Top 5 reasons your wireless carrier will not help you!

Top 5 reasons your wireless carrier will not help you!


After spending over a decade designing and optimizing carrier networks, we are going to reveal why your wireless carrier is not going to help you anytime soon.

1. You live in a geographic area that doesn’t have enough people to justify building a tower.

Population density in major cities

Population density in major cities

A tower and equipment can cost upwards of $300 000 to build and integrate into an existing network.

Annual operating cost of that tower, equipment and backhaul can cost upwards of $360 000

Annual leases have a range of $280 000 for states like Arizona to $550 000 for states like New York and Massachusetts.

That brings a total annual operating cost of  $640 000 on the low end to $910 000 on the high end.

Assuming your annual bill is $1200 ($100 per month), it means that tower needs to cover a population of 533 to 758 paying accounts to pay for itself per year.

Considering most towers cover 0.5 miles for moderate population densities and up to 1 mi for sparse populations, it means that one carrier needs to completely dominate a geographic area to re-coup it’s investments.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen and the majority of carriers share the same towers, carry the same average costs and have to share the subscriber demographic.

So to carriers, their priorities lie in building out larger population densities that justifies their return on investment (ROI).

Unfortunately, some of us many not lie in those areas and help may not come anytime soon.


2. 4G costs money.

4g implementation costs a lot of money

4g implementation costs a lot of money

T-Mobile recent purchase of 10MHz of spectrum from US Cellular to cover the Mississippi Valley Region had a price tag of $308 million.

The big secret is that some carriers are promising “4G Speeds” while not having a 4G network. Some carriers are showing you a “4G” symbol on your phone while not having a 4G network.

The truth is that unless your carrier has a LTE network or a Wimax network, they don’t have a 4G network.

4G is a standard that promises theoretical speeds over 100Mbps.

In the real world, the implementation of that standard does not approach those speeds. Typical speeds are 10Mbps.

In addition, it is impractical to give every device covered by a tower a data speed of 100Mbps.

So we are all paying for a Ferrari to drive down a 25mph street.

For a carrier, backhauling that data capacity accounts for 30% of it’s operating costs and growing rapidly.

Carriers are struggling to contain this growing data tsunami.

The alternative? Data caps, throttling your bandwidth, all the while still trying to win the marketing war with promises of 4G.

When was the last time you bought a car based on how fast it could theoretically go?


3. Carriers are holding on to their customers tightly.

Contracts with locked phones

Contracts with locked phones ”Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/”

From 2 year contracts to family plans, carriers need to re-coup their investment in building out their network. Fair enough. However when that same contract binds you to a network that doesn’t work for you, then what? How about that expensive smart phone you bought with a new 2 yr plan? Can you go to another carrier and have them build in the remaining cost into a new contract? Sounds logical right? Only the true reason for this not happening is that the carriers all play a zero sum game, an oligarchy of sorts. You don’t rock the boat and I won’t. That phone you bought is tightly connected to your carrier. True you may have paid for it but it doesn’t belong to you. You cannot get it unlocked and move to a new carrier. The barriers to leaving one carrier is designed to be high, every carrier has the memo. It’s the reason that customer acquisition costs are high even though it doesn’t have to be.

The truth is that carriers don’t know how their network stacks up to the other carriers and customers should not have the last say about which carrier performs the best. Our job is to listen to marketing campaigns for guidance and we know how that works.

The carrier lobby is very strong but it is encouraging that the FCC is moving towards the customer. In February 2013, the FCC gave a ruling that allowed cellphone boosters, recognizing that carriers are unable to address a market need on the micro level.

That apartment with bad service? The office building with horrible signal? The parking garage that is so isolated with no signal, a potential safety issue in the making?

They could now all be fixed by the building owner at low cost.

There is now no need to pass the blame to individual carriers.

When the lights go out, when there is a water problem, landlords don’t refer you to the utility company, they get it fixed.

Connectivity is now the 4th utility. Landlords do have the means to provide cellular connectivity at low cost. The missing connection? You demanding a change.


4. Femtocells had promise but it is still too expensive.

Population with at least 6Mbps, femtocells is not a bandaid

Population with at least 6Mbps, femtocells is not a bandaid

Femtocells are small units that plug into your existing broadband connection and creates a wireless network that routes your calls through that connection.

The only caveat is that the location will only have coverage for that particular carrier.  So now we are back to the original locked-in problem of having everyone on the same wireless carrier.

In addition, the quality of service will depend on the bandwidth utilization of your existing broadband connection e.g if you are streaming a Netflix movie, downloading from your favorite cloud storage, the remaining bandwidth for that femtocell is reduced.

The other option is to have a separate femtocell for each carrier which is cost-prohibitive considering the limited coverage footprint of each.

Ideally, for households especially, a multi-carrier femtocell would be the ideal solution. However multi-carrier femtocells don’t exist, not because they can’t but because it would require cooperation from carriers who are reluctant to spend money on a customer that is already locked-in.

The good news is that households, multi-tenant buildings can install wireless cell boosters that boost the wireless signals for all carriers. It’s a low cost solution for fixing your problem once and for all.


5. Who knows what is happening inside of your building?

Carriers cannot blast signal into a reflective building

Carriers cannot blast signal into a reflective building

Do you have elevators that act as a wireless shield? Is your building made of concrete that block the penetration of wireless signals? How about a lot of exterior glass that reflects the wireless signals?

It is impossible for carriers to know the construction of every building, just as it is impossible to try to blast a wireless signal into your building.

So in the meantime you wait in silence thinking that things will change even though there is no evidence that things ever change in the cellular industry.

For large venues, the carriers install Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that increases both coverage and capacity to convention centers, stadiums, Disney and Las Vegas Hotels. Those type of venues fit their ROI.

But what about smaller hotels? Schools? Commercial buildings? Hospitals?

Are the options to suffer in silence like we have been doing? While most companies are busy developing mobile apps, apps that need a decent wireless signal, we are committed to working with building owners and landlords to boost their cellular signal reception.

If you think using wi-fi on your cellphone for calls is an option then think again. We will be addressing this in another upcoming article, be sure to subscribe to our blog and feel free to tell us what you would like us to address.




It’s up to readers like you to spread the word, raise the visibility and demand that you be put first.

Help us on that journey.