What Really Causes Bad Cell Phone Signal

Bad cell phone signal. We’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Heck, even an entire marketing campaign was built around the phrase, “Can you hear me now?”, signaling the relatability of dealing with garbled signals, dropped calls, signals cutting in and out, etc.

But have you ever stopped to consider exactly what might be causing that bad signal? Or, maybe more importantly, if there’s anything you can do to improve that signal?

Here’s what you need to know about what causes bad cell phone signals, and what you can do to mitigate those causes.

Distance from Tower

Problem: Being too far from a cellular tower to receive and maintain a good cell signal can be a maddening problem to have, especially if the location is one where you spend a lot of time and/or need to make and receive a lot of calls.

Solution: Aside from picking up and moving closer to a cell tower, the best solution for improving a spotty cell signal from a tower is to use a cellular signal booster system. A signal booster system can receive any cellular signal in range, amplify it, and then rebroadcast the boosted signal to a designated area inside your home, office, or even your vehicle.

An Overload of Cellular Traffic

Problem: In places where a large crowd is gathered, and many people are attempting to use their phones in one spot, cellular towers can get overloaded, which can create problems connecting to the network and lead to a complete lack of network access. The more overloaded a tower becomes, the weaker signals can become.

Solution: If you find yourself in this scenario, you can try a couple of things. First, if there’s a wifi network available, you could try to call over wifi to see if you have better luck making a connection that way. If there’s no wifi available, or the wifi network is also bogged down, you can also try forcing your phone to switch towers (if there’s another tower nearby that’s also not overloaded). Usually, turning your phone off and on again will force your phone to connect to the nearest tower that’s able to accept a signal.

Building Materials

Problem: Building materials, especially in older buildings, or buildings built with especially dense material like concrete, can wreak havoc on cell phone reception. If you’ve ever gone outdoors to take a call, and the call suddenly became crystal clear when you stepped outside, then it’s a good bet that the materials in the building are the cause of your cellular signal problems.

Solution: This is another instance where a cellular signal booster system can really improve your cellular connectivity. Since cellular signal booster systems have components that include both an outdoor antenna to receive the signal and an indoor antenna to broadcast the boosted signal, they are a great way to help you improve cell signals that are hindered by building materials.


Problem: Sometimes, weather can cause problems with various types of signals. This is often most evident with satellite tv signals being disrupted by bad weather. However, cellular signals aren’t immune from disruption, especially from water-related weather, like rain, snow, and even fog. Cellular signals can bounce off of water particles in the air, causing the signal to weaken before it reaches you.

Solution: Luckily, wifi signals aren’t hindered by weather. So, if your cellular signal is being disrupted by bad weather, you can switch to wifi calling instead. And if you want to make wifi calling ultra-reliable, you can add a wifi signal booster to your home’s wifi setup in order to boost the signal throughout your home and ensure you can make and receive calls anytime you need to.

Destructive Interference

Problem: When a lot of radio frequencies are bouncing around in the same area, like in densely populated urban areas, for example, signal strength can be weakened because signals are interfering with one another.

Solution: This is another case where cellular signal boosters can help overcome the problem of weak cellular signals. In this case, you would probably want to choose a cellular signal booster system that has an outdoor antenna with a narrow focus field. That can help to eliminate some of the interference and bring a stronger signal into your home or office.

Old Technology

Problem: Technology changes and evolves very rapidly in today’s world. If you’ve got an older model cell phone and find you’re often struggling to get a good cellular signal, the problem may actually be with your device, rather than your cellular service. Older model phones aren’t able to take advantage of new technologies, which often means they don’t get the best possible reception.

Solution: Unfortunately, the best solution in this case is probably to upgrade your phone to a newer model. You don’t have to get the most expensive phone on the market, but a phone that uses new technologies will probably give you a better signal than a much older phone.

Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone and wifi signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify cellular signal for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle, while wifi boosters improve wireless internet access in designated spaces.