When Your Apartment is a Cell Phone Dead Zone

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Your new apartment can be perfect: great location, all the space you need and more. But then you go to make a phone call and you discover: no service. Your apartment may be a cell phone dead zone. That situation is bad enough if you also have a landline, but if you rely primarily on your cell phone, no reception can be a major issue.

No service isn’t exactly a reason to break your lease, but living a dead zone can create some problems. There are a few steps you can take to make the situation more tolerable. Katy Toyfa, a Los Angeles resident, is in just that situation: “We’ve tried three different services and who knows how many phones, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.”

Katy works from home, and has come up with several approaches to make sure she doesn’t miss important phone calls: “…if I’m expecting a call on my cell phone (my office number) I either forward the call to my home phone, sit in the car on the street to take the call, or sit outside on my porch. Otherwise, I either make all calls from my home phone or from my car when I’m out and about driving.”

Forwarding your cell phone to your home phone number is generally your most reliable bet for making sure you don’t miss any calls to your cell phone. A similar option is Grand Central. Grand Central is an online service that assigns you a free number. Rather than handing out either your cell phone number or your home number, you give out your Grand Central number. When someone calls you, Grand Central rings to both your home and cell numbers, upping the odds you’ll get a call when you’re at home.

Beyond the forwarding option, you may have considered a cellular repeater. Cellular, or cell phone, repeaters act as amplifiers for cell phones. Most of the repeaters on the market aren’t exactly a good deal. Most cost at least $100, and every time the technology changes — every few years, lately — the current types of repeaters become obsolete. But in some situations, it can be worth paying for a new cellular repeater.

Beyond these options, the only way to get cell phone service in some places is demolish the building and start from scratch. I doubt your landlord will go for that approach, though.

10 Responses to “When Your Apartment is a Cell Phone Dead Zone”

  1. September 04, 2008 at 2:29 am, Guest said:

    Where can we get a repeater?


  2. September 09, 2008 at 2:33 pm, Guest said:

    There are other options.

    I happen to live in a cell phone killing apt. complex, but my saving grace was that I had purchased a phone that was WiFi compatible, meaning, whenever I am in the vicinity of WiFi service, my phone automatically switches over to the WiFi and the minutes I use on that connection are free.

    I have a Samsung phone and use T-Mobile cell phone service, but I don’t have to have T-Mobile at home to use my WiFi phone service. I have AT&T Wifi in my apt. So, because of the WiFi I have at home, I get phone service with very few issues (sometimes the signal doesn’t catch when I’m on the complete opposite side of the apt.) and I get free minutes when I make calls at T-Mobile hotspots. I know there are other phones that have this capability, but I don’t know which brands they are.

    Hope that helps someone!


  3. September 09, 2008 at 7:52 pm, Guest said:

    I found a repeater for sale at Thinkgeek.com. Depending on your mobile phone carrier, expect to spend between $250 and $360.



  4. October 08, 2008 at 7:54 pm, Guest said:

    another option is magicjack – i bit the bullet while watching the infomercial and it Works ! I forward my calls whenever im at home…(for that matter any internet enabled deadzone {woah oxymoron!})..40 bucks for a year for free call within the US ..my 2 cents.

    / /

    PS : Stock photos are a pretty bad conveyor of ideas…:) that said – i think the lady in it has a minx set of eyes


  5. October 20, 2008 at 5:42 pm, Guest said:

    Your own body! You can use your own body to amplify the cell phone signal. You have to make a closed-inductive loop using your arms and the cell phone, which will yield the maximum possible coverage without needing any external electronic amplifiers.

    Best of all, this method is FREE!

    The easiest way to do this is to use one arm to hold your cell phone – make sure this arm is held so your upper arm runs straight out and parallel to the ground, forming a triangle when you put the phone up to your ear.

    The other arm must be touching the lower half of your body as much as possible while standing up. This works best with the moist parts of your body, which is better for carrying electrical currents. So if you have sweaty palms, this will work towards your advantage. The best place to touch with your free hand is your crotch.

    So to summarize:
    – one hand holds the phone to the ear with upper arm straight out and parallel to the ground, forming a triangle.
    – the other hand touches your crotch (through your pants, must make full skin contact to the moist areas).

    Hope this helps!


  6. October 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm, Guest said:

    Yeah…this happened to me when I didn’t realize that my “1st floor apartment” was actually underground. It was basement-level and the 3rd floor was ground level, which meant I was two floors underground. Needless to say, no reception.

    If you rent on the lower levels of a high-rise, be sure to ask which floor is the ground floor! I didn’t know about the solutions above & after a month or so I worked out a deal to move.


  7. October 25, 2008 at 9:10 am, Guest said:

    are you kidding me? this sounds like something that should be done in private and not something to subject your callers to do. I wouldnt recommend anyone do this unless they want to be kicked out of their apt for lewd behavior and indecent exposure if their windows are open


  8. November 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm, Guest said:

    I bought mine from:
    this model:

    and there was a noticeable improvement in reception. The trick is to place the box in a good location. It took me 4 tries with different locations (you have to try each one for a full day to see the difference).


  9. December 03, 2008 at 4:19 pm, Guest said:

    you could of done…

    dial 21*(telephone number to divert to)#



  10. December 03, 2008 at 4:19 pm, Guest said:

    you could of done

    dial 21*(telephone number to divert to)#



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