Cell phone companies making changes to keep up with crowds

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Your cell phone service is like a highway – the more cars on the road, the quicker it is to get stuck in a traffic jam. The more people in town using up the airwaves, the harder it is for you to find signal.

T-mobile says over the last year it has made improvements to the Myrtle Beach area – launching 4G LTE.

A spokesperson says "throughout the last year, T-Mobile has made significant improvements to the coverage, speed and reliability it's customers can expect from the network in the Myrtle Beach, SC area."

However, some local customers are seeing slight disruptions in their service.

"Calls are going straight to voicemail; a lot of calls aren't connecting. It's a lot of that when more people are here," says Ila Bellamy, a Conway resident and T-Mobile customer.

The company says during high traffic times, it looks to determine what needs to be done to increase voice and data demands and puts in place special event network parameters in the Myrtle Beach area.

"It's lagging today. Maybe too many people are connecting," says AT&T customer, Amanda Schival. "I had a hard time uploading a photo earlier. In fact, it has still not uploaded," she says after pulling out her phone.

A spokesperson with AT&T says that right now it does not have network information to share for the Myrtle Beach area but will have news to share with customers in the coming months.

"Unfortunately, until work is complete, I am unable to share specifics," shared a spokesperson in an email to WMBF News Reporter Stephanie Robusto.

However, many people are already noticing a change to their AT&T service.

"Today, I looked at my phone and noticed I have LTE," said WMBF News intern, Daniel Sechtin.

The AT&T website says Myrtle Beach is not in the area with LTE service, but our phones show otherwise.

Meteorologist Robert Whitehurst reached out to HTC on Facebook.

"They said with their new partnership with AT&T they were hoping to have an LTE roll out but at this time they don't have a specific date," Robert Whitehurst shared.

If you have Sprint, you may already notice LTE in certain local cities. A spokesperson says that plans are already underway to introduce 4G LTE and enhancements to 3G service.

Sprint's website shows the coverage already includes Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Conway.

"In preparation for the upcoming summer season, we have added three [Cell on Wheels] to the area in addition to completing both Voice and EVDO carrier adds for additional capacity at several existing sites," said a Sprint spokesperson through email.

Verizon also made changes before this busy weekend.

The company rolled out XLTE in South Carolina this week. The new technology enhances wireless network performances in densely populated areas like concert venues, stadiums and other large event locations.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.