Network continues to disappoint

  • 22 November 2020
  • 5 replies
  • 139 views

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I was with Verizon for many years and switched to T-Mobile this summer with the excitement of blazing fast magenta 5G and the promise of a lower bill and payoff of the balance remaining on my device from Verizon. Months later, I am still waiting for that virtual Visa card to pay off Verizon, I’m gonna end up paying it myself so that it does not go into collections. As far as the network. It’s been very disappointing. With Verizon I was used to crystal clear digital voice calls, reliably fast and far reaching network and data speeds. Once in a great while there would be a hiccup but it was always brief and self resolving. Ever since day one, my service with T-Mobile has been glitchy to say the least. Phone call quality is Poor most of the time. Data is sluggish and slow most of the time even when I have full bars LTE reception. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am either. Downtown, at my house or at my job. Even using iMessage on iPhone is glitchy. Messages take long to send and sometimes will only send as the green sms message. I have reached out about these issues and had them escalated to “engineering” but I never really heard back from them. I just gave in and accepted this as magenta status quo. I finally got my hands on the new iPhone 12 and was excited for access to this great nationwide 5g network, hoping that this may bring some life to the network and bring back the quality I took for granted with Verizon. Sadly, the 5g is no different than LTE. Even though I have full bars of 5g service, the data is still sluggish and unreliable. I also was experimenting with Speedtest.net and testing the speeds of LTE and 5g at the same time and location. 5g was rarely if ever faster and sometimes was slower than LTE. I have also let customer service know and was advised that maybe when they send an update to my SIM card at some unknown time in the future, it would get better. I did some research (more than I should have) and learned that T-Mobile uses a midrange 5g wavelength in a majority of the country. While this is indeed a different frequency than LTE, it is basically using the same slow LTE backbone. Essentially, it is LTE with a different logo. They promise that this is an evolving and quickly growing technology. But based on my experience thus far, I will not hold my breath. The reps always seem so surprised when I tell them about the poor quality of the network I am experiencing. Am I the only one experiencing this? Or am I the only one complaining?
 


5 replies

Userlevel 2
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Performance is very ‘location specific’.  

While I can’t say about your location, I do experience various performance differences (comparing my work AT&T Samsung S10E to T-Mobile LG G7 and One Plus 8 5G).

  • Typically, AT&T (and I’m assuming Verizon) have better rural coverage in most areas
  • Speeds have improved on AT&T over the past year (4G LTE → 5Ge) giving quite good performance (+200Mbps) in many areas - however, in suburbia where I am they have less sites - but more capacity on each.  T-Mobile varies from ~120Mbps to +200Mbps here.  In urban areas, it varies wildly on both - T-Mobile sites with/without 5G having high speeds as good as +500Mbps, and poor ones as poor as ~2Mbps - with full signal.  AT&T is a bit more consistent on its capacity.
  • Rural - I will get good speeds on MOST rural T-Mobile sites - however, there are fewer, and in places ‘gaps’.

No - you’re not the only one complaining.   Call technical support and launch a complaint.

5G is  effectively an overlay (i.e on ~ 1 in 8 sites on low band) which covers a large area… but with limited capacity.  Unless T-Mobile turns over PCS, AWS or turns up Sprints 2500MHz ‘quickly’ ,  iPhone 12 users will saturate the n71 600MHz 5G service.

T-Mobile’s deployment wasn’t the best, IMHO.  It did allow them to cover large areas - but mostly that’s a benefit in rural areas.

AT&T refarmed their cellular band - which ends up being quicker - as no new antenna have to be placed.

Verizon did something similar using DSS - ‘sharing’ 5G and 4G LTE over existing spectrum.

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Metro Boston area. Great reception, terrible network performance.

Userlevel 6
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Rural South East US and I’ve got coverage where the other two don’t. It’s really come 180° in the past 10 years in this area. Verizon and AT&T have a couple spots of very sparsely populated areas but are on highway stretches where 5 miles is really only five minutes. Out in the boondocks countryside, T-Mobile pretty much beats the other two in this area. So it is definitely location specific.
 

As far as speeds on 5G, I think most everybody understands not to buy into the hype just yet. But people who are buying androids right now may be a little disappointed in the next two or three years when coverage is much better but their phones are lacking updates and most of them missing millimeterwave. iPhone 12 owners may be a little happier given the update lifecycle of iPhones and the fact that the new 12 series has millimeterwave.

 

Of course some people buy 5G phones in the hopes that the speed would be something ridiculous however most all phones can be switched over to LTE 4G thereby saving battery power in areas that don’t really have 5G or is really weak.

Userlevel 2
Badge +4

Metro Boston area. Great reception, terrible network performance.


It's been a couple years since I was in downtown Boston (work).  Service and coverage on T-Mobile was very good back then (LG G7) mostly Boston common, North end, Omni Parker, Bunker Hill.   Service was decent up at Plymouth and good at Forestdale, Provincetown but poor at Sandwich

Userlevel 4
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Metro Boston area. Great reception, terrible network performance.


It appears that T-Mobile has yet to integrate Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum into their LTE/5G network in metro Boston. This means that they’ve only got the base of their 5G “layer cake” with 600 MHz for broad-area coverage and perhaps some mmWave for hot spots. This means that, for the most part, in Boston T-Mobile’s 5G won’t be much better than their LTE. It should be improving soon but I can’t say when.

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