Phone call sounds garbled and robotic

  • 14 December 2017
  • 33 replies

Every so often, maybe about once or twice a week, I will encounter this problem where I will make or receive a phone call and the call will sound garbled in general, but voices will sound robotic and unclear. Even the dial tone is garbled. This has happened while calling other mobile phones as well as calling a landline. Every time it has happened, I have been in an area with good coverage, normally full coverage or near-full coverage. If I am streaming music prior to the call, it will be choppy and have streaming issues when I end the call. The only method I have found to resolve it is to restart my phone, which is not an ideal experience.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? I never experienced this when I was previously on the AT&T network and I'm concluding it is probably a network issue rather than a device issue, however I haven't ruled out either as a possibility. My device is a Moto G4 Play, which hasn't had any problems since I got it.


Best answer by jkabonick 18 December 2017, 14:13

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Often times signal strength is not the best indicating of connection quality. However I do want to ask a few questions to try and narrow this down with you. When the issue of garbled voices happen is their some sort of pattern to it? Is it in a specific location or when doing a specific task (I.e can you repeat the problem reliably)? If it is a specific location do you know of anyone else with T-mobile service that can test the area or maybe own another device that you can test calls with?

You mentioned restarting the phone was the only way to fix the issue but have you tried turning airplane mode on and off as a short term fix? It basically forces your phone to reconnect to the network like a restart does but takes less time. Just thought I let you know as a band-aid fix in the short term. Sorry for all the questions and I will do my best to help.

Userlevel 4

How are things going? @dragon1562​ has some great questions here! Please let us know if you still need help.

I haven't encountered it for a about a week; it had been a few days since it last happened when I posted the original question. As for the questions posted above, I haven't been able to figure out a pattern. The few times it had happened I was driving and my phone was connected to my car via bluetooth. I was in different locations, only separated by a few miles, and with high coverage. In two instances it occurred while connecting to a mobile phone not on the T-mobile network and another time it occurred while connecting to a land-line.

I've been unable to reproduce the problem consistently, and since it has only happened while in my car, I usually just stop trying to make the call until I can restart the phone. I can try airplane mode next time it occurs. Come to think of it, may it be possible that something in my car is messing with my signal? I've noticed the GPS has issues finding my location and updating while doing direction, but I just figured it was the device itself.

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I am glad to hear that the problem seems to have stopped! I am a little weary though so please do let us know if it crops up again. 

I know this thread is old, but I have this issue all the time and I'm on the verge of needed to move away from T Mobile.  I'm actually on a conference call right now (for the last 30 minutes) and it's happened 4x.  Audio pauses, then goes very deep and slow until it "catches up".  Is there a known issue and fix?

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Well that is no good at all! Is this a common occurrence or is this the first time? How many bars of signal does your phone show that you have when this happened? 

I have been having this issue as well. The phone will be stationed in one place and I will experience this.  I also could be holding the phone standing still and if I move my hand the call becomes distorted. I have a Note 9. It's extremely frustrating because I miss parts of a conversation 

Userlevel 4

Oh no @crimmi​!

We would need to gather some examples of this and open up a support request for this. Please Contact Us when you have a moment.

I have a line which includes my husband and both of my parents.  They used to live about 2hrs away and recently moved about 20 minutes away.  Ever since they moved closer, any time we talk on the phone (whether they call my or I call them--on either of their phones), the first first seconds of every call has this loud garbled, static-like sound, and then it resolves on it's own.  My parents tell me that they never hear it on their end of the phone.  I have no idea why it's happening.

Userlevel 4

Well that is incredibly weird! Do your parents use Wi-Fi calling on their phones by any chance? Also, would it be possible to have them call you or you call them the next time you guys are together in the same location to see if it still happens?

Hi - I had something very similar happen today and got it resolved, so I found this thread and thought I'd add my experience to it. 

I have a OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition which has always worked perfectly on TMobile since I got it in January.  This evening, I was trying to call a local business, and he kept saying "I'm sorry, but I can't understand you. You'll have to call us back."  And then he'd hang up.  It was odd, because I could understand him perfectly, and I had full signal strength and had turned off wi-fi so that I didn't have any potential issues with that as I sometimes do.

After calling him the 2nd time and him hanging up again, I tried calling my own work cell phone, which is on AT&T.  It rang and I answered it, and as I spoke, I understood what he was talking about. I sounded like a robot spitting out random crackling sounds. There was no way to understand a word I said.  I immediately restarted my phone, and that had NO EFFECT on the issue.

I wondered if something had happened to my microphone. I tested with my voice recorder app, and that was crystal clear. No crackling or distortion at all.

I live right down the street from the T-Mobile shop, so I popped in a few minutes later and asked one of the guys if he could help.  He tested with me and verified the issue, and then he did something to "reset" the actual phone application on the device. After he did this, it started working again.

Chris, I don't know if you still monitor this thread, but this happened to me again today.  I chatted with OnePlus support (I bought my device directly from them since it's a McLaren 6T) and they had no clue.  They had me wipe the phone's cache by rebooting into a special mode.  That didn't work.  The only thing that works is clearing the STORAGE of the actual phone application. Not sure what could be causing this.

All these posts are great and might help if you have a new phone, but for old android phone, it doesn't sound promising. After the last update to Andriod 10, our work phones start performing weirdly, like garbled, choppy, or robotic. This issue happened on Nokia 6, 7, Samsung, and  MI A. the only common is software and carrier, which is (T-mobile) — Trying to knock things down and see what caused this. We have replaced three phones and so far working well for the new phones. not sure if the data signal doesn't support the old phone after updating the software, or the software not fully compatible with the old phone 

I'm having this issue now from home

It happens on vowifi and volte

Doesn't matter if I'm calling an outside number or my voicemail

Using a oneplus5t, same issue if I switch to my HTC U11


I'm in your LTE extended area so I can't try 2G/3G

I discovered this thread thru Google search and experiencing the same problem.  Any solutions from T-Mobile?

I’ve been having this issue for a month now and it happened again today when my wife called me at 6:10PM CST. Hanged up and called her back at 6:15 PM CST and she still couldn’t hear me but hear a robotic voice. Have to reboot my iPhone XR to make it work fine again, my wife has the same phone and on the same T-Mobile plan as me but no issues for her but my phone is having the problem. 

Any resolution or suggestions from T-Mobile support? 

I have been having this exact issue and it has been driving me insane!

It began approximately 10/11/2021. Has continued through 10/30/2021.

 Locations include but not limited to,

Warrenton, Clatsop County, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon

 Beaverton, Oregon

 Tigard, Oregon

 Hillsboro, Oregon

Timeline of events:

 Received phone back from Apple after repair of camera 10/11/2021.

Symptoms began around this date after making and receiving some phone calls after receiving the phone back from the Apple repair center.

 Apple Store Washington Square Genius #1 (Bianca) unable to determine what hardware or software issue might be involved on 10/25/2021. Internal diagnostics found no hardware or software issues with the device. Apple Genius requested I perform a Network Reset. Unable to open an AppleCare claim because no device issues were discoverable to send the device in to the repair center in Elk Grove, California.

Contacted AppleCare by chat with support 10/29/2021. Apple offered Express Replacement Service with a device value of $1,149.00 and a hold placed on my account until device received and inspected by repair center. I decided to decline the Express Replacement Service and commuting to go through the Apple Store and attempt to involve T-Mobile Customer Care.

 Contacted Apple Support by phone 10/29/2021. Apple representative was able to hear the distortion on the line. Directed me to schedule an appointment with the Apple Store. Appointment available soonest at 5:50 p.m. 
Told by Apple Store Washington Square Genius #2 on 10/29/2021 that I need to talk to my carrier. Carrier (T-Mobile) so far unable to offer any assistance.

 T-Mobile retail store operated by Exclusive Wireless 10/30/2021 manager Brandon able to reproduce symptoms, replaced SIM Card. Was unable to get carrier services to authenticate and/or connect with the device with a replacement SIM.
He updated the device to the latest software (from iOS 15.0 to iOS 15.2). No improvement to call quality.

Opened a third case by phone with Apple at direction and supervision of the T-Mobile retail branch 10/29/2021 under the device’s Limited Warranty. Directed to schedule an appointment and bring in under the failure of the device under the warranty.

Apple believes that this is a network related issue through and through.


 1) Making and receiving calls

 a) Distorted audio (when both sending and receiving audio on calls)

b) Robot voice receiving audio

c) Voice Changer sound receiving audio

d) clicking/tapping sounds receiving (other end also heard the tapping and connection quality issues

e) repeating syllables receiving audio, whether live or automated 

 Frequency of Symptoms:

Daily, almost every incoming call or call outgoing

Occasionally this does not occur, and there are no symptoms and no sign of any issues whatsoever. Usually this is when demonstrating the issue at the Apple Store. Occasionally call audio quality is fine and eventually turns to shit after a few minutes of being connected.

Audio from other sources (Spotify, etcetera) unaffected.

Facetime working without issues (FaceTime audio and video): Yes


Please resolve. I have two devices on contract purchased new from T-Mobile this year. Credit Class B.
Would appreciate a full resolution.

I have documented this with recordings available of my calls.

Thank you



I’ve experienced these same issues. It’s going on nearly three years for me. It’s very sporadic. I’ve been in the store and asked for help, but their advice didn’t resolve the problem. I then bought a new phone and am now experiencing the same issue with the new phone. Strangely, my partner who’s on the account hasn’t experienced any of these issues. I also don’t have issue when I call her. I only have issues when calling or receiving calls from everyone else, but infrequently. Maybe 1 out of 10 times...

I have been having this same issue for several months. The problem showed up randomly in terms of time and day. When the problem showed up, what I can hear in the phone is like voice fast-forwarded so much so that it is just noise. Not sure how to fix it.  My phone is Oneplus 5T.

My old phone was a Oneplus 6 and my new phone is a Google Pixle. I’ve have trouble with both, so I think it’s a T-Mobile issue. Given how they haven’t contacted me or replied to these posts, it makes me think they don’t care. I would switch providers, but it’s such a hassle and the price would go up.

I often have very poor voice calls. The other person hears me fine, but certain people, i hear garbled words, like under water, silence when they speak, and finally a discernible word. This is calls I make or receive. It happens more often (I think) when the other person is on a Verizon line. A friend has a landline- every call is a struggle, often leading me to reluctantly say “I’m sorry I can’t understand you.” and I hang up on my friend. This happens with business calls, personal calls. This has been going on for months. I got a new SE about 6 months ago. I’ve had the problem for months. TMobile tech support said in December “engineers” would fix the problem. The tech said he would call to check. He never called. I went into T-Mobile store. The man cleaned the speaker , changed settings (basically turned off Bluetooth, WiFi…. And said to call Apple. The problem did not resolve. Called Apple and they sent me a replacement phone. Very first call to my sister- in Oregon on iPhone withe Verizon- garbled. Call to landline garbled, calls to business, garbled. T-Mobile tech support on phone again a few days ago- “writing a ticket”, which he verified was NOT done in December. “Engineers” will fix it in a few days. The problem is NOT fixed. Will call FCC today. If not resolved in a few days, I will chang carrier and iPhone. I have been loyal to Apple from the beginning and T-Mobile for many years. I have paid good money for the phone, and paid my T-Mobile bills on time. I have put in many hours on hold and talking with my T-Mobile specialist and tech support. Apple? It must be the carrier. I am tired of the run-around!

I had a similar problem on my OnePlus 5 and it seem to happen on the receiving a call side through the ear speaker. I’m running the latest version of LineageOS, and turning the speaker phone on and off seemed to fix the problem for me, at least temporarily, Give it a try.

If it only happens in your car, you probably have OnStar or other service, which is interfering with your cell signal.   Since OnStar uses cell signals to communicate with the mothership, it is probably impacting your reception.

Also being in or near a metal building or other structure can reflect your signal back to your phone, creating an overlaying echo effect of the signal, which scrambles the original signal.

Hey all, 

In case anyone needs help figuring this out, I’m writing this to share a bit of research I recently found that may explain why this is experienced during phone calls: 


Whenever we enable Bluetooth on our cell phones, we allow its frequencies to be transmitted and other frequencies to be received which will inevitably encounter a normal amount of interference. However, the you may experience a greater magnitude of interference depending on your cell phone’s proximity to other Bluetooth devices. These include Bluetooth connection to your vehicle (ie. CarPlay), wireless headphones (ie. AirPods), wireless speakers, wireless television, and essentially any device that you are able to access remotely from your cell phone. Additionally, if others around you are using Bluetooth connection to their own devices as well, then that too will increase interference. 

Although this is not a definite solution to the robot-static-distorted audio sound, this is a solution that has worked so far for me in preventing it during phone calls: Deactivate Bluetooth (temporarily) during important phone calls and when you are in public places to maximize quality of usage. Of course, re-enable it when desired. 

I currently use the iPhone 13 Pro Max, one of Apple’s most recent iPhone releases, and I have also been a longtime customer of T-Mobile. Therefore, I hold a lot of trust for these two big companies as I have never encountered this issue until recently. Since the modern era is seeing an increase in usage of wireless Bluetooth connection, and drastic changes in technology in general, it makes sense for this issue to increase in prevalence as well. 

Hopefully this helps. Feel free to take this with a grain of salt, since I am just a high school student. But just like most adults (and my parents), I think the younger generation has a very good aptitude for dealing with technology, sometimes to a fault (haha… pain). 

Best wishes!