How To Restore Data Service To Your Smartphone [Android]

Matt Smith 09-08-2011

<firstimage=”//”>android data serviceMobile data service Gs & LTEs: Understanding Mobile Broadband [Technology Explained] Connecting to the Internet was once all about big honking cords. The cords might be telephone lines, or cable lines, or FiOS lines specifically installed for Internet service, but the running theme is a line... Read More is ubiquitous in most major cities, making it unlikely that an Android user will ever go without seeing the 3G or 4G logo lit up on their device. There are still many places however, that don’t have access to mobile data – and unexpected interference can also disrupt your connection.


Your options for restoring data service are limited, as you’re ultimately reliant on your carrier’s coverage. There are however, a few tricks that can help.

Try Wi-Fi

android data service

Mobile data is built to cover wide areas, and it does that well. A single tower can provide coverage to hundreds of customers over tens of miles if placed in an area with few obstructions from buildings or terrain.

This broad focus does sometimes result in a lack of service in unusual areas, however. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on the broad focus of mobile data at all times. Instead, you can try searching for a local open Wi-Fi network The Most Common Wi-Fi Standards and Types Explained Confused by the various Wi-Fi standards in use? Here's what you need to know about IEEE 802.11ac and older wireless standards. Read More .

Most open Wi-Fi networks are provided by businesses and use a wired connection, which means they’ll provide fast and steady data service. A town that does not have data service may well have a McDonalds – and since most McDonalds offer free Wi-FI, the golden arches are all you need.


Of course, some caution should be used on open Wi-Fi How To Combat WiFi Security Risks When Connecting To A Public Network As many people now know, connecting to a public, unsecured wireless network can have serious risks. It’s known that doing this can provide an opening for all manner of data theft, particularly passwords and private... Read More , since it may be possible for a third party to monitor your online activity. Accessing sensitive data, like your bank account, isn’t recommended.

Try A Window

How To Restore Data Service To Your Smartphone [Android] androiddataservice1

If you’re in an area that generally has excellent coverage and data service suddenly goes missing, the culprit is most likely interference. This often takes the form of a physical obstruction. Although the radio waves used for mobile data can penetrate most structures, certain structures can block signals entirely. My Thunderbolt often has difficulty maintain a strong data connection in a local warehouse store, for example.

When this occurs, one option is to simply move to an area of the building that does not cause interfere with your device. Windows are excellent because they do not interfere with data service and they’re easy to seek out, but any part of a building that’s constructed mostly of wood and plaster should be a prime spot for data service.


Find An Area With Coverage

smartphone data service

There are times where you may find yourself without any options for data service. In some areas of the world, such as the Great Plains of the United States, this is unlikely. In more mountainous areas however, providing coverage is a challenge for carriers. Big, hulking pieces of stone are not a boon to wireless data.

Moving to an area with coverage is a “well, duh” solution. Actually doing it when you already lack data coverage is another matter. If you have no data coverage, you can’t access your carrier’s data coverage map. So how are you supposed to know where to go?

There are some apps that can provide data coverage information, such as Rootmetrics RootMetrics Cellphone Coverage Map: Check the Actual Coverage of Carriers Read More , but they suffer from one problem – they themselves require mobile data to function. A better idea is to download a coverage map from your provider and place it on your phone as a file.  This may require some planning on your part, but the map will be accessible at any time.


Purchase A Signal Booster

android data serviceFor most people, finding data coverage is a matter of returning to an area where data coverage is strong. However, some users live in areas where data coverage is consistently poor. One apartment complex in my area is notorious for this. Although located near a major city, most of the complex is a mobile data dead zone.

In these situations a signal booster may help. Once connected to your phone, the signal booster will ideally improve your data connection by boosting the strength of your device’s cellular radio and adding a larger antenna.

Ideal is the key word. Although a booster can help, it can only do so much. The apartment complex with the dead zone would be a decent place to deploy a booster, since a signal is nearby but not quite accessible in that area. However, attaching a booster to your phone won’t help you obtain service at a vacation home nestled deep in the mountains. Price and bulk are also issues, as most signal boosters are both large and expensive.


Restoring data service usually isn’t easy. Wi-Fi is usually the easiest route and it’s thankfully becoming more widely available with each passing day. If no Wi-Fi is available, your options boil down to moving where data coverage is available or buying a signal booster, which may or may not improve your situation.


Let us know of your experiences with this situation in the comments below.

Related topics: Computer Networks, Restore Data, Wi-Fi.

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  1. George Hemphill
    September 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Why is my data service blocked

  2. Tim Turner
    August 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Yes, it can be frustrating living in a major city and having to go outside and cross the street from your home to get data. After extensive testing and complaining and supposed 'work tickets' through AT&T, it seems the Samsung Captivate is the culprit. We have two of them in the house with little or no cellular signal and no data.  They will not replace the phones, we just learned the lesson for next upgrade. They want to sell you some booster device which the neighbors on both sides do not need.