New York City 4G LTE Service Issue


    For a long time I've been a huge T-Mobile cheerleader. I have LOVED what John Legere has done to shake up the industry and force all carriers into transparent pricing.  That has made the world a better place, for sure! When my sister, who had been on Sprint forever, wanted to change, I convinced her to join me on T-Mobile. Afterall, I loved what the company stood for, and you, know, all the carriers are pretty much same, unless you go Verizon, and you're going to pay extra for them, right? These feelings have been slowly drained out of me through years of poor service and problems that I can no longer defend, and I want answers!


    I'm really trying to understand the problems with 4G LTE service in Manhattan and surrounding areas. I realize that the number of users in an area can have a large impact on service quality, and of course the NYC area has a higher than average concentration.I am not an expert in any of these things, but I've been through the customer support mill numerous times now with T-Mobile. They have really great customer support!  So great, in fact, that they've been placating me with false promises for years. I tweet John Legere and they get back to me immediately, and they really sound like they care.  I get the sense that they are working closely with engineers to get to the bottom of my concerns, and they always come back with the same answer.  Something to the effect of, "we are working on a number of projects in your area to improve service greatly and they are slated to be complete around [insert some time in the next few months here].  I've been through it enough times now to realize that it's the company line.  It's really good, but I no longer believe a word of it.


    I've seen WSJ articles and other sources about the billions of dollars they're spending in certain markets to improve the service.  And I have, on occasion, been truly impressed by the network speeds I've seen in some areas of the city. But the area where I work (TriBeCa), and the area where I live (West Brooklyn), get subpar speeds. That is an understatement. I've taken to performing regular speedtests so that I can document my experience and prove, even to myself, that it isn't just 'in my head'. Afterall, who doesn't complain about their cell service, right? While indoor tests surely matter, I'm not sure that it's fair to blame the carrier for the walls of the buildings I am in, so I always make sure to do the majority of my tests outside.  I don't remember the last time I got anything approaching a 1.0 download speed in either of these most common places that I use my phone.  My upload speeds are faster, but with download speeds of .13, .42, .8, if I'm lucky, what does Upload speed matter?


    I am SICK OF IT, and no longer willing to accept the standard answers.  I am a thinking, intelligent, compassionate person, and I'm more than willing to accept a legitimate answer.  The question is whether anyone at T-Mobile can provide it? If you don't want to respond publicly, then please send me a message. It's just not ok to keep paying $100/month for a service that drops calls on my elderly mother, when she can get through, that prevents me using some of the most popular social media services or clicking on pictures and articles because I don't know if I'm willing to wait the requisite 30 or more seconds for the Instagram photo to load, if it ever does. I'm amazed that anyone uses or likes GIF's, because if I waited around for them to start moving in my Facebook comments, I'd never get anything done.  Does everyone else just have more patience than me, or do I have terribly slow service?


    Here are some things I'm thinking could be issues. I'm just taking a few guesses. Am I right? Anyone?

    - The billions are being spent, but there are permitting issues in the city that delay things.

    - Internal Project Management issues? Company bureaucracy?

    - The Upgrades have been made, but NY jut has too many people for the changes to feel like much?

    - The 'we're working on a number of projects' line isn't true about anything specific, but is just more like a general 'we're always trying to improve service everywhere'?

    - Most of the money and work has been diverted to 5G, which is taking longer to build out?

    - Somehow it's just my specific phone, and my sister's (both iPhone 7's one regular, one Plus) even after resetting network connections?


    Anyone who might be able to help me get to the bottom of this?

      All replies

      • boyaloud1988

        Re: New York City 4G LTE Service Issue

        Oh Dear. You are not the only one. I just spent few days in New York City (last day was 14 May 2019) and I experienced exactly what you described.

        1 I am using a brand new iPhone 10S Max. My boyfriend is using his iPhone 6s Plus.

        2 we experienced very slow internet in many locations across New Yole City. We both used Speedtest to test our speeds and I am shocked how some of them are under 1 Megabyte per second.

        3 I was not able to FaceTime or FaceTime audio my family to Share with them the New York experience.

        4 in many instances, I had no internet at all even to load the main simple google page.

        5 In many tall buildings, I had no coverage at lel and I had to depend on stores or mall free WiFi.

        6 in many instances, we couldn’t even make a regular phone call.

        7 we stayed in a hotel next to the Trade Centre and OMG we had no signal indoors. We had to depend on WiFi.

        8 turning off the LTE option makes things worse as the 4G only is even slower.

        9 why invest in 5G before you correct the obvious coverage issues.

        10 I asked my friend who had a T-Mobile line to test Speedtest with her Samsung phone. Same results.

        11 Why should we stay with you T-Mobile as you let us down when we need you most? I’d rather pay 50 dollars more for AT&T but get a stable network coverage.

        12 I won’t beg you to fix your problems as this is not news for your T-Mobile. You are aware of this.

        13 Since you are German company, you should have the German efficiency model copied here.





        • drnewcomb2

          Re: New York City 4G LTE Service Issue

          nycscott It all comes down to spectrum. T-Mobile doesn't have enough in most big cities. In particular they lack any usable high-band (> 2GHz) licenses. The two things they are doing to alleviate congestion are to add 600 MHz and to merge with Sprint. 600 MHz takes time because OTA TV stations have to be moved off their current channels to clear up the 600 MHz band. Merging with Sprint takes time because of bureaucracy. At this time they are starting to light up 600 MHz sites around the NYC market. They've also experimented with augmentation in the unlicensed 5 GHz band.


          Anyone shopping for a new phone for use with T-Mobile in big city markets needs to be sure the phone has all necessary post-merger LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 12, 25, 26, 41 & 71) At least 4-way Carrier Aggregation and MIMO.  Band 46 might also be a good idea.


          I've contended that T-Mobile should stop local marketing in big cities until they get things sorted out.  Of course, they don't listen to me.