Poor cell service with foreign phone

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MrDenis
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Poor cell service with foreign phone

Hi all,

 

So I've been tolerating my really poor 4G/LTE coverage for years now, but as I'm about to change devices, I need some answers.

 

Because Rogers have a policy of "unauthorizing" phones they don't sell for some reason, I don't have access to things like VoLTE, Wifi Calling, etc. I've come to peace with this because for my monthly price, honestly whatever. But I've always been told by Rogers that the reason for my poor service was because my phone was a foreign variant of the Galaxy S9. Again, made peace with this. 

 

However now this phone is getting long in the tooth, and before I get a new one I started looking for a replacement suiting my needs (I get foreign phones for the physical dual-SIM). This is where I realized that on paper, my current phone (S9) should cover 100% of the Rogers LTE spectrum! There is no technical reason for me to not have the same coverage as a Canadian S9, yet I have absolute garbage signal! (I guess the CPU difference could in theory be a reason, but I'm on the fence on this since with Bell SIM cards, it seems to be doing much better)

 

So now, I'm wondering: is it Rogers blocking signal the same way they are gimping my services? Is there a spectrum stat I missed? Could it be the Exynos CPU after all? Apparently 5G is treated the same as features, so "unauthorized" phones don't have 5G access. Is this true? Because I found an excellent dual-SIM capable phone with North American 5G band coverage, but will I just get it nerfed the same way???

 

I'm at a breaking point where I'll be choosing what to compromise between features, speed and monthly bill, and right now it's not looking good for Rogers...

 

Thanks in advance!

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Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 2,950

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Rogers is not blocking any signal. What's happening is Rogers has different frequencies they are broadcasting but the phone you bought does not use all of the frequencies that Rogers transmits thus spotty coverage.

This is why you should buy a north american variant of the phone instead of the Afri-Eur-Asian variant. Rogers sells the north american variant but there's other places to buy them as well.


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Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 2,950

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Rogers is not blocking any signal. What's happening is Rogers has different frequencies they are broadcasting but the phone you bought does not use all of the frequencies that Rogers transmits thus spotty coverage.

This is why you should buy a north american variant of the phone instead of the Afri-Eur-Asian variant. Rogers sells the north american variant but there's other places to buy them as well.


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EhmTeeEhf
Rogers Employee
Rogers Employee
Posts: 137

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Yes this is true. Most EU phones and other country phones outside of NA use different frequencies for LTE / VoLTE Etc. If your phone doesn't support "World Frequencies" then yes you might run into service issues in areas without the frequencies. I would recommend when buying a phone, go to gsmarena.com look up your exact model, and it will tell you all of the frequencies your model supports and then go to rogers.com and look at our supported frequencies. Additionally I believe there is a pinned post on the forums here showing our Supported Frequencies.
MrDenis
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Thanks for taking the time to reply, and sorry for the late reply but I wasn't able to log into the forums...

 

Ok absolutely no offence intended, but I've already mentioned that all frequencies Rogers uses (at least on paper) are be covered by my phone; I've looked at gsmarena, I've shopped carefully and I've made sure it's "world frequency compatible", hence why I don't understand this behaviour. I understand the ins and outs of NA vs. EU phones, but I made sure this phone and any potential future ones were Canada friendly. This is what makes me nervous about the whole thing: even if I'm set on a NA versions for my next one, it's US only, so am I going to hit another wall?

 

You see, VoLTE and the like not being available have nothing to do with different frequencies: Rogers support have confirmed to me that they do actually block those features for non-Rogers devices. I've confirmed this on three separate occasions with three different service agents, and Bell (my work cell provider) do NOT block any of these features on the same phone, and has better reception, so my idea of Rogers blocking other possibilities isn't that crazy.

 

So that's why I'm trying to figure out why I'm getting bad reception regardless of bands used seemingly being compatible. I've explained why I need to look at oversees models; the phones Rogers offers don't suit my needs and I really don't want to start shopping for other providers if I don't have to.

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 2,950

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Hello again, can you tell us what is the actual model number of your Samsung S9? they each have a unique model number for example: Galaxy S9 in Canada is SM-G960W

There are actually 6 variants of this phone used elsewhere in the world, tailored to each continent or specific region.

The Canadian S9 does have different frequencies than the International counterpart, however your problem might very well be related to IMS services, which is what allows Voice calls over LTE (4G)

As mentioned on here lots of times, if you have a foreign phone, a phone which is sold elsewhere and not by rogers, you can still use it but you wont have access to IMS Services which means your voice calls when your connected to a 4G tower will connect over the 3G network instead. Where as the Rogers variant of the S9 will have IMS and make Voice calls over the 4G network (VOLTE)

Its also true that the 3G footprint does not overlay the same exact footprint of the 4G or higher network, so you will not benefit from the best footprint which is available. To solve this you Need a Rogers variant of the S9 or any Phone sold by Rogers for that matter.

I know it sucks to hear this, and I believe its not fair myself, however as a consumer I have absolutely no say in this policy, neither do the people on the other end of the phone, and so forth. Be cause of this it does suck and its unfortunate but its the truth, we want the outcome to be different just like you however we are all in the same boat and are just as upset about it as you


MrDenis
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

Thanks Pauly, I have to say that's probably the best answer/explanation to this issue I've had in 3 and a half years!

I didn't want to come across as accusing anyone of nefarious deeds, but although I slogged through these last three years nonetheless, I'd like to make a better purchase decision this time around.

 

My model by the way is the SM-G960FD, which again unless I missed something or made a mistake (totally possible) should cover all the bands Rogers uses. Obviously a Canadian model would have different bands, but it would seem I'm only missing one LTE band if my memory serves me correctly. But if the issue all circles back to IMS, then it could make some sense.

 

What's worse is I recently moved to an area with just about no cell signal period, so the absence of wifi-calling is really hurting me. As you said, as a consumer I have little power over this, except one: taking my business elsewhere. But I don't want to make a brash decision.

Datalink
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 7,372

Re: Poor cell service with foreign phone

@MrDenis fwiw, here's a couple of links to Canadian Cell Tower maps, so that you can determine who has the nearest cell tower from your home or business.  Having a look at that might lead you to consider a different cell phone provider:

 

https://www.scadacore.com/tools/rf-path/cell-tower-map-canada/#

 

You can zoom into that map until you find the location of interest.  At that point click or double click on the map which will deposit a marker on the map.  Then click on any cell tower of interest to display a popup display showing the range and terrain to the tower in question.  It also shows the tower location details and frequency details.

 

http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/cancellsites.html?lat=52.000000&lng=-97.000000&zoom=4&type=Roadma...

 

You can search the site for your home location and then zoom from there.  Select any tower on the map to display the frequency details and follow the display details link to see a better display of the tower frequencies.  It looks like this has more towers displayed, compared to the first tower site.