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

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

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.

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. 

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 . 

Userlevel 7
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Hotspot data is throttled down to approximately 3G speeds.

Userlevel 2

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

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. 


I feel totally duped by T-Mobile.

i have purchased a 15 GB high speed data pass plan for my vacation trip to another country. I took this because i knew i will have almost no internet and need fast wifi…..but surely not (only) on my phone but i need it though the horpsot on my mac and my tablet.

The good thing…the speed on my iphoe is raslly fast with 180 mbps.

The VERY bad thing, as i purchased the plan only to get my other devices to work….the tehtering with the hotspot only delives about 1.4 mbps !! Thats less than a hundredth !!
i cant work with this and the money for my plan is totally wasted.

last time i purchased a plan from t-mobile…

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 .

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.

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

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

Userlevel 6
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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 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.

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

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 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 never had an issue with hotspot before but since this past Thursday, I haven’t been able to do anything using my hotspot. I use the hotspot to work remotely when I am away from home so this is extremely frustrating.

My bill is $200 per month for the 3 lines under a military plan - I never had an issue with hotspot before. 

Really feel like there is an issue on the other side of things as far as bandwidth goes and would love an explanation.

When I travel, I buy local sim cards in every country. I never have a problem with using my phone as a hotspot. Then I come back to America and find that you vampires try to charge extra for something I get for free everywhere else. It's insulting and I'm extremely unhappy about it.


I have the Magenta Max plan, and when I got the hotspot capability increased (the premium version) it was absolutely terrible. I was so disappointed. Then Go5g/Plus came out and I couldn't switch back to regular Magenta. The hotspot capability is garbage. I can't do much of anything. I thought it was my phone, but my fiance's phone does it, too. I have a Samsung s22 and he has an iPhone 13 pro. Hotspot is sloooooooooow. I connect my tablet to my phone and try to download things and can't, even though my phone states I have 200mbps download speeds. Yeah right. I'm really disappointed. Fiance's phone is doing the same thing. What's the point of paying for hotspot? Nothing. 

I’m also having this issue. I’m getting Less than 1MB/s Download and rarely more than .5mb upload. I can’t even work from home on that. It took 3 hours for my email to get updated from the day before.

I’d have to say this is the slowest hotspot I’ve ever had. The claim is that I’m running on 4glte which is either or I’m being throttled and throttled hard. I just ran a speed test on my PS and it’s downloading at a blistering 426.2 kbps(no that’s not a typo it’s actually in Kbps). It’s strange I didn’t realize I was paying for a fast dialup connection.

Pictures or it’s not true ^

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...