Problems connecting or making a call?

At GWS we test wireless network performance from the time a call is made till it’s finished and from the time data is sent or retrieved till the activity is complete. While we uncover and help fix complex issues in the network, sometimes problems with connectivity are on the device side – your phone.

Some quick tips to fix!

So if you’re experiencing problems getting online, posting to your social media, or making calls, there are a number of tips that can provide a fix – and each of them depend on the issue you’re experiencing:

Toggle airplane mode

Turn your phone on airplane mode for about 20-30 seconds and then off. This type of refresh is one way to reconnect you to the most appropriate cell site location with the best signal.

Toggle cellular data

Turn your cellular data off and then back on again, ensuring that it’s left in the on position. This will refresh the connection and generate a consistent, revitalized signal.

Close all apps on your phone

Open applications can cause congestion or hanging and result in the smartphone running slow with poor connection and signal. You may find that you have dozens of open apps on your phone, which ultimately can cause a performance issue. Closing apps alleviates any strain on the phone when making calls.

Restart or hard reboot your phone

Restarting your phone will help produce a new, solid signal and connection, clearing glitches that can occur when signals move between cell sites

Switch Wi-Fi off

Especially if you’re out and about, you may be connected to a Wi-Fi access point (i.e. you can see the Wi-Fi signal bars) but are not authenticated (i.e. you haven’t entered the required password or accepted the terms and conditions). In this case, switch off the Wi-Fi and rely on your wireless carrier’s network. But remember to switch the Wi-Fi back on when you get home or to the office (and you may have also disabled the streaming apps from using your cellular network for streaming).

Switch to Wi-Fi calling

Last fall, GWS found that only 25% of consumers regularly use Wi-Fi calling. However, when they did use Wi-Fi calling, 88% said that it worked well or better than cellular networks. Wi-Fi calling uses your local Wi-Fi connection with your wireless carrier’s network (so if you have poor indoor coverage from your cellular carrier, Wi-Fi calling can instantly fix that).

  • If available, update your phone’s operating software and carrier settings

  • Ensuring that software and settings are up-to-date helps phones run more efficiently, saves battery and improves functionality overall. Your phone may update automatically or send you a notification to update (which you should do); however, you should also do a manual check to make sure you have the latest operating system and carrier settings. You’d be surprised -- updates can occur frequently so it’s always a good idea to check and make sure you have the latest. Checking and manually updating iPhones is straight forward whereas the process for Android-based phones can vary by handset vendor:

• operating system: tap “Settings” then “General” then “Software Update” – if an update is available, you’ll see an option to do so.
• carrier settings: tap “Settings” then “General” then “About” – if an update is available, you’ll see and option to do so.

• operating system: look for “Settings” then “Software Update” or “System Updates.” Note: steps will vary among handsets – you may even need to go further and scroll to “About phone (or device)” then look for Software or System updates.
• carrier settings: similar update steps; alternatively, you could look for “My Apps & Games” and update “Carrier Services”; or go to “Settings,” select “More”, “Mobile networks”, “Carrier settings,” and “Update profile.”

Buy a 5G phone

It may be time to upgrade your phone. The wireless carriers spend billions of dollars each year upgrading their networks and it pays for you to stay in step with them by updating your phone – these days they are all offering 5G, often with free streaming services (like HBO Max, Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu – depending on the operators), – but new phones (in addition to taking advantage of the latest speeds) also have new spectrum bands, new voice coders, faster processers, and more.

Check the websites for help

There are many other areas that may cause connectivity issues and most of them can be troubleshot through either your wireless carrier’s website or the phone vendor (i.e. Apple or Samsung) – or you can always find a knowledgeable family member or friend to help.


Warning: always be very careful who you share your passwords with. Phones and websites often lock you out after several incorrect password attempts – most people have dozens if not hundreds of passwords these days – try not to reuse passwords too frequently, change them often and use combinations of upper/lower case letters, numbers and special characters (if allowed).

Best NetworkUSA

Little bit about GWS

    • GWS has been testing mobile networks for 25 years.

    • We drive roughly one million miles every year measuring network performance in markets across the U.S. and in many other parts of the world.

  • When testing, we measure all of the metrics that consumers care about with their wireless networks.

In addition to network testing, GWS conducts consumer research to understand wireless connectivity expectations and needs. Here are a few recent survey stats about life in today’s wireless world:

Top five functions of services consumers use their smartphones for
1. Sending or receiving texts or instant messaging - (67%)
2. Making or receiving phone call (66%)
3. Sending or receiving emails (61%)
4. General internet browsing (57%)
5. Using social networking apps or websites (55%)

No surprise, Zoom is the top choice for video calling and conferencing
24% of survey respondents picked Zoom as their favorite, followed by Facebook Messenger (21%) and Apple FaceTime (18%). Zoom also experienced the greatest increase in consumer adoption.Before the pandemic Zoom was used by 20% of consumers at least once a month or more. That figure more than doubled to 42% during the stay-at-home mandate.

Consumers are mostly sticking with their current mobile devices
72% of consumers have yet to purchase a smartphone this year, and of this group half said the reason why is that they are satisfied with their current device. Going forward, 38% of consumers plan to buy a smartphone before the end of 2020, 26% plan to do so in 2021, and 11% in 2022 or later.

Wireless carriers delivering on what matters most to consumers
84% of consumers said that their carrier has met their mobile communications needs in terms of wireless performance ‘always’ or ‘most of the time.’ 80% or more of the respondents felt that their carrier met their network coverage, voice calling quality and reliability, and data throughput and reliability needs most or all of the time.


Why are consumers so reliant on smartphones these days?
  • As COVID has changed the way we all live, work and play, people have found ways to stay connected. And what better way than using the device that’s always on you.
  • In fact, 45% of consumers said that if they could only keep one product or service to weather COVID they would choose their smartphone. For comparison, only 7% chose their car.
  • Want to know more about how consumers are coping, their wireless experience during the pandemic, and more? Check out our recent findings:

  • Consumer opinions about 5G
  • Survey on teleworking during the pandemic
  • Nationwide testing for best U.S. mobile network