What are actually the causes of poor range?

These are diverse, and often there is an interplay of factors, such as:

  • Well-insulated office buildings and homes. The glass and insulation materials dampen the ringing signal.
  • An environment with forests, tunnels, hills or many large buildings: the gsm signal is less good to get through.
  • The place from which you call: in remote areas there are often fewer cell towers.
  • An advanced smartphone, such as the iPhone 4, 4s or 5, often has less range than the bakeliet phone we walked around with ten years ago. Because of all the technical gadgets, the smartphone has lost signal strength.
  • Your provider’s coverage quality and grade.

It'll happen to you if you leave a message for your girlfriend.

Which providers are there?

In the Netherlands, all providers end up being one of only 3 providers, namely T-Mobile,

KPN and Vodafone. That means that all other providers use the network of these 3. For example, Ben, Simpel and Tele2 use the T-Mobile network. Hi, Simyo, Telfort and Youfone use the KPN network and Hollands Nieuwe is a subsidiary on vodafone’s network. Check out those providers’ coverage cards to learn more about the exact coverage in your area.

KPN and Vodafone both use a GSM 900 network. GSM 900 networks broadcast at a frequency around 900 MHz. T-Mobile, on the other hand, uses a GSM 1800 network, at about 1800 MHz respectively. Networks with a lower frequency generally have a larger and more pervasive range than the GSM 1800 networks. As a result, the reception of providers on the KPN or Vodafone network in large buildings is generally better. They also need fewer masts for good coverage, this explains the differences in coverage in wooded areas (such as the Veluwe) where masts should not be placed everywhere.

If you live in a border area with Germany, it is wise to take vodafone Germany into account. Because the guidelines for maximum radiation of a GSM mast are set differently with our eastern neighbours, it may happen that you (even if you are in the Netherlands) connect faster to the German network. Vodafone has special bundles for users in these regions, to avoid high costs. Of course, you can also turn off your roaming to prevent your phone from switching to a foreign network.

How is my provider’s reach?

Although most providers today have national coverage, providers do not provide (adequate) coverage in some areas. These problems occur mainly in the border and wooded regions. Therefore, always check the situation in your immediate area on kpn and Vodafone’s coverage cards

About Internet Providers (history)

In 1991, the first individuals connected to the Internet were the members of a group within the HCC club as part of the EUnet project HobbyNet. In 1993, XS4ALL was one of the first commercial providers together with EuroNet Internet. These two providers quickly got more customers. Initially, customers were able to connect to the Internet by using a modem over the analogue telephone line to call a dial-in number of the ISP; initially mostly via a long-distance phone number, but because the rates for long-distance area numbers were higher than rates for local area code, the providers started to extend their dial-up points to nationwide coverage. After all, for connection to the Internet had to be paid per minute (the cost of the telephone call). The speeds were then still on average 9600Baud. Before these providers there were also already called in to the forerunner of Internet these were the BBS’en Bulletin Board Systems which we nowadays call forums. On a BBS you usually called in locally and these BBS’s were often used for downloading drivers, porn, programs and other things that could not bear the light of day. His BBS often fits 1 or 2 1.44mb floppy diskette and became known by word of mouth. the fasts were still at 1200/75baud or 2400baud.


From 1995 onwards, cable modems made it possible to use the television cable not only for radio and TV signals, but for Internet traffic. As a result, the cable companies were also able to establish themselves as Internet service providers. This allowed for the first time an Internet connection that was paid not per minute, but per month, and moreover, for the first time broadband internet was possible: internet via cable was much faster than via a dial-up modem. Two years later, cable internet got a competitor: ADSL. Due to the good quality of ADSL, many disgruntled customers switched from cable to the providers that offered ADSL subscriptions. The large investments needed for a broadband network with national coverage could not be generated by all providers, which significantly reduced the number of providers due to acquisitions and bankruptcies.


In the Netherlands KPN has the complete telephone network to all houses under management. In order to ensure that a competitive market is possible, KPN must also offer other Internet service providers the possibility of offering internet access to the internet over the telephone line. The providers are allowed to set up equipment in kpn’s power stations to make internet connections over the telephone lines that go from there to the houses. Kpn also offers its own internet access through subsidiaries (with the XS4ALL, KPNInternet and Telfort brands). Conversely, internet and cable providers now also offer telephony. Tiscali Wholesale (formerly BaByXL), BBned (InterNLnet, BIT INTERNET provider, Alice, Pilmo and Bbeyond), Unet, Versatel, EasyNet (formerly NovaXess) and T-Mobile Online are an exception because they have their own infrastructure to offer ADSL, and therefore as the only ADSL providers are not dependent on KPN’s ADSL product.


Several companies are active in the cable TV market, all of which are also active as an INTERNET service provider. Although we are talking about more players, this can still be seen as a monopoly: after all, every house has only one connection to a single cable provider, and has no choice. The cable internet is not as regulated as ADSL.


For years there has been discussion about ADSL and Cable and on which technology the best internet provider can work. Cable and ADSL are getting faster. In general, ADSL and Fiber seem to be the technology that makes the best internet provider possible.

Improve your mobile phone’s reach yourself

If you don’t have optimal coverage, there are several things you can do. For example, you can first try whether it helps to walk out, or call from a certain place in your home where the range is as optimal as possible. Also pay attention to how you hold the phone: if you keep it upright, it may also care in the range. In addition, all kinds of new options to improve your reach have been developed. One option is a GSM Repeater, booster or GSM amplifier. The ringing signal is then amplified via a small external antenna. Buying your own private cell tower is also a possibility. You’d think this would be rather laborious, and your backyard would have to be at least the size of a meadow, but that’s not so bad. With an amplifier, you can get the maximum possible reception from the outside so you can call again

So there is no longer any reason to muddle through with poor range, because there is plenty to do about it. And if your grandmother calls and rattles through for hours, you can always say you’re just entering a tunnel.