Regret switching from Verizon in SoCal. Slower speeds and worse connectivity no matter the location

  • 10 December 2016
  • 27 replies

I recently switched from Verizon to T-mobile after about 10 years with Verizon. At the same time I upgraded from the iPhone 5s to the new iPhone 7.


Overall I am extremely disappointed with my decision.


I have an iPhone 6 on Verizon as a work phone to use as a comparison and no matter the location (home, work, out and about) the Verizon coverage and data speeds are superior. Two of my three work areas have zero T-mobile coverage while the Verizon phone has full bars. The Verizon phone on 2 bars of LTE is superior to T-mobile on any number of bars. I have yet to find a single location in Orange County where T-mobile is equal to Verizon.


I have gone through all the troubleshooting steps. Resetting this and that results in little to no improvement. I have chatted with tech support via the T-mobile app and that has amounted to nothing.


My last hope is that there is some known issue with T-mobile and the iPhone 7. Unfortunately, I unknowingly purchased the GSM version of the iPhone 7 so switching back to Verizon won't be easy.


Is there anything left to do at this point.


Perhaps T-mobile should focus less on gimmicks like T-mobile Tuesdays and concentrate efforts on really being as good as Verizon, because from where I am standing that claim is complete BS.


Attached is an example of what 2 bars of LTE gets you on T-mobile when tethered to my macbook. Untethered results are the same. Upload speeds are almost always faster than the download speeds.


27 replies

The only general complaints I've heard about the L.A. basin is that the network has become a bit congested with all the new customers. In the L.A. area T-Mobile has a full-court-press with over 2000 sites of band 2, 4 and 12 LTE.

Are these places where you have poor service indoors or outdoors?

Happens both indoors and out.

Multiple indoor locations that have full bars with Verizon will have no service with T-mobile. I carry my Verizon work phone with me everywhere. The differences are night and day with Verizon being head and shoulders above T-mobile in Orange County.

Calls to tech support always get me the same response, "modernization in progress."

They gave me a completion date a few days from now for one modernization location so I will be able to see if that makes any difference, but I am not holding my breath. Sounds like complete bullsh!t to me.

Another example

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

You should be hanging out in Van Nuys.

Epic network speeds

I remember another complaint where someone had poor service in an area where everyone else had great service. They also had an iPhone 7. I'm not sure if they ever found an answer.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Ironically the iphone uses 2 different radios and that could be the culprit. One is by Qualcomm and the other by Intel iirc or something in that regard.

Yeah,  the Intel radio is slower in comparison.

Userlevel 5

Hello @stangorang!

It sounds like you've put a lot of time into getting faster speeds because the speeds that you posted are definitely not up to par. I'm sorry there hasn't been any progress yet. You mentioned that the date for the modernization to be completed was happening in the next couple of days. Have you seen any improvement in data speeds? Also, what was the completion date that you were given?

I will know this Sunday if one of the locations got better. The completion date for that area was December 12th.

I have tested out a few more areas (Santa Monica and downtown Santa Ana) and the service is terrible. I can't even make decent calls from my house in Irvine, despite having one bar of LTE (Verizon has 3 bars for reference).

I think I am headed back to Verizon at this point. Their new iPhone 7 deal makes it financially feasible to switch.

What bothers me about your situation is that in Irvine T-Mobile's towers are about 1 km apart and every other one has band-12. You should have no problems there. If even 1% of T-Mobile's customers in the L.A. area experienced what you are reporting, this board (and others) would be on fire with their complaints. I'm inclined to believe it has something to do with that iPhone 7. (IMHO, YMMV)

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Do you have a Verizon iPhone? If yes then it has a Intel radio and not a Qualcomm radio. There have been unusual reports about speed and connectivity between those radios. That could be your culprit.

@tidbits‌ it was my understanding the it was the TMO and ATT versions that had the Intel radio and the VZW and Sprint had the Qualcomm because the Intel radio didn't support CDMA and also why the iPhone for TMO wouldn't be getting the 4x4 MIMO or QAM 256 update because only the Qualcomm radio had the option of having that feature.

Definitely find it weird that it's always backwards that his download is slower than upload.

@stangorang‌ have you tried it on different servers on Speedtest, I have found that can have a distinct difference in speed. 

While Atlanta is not near the size of LA it is still very large and here is an example of the speeds I have hit here.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Quite possibly i have it mixed up.

Back in the area today that was supposed to have "modernization" completed on December 12th.

Marginal improvement at best (see pic).

Was in the Orchard Hills area of Irvine last night. No T-Mobile signal in that area. Confirmed findings with a friend running a Samsung phone. He also wished he had not moved his family to T-Mobile from Verizon.

My iPhone 7 is not CDMA compatible. This is not a phone issue, this is a network issue. The difference between the radios in different versions of the iPhone 7 would not explain 10-20 Mbps loss in download speed.

stangorang wrote:

My iPhone 7 is not CDMA compatible. This is not a phone issue, this is a network issue. The difference between the radios in different versions of the iPhone 7 would not explain 10-20 Mbps loss in download speed.

Here is a link and part of an article that shows there is a significant difference in the Intel vs Qualcomm modem and note they test using Band 12 (T-Mobile's frequency).  Ironically Apple also didn't use the the radio for T-Mobile that supports the newer technologies that currently only T-Mobile has in place which is the 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM.  Only the Qualcomm modem supports those and can tell you that after the 2 updates to the radio on my Samsung S7e I have noticed a significant jump in speed.

"Band 4 is the most commonly deployed LTE spectrum band in North America, while Band 7 deployments are spread across the rest of the globe. Mid and high spectrum bands are used to densify LTE networks and provide incremental capacity. Just like during our Band 12 tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem continues to struggle even at relatively higher RSRP values with unexplainable sharp dips in performance. The gap between the two variants is consistent and north of 30% again in favor of the Qualcomm variant."

iPhone 7 Plus: A Tale of Two Personalities – Cellular Insights

This doesn't explain the lack of coverage when comparing to Verizon.

I just swapped the T-mobile SIM into my iPhone 6s work phone (Model A1688). The speeds are identical to the iPhone 7.

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

While I can't comment for your particular issue, I have (at times) had slow speeds in either congested areas, or areas with weak signal - many of that pushes my service to band 12.  I'm just north of LA in Santa Clarita.  Its rare for me to get worse than 30Mbps down unless I end up on band 12 or its opening day at Magic Mountain.

I can't say if coverage is worse here than Verizon (I've compared it to AT&T, where coverage is 'similar').  AT&T has a total higher speed than T-Mobile (have hit ~165Mbps in Woodland Hills and Santa Clarita vs. peak of 120Mbps).

T-Mobile just has a lot more cell sites where I am, which gives me a more consistent speed.  Rural areas on T-Mobile are pretty bad though.

Userlevel 1
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Amother poor showing by T-Mobile. This time in Palm Springs. Speed confirmed on an iPhone 6s with a different T-Mobile sim card

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Prior to running a Speed Test, run the following on your iPhone 6s.

*3001#12345#* --> dial --> Serving Cell Info

Post a snapshot

Download bandwith 'should be' 20MHz

Freq Band indicator should be 4

Have you hit a throttling limit ?  For me its actually hard to do unless Binge plans, but that would give me something similar to what you are seeing.

The field test did not run on my iPhone 7. Just says "connecting" after 10 minutes. It worked on the iPhone 6S

Below is what it says on the iPhone 6s in Palm Springs.

No throttling. Tons of data left for this billing cycle. Tough to use up 6 GB with these data speeds.

Userlevel 1
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That signal is borderline useless.  -119 dBm is getting close to the point of having signal.

I have had 'somewhat' usable signal as poor as -126dBm (IE streaming audio dies off)

Decent signal should be at least -105 dBm or better (I _can_ get up to 60Mbps at home on -104dBm on 20x20 band 4).

If you're at -119dBm on band 12 (5x5) forget about it.

Take a look at maps for where service is 'best' in your area and try it there.

When I hit peak speedtests, its at ~ -67dBm or better.

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Also, in SoCal, I recommend the following sites:

1.  T-Mobile (Irvine or Riverside)

2. site


4.  SiteServer (Simi Valley - it won't let you do repeated though)

One note - Sites like / are all 'great' (often faster than T-Mobile's!), but I think they hit into what 'appears' to be QoS style throttling at about 2/3 of the way though, then continues.

I.E. speed will climb then effectively drop, then climb again, while the site will not experience this.

Userlevel 1
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On a somewhat good note... the download frequency indicator of '2300' matches what I see for band 4 on my iPhone 6+.   I do see that there is 'some' band 12 service down there (don't know how often people with app visit Palm Springs - many sites haven't been touched with the app since April).

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Lastly... with the iPhone 6+, pretty much every speed test that was to a 'Non' T-Mobile site ended up with Ping Timeout.