Dropped calls on new RW phone, not on old non-RW phone

Hi. I’ve been searching the forums for “dropped calls”, “dropping calls”, etc. for 10 or 15 minutes. The questions I’ve found aren’t very much like mine, so I’m posting this new topic.

I’m a new RW customer; I came from Google Project Fi. I have a new Moto E4 I got last week, so I should have the latest Republic app. Since it’s so new, I hope I don’t need the “nuclear option” :persevere: of a factory reset (which could mean redoing all of the app downloads, settings, etc. that I’ve just finished!). BTW, I haven’t downloaded any call-related apps.

Last week I was part of a helpful discussion (sorry, I can’t find a link) on bars of signal vs. signal strength vs. reality :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. Bottom line: I drove back and through hilly country (no WiFi) and found that both my old and new phones (both on T-Mobile) seemed to perform about the same, even though the old Nexus 5X had more signal bars (the 4E lost signal completely for a minute or two).

Now I’ve hooked my phone to the car’s Bluetooth hands-free and I’m using it, as I did my old phone, as I drive around my city. This morning the new phone dropped a call. My old phone never did that, so I’m concerned. (I have about a week of my return period left.) I’m trying to test more, but I’d also like to guess at a cause: maybe one or no bars of signal? signal strength (in dBm)? weak Bluetooth in the Moto E4??? Any suggestions? I can’t really look at the phone while I’m driving… maybe some app that shows a rolling graph of signal strength, bars, etc., could tell me something?

To find any more call dropping, I don’t have to call friends and blabber. I can use the great call-echo service at (631)791-8378 to record and then hear myself, hear my voice played back to me as I talk, etc… and see if any calls garble or drop on the new phone. I don’t really have time to try CDMA (in the next week…) (and my old phone generally had worse service on Sprint). Any more suggestions?

BTW, I really like this phone. So I hope I don’t have to replace it (I’d get a “refurbished” phone, yes?) or go back to my Project Fi phone. Thanks for any advice!

You should take note of where the calls drop when you’re driving. Drive through the same section of road several times while on the call-echo service. If the call drops in the same place more than once, then the phone simply isn’t getting an adequate signal in that location. My girlfriend calls it “dipping”, because it happens on our calls when she is driving on a certain road and the roads dips behind a hill. Our calls drop there about 70 or 80 percent of the time she goes down that dip behind the hill.

And, not all phones are created equal where the internal cellular antenna is concerned. Some phones just have better antennas

Thanks, @beachb. That makes a lot of sense.

(BTW, everyone: I’ve found a strange thing with the phones I’ve had in the past five years or so. In weak signal areas – which I’m in a lot as I drive out in the country – my phone has noticeably less signal bars when I hold it in my hand, or set it in my lap, than if I set the phone nearby. On my car’s Bluetooth, I set it on the passenger seat – and use the car’s voice commands. Maybe I should be checked by a doctor? :grinning:)

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Yes, I’ve noticed it takes longer for my tea water to heat up when I stand close to the microwave oven while the water is heating. Hmmm… :wink:

You might want to take a look at this app: Coverage Map RootMetrics
They build the map by driving the routes in an auto and gathering data from multiple phones and carriers. This data is then analyzed and you can see what the actual results were (as well as the number of data points available) … I feel this is far superior to the standard carrier provided map
Here is an example of the granularity they provide (as well as carrier select that includes both used by RW


That’s very interesting, @jben! I’d love to contribute. I’ll check it out.

I’d be glad to get more advice on testing phones. But this afternoon I took the E4 around town on a (non-scientific) drive. I didn’t re-try sections of road where I had signal problems; I’ll do that tomorrow. But the phone did have some problems on major city streets, and that concerns me. FYI:

I used the echo service (which I mentioned earlier) to talk – and hear myself a moment later. The E4 didn’t drop a call this time; it mostly worked well. But sometimes I’d get an echo that didn’t have complete words; it was usually the second half of words that would be missing in the echo. There were other times when I couldn’t hear myself at all. In each case, I’d glance at the phone a few times when it was safe. When I had the missing parts of words, there were around two bars of signal. When there was no echo – no sound at all – I had around one bar. (The bars are approximate, but the effects I heard weren’t. BTW, the echo goes through the tower twice – once when I talk, and another time for the echo. So this test is probably tougher than actual use. But sometimes the couple of friends I called today couldn’t hear me for a few moments; that hasn’t happened on my old phone.)

I have WiFi (not great) at home, and the phone is fine with it. But I can see that the phone often has one or two bars of cell signal. So I’ll turn off the WiFi and talk to myself :wink: some more. This should give me an idea of the service I’ll get if my WiFi goes out completely.

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Last night I turned off the WiFi at my home. Calls got garbled right away with 2 bars of cell signal. Sometimes I have 1 bar. That’s even though the T-Mobile tower is five blocks away (!). If my flakey WiFi goes out, I may be out of luck. The old Nexus works fine (it doesn’t use WiFi unless there’s no cell signal). So I’m going to look for another phone. (Sad… the E4 is such a good deal in so many ways!)

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Keep in mind that you are comparing a low end Moto phone to what might once have been considered a flagship phone. I can’t really comment much on the E4, as I’ve never held one. I know a lot of people love their E4. But, you are comparing two phones on very different ends of the flagship scale. It may be that you simply won’t get the same performance from an E4 that you enjoyed with your Nexus 5X.

I have been following this post.
I think it is very interesting how you are testing the phones out, and thanks for sharing. I am wondering if you have tested the Nexus with the republic wireless app downloaded and with the republic wireless GSM Sim?

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