Wireless carriers - how to know it will work at my house

I am new to smart phones so be kind.
Here is the question I think. What is the difference between the wireless carrier and using the cell phone towers of that carrier?
I have a Jitterbug cell phone. It just makes and receives calls. Yes the old folks phone. It works fine in my house and at work just a mile or so away. I also have a land line. the Jitterbug is using Verizon as the carrier. I thought I would economise and get rid of Jitterbug and land line and get a smart phone. I ordered one from AAA that offered a special for members. It was a HTC rhyme. It is lovely and I had little trouble setting up and understanding it. BUT when I called my friend and walked around the house it broke up and we had trouble hearing each other. It did better on the porch but not much. This HTC was from Affinity Cellular. I called them and asked what carrier and they told me they used Verizon towers. But it is not working as well as the Jitterbug. Is it the phone or the carrier? I will not buy a phone that does not have reception in my kitchen but how will I know?

It’s probably because the resellers like Straight Talk and Jitterbug get the lowest priority on Verizon’s network. Meaning the signal will be weakest for those types of phones and will be the first to get bumped off during peak call times.

Is it wifi-capable? I have the same problem at my house, but wifi calling solved it.

Yes I have Wifi. Please explain

At a risk of being pedantic, there are two components here–the signal from the tower to the cell phone, and the data stream from the cell site to the rest of the network (nowadays, voice is just part of the datastream).

I’m not an expert on the radio side of things, but it’s unlikely that the actual signal is being prioritized, or at least it’s not something I’ve heard of. Prioritizing in the datastream from the site is where I’ve seen things implemented. Granted, it may look close to the same to the average user (a dropped call is a dropped call…), however, in the one mobile network I have knowledge of, voice is not split out that way–voice is voice, reseller or no, and the low-priority stuff is the data, which is where most of the congestion comes from anyway.

Going back to the question, a couple of things spring to mind. For one thing, all phone antennas are not equal. It’s entirely possible to have an older flip or candybar phone with a superior antenna to a smart phone–they’re packing a lot of stuff into smartphones, antennas often tend to go wherever they have room.

Also, different technologies may be on different frequencies, and both technology and frequency can affect signal strength. LTE may be faster than CDMA, but if, for example, the carrier in your area currently has LTE at 2100MHz and CDMA at 700MHz, CDMA will penetrate buildings better, which may mean fewer voice problems. Not a whole lot you can do about that, if something like that is happening.

Will your phone work on a wifi network? If so, then go into your phone’s settings and log into your wifi network. Then, when you are home and in range of your wifi network, you will have reception.

Verizon doesn’t allow carrier-based Wi-Fi calling yet. Presumably that also applies to resellers on its network.

Thanks all.
I did have the smart phone set up on the WiFi so right about that Bright.
I guess I will have to just try the phone and see if it will work at home. Like this pretty purple one that I have to return. Wish I could see the antenna and compare.