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No 4G roaming in Nassau, Bahamas.

  • 3 September 2019
  • 7 replies
  • 3502 views

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Hi Everyone,

TL;DR...Does T-Mobile contractually limit the "high-speed" connection their customers receive internationally to 3G vs. 4G?

My first question to the community, so thank you for your help.

My wife and I traveled to  Nassau, Bahamas for a few days earlier this year. (July 2019)

Here's all the info, sorry if I am giving too much. Ask if I left anything out.

My wife and I both have the same phone. iPhone 8 (Both originally purchased from Apple. Not either cell company)

I have moved some of our family plan participants to T-Mobile because I can receive T-Mobile's signal where I work. With AT&T it was hit or miss.

My wife and some other family members are still with AT&T, waiting for phones to be paid off.

So far I have been happy with both, except for the no AT&T coverage at work. Plus we wanted to "test" T-Mobile and see of they had improved like their ads imply.

While we were in the Bahamas, my wife's iPhone consistently 4G LTE with BTC. We have the unlimited plan with AT&T, so her roaming was $10 daily, all inclusive. (Talk, text, and data)

During the same time my phone would never show anything but 3G with BTC (Same network, same phone models. )

I had purchased the 5GB International Pass which says "Includes up to 5GB of high-speed data, including mobile hotspot, PLUS unlimited calling for up to 10 days..." However, my phone never indicated LTE, it shows LTE all the time when I am home in LTE coverage areas, but never showed it in the Bahamas.

So the question I have, which I couldn't seem to find on the T-Mobile website, or by contacting T-Mobile...does T-Mobile restrict customers to a 3G data connections/speed limit when roaming internationally when international data passes are purchased? I noticed T-Mobile's wording is "high-speed data", they don't specify 3G, 4G, etc.

I restarted my phone multiple time, I reset my network settings, I contacted T-mobile. When I contacted them I was told there was nothing they could do, that it's up to BTC for my connection quality, and I get that. It's not T-Mobile's network. However, it goes back to my question. Does T-Mobile contractually limit the speed of their roaming customers? My wife and I have the same phone and we were on the same network. Only difference, her home service is with AT&T and mine is with T-Mobile. I don't understand why her phone would show LTE and I would never get anything but 3G.

Thanks Everyone.

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Best answer by terracotta333 4 September 2019, 15:43

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7 replies

I don't know why your phone didn't show 4G LTE on Nassau Island.  AFAIK, standard (free) international roaming is throttled ~128 kbps  The FAQ has this information on higher speed roaming:

"T-Mobile customers with qualifying plans (including Magenta, ONE, Essentials, and Simple Choice) can add an International Pass to receive high-speed data. These passes include increased high-speed data options and unlimited voice calling.

    International Pass: 512MB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 24 hours, for $5/day.

    5GB International Pass: 5GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 10 days, for $35.

    15GB International Pass: 15GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 30 days, for $50."

I will say that sometimes the pipeline from the roamed carriers back to T-Mobile seems a bit congested, such that T-Mobile data roaming is much slower than a local prepaid SIM. This has been a particular problem with Mexico.

Hi..

Service will work on Bahamas

International roaming checklist

International Plans | Traveling Abroad without Roaming Fees | T-Mobile

Data

Text

Talk

Plans with Simple Global

Unlimited text and 2G data are included at no extra cost, qualifying credit required. Not sure if this is you? See the FAQs below to see if your plan qualifies.

Unlimited

Unlimited

$0.25/min

Cheers =)

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This right here. Thank you. The link says "A data pass not only gives you data speeds of up to 3G....."

So no 4G roaming on T-Mobile internationally except for Canada and Mexico it appears.

I just wish customer service would have told me that.

Thank you for the help.

Ur most welcome 🙂

I'm in Nassau now, and have been on the phone with T-Mobile support for hours.  Data roaming in this country definitely does not work well, if at all.  

Calls and texts are unreliable as well.

 

The data pass was definitely a total waste of money - could not get a single byte of data through.  Every time I got the "data roaming is on" message, I would immediately get a "No mobile data service - Temporarily turned off by your carrier" notification (and no data connection).

 

Expecting a refund.

As the last post confirms, there is something wrong with T-Mobile roaming in the Bahamas. This is nothing to do with the speed you get there, it is due to the fact  at-mobile phone does not appear to be able to connect to LTE. The same iPhone works fine with a local sim, so it is not the hardware. I believe T-Mobile need to update the roaming agreements and I suspect the data speed throttling they use to govern their free roaming does not work with those networks, so they simply limit access to 2G/3G.

 

I can confirm from extensive use globally that 4G LTE roaming works well in most countries I’ve visited including the add-ons for high speed data. Bahamas is one of the few places it does not work. Local SIM cards there are very cheap and work brilliant in the iPhone second sim slot, selected as the data carrier. 

As the last post confirms, there is something wrong with T-Mobile roaming in the Bahamas. This is nothing to do with the speed you get there, it is due to the fact  at-mobile phone does not appear to be able to connect to LTE. The same iPhone works fine with a local sim, so it is not the hardware. I believe T-Mobile need to update the roaming agreements and I suspect the data speed throttling they use to govern their free roaming does not work with those networks, so they simply limit access to 2G/3G.

 

I can confirm from extensive use globally that 4G LTE roaming works well in most countries I’ve visited including the add-ons for high speed data. Bahamas is one of the few places it does not work. Local SIM cards there are very cheap and work brilliant in the iPhone second sim slot, selected as the data carrier. 

 

Since writing this around 10 days ago, I am happy to report that I am now in the Bahamas moored up at port. LTE is now available on BTC, and I paid for the $35 high speed roaming package. After putting the phone into airplane mode for a minute, the speed is now over 30m/bit. So things seem to have changed recently. This service is now excellent.

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