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

Userlevel 2

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

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46 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

Hotspot data is throttled down to approximately 3G speeds.

Userlevel 2

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 7
Badge +15

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

Userlevel 2

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

Userlevel 6
Badge +15

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.

Userlevel 2

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 3
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.

Userlevel 2

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 3
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 . 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  itself in it’s . 

T-mobile customer service  me around with this . 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 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 itself in it’s . 


you too?


the service repair individual was as helpful as the newbie that sold me the device initially.


the sales associate attached the mobile hotspot to my tablet so the wifi was slow to begin with since the tablet only offers 3G speeds. then when i went to get it fixed i was duped into uping the Gigs to 6 from 2 because “it will help me work from home better” >surejan.gif< then when i saw how slow the connection still was, the associate over the phone convinced me that what i really needed to have more bandwidth is to get the 100Gig package because that “makes more sense”. well its been a couple days and i saw that the mobile hotspot connects to a city that isnt where i live. neither my account has been updated to show i have 100gb or has the speed improved. so after an hour on hold for a specialist technician, i get the most BS in 5 minutes i could have been told since the begining to avoid all this mess. i was told that because the “tower that my device was connecting too had so much traffic, that was slowing down my speeds and i should wait for a less trafficed time to use my mobile hotspot to see improvement”. so i asked then what was the point of being sold such a useless device. to which he said “well we are trying to improve our towers”. ive only had this device for one week and it is very much going back to the store!

I’ve had T-mobile service for roughly 15 years. Up until recently my tethering used to be the exact same speed as my phone data speed. No more. Using it’s about ½ as fast. Not sure what happened to T-mobile lately, but their service and their customer service has dropped way off. T-mo used to be one of my favorite vendors for personal/work. I was a huge advocate/ambassador for them. But not lately, and it’s really disappointing. I can’t help but wonder if this new worse service level has anything to do with the Sprint merger. Hope they get their act together soon or I may look elsewhere at my next upgrade.

Userlevel 2

@bardo, and others….I’m relatively new to T-mo and have 4 lines going at the moment, and considering buying a hotspot (inseego) with the $50 a month plan, but after reading a bunch of comments on this forum, I am recalibrating. 

perhaps they do not realize how much their customers would appreciate a little more transparency…personally I would rather know what to expect, and to feel they were being consistent...I would prefer to give my little bit of business to a company that shows a modicum of respect.

.I guess it depends on Corporate to decide if their policies are working for them….Look at Comcast, they treat their customers like you know what, and they have only grown over the years...IDK, seems like a very short-sighted policy to me...

I bought the 100 gig hotspot because t mobile throttling my iPhone hot spot. Worked great for 10 days, watched about 8 episodes of Better Call Saul on Netflix.  Now they throttled it so that it takes a minute to load a web page. Google speed test shows 0.09!!! That’s 1g speed. Makes no difference what time of day. Had to go back to my phone. Like Frontier before I dumped it.

Userlevel 2

@Thaddeus , And of all of us:

thanks for that.  The biggest value these forums have is hearing the first-hand experiences of others, so much appreciation for your contribution.  But very sorry to hear that.  They should not be pissing on our backs and calling it rain.

When Starlink (elon musk) comes to town, global internet will kick all three telcos out of their complacency.

Several things come to mind…..

#1- does corporate realize that many of their best clients understand what they are doing ?

#2- or do they think they can follow the business model of comcast,(promise them anything but give them Arpegge) and still succeed?

#3- what generates customer loyalty is mutual respect, trust, and consideration.  If the customer does not feel that the company is being honest or giving them a square deal, they will look elsewhere….

#4- it is in the interest of t-mo to tell us EXACTLY what they are doing…(obviously not the case in Thaddeus’s and many others situation).

If they always lie about the status of their network, then people will not be inclined to stay with them.

On the other hand, if they leveled with us, then I would rather stick with them and watch them become the Number One Telco in America. They are doing a number of great things which could change or “disrupt" their industry.  In truth, 5G will take a while.  It is a highly complicated bit of kit.   I just think most customers would welcome a little more honesty. 

But we should remember that t-mo is a German company, and we are just the rubes in their global marketing strategy.   C'mon Elon.

I have had this same issue for years, and T-Mobile customer service always refuses to fix it. Regardless of the plan, which is just an excuse, 3G speeds are up to 3 mbps, and I never get anywhere even close on my hotspot. T-Mobile needs to deal with this issue.

I have an older plan which is supposed to have 10GB of LTE hotspot.  Have used for several years with my iPad.  When I connected recently, I noticed that it was being throttled to 600KB which is not really usable.  

When I called tech support they gave some BS answer of the cell network being upgraded and them deciding that most people don’t use it;.  I told them I had encountered this in several states as I recently travelled and encountered same limitation in multiple states… Same answer is my cell tower is is being upgraded.

Not happy as I specifically bought a Wifi iPad so I did not have to pay for seperate plan and always have my cell phone.  Think they have specifically decided to drop this service to force people to upgrade or purchase other options.  Still listed as a feature in my plan but no joy.

All of corporate life is this way. They use the bare minimum. My download speed since December has been .6mbps-.8mbps and upload speed has been 5mbps-9mbps.  Why the higher upload speed than the download speed on a mobile hotspot & MY DATA???!!!??!!  Both get around the same speed at all times... Regardless of the time of day. It's all nonsense everyone. They specifically adjust the speeds. As if you were to simply turn the water faucet on full blast, but only get a drop. Why?  What's the problem corporate america?  You're not making enough  money you . I'll sell my soul for fantastic, full speed mobile hotspot.  Sounds pricy enough you pieces of.


It's simple. Put into the service what you claim to offer and we will all gladly pay the already inflated amount you are forcing us to pay anyways ... But at least then you won't be complete .

I was a huge fan of TMobile up untill 4 months ago. I would tell everyone " I'm never going to cheat on them"I really loved the customer support. As of recently I want nothing to do with these people they are scamming us. I have been through so much with not getting sufficient speeds to be able to work. I upgraded my plan, I bought a new devise, the new devise didn't work, I had to be at the store 4 hours when I was supposed to be working. They lost my sim card to my phone and the connector. When I tried to tell them the new phone won't even connect they tried to tell me it's promotional I can't return it. I said but it doesn't connect. Wtf do you mean they told me well does it make calls? SMH really TMobile. Finely I told them I'm not leaving untill they return it,I sat there plugged in my work computer. They finally said they will return it. After that They upgraded my plan so I could get "better signal" knowing the towers are down. They then said oh we can rest your Internet it should work better. And that didn't work .. meanwhile I'm spending hours in between on the phone with reps and in store. Finally I get my people at work to test my speeds, or lack thereof. I let them know I'm about to loose my job due to this it's making me look like I'm playing around at home and not working. I let them know the speeds and that was when I found out about the "towers are down in my zip code" these people then apologize and offer a $30 credit. I say thank you but what I really want is a working connection. They then offer to reset phone again. The service was worse. Now I need to pay for childcare go into the office and work. Now we are on month 2 of issues I attempt to work from home.. same thing but I can't even connect at all. I call them they say wouldn't tell me about the outage in my area so I let them know, they. To my surprise yes man it's been out for several months but they are working on it. The last guy did not not give me my credit I told the lady that I was promised a credit and was not honored and she said my personal guarantee. He will credit the 39 and what I'm going to do for you is give you another credit of .....I  said I just want working internet.  Well I ended up getting a $25 credit and that was all. I called them I said you guys promised 2 credits and all that's there is 1 for $25 and that's after I complained about it not being there. They said well we can't refund you any money that was a promotion. Now my blood pressure is through the roof I have my boss texting me wondering what's going on, ... The stress these people cause by trying to give you the run around is BS. They just care about the next $1. Well I let them know they are crooked taking people money for upgrades and selling new devised and mo to

Im a little late to the party but I've just noticed my slow hotspot about 2 weeks ago. I never noticed any problems a couple months ago until I recently went on travel and had to use my hotspot again. Needless to say I was connecting between .2 - .6Mbps and could barely load a video or webpages. I've been with T-Mobile for 3-4 years now and been happy until this recent issue. I seriously thought they would be a lot different than other carriers but they're just the same. They all try to squeeze the most money out of you and it seems this is one of their tactics, slowing down your hotspot speed so you can pay for more data with higher speed rate. Pretty sad. It might be time to switch but the problem is trying to figure out which carrier is less evil than the other.

I am beyond frustrated with this issue. I’ve been a TMO customer for 20 years. This issue is unfixable at the client side and hours of calls with support does nothing. There is clearly some network management rule in effect that throttles speeds for users accessing the hotspot feature regardless of what plan you have. It doesn’t matter what phone you have, what city you are in, what time of the day it is, what is included in your plan, or how much data you used up to that point. It NEVER delivers 5g speeds or even 4G speeds most of the time. It’s significantly slower. Often it’s completely unusable (dropping to less than 1Mbps) despite not being close to being over the 40GB cap. In addition, they consistently overstate the hotspot usage in order for you to hit whatever cap you have. 

This issue really sucks and it’s affecting my remote work which requires a reliable internet connection and the ability to not have a zoom call that is a choppy, distorted mess. I’m at the point where I really have no choice but to cancel after 20 years and switch to a different service provider. This is my first and potentially last post. I never complained about anything that entire time until now. But I’m tired of paying for a service that doesn’t deliver what was advertised and wasting countless hours trying to resolve it. The only fix is for TMO to stop throttling users on the network side whenever hotspot is used.