Why Cell Service Still Stinks in the Year 2017
Tuesday August 2, 2017
According to the MobiNEX research report conducted by Aptelligent published in October of last year, the US landed in 10th place out of 25 for overall carrier performance, including reliability and speeds. Ahead of the US, in order: Japan, France, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Australia.
In a city where there are several physical obstructions between you and cell towers, the radio technology and infrastructure we’re currently using makes it difficult for carriers to deliver good performance. For example, radio waves have problems passing through concrete and metal walls, which are pretty common in cities.
Can’t wireless carriers just plop more cell towers? Indeed. Joe Madden, the principal analyst at mobile consulting firm Mobile Experts, says adding more towers would add more “spectrum,” which is directly correlated to a network’s capacity. Alas, Madden says “it’s not so straightforward — in many ways, the need for capacity has grown faster than the ability to deploy new infrastructure.” It turns out it takes a long time to deploy towers, and carriers aren’t able to keep up with the demand.
According to the FCC, there is little reason for concern about dangerous radiation exposure near cell towers. It states that the exposure limit is “many times greater than…levels typically found near the base of…cell site towers.” To even get near the exposure limit, the FCC says someone would have to “remain in the main transmitting beam and within a few feet of the antenna for several minutes or longer,” and that the chance of being harmed by exposure is “extremely remote.”