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Domestic Roaming (US Cellular) Communism

  • 19 July 2020
  • 9 replies
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It has taken me almost a year to find out from T-Mobile why my girlfriend isn't able to ro on to the US Cellular network when visiting Beckley, West Virginia.  The reason is truly shocking.  It is because her Samsung purchased S9+ was not purchased from T-Mobile or Metro.  It doesn't matter that the device is fully compatible.  It doesn't matter what firmware is on the device.  Her SIM is refused connection by US Cellular because she didn't purchase her device from T-Mobile or Metro.  They do this by having an automated IMEI verification with T-Mobile. 

Seriously!  In a time where a pandemic is happening globally.  This type of b/s is allowed?!?  What makes it worse is, there are Sprint towers there that could easily solve this issue, but T-Mobile clusters are clearly second-class customer, because they are not allowed to roam on to the Sprint network.  Well...  Why can Sprint customers roam on to the T-Mobile network but not the other way around?  A simple SIM update would solve this issue but T-Mobile doesn't seem to be very interested in resolving it.  

 

I am normally a person that has very little to complain about with T-Mobile.  Especially in comparison to other carriers.  This, though...  I am filing an FCC complaint on Monday in regards to this completely ridiculous stupidity! 

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Best answer by gramps28 19 July 2020, 20:27

I haven’t seen @drnewcomb2 on here lately but he’s could guide you in the right direction.

There’s been other threads like this and it seems like the answer was to get the sim and imei whitelisted on the roaming partner if I remember correctly.

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Userlevel 7
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I haven’t seen @drnewcomb2 on here lately but he’s could guide you in the right direction.

There’s been other threads like this and it seems like the answer was to get the sim and imei whitelisted on the roaming partner if I remember correctly.

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I will definitely try that, but this should not be a thing in the first place.  T-Mobile should not allow US Cellular to clock any of it's customers from connecting to a roaming partner based on where they bought their device! 

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Welcome to roamers, and specific areas/devices.

This sounds more of like what I used to hear from AT&T, not T-Mobile. 

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I talked to a few people at US Cellular this afternoon.  They say they don't control if T-Mobile allows the SIM or device to access their network for domestic roaming.  Definitely going to reach out the the FCC about this.  I have already wasted more time on it to get nowhere.  

I’m sorry to be so tardy but as you can see, I couldn’t log in as me and had to set up a new ID.

I wish I had a definitive answer to the USCC roaming issue. I’m told that USCC is and is not LAC-blocked. That they require whitelisted devices and that any recent VoLTE phone should work. I’m told you have to be in USCC’s VoLTE footprint (which I believe) 

Here’s my theory of what’s going on in Beckley. You’re in USCC’s VoLTE footprint, but T-Mobile has LTE service in and around Beckely, therefore they’ve LAC-blocked the area.

Now, having said that, If the phone simply does not support the VoLTE standard used by USCC, you won’t be able to use the service. AT&T and Verizon seem to have gone out of their way to make their VoLTE incompatible with anyone else. This seems to go so far as to prevent VoLTE E911 calls from working. IMHO the FCC needs to step in and designate a VoLTE lingua franca.

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I was looking at the Reddit boards and it looks like VoLte issue with unlocked phones.

There’s quite a few threads about US Cellular roaming issues.

I was looking at the Reddit boards and it looks like VoLte issue with unlocked phones.

There’s quite a few threads about US Cellular roaming issues.


And no agreement. If @syaoran’s GF was using an iPhone I’d feel more confident about saying it was LAC-blocking but Samsungs get so crippled for the carriers that sell them, I don’t know what to say. Unfortunately I have not been able to get a large enough sample size to come to a supportable conclusion.

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My OnePlus phones are able to roam, to both (I’ve seen the value readouts, on apps like Network Cell Info Lite), but I’ve never been able to make a call, due to the VoLTE compat issues you mention, for data.

We regularly travel through an area that’s domestic roaming for TMo, mostly ATT, during the winters. Had ATT for almost 20 years, so that was a non-issue, but now that we have TMo, I’ll be needing to remember to disable, for that section, to avoid nuking the very small domestic roaming allowance.
We switched a few months back, first to Verizon, but reliability in our area (greater Seattle) was iffy, at best, so now we’re on TMo.

Most of my experience domestic-roaming from TMo in these areas was about 4 years ago, when we were briefly on the network, but one recent drive through the same area netted almost exactly the same results, in 2020.  My calls to TMo, at the time, got me responses like “wait for next month for the 200MB domestic-roaming limit to reset”.

Yeah, there needs to be some sort of domestic VoLTE standard, from the FCC, for E911, if for nothing else.  It would be SUCH a better customer-experience, if the FCC (and to a larger extent, our overall lawmakers) stepped up here, and required carriers to cooperate and share some reasonable quantity of domestic-roaming, period.  Maybe this only affects a small number of people, who travel through rural areas, but it’s insanely frustrating, if you don’t want to own carrier-devices (OnePlus on ATT is becoming almost a non-starter these days).

IMHO, it should be qualified as utility-based, NOT as some “random service”, given the current usage patterns, over land-lines, and the “E911 factor”...

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Want a ‘cheesy’ method around this ?  If you have more than 1 T-Mobile phone, set 1 up as a hotspot, and do ‘WiFi calling’

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