We live in a part of Los Angeles where cell phones apparently go to take a break. We're talking one to zero bars on the best of days, whether it's my girlfriend's old iPhone or my friend's latest Android handset, AT&T or Verizon (we'll be soon testing T-Mobile and Sprint). And now that we're considering upgrading my girlfriend's dying cell with something newer, we've not only been researching numerous devices and service providers, but also the reception reports from our neighbors using a crowdsourcing site called, Dead Cell Zones.
DeadCellZones.com is a Google Maps mashup with Yelp-like user provided feedback about reception specific to locations. This geo-tagged reporting is much more helpful than the usual, "well [service provider/phone here] works for me/sucks" since geographical location is one of the strongest factors of a phone's performance.
Using DeadCellZones.com, we were able to verify our suspicions that switching to another carrier wasn't going to make a huge difference if we stuck with the iPhone. The signal reception in our corner of Los Angeles just plain sucks whether we're on Verizon or AT&T, but it was interesting to note where other providers' towers were located, revealed by comments left by our neighbors.
If anything, the site is simply entertaining to peruse for the masses of user comments describing their specific experiences using one or many of the major carriers. Some are as succinct as "poor signal", while others provide detail accounts with more poetic flair:
*** Beyond this point (heading away from Edison Trails Tower to/through Garvey Ranch) lies a sea of muddy signals *** With the exception of 2-3 intermittent spots of good signal, signals may drop-out at dawn or dusk, 3G connections flit back-and-forth to 1xRTT with the chirping of birds, the chiming of microwaves, and perhaps even by the howling of a tom on the phase of the moon.
We can tell Chris to quit it with the home-brewed reception boosters now.
Give it a try…we're thinking of sticking with AT&T with this looming acquisition/merger with T-Mobile, hoping their reception improves after noting switching to Verizon wouldn't fix any nagging voice reception issues and perhaps investigating a few signal boosting options to combat our deadzone location.