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Coverage on I-80 in Iowa & Nebraska


While travelling on I-80 through western IL, Iowa, and Nebraska, my Samsung S9 showed "E" instead of 4G or 4G LTE.  I found that if I went to Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks > Network Mode and changed it to LTE/3G (auto connect) I was most often able to get a 4G or 4G LTE signal.  Can you put out a fix to automatically select a data connection on a partner network instead of the E coverage?  It was very frustrating to lose data coverage and I could have been in a real bind if I had needed a data connection in case of a breakdown in the middle of the night.

Also, what are your plans to improve coverage in Iowa and western IL?  There were times I didn't have a signal at all, which is surprising on a major interstate and with one of your most advanced phones.

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Best answer by tmo_amanda 2 July 2018, 17:39

Hey there, @magenta5367531​!

Welcome to our Support Community! I'm glad you came here to find answers with what's happening with our network in Iowa and Illinois; let's see if I can get you some answers. 😊 The majority of the I-80 drive headed west in Iowa is considered "partner coverage" which means that speeds and connections vary. While we'd love for phones to automatically select the fastest network possible, that's a development request via Android software engineers and the device manufacturer. The good news is that we are doing a TON of upgrades in the Iowa/Illinois area and adding a good amount of towers that'll be running on 700 mHz or in some cases adding 1900/2100 mHz towers. It appears that the site upgrades and new towers builds should be completed by the end of this month, but don't quote me on that only because sometimes there are delays due to weather, material availability, scheduling, etc.

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Hey there, @magenta5367531​!

Welcome to our Support Community! I'm glad you came here to find answers with what's happening with our network in Iowa and Illinois; let's see if I can get you some answers. 😊 The majority of the I-80 drive headed west in Iowa is considered "partner coverage" which means that speeds and connections vary. While we'd love for phones to automatically select the fastest network possible, that's a development request via Android software engineers and the device manufacturer. The good news is that we are doing a TON of upgrades in the Iowa/Illinois area and adding a good amount of towers that'll be running on 700 mHz or in some cases adding 1900/2100 mHz towers. It appears that the site upgrades and new towers builds should be completed by the end of this month, but don't quote me on that only because sometimes there are delays due to weather, material availability, scheduling, etc.

I'm heading out on this route again this summer.  Have there been any upgrades to either the Android system to address this issue or your partner coverage on I-80 since last summer?

We drove from Denver to Seattle and there was no coverage on i80. We all have tmobile, iphone  7, X-ray, 6s plus- no coverage. I have Verizon for work and it was solid the whole way. Disappointing. 

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We drove from Denver to Seattle and there was no coverage on i80. 

 

Look at CellMapper.net and then wonder why all those other T-Mobile customers seem to have coverage along I-80 but you don’t. I’m sure there are places where your phones not having band-71 played some part.

I didn’t have to look at anything, we had 4 people in the car with T-Mobile phones and none of our phones worked. iPhone 7, 6s plus, XR, and 7S plus. Wouldn’t one phone have Band 71? I will google that now I guess but what difference does that make? I had a Verizon XR and had no problem. 

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So, you drove through Salt Lake City and no one had any service?

You don’t go through Salt Lake if you’re going to drive from Denver to Seattle for one thing. I’m talking about that big stretch of land in the middle of nowhere on I80 out of Denver. Obviously people in here don’t drive that route which makes me question the validity of this site now. 

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You don’t go through Salt Lake if you’re going to drive from Denver to Seattle for one thing.

 

You could go through Sacramento, if you wanted. Since I-80 passes through neither Denver nor Seattle, it’s a guessing game. This is the problem with statements of vast generality, you leave the reader guessing.

I did find a discussion about spotty coverage along I-80 in Wyoming from last year. However, no one asserted that there was “no-coverage”; just that there were gaps in the coverage. This makes me suspect that your phones were trying to roam Union Wireless without success.

 

Last time I checked there’s only one road called i80 between Denver and Seattle so I’m not sure how much more specific you can get than that. The road out of Denver going West towards Seattle called I80, we had no coverage on that road for about 300 miles. We could not make a phone call to 911, or any other number. We could not get on data. We had 4 phones in the car with T-Mobile and none of them worked. The only phone that worked was the Verizon phone. We just drove on the road called i80 on July 12th, 2020 and had no coverage of any kind. We all tried to make a phone call, stream music, get on Netflix, and could not do it. We had roaming turned on for all of our phones. We tried to call 611 as well as 911 and were unable to make a call. If it had been an emergency we would have used the Verizon phone which worked perfectly. It is a certain expectation one would have with a cell phone on a Major US highway. I’m sure we will get another chance to check it out some day but that was our experience. 

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We could not make a phone call to 911, or any other number.

 

Which is what makes me believe that your phones were in caught in some strange state. If you called 911, they should have locked onto any compatible carrier. Which should have been Union Wireless. This is supposed to happen even without a SIM card.

I don’t know a lot about iPhones. Do they have a manual network search?

I’m a long time T-Mo cust, also a resident of N.E. CO.  (That being said) 

between Denver an Lincoln/Omaha on I-76/I-80 T-Mo Service is provided by another carrier aka Prefered/Extended Network Carrier known as Viaero Wireless (but depending on the current programming on ur SIM/Device your phone may say: NECCI or [[N.E. CO Cell One] / Nebraska Wireless . 
If your having issues just connect to that network and u should have 4G LTE service from about Wiggins CO/ NE/WY state line in the west to just outsideLincoln /Omaha with surprisingly great coverage! But remember to set your phone back to auto when not in those areas. 
 

PS-Did u know: when in a bind (service depending) as far as I’m aware, you can try and connect to any know cell networks across N. America an if their is a roaming agreement in place between T-Mo an the carrier your trying to connect with- BAMM Bobs YOUR UNCLE! 
( and assuming your on a unlimited no roaming plan past/present YOU WONT PAY A DINE EXTRA and you’ll have service no matter where you are... 

I’ve been a T-Mo cust for 18y and have NEVER HAD ISSUES (w/the exception of a huge portion of rural IOWA [DONT get me started], 

They aren’t gonna charge you extra an LETS JUST SAY THEY DID… (just get on the horn with cust service clearly identify the issue and it will get fixed lickity split !!! 
hope this helps! 
Roc 

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