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Phone call sounds garbled and robotic

  • 14 December 2017
  • 13 replies
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Every so often, maybe about once or twice a week, I will encounter this problem where I will make or receive a phone call and the call will sound garbled in general, but voices will sound robotic and unclear. Even the dial tone is garbled. This has happened while calling other mobile phones as well as calling a landline. Every time it has happened, I have been in an area with good coverage, normally full coverage or near-full coverage. If I am streaming music prior to the call, it will be choppy and have streaming issues when I end the call. The only method I have found to resolve it is to restart my phone, which is not an ideal experience.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? I never experienced this when I was previously on the AT&T network and I'm concluding it is probably a network issue rather than a device issue, however I haven't ruled out either as a possibility. My device is a Moto G4 Play, which hasn't had any problems since I got it.

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Best answer by jkabonick 18 December 2017, 14:13

I haven't encountered it for a about a week; it had been a few days since it last happened when I posted the original question. As for the questions posted above, I haven't been able to figure out a pattern. The few times it had happened I was driving and my phone was connected to my car via bluetooth. I was in different locations, only separated by a few miles, and with high coverage. In two instances it occurred while connecting to a mobile phone not on the T-mobile network and another time it occurred while connecting to a land-line.

I've been unable to reproduce the problem consistently, and since it has only happened while in my car, I usually just stop trying to make the call until I can restart the phone. I can try airplane mode next time it occurs. Come to think of it, may it be possible that something in my car is messing with my signal? I've noticed the GPS has issues finding my location and updating while doing direction, but I just figured it was the device itself.

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Often times signal strength is not the best indicating of connection quality. However I do want to ask a few questions to try and narrow this down with you. When the issue of garbled voices happen is their some sort of pattern to it? Is it in a specific location or when doing a specific task (I.e can you repeat the problem reliably)? If it is a specific location do you know of anyone else with T-mobile service that can test the area or maybe own another device that you can test calls with?

You mentioned restarting the phone was the only way to fix the issue but have you tried turning airplane mode on and off as a short term fix? It basically forces your phone to reconnect to the network like a restart does but takes less time. Just thought I let you know as a band-aid fix in the short term. Sorry for all the questions and I will do my best to help.

Userlevel 5

How are things going? @dragon1562​ has some great questions here! Please let us know if you still need help.

I haven't encountered it for a about a week; it had been a few days since it last happened when I posted the original question. As for the questions posted above, I haven't been able to figure out a pattern. The few times it had happened I was driving and my phone was connected to my car via bluetooth. I was in different locations, only separated by a few miles, and with high coverage. In two instances it occurred while connecting to a mobile phone not on the T-mobile network and another time it occurred while connecting to a land-line.

I've been unable to reproduce the problem consistently, and since it has only happened while in my car, I usually just stop trying to make the call until I can restart the phone. I can try airplane mode next time it occurs. Come to think of it, may it be possible that something in my car is messing with my signal? I've noticed the GPS has issues finding my location and updating while doing direction, but I just figured it was the device itself.

Userlevel 5

I am glad to hear that the problem seems to have stopped! I am a little weary though so please do let us know if it crops up again. 

I know this thread is old, but I have this issue all the time and I'm on the verge of needed to move away from T Mobile.  I'm actually on a conference call right now (for the last 30 minutes) and it's happened 4x.  Audio pauses, then goes very deep and slow until it "catches up".  Is there a known issue and fix?

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Well that is no good at all! Is this a common occurrence or is this the first time? How many bars of signal does your phone show that you have when this happened? 

I have been having this issue as well. The phone will be stationed in one place and I will experience this.  I also could be holding the phone standing still and if I move my hand the call becomes distorted. I have a Note 9. It's extremely frustrating because I miss parts of a conversation 

Userlevel 5

Oh no @crimmi​!

We would need to gather some examples of this and open up a support request for this. Please Contact Us when you have a moment.

I have a line which includes my husband and both of my parents.  They used to live about 2hrs away and recently moved about 20 minutes away.  Ever since they moved closer, any time we talk on the phone (whether they call my or I call them--on either of their phones), the first first seconds of every call has this loud garbled, static-like sound, and then it resolves on it's own.  My parents tell me that they never hear it on their end of the phone.  I have no idea why it's happening.

Userlevel 5

Well that is incredibly weird! Do your parents use Wi-Fi calling on their phones by any chance? Also, would it be possible to have them call you or you call them the next time you guys are together in the same location to see if it still happens?

Hi - I had something very similar happen today and got it resolved, so I found this thread and thought I'd add my experience to it. 

I have a OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition which has always worked perfectly on TMobile since I got it in January.  This evening, I was trying to call a local business, and he kept saying "I'm sorry, but I can't understand you. You'll have to call us back."  And then he'd hang up.  It was odd, because I could understand him perfectly, and I had full signal strength and had turned off wi-fi so that I didn't have any potential issues with that as I sometimes do.

After calling him the 2nd time and him hanging up again, I tried calling my own work cell phone, which is on AT&T.  It rang and I answered it, and as I spoke, I understood what he was talking about. I sounded like a robot spitting out random crackling sounds. There was no way to understand a word I said.  I immediately restarted my phone, and that had NO EFFECT on the issue.

I wondered if something had happened to my microphone. I tested with my voice recorder app, and that was crystal clear. No crackling or distortion at all.

I live right down the street from the T-Mobile shop, so I popped in a few minutes later and asked one of the guys if he could help.  He tested with me and verified the issue, and then he did something to "reset" the actual phone application on the device. After he did this, it started working again.

Chris, I don't know if you still monitor this thread, but this happened to me again today.  I chatted with OnePlus support (I bought my device directly from them since it's a McLaren 6T) and they had no clue.  They had me wipe the phone's cache by rebooting into a special mode.  That didn't work.  The only thing that works is clearing the STORAGE of the actual phone application. Not sure what could be causing this.

All these posts are great and might help if you have a new phone, but for old android phone, it doesn't sound promising. After the last update to Andriod 10, our work phones start performing weirdly, like garbled, choppy, or robotic. This issue happened on Nokia 6, 7, Samsung, and  MI A. the only common is software and carrier, which is (T-mobile) — Trying to knock things down and see what caused this. We have replaced three phones and so far working well for the new phones. not sure if the data signal doesn't support the old phone after updating the software, or the software not fully compatible with the old phone 

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