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If I'm in some place and I have no bars, I can't call out for help. But will text work?

 

I have never been somewhere where I had no bars, so I've never tried this. But it seems like I've heard of being able to text when you couldn't make phone calls.

 

Anyone know yes or no?

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45 minutes ago, Cyrus Cassidy #45437 said:

I don't know of any policing agencies that accept text messages.  But the real question is whether a text will go through to anyone with no bars, correct?  No.  

Not necessarily cops. If I was broke down so far back in the woods that I didn't have any bars, could I text my buddy Joe to come drag my butt home?

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You must have at least 1 bar for a cellphone to work text or voice. Voice and/or text reception is not possible with no bars.  Text will work when voice will not with low signal strength (low number of bars). 

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SMS (texting) requires less signal duration than does voice transmission.  A text message might go through on a "blip" of signal where a phone call requires duration of some extended time.

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50 minutes ago, Cyrus Cassidy #45437 said:

I don't know of any policing agencies that accept text messages.  But the real question is whether a text will go through to anyone with no bars, correct?  No.  

Our local does and the state college set up a texting program.

 

I've had text without pictures go through where calls wouldn't.  Sometimes nothing would go through but the satellite phone.

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I know 911 works even when you have no bars. It’s an FCC thing, I guess a 911 call goes to the next available cell tower. That’s what ATT told me when the cell tower closest to me was down.

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For clarity.

 

No bars (no network available), no communication.

 

But if you compose and send a text to someone and a signal does come available later, your phone might send it... but on iPhones, you have to retry manually once the text fails.

 

If you do have signal, even if your phone bill has not been paid (or you find an abandoned phone, or whatever), calls to 911 will go through if you have network signal. You need network signal.

 

Same for land lines. Bill not paid, no service contracts, as long as you have a dial tone, a 911 call will go through. For land lines, the dial tone is the network signal.

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55 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

For clarity.

 

No bars (no network available), no communication.

 

But if you compose and send a text to someone and a signal does come available later, your phone might send it... but on iPhones, you have to retry manually once the text fails.

 

If you do have signal, even if your phone bill has not been paid (or you find an abandoned phone, or whatever), calls to 911 will go through if you have network signal. You need network signal.

 

Same for land lines. Bill not paid, no service contracts, as long as you have a dial tone, a 911 call will go through. For land lines, the dial tone is the network signal.

That's not what AT&T told me, they said even with the cell tower down and I had no bars I could still connect to 911.

 

Is having no bars and no service are two different things then? I'm asking I don't know!:wacko:

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I've got four phones. One was given to me when the lady upgraded, but the service provider here said no no you can't do that that's not one of our phones you have to buy one from us. Then I have two that I had bought used for a couple of years upgraded to another phone. And then I've got the one I'm using now.

 

Those first three phones have no service. But as long as the battery is charged, if I dial 911, the call will go through.

 

"Having service" means that you pay somebody for them to be yourself provider.

 

If I were to be underground on the subway, or locked into a connex container (both of which plots have happened on various TV shows) I might not have any bars. That means that my phone's antenna cannot get in touch with the cell tower. But I would still have service, with AT&t or Sprint or TracFone or whoever the hell it was it was providing my phone. I just wouldn't be able to talk to anybody, until I got away from that dead zone, and got somewhere where my phone could talk to a tower, which would give me bars.

 

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13 hours ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

That's not what AT&T told me, they said even with the cell tower down and I had no bars I could still connect to 911.

 

Is having no bars and no service are two different things then? I'm asking I don't know!:wacko:

 

Yes they are different.

 

If you have a cell phone but for what ever reason your service was terminated it will still allow you to dial 911. HOWEVER, there are a few caveats.

Old analog and 2G only phones will not work as the cell towers no longer support these protocols. At a minimum the phone has to be capable of 3G although in Feb 2022 AT&T will stop supporting 3G. Verizon will also stop supporting 3G in 2022.

The most important thing is that you have to be within the coverage area of a cell tower. Because the little "bar" indicator on a phone is not all that accurate and it is often tied to the signal lever being received from the provider the phone is tied to; it is possible to be withing the coverage area of a cell tower and not have any bars.

 

When it comes to text messages it is possible to be on the very fringe of coverage and still be able to send and receive text messages when voice calls are not possible. From the receive aspect, the cellular system will keep trying to send a text message until it is successful. Sending one from your phone is a little trickier as you phone will not keep trying.  

The reason text messages will get through is they require very little time to transmit the data within the message it is it just text. A picture or video is unlikely to get through as they require more time to transmit.

 

What the cell companies are not telling people is that in their quest to provide more and more bandwidth the usable range of a given phone is becoming less and less. There are multiple reasons for this that are too technical for this discussion. 

 

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