Question about Voice, 3G, 4G/LTE

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by tkitty442, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. tkitty442 macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2014
    First I'd like to let you all know that I've been lurking here pretty much daily for 3 or 4 years... Thanks to you all for keeping me informed and entertained all this time...

    Now the time has come that I have run into a situation and I need some guidance... So I finally bit the bullet and registered... First post... :)

    Ok so I've recently moved from a little SW of Dallas (pretty much still the metro area) to a rural area 10 or 15 miles NE of Waxahachie... I've got an iPhone 4s and Sprint is my carrier... I've seen thread upon thread about Sprints crappy data speeds and part of me wants to agree, but I don't guess I can really say anything because I don't think my phone is capable of picking up 4G/LTE anyway...

    My issue is that out here my calls are dropping CONSTANTLY... I mean like sometimes every 30 seconds... I'm usually a pretty chill person, but I've found myself literally cussing at my friends and family because "my ******* phone keeps dropping, I'm hanging up on you don't call me back, this ******* phone is pissing me off!"...

    I already planned on getting the 6... And I was just going to stay with Sprint... I've been with them for years and I can deal with the data speeds for now... But my son and daughter in law (same house) have got T-Mobile, and their phones always say 4G and/or LTE up in the corner... And their calls never drop... Mine either says nothing and I have one or two bars, or it'll say 3G, or it'll say Extended (whatever that means)...

    Of course according to the Sprint maps, as far as I can tell, I should be golden... (zip 75152 if anybody wants to check me on that)...

    You know what, I might be on crack... Does voice on a phone even have anything to do with bars or 3G or 4G or LTE?

    I'm getting a 6 either way... I guess I just need to know if that will enable me to complete a phone call without wanting to throw my phone up against the wall... or should I just switch to a different carrier? Do 3G and 4G use the same radio waves or whatever? (yeah not too technically competent when it comes to this stuff)... If a locale has crappy 3G coverage with a certain carrier will it also have crappy 4G coverage with the same carrier?


    Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated...

    Thanks for your time...
  2. jlake02 macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2008
    Official welcome!

    I'm no expert, but your bars of 3G, LTE, etc, show the signal strength. If it's weak, you may drop calls regardless of what signal you are receiving. Most networks don't have "voice over LTE" yet, so the designations are primarily for data speed.

    Sounds to me you need to leave Sprint if you're going to be there awhile. If your kids are having luck with T-Mobile, maybe do a test drive when the 6 comes out?

    Again, I'm no expert. I'm sure someone else can more accurately describe the tech stuff... but dropped calls and weak signals most likely mean Sprint is bad in your area and you need a new carrier.

    Best of luck! :)
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    First off, your 4S won't ever get LTE because it's a 3G only phone. But you seemed to think that already so that's not much of a revelation.

    Second, Sprint's maps are always highly exaggerated. If you want to find out where real coverage is, check your area on

    Next, you might want to look at That site has been tracking Sprint's Network Vision rollout since 2011. They have a market thread that will tell you how much work remains to be completed in your area. Sponsors of the site get access to more detailed information.

    I'm not a user there, so I'm not shilling for them, just mentioning that they are a source of good information.

    Because of the complete rip and replace of about ~38,000 towers across the country lots of areas are suffering from what you are suffering from. It's a direct result of towers being taken offline so that work can be done. That pushes the traffic on that tower to other towers. That generally results in over capacity which results in dropped calls, slow data and missed text messages.

    The upgrades are bringing LTE, but Sprint is also upgrading 3G as well. Right now, the major problems are that backhaul vendors have been very slow to deliver fiber to the towers. Upgrades can be made, but if there isn't anything to hook it up to…well they hook it up to the old T1 lines until the fiber gets there.

    So, I would check s4gru and sensorly to get a real idea of where your area is in regards to upgrades, both 3G and LTE. That should let you make a better informed decision on either leaving or staying with Sprint.

    P.S. The iPhone 6 will probably be a Spark capable device. Spark is Sprint's term for the combining of the three frequencies it uses, 1900mhz, 2.5ghz and 800mhz. Combining those frequencies will allow Sprint to push higher LTE speeds. But you have to have a device capable of utilizing all three bands and be in a Spark market. I have no idea if you are in a Spark market, but I just mention this so you're informed.
  4. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Sprint is a CDMA carrier. Long story short and assuming there is no problem with your current phone a switch to an iPhone 6 won't fix your problem.

    I'd consider switching carriers and if you are doing that I'd consider a GSM network (like AT&T). While the other CDMA network in the US is good (Verizon) it's relatively expensive and won't offer you voice and data simultaneously. You'll need to decide if that is important to you or not. I personally find it irritating that I maps can't reroute while I'm on the phone. Or I can't check my email, send an iMessage, etc etc.
  5. SR71 macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Why not just do the Test Drive with T-Mobile? Better yet, since your kids already have T-Mo and have good service, it'd probably be best to just switch over completely.

    Sprint's Network has been slow, bogged down, and slow to be built out for years now and I don't see any of that ever changing.

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