Do Shopping Malls Purposefully Have Bad Cell Phone Data Coverage?

Posted Dec 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm in Threads > Opinions

I am not much of a shopping mall person, but in the past 48 hours I have had to visited 6 very large ones in a broad about-100-mile radius, to find a specific item I wanted.

however, I have noticed that in EVERY ONE of these malls I had bad coverage on my T-Mobile plans for Data, whereas I had full HSPA+ outside of the malls.

This made me wonder if this is on purpose–if that is even possible–to allow impulse shopping without internet comparison as a backup.

Has anyone else experienced this? What do you think?

  • MC_Android

    I know that my local mall pushes you to buy an account so you can access the mall’s wifi. So in my case, I think they purposes wrapped the roof with aluminium.

  • thymeless

    It’s just commercial construction and the interference resulting from all that metal. Same issue at Costco, Walmart…

  • redraider133

    I just think its how the buildings are built at least in my area anyway

  • dino13

    Well some had mentioned that it can depend upon the building but also keep in mind that in places like malls are full with people that all use their phones , so that could also have some kind of influence.

    • LukeT32

      Been to a few outdoor concerts where you are jam packed in there and everyone looses service. To much interference.

  • kelltrash14

    I think you’re attributing them way too much intelligence to build them like that =)

  • herbivore83

    T-Mobile’s frequencies don’t cut through walls very well. I work at a T-Mobile in a mall and the poor service inside is pretty embarrassing sometimes.

  • gh0st665

    You have a steel and iron framed building, coated in concrete and usually has large AC/Heating units on the roof topping it off. That alone will interfere with any RF signal. Malls may capitalize on this by charging for WiFi, which I would never use. (To me public WiFi is the equivalent of a windowless van with “Free Candy” painted on the side.) Any wireless carrier will even tell you that they do not guarantee a signal indoors. It’s not just the phone, or the carrier, it’s just the way it is.

  • jaysond

    it’s not there fault like the post above its the building design and maybe just go outside for that precious phone call or walk around,can you hear me now? did you get that pix I sent you?

  • TheVoodoo

    I guess it’s possible to be due to construction, but I don’t have any coverage issues.

    However, Jasond, I was not referring to the need to make a personal call or send a picture message, but rather the well-justified and proper use of the phone at a store to check anything from reviews and prices to detailed product information that stores usually don’t have at the ready.

    • TheVoodoo

      Sorry I didn’t finish my first sentence above. I meant to say:

      I don’t have any coverage issues in BestBuy stores, the very few times a year that I do visit them. Even though, they’re usually in a smaller structure than some of the malls I was referring to; so it is still possible that it is due to construction.

  • linkinmark5

    I havent had issues at Malls….but Airports…another story. For instance….Sprint 4G LTE just outside of Midway or O’Hare – Chgo…blazing fast. Inside…not a nip of a bar. But of course…Boingo. WiFi….pay…nope!

  • SGB101

    commercial buildings will be constructed with reinforced concrete, the re bar will form some type of Faraday cage, that cause interference, add in the thick concrete and your knackered.

  • BrotherBloat

    a shopping centre is essentially a huge Faraday cage ( – an enclosed steel construction with sheet metal covering it and an enormous amount of conductive metal rigging, protrusions, internal surfaces, etc.

    This fact is incidental, but certainly highly beneficial to the proprietors, seeing as the floor prices are usually ridiculously inflated, compared to online retail offerings…

    • fenlon

      Most likely do to th Faraday shield effect. This effect is also seen when crossing metal framed bridges while listening to FM radio. You will notice the signal will quickly drop out when you are surrounded by the lattice work of the bridge,

  • klcow92

    it happens all the time, even over here in the UK, we’ve got used to it

  • kelltrash14

    Besides, half the malls you’re in predate cellphones so hard to attribute any intention to their design in that regard.

    • TheVoodoo

      I agree. I was thinking maybe they’re employing easier renovations such as some type of metal covering or something even more from a sci-fi world.

      But the Faraday Cage explanation certainly makes sense.

  • VerticalCobra

    I used to wonder about this myself till I noticed the signal was not so good outside the mall/store either.

  • TheStig

    I’ve noticed that!

  • Ezy03

    thought i was the only one who though that!

  • Stig03

    i always lose signal!