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Having trouble with Verizon Prepaid signal quality

Discussion in 'Verizon' started by bergie33, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. bergie33

    bergie33 Newbie
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    I have been having problems with my Verizon prepaid plan lately. I have lived in the same area (California Central Coast area) for 8 months with the same Verizon prepaid plan and same phone, Galaxy S4. Up until 2 weeks ago I never had a dropped call in my home area (inside or outside). In the last 2 weeks, I haven't been able to make or receive calls with any success. Same thing for my wife, also on Verizon prepaid, but with a Moto Droid M. We get a full 5 bars 4G, and as soon as you place a call (or try), it drops down to 1 or 2 bars, and drops the call, or cannot connect to begin with.

    I have talked to customer service many times. They have tried everything with my phone, short of a factory reset (new sim card, resetting the service, etc). They say that I am in a marginal service area and my phone is showing as roaming on their system. I asked how I could be roaming if I have a tower 1/4 mile from my house. Their response was that it wasn't a tower that could be used by the prepaid plans, that it was a contract tower. That was the first I ever heard about prepaid vs post paid plans using different towers. Their solution to me was for me to sign up on a contract (post paid) plan. The guy at the Verizon store didn't seem to understand the system well enough as he said pre/post paid all used the same towers. The next customer service person I got when I called in also said that there are different towers.

    So, the only thing I can figure is that there is either something wrong with the tower that I have been using, or something has changed with the tower (i.e. something reduced the signal strength). I told them I do not agree with the marginal coverage argument since I had great service until 2 weeks ago and now I have none.

    My questions:
    1) Has anyone ever heard that the prepaid plans use different towers? To me this is totally misleading as I am not receiving Verizon Wireless, I am getting something different. I might as well have AT&T or TMobile.

    2) Are there any suggestions for how I might help point customer service in the right direction to solve my problem?

     

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  2. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    he is full of BS, the phone has no idea of what type of "service plan" you are using....

    a cell tower signal is just that..... no way in hell is Verizon or any other carrier going to duplicate the inventory to separate out "prepaid from contract".
     
  3. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.
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    Have you updated your PRL (Preferred Roaming List)? Usually it can be done in Settings -> System Updates or System -> About Phone.

    Towers - it's possible the tower next to you is from a smaller local cell carrier that Verizon had a contract with, if the contract wasn't renewed that may have switched to you being in a roaming area.
     
  4. bergie33

    bergie33 Newbie
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    I don't see where to update the PRL. I know how to do it in my daughters Sprint S3, but the Verizon S4 doesn't seem to have that option.
     
  5. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.
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    Looks like some/all Verizon phones have a different method then I posted:

    To complete the Preferred Roaming List update:
    1. Call *228 from your home coverage area.

    2. When prompted, select 2 to update your phone's preferred roaming list. (This process may take up to 2 minutes.)

    3. Once completed, a confirmation message will be played, and a message will display on the phone's screen.
     
    AZgl1500 likes this.
  6. bergie33

    bergie33 Newbie
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    *228 doesn't work on the GS4. I had one rep tell me to do that to update the PRL. The next rep told me that *228 could damage the SIM. I don't think there is a way to manually update the PRL on these phones.
     
  7. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    As reported by @kate This works on any Verizon phone:
    and has for more than 20+ years that I have been with them.​

    To complete the Preferred Roaming List update:
    1. Call *228 from your home coverage area.

    2. When prompted, select 2 to update your phone's preferred roaming list. (This process may take up to 2 minutes.)

    3. Once completed, a confirmation message will be played, and a message will display on the phone's screen.
    I used to have a Calendar Reminder set up to tell me to do that monthly.

    but, I got a newsletter blurb some time back ( months ago? ) that now that 4g is in vogue, that is passe as the phone automatically updates the PRL if it is out of date.
     
  8. bergie33

    bergie33 Newbie
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    Well then, the Verizon technical service reps don't know what they are talking about. Regardless, the first time they asked me to do the *228 thing, it didn't give me the option to select #2, nor did it say anything about updating the PRL. After doing it, I didn't have any better service. Even after replacing the sim with a brand new one from the Verizon store didn't help.
     
  9. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    My Note 4 on Verizon is at this very second, told me the following, I selected #2.

    1-Reprogram Phone
    2-Update Roaming Capabilities​

    so I can tell you, that the above procedure is still very much in effect, and it does work.
    did it make any difference on my Note 4? no way to tell without a lot of special diagnostic equipment/software.

    and, to me, I don't care, the phone has the latest PRL list, and I'm good to go.

    If you do NOT have the Speakerphone turned on the instant you get a chance to do so, you will miss that prompt!!! it is fast........... I was already aware of that, and turned on Speakerphone while it was still dialing out.
     
  10. bergie33

    bergie33 Newbie
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    If I type in *228 send, I get a popup that reads:

    "SIM Card
    A Verizon Wireless SIM Card has activated your service and updated your phone's roaming capabilities
    Your phone number is
    xxx-xxx-xxxx"

    Maybe this is an issue between me being on a prepaid plan and you being on a postpaid plan.
     
  11. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    now that could be, I have been a PostPaid customer for nearly 25 years.
     
  12. laxfan91

    laxfan91 Lurker
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    Verizon has been thinning out CDMA (2G) where I live to the bare minimum. In order to get service like you used to you'll need new phones vith VoLTE support and be on normal postpaid. They disallow VoLTE access for prepaid customers that have VoLTE devices.

    I see the thinning of CDMA (VZW has been building 4G LTE only towers in places for awhile now) combined with not allowing the other to be an FCC violation waiting to happen.
     

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