Problems with reception, dropped calls, dropped texts, phone

  • 8 March 2015
  • 8 replies

Last year, I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile because of the stellar pricing available for unlimited data. However, the process of switching to T-Mobile was difficult and led to many conversations with the folks at T-Mobile. At first, I was wary about the customer service -- but by the time everything was resolved, I was happy with my decision.


However, the problems began about six months after switching over to T-Mobile. First, I realized I did not get reception in any area that was not urban (e.g. driving between Milwaukee and Madison). Second, there were dropped calls, problems with Wi-Fi calling, and some issues with text messaging. Then, the phones on our account (both Samsung Note 3s) started acting up as well. I also moved (within the same city) and found that my new home had little-to-no reception. That led to dropped calls, garbled voices, and strange messaging glitches. This was also true at work, where I was using Wi-Fi calling.


Here are a list of the issues I'm currently facing:

(1) Poor reception: This is true in my home, at work, and sometimes when I am driving in a location that is not right near the city's center. I experience dropped calls and failed text messages on a regular basis. When I am on a call, the other party often tells me they cannot hear me or they cannot understand what I'm saying, because my voice is garbled. Having no reception at home means I am dependent on my WiFi, which is not what I was hoping for with my 4G LTE service. I want to have 4G LTE service in my home and at work, without always having to rely on my WiFi signal. This is also true for the other line of service, which is currently located in another city. The same problems often occur, where reception is spotty in the workplace or at home.


(2) No 4G LTE service: There were times when the internet was not working on the phones. There are times when certain messaging applications (e.g. Kakao Talk) would not work from the phone. It would not allow picture messages go through or to send. We would have to turn on the HotSpot for it to work (which makes no sense). It seems that there was some kind of "block" on it, which was strange considering the fact that there should be no caps on data. It seemed to go directly against all of the advertisements that T-Mobile puts out saying that there are no data caps. In fact, there were some messages (I can provide screen shots) that said one of the lines went over their data for the month and that they would be capped until the next month. This makes no sense, given that we have unlimited data on our plan.


(2) Dropped calls: It is not clear why there are dropped calls, particularly when reception seems to be okay. However, there are several times when calls take a long time to go through, do not go through at all, or just stop working. This is problematic, especially when I'm trying to make an important call and the other party cannot hear me -- or the phone keeps hanging up on them. It is also quite annoying when I cannot make calls in my own home or at work, since these are the locations I frequent. For a while, we could not make calls nor receive them. In fact, I would try to call the other line on my account, and the call would not go through. The phone (or the network) was malfunctioning and would not make or receive any calls.


(3) Dropped/missed text messages: I have a lot of text messages that won't go through. The phone will read, "failed message" and won't allow my text message to send. I also have text messages that come through from "unknown address," which seem to be in conjunction with other group messages I'm getting -- in other words, sometimes not all of the messages in a group message come through. There are also text messages that don't come through for several hours, or messages that come through in a different order than how they were sent. There are also several messages that have never come through for me, even though the sender will show me that they sent it on their phone. This is a huge problem.


(4) Repeated text messages: When I receive a message from someone, the same message will show up 5-6 times on my phone. In other words, I get 5-6 notifications of the same message. When I check my messages, I see the message show up 5-6 times in the "conversation." Why is this happening?


(5) Problems with Wi-Fi calling:  The transition between Wi-Fi calling and the T-Mobile network is not at all smooth. Often, my call is dropped when the phone is switching from one network to the other. It also seems that the reception is not great for Wi-Fi calling, as I get complaints from the other party that it is static-y and they cannot hear what I am saying.


(6) Problems with texting on Wi-Fi: It seems that text messages take a long time to send when I am connecting to a Wi-Fi network on my phone. This is also when the multiple text message problem frequently occurs.


(7) Phone issues: These issues could also be tied to the Samsung Note 3. Both phones have had issues with freezing randomly, turning off randomly, running very slowly, problems with the touch screen (lagging, not working well when touched), and just not making calls. This could be a problem with the network as well, but it seems that the phone itself is having issues. The other line, in particular, has many problems with functionality.


To summarize, the main problems that we are facing have to do with (a) bad reception at home, at work, and while traveling, (b) dropped calls, garbled calls, being unable to make or receive calls, (c) problems with Wi-Fi calling and texting on Wi-Fi, (d) dropped text messages, receiving multiple of the same text message, failed text messages that won't send, (e) missed texts that never get to me and blank texts sent from an  "unknown address" (it is clearly a system error or some sort and not just an anonymous person texting), and (f) Samsung Note 3 phones don't work work well (e.g. shuts down randomly, freezes, touch screen lagging, can't make/receive calls, won't load certain things, can't use picture messaging function in certain programs -- it is not a function of the program but of the network or the phone).


How can I best resolve these concerns? I was really excited about becoming a T-Mobile customer and was initially disappointed in the difficulty of transitioning to T-Mobile from Verizon. Now, I'm finding that my reception has been seriously diminished (not even comparable to Verizon at all) and there are a lot of basic functions (e.g. call capability, text capability, 4G capability, phone function) that are not working. Please advise on what I can do, or if it is time to think about leaving T-Mobile because of all of these problems.

8 replies

Userlevel 6

Something that will resolve a number of your concerns is T-Mobile's project to upgrade all 2G towers to 4G/LTE by mid-2015.

What it probably won't resolve is poor signal -- that's why folks are given a 14 day remorse period and T-Mobile offers a Test Drive.  Not every carrier can guarantee coverage in all locations.  Especially in buildings where it doesn't know the building material (for instance I get 4 bars outside my work building, 0 bars 50 feet in the building).

There is no transition between WiFi Calling and Cellular.  Some older (like 7-8 years ago?) Blackberry devices had the ability to do the transfer, but Android and iDevices do not.  There's nothing that can be done about a drop if you're coming in or out of your WiFi Calling area if there's no cellular connectivity.

Texts on WiFi have been a thorn in everyone's side.  If you're using the default messaging software with the device, it generally helps.  Folks have said T-Mobile's router has helped.  There's been no real solution.

Phone issues, in 98% of situations, are generally tied to a bad app.  The solution anyone is going to give you to determine this is to perform a Factory Reset and do not install / configure any apps.  If the phone works fine, then it's an app.  If the phone doesn't, it's the phone.  Install / configure / upgrade 1-3 apps a day and keep tabs of what you install / configure / upgrade and when.  At some point your phone will start to act awry, and you'll have a list of apps that could be responsible -- most recent first.

Now, the final comment I will make (as a T-Mobile fanboy) is that not every carrier is for everyone.  For me, where I live, work, visit, T-Mobile has excellent coverage (well, except work, but who cares about surfing there?  I can change to 2G to get 2 bars).  That and their price makes it great for me.  But, no matter how many dollars I'm saving, being an unhappy customer isn't worth it (main reason I had UVerse for internet and DirecTV for TV even though "bundling" could have saved me some cash).  If you can't get the coverage you need, I'm not going to try to convince you to stay.  Verizon does cover significantly more miles than T-Mobile does (I learned this going out in the middle of the desert in the Phoenix area), and that extra coverage does cost more.  For many people, it's worth the extra dollars.

Hello @helen_c,

thank you for reaching out to the support community. WE definitely understand that consistent service and coverage is very important when choosing a wireless carrier. @smplyunprdctble‌ is correct in many points. Many of the device issues described and be resolved through a Master reset: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (N900) and then testing without restoring previous apps. Also, when in a 2G coverage area Network: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (N900) switching your device to 2G will improve service on calls and texts. We'd love to look into more account specifics and will need you to Community-2153 so we can discuss further.

Thank you, again!


Hi, it has been 36 hours since our last comment so we are now marking this post as assumed answered. You can continue to post, and other community users may respond, but if you would like assistance from T-Mobile or T-Force, please create a new discussion. Thanks!

Thank you very much, the 2G solution worked 😊 God bless you !

how do you make a phone into a 2G mode? I have ALL the same problems as this poster had. I have a Galaxy S7. I almost always show 4g service, but still issues

The phone function on my Galaxy S7 is not working well. Choppy calls, dropped calls. Most calls go right to VM. This is a Verizon phone and I just switched to T-Mobile. Great area for cell towers

I have many of these same problems with voice and messages. Cell data is fine, though. I can watch the phone struggle to choose between lte/4g/3g/etc even while standing within site of TMobile cell tower in a solid 4g service area.  Calls to a person who also has TMo, standing next to me, go straight  to voicemail and their phone never rings. Random messages take several minutes before the phone shows “sent.”  Even if the are “sent,” random messages can take forever to get to recipient, even when they are on Tmo, too. If calls get through they are dropped a few seconds into the call…  repeatedly… sometimes with strange alien sounding static.  When receiving calls, the call will get dropped a few seconds into the call. IF the caller is nice enough to call me back, usually the call is dropped again, and again!!!  If I change sim cards (to an ATT sim, for example) there are zero issues so it doesn’t appear to be my phone. Also, I can avoid dropped calls by switching to 2g service, but then I don’t have decent data speeds.  Finally, if I use any kind of VOIP app (like Google Hangouts/Skype/Duo/any, not only are those calls connected every time, but everyone tells me the call quality is way better than when I can reach then with a TMo voice call. Clearly there is something going on with the voice/mms side of things at TMo.  Calling TMo gets me a “tech expert” who assures me the problem will be resolved in three days and they will reach out.  But the problem is NOT solved in three days and no one reaches back to check.  Unreliable service is the same as no service, no matter the price. Time to switch?

Any more, T-Mobile has really become a total joke for service and coverage.  We live in Montana and coverage in the Billings area has become completely non existent.  We were promised all of the great service in the next few years when we signed up(Jan 2019) - Instead our service has done nothing but get worse.  I have spoke with many customer service people to get lots of lip service.  Anytime we travel, it is just horrible.  We have been living with the expectation that we just do not have service.  Yes our plans are cheaper, but for what - no connection and dropped calls.  Really bullshit.

T-mobile is a joke. I swapped early this year before COVID was a thing, TRASH is what I swapped to. Calls get dropped, I don't have reception sometimes even my wifi has issues, T mobile Tech transferred my call to Apple, they said it was a carrier issue. 


months late and T-mobile still doesn't want to replace my device.