If you are getting ready to choose a mobile network provider in Luxembourg, there are a few factors you need to know about. There is nothing more frustrating than poor reception and dropped calls. Depending on where you live, finding dependable mobile service can take some research. Choose the wrong one and you will face headaches for the entire length of your contract.
Here is what you need to know when choosing and how to avoid nasty surprises down the line.
Despite a small size of only 2,586 square kilometers, Luxembourg is a rapidly developing country. It has the highest population growth rate in all of Europe. Like any modern, thriving country, mobile phone use is ubiquitous and essential in everyday life. However, with all this new growth, many residents are facing reception issues with their mobile devices.
Problems with mobile reception are especially common in the rapidly growing number of housing projects built on what used to be considered remote land. As the city expands into areas that used to be farmland, the infrastructure for mobile reception has not kept up. This is made worse by the country's geography and the modern construction techniques in the new buildings
The Role of Geography in Connectivity Problems
You may not have thought that you would need a geography lesson to pick a mobile phone provider, but you do. Those facing poor reception may be surprised to learn that Luxembourg has fairly good mobile coverage compared to other EU states. Due to its small size, it hasn't taken long for infrastructure to help saturate the airwaves. Still, it remains only "fairly good" due to the geography of the nation. With many valleys, often deep and narrow, it is easy for the mobile signal to become partially or totally obscured.
Because of this, when choosing a mobile provider, where you live may be the most significant factor in your choice. Geographic challenges like valleys are solved by adding more towers. Knowing exactly where towers are located and what provider they belong to can help you ensure that you have the coverage you need.
To help you with your decision, check out this GeoPortal map put together by the Luxembourg government. The map shows the exact location of each cell tower and which provider it belongs to.
5G/4G+/4G and So On…
Mobile coverage is made possible by hundreds of base stations and over 1000 towers located throughout the country. Currently, that means that 99% of Luxembourg is covered by 4G or 4G+ signal, while the coverage of 5G networks continues to expand. That percentage can be deceiving, though. First of all, just because an area is "covered" doesn't mean you will get coverage, especially if you are indoors (more on that later.) Second, just because an area is covered doesn't mean it is covered by your network. That could mean plenty of signal, but none that will work with your phone.
Luxembourg has towers run by three major mobile networks. Unlike the country's fibre networks, where the government oversees and maintains the infrastructure, each mobile network maintains its own base stations and antennas. However, they do need government licensing and permits to build new towers. This can slow down the expansion progress, explaining why the country has so many frustrated mobile users.
These mobile companies also have to deal with recent output power restrictions designed to reduce exposure residents have to radio waves. Many towers had their output cut in half. That made coverage problems even greater for many residents as networks rushed to make up for the loss with more towers.
No, it is not a cover of the famous Pink Floyd album. It is a genuine problem in many newly constructed households in Luxembourg. When it comes to finding a reliable mobile signal, it isn't just about where you live, but it is also about what kind of building you live in. Many new buildings are constructed from tons of concrete and steel. While the frequencies used in modern 4G and 5G can pass through walls, the thicker and denser the materials, the more the signal attenuates.
It can be challenging for radio waves to find their way through all these modern building materials. If the tower is close enough and the signal is powerful enough, users can use their phones inside. If is not you may be out of luck. With the reduced power output from the towers and more and more new construction, the problem becomes even worse.
Because of this, you may find that reception is decent outside or on a balcony but non-existent inside. Or, if there is another building in between you and the antenna, you may find you have no signal at all inside or outside. This is another reason to check that your mobile provider has the towers to offer you a good connection in your area.
Quick Tip: WiFi Calling
We get notes from members of the community who have found out too late that their coverage is inadequate or non-existent inside their residences. Unfortunately, if they have signed a contract, it may not be as simple as changing carriers. Fortunately, there is a workaround that helps in many cases, WiFi calling.
WiFi calling allows users to make calls using their high-speed internet connection instead of the standard mobile phone towers and infrastructure. By connecting your phone to your home's wireless internet router, you can get free, high-quality calls without worrying about poor signal strength.
What if the Internet is a Problem as Well?
Unfortunately, many of the same problems that face mobile phone users in Luxembourg are also an issue for internet connections. Many residents rely on a wireless network for home internet as well as mobile phone service. Residents of newly constructed developments can face the same frustrations both due to the long distance to the nearest tower and interference from the construction of buildings.
Even with a fibre connection, the large amount of concrete and steel in newly constructed buildings can cause problems with WiFi. Standard routers may have trouble penetrating walls and may leave rooms without coverage. This can be incredibly frustrating if you are using this method of calling to overcome existing coverage issues.
While we will go into more depth regarding solutions in a future post, one option may be to use a repeater. By placing the repeater in a place in your home where you can get decent reception, you can "repeat" that signal throughout the rest of the space.
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