iPhone 5s (Verizon) LTE Slow

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by moral-hazard, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. moral-hazard macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    I live in Silicon Valley and am using a 5s. The phone's data speeds were blazing fast when I got it, now they're crawling. Symptoms:

    • Slow data speeds, even basic things like refreshing email crawl on LTE (OK on wifi)
    • Generally have only two bars of LTE. Occasionally I see up to 4 but it's rare.
    • Data is largely unusable if I'm indoors - so slow that I end up needing to hop on a wifi network or just give up.
    • Sometimes switching LTE off yields more bars, data speeds are still slow.
    Anyone seen anything like this or have suggestions? I'm used to having bad service in my house due to living in a VZW dead zone but it's weird that it's also soul-crushingly slow in other neighborhoods nearby. Most of my friends are ATT so don't have a great basis to compare to. Thanks!
  2. JakeT85 macrumors regular


    Jan 19, 2012
    It is most likely a congestion issue paired with a lack of towers. Verizon is working to densify their network which will lead to more bars and better indoor service; however, this isn't something they can do overnight. It will most likely take years to get this on track. The slower speeds when you have reliable LTE are most likely due to congestion. This can also be caused by the lack of towers leading to more users per cell thus allowing less available bandwidth per person. This will also be mitigated by the densification of the network in the long term but could be helped in the short term when Verizon rolls out carrier aggregation. This will lead to more efficient use of available spectrum and should increase tower capacity.

    One final though is that the iphone 5s is most likely using a cat 3 or cat 4 modem, the new iPhones have cat 6 which is supposed to offer a stronger signal. I haven't noticed a difference on mine but I too live in a marginal coverage area for Verizon.

    I would recommend that if you're not willing to stick it out for the long term until towers get added switching over to a network that runs a denser tower grid than Verizon, which would be anyone.
  3. moral-hazard thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    Thanks so much JakeT85. I was wondering if something like this might be at play. People in this area tend to be very wealthy and they protest when new towers go up. Combining that with the fact that everyone has a smart phone now, it tells a pretty good story about why service might be poor. Guessing it's the congestion you mention and not my phone.

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