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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 6:02 PM

Dropped Calls & Low Signal - Check out the Solutions from the AT&T Community

Learn about some of "the science" behind the cell signal and why your service is dropping

Science. It is what allows you to make calls, text, stream, games, surf the web, and use apps on your device. It is also the reason why your service may not work as intended. Below is a crash course that goes over scenarios I have personally experienced and discovered during my time helping our AT&T Customers.  

First, some quick fixes 

Toggle Airplane mode this will refresh your connection to the tower
Power cycle your device This can clear up backend functions that could be causing issues
Reinsert your SIM sometimes it is dislodged. I know, not all phones have SIMS now
Things happen, check for an outage/ maintenance   Select mobility and enter your address


Signal Loss - Is It Us or Something Else?

Environmental Factors - Dead Zones

At my sister’s house, there is one spot where I never get calls or texts. If I move 5 feet away from that spot, boom, everything works. Sound familiar? This is known as a dead-zone and caused by the environment of your surroundings. Unfortunately dead-zones, in homes or offices, are beyond AT&T's control.

Common Causes:

  • The material used to build the home/ office like metal. Check out the video below to learn more
  • Material thickness - the wireless signal can weaken as it goes through different materials/ floors
  • Ground elements - sometimes what is in the ground can affect service, like mountainous areas
  • Areas with heavy electronics. They can emit EMI which can affect not only the wireless signal, but Wi-Fi


  • Move away from dead-zone(s) in your home, near a window or area without electronics.

  • Consider using Wi-Fi Calling. Please note Wi-Fi Calling must be set up first and activated. 

  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye out for areas with electronics and either move away from them or turn them off. 


Treadmills and Stationary Bikes

I bet you are thinking, seriously? Yes! Almost all electronics emit electromagnetic interference that not only disrupts your wireless signal but your Wi-Fi signal. The bigger the device, like an elliptical, the more interference it produces. I've seen it firsthand. Did you get a new electronic around the time you started seeing issues?

Common Causes:

Some electronic bikes use your body to power them and have their own internal power sources. One bike alone may not cause issues but if you are in a gym around treadmills, stationary bikes, and stair climbers, all the EMI created may cause electrical interference. Not just that, but many electronics emit/ use signals in the same spectrum as your phone (picture above). This means the more electronics, the more likely interference from those will cause issues like drop calls and slow webpage loading for example. 


  • Move away from the electronics.

  • Check out what the FCC has to say.

  • Unplug new electronics and test

Time of day

Sometimes, during peak times, AT&T may slow down speed to keep everyone connected. Also, if you see a drop in service, or slow speeds, at a specific time, this could indicate another issue, like equipment around you emitting interference. It could also mean something on your device is causing issues. 

Phone Damage

Dropping your phone can damage the components inside. This can affect your calls, texts, and internet experience. Having a case is important and I recommend getting one. A drop can also dislodge the SIM card and permanently damage your phone. 


Rural Areas

Rural areas tend to have weaker signals. One of the reasons, the distance you are from the towers. This means your home may get a weaker signal compared to the center of town. The reason, the tower may be optimized for town center since more people tend to be there. 

Normally, the signal is not an issue in rural areas. But when it is, a key factor to think about is the terrain. If you are in a hilly or mountainous area, you may experience a weak signal, the reason, the signal is being blocked not only by the land, but whatever ground elements are there. You factor in building construction, especially those will metal roofs, you can understand why the signal may be weak. 

Is there an outage or something else going on?

Check for an outage Network Coverage Online Device Troubleshooting

Note: Stores are not able to troubleshoot devices but they can give you options to get another.


    5G Speeds

    AT&T may temporarily slow speeds if the network is busy. This means during peak times, you may see slower speeds. We do this to make sure everyone has the best experience possible. 

    Other helpful links regarding poor signal

    ChrisZ, AT&T Community Specialist 



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    2 Messages

    6 years ago


    I had at&t for 3 years and at the start I had great signal just about everywhere I went. As of Jan. 2018 my signal strength started to get lower and lower, to the point that I couldn't move from the front of my window or I would drop a call, worse lose the 1, yes I said 1, bar of signal strength. Well after 7 months of me calling at&t customer support, tech support, I was told to do the same thing over and over to my phone, of which none worked. What broke my back was a tech support that told me in June that at&t was "FIXING AND UPGRADING THEIR TOWERS FOR THE UPCOMING 5G" around the city I live in. That was just what I didn't want to hear because the ding dang "TOWER" they were supposed to be working on was 450 feet away from my back porch and I have never seen so much as a human by it. Now I'm retired and do not smoke in my House so I am always outside on my porch taking a smoke break and for 7 long months all I saw next to or around the "TOWER" was deers and such. When I told customer support what I just mentioned, their reply was " Oh, we are working on one TOWER at a time" and " Do YOU know if that TOWER next to you belongs to at&t"?. I replied with " why would I know if that's your TOWER, do you not "BOUNCE" off other carries TOWERS? So I went to their site to map out all the cell TOWERS close and around me and that TOWER behind my house is indeed a at&t TOWER. So long story short, I was paying more then 100 bucks a month to get at best 1 bar of service while they were "FIXING" the TOWER just outside my house. I switched to VERIZON and guess what..... I got full....FULL signal strength and according to the app I use to find signal, it is getting FULL SIGNAL from the same TOWER at&t owns and suppose to be fixing. That's just a shame but they will not see another dime from me. Fix those TOWERS faster at&t.

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