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Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:56 am
by mrc
We finally left the dark ages and retired our Consumer Cellular flip phones for a pair of iPhone 8s. We've had a CC plan for ages and there is one spot on my wife's drive home where we loose voice contact for about 30 seconds. The calls never dropped with the flip phones.

Yesterday, DW called me and we couldn't really use the new phones. There were constant drop outs where we couldn't hear each other for several seconds, and the call dropped completely a half dozen times. I am so disappointed that the service is unusable with these phones. I just assumed the new phones would work even better than the old flips.

The coverage map in our area is solid orange, so I'm at a loss for why this is happening. If anyone has any tips or experience with this, especially after a trade up from more primitive phones, I'd love to hear it. As it stand, I'm tempted to add the old phone back onto the plan as a different line so we can still talk—which despite the smart phone extended capabilities does defeat the purpose.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:18 am
by student
First I would determine whether the problem is with one phone or both phones. I would do a test that involves one phone with a landline and then the other phone with a landline to determine whether you have a defective product. (The chance of both being defective is lower.) My friend had a similar issue due to getting a bad phone. Apple exchanged it for my friend.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:42 am
by retire2022
op try this app to see if there are cell towers where the drop off is, this is based on real users

https://www.opensignal.com/apps

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:25 am
by fru-gal
I think instead of saying Consumer Cellular dropping calls, you should say iPhones Dropping Calls.

I use CC with flip phones and have never had a call drop. I travel fairly widely through two New England states.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:06 am
by criticalmass
mrc wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:56 am
We finally left the dark ages and retired our Consumer Cellular flip phones for a pair of iPhone 8s. We've had a CC plan for ages and there is one spot on my wife's drive home where we loose voice contact for about 30 seconds. The calls never dropped with the flip phones.

The coverage map in our area is solid orange, so I'm at a loss for why this is happening. If anyone has any tips or experience with this, especially after a trade up from more primitive phones, I'd love to hear it. As it stand, I'm tempted to add the old phone back onto the plan as a different line so we can still talk—which despite the smart phone extended capabilities does defeat the purpose.
Which carrier(s) does this mobile virtual network operator use? Did they provision you on a different carrier than before? Did you try changing the network type on the phone, e.g. changing it to use 2g instead of lte as an experiment?

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:26 am
by Spirit Rider
This may have nothing to do with your carrier.

Cell phones are radios with a modem. Both have significant roles in phone reception. The key to radio reception is antenna performance. Some flip phones had the best radio reception. Many smart phones, not so much.

Apple iPhones have never been known to have the best reception. Then about 18 months ago Apple switched from using Qualcomm modem chipsets to using Intel modem chipsets. This has not been a positive for iPhone reception.

What model iPhone did you get?

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:39 am
by mrc
iPhone 8 64GB

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:26 pm
by curmudgeon
Consumer Cellular uses both AT&T and T-mobile for providers, and the specific SIM you have will be for one or the other. We had issues with poor CC service in our neighborhood which got better when we switched out the T-mobile SIMs for AT&T ones (had to contact customer service for that).

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:29 am
by mrc
Thanks for the suggestions. I didn't know where to start, and now I have a plan.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:45 am
by oldcomputerguy
DW and I are CC customers, and occasionally travel internationally. When CC began offering international roaming, I contacted them to get that set up on my iPhone and found that we'd have to switch it from the AT&T backbone to the T-Mobile backbone to enable that. After the change, I noticed that domestic coverage got significantly worse, sometimes I would lose signal for miles-long stretches. If you don't plan to take your phones outside the U.S., I'd go along with curmudgeon's advice, try switching to the AT&T backbone and see if your situation improves.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:52 am
by fru-gal
The two CC flip phones I have that work well use CC's AT&T, not their Tmobile.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:39 am
by curmudgeon
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:45 am
DW and I are CC customers, and occasionally travel internationally. When CC began offering international roaming, I contacted them to get that set up on my iPhone and found that we'd have to switch it from the AT&T backbone to the T-Mobile backbone to enable that. After the change, I noticed that domestic coverage got significantly worse, sometimes I would lose signal for miles-long stretches. If you don't plan to take your phones outside the U.S., I'd go along with curmudgeon's advice, try switching to the AT&T backbone and see if your situation improves.
We eventually switched from CC to Xfinity (porting the numbers out of CC was a royal pain, though). It ends up cheaper for us, with good domestic coverage (Verizon) and decent international roaming.

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:34 am
by mrc
UPDATE: Sure enough, the phones were shipped (in error according to CC chat rep) with T-Mobile SIM cards. CC is sending us AT&T SIM cards which should improve reception greatly.

Thanks again for the tips here, I always like calling customer service with a solution already in my mind.