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Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

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Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Yup, Ofcom have been investigating claims that modern mobiles are useless at getting a good signal and by golly those moaners be right!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3345344/Old-mobiles-better-calls-texts-smartphones-Ex...
It seems that it really is true - the older generation of phones (eg from 10-15 years back) really do have a superior signal to the current not so 'smart' phones that we all love. So if you're a hill billy out there in the middle of nowhere always feeling let down by your £600 iphone getting a weak signal, go to ebay and grab yourself an old brick for a tenner!
And yet they still can't prove either way if RF radiation is harmful... Crazy
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
13 REPLIES
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

I've got some old Motorola phones from the 1990s that take full-size SIM cards, they always worked better than any of my more modern phones, only issue is the batteries are all pretty much goosed now (NiCads, unused for so long they've puked), though it is ironic that a new battery on one of them lasts about as long as a smartphone today... Grin
Infinity
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

This is why I always have an older mobile phone with me, even when out & about with a Smartphone.
(And the batteries last for days, not hours !)
When at home, there is poor mobile phone coverage & signal, the older models will usually get at least one bar, apart from a certain room by a window upstairs where I get a good signal !!
Smartphones, no chance.
(But this may be down to network & local mast, as they are on Three network)
However, at least with Three, I can use the Three in Touch wi-fi app at home to make & receive calls.
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

I have an old very basic samsung phone - can't remember the model but trust me when i say basic.
It's been thrown along a railway line (bouncing on several sleepers), run over by my neighbours works van full of tools, bounced against a fence, thrown across a residential car park several times, chucked down the stairs, trodden on, dropped, thrown against a wall.. it's really been punished badly since 2010 when i bought it.
Despite all that it still works, still has a great signal and despite being subjected to every pubishment posssible, still shows no signs of giving up the ghost.
The phone i use daily is a basic smart phone - £50 jobbie. Signal is patchy, it's got a scratch on the screen, another bit cracked, internet is almost non existent, the speaker keeps cutting out... it's pretty much knackered! It really does say a lot.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: PlusComUK
When at home, there is poor mobile phone coverage & signal, the older models will usually get at least one bar, apart from a certain room by a window upstairs where I get a good signal !!
Smartphones, no chance.

Texts...... sometimes take hours to arrive.
Sending involves going to the good signal window, whilst at home.

Yes, we do have a land line, but it is only used for outgoing calls.
Ringer & Answerphone turned off
The last incoming call was September !!
The annoying callers obviously got fed up ...
Business calls go to business premises.
Mal08
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

I'm a retired radio systems engineer and used to work for Marconi and later  Nokia - not for the mobile division, but the infrastructure side and this thread reads true to me.
I first had an analogue phone in 1990 and one of the first GSM Nokia phones in the mid 1990's.
I'm not up to date with current radio electronics - but it is obvious that they have been reducing the size of the RF circuitry.
I resisted the move to smart phones until just a couple of years ago and kept using the simpler Nokia phones. I can see the real value of them with 3/4G being able to access the internet - getting valuable information such as real time train time information the weather etc etc., but I am increasing thinking of resurrecting one of my simpler Nokia phones - because they really do seem to have better RF performance. With the very cost effective sim only deals it is easy to have two phones.
The early mobiles even had external extensible aerials which considering the reduced coverage of the networks in the 1990's early 2000's was a useful feature.
You can still buy the basic Nokia and other phones in supermarkets / phone shops and I really have been thinking of getting a new one - at least they will have the current generation of longer lasting batteries.
For instance the Nokia 108 is claimed to have:
"The Nokia 108 has a 950mAh battery that can last up to 31 days on standby, or for 13 hours 40 minutes when you're making phone calls"
Try that on a smart phone.
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

The way I look at smartphones is they're a mobile, handheld computer that just happens to have built-in phone features, having a basic backup phone is always handy to have though, just got to keep a check on the batteries to make sure they don't conk out too soon... Grin
itsme
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: PlusComUK
When at home, there is poor mobile phone coverage & signal, the older models will usually get at least one bar, apart from a certain room by a window upstairs where I get a good signal !!

and the bars indicate what? There is no standard for the bars so a phone could be showing 3 or more and it does not mean it's a good signal.
Mal08
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: itsme
and the bars indicate what? There is no standard for the bars so a phone could be showing 3 or more and it does not mean it's a good signal.

The phone doesn't measure the RF signal level, but it does measure the bit error rate - as roughly equated the better the signal the lower the BER.
I think you are right there is no defined standard as far as I know - the level of bars is just indicative and may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Some older phones do get a better signal but if you buy an old single band one it will severely limit your choice of networks.
Infinity
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: Mal08
Quote from: itsme
and the bars indicate what? There is no standard for the bars so a phone could be showing 3 or more and it does not mean it's a good signal.

The phone doesn't measure the RF signal level, but it does measure the bit error rate - as roughly equated the better the signal the lower the BER.
I think you are right there is no defined standard as far as I know - the level of bars is just indicative and may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

In my experience, currently:
3 types of mobile phones, different networks, all show consistent number of bars depending on room.
And on all, 1 bar receives text occasionally, cannot send text nor dial out
2 bars, slightly better
3 bars or more, no problems receiving, sending texts or chatting on the mobile.
So for me, on my mobiles, the number of bars is a good indication of signal strength, and connectivity.
Out & about, full set of bars on all phones.
Mal08
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: billnotben
Some older phones do get a better signal but if you buy an old single band one it will severely limit your choice of networks.

I agree that with the very early generations,- but not too many around i would guess. But the much older phones may not get 3 - but they will all get O2 which was BT Cellnet in the early days, Vodafone which have been around for 30 years - and the old Orange higher frequency came in about 20 / 25 years ago, and the higher frequency micro cells in cities have been around for at least 20 years - so not too much of a limitation.
I used to swear by Vodafone for many years - but in the last few years have found O2 better.

Another issue I have found is that many smart phones are difficult to see the screen in very bright light - so another reason the older technology is better.
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

You can see the signal strength on Android smartphones, Settings -> About phone -> Status, it shows the signal strength in dBm (which is also the unit used for wifi signal strength), and also in "asu".
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Re: Bad phone signal? Buy an oldie!

Quote from: Mal08
O2 which was BT Cellnet in the early days, Vodafone

Maybe it's because of the matching ages, networks & phone,  that on a single band (900) around here all that it will pick up is O2 and Voda.
And I do find that the old mobiles with the extendable aerial are not so good at picking up a signal indoors.