Cell phone signal boosters

My Wife and I really can’t use our cell phones from home except in emergencies. Reception is pretty poor. We can use them but only if you stand just right and DON’T MOVE.

The units I have found seem to have an external, plug-in antenna to the phone.

I have also seen lots of gimmicks for $9.95 and shipping.

I would like to find a wireless (nothing to plug into the phone) booster to improve our reception.

I often carry my phone outside when I’m working on the house, just in case I break my leg or fall off a ladder or something so it would have to be a wireless connection to the booster (repeater?). And I know my wife won’t use it if she can’t ‘walk and talk’.

Any recommendations? Do I need Bluetooth?

You could try switching to a different service. Some wireless companies work better in certain places.

Those stick on things which sit on the back of the phone, do not work!!! If you want to boost your signal, you’re going to have to get something which plugs into the phone, unless you switch services. (Ex-cellphone company employee posting here.)

I will second Tuckerfan. I worked at a cell phone reseller for a period of time and I absolutely refused to sell the stick on antena boosters. They do nothing but lighten your wallet.

You may want to look into a different service provider. Here on campus Cingular is hit or miss while Nextel has stelar service. Also, now that numbers are portable between carries the drawback of having to change numbers is removed. Ebay has a great secondary market for handsets only if you don’t want to sign a contract, just be sure to get the right phone for your service.

I’m thinking along the lines of something like this. It does not appear to have a plug into the phone. It’s a bit pricey, but If I can save $50-70 a month, it would pay for itself in less than a year.

Verizon is the only game in town for where I live. Perhaps I could go with someone else, others have tried and Verizon has the best coverage.

I figured those stick on inside antennas where BS. But, for $4 what’s to loose. I guess that’s exactly what the marketing guys want you to think.

No idea if that thing works or not, but do some shopping around because based on what they’re charging for products that I am familiar with, that price is steep, and you can probably pick it up for less somewhere else (like around half). If it does work, let us know.

I had the same problem recently. I called my service provider and was told to try a Nokia phone. She said Nokia’s have better signal reception because they have longer antennas (which just happen to be hidden in the phone’s body). I was dubious, but desperate, so I got a Nokia 3120 for $120 or so – one of their cheaper models. It works really well in my apartment, whereas my Motorola was getting nothing, unless I hung over my porch railing in exactly the middle section.


Yep that does seem kinda expensive. I’m looking at a Motorola phone that had a long pull out antenna. I’m getting a new phone anyway, so I’ll try that (or a Nokia).

The external antennas which come with cellphones [Apu] are strictly for ornamentation [/Apu] and don’t actually work. Also go for what’s known as a “candy bar” phone and not a flip phone, since candy bar’s have better reception than flip phones.

Some tips here:


If you’re with Verizon, try the Motorola V710. It’s regarded as pretty much the best performing phone on Verizon’s network. You can get it pretty cheap these days, since the E815 (a new and improved 710) is about a week from being released. As a bonus, the phone DOES have Bluetooth, although Bluetooth won’t help at all when dealing with reception.

The cell phone booster you linked to will absolutely, positively help. No doubt about it. The problem is that it’s $600.

I would complain to Verizon about your problems and see what they’ll do for you. Often its just a matter of boosting a signal from the nearest tower to give you suitable coverage. Verizon is very good at listening to their customers in this regard.

I used to work for Verizon, so take it for what its worth…

I’m sure most of the boosters are junk, but not all. My neighbor used to work for Cellcom, and showed me a plugin, external, company-supplied antenna for his company-supplied phone. We checked the bar strength indicator with and without the extra antenna, and the signal was definitely better with. In our fringe area, it made a near-useless phone into one that worked, as long as you stayed relatively tethered to a 6-ft cable.

So I guess the moral is get it from a reputable supplier like the celphone company, and try it out before committing. I believe the retail cost of the one we tried was in the $20 range.

I think you can also get a rooftop car antenna that plugs into a handheld phone when you are in the car. Haven’t tried that, but theoretically it should get around the RF-absorbing steel cage of the car body.

Does reception vary that much between phone models, given the same carrier? The customer service cybogs at Sprint insisted that my ho-hum Sprint-issued LG model was the best available, until I exchanged it for their Samsung SPH A660, which they now pronounce #1. Meanwhile, the technician at the local Spring store told me flip phones typically have sucky reception and tried to B&S me to a pricier model. Sprint, Inc. meanwhile, insists flip phones are no better or worse than other types.

Sign Me,

Confused in America

Yes, yes, yes. For that matter, reception can vary between individual phones of the same exact model. Don’t pay attention to bar readings… they’re useless. My phone can make and hold a perfectly fine phone call jumping between 0-1 bars. Other phones are much more generous with their antenna readings.

Plus, with Verizon and Sprint, there’s tri-mode phones and dual-mode phones. If you’re in a fringe area with some analog coverage, a tri-mode phone will be able to jump to that analog spectrum and make a call if you’re in a pinch. Sure, it won’t sound great, your battery will die super-fast, and text messaging/caller id/etc. won’t work, but for an emergency, tri-mode is a great thing to have. The V710 is a trimode phone. I don’t know about Sprint phones.

More money also doesn’t mean better reception. On the Verizon side of things, when I worked there our entry-level Nokia (the second cheapest phone we offered) was what we deemed the “reception king”. My girlfriend had one and could always make calls when I couldn’t. Nowadays, the high-end Motorolas are the “reception kings” of Verizon. The Nokia was a bar phone, and the Moto was a flip. I don’t think bar/flip has nearly as much to do with reception as antenna build and placement, as well as power output. If you have an extendable antenna, extend it. It may seem silly, but it will help.

Again, I can’t speak for Sprint, but LG’s phones for Verizon are well known for their amazing user-friendliness, build quality, and features for the price. They are not well known for their reception. I believe it was the 4650 that had so many returns due to the phone not working where customers were used to having their phones work.

When I worked for SPCS, the Samsung flip phones were absolute shite (we got more calls from people having problems with them than anything else).

If you’re on Cingular, get a Nokia 6340i off eBay. You’ll pay about $50 including shipping and you’ll get the best phone ever made in terms of reception capability. It works on GSM 800/1900, TDMA, and AMPS. The only other phone that works on all those bands (aka GAIT compliant) is the Erikson T62u and they seem to be a bit more expensive, harder to find, and don’t get quite as good reception.

No color, camera, polyphonic ringtones, or Java. Just a phone that works when everything else fails. Oh, and it has an external antenna jack, too, like all professional-grade Nokia phones used to have.

My questions about even that are: Why should it cost so much to amplify a radio signal? and How does that make for better reception on the phone’s part. That device doesn’t make the signal from the cell tower not be blocked by hills or whatever.

I think part of the deal is that is uses an external antenna. A stable secure antenna that does not move. You can position it for the best reception and leave it there. It then boosts that signal to your phone

I did get a new phone. Against a lot of advice here on the board, I bought one with pretty much all the bells and whistles. An LG VX6100.

I know one person a work that likes it and the Verizon person recommended it for reception problems.

Works well at home provided I don’t move around. A little better than my last phone.
It may be a good idea to get a headset for it so that I can just leave it on the table. As soon as you start moving the phone, reception pretty much goes to shit.

I don’t think I’m going to go with the repeater/amplifier. It was just a thought. But $600? Na. For that price, I can wait them out.

If you would consider a different carrier, then finding someone that has done this for your area would be of considerable help. His site has maps for 5 different carriers as well as cell phone reviews…