LTE Band 12 Issues and/or bad iPhone XS

  • 23 June 2019
  • 7 replies

Long time TMobile customer, and have been happy with the service until recently.  About a month ago, I bought myself a Galaxy S10, and a week later my wife an iPhone XS.  Both of these phones are less reliable on the network than our previous phones, especially at home.

On my Galaxy, I noticed that the data network would just stop working when at home and not connected to wifi.  It would still show the LTE indicator and full signal strength as if it was connected properly, but the data network was not working - social media feeds stopped refreshing, web pages wouldn't load, and a speed test app would not connect to its server.  Again, no indication on the phone at all that the network was down. 

After some research, I downloaded the LTE Discovery app from the Play store and looked at it when the data network went down.  It was always connected to LTE band 12.  I used *#2263# to get into the advanced network settings and disabled band 12 on my phone, and have not had the problem since then.  So there is definitely something wrong with band 12 on my Samsung or the tower near us.  I re-enabled band 12 and got a better wifi router at home that would reach the whole house, so now I am on wifi at home and don't notice the problem.  Yesterday, I turned off wifi to check if the band 12 issue is still there, and yes - within a few seconds, I could no longer refresh my social media feeds.  Outside my home, I have no network problems, even with band 12 enabled - this is why I think there is a problem with band 12 on the tower near us.

When I got the iPhone XS for my wife, she started having similar issues with network connectivity, and even worse - phone calls were horrible quality, to the extent that I couldn't even talk to her for a few minutes without massive cutouts or the call dropping altogether.  At this point, I called TMobile support, as something is clearly not right.  They had me disable LTE for voice and data on the iPhone XS, and that seemed to fix both the data and voice problems.  I told the rep about the band 12 issue I had found on my Samsung, but she didn't seem to understand what I was trying to convey.  She did say that there was no indication of trouble on our tower that she could see, but they would have an engineer check it out.  She also put in for new SIM cards for both phones, which we would receive in a few days (they didn't end up helping at all).

At this point, both phones were limping along well enough, so I figured I'd wait for the new SIM cards and try those.  In the meantime, I figured that if they did investigate the tower, they would probably find and fix the issue and we'd be good to go.  Well, here I am over a month later with no improvement.  While my wife's iPhone works adequately at home, she has noticed that it is very unreliable outside the home - likely because at home she is typically on wifi, whereas outside she is not and has to rely on the non-LTE network technologies.  She recently took a small road trip with our daughter, and found many instances where our daughter's phone (iPhone 😎 had great coverage and my wife's iPhone XS was not usable.   I had her enable LTE on the data again, since she can use wifi at home, but the voice is simply unusable at home with LTE enabled.  Wifi calling, for whatever reason, is also not reliable at home - so that is not an option for voice.

So here I am, having spent almost $2000 on new phones that don't work properly.  I am hesitant to call TMobile support again and have to tell this whole story, not knowing how much of it will actually be documented and investigated.  I believe there are TMobile reps that frequent the forums, and I am hoping someone knowledgeable will pick this up and start it through the proper channels.  Please help me get this issue resolved, it is becoming very frustrating.

7 replies

There are T-Mobile employees on the forum and they are helpful.   You will get a response.

I'm curious if you've been able to travel a distance and observe whether or not the same symptoms occur, and while outdoors.  Going by your account, it sounds like the network, or at least a signal issue, unrelated to the device(s).

On talking to T-Mobile, it doesn't hurt to call back.  Not knocking the reps or anything, but people are people, and you will get different degrees of engagement.   I know it is frustrating, but sometimes it has to be done.

The T-Mobile reps are great, I'm not complaining about them at all.  I will likely give them a call again soon, especially if I don't hear anything on this post.  I was just hoping to get this information tagged to my account so I don't have to explain it all every time I call.

My Samsung phone works great while away from the house, I never seem to have a problem with it.  I don't know if it's connecting to band 12, though, I am going to start watching that.  My wife's iPhone XS has been very unreliable, both at home and away.  It is plausible that disabling LTE is the cause of this, but I can't be sure.  A couple other symptoms she is experiencing are 1) texts not being received, or delayed by up to several hours, 2) unable to send photos to me via text message, and 3) phone sometimes misses calls - no ring, no indication of a missed call. 

The iPhone XS is currently set to enable LTE on data only.  At home, it's on wifi for data, so that seems to be working alright.  The voice is where the big issue is right now.  Having LTE disabled for voice has greatly improved the call reliability while she is at home, but seems to limit her coverage when she is away (daughter's T-Mobile iPhone 8 works fine, wife's XS has no coverage).

Same here, I've tried factory reset and a new sim but neither fixed the issue. I can toggle Airplane  mode on and off and most times it will find a signal but who wants to constantly check their phone every five minutes to see if they're on network, it's simply ridiculous. It's been happening since the update and T-Mobile support hasn't been any help whatsoever. My local store suggested that I do an insurance claim pay $100 (I think that was the amount anyway) and get a refurbished phone.... I was angry by that point because it's an S9 that's only a few months old, for what it cost I shouldn't be having this problem.

Appreciate the additional information.   I'm curious to see what you eventually figure out.

By the way, I am using a new iPhone XS (about a week now) -- my first iPhone, and first T-Mobile device in a great while.   I'm a longtime T-Mobile customer and longtime BlackBerry user and for the past number of years I was using unlocked unbranded devices.  Even the BYOB devices did well on T-Mobile, and no issues with the iPhone now.  I guess that is why my first impulse is to suspect the network or something with the signal at your location given your description of the issues.

Good luck.

Regarding the toggling  airplane mode on and off, have you been able to determine if that issue occurs everywhere you travel, or just in a narrow location?

I've been there done that many phones and a number of years ago.  It would occur in the vicinity of my office building, but not elsewhere.  I would notice no service, toggle the radio off for a few seconds and then back on, and the phone would connect to the network.  It happened for a while and then issue resolved on its own.  If your experience is also dependent on your location, I would wait it out for a little while and see what happens.

Did you ever find a resolution?

What is Band 12?? And how do you shut it off on a Samsung phone? I have a Samsung Note 9.

Userlevel 1

thanks for info and posting your experience.  I know this thread is a little old, but your remarks are still relevant and symptomatic of the real problem…..there is a real lack of info on which frequencies are being used, and you also have to be aware of exactly which radio frequencies your device is equipped with.   All devices do not ship with all possible RF bands.   And I’m pretty sure you know they are taking down some transmitters and putting up others all the time, so it is all very much a moving target...but the bottom line is that we have no way of knowing….(like Covid with no testing and no accurate reporting of cases ).

T-Mobile is not alone in this: none of the carriers makes it a point of letting us know the actual status of their network, what is working…...And the worse part of leaving everyone in the dark, is we have to figure it out, instead of them informing us, for example, that band 12 is down or is being switched out to broadcast a different signal.  For me it is pretty much like what the WWII GI’s called a SNAFU.