How to Update Towers for Sprint Cell Phones

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If you are having trouble connecting to the Sprint network with your cell phone, it may be that it has an outdated list of cell towers to connect to.
Image Credit: Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision/GettyImages

If you are having trouble connecting to the Sprint network with your cell phone, it may be that it has an outdated list of cell towers to connect to. You can dial a special number on your phone or, if you are using a smartphone, potentially use your phone's Settings app to update this information. Contact Sprint if you have trouble connecting to the network.


The Preferred Roaming List

When you are using your phone, it uses an internal database called the preferred roaming list, or PRL, that tells it which towers to attempt to connect to. The list is generally designed to distribute cell phone customers to towers to maximize the quality of calls and data and texting speeds while not overwhelming any particular tower. Your phone will download this list from your carrier based on where it is.

Your phone may automatically update this list when you restart it or when it leaves airplane mode, but if it does not, there are generally special numbers you can dial to cause your phone to fetch the up-to-date preferred roaming list from your carrier.


Sprint Number to Reset Towers

There is a Sprint update number that you can dial on your phone to cause it to download the new PRL. On many phones, you can dial the special ##873283# and press the Call or Send button to get the new Preferred Roaming List onto your device. This works on many Sprint phones and on other brands that use the Sprint network, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.

If you're not sure if this is the correct number to use to update Sprint towers on your Sprint phone, contact Sprint customer service for help or bring your phone into a Sprint store. If you're using a carrier other than Sprint, contact your carrier or search online for the correct number to dial.


Using Your Phone's Settings

If you're using an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can often update the PRL and other carrier information through your phone's number without dialing a special number.

On an iPhone, when your device is connected to the cell network or to a Wi-Fi network, tap the Settings button on the home screen. Then, tap General and tap About. If there is an update available, you will see an option to install it.


On an Android phone, the exact method may vary from model to model. Generally, you will be able to find the options you need by tapping Settings from your home screen, then tapping About phone and looking for options to update phone settings. Consult the documentation for your particular Android device to find the right options.

If you're unsure which technique is best for your phone, check your phone's documentation or consult with your carrier for guidance.

Troubleshooting Connectivity Problems

If you're having sudden trouble connecting to Sprint or your phone carrier of choice, updating the PRL can be a good first step. If this doesn't help, you can contact your carrier for help to see if there is a tower out in your area or some other problem that can be fixed on the carrier's end.


You can also see if your phone is having sudden connectivity issues in multiple places, which may be a sign that the phone is due for repair or replacement. If the problem is only in a certain area, you may want to check with neighbors or family members with the same carrier to see if they're having the same problem.

If you're having connectivity difficulties in a certain area, you may want to see if there is a Wi-Fi network you can use there with better reception. Many phones support Wi-Fi calling.