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Thread: Why does my Net 10 phone gets better reception than my AT&T phone?

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    Why does my Net 10 phone gets better reception than my AT&T phone?

    I have a cheap Net 10 phone (LG 300) which uses AT&T for the actual service because the phone uses a AT&T based SIM. But the cheap Net 10 phone gets better reception and call quality than my post paid AT&T phone (LG CU100). It is not just marginally better, way better. In fact, it shows 5 bars usually while AT&T phone shows 2 bars at best. AT&T phone shows usually hovers between 2 bars to no bars.
    When I try to make a call with AT&T phone, it usually shows "no service" message and I can't even make a call. Powering off and on doesn't make much difference.
    I thought at first it could be my phone, but have tested with several phones, with similar results.

    I have tested this for about several months just to be sure.

    So, why does my cheap pre-paid Net 10 phone has better signal everywhere ( even better than Verizon Wireless phone) including inside buildings like Wal-Mart, shopping malls, basements than AT&T phone? Even the call quality is significantly better.

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    Remember, not all phones are built alike. The internal antenna in one model is not in the exact place or same design as another model even if it is the same manufacturer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd
    Remember, not all phones are built alike. The internal antenna in one model is not in the exact place or same design as another model even if it is the same manufacturer.
    Of course it does. I have tested with other brands of cell phones too and still the AT&T cell phone reception was poor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reddyp
    I have a cheap Net 10 phone (LG 300) which uses AT&T for the actual service because the phone uses a AT&T based SIM...........

    Hi: I wonder if your Net 10 phone is picking up T-mobile's signal in your area? I thought Net 10 rent both Att and T-mobile's network.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wlo8
    Hi: I wonder if your Net 10 phone is picking up T-mobile's signal in your area? I thought Net 10 rent both Att and T-mobile's network.
    I thought the phone was using T-Mobile network. Digging through the information on Net 10/Tracfone, it doesn't seem like the phone is using T-Mobile. The area is supposed to be covered by AT&T. Tracfone/Net 10 use SIMs based on the partner in a specific location. The SIM used in the phone is an AT&T based SIM -- starts with 89014. If the phone were to use T-Mobile instead of AT&T, it would come with a T-Mobile SIM -- starting with 890126. From what I can deduce reading through the Tracfone/Net 10 forums and elsewhere, Tracfone exchanges SIMs if the phone/SIM are activated in area outside the native area.

    I think the phone uses lower frequency and hence can pick up signals inside buildings while the newer AT&T brand phones do not use lower (850 MHz) frequency if there is a higher frequency (1900 MHz) available. For some unknown reason, the lower frequency signals could be strong at this particular location.

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    I'm having a hard time finding specs on the CU100. I looked at LG's U.S. site with no luck, AT&T's site, and even PhoneScoop. I googled it, and the only thing I could find was a very limited spec sheet from cellular-news.com indicating it's a CDMA phone.

    Is this model number correct? Is this something that AT&T sold, or is it an import?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALCingularUser
    Is this model number correct? Is this something that AT&T sold, or is it an import?
    Since it is a CDMA phone, AT&T never sold it.

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    400 or 500

    My gut feeling is the OP's got either an LG CU500 or 400. If it's the 500, it has WCDMA under the hood, which might explain the poor (3G) performance in some areas locking onto 1900 insted of using 850 (which may not be rolled out yet there). YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd
    Since it is a CDMA phone, AT&T never sold it.

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    Sorry it is LG CE110 .

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    Probably 1900mhz UMTS. Net10 is all GSM, I'm not sure if they are all AT&T or T-mo too. I know that Tracfone proper uses Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, while StraightTalk is 100% Verizon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by damba98
    My gut feeling is the OP's got either an LG CU500 or 400. If it's the 500, it has WCDMA under the hood, which might explain the poor (3G) performance in some areas locking onto 1900 insted of using 850 (which may not be rolled out yet there). YMMV.
    Sorry, it is LG CE110. The area in question has 3G. I have also tested with Samsung Jack with a slight improvement in reception, though the signal strength never higher than 2 bars inside buildings. Call quality isn't that great either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT
    Probably 1900mhz UMTS. Net10 is all GSM, I'm not sure if they are all AT&T or T-mo too. I know that Tracfone proper uses Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, while StraightTalk is 100% Verizon.
    Majority of Tracfone/Net 10 phones are AT&T followed by T-Mobile and only in areas without GSM coverage Verizon Wireless is used. The phone in question uses a AT&T SIM not a T-Mobile SIM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT
    Probably 1900mhz UMTS. Net10 is all GSM, I'm not sure if they are all AT&T or T-mo too. I know that Tracfone proper uses Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, while StraightTalk is 100% Verizon.
    Net 10 has some CDMA but in very few places. The area in question has excellent coverage according to the carrier coverage maps. On highways and major roads near by, all the carriers show good signal strength, usually the maximum bars. However, it wouldn't stop the AT&T phone to show "Service Unavailable" message once in a while - even with all the bars on signal strength indicator showing. But, this happens less frequently than inside buildings.

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    Got it. Yes, my parent's had two of those which I promptly replaced with Nokias from ebay. Call/sound quality was poor to really bad IME. I would not consider it in the same league as some of the LGs that also included UMTS radios released the next year. (Could you find a simple Nokia candybar to quickly use as a barometer?)

    If your post paid SIM/handset is preferring 1900 GSM that may be the issue, esp. regarding structure penetration (as has been suggested). You would need more handsets to test out and probably a field test app to get a sense of what frequency/tower you are actually connected to using each respective phone/service.

    Quote Originally Posted by reddyp
    Sorry, it is LG CE110. The area in question has 3G. I have also tested with Samsung Jack with a slight improvement in reception, though the signal strength never higher than 2 bars inside buildings. Call quality isn't that great either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by damba98
    (Could you find a simple Nokia candybar to quickly use as a barometer?)

    If your post paid SIM/handset is preferring 1900 GSM that may be the issue, esp. regarding structure penetration (as has been suggested). You would need more handsets to test out and probably a field test app to get a sense of what frequency/tower you are actually connected to using each respective phone/service.
    I will probably pick up a used or prepaid Nokias later. I am not sure what field test apps I need. I do not have any SmartPhone/PDA to install any applications.

    Most likely the prepaid Net 10 phone is using a better quality signal as it only needs voice and doesn't need 3G signal, though it could be lower or higher frequency.

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