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Old 30th May 2016, 17:20   #1
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Default Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

I was late in paying my monthly phone bill and payment was made only after repeated reminders. However, in the whole course, I found something interesting. The signal strength deteriorated continuously, over the last couple of days.

Reached a point today where the signal strength was just over a bar and was almost left with no signal, till I made the payment.

Once payment was made, I could see the signal strength peaking without any problem.

Just curious to know if this is some kind of a practice used by service providers, to down grade signal strength, on non-payment???

Last edited by vinair : 30th May 2016 at 17:21.
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Old 30th May 2016, 17:56   #2
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Default re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

Interesting, of course the SIM is a unique ID, but modulating the cellular tower's signal strength just for a particular SIM appears to be too far fetched in terms of conspiracy theory.

But then you never know.
Actually perhaps it can be done easily - all you need is a spreading code that is the same as the offending SIM and continuously beam the signal. The mobile phone will try to reconstruct this as white noise.

But then does it affect the number of bars?

... Looks like someone from Telecom Engineering will have to step in.

Last edited by alpha1 : 30th May 2016 at 18:07.
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Old 31st May 2016, 12:26   #3
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

It does not work like this. They can de-authorize your sim, or ban outgoing calls. But signal manipulation as per SIM? That is not possible.
They cannot somehow send a weaker signal to your cell phone.
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Old 31st May 2016, 12:29   #4
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

Quote:
It does not work like this. They can de-authorize your sim, or ban outgoing calls. But signal manipulation as per SIM? That is not possible.
They cannot somehow send a weaker signal to your cell phone.
With current technology as tsk1979 said, its impossible. But you probably gave some idea for telcom companies to invest on R&D to throttle signal that way
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Old 31st May 2016, 12:46   #5
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

It is possible.
I have two airtel postpaids , both showed low signal at home. I registered complaint. The corporate connection works fine now while the other doesnt show 3g. Both are iPhones 6 and 6s. swapped sims too to confirm.
Reason I could comprehend: Airtel is upgrading infrastructure, so lots are facing issues, They are prioritising corporate customers only.

Last edited by GTO : 1st June 2016 at 12:41. Reason: Typo
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Old 31st May 2016, 13:05   #6
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

It is possible and being done. In every pocket nowadays they have multiple towers and other infra. They deliberately keep at least one as a low powered infra. So once they put your sim on a watchlist you can't connect to the regular towers. So your phone only latches on to the one available, that is the low powered tower. This is something similar with corporate connections. For their valued customers they have a high powered tower to ensure the signals don't fluctuate much. The challenge is that they don't invest enough to upgrade their entire infra base. So those "others" end up being on their regular towers. Of course, the official line always is that we are continuously upgrading our infrastructure and you will soon see a difference.

P.S.: In the case of the OP, this is not done so much for teaching the erring customer a lesson as it is done simply as a defensive technique. As it is you are not paying the past dues. They do not want you to ratchet up further charges with relentless calls and data consumption. So it is more of a case of reduced exposure than anything.

Last edited by Zappo : 31st May 2016 at 13:09.
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Old 31st May 2016, 13:28   #7
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

If you do a network search on your phone, you get separate entry for a 2G Network & different for 3G/4G.
Incase of a prepaid account his recharge value or plan matches the network 2/3/4 G. And you can change it.
I do not think Telecom companies can throttle or manipulate an individual connection, except the IVR/ customer care access for low value customers.

Since your connection is Postpaid only possibility is the option of Network you choose. With Airtel it is 2 network one Airtel IND & Airtel 3G/4G.
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Old 31st May 2016, 14:07   #8
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

There are lot of things that can be done. All customers are also not treated equally when it comes to making a call or having good data speed based on the classes.

With software and if() else() there are lots of features (!) that are used by service providers.
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Old 31st May 2016, 17:38   #9
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

I think they can and do throttle data services on individual sim depending on usage pattern. but I don't think they can downgrade mobile signal for individual.
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Old 2nd June 2016, 12:55   #10
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Default Re: Can service provider downgrade my mobile signal, individually?

SIM cards are basically for authentication purpose, that is to make a handsake with particular service provider base station to the handset. The signal strength would more depend on various factors, like load on the base station, handset model, shadowing and SIM card type.
Need to understand that there are both software and hardware part of a service provided, like you may be having a old nokia 2G phone and provided a LTE connection. But even if you are under LTE coverage area, you wont be able to get LTE or 3g as neither handset or SIM card is capable of.
Same way even if you have a LTE handset with all most all frequency type supported and under a LTE base station, but if you use a SIM card of 2G type, the LTE base station simply would not recognize your handset, means you would be forced to use the lower grade.
My advise to Vinaire try changing your SIM. Also put a complain to your operator on service quality at your area. BTW, are getting the same poor N/W all over the city or only at particular area ?
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