Question

I have 4.5GB of 3G data when I should have 4G speed.


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I have iphone 12 and I used get 5G data speed, but I started getting 3G data speed from the last billing cycle (starting 6/21). I called the customer service and they keep saying they see I have 4G data speed at their end. They connected me to their tech support, and they say the same thing; they see I have 4G speed at their end. They also asked me to reset the network setting on my phone, but no luck. 

My phone setting and t-mobile website say I have 4.5G of 3G data. See the attached screenshots.

When I check my internet speed using Speedtest app, which t-mobile recommends on their website, I get 0.59 Mbps download, 0.53 Mbps upload. A screenshot attached.

My wife, who has iphone 12 mini gets 5G speed, so I know it’s not the area I live in. I used to get 5G speed, before 6/21, so I know it’s not my sim card.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


18 replies

This journey has come to an end. After a 5 minute call to T-Mobile support (611), the first level support tech switched the remaining two lines to SC3GBDATA SOC, and voila!!! Network speed went from 0.58Mbps/0.47Mbps (download/upload) to 9.28Mbps/2.52Mbps. So, after months of swapping SIM cards, testing various devices, testing different locations, various settings, and spending about 6 hours total with various T-Mobile techs, it came down to the following points.

  • Take the data feature description at face value, so if it states “4.5GB of 3G data”, that really MEANS 3G speeds, regardless if there is actual 3G technology or not.
  • Just because someone claims that 3G no longer exists, it doesn’t mean that a plan is not being throttled down to 3G-like speeds.
  • Even under best conditions, 3G by itself does NOT mean anything. For example, the 4GBLIFDTA clearly states what speed you may get, but SC3GBDATA does not, and it’s capped at 128kbps for “3G” data.
  • Data plan and data feature are different. One is the overall umbrella that covers one or more devices, while the other is an add-on that may, or may not, match the umbrella plan.
  • Be nice to the techs on the phone. It can be frustrating, so take a few moments to calm down and maybe ask them to explain it to you, or ask them what your options are - this is how I stumbled across the SC3GBDATA SOC.
  • Techs, do not tell your customers that 3G no longer exists. I agree that the technology may not be around, however, 3G-like data speeds still are.

Overall, I am very happy to be able to keep my now ancient Simple Choice plan, and have devices that can take advantage of the plan’s data features.

Thank you all who have pitched in with help and opinions!!! Appreciate you all!!!

 

I’m going to give a link here, that describes how to obtain your SOC codes.  Once you have that, it will probably show that your 7 lines have an identical SOC code, and your other 3 lines have a different SOC code.  If the 3 lines on your account should have the same data feature as your other 7 lines, you should be able to contact T-Mobile and have them change the 3 lines SOC code to match the other 7 lines SOC code.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/htlvue/you_can_also_view_feature_and_promo_soc_codes

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/hs22nk/check_soc_on_my_tmobile_account

 

The above Reddit post was deleted a few days ago, along with the SOC code document on Google Docs. A new copy is mentioned here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/ukpjoj/old_soc_list_nerfed_anyone_have_a_copy/

I have the 4.5 GB of 3G Data and SMHS add-on, too. With this particular data add-on, your cellular data connection is supposed to be throttled to 3G speeds.

I had a similar issue and my Speed goes down to 4G, even though I also check my device’s Net settings But didn’t get any luck.

Still I hope it will be soon fixed.

Another hour on the phone with tech support, however, this time around, the light bulb came on. The 4GBLIFDTA SOC speed of 0.6Mbps is correct and working as provisioned/designed for a “high speed” data plan. I wish when talking to T-Mobile 1st and 2nd level support in the past, that they would not claim that 3G is no longer used. While the technology may not be used, clearly some of the plans have are throttled at 3G data speeds. I have seen a Lifeline reference mentioned in a thread on Reddit, and suspect that the 4GBLIFDTA SOC is used for Lifeline (hence the “LIF” in the name), and therefore, it’s being capped at 3G speeds.

If you’re not happy with this, the options are:

  1. Switch to another T-Mobile plan. If you have a legacy plan, like Simple Choice (SCFUTT4), good luck finding a price comparable plan.
  2. Change your “data feature” (“data add-on”) to something other than 4GBLIFDTA, however, your options will be limited. I was given an option to pay extra for a couple add-ons/features, or switch to “SC 4/100 3GB Data & SMHS” (SC3GBDATA) instead.
  3. Switch to different carrier - the tech actually mentioned this one.

Given the above options, I chose #2. It took a few hours for the newly provisioned “data feature” (SC3GBDATA) to show up under Settings->Cellular on my iPhone, and when running speed tests, I am getting consistently 0.12Mbps. Yes, this is worse than before, however, if I’m not getting 4G speed after my data usage counter is reset, then at least I do not have to deal with being told that 0.6Mbps is normal for my “high speed” data plan.

The SOC master list was deleted, so in case someone stumbles across this post and reference to the SC3GBDATA SOC, the description reads:

3 GB of 4G LTE data on our network. Includes Domestic data roaming, Mobile Hotspot, Music Freedom. 3G data speeds after 3 GB.

My data resets on the 19th, so I’ll post an update sometime after that.

… and to quote T-Mobile support:

Engineers came back with a write up that there was abnormal amount of congestion in the area. TUPL memo from engineering stated that issue should be resolved.

From my perspective, it is fascinating that this so called network “congestion” is only impacting those (myself) with the 4GBLIFDTA SOC. After all, I have three lines with that SOC, and it doesn’t matter where I travel, the T-Mobile network is apparently always abnormally congested.

I’ll be calling T-Mobile support back this evening, so more to come...

 

Userlevel 5
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To be continued...

 

Thanks for keeping us updated.

 

When I had a SOC situation, T-Mobile handled it promptly and efficiently.

 

But that was before T-Mobile transferred support to offshore.  Appears support has changed mightily since then.

 

Quick update.

Today I stopped at two different T-Mobile corporate stores, threw a massive baby fit, started screaming, yelling profanities, kicking and throwing things off the tables, and ….

 

Just kidding, all I asked for was a sanity check and received a confirmation that unless I’ve used up all of my data, which I have not (currently at 2.21GB out of 2.5GB for the Simple Choice SOC SCFUTT4), and well under for the 4.5GB data plan (4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS SOC 4GBLIFDTA), that I shouldn’t be seeing transfer speeds of 0.6Mpbs. They couldn’t assist any further, but tipped me off about escalating to tech support, which helped.

I called 611, spoke to the 1st level support tech for about 10-15 minutes, went over the history of what has transpired, she offered resetting device/new SIM, all of which have been tried before, and she agreed to escalate to tech support (2nd level?). I do want to emphasize that I sincerely believe T-Mobile’s 1st level support staff are trying their best, however, they have limited visibility behind the scenes, and can only do so much with the tools they’ve been given.

The 2nd level support tech was very understanding and we talked about the history, she also wanted to send me a new “5G” SIM card, however, after I pointed out that coincidentally only those devices on the 4GBLIFDTA SOC are having issues, she agreed that it’s likely not the SIM.  Then we did more troubleshooting, and the discussion turned into me being in an area of questionable cellular reception, to which I happened to have another device on the same family plan, but fully functional, and we compared speeds - the one that was working came back with 34Mpbs, the one with 4GBLIFDTA SOC came back consistently at 0.6Mpbs. We came to a mutual understanding that my physical locations wasn’t really an issue in terms of cellular reception. She also agreed that 0.6Mpbs is odd and something is wrong, so a ticket has been created and escalated to engineering. For documentation and troubleshooting T-Mobile needs two locations. I happen to live less than a mile from the tower, and a grocery store that I shop at is next to the same tower, so reception can’t get any better.

One interesting point she made is that T-Mobile’s 3G network has been completely decommissioned, and even if it existed, speeds should have been somewhere around 2-3Mpbs.

In case anybody is interested, I was on hold for about the first 15 minutes, declined a callback, then spent about 10-15 minutes with 1st level support, and about 30-35 minutes with 2nd level support. From a support perspective, I think that’s a pretty fast call.

Engineering is supposed to come back with a something in about 3 days, if I recall correctly.

To be continued...

 

Strangely, a new entry was just added yesterday into that database:

“4GBLIFDTA” = “4.5GB of 3G speed data and mobile hotspot on our network at up to 600kbps then up to 128kbps thereafter. 200MB of domestic on network roaming. Unlimited data at up to 128kbps when traveling abroad in 210+ countries and destinations.”

 

I did that yesterday, and the description came from T-Mobile site (screenshots attached). The reason I am asking for confirmation, is that T-Mobile support keeps telling me that the lines are not capped at 3G speeds, but speed tests and overall performance, in comparison to the other 7 devices, would strongly support a 3G cap (screenshot attached).

 

Userlevel 5
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Would someone be able to confirm if the 4GBLIFDTA SOC only provides 3G speeds?

 

 

T-Mobile SOCs are usually kept internal to the company, and not normally released to the public.

 

The closest SOC list we have is a publicly shared database where people submit known SOCs.

 

Strangely, a new entry was just added yesterday into that database:

“4GBLIFDTA” = “4.5GB of 3G speed data and mobile hotspot on our network at up to 600kbps then up to 128kbps thereafter. 200MB of domestic on network roaming. Unlimited data at up to 128kbps when traveling abroad in 210+ countries and destinations.”

 

Would someone be able to confirm if the 4GBLIFDTA SOC only provides 3G speeds?

Thank you.

Thank you for giving all this info.  It helps.

T-Mobile uses SOC codes to determine account and line features.  It really appears that T-mobile has assigned a different SOC code for the 3 lines that have 3G data.

This can get really technical, but to fully understand what is happening, you need to get the SOC code for each line you have.

I’m going to give a link here, that describes how to obtain your SOC codes.  Once you have that, it will probably show that your 7 lines have an identical SOC code, and your other 3 lines have a different SOC code.  If the 3 lines on your account should have the same data feature as your other 7 lines, you should be able to contact T-Mobile and have them change the 3 lines SOC code to match the other 7 lines SOC code.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/htlvue/you_can_also_view_feature_and_promo_soc_codes

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/hs22nk/check_soc_on_my_tmobile_account

 


Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! This is really good info that I have not stumbled across. I have not yet reached out to TMO support, but to potentially assist others, here are the codes I have found.  All cell phones are under plan service order code (planSoc) SCFUTT4.

  • The 7 working lines have SOC of UTB4GBHS.
  • The 3 slow lines have a SOC of 4GBLIFDTA.
  • The 2 tablet lines have SOC of either TM1TBLTE or LTMIUNL.

In case anybody needs help, what worked for me when using Firefox, was going into:

  • Settings → More tools → Web Developer Tools (CTRL-SHIFT-I)
  • “Network” tab and sort by “File”
  • and look for “get-odf” file - SOC data will be in the right window pane (screenshot attached)

Thank you again.

 

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For the 3 “4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS” lines, it’s either:

  • 4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS - FREE
  • No Data - FREE

or, yes, one has the above, and the other two have:

  • 4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS - FREE
  • No Data - FREE
  • Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data + 10GB SMH - $30/mo

The other 7 lines have:

  • No Data - FREE
  • Unlimited Data with 4GB Smartphone Mobile Hotspot - FREE
  • Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data + 10GB SMH - $30/mo

Screenshots attached.

 

 

Thank you for giving all this info.  It helps.

T-Mobile uses SOC codes to determine account and line features.  It really appears that T-mobile has assigned a different SOC code for the 3 lines that have 3G data.

This can get really technical, but to fully understand what is happening, you need to get the SOC code for each line you have.

I’m going to give a link here, that describes how to obtain your SOC codes.  Once you have that, it will probably show that your 7 lines have an identical SOC code, and your other 3 lines have a different SOC code.  If the 3 lines on your account should have the same data feature as your other 7 lines, you should be able to contact T-Mobile and have them change the 3 lines SOC code to match the other 7 lines SOC code.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/htlvue/you_can_also_view_feature_and_promo_soc_codes

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/hs22nk/check_soc_on_my_tmobile_account

 

For the 3 “4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS” lines, it’s either:

  • 4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS - FREE
  • No Data - FREE

or, yes, one has the above, and the other two have:

  • 4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS - FREE
  • No Data - FREE
  • Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data + 10GB SMH - $30/mo

The other 7 lines have:

  • No Data - FREE
  • Unlimited Data with 4GB Smartphone Mobile Hotspot - FREE
  • Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data + 10GB SMH - $30/mo

Screenshots attached.

 

 

Userlevel 5
Badge +8

I am having the same issue as the OP. I have 12 lines with T-Mobile, of which 2 are unlimited tablet plans (both work great), and 10 are cell phone lines on “Simple Choice”, all falling under the “2.5GB of 4G LTE data included per line” umbrella. Of the 10 cell phone lines, 7 have “Unlimited Data with 4GB Smartphone Mobile Hotspot” and work great, but 3 are set as “4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS”, and data speeds on these devices are miserable, at times not even 3G speeds. I have contacted T-Mobile support multiple times through the iOS app and website, even called them, but it’s always been reset your settings, get closer to a tower (have four bars anyway), or we’ll send you a new SIM card. None of these have made any consistent difference. One of the lines once in a while gets really good speeds, but all I have to do is put into airplane mode, and back online, and it’s back to 3G. I have swapped SIM cards with other devices, and it’s always been consistently not working, regardless of the device.

 

 

What data options are available when you click “Manage Add-Ons”?

 

 

I am having the same issue as the OP. I have 12 lines with T-Mobile, of which 2 are unlimited tablet plans (both work great), and 10 are cell phone lines on “Simple Choice”, all falling under the “2.5GB of 4G LTE data included per line” umbrella. Of the 10 cell phone lines, 7 have “Unlimited Data with 4GB Smartphone Mobile Hotspot” and work great, but 3 are set as “4.5GB of 3G Data & SMHS”, and data speeds on these devices are miserable, at times not even 3G speeds. I have contacted T-Mobile support multiple times through the iOS app and website, even called them, but it’s always been reset your settings, get closer to a tower (have four bars anyway), or we’ll send you a new SIM card. None of these have made any consistent difference. One of the lines once in a while gets really good speeds, but all I have to do is put into airplane mode, and back online, and it’s back to 3G. I have swapped SIM cards with other devices, and it’s always been consistently not working, regardless of the device.

Any assistance I could get with issue would be appreciated.

Thank you

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I have the 4.5 GB of 3G Data and SMHS add-on, too. With this particular data add-on, your cellular data connection is supposed to be throttled to 3G speeds.

I’m having the exact same issue. Did you find a solution?

Userlevel 6
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which update is your phone on? and what update is her phone on?

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