Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › How to Improve Cell Phone Reception in Your Apartment

It’s the unfortunate confluence of events. You’ve found the perfect apartment only to realize that your new location gets poor cell phone reception.

Causes of Poor Cell Phone Signal

Many multi-family buildings are prone to having poor cell phone reception because of the building materials used in their construction. Materials like concrete, steel beams are obviously put limits on signal strength, but so too does electrical cabling, sheet metal, wire mesh, plumbing and others structures that are within your walls.

Also, your poor signal strength could be due to an infrastructure problem that’s bigger than your apartment building. It could be a dead zone in your carrier’s service. It could also be obstructions from nearby buildings or mountains that prevent your apartment from having a direct line of sight to the cell tower.

Your poor signal strength could also be caused by your phone itself. If your battery is low, your device won’t have the power available to maintain your service, for example.

Diagnosing Why You Have Bad Cell Reception

This diagnosis can be tricky, but it’s crucial to understand why your signal is bad before you can resolve the problem.

How’s Your Carrier’s Coverage? If your roommate who uses a different phone company gets better phone service than you, the problem could be with your carrier’s coverage. Use tools like OpenSignal, CellReception, or SignalMap to see what others are reporting about carrier coverage in your area.

Do You Think The Problem Is Only Within Your Building? If your reception is fine when you’re just outside of your building or when you’re on the balcony, the problem may be that the building construction is blocking out the signal. Ask your neighbors to see if they also have poor cell reception.

Is Your Cell Phone Worse At Certain Times Of The Day? This fluctuating cell phone reception could be due to overloaded cell towers during peak times of the day. Pay attention to how your service is over time, and look for any patterns.

Solutions To Improve Cell Reception:

Use Your Wi-Fi

If your apartment has fast internet, you can rig your mobile device to place calls and send texts over Wi-Fi rather than through your cellular connection. The native function on your device is Wi-Fi calling, and activating this means that your phone will leverage your good internet connection when your cell phone reception is poor. Another option is to look to apps like Skype or Google Voice that provide internet-based communication that’s not dependent on your cell strength.

Try A Bluetooth Headset

Do you get solid and reliable cell service in one location of your apartment? Maybe it’s in an inconvenient location like by the window of a spare bedroom of your 2-bedroom apartment? An easy hack is use a bluetooth headset while placing calls. You can keep your mobile device sitting in the location that gets good signal, while you are free to walk around your apartment.

Cell Phone Signal Booster

Signal boosters amplify a weak signal. It works by taking an existing cell phone signal from a good location and rebroadcasting it. Once in place, cell phone signal boosters are carrier independent, so they can boost the signal of multiple cell phone carriers to multiple different users as the same time, without restrictions. So even if your friends are on different carriers, you all will be able to text away without searching for separate signals.

Keep in mind that if your signal is poor because of thick or insulated walls, a signal booster might not receive enough signal in the first place and have nothing to amplify, making this solution ineffective.


With a MicroCell, you’re essentially placing your own mini-cell tower within your apartment. It routes any transmission over your broadband Internet connection so an important requirement is that you must have a consistent, quality broadband Internet connection. Otherwise you might experience latency while talking on your phone.

Additionally, MicroCells, such as this Network Extender from Verizon, are carrier specific, and there are limitations to the types of devices that it can accomodate. For example, the 4GLTE device does not support 3D devices or devices without HD calling. Note that during installation, you’ll need to register your device at a certain location so that you can access 911 emergency services.


Having a strong cellular signal in your apartment is important. However, different situations require different solutions.

Easy fixes include the digital workaround by enabling Wi-Fi calling or using a bluetooth headset. Or go the hardware route. A cell phone signal booster is a better option if you have a stable signal in an accessible location, and a microcell is better if you have an inconsistent signal or lack of signal altogether.

So next time you’re looking for a new apartment be assured that while the lack of closets, windows, or space can be a deal breaker, poor cell phone reception in the apartment doesn’t have to be.

About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. This may be the most useful information I’ve gotten in a long time. I was about to start pulling my hair out in frustration.
  2. So helpful to suggest $200+ options to people who are RENTING cheap housing
  3. I have Net10 and just rented a lower level apartment. I cannot have a solid conversation on my phone; I can receive text messages, but have to stand with my phone to the window to send them. Even then, I sometimes have to resend. Thank you, Jason for hints about this kind of problem.
  4. Nickolas Molpus says:
    Wonderful information posted! Terrifically cool ideas. Awesome job!
  5. Helpful info….what about if I live in a house with satellite internet (not broadband)….and no cell phone coverage…..will a cell phone booster still help?
  6. Concrete walls in my apt and i do not have internet but I have AT&T cellphone service…I take call for work and my phone wont receive calls …Any ideas?

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