Can you hear me now? You've probably been there before, talking on your cell phone and suddenly the signal drops, trying to send a message or picture and it just will not go through, or watching a video that keeps freezing or stopping to buffer. And if you feel like those problems always happen in the same areas, you're probably right.
"The signal on the bar just shows one stick, and most of the time when I'm talking I can't hear people. There's a walking trail near my house, so if I have to take a phone call I go to that walking trail and it works," said Shyam Tiwari, a T-Mobile customer.
A new report from PC Magazine is pinpointing the best and worst phone zones around the Triangle and rating all of the major carriers.
Testers visited 30 major cities, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas. They tested AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon on download/upload speeds, latency and reliability.
PC magazine's lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan says AT&T has traditionally been the dominant winner in the Raleigh-Durham area, but this year there was some competition. "T-Mobile and Verizon are both becoming much stronger in different parts of North Carolina and we're really surprised by T-Mobile," Segan said.
Benita Perkins lives in New Jersey but travels to Durham often and says her phone works better here. "I get better service here than in New Jersey. I never don't have service here."
Overall, PC Magazine's testing showed a pretty tight race between two of the major carriers. "What we saw this year is that AT&T by far still has the fastest download speeds in Raleigh, but T-Mobile is doing really well on upload speeds, latency and also in providing reliable coverage and so that's how the two of them balance each other out," said Segan.
So, what's the takeaway for customers? According to Segan,it's that there are a couple of good options.
"AT&T has for a long time been a default choice in North Carolina and I think it's still a very good choice, but if you're looking at saving money then you may want to look at T-Mobile."
Another important thing to consider, your phone's age could be impacting its performance.
"The carriers are constantly adding new networks on new frequency bands, that's the thing. These are like new TV stations or new radio stations that the carriers are broadcasting on and some of those old phones don't support those bands or don't support them in the right way. So you may be standing with a slightly older phone or a certain model of phone really frustrated with your coverage, but someone on the same carrier with a better phone for coverage may get a totally different experience in the same place," Segan said.
You can see PC Magazines full report here.