People in a growing area of Montgomery County say they have a big problem — they can’t get mobile phone service in their area.
The problem is not only annoying but could be serious if someone needs to call 911. This problem is persistent for customers who use different mobile service providers, and they say nothing has been done to fix it. Contact KPRC 2 Investigates for assistance.
It’s nine in the morning, and Montgomery real estate agent Shelley Raines has a very important business call to make. Shelly’s about to have a really bad day.
“call failed!” Raines said. “I can’t even make a phone call!”
Welcome to life in the Woodforest community as homeowners say they battle cellphone crashes, dropped calls and terrible coverage. The problem has persisted for years for customers who use AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Homebuilding is booming in the fast-growing neighborhood of more than 10,000 people and nearly 4,000 homes. As more people move to live, the problem of cell coverage seems to get worse.
“Well, it’s pretty shocking,” Chanel Rice said. “There are many of those parents who panicked that they couldn’t reach their kids because the text messages wouldn’t go through, the phone call wouldn’t be made.”
“My biggest fear is that when you call 911 someone will die because you can’t ‘pass’,” said Mark Mayer.
“Pull your head out a** and get us some turrets out of here. I mean, it’s not that hard,” said Reigns.
How serious is the problem?
A group of neighbors came together to share their concerns about their cell phone coverage.
We asked the group how many couldn’t make a phone call right outside their door. Everyone raised their hand.
We asked how many people can’t make a call inside their homes. Everyone raised their hand.
We asked how many people can’t make a call within a mile of your home? Everyone raised their hand.
Someone even tried to contact Detective Bill Spencer. The call failed.
Woodforest developers said the problem is that there are cell towers in the north and south of this community. But it is clear that at least one more tower is needed.
Chanel Rice’s biggest worry is that her two children will need help one day, but they can’t get to it. Even cell phone signal maps show that she and her family get zero coverage where they live.
So what are cell phone companies doing to solve this problem?
These neighbors say they have called their mobile service providers multiple times, trying to get answers to this problem. KPRC2 Investigates has requested interviews and an explanation of what is being done to help Woodforest residents get the cellular service they deserve.
AT&T and Verizon have both sent us data, essentially saying they’re always looking for ways to improve their networks. (See full data at the bottom of this article.) Despite our requests, T-Mobile kept saying it would respond to our questions but failed to send us a statement.
If you live in an area with poor cell phone coverage, what can you do?
Solution #1: Switch your cell phone to wifi connection. Go to settings, tap on connections and choose wifi connection. Now, turn that on and if you have wifi in your house, this should work.
Solution #2: This is much more than engaging and expensive. You can purchase a cell phone booster system that requires you to place an antenna on top of your roof to pull in a weak cell phone signal and broadcast through your home.
Solution #3: Switch to a different mobile carrier that may have a stronger signal.
Statement from Woodforest:
“With the towers north and south of Woodforest, we have a huge communications void here – a problem we’ve been working on for years. To press this issue, last year we hired an experienced consultant who handed over a contract from a cell tower developer; the contract was executed, and we booked three Potential locations that will have the least impact on residents and businesses but offer maximum potential Land will be leased at very modest rates in the long term.
It is now up to the mobile operators to agree to the actual site conditions. Construction cannot begin until this happens. Mobile operators still have to contact us.
In addition, the Woodforest Owners Association continues to reach out to residents urging them to contact mobile operators directly to express their dissatisfaction with the disappointing level of service. We are pleased that this issue has received attention and hope it will lead to a better service to homeowners and our commercial businesses.”
Verizon’s full statement:
“Verizon is continually investing in our network to provide our customers with the quality and reliability experience they expect and deserve. As more people do more things, in more places with more devices connected to the Internet, we’ve seen an exponential increase in voice and data traffic on our network. We expect Only that trend is increasing.
Over the weekend, our network engineers made some improvements to a cellular site in the area to improve the network experience. They have also informed me that we are continuing to evaluate performance in this area.”
AT&T’s full statement:
“We understand the importance of keeping our customers connected and continue to look for ways to improve our network and provide better service through additional investments. In the past month, some customers in Montgomery may have experienced intermittent service while we completed maintenance at our existing wireless facilities. We remain committed to working with those responsible for City to find solutions that balance our business needs and community concerns.
We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling for anyone with coverage concerns: https://www.att.com/features/wifi-calling/.
From 2018-2020, we expanded coverage and improved connectivity in more communities by investing more than $7.7 billion in our wireless and wired networks in Texas. “
We received a response to our question about cellular service in this area from a T-Mobile spokesperson requesting more specific location information. We sent more info on 4/18 and touched on the rule three times after that to try to get a response. Each time the spokesperson said they were working to get a statement but they didn’t send us anything.
The KPRC2 Investigates team is looking into this societal concern due to a tip a neighbor sent to our team. If you have a problem or Concern Go to contact page and select “I have a tip for KPRC2 Investigates”. We will work to get answers for you!
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