20 U.S. Cities Where You Get Horrible Phone Reception

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In this day and age, cell phones have become almost essential to most people’s daily lives.  In fact, there are plenty of people all over the world who don’t even feel comfortable leaving home without making sure they’ve got their cell phone handy. More than just calls, people these days also use their phones for taking pictures, recording videos, listening to music, and surfing the Internet. However, with that being said, a cell phone is absolutely useless if you can’t get a good signal. Although cell reception has definitely gotten better over the years, and you’re less likely to drop calls, there are still certain places where clear calls just aren’t as common. Here are 20 U.S. cities where you get horrible phone reception.

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Detroit, MI

For years Detroit has found itself on lists like this.  For a city with plenty of other problems, cell reception is probably the least of people’s worries, but it’s still annoying not to be able to pick up your phone and use it when you want to. The tall buildings in the downtown area really don’t make for good cell signals, and people with AT&T have probably noticed that they have it the worst.

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Lowell, MA

Regardless of their carrier, there are plenty of people in Lowell, Massachusetts that aren’t too happy with the cell phone service. It’s not clear why the reception is so poor, but most people don’t want to know why – they just want the problem fixed. According to one resident, there are “dead spots” all over the city, which may be hard to believe in 2015.

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Milwaukee, WI

Depending on where you go in Milwaukee, you may find yourself holding your hand in the air and hoping for service. Many Milwaukee residents have complained about getting poor reception inside buildings. People with AT&T seem to have the most luck, with one Milwaukee resident saying her reception was “terrible.” Well, better hope there’s some free Wi-Fi around.

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Oklahoma City, OK

When you think of big cities, Oklahoma City probably isn’t the first city to come to mind. However, in size, Oklahoma City is pretty large.  With 600 square miles to cover, you can guess that cell reception isn’t always great. Again, AT&T customers seem to be getting the short end of the stick, while Sprint seems to have the best reception.

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Bakersfield, CA

Reception in Bakersfield seems to be slowly getting better, but several years ago, a large growth in population definitely caused some extra stress on local cell towers. However, even in 2015, Bakersfield residents might find themselves asking “can you hear me?” a little more often than some people in other parts of the country.

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Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, but unfortunately good cell phone reception just isn’t one of those things. Like in most places, reception in Jacksonville has gotten better over the last several years, but many residents are still upset with the fact that their calls are dropping.

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Toledo, OH

Like many Midwestern cities, Toledo probably isn’t even on your radar if you don’t leave nearby. But apparently, Toledo isn’t really on cell companies’ radars either. Although the signal strength in the city seems to be decent, the reception still isn’t great.

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Tucson, AZ

Remember the days when you used to stare at your cell phone and pray that a few more bars would make their way on to your screen so you’d actually have enough service to send that text? Well, the good people in Tucson might still be doing that thanks to poor cell reception.

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Lincoln, NE

To put it frankly, the lack of good reception in Lincoln could be due to the fact there really isn’t much going on in the city.  Outside of normal business hours, Lincoln is a pretty uneventful place, and even as recently as last year, people were complaining that they were only reaching 2G data speed in the city of Lincoln. Most people don’t even know that such a slow speed exists!

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Philadelphia, PA

A city as popular and busy as Philadelphia may be the last place you’d expect bad service.  While the reception in Philadelphia is much better than other places, it’s certainly not perfect.  Due do it’s size and the fact that the city is spread out, some areas of the city don’t provide the best reception, especially when it comes to data speeds.

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Charleston, SC

The phone reception for making phone calls may not be bad in 2015, but the data speeds are awful.  Let’s face it, in 2015, the ability to get on the Internet is probably more important than the ability to make phone calls, so having to deal with slow data can be a real problem.

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Pueblo, CO

Pueblo is another city that suffers from poor reception for data usage. In fact, OpenSignalMaps rated Pueblo the worst city for fast data speeds.  Definitely not something anyone would want their city to be known for. With that being said, if you’re visiting or live in Pueblo, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’re always connected to Wi-Fi.

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Coral Springs, FL

Coral Springs is definitely one of the lesser known cities in Florida, and after learning that it doesn’t have the best cell reception, it probably won’t be attracting too many visitors. People in the city have ranked AT&T as the best carrier, but still complain that the service in the area is lackluster overall.

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Palmdale, CA

It’s unclear why the service in Palmdale is so poor, but cell phone users all over the city can’t stop complaining.  Apparently, going inside of a building is the quickest way to find yourself in a dead zone. Users from each of the four major carriers have dubbed each of them the “worst.”

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Murrieta, CA

Murrieta has a population of 100,000 people, but there seems to be a lack of cell towers to provide adequate service. Even in 2015, people are complaining about having only one bars worth of cell reception – a problem most people haven’t had in at least two or three years.

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Lexington, KY

Lexington has been struggling with poor cell phone reception for the last several years. While making phone calls might not be too bad, data speeds may be a little disappointing. If you ever decide to visit Lexington, hopefully you won’t have to send any important emails on the fly.

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Santa Rosa, CA

Over the last several years, cell reception in Santa Rosa has been improving. However, it seems like only some carriers have gotten their acts together while others still have their customers pressing their ears to the phone wondering if there’s still someone on the other end of the line. Verizon and AT&T users seem to be satisfied, but T-Mobile users are looking for a way out.


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Cary, NC

You’ve probably never heard of the city of Cary, but it’s actually a pretty good size city. Unfortunately; however, cell phone providers can’t seem to provide adequate service. Several residents in Cary have reported poor service and dropped called on a regular basis.

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Broken Arrow, OK

In all seriousness, a place with a name like Broken Arrow just sounds like it would have poor cell reception. Although the city’s population is over 100,000, bad reception could be due to the fact that the city is pretty spread out, leaving a lot of opportunity for gaps in coverage areas.

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Palm Bay, FL

“Hello?! Can you hear me???” Unfortunately, the people in Palm Bay probably find themselves spending a lot of time asking that question. Apparently, there’s a lack of cell towers in the city that results in poor coverage and poor reception. So if you know someone in Palm Bay who never responds to your texts, it’s probably because they never got them in the first place!

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