Sep 23, 2013

Does the area have poor cell phone service?

Whenever I am home in the Sandusky area, I notice that the cell phone service is poor. I often have trouble sending a simple text message. Is this a known issue through out the area? Kyle from Perkins

Since many cell phone users have different makes, models and carriers, we thought it would be best to pose this question to our readers.

Leave a comment below about your personal experiences with cell phones in the area. Make sure to include as much information as possible, such as carrier, type of phone and location.

For instance: My Verizon iPhone 3G constantly drops calls when I'm at Cedar Point. 

The Mailbag is a daily feature on Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or e-mail Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."


Darwin's choice

Sprint is terrible here!


The only place I EVER have trouble with Verizon is at Cedar Point

2cents's picture

Verizon put the first 4G tower up at Cedar Point a year or two ago due to the call overload. This was according to a Verizon tech at a trade show I attended.


Verizon told me that the 3G towers were in a maintenance phase and will not be adding towers for 3G. They said more people are going to 4g with upgrades so there will more of those towers to accommodate those customers. They also said that when the seasonal people come with all the traffic and phones it can overload the towers and cause bad service. I upgraded my phone to 4g and don't really have an issue, but then the same problem will happen once the 3G has been phased out and everyone has 4g. Seems like a no win situation really.


Ironically, the only place I have issues is at the Verizon Store. No kidding!

2cents's picture

Huron east side is always bad from my experience.


Unfortunately we live close to the lake. Since wireless carriers have to be careful with broadcasting signals they sometimes have to have the towers signal turned down closer the the lake so they do not interfere or cross over into Canada.

Buggers78 is correct though. 3G service is no longer being expanded and 4G will be taking over however future expansion of 4G VoLTE (Voice over LTE) will help mediate coverage problems as 4G bandwidth is a lot more versatile. You do have to realize though that 3G and 4G coverage are independent, so if you have good 4G coverage you will not necessarily have good 3G coverage.

Cedar Point did get one of the first 4G antennas and that was to help with the over population during the summer. They do this at most large event locations such as Stadiums (especially the Super Bowl). The more people you have connecting the less bandwidth there is to use so quality will drop.

Carrier Rank in the area from personal experience:
1. Verizon
2. AT&T (Just launched 4G LTE in Sandusky)
3. Sprint
4. Alltel
5. T-Mobile

FYI: Most prepaid companies run on the Sprint network unless it is from AT&T or Verizon directly.

2cents's picture

"signal turned down closer the the lake so they do not interfere or cross over into Canada"

Do you know this for sure? Just asking because I thought it was all based on GPS, recently I crossed the boarder in Sarnia and in less than a mile the cell phone knew I was no longer in the US and it told me that my service would be subject to fees for being in Canada.


My iPhone displays "Welcome to Canada" as soon as we get off of the ferry at Kelley's Island. It's because the signal is bouncing off the tower on Pelee. I know the kids at band camp are told to only use their phones in one area of the 4H Camp otherwise they will end up with international charges.


No. Cell Phone providers pinpoint location based on cell tower responses. Once you cross over you should be bouncing off international towers. Thats why they turn the signal down so there is no interference with the local carriers and the signal is going to the right place for location awareness. It is not 100% accurate as you are usually bouncing off 3 or 4 different towers at any given location but it is usually pretty close.

International towers are tricky because of problems with emergency response. I know there were some problems in some of the other border states up north where if you were close to the border you were usually bouncing off international towers and the carriers had to make some changes for those customers.


I was told straight talk uses Verizon towers but that pre paid does not get tower priority because contract customers get first dibs. I didn't hear that from Verizon so I don't know that to be fact or not.


I belive Straight Talk, Verizon Pre-Paid and I think TracFone are now all verizon.

Boost, Virgin, Revol and a few others run on the Sprint Network.

AT&T just launched a new Pre-Paid on their network.

You are correct about prioritization though. But that applies to all carrier based towers. Some towers have multiple carrier antennas but If you bounce off a Sprint Tower with no Verizon and you have Verizon you will usually get through, but much lower priority or suffer a Drop because of carrier lease/carriage agreements (this is a roaming situation, but it applies to pre-paid carriers because they are considered secondary telecoms that have carriage agreements on their towers).


Verizon works almost anywhere in Ohio. I could be underground, encased in lead and would still probably get signal with them.

Agree with Darwin. Sprint is not even usable in Ohio. It seems to work ok within city limits of cities of Sandusky size and larger for me, but I live in a rural area, and can't get Sprint signal there, even if I'm standing right underneath any of several cell towers in my area. In order for me to receive incoming phone calls or email, I must drive at least 10 miles from my home. Convenient? No.


Verizon told me that during bike week, with that plus Cedar POint, there were too many accessing only so much availability on the 3G network. That 3G can only handle so much traffic at a time - on that Friday night I couldn't get on the web or send a text. Their solution - switch to a 4G (shows up as LTE on your phone) which means getting a new phone.


I've had Alltel for years and have had no problems.I just have a basic simple flip phone.But Alltel is going to be taken over by AT&T.

Seen it All

Verizon bought Alltel a couple years ago.


Not all of it. As part of the agreement select markets had to be given up to AT&T. I believe our area was one of those.


Yes it was AT&T did not get this marketin 2009.a company called ATN got this market and kept the Alltel name.Now AT&T bought the rest of ATN's markets earlier this year,they're waiting for governmemt approval which should be by the end of the year


AT&T just finalized the deal this past week


I knew Verizon didn't get all of the markets, I thought AT&T took this market from the initial reports but I didn't follow that merger/divide up that closely. I do believe AT&T did get final approval for the last of the merger recently though.


I live on the west end and have terrible Verizon 4g service at home.


West end has terrible service! pretty much all providers.


The service here sucks. My pager has not went off in 2 years. (I still pay the bill for it so I assume it still works.) Maybe it is just the bar I hang in gets bad service, I'll have to ask around to see if anyone else has this problem, Anyone got a pager that get service here?


AT&T announced LTE in Sandusky. Other than Cedar Point, I have yet to pick up a LTE signal in our area


I believe it is limited to the 250/Cedar Point corridor currently with future turn-ups coming for the rest of the area.


Great idea to ask this SR, I hope you try to get some answers (real answers) from Verizon and possibly the other companies. I pay over $300 a month and its frustrating that a multi billion dollar company can increase their charges, decrease their data plans and also get away with poor reception and practices to throw calls into voice mail because they refuse to update the capability to handle all the calls in this vacation area. (At least I think this is what is happening.)

I have noticed that the service has diminished in quality over the last four weeks.
1). Driving from Huron to south end of Norwalk I had 5 dropped calls and had to end two others due to terrible service. The other caller was also Verizon and they had 4 bars in Sandusky, my bars went from 4 to nothing within hundreds of feet driven.

2). Heading east on rt 2 about 4 miles from the rest stop the phone receptions drops out at a precise point, This has been a problem for years but Verizon after being notified ignores the reports.

3). Calls going directly to voice mail. I proved it, my wife's phone was on the table with 3 bars, mine had four bars. I called it four times and two of the first calls went directly to voice mail!!! Again, Verizon doesn't care even though they do care about getting their money from us on a timely manor.

VERY disappointed with Verizon, and I'm sure they may be better than others, I wouldn't know, I've had them since the beginning.


I have the same issue with driving through Norwalk. I will be expecting calls as well and then find that I have voicemail but never received a call!


1. This happens when you go into some areas where there may be a lower ground level (valley) or if the towers are not transfering the signal correctly. Since you are on voice calls, voice calls are not routed over 4G as that is currently Data only. 3G is still required for voice and 3G is in maintenance mode only with Verizon with no expansion.

2. This is always a problem and will always be a problem. Not enough clients to justify the build-up. (I wish. Vermillion is a horrible place all around for verizon)

3. Can't really explain that, but it has happens to me several times and I am in a 4 bar - 4G and 4 bar - 3G area with no signal problems. It is annoying


I am sorry you’re having difficulties and would like to help. You can reach me at I can tell you our network team has been busy in the area with three new sites built recently (including in Norwalk West). In addition, plans are underway for additional sites in portions of Sandusky and between Sandusky and Huron. Cedar Point should see improvements next year that should help with the additional traffic during the busiest days at the park.

Stop It

Yeah..can't wait for 23G service where my cell can drive my flying car, mow the lawn and shut down whenever it feels like it.


I have Verizon and have a Droid 4G and live by the mall and very rarely have had any issues with my cell service or with my high speed internet, when I do a speed test the 4G is cranking out the MB's of the internet. I would look at the phone, service and as well any updates that you may need to upgrade on your phones operating system. Try turning off the phone at least once a week and letting it reset.

Joe Schmoe

Castalia has a brand new Verizon tower that was just constructed this summer. It sits on Margaretta Township property behind the Road Department. It was finally turned on about 2 weeks ago. Full bars with 4G service! Loving it


Well thru the peak of summer service does suck!! Only cuz of cp traffic and how many ppl are here.. But I also have trouble in my own house where I live.. I have Sprint and I live over across the tracks on coming off 101 and I go into roaming and sometimes dont get good connection to the internet at ALL !! But I have also been told by Sprint representatives that Sprint is/are working on putting 4G in this area!