Why is my mobile hotspot so much slower than my regular data connection?

Hello all. I'd like to know why my mobile hotspot speeds are so much slower than my regular data connection. I have the old $70 unlimited plan from several years ago, when T-Mobile first started changing things. I have 4G LTE data, and even the mobile hotspot add-on (according to my T-Mobile app) supposedly uses the LTE network and not some slower speed.

However, it has been this way for a long time, not just recently. My download speeds when I test it on the phone itself, using the data connection, are decent. The one I just did was 12Mbps. But when I followed that up with a speed test on my PC, using the mobile hotspot, it was 1.33Mbps!

Why is this? Does the T-Mobile hotspot throttle your data speeds automatically? I've only used 0.1 GB of my allotment, so I know I haven't gone over. This is pretty terrible. Please help!




Best answer by tmo_ian 20 May 2020, 16:47

There were a bunch of Simple Choice plans that you could choose from and not all of them included that. I'd recommend contacting us over the phone or Facebook/Twitter so we can look at your account and let you know exactly what's going on.

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Userlevel 6
Badge +13

Hotspot data is throttled down to approximately 3G speeds.

Well, that would certainly explain it, but is it supposed to be this way? The description of the mobile hotspot in the T-Mobile app itself says it uses the 4G LTE network.

Userlevel 6
Badge +13

It does, just throttled down to slower speeds unless you pay for 4G speeds with Hotspot add-ons.

Well, that's frustrating, but thanks for the answer!

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

There shouldn't be any speed reduction unless the data bucket usage that you pay for is depleted. If that's not the case, there may be something else going on with the hostpot connection.

Well, that's two opposite things I'm being told now. Is the mobile hotspot reduced to 3G by default, or should I be getting the same speeds as I see when I use the phone data connection itself??

Userlevel 2
Badge +10

It depends on your specific plan. For example, our Magenta plans include 3 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot data that drops down to 3G once you've used it up. But our Essentials plan doesn't include any 4G LTE mobile hotspot data, only 3G speeds unless you add on a hotspot feature. You can use My T-Mobile or the T-Mobile app to see what plan you have and what's included.

I have the Simple Choice plan from several years ago. The mobile hotspot description seems to indicate that I have 4G LTE data for it. It says:

"No Wi-Fi available? No worries. Use your device as a mobile hotspot -- backed by the power of T-Mobile's award-winning 4G LTE network."

That's all it says under the "Mobile hotspot" section.

Some carriers do throttle hotspot, and/or limit the speed. Not sure if Verizon does, but I know T-Mobile does depending on your plan. The devices can also be a source of the problem, and of course the fact that it's a wireless connection can be an issue.

Userlevel 2
Badge +10

There were a bunch of Simple Choice plans that you could choose from and not all of them included that. I'd recommend contacting us over the phone or Facebook/Twitter so we can look at your account and let you know exactly what's going on.

When I first signed up with t-mobile, tethering was provided at full speed. Since maybe 4 months ago, it seems that t-mobile has made it slow to sometimes unusable. Have no idea what to do...

I had this same issue with both my iPhone 6s plus, and my OnePlus 7 Pro. I called the 611 support and was transferred to a technician who informed me that the person who added the Pro plan to my account that adds the 20gb of LTE hotspot hadn't been synced up properly. They had my shut down each phone, then they did something on their end and I then turned the phone back on and connected my laptop to the tether or hotspot wifi. Before I added the 20gb plan, I was getting .20-.30 Mbps on tether, and the exact same after getting the 20gb plan. But after the technician did their magic while I talked to them, I was pulling 75mbps on tether for both devices. I hope this helps someone, even though it seems ridiculously simple, there is some nonsense syncing issue that the technician can fix really easily over the phone. Good luck

Tmobile use any gimmick they could to move you over to their Tmobile one plan, Last year including a simple upgrade, line changes or anything. 


T-mobile customer service fucked me around with this bullshit. The device hot spot was CLEARLY very quick and reliable months ago. Now it is USELESS! So slow, in fact, that I cannot even load the gmail in under ten minutes on my Chromebook or laptop. The devices are fine on other networks. The phone web service is fast. But the fucking hot spot is ridiculously slow now. 

They offered NO solutions other than to try and sell me another plane--with a limited bandwidth of 4g hot spot. So, T-mobile can go fuck itself in it’s Godless fucking asshole.