Recently bought a CU-500 unlocked off Ebay. Phone seems to work fine except that reception is not nearly as good as my previous LG 4011. I get 4 bars in the house on the 4011 and almost nothing on the CU-500. The CU-500 works fine when there is a strong signal. Anything I can do to improve the reception (short of getting an amplifier for the house).
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i have the same phone and carrier. mine is at full bars all the time. i did call t-mobile and the sent it codes to get the MMS and internet working properly. this might be the reason for my reception. it won't hurt to call them so they can configure your phone to t-mobile service.
You need to check the RF. The RF is a component that pick up the signal. It is usually placed on the upper portion of the phone where there's a small exhaust so that the RF could pick up the signal better.
Once the RF gets wet, the component might become defective.
Press 277634#*# - then Modem Setting - then Network Mode - then Network Mode - then select 2G Only. This will turn off 3G and you will now be using 2G or Extended Network. Either or, I used to have the same problem, but after making that simple change I have an extra "bar" on my phone.