left and right. So I need to change providers, I guess.

My normal approach of inviting people over and asking them all how their reception is and who their provider is won’t work because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

Is there any way to figure out which network would have good reception here?

I don’t have any android devices, so a jailbroken android cell tower app won’t help me.

I don’t have a great answer for you, but in my experience, Verizon has always had the best coverage outside of major cities. When I lived in WY and had to go on trips out into the middle of nowhere, Verizon was always the most reliable. The other big 3 never really seem to try outside of cities (we couldn’t even get AT&T in Cheyenne).

I would check coverage maps for what seems to have the best coverage in your area.

Since Fi uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks (scratch that, if you’re on iPhone then you’re on pure TMO with none of their roaming networks, though Sprint’s network probably isn’t any better) if it doesn’t work, your only real options are Verizon or AT&T. Seconding the suggestion to check coverage maps, but you’ll likely be stuck with Verizon.

Does your phone not have a WiFi calling function? This will solve dropped calls at home at least.

Phone does (we both use recent iPhones). Google Fi doesn’t support WiFi calling with iPhones.

I live in a major city (Minneapolis), so all of the coverage maps just say that everything is great. I think there’s probably a hill in the way or some unpleasantness casting a shadow in a fairly local area.

Does Google sell something that you can connect to your home wifi to increase the reception in your house? I know that T-mobile used to have something. You should try giving them a call and asking them, they might send you something for free as T-mobile did for me back in the day.

They do not.

We recently switched from Verizon to Total Wireless. It’s cheaper and I’m pretty sure it uses the same network as Verizon. I haven’t noticed any differences in coverage anyway.

You can play around with to find the nearest cellular tower, the providers that use it and the bands supported. Though when I tried it with my area in Canada, the information seems incomplete.

Canadian cellular service is distributed via moose with microcells strapped to their flanks, so it can vary according to seasonal herd migration patterns.

I have always admired your imagination.

True story: Long-range microwave relay towers in sparsely populated Canada are set so far apart, that their signals almost skim the nap of the earth in tundra areas. So at times when caribou migrations are thick, they can actually disrupt communications as the mass of bodies interferes with the radio signals. Maybe if they could just arrange for all the caribouses cabooses to walk with the correct alignment and spacing for the signal polarization, they could be a range extender instead.

Can you not just get some free PAYG SIMs and put them in your phone to check the signal?

Seems plausible, but I don’t know how this works. Can you say more words or point me towards an article?

Maybe it’s not the same where you are, but in the UK carriers will give away pay as you go SIMs. You can probably pick them up in generic phone stores too, but I don’t know. Just stick it in your phone, and I imagine it will give you a signal indication even if you don’t top it up with any money. Could be wrong though, I’ve only done phones on contract other than when I had to use one for broadband for a while.

Just google prepaid SIM carriername. They all offer it.

It is 2021! Should I switch away from Google Fi? I am using more data that I have in the past, and my bill nears $40 a month on some occasions. Tmobile is rock solid in my area, but I would assume Verizon would be also, since I am on the east coast in a really populated area.

I see Visible offers a flat $40 a month charge (that includes taxes and fees) with unlimited data. Also has the Pixel 6 at MSRP with a offer that includes the free earbuds and a $200 gift card.

Or maybe I should consider Mint?

I came here to plug Ryan Reynolds’ Mint Wireless

I am sorta tempted to do 3 months of Visible for the Pixel 6 deal (gotta stay 3 months for the giftcard), then switch to the $15/mo Mint plan.

On a related note I didn’t know that all iPhones XS and newer can do two mobile plans per phone: 1 eSIM and 1 nano SIM. I thought it was limited to the dual nano variant of iPhone available for Asia only.