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Sudden terrible (and strange) data speeds at home, TMo Tells me the towers are "fine"

  • 5 October 2023
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I’ll try to be brief, but have a bit of data to share. First, let me state that T-Mobile supports reps are super nice, BUT cannot think outside of the narrow box they are trained in and really can’t help much. I have contacted and been on the phone with them 2 times now for hours trying to figure this problem out. Said they were going to toss it to network engineers and get back to me. Well, problem still exists, no call back, still getting really really awful speeds for no reason that I can think of other than tower or transport issues. 

Also, while I am not professing to be an expert in this arena, I am actually a network and infrastructure engineer at a massive/global manufacturing company by trade and have been for 2 decades now so I am very familiar with this space. 

The important bits:

T-Mobile Magenta Max (Veteran) Family Plan (so effectively unlimited data and something like 40GB or 60GB tethering, which we never use). 

6 Lines (2 lines are in TX and have NO issues at all, the other 4 are in Virginia, we are all having issues at home)

Had the same plan for almost 5 years now and this has never happened. 

Live in a rural area, but we have one tower that is .6 miles from my house. It is on a small mountain and I have a direct line of site, unobstructed to it. 

I get about 2-3 bars 5G or, if I set it to LTE for preferred, I get full bars. 

2 Fridays ago, I was doing some testing of speeds around my property outside. We wrote down download and upload speeds in about 25 different areas around the house. The average of all of these was around 60 Mbps/5 Mbps. This is actually not the fastest, but suitable considering the area. This was on 5G.

About a week ago, we started getting TERRIBLE performance on our phones. I am talking less than 1Mbps-2 Mbps down and like 50 Mbps upload for some reason, consistently. This happens on 3 different android phones (Pixels and Galaxy), and an iPhone 14. 

I get the same exact speed range no matter if I force 4G, 5G and no matter where i am at on the property for the most part. 

When we go elsewhere and run Speedtests, our speed is as would be expected for the most part. Like in a different city where I work. 

When I test via hotspot or tether, again..speeds exactly the same range of speed .

A few other things that may be related (since they seem to be data related)

None of these 4 lines can dial data-related short codes (i.e. #WEB#). We either get a message stating this Service is not available (or valid) your your account type -or- it will spin and then come back after like 2 minutes and say “Connection problem or invalid MMI Code”

When I look at my account online, it says for these lines that we have used 0.00GB of data which is not accurate at all. 

Again, these may not be related, but a little bit suspect IMO. 

When the reps say they look a the tower, there is no enhancement or upgrade going on. OK, fine but that doesn’t mean something isn’t messed up. There clearly is something going on. I know the exact tower identifier I am using (again, there is only one here) but they cannot confirm they are looking at the right one bc they say they don’t have that info (comeon...really?)

I use multiple sources for testing speed and they are all fairly in alignment. I am not exaggerating when I say I am getting such slow speeds, even on 5G or LTE. I tested just a minute ago and it was 876k down and 27 Mbps up. 

 

It’s not congestion

There is just no way. To start, most people in this part of my county either don’t have mobile phones still/yet (farming community) and, if they do, they use either Verizon or US Cellular. Population density is very sparse and we are not a place where people come in and out of and demand changes. So to go from 30-40Mbps average to 1.5Mbps or less in 2 weeks seems super far fetched. 

I am frustrated bc I keep getting told that it will get looked into but doesn’t seem to be an I never get a call back and the problem remains. I am at a loss on what to do. We rely on mobile phones this far out and this is frankly unacceptable. We are paying lot for nothing it seems. 

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions at all?

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Best answer by formercanuck 5 October 2023, 20:42

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I can’t believe it, but I think I actually got them to fix a problem. It shouldn’t have been this hard, but I’ll take it. 

As I mentioned earlier, on X, I got a response that they were going to have someone take a look at it. Like a real live person checking the problem out. Somewhere between 6:00-6:30PM this evening, things got back to normal. These speeds are actually great for the area and I’ll take it! 

Interestingly enough, you can see where the download and upload completely flipped around 6:00PM (Green is Download and Yellow is Upload). Now, I am very curious as to what the problem actually was! I am cautiously optimistic, but time will tell. Thanks to those of you who basically agreed with me and allowed me to gripe and the suggestions. 

 

 

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Good to hear.   Unfortunately, in some areas, it takes some persistence, and I still doubt that T-Mobile has a good support plan since its expansion/deployment into rural areas.  The vast majority of their sites/customers are in urban areas, but by contrast, a handful of sites in less urban areas cause a lot of issues for a larger area.  If the coverage, and performance is good - that’s great.  Now to work on reliability and items like generators.  Of course, that will cost them $$$.  Since the biggest number of customers are urban (and potential customers), they typically focus on it.

This is a neverending issues of failure to provide contracted service. It's time we organized and sent them to regulating agencies for consumer protection. Im tired of being lied to and never having this issue of timed out data requests and who knows what else. They have clearly oversold the network and it's getting worse and worse. It's like having an AOL DIALUP ACCOUNT circa 1998. Tmobile is like Bell of old and needs to be broken up and investigated for antitrust and fraudulant service.

I’m having the same issues.  My T-Mobile gateway always has 5G and at least four bars - sometimes five - and yet my speed will go from 180gbs to 0.1 gps in a heartbeat.  I really don’t want to have to switch back to cable internet from Xfinity, but I guess I’m going to have to do that, as the horrible inconsistencies of T-Mobile make it unusable.  Sad!

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My 5g home internet has been very good for months getting “good” signal with average download speed 150 mbps or better and upload of @10 mbps most of the time using n41 band. Lately I’ve been getting mostly “weak” signals with download speeds often below 100 mbps and uploads under 3 mbps. I have changed nothing. My gateway has not been moved. I have not gone above T-Mobile’s throttling cap of 1.2 tb in any month. What‘s going on? 

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My 5g home internet has been very good for months getting “good” signal with average download speed 150 mbps or better and upload of @10 mbps most of the time using n41 band. Lately I’ve been getting mostly “weak” signals with download speeds often below 100 mbps and uploads under 3 mbps. I have changed nothing. My gateway has not been moved. I have not gone above T-Mobile’s throttling cap of 1.2 tb in any month. What‘s going on? 

It’s a bit strange that with those speeds and low signal strength you are connecting to N41.  It would seem N71 would be a far better choice.  I wonder if the N71 band is having issues at the tower you are connecting with.  Maybe monitor with your TM Internet app what bands you are connecting with and see if an N71 connection is ever made or not.

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Sorry, I left out that the weak signal is on n71. But this, as I mentioned, is new and quite annoying. 

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Often its not so much that n71 is ‘weak’, but limited in capacity.  In a rural area, n71 should be the default, but with capacity issues (lets assume 10x10 or 15x15, your SINR will not be great if many are using it, and performance will be awful.  Eg.  Where I am, close to a tower, n71 has worse SINR than n41 (but better RSRP). and performance isn’t great.  Upload can be as high as download.

On n41, its 100MHz (flat TDD), where ~5-10MHz is carved out for upload.  Upload is weak, and a small chunk.  SINR will be great, as there’s typically little overlap between towers.  Similarly n41 uses 4x4 MIMO, allowing for effectively 2x performance.

In my area, under ‘ideal’ conditions, n71 indoors, n71 15x15 = 40Mbps/12Mbps.RSRP -90dBm, SS-SINR 10dB.

n41 (100+80) = 421Mbps, 7.8Mbps, RSRP -107dBm, SS-SINR=11dB

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