A handheld cell booster?

This one made me shake my head a little bit when our customer service techs told me about it. It seems we had a customer who wanted a cell booster that they could walk around with.

Not such a bad idea…

Back in the pre-smartphone days, most phones either had a removable external antenna or had a connector for one somewhere. If you remember those Nokia phones everyone had in the mid-’00s, they always had antenna connectors hidden behind the battery hatch somewhere, for example.

Today’s phones don’t have any way to connect an external antenna. The reception you get… is the reception you get. There’s no way around that. Of course if you’re inside a building or vehicle, you can use a cell booster to improve signal. So, if you can do that, why not have a cell booster that you can walk around with?

…except that it doesn’t work

The idea of a personal cellular booster is a great idea that really just doesn’t work. The key to most cell booster technology is that you need some real distance (or some shielding) between the antenna that broadcasts to the cell tower and the antenna that broadcasts to the phone. (In general, we refer to these as the “outdoor” and “indoor” antennas, terms that wouldn’t apply to a personal cell booster.)

It would be hard to have a personal cell booster you walk around with. Using the current technology, you’d need to separate one antenna from the other by about 10-15 feet. One way to do this would be a very silly, and very unwieldy, hat with an antenna on top. No one wants that.

Another way would be completely encasing the phone in some sort of shield so no outside transmissions could get in. Of course you wouldn’t be able to see or touch the phone either, and it’s not clear how you’d even be able to make a call. Maybe you’d have to go back to some sort of wired headset.

What’s the best solution?

When you’re outdoors, you’re pretty much depending on the cell provider. So, the best thing to do is choose a cell provider with great coverage in your area. I’d personally recommend AT&T, who has worked hard to cover over 99% of the country with great cell service. They’re the carrier that provides cell service to our first responders through the FirstNet system, and that says a lot about their reliability.

If you are looking to change cell carriers, call Signal Connect, the commercial and activation arm of Solid Signal, can help! We’re AT&T Preferred Dealers. That means you can start with the best deal you’d get from any AT&T store and work up from there! We’ll make sure we match you with the best option for your needs. We’ll also give you the best possible discount. Call the experts and get the personalized service you deserve. The number is 888-233-7563 and we’re here for you during East Coast business hours. If it’s after that, fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to get back to you, usually within one business day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.