Roaming in Alaska

I have a Samsung S8.  It working great and I loved my phone but in early Dec 2017, I stupidly did an update on the phone and since then my phone says I'm roaming and I am limited to roaming data.   I habe sent my phone into Samsung 3 times.  This last time they changed the mother board and is still says I'm roaming.   I have contacted T mobile and was told that they would get back to me within 3 days and is been 2 weeks.  I haven't try contacting T-Mobile again because my phone was with Samsung.   I got it today and I'm still roaming.   Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Best answer by tmo_chris 13 January 2018, 17:57

View original

36 replies

I am currently in Anchorage. I am connecting to GCI, but I am only getting 3G calls and texts. Texts only work 1-to-1. Group texts fail. Any text with attachments/images also fails. It looks like I should be getting 4G LTE based on the coverage maps. What’s going on? Can this be fixed? I have the Essentials plan and a Moto G Power.

It doesn’t matter if you have 2g or better. I have an iPhone 10, got to Anchorage, connected to the GCI network, had full bars and LTE but I couldn’t use data. Called T-Mobile support who  me try several different things, then made me buy a $15 data plan... even after I bought the additional data package, it still didn’t work. Spent a good chuck of my vacation talking to T-Mobile support Who didn’t know the issue. Had to survive using my friends hotspot who has Virgin. I regret switching over from Virgin, mainly to take advantage of the unlimited global data, but after traveling, I’ve noticed the connectivity is so scarce that I usually have to rent. wifi device where I go. For those in Alaska, it’s not you, it’s them. And their support had no idea how to fix it.

I have the $3 prepaid plan. Never had a problem in the lower 48 or near Mexico, just up there.

Userlevel 3

Can you tell me what prepaid plan you have? Some prepaid plans actually do not have full domestic roaming options, but it's dependent on the specific rate plan you have! 😊 If you can tell me what plan you have, or if you contact T-Force on FB or Twitter (found in my signature) they can also tell you! That said, if people who are GCI users and they didn't have coverage, it's likely GCI was having an issue or didn't have coverage in the area!


I have a prepaid plan, but never had problems with roaming. I live close to the Mexican border and hit the towers there regularly with no problem.

I talked to someone else from T-mobile and they said the same thing you did, GCI usually covers T-mobile, but there must have been a problem there at the time I was there or something. I've heard other GCI people say they had problems with their phones, too, but it could have been the town. I don't know what else it could be unless I was supposed to turn something on with my phone. I also had a data plan and had the roaming option turned on. I know that prepaid phones can't do data plans internationally, but Alaska is part of the U.S.

The small town where I was actually staying the most was not covered by GCI, so that explains the lack of coverage there.

Userlevel 3

GCI is a roaming partner in many areas. Do you know if you have a rate plan with roaming capabilities?


I was just in Alaska over the last weekend and my phone didn't work ANYWHERE in the state. Not even Juneau or Anchorage. I was in Cordova and had to buy a wifi pass from the local phone company. The problem is that nearly everyone else that didn't have an ATT or GCI phone had the same problem. My phone is fairly new, I just bought it in December. I got a strong signal, but got that "not on a network" error.

Userlevel 4

Hey @magenta4468153

GCI is our roaming partner in Fairbanks so you should be able to connect there. We are going to need to pull up your account and get a service ticket opened for you. Since you are not getting service, if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can use the links in my signature to send a message to our T-Force team. They will be able to get this ticket started for you so our engineers can take a peek at what is going on.

I'd love to add to this.  I visited Anchorage in Oct 2017 with no problem.  Then Fairbanks in Nov without issue.  When I returned to Fairbanks in January I had service the first day or so then nothing after that.  I arrived 11 Jan and left 14 Jan. Service up until Saturday.  While I don't live in Fairbanks, I visit often enough that this is a big problem for me.

I have no service now unless there's WIFI somewhere.  I don't even have calling.  I'm on a Samsung S6. Shouldn't be an issue with 2G. I get the same exact messages as the person who posted the GCI screenshot. (No service, not registered on the network.) I don't recall an update in the day between having service and not.

There's got to be a problem whether TMobile is aware or not for Fairbanks to be the only place where my service is non-existent suddenly.

Userlevel 4

Haven't heard from you in a couple days 😥 Everything okay?

Userlevel 4

Just checking in here to see if you saw my last comment to you.

Userlevel 4

We have a roaming agreement with GCI in Alaska so there should be no reason you are getting kicked off. Are you still having issues making/receiving calls and texts? If not, when you did have this issue, did your phone show that you were not connected to any network or were you connected but the calls/messages were just failing? What happened when you tried to make calls or send texts?

Hi Chris,

I think there is something going on with the coverage in Alaska.  I keep getting kicked off or having network issue.  I wasn't able to make calls or receive any texts for an hour at a time the last couple of days.  Is GCI kicking us off their network because we're T-Mobile?  Like all the others my phone was working great until the beginning of December.  Do I need to call in again too? Do we all need new SIM cards?  Will we need to pay for them?


Userlevel 4

@ak-in-mi So we still have an active roaming agreement with GCI in Deadhorse. I am not seeing any issues listed at a high level but I think it would still be best if you were to contact our technical support so they can gather some specifics from you and get an engineering support ticket opened.

@notworkingak​Okay cool! I am glad they were able to get the verification code sent out to you. I know it is a pain but the security of your account is something that we take very seriously. 

Chris - to follow up to my last post.  Customer service jus' told me I'll be good to go/have coverage when I activate the new sim - they are a mailing me the code. 

Chris I believe that there is another issue going on.  Seeing that most people haven't had an issue until recently , it didn't start back in September.  I would be highly doubtful that most peoples phone aren't 3G/4G LTE compatible .  I have an s8 other guys I work with have Iphone's  so I don't think the canceling of the 2G is the problem,  Here are a couple screenshots of the errors i am getting.

Hi... My phone that has always worked is ol' school - So when I learned 2G was cancelled by GCI put a 'new' SIM into an iPhone (yesterday).  Nothing.  The sim is not activated - is that a new problem?  but how can I activate it without a signal... meaning I can't dial t-mobile? 

Would love to try the sim that has worked for 15 years (in AK and everywhere) but it is too big for the iPhone.

Customer service says they will mail me the activation code but unless I get a signal - I don't think that's the answer?

Userlevel 4

Hey folks, I dug a bit deeper after seeing @notworkingak​'s comment and 2G roaming was "Canceled" and I do see that 2G-only roaming was indeed turned down in specific Alaskan ZIP codes as of 9/30/2017. 3G/4G and LTE network are still available so if your phone supports those frequencies, you will still be able to connect to the network but any data used will still be counted as DATA roaming and would be limited based on your specific plan. If your phone does not support 3G/4G or LTE, please contact us so that our care teams can go over additional options such as upgrades and or additional indoor coverage solutions.

I am currently having the same issue.  I live in Michigan but I work in Alaska and I started having connectivity issues last month 12/20/17.  I keep getting the the prompt that I am not registered on GCI, I cannot send messages unless I am on WIFI calling.  I am not sure if this all related to the international roaming issue but I  have multiple coworkers that are having the same issue Iphone and Android phones.   I switched to Tmobile as soon as they partnered up With GCI and have had nothing but great connectivity up in Deadhorse Alaska until now.

Stopped by GCI n' was told ROAMING on 2G network was CANCELLED a week ago/last Friday.  I need to put my sim in a 3G. 

For me, gonna probably take couple biz days because the iPhone I will try it in is locked and they say it'll take a couple biz days to unlock. 

If ya don't hear from me assume - that's it.... my phone is just too old not gonna get service since this recent change.

Userlevel 4

Okay thanks for clarifying. If your phone or the other phones on your account are connecting to GCI, it may not show the roaming signal but the data used will be used on the GCI network which is a partner network so it would be limited.


I sent my phone in to Samsung 3 times and they did all the work because it was under warranty.  The last time the motherboard was replace to Monica as if " It was out of the box" but it still show me roaming. Before tyke update I was on GCI network but it didn't show me roaming so I can access all 3G of data if I wanted to use it.  After the update the phone has me actually roaming which restrict my data.   My other phones are on GCI bit the roaming sign is not up and works fine.   I don't really know what software per se was updated as it was an automatic update and I was half asleep when the phone request permission to update and restart my phone.   Below is my current info.


Userlevel 4

@northstar88 - Okay, so we know for sure that it is not a signal issue since your phone is the only phone having the issue. Typically, sw updates will not affect how your phone picks up signal. Since you are in Anchorage, you are going to be "roaming" on GCI no matter where you are since T-Mobile does not have towers there. So just to clarify, is the issue that you are having a problem with not getting signal at or the signal that you are getting is roaming signal?

A few questions about the update/ "new motherboard". What SW version does your S8 show that it is on now and where specifically did you get this new motherboard? @notworkingak

@notworkingak - It sounds like the rep you spoke with filed a service request for you which is definitely the right track if you are not able to connect to GCI in your area. The rep that filed the ticket for you will follow up with you as soon as the ticket is returned to them from the engineers.

We got new Sim card with my husband's me phone.  I went into my account online and changed the register the SIM to his new phone without any issues.   Try logging onto your account and see if you have the and option to register online too.  Good luck.  My phone is the only one not working and it's only because of the update.   I have been around different parts of Anchorage and could get roaming service while my son's phone worked fine and wasn't roaming.  

Northstar not sure about registering on the website but I'll poke around?  I've talked to a lot of reps - nothing working out - gonna try n' give it another day but looks like a need a get new carrier.  Got a new sim (not sure that was necessary but worth a try?) but it's useless because the reps won't activate it over the phone (to protect me from fraud).

Chris I haven't travelled more than 10ish miles from where I am.... and probably not venturing further anytime soon.  Beth with customer service was awesome and had me try checking a bunch of settings... thinks a tower is down (from GCI who I probably pick up service via)... she put in a ticket.

? not sure ? but can't go without service much longer