The fix for crummy cell reception? Probably more cell towers.

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Dec 12, 2023
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Time magazine's Alana Semuels says the only solution is to build more cell towers. "And that's not even really a solution because nobody wants a cellphone tower in their backyard." George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

The fix for crummy cell reception? Probably more cell towers.

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Dec 12, 2023
Heard on:
Time magazine's Alana Semuels says the only solution is to build more cell towers. "And that's not even really a solution because nobody wants a cellphone tower in their backyard." George Frey/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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If you’ve had bad cellular reception of late, well, it’s not just you. A 2023 report from data analytics firm J.D. Power showed that U.S. phone users encountered 11 problems for every 100 “interactions,” up from nine problems the year before.

“We’re just using a lot more data,” said Alana Semuels, senior economics correspondent at Time magazine. “And that has to travel over these electromagnetic waves. And we’re all kind of competing for space on those waves.”

Semuels reported on our bad cell service and found that there aren’t many ways to improve it. “The only solution is to build more cellphone towers,” she said. “And that’s not even really a solution because nobody really wants a cellphone tower in their backyard or in their kids’ school. Or really anywhere.”

To hear Semuels’ interview with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal, use the media player above.

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