How to Fix Dropped Calls On Your Cell Phone

By Contributor

Updated September 28, 2017

Spotty cell service limits your freedom of movement.
i Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Dropped calls can mean more than just frustration. People count on their cell phones as their lifelines to friends, family, medical professionals, babysitters -- and cutting that lifeline could have genuinely harmful consequences. Dropped calls result from several problems, some of which you can address and some that are unique to the network.

Move to a better location. The most common and widely known cause of dropped calls is location. Your cell phone will have the strongest signal out of doors. Buildings may contain areas with no reception at all. When you call drops, check your signal strength and move to an area where it is stronger. Avoid making or taking calls around electronics, especially computers, as the devices may also cause interference with your signal.

Verify your roaming settings. Check your phone settings to see if your phone is set to roam to your network only or any available tower. If your calling plan includes unlimited roaming, set your phone to roam to any available tower. More towers mean more chances of catching a strong signal.

Perform a hard reboot. If your signal strength has always been good in an area, but suddenly goes bad, try removing the battery from your phone. Leave the battery out for at least 20 seconds. Replace it and check your signal strength again. Power-cycling the phone may clear software glitches and restore the quality of your connections.

Update your cell phone's Preferred Roaming List, usually simply referred to as the PRL. This list helps your cell phone find available towers. New towers are added all the time, so it is important to update this list periodically. You can find specific instructions either on your wireless provider's Web site or by calling technical support. This process will require you to call a special number and the programming will take place automatically, although some smart phones offer a menu option for updating the PRL.

Call your wireless provider. If you are still experiencing dropped calls, call technical support. There may be issues with towers in your area or other network problems. Your cell phone itself might be the problem and technical support agents can advise you on the best way to proceed with needed repairs.


Check your wireless provider's dropped call policy. You may be able to get reimbursed for your lost minutes. For some providers, credits can be obtained through their automated phone system or their web site.

If you do not know how to remove your cell phone's battery, check your wireless provider's web site. Their site will most likely contain support materials for your phone.

Always call technical support before taking your cell phone to your wireless provider's local retail store or repair center, especially if you do not have insurance on your phone. Retail stores and repair centers may try to find a way to charge you for helping you with your issue, whereas your provider wants to keep you happy and may repair your cell phone for free.

When calling Technical Support, always call from a land line, or another cell phone, so you can work on your cell phone as directed by the technician.


Be certain that you check your calling plan's policy on roaming charges before changing the roaming settings on your cell phone.

Always check your cell phone's documentation before removing the battery. Some phones and PDAs should not have their batteries removed unless advised by a technician.