“Call Failed”: Understanding Why Calls Drop


First of all here’s a disclaimer that what you are about to read is highly simplified explanation to enable you understand why calls drop better but if you want the really technical explanation, you’re going to have to talk to a telecoms engineer.

Many of us have gotten the “call failed” notice atleast 10 or more times in our lives whenever we’re on a call. It just drops for no reason. So here’s why:

Tower coverage capacity: Every mobile operator in Zambia works by means of cell towers that have regions of cell transmission and calls are made using the service of this tower in a particular region, but it can only handle so many calls at a time. Basically, the more calls being placed in an area covered through a tower, the less ‘network” you get due to congestion, and somebody will get kicked off, hence the call drop. There are also regions where the coverage of one cell tower has a gap between itself and the region covered by another cell tower so if you’re within that ‘dead-zone’ you will hardly get any reception. Plus, almost everyone has a phone these days but not enough towers to support the various call needs, hence, congestion.

The capacity of any cell tower may be limited hence call failures
The capacity of any cell tower may be limited hence call failures

Obstacles: It’s not just the tower capacity though, sometimes tall buildings, cars, and other items can distract the network’s access to your phone and you may lose your connectivity. Think of them as ‘absorbing’ your network. Sometimes you may be in an area that usually has network but still your call drops. Look around you. There’s always something amiss. Maybe it could be a new building being built, a car parked in front of you, or like I said before, more people making calls at the same time you are. The construction material used in the buildings around you may be the cause of dropped calls because sometimes they block calls.


Your cheap phone: Yes that phone with a fake logo may be the reason for your call woes. Cheap IS expensive. The problem with the cheap phones that are flooding the market is that they are not made from genuine parts, hence they may not connect like they should with cell towers belonging to MTN, Airtel or Zamtel, so don’t blame your mobile service provider all the time. Your phone antennae may also be a factor if it is broken/ruined so it probably has a hard time connecting to  a network. Have your phone checked before you curse the operators.

Picture Credits: Deadzones, EHS TodayThe Express






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