Question

Change in Technologies and Customer Service

  • 20 September 2020
  • 11 replies
  • 219 views

Badge

I have been a T-Mobile customer for the last 3 years with 3 lines on a military plan, and the service in Houston TX was always excellent.  I have 2 phones from LG and one from Samsung.  In the past few months the company is making changes on the technology (moving to 5G). In this process the service for some customers (co-workers leaving in my area and me) are experiencing lost of service and poor quality signal.  I tried to reach customer service and is been a real ordeal and nightmare in the past few weeks.

My LG phones are 4G LTE with the capacity to connect to  all this bands and frequencies:

GSM 2G

GSM, GPRS, EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz

GSM 3G/3.5G

UMTS, HSPA+: 850, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz

4G LTE

LTE: 2, 4, 5, 12, 25, 26, 41 Bands


In every attempt to reach for assistance I get more disappointed with the service.  The Tech Support make me do a troubleshooting processes on my phones and as a result the service get worst than before.  After the first attempt process I can only make and receive calls on 3G technology with poor reception and the consequences: droop calls, most of the receive calls goes to the voice inbox, etc.  And trough this ordeal with customer service (already lost the number of calls made to them), yesterday (09-19-2020) my phones does not have Internet Service after a long and ridiculous processes done in one LG phone (and only on one). This implies that the change was made on the account by the Expert on Customer Services and not on the changes made on the phone (the only one), leaving the phone technology out of the problem(equation).

In this ordeal the Customer Support options were:

1. If you want to update your phones the only offer available is add a new line to get discounts on the phones.

This option is highly questionable. If the problem is a consequence of an upgrade of the network towards 5G, T-Mobile knows how many customers and where are going to be affected. As a customer friendly network (as per T-Mobile), the least that it can be done: notify the affected ones and if it really cares, offer an upgrade to a more compatible phone with a discount on it.

In T-Mobile new customers receives offers and discounts not available to existing customers (the backbone of the system).

2. To change the military plan to a regular plan. This option was offered to me after a 2296 message: “Hurry! For a limited time, add a FREE line to your account. Really, it’s on us,... etc.” The Military plans (our big family) does not apply to this one.

This offer is an insult and disrespect to every Person that served in any of the US Military branches. As a product of the scarifies done by millions of every Active and Veterans, T-Mobile and every other company in the US are safeguard to do business in a FREE Country. Additionally, T-Mobile knows wish accounts the message needs to be send. It make me think that has been done with the premeditated intention to lure the Military families to renounce the deserved Military plan.

I feel that the T-Mobile Customer Service attacks their clients and insult them. In my specific case my phone is being judged and a discourage and degradation to my military plan (not eligible to offers send by the company). It is clear that the technology changes done in their network will affect hundreds (or even worst thousands or millions) of customers trough the US (and it is known by T-Mobile wish one is going to be affected) and the options and action speaks by themselves. It is not only irresponsible and insensitive this actions knowing the burden that customers are living through this Pandemic (Covid-19) and the company impose its will.

I invite the Engineering Department to visit my residence and make a transparent tests to the signals and technologies available at location. This is product of my lack of confidence by product of all this processes: less services after calls to Customer Services and changes made to the account, not on the phones.

In an analogy… there is this cruise company (T-Mobile), that makes an offer to the customers (all of us). In the round trip the captain (Customer Service) is fixing one part of a deck of the ship and one of the passengers (a customer, the backbone of the system) gets push into the water by the maintenance crew (Engineering Department). The passenger ask for help to the captain, the captain yields the customer “Do you have money for the rescue?” (the new phone) And don’t loose from perspective that the passenger was push by the maintenance crew, and also, depending on how much money the passenger is willing to pay (and already paid a full round trip) is the type of rescue that is going to get: a lifesaver or a boat with a specialize crew (a mediocre phone or a high end one, all already overpriced) in an overprice rescue (think about cruise services and how high you have to pay for it, specially medical ones).


11 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

Looking at the specs on your LG’s they lack bands 66 and 71 for LTE coverage which you need.

What Samsung phone do you have and are you having the same issues?

One easy thing to do is to take the sim out of your phone and if you have a friend who has a phone with LTE band 66 and 71 put it in their phone to see if you still have these issues.

Badge

If my LG’s does not have support for bands 66 and 71 for LTE coverage, why the 3G receiving and making calls shows up after a troubleshooting process was done (in one of the calls to support) and why the phones loose the internet (after a process done in only one phone and it affects the other one)?  The original call was made because of issues with receiving calls.  Both LG phones were working on LTE (calls and internet) before the first contact to Customer Service.

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

You will still get LTE but in your area but band 71 might be the dominant LTE band and your phone can’t connect to it. Tmobile has been updating their towers and band 71 has both 5G and LTE, 71 for LTE and n71 for 5G.

There’s areas where I live that I have trouble getting a data connection using LTE, my phone has all the LTE bands, but when I switch to 3G in the phones settings I get LTE speeds of 50 up and 10 down.

Also checking on some sites it looks like there’s tower issues in most of Houston.

https://istheservicedown.com/problems/t-mobile/map

https://downdetector.com/status/t-mobile/map/

Badge

The links with the tower issues are not covering my area (Westpark Dr & Green Cest).  And again:

If my LG’s does not have support for bands 66 and 71 for LTE coverage, why the 3G receiving and making calls shows up after a troubleshooting process was done (in one of the calls to support) and why the phones loose the internet (after a process done in only one phone and it affects the other one)?  The original call was made because of issues with receiving calls.  Both LG phones were working on LTE (calls and internet) before the first contact to Customer Service.

Lest pretend that the issue is a tower one (my house is not near those areas affected by the maps links) Does a tower issue problem takes more than two weeks to get repaired?

Before I start to contact Customer Support, I did a speed test on my phone and it came around 48Mbps on my phone and on the Samsung one was over 80Mbps (download).  I remember doing this tests when doing all the transfer data, backup from another LG to the new Samsung, and want to know if it was going to be worth to change my LG to Samsung.  I don’t really know if the Samsung (A20+) is running on 5G, but if it does the difference on download speeds from the old LG to this new Samsung is not as impressive that should be.  Do you have an explanation for that?

 

Based on the following information (link bellow), I should not being this kind of issues.  T-Mobile states that I have 4G LTE signal on my area (https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-map).

https://blog.solidsignal.com/tutorials/how-far-away-can-your-phone-be-from-the-tower/ :

Normal cell phone range: 1-2 miles

That’s right, you need to be 1-2 miles away from a cell tower at all times. Today’s LTE technology requires very closely spaced towers in order to work. Luckily the tower equipment can be very small and can be mounted on power poles. You’ll also find cell sites on the sides of buildings.

If you’re lucky: 5-7 miles

It’s actually not impossible to get some sort of signal for 5-7 miles around a cell tower. Generally it will be voice only or very slow data. In cases like this you’re talking about older equipment and very large towers. Today’s towers are smaller and easier to hide, but they are lower in power.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

This is a user to user forum with some tmobile moderation.

I don't work for tmobile but if band 71 is the dominant band in your area and and your phone lacks the band it will default to the next strongest signal.

You can go to cellmappers or other sites to check what towers are near you.

Badge

Mr. Gramps28, I did not knew that you are a user and not a T-mobile representative, my apologies.

Then I would like a T-Mobile representative to answer all my question and fix whatever they have done to my service, please.

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

First off, band 66 is no big deal. Band 66 is an extended version of band 4. It’s like adding a carpool lane to an Interstate highway. Most of the time, when a phone says “Band 66”, it’s really on AWS-1 (band-4) but picking up a “band 66” MFBI. T-Mobile only has 5x5 MHz of AWS-3 (band-66 “carpool lane”) in Harris Co. The rest of their “band 66” is really AWS-1 (band-4).

T-Mobile also has band-12 (700 MHz) in all of E Texas, so that provides your low-band service for rural and indoor service. However, it’s only 5x5 MHz, so of limited capacity. 

They are also adding 5G service on band 71 (600 MHz) and band 41. As well as a small amount of LTE on band 71.

I think what’s actually happening is that T-Mobile opened their network to Sprint customers during the network merger. This has caused serious congestion in some markets. (There are a lot of complaints like yours.) T-Mobile started working furiously to add Sprint’s band-41 (2.5 GHz) spectrum, concentration first in the BosWash region. They’ve gotten around to adding band-41 in the Houston market, which should help. (Your phone works with band 41)

I don’t think you need a new phone at all. I think this is just a temporary situation. What you can try doing is manually selecting Sprint’s network (“Sprint”, 310-120 or 311-490) and see if that improves your service. (It costs nothing and is worth a try. It might not be any better.) I also suggest using WiFI Calling as much as possible.

As for updating your phones, T-Mobile changed the broken phone industry forever when they separated the phone purchase from the service. (Some might debate if it was for better or not.) They now only offer phone bargains to people who add new lines and they work the deal in such a way that you have to stay with them to get the benefit. If you don’t like this system, you can always buy a 3rd party device and BYOD. I did this with the last two phones I purchased (a Nexus 5X and a Moto G7 Power). Both work perfectly on T-Mobile.

You might also get your T-Mobile devices unlocked and port your service to a compatible carrier/MVNO. I often recommend Cricket Wireless or Consumer Cellular.

 

 

Badge

Thanks Mr. Drnewcomb, for the great explanation on a broken System (T-Mobile).  And seems to me, that they know about it and are playing with us. This is a perfect example of Corporate America, where two big muscle corporations get merged and start to do whatever they want with their customers. 

I been told by the Customer Support that the problem is my phone, that I’m paying less than other customers (military discount), that my phones are damaged, etc….  A real roller-coaster trough the nightmare of Service.

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

I believe that if you were to take your phones to a different (less congested) area (e.g. Brenham) you’d find that they work just fine. It’s just that T-Mobile’s network is now having to accommodate an influx of literally millions of Sprint customers while the networks are being merged and it’s putting a strain on the system. Under these circumstances, it would be best to have a new high-end 5G phone that has all T-Mobile’s bands and technologies, but that’s not the root issue.

Badge

I have news. Went to a T-Mobile store closed to my house and they could not help.  And after 2 hours on the phone with customer service.  I refused to give up, they said many, many, and too many times that the problem was with the technology that my phones have, that in my area there was left only 2G if any, and all the time offering to me to buy a new phone.  I requested to escalate the call, finally it was escalated and I have 4G LTE signal back on my phones.  The speed test is showing between 45 to 58 Mbps in download.

Finally is true (on the analogy), the captain (customer service) order the maintenance crew (engineering department) to push off board the passenger (the customer)…

It is going to take time (too much I would say) to overcome the ordeal of all this process. 

                Hey T-Mobile, please, change this strategies before more people get hurt.

 

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

Don’t be surprised if you see the problem occur again. I’m not so much convinced that it was solved as just took some time off.

Reply