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I had same prob - after buying an LG Smartphone (SP) to replace my Samsung Mantra flip phone (FP), signal strength was so low that i couldn't use it except as a pc on wifi, so i had the FP reactivated. After ~ 6 mos sprint upgraded the tower and i had the SP reactivated. Now i get 1-4 bars, but if only 1-2 bars voice is sometimes nearly unintelligible... You CAN buy a signal booster and use it in your residence but the cost is hundreds of $. Or you can do research and try to find a SP which has high signal sensitivity. The Samsung Mantra FP has very good signal sensitivity and worked fine even before sprint upgraded the tower... the LG SP has much less inherent signal sensitivity and so needs a stronger signal to function. But there's more to the story...
If you have home WiFi you can switch to T-Mobile and use their WiFi option with your SP to send and receive cell calls via WiFi when your SP WiFi is enabled & connected. I suspect this is what I'll do myself when I get tired of the poor voice quality my sprint LG SP is now delivering. And my guess is that the WiFi option will be offered by all carriers evenually. T-Mobil is just ahead of the curve... IMO.
no you do not need to upgrade the firmware, the channel selection is based on the amount of signal strength it gets, older analog systems would select it as long as there was a slight amount of modulation as for digital it goes by a percentage, if you wish to set these channels then go back under the setup and select manually add channels then you can add any one you whish reguardless of signal strength.
Scroll down to #5 modem setting and click OK
Scroll down to #2 network mode and click OK
Click OK again on #1 network mode
Scroll down to #2, 2g only, and click OK
***SEE NOTE BELOW***
Press clear until you are out of all menus.
Power the phone off, wait 15 sec, power on.
***NOTE*** When changing back to 3g, select dual mode in this step.
Call your cell phone provider and they may make a satelite adjustment for the areas you state that are weak.(see if they tell you that your the first one to tell them this about the weak signal) If they cant help ,get a better phone that will get the signal you need. Please Rate This !!!!!