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James_nz7
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Poor mobile coverage

Just moved to Virgin mobile two weeks ago and the mobile coverage is diabolical. I'm able to get a signal strong enough to make and receive calls about 20% of the time. After downloading a phone signal app I can see that the phone is intermittently switching between cell towers. One has a strong signal, the other two are very poor, around -111 dBm. This all while the handset is stationary in my home.

Having spoken to Customer services I've discovered the following:

  1. Virgin are no longer using the EE network, but their own.
  2. They are upgrading the network to provide better coverage, this started in December 2017 and the project has no end date.
  3. I can expect poor network coverage to be an ongoing issue until the project is complete (the project with no end date, that is)
  4. Virgin will update me by email in a few months on progress.

Anyone else getting similar problems with coverage? on the upside, at least the customer services at Virgin are honest to admit its an ongong issue that could last indefinitly, but if it does go on much longer i'll have to move providers.

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paulchambers061
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Message 2 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Point one is partly correct. They are still using the ee masts. It's their own internal network they are changing. 

Is the -111dbm a 4g signal? My 4g signal at home is generally in the -110 to - 115 range which is why I switch automatically to 2g when at home (-85 to -95). 3g is worse for me at home fluctuates from - 90 to -110. I'm on WiFi anyway so prefer the best signal for making/receiving calls.

I think I read somewhere that 4g is better than 2g and 3g at lower levels, indeed my signal check app (network cell info) has the warning colours set lower than for 2g and 3g.

At home 4g isn't needed if you have WiFi for data, and vm don't yet have WiFi calling or voice over lte. Maybe that's one of the reasons why they are migrating to their own network to have these features, along with possibly the 800mhz signal for better signal for indoors. 

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James_nz7
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Message 3 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

It is a 4G signal currently, not sure how to restrict the phone to a 2G signal while in the house. Can I do it from the phone settings to do I need a third party app?

It's a Samsung galaxy note 3 running Android 5.0

thanks,

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paulchambers061
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Message 4 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Some additional info, you can check real users signal levels by checking opensignal.com for your postcode. Ofcom and which have their signal checkers that use opensignal too. The vm and ee ones are not accurate compared. The ofcom one shows expected indoor/outdoor 4g and not 4g results for voice, data and enhanced data

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James_nz7
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Message 5 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

I think I've sorted it. Under mobile networks I have options for:

  • LTE/WCDMA/GSM (auto-connect)
  • WCDMA/GSM (auto-connect)
  • WCDMA only
  • GSM only

When I select GSM only the signal strength skyrockets to about -80 dBm (excellent). and WCDMA is hovering between good and very good (about -95)

I'll play around a bit more, but I think I'm ok for the time being. Thanks,

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paulchambers061
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Message 6 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Yep

LTE is 4g

WCDMA is 3g

GSM is 2g

If you are getting - 100 or lower at home on 2g or 3g it looks good to me.

The toggling apps (on android) need rooted phones.

I've seen lots of funny stuff online explaining the problems of mobile signal indoors, advice like higher floors, near windows, etc. 

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Forum Team (Retired) Rich_B
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Message 7 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Hi James_nz7,

 

1) Virgin are no longer using the EE network, but their own.

 

This is incorrect as paulchambers061 has already stated. We're still using EE for the signal but we're now becoming a full MVNO. This means we're going to have greater control over network features and future offerings etc.

 

2) They are upgrading the network to provide better coverage, this started in December 2017 and the project has no end date.

 

This is incorrect but I think the terminology used is to blame here. The EE infrastructure isn't changing but our own internal systems are. This is to cater for the new SIM cards we're issuing meaning it allows us to add new network features in the future.

 

3) I can expect poor network coverage to be an ongoing issue until the project is complete (the project with no end date, that is).

 

The project has many phases and right now we're in the process of swapping everyone's SIM cards over. This started in December 2017 and is projected to last 2 years. The transition hasn't been without its flaws I'll admit, but I highly doubt this is the cause of your issue.

 

4) Virgin will update me by email in a few months on progress.

 

I'm not sure this is correct either as I'm not entirely sure we proactively email about fault updates.

 

--- End ---

 

I think you could just be suffering a case of poor signal in general. There are only 4 networks in the UK who have their own networks so some will be better than others. There are some things you can do to remedy it so if you would like further hints and tips then please let me know.

 

Thanks


Rich
Forum Team

Can make calls, but no data? Check your "Virgin Mobile APN settings"

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James_nz7
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Message 8 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Hi Rich_B,

Thanks for your response. I should say that the information I stated in the points above comes directly from the Virgin customer service centre. I acknowledge the information is incorrect. As you are part of the Virgin forum team, are you able to pass the correct information back to the contact centre so other customers are not miss-informed as I was?

As far as determining the root cause of the problem I can confirm the following:

  • My previous TalkTalk mobile Sim had excellent reception in my home in this handset (3G - Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Android 5.0)
  • My Daughters O2 sim has excellent reception in the home (4G - iPhone X)
  • Her previous EE sim has excellent reception in the home (4G - iPhone 5 & 6)
  • Opensignal.com shows a strong signal in my area for 4G on EE
  • Readings for this morning:
    • Signal strength on 2G averages -79 dBm (excellent)
    • Signal strength on 3G averages -91 dBm (good)
    • Signal strength on 4G averages -106 dBm (Low)
  • Using the Phone Signal v3.3 app from InPocket Software for dBm values

I also notice I’m flicking between 3 different cell towers. Handset is stationary on the desk, I’m not moving. Whenever the handset connects to Cell ID: 5437698, the signal seems to drop significantly. I did ask if this tower was under maintenance, but got a fairly standard answer about the ongoing improvement project should resolve things eventually.

At the moment I can change between 4G and 3/2G so I can either make/receive calls OR I can use fast mobile internet. But not both at the same time. I’d welcome any tips to improve this, as I was expecting to be able to use both at once. However my TalkTalk Sim was only 3G, so if VM can perform in a similar fashion when used 3G I guess I’m reasonably happy until the service improves.

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chazwolf
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Message 9 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

this is very helpful. thank you very much. i have been experiencing very poor signal coverage since i got my new sim card.

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Ronh1
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Message 10 of 26
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Re: Poor mobile coverage

Hi

I read your message, and have 2 question please?

1. I have an Iphone5 but cant find where to change the settings to 2G or 3G to try what you suggested, any ideas please?

2. Have you tried an amplifier? And if so which one?

Thanks

Ronh1

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