The call to fix spotty cellphone service is heating up across Alberta as more and more consumers get frustrated with “dropped” calls.
Global News first reported on the issue on Tuesday, and since then we have received numerous emails and phone calls from cellphone customers across Calgary, Airdrie and Edmonton.
One of those emails was from Ruth Thompson who lives in the Calgary community of Cedarbrae. She told Global News she was actually relieved to hear she wasn’t the only one having problems.
“I’ve owned this house about 15 years,” she said. “And it’s always been spotty.”
“We actually have to go down an alley or stand in a certain place in the house to be able to receive or make a phone call.”
Thompson added she didn’t know if the problem was with a cellphone tower nearby or cellphone service in general, adding she knows a lot of others are also feeling frustrated.
“I’m with Shaw. But I was previously with Bell. And I was previously with Telus. And my parents were with Rogers and my best friend was with Fido,” she said. “And we’ve all had the issues.”
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Also having issues — for the past six months — Heather McLaughlan who lives in Mahogany, also in southeast Calgary.
“We’ve had a lot of dropped calls,” she told Global News. “Calls that just go directly to voicemail or they don’t even come through. Text messages — same thing.”
McLaughlan added it can take up to four days for a text message to come through, and not being able to connect with family and friends is very concerning.
“I have a family member that is quite elderly and I need to keep in contact with her and it’s just been a huge challenge.”
McLaughlan, who is with Bell, reached out to the telecom giant. She said she was told the company was working on the issue as well as working on the tower. But she said she was told Bell couldn’t give her an estimated time for a fix.
She is now calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to intervene. The CRTC is a public organization mandated to regulate broadcasting and telecommunications companies.
McLaughlan told Global News with more companies merging she is concerned cellphone service will get worse — not better.
“Are we going to be getting any better customer service? Do we have any voice?” she questioned.
“We pay the highest amount for cell service in the world, I understand, and it’s challenging. We’re not getting the service and we’re not getting the answers.”
Global News reached out to the CRTC with these concerns. We also asked if we could get the number of complaints from Albertans on dropped calls and poor cellphone service.
It was not able to provide us with those numbers by deadline but did give us a statement. It told us following the major outage by Rogers Communications in July it issued a directive to all telecom companies to ensure networks are working properly for all Canadians and that they have reliable service.
Thompson reiterated that is not happening, and she still wants help.
“I would just like to be able to make a phone call,” she said. “And stay on the phone call for longer than a couple of minutes.”