Are newer iPhones better in weak signal areas?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by DanielCoffey, May 28, 2017.

  1. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #1
    I have just moved to a rural area with weak phone signals and my iPhone 5 is struggling to maintain a usable connection indoors. I was wondering if the reception in weak areas was improved with newer iPhones or whether the antennas are of similar performance between phone generations?

    I am in the UK with O2 and it appears to be the most used provider in my area but I am just on the cusp of a low hill and on the edge of the signal "shadow". That mast is enabled for all services up to 4G (which I don't get on the iPhone 5 of course).

    At best I get 2 dots of 3G indoors, more often one. At several times of day it drops to EDGE and still only gives me 2 dots. If I go outdoors, the signal improves a little in that I get 3 dots of EDGE and the phone usually polls back to 3G when it notices the change and gives two or three dots of 3G.

    The construction materials of the building are timber throughout with no stone or particularly brick.

    What are my options here? Do you think a 7 would have a more sensitive antenna? Am I allowed to ask for a micro-transmitter?
     
  2. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #2
    Is WiFi Calling something that your carrier offers? That might help with at least indoor reception issues if/when you could make use of it (which might also require an iPhone that is more recent than the 5 you have).
     
  3. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

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    Sweden
    #3
    The problem with weak signal is usually caused by weak networks,combined with the modern radiation regulations for cellphones. Solving part of it by buying a new phone is useless,as all modern phones from this side of the millennium shift or so follow the same regulations. I had the same problem,until I found out that my old Ericsson " shark fin" GSM phone worked perfect. Older phones from late 1990s or earlier is not built for the modern radiation regulations,and can therefore have more powerful transmitters.
     
  4. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    New Zealand
    #4
    I haven't noticed much difference between my old 4S and current 6. I'm in a valley and coverage isn't great!
     
  5. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Oct 17, 2011
    #5
    Most of those older phones wouldn't even really be using the same network that most of the newer phones would use most of the time.
     
  6. oculus42 macrumors 6502

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  7. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

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    #7
    No,the older phones I use,use either NMT or GSM networks.
    all iPhones are made after the 2005 radiation regulations,you should get a 1998 Nokia or Ericsson phone,like the "shark fin " I use in low power areas.
     
  8. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #8
    I have a suspicion that they won't work at all, given that the 2G network is gone :)
     
  9. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

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    #9
    Of course that's a problem,for my old Ericsson gsm I don't use subscription,I use a cash phone card,as I'm only using it when my iPhone won't work.
     
  10. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #10
    Thanks for the replies folks. It is good (in a way) to know that recent smartphones will have reasonably similar performance under the same signal conditions.

    C DM - Yes O2 does have the TuGo wifi calling app but when I tried it a while ago there were some issues in that there were significant pauses between picking up the call and the audio starting. Once I get my broadband activated I will give it another go.

    I was wondering if I am likely to get a better or worse signal in this area if I switch to a phone that can get 4G (I have the iPhone 5, remember). The coverage on all three bands (2G to 4G) runs right up to my area then drops to "good outdoors, poor indoors" right on my property line. I will ask O2 about their opinion but will bear in mind they will want to try to sell me a new phone.
     
  11. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #11
    Well, native WFi calling and just an app that provides calling over data are somewhat different things. Of course if your carrier doesn't provide actual WiFi calling or your phone doesn't support it, then an app for that kind of thing could be worth a try (when connected to WiFi).
     
  12. DanielCoffey thread starter macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #12
    It looks like O2 have *just* added wifi calling and 4g calling a month or so ago. It is currently offered by them on the iPhone 7 family and the Galaxy S7 phones so it will certainly have to wait till I upgrade but it is available.

    Thanks for the tip.
     
  13. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #13
    From my experiences,in my area,4G is just faster,but it doesn't affect your problem,I had the 5 before,no major difference from what I seen.
     
  14. kingvwardhana macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    #14
    Hi, maybe my experience could give you a reference.
    So i just swapped my old iPhone 5 with the 7 plus. I live in a not-so-good-coverage-area, usually my iPhone 5 would get -80/-70dBm (3-4 dots) in 3G. But using the same SIM card, my 7 plus would get -110/115dBm (1 dot) in 4G.
    So, i noticed there is a bit difference here. Although, different operators might have different results.
     

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