jjoyce wrote:The other thing that happens with a cheap phone like mine: Sometimes I'm in a big crowd (Minn. State Fair, UW football game) and get max reception, but because there are so many other phones pinging the network, my texts don't send and my calls don't connect.
That's not your phone, it's the local cells being at capacity. Mine does the same at Camp Randall. At these larger venues the carriers have been installing specialized systems within the building itself (Miller Park has a number of antennas on and around the scoreboard). Your phone is registering the availability of outgoing signal (max reception) but as you said the amount of people on the system has clogged the circuits and the cell is unable to handle any further incoming requests.
My buddy and I both downloaded the UW Gameday app which works great everywhere but the stadium. It's pretty annoying but the carriers are definitely hamstrung in their ability to ramp up infrastructure to keep pace with the handsets. It's not like the University is going to let Sprint stick a 90' tower next to the Field House, though if I had a say I'd have made the Football Dong into a stealth tower.