When there is no signal/reception for your cell/mobile phone

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Brave Heart, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Brave Heart Senior Member

    Japan, Japanese
    Hi all,

    I understand there are a variety of ways to describe the condition where there is no signal/reception for your cell/mobile phone. So, I "googled" those phrases to find out which of them is the most common and got the following result (the number of usage) (Note: Similar pages have been counted out):

    1. I can't get a signal here. (14)
    2. There's no reception here. (10)
    3. I don't have any reception. (40)
    4. There is no signal here. (21)
    5. My cell phone has no reception. (15)
    6. My cell has no reception. (20)
    7. My cell is out of range. (6)
    8. My phone has no service. (27)
    9. My phone has no signal. (30)
    10. My mobile phone has no reception. (6)

    According to the above result, #3 is the most common.

    But I wonder if some phrases tend to be used more in speech than in writing and if there is another divide between AE and BE. (For instance, I once saw an article which says AE speaker prefers "signal" to "reception", about which I'm not sure.) So, I've decided to ask about it in this forum.

    What expression would you likely use when there is no signal/reception for your cell/mobile phone?

    Thanks. :)
  2. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Hello, Brave Heart :)

    This is probably an AE thing, because I am most familiar with 1 and 4.

    Usually I say "Nope, no signal!" :D
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    All appear to be valid, but I prefer "out of range" because, strictly speaking, the problem is often that the little hand-held device doesn't have enough transmitter power to maintain a connection although it can receive. (Which is the case where I live)
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Brave Heart

    Two points.

    First, in BrE we don't talk about "cell phones", we talk about "mobile phones" or, more usually, "mobiles".

    Secondly, I think the most usual phrase would involve signal: "I can't get a signal on my mobile". But "range" is also possible: " I could hear you a minute ago, but now you're moving out of range".

  5. Brave Heart Senior Member

    Japan, Japanese
    Thanks guys. I appreciate your help. :)
  6. charlerina ballerina Member

    I use signal or reception equally
    I would never use cell... only mobile or 'phone
  7. Brave Heart Senior Member

    Japan, Japanese
    Thanks charlerina ballerina. I appreciate your help. :)
  8. burbanksteve New Member

    USA, English
    In the US, I'd use "cell" or "cellphone".

    In polite company (such as this forum) I would say "I've got no reception" or "I've got no signal".

    What I really should say is "<expletive deleted> Sprint suck, I'm switching to Verizon"
  9. Brave Heart Senior Member

    Japan, Japanese
    Thanks burbanksteve. I appreciate your help. :)
  10. Little Chandler

    Little Chandler Senior Member

    La Coruña
    español (ESP)

    I'm resurrecting this old thread to ask about another two options.

    You've talked about "reception" and "signal" in this thread, but I keep hearing over and over the word "coverage" (and sometimes "service").

    Would it sound natural to say "I have no coverage/service", "I can get no coverage/service"...? Or do you think I should stick to "signal"/"reception"?

    Thank you.
  11. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Does "dead zone" apply here?
  12. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I hear "bars" quite often.

    Do you have a signal?

    No problem, I'm getting four bars.


    I keep dropping my calls here. I'm only getting one bar.
  13. Little Chandler

    Little Chandler Senior Member

    La Coruña
    español (ESP)
    Thank you, guys.

    Yes, I know "bars" is often used in AmE, but it sounds a little bit slangy, doesn't it?

    Aren't you familiar with "I have no coverage"?
  14. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    For me, "coverage" is the term that describes the area in which a particular cell phone service is available. It isn't what I experience as an individual. So while I might say, "We don't have good coverage from XYZ Company out here" - though even there I'd be more likely to talk about the quality of the service rather than the coverage - I don't personally talk about my coverage. It's not my coverage - it's the cell phone company's coverage.
  15. ALEX1981X Senior Member

    I also heard "no service" and just "out of signal"
  16. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    In a place where no call is possible, I'd usually say "There's no signal". If the transmission was weak, or breaking up, or suffering interference, I'd be more likely to say "Reception is bad". That said, I may occasionally use signal/reception interchangeably.

    I wouldn't use "no service" in those situations, Alex — that's what you get from most phone companies when anything goes wrong! ;)


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