Spotty cell service? Verizon looking to add more cell towers in Orlando

Verizon Wireless recently announced that it would invest an additional $149 million to upgrade its cell towers and connections in Florida. That investment is on top of $1 billion the company previously announced it was spending to expand its network in the state.

The announcement comes as Florida – like other states – has seen a massive influx of people moving to the state. Those who live here have reportedly noticed an increase in spotty service, from dropped calls and dead zones to texts that seemingly become stuck in transit.

"I was trying to call [my husband] and he said, ‘no, the phone didn’t ring,’ and he didn’t get my message," said Mei Wright, who said her husband fell victim to a dead zone in Sanford.

"I did try different carriers just to have better reception," she said.

Verizon said some 250,000 of its users have moved to Florida since Jan. 2020, which has increased demand on its network.

"It’s no longer just for calling and texting," said Steve Van Dinter, a Verizon spokesperson. "It’s Instagram Live. You want to share videos. We want to Snapchat, tweet. We want to do all those data-rich things but there’s only a finite amount of resources that are available for phone to tap into."

He said Verizon plans to build 3,500 towers, cell sites, and/or repeaters to handle the 408% increase in users in the Orlando area.

"In some parts of the state you’ll see some of our cell sites disguised as palm trees. Often times we look for rooftops. The antennas are getting smaller especially when we talk about the 5G LTE wideband technology. Those can be placed on already existing polls," said Van Dinter.

Verizon is also focusing on major event locations, such as Disney World, Orange County Convention Center, and sports stadiums and arenas. Then, they'll work to expand 5G coverage around the state.

The timeline is to complete the upgrades over the next two years.

"You are going to see some aggressive improvements so if there’s areas right now where you’re frustrated, you see bars but you aren’t able to stream videos as fast as you would like or you can’t download that file as quickly as you’d like, hang tight it’s coming," he said.