No signal

  • 23 September 2017
  • 29 replies

I've had T-Mobile for almost 3 months and I still can't get service at home even though the coverage map says I should. They sent me a cellspot which did not work, couldn't even get it to set up. They sent me another cellspot. Same exact thing happened, would not even get past initial set up. I have to drive 3-5 miles to get a signal.

QUESTION #1: T-Mobile has to let me out of my contract, right? Since they wrongfully represented the coverage in my area...?

QUESTION #2:  What is involved in getting T-Mobile to put up a tower in my area, because I know the land owner of my home would be interested in having a tower put up?

29 replies

#1 you don't have a contract unless you financed your phone.  While that is a contract it is not a service contract but rather a loan so you would have to pay off the phone.

#1a You only have 14 days for the buyers remorse period to walk away completely with only being charged for usage up to that point.

Have you searched the forums for the problems you are having with your cellspot, odds of having 2 bad ones in a row pretty slim.  Curious if there are any threads on this forum with similar issues trying to set it up.  Which cellspot are you using, there are 2;  the LTE cellspot and the Wi-Fi calling cellspot or did they send you a signal booster?  The LTE cellspot is the best option as it puts an LTE tower in your home.

Next question is did you BYOP or buy a new one from TMO and which phone do you have if not a TMO phone?

What is your zip code and rough area within he zip?  We can look and see what disclaimers the map may have in your area regarding specific device.

Hi, yes LTE 4g Cellspot. I have Hughesnet satellite for wifi because we

live a bit in the country and satellite is all that's available, and from

their forums I do believe there is a conflict with the router/modem

"all-in-one " that they provided, it's the HT2000 Satellite Modem.

I am purchasing a phone from TM it is the Samsung Galaxy S8.

My zip code is 29180, but we are about 10 miles out from the town this zip


Oh, and when i signed up, I was looking at the coverage map and showing the TM girl where I lived and asked about the areas in white on the coverage map, and the girl said, "the white areas are where TM customers live". I sh@* you not. And worse? I believed her. Also, I switched from Sprint because they do not havve coverage out here.

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The white areas on the map are non coverage areas. It says this in the legend for the map on the website. So if you live in one of those locations then there is honestly nothing you can really argue about as T-mobile themselves states you will not have coverage. Also based on the quote you mentioned I am sure the rep you spoke with simply said something along the lines of " we have customers in this area as well" ether way it doesn't matter.

What you can do though in the meantime is just use the devices wifi calling. This doesn't require anything extra from t-mobile and will give you the ability to use your service at home. Although if you find T-mobile to not be right for you then you would probably want to start searching for a provider that is good in your area. It will be a while before coverage improves and when it does you will probably end up needing a new phone to support the new coverage.

T-mobile is currently deploying a new bit of spectrum called band 71(600mhz)  and as of right now the only phone that can support it is the LG v30. There is a good chance in the future that coverage in your area and across the whole country will see a significant improvement for coverage. However that will be the long term perma fix and at the very least take till sometime next year to see any real gains. Since this is when more phones will be out and more locations get the new coverage.

Yes Satellite internet is not recommended and frankly it's a known issue with both Wi-Fi calling and with the LTE Cellspot so I am surprised they sent you one since in their own support document it notes issues with satellite internet;

4G LTE CellSpot overview

Now if you are currently using a non T-Mobile phone it could have issues even if you are getting signal as that area uses what's known as L1900 (1900 Band 2 LTE) which not all phones support.  The GS8 does support every frequency that TMO has with the exception of Band 71 (600Mhz) which they just got but frankly is only even live in Wyoming and I think Maine and won't be in a lot of of markets until probably late 2018 or 2019 not to mention there is only 1 phone that is due to launch shortly the LGV30 that even supports it.  I do see where TMO does have Band 12 (700Mhz) spectrum in your area and probably and will probably be rolling that out in your area here I would bet within the next few quarters if they haven't already started.  That is their low band extended range LTE and will definitely improve the coverage in the area.  Maybe one of the moderators can check and see if the towers in that area have Band 12 already or have any info or rough ETA when they will be converted.

When you zoom in a bit more on the coverage map the bright pink dissipates pretty quick and drops to good and mostly fair coverage so I assume it is either hilly and/or a lot of trees/forest in the area which does limit the range of higher band (L1900) signal.   I do see a lot of white spots out near the reservoir so if you out that way then you definitely will have issues.  Do you get any signal at all anywhere in your house?  If you get any what so ever at an spot then what you would need is a signal booster which TMO used to also send out like the cell spot.  It is essentially a cell repeater and doesn't need internet but in order to work it needs to have some signal even if fairly week so that might be an option.

Thank you for the info. Yes, the resevoir is between the town and my house. As far as signal at home, occasionally my phone will have bars, but mostly not. Even  wifi calling is useless because the other person has a hard time hearing and will just hang up, or the call will drop. So i dont know if a signal booster will help or not? When you speak of the moderators, are you talking about customer service at TMO? I'm so not tech savvy, so I'm not sure what to do...I really love the GS8, but it will only work on the TMO network right? I don't have a problem really with TMO and if service is going to improve I might stick it out with them, but will my phone be obsolete by that time?

No, she said that, in response to me saying I think my house is in the white. Sorry. But not as sorry as me for believing it. I'm usually a little sharper than that, even with my no tech brain. Lol.

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So were you able to try using wifi calling at your house? Does that help as a short term solution?

Yeah even wi-fi calling won't really work with satellite internet, there is just to much what is called latency (ie delay) since the signal takes so long to bounce off the satellite back down to Hughes then the internet and then the return trip. When searching or streaming that isn't really an issue for a real time phone conversation it just doesn't really work well.

The GS8 once paid off (if not already) and you meet TMO min requirements for time you can get it unlocked and it will work on AT&T without issue, Verizon and Sprint would work on LTE if they have it in your area but may not work on their older "2G" (CDMA) networks but it may no one is sure exactly since Samsung did something different this year and the GS8's (and +) all have the same model number in the US (aka SM-G950/955U) so it is believed that they all have the same hardware which hasn't been the case before which is why they all had different model numbers like it would have been G950T for TMO and G950V for Verizon, this year they all have a U (suspected for US).   However they all have different (firmware) which is the software that controls the internals of the phone and the cell radios and it is not known if the TMO firmware disables the CDMA radio or not.  I searched and found some that have actually loaded the Verizon software on and it worked but loading different firmware is complicated and has risks; 1) you need to be somewhat tech savy 2) chance you brick the phone 3) it voids any and all warranties on the phone.  For sure though once unlocked would work on AT&T.

The moderators are the TMO folks that are on this support site and while they can't view customer accounts they are great at finding out other things and hopefully the can tell if Band 12 is fully deployed in your area.  I know TMO has the spectrum there and non TMO sources thought it was going to be done sometime in the first 2 qtrs of 2017 but again that's from a non-TMO source and things do change. 

One way to check now to see if your intermittent service is on Band 12 already which means it won't get better until the Band 71 roll out which could be a year or two away is on you Samsung phone go to the dialer like your are going to make a call and dial *#0011# and will see the service screen which will show you what band you are using.  (see picture).   When I moved to my current location a few years ago there was virtually no service even though a tower is within a mile or two but this neighborhood is surrounded by trees and sits in a bit of a geographical bowl so once you enter you start going down and there is only one way in and out. 2 months after moving in is when they turned on Band 12 in the Atlanta area and bingo I now have service and will be on Band 12 whenever I am home but as soon as I hit the entrance to the neighborhood at the top of the hill I pop back on their primary Band 4 channel which for you looks like their primary channel is Band 2. In the pic you will see the LTE RRC: CONN BAND 12 BW:5Mhz  The BW = Bandwidth and Band 12 is a 5x5 channel which is smaller than the primary channels which are usually 20x20, 15x15 or at a minimum 10x10

So when you get that intermittent service try to see what you get here, you may also see UMTS or HSPA instead of LTE but you will see what band you are getting. 

As for your phone being obsolete it would be in the sense that it won't get Band 71 but no ones phone does yet that's how new it is and while they are launching a phone shortly that does (LG V30) as I mentioned it could be a year or two before you even see that which after 2 years most phones are starting to show their age anyway. 

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wifi calling can work even when latency is high. I have literally placed calls using the internet from a plane that had a ping over a 1000. Its just worth a try. I also wanted to point out that at least she would be able to text even if call functionality were to not work. Other then that I agree with everything you said.

@Dragon1562 the OP had mentioned already that they tried WiFi calling and

were having issues with it.

Surprised you got it to work on GOGO they are supposed to have it locked

out for voice.

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I have the t-mobile one plus plan so i get unlimited wifi not just the hour and the call was placed over Facebook messenger not a standard dialer for fear of it counting as distance or something. Also sorry I didn't see OP mentioned that.

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Hey folks! "Mod" here hehe. First off, I want to apologize that you were told that the "White" areas on the map are where we have coverage. That was a total ball drop and I would hope that the person you spoke with just had a brainfart when they told you that. After reading through the thread here it looks like we have a couple options and realizations.

In-home coverage alternatives

1: The 4G LTE cellspot is not going to work for you as it does not support satellite internet.

2: Wi-Fi calling is going to be hit or miss due to its dependency on the quality of your internet.

3: A signal booster  - As @stevetjr​ mentioned might be an option if you can find an area of your home where you are getting at least 2 consistent bars of Band 2 1900 Mhz which can be determined using the # code he mentioned. I say this because the Signal Booster we provide does not actually work with band 12 700 LTE.

Current coverage for your location

1: Looking at that specific ZIP code, we do have band 12 700 LTE there but if you are anywhere northwest of old airport road, its going to be hard to get that signal on your phone as the tower is  more focused on the Winnsboro and Winnsboro Mills areas.

2: We don't have any concrete plans for the 600 Mhz in your area but it is still early in deployment.

3: I don't see any additional sites coming up in your area that would increase the coverage footprint.

Your options

1: See if you can find an area of your home that gets at least 2 bars of band 2 1900 and we can send you the booster that will repeat that signal throughout your home.

2: Check with your ISP to see if there are any other packages they have that might be better fit to support VoIP calls. While satellite internet is not something we support for Wi-Fi calling, you were able to at least place some calls on it and if there is a different package your ISP offers with some faster DL/UL speeds and a higher rated quality of service, you may have better luck with the T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling.

3: My least favorite option. You may want to look into a different service provider as having reliable coverage in your home where you spend most of your time is critical. We never want you to feel trapped if we are not performing to your expectations which is why we no longer have service contracts. Also, if you purchased your S8 using our JUMP On Demand leasing option, you can take advantage of our Lifetime Coverage Guarantee where we will unlock your phone and you can continue to pay it off monthly through us even without having an active service plan.

Oh my gosh! FINALLY a resolution after all this time! Thank you SO much! I

have been roaming every square inch of my house to try and get a signal so

I could try that suggestion of Steve`s, but I haven't been able to get even

1 bar. So, if you can unlock my phone so I can go with just prepaid Verizon

(the only carrier that seems to work out here), I will continue to make

the payments on the phone TMO. You guys at T-MOBILE are awesome! So how

does this work? What do I need to do to unlock my phone and how soon can we

do it?

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I totally understand. Did you purchase this phone at full cost? If not, do you know if you purchased the phone on a 24 month equipment installment plan or a 18 month lease? The Lifetime coverage guarantee allows customers who purchased their phones on the Jump On Demand 18 month lease to continue to pay off the phone through us and have the device unlocked to use with another carrier. If you purchased the phone on a 24 month installment plan, you would need to pay off the full balance of the phone before we could unlock it. If you purchased it at full cost up front, we can process the unlock request right away.

If you did the lease option, just contact us and let the person you speak with know that you want to take advantage of the Lifetime Coverage Guarantee and that you would like to unlock your phone.

I knew y'all were too good to be true...I'm almost positive I am on the 24mo plan. I'm on social security disability and my meager income will not allow me to pay much more than i'm paying now, so looks like I'm stuck with TMO anyway, and have no service at home, where i spend 95% of my time, until i pay the phone off. I don't see any other option other than having no service and using that $ toward paying off the phone, do you?

Userlevel 5

Oh no! I am truly sorry about that 😥 If you are purchasing the device through a 24 month installment plan, it would need to be fully paid off before we can process the unlock request. I do not want you to feel as if you are stuck though! In the above replies, we mentioned the requirements for using our signal booster, is there anyway you can check around the house to see if there is an area where you are getting at least 2 bars of the band 2 1900 signal? You can use the #code that @stevetjr​ provided to check what kind of signal your phone is getting.

I understand that paying off a phone in full while being on a fixed budget is not going to be an option but do you know anyone in an different area that may be interested in taking over your account/device payments? If you know someone who is looking to get cell service and lives in a area where there is more T-Mobile coverage, you can do what is called a Change of Responsibility where that person can take over your account. You can then mail them your phone and they can continue to use it and make the payments on it. Another option may be to try and sell your phone that way you can use the money you get from selling it to pay it off. Once the device is paid off, you can have it unlocked so this is something to consider if you find potential buyers that use other carriers. I know that these last 2 options here are far from ideal, but I just want to provide you with all the options that are available.

No, nobody I know wants T-Mobile. Can you shut down my service while i pay

the phone off?

Userlevel 5

Oh okay 😥 I am sorry that is not an option for you. As for canceling your service and allowing you to continue to pay off your phone, this would not be an option as a 24 month equipment installment plan unlike the 18 month JOD lease required a monthly billing agreement.

I was sitting outside smoking a cigarette and reading your last message

telling me I have no options and I looked up and saw I actually had 2 bars

so I did the test. That NEVER happens. So will a signal booster work now

even though I'm outside when I get the signal?

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Thats awesome to hear. The real question is what kind of service was it. If its band 12 then the repeater won't work as far as I'm aware. If it was band 2 or 4 of LTE then yes it should be good enough.

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That seems a bit odd as we do not have Band 5. Can you download this app and let me know what it shows you are connected to?

LTE Discovery - Android Apps on Google Play  

Userlevel 6

Hi, @magenta2188893​! Just wanted to check in here and see if you'd had a chance to look over your connection in the LTE Discovery app Chris mentioned. How are things going for you?

- Marissa

Things are the same. Here are screenshots from the app