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

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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. 

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.

Userlevel 3

Oh man. 😥

I've not heard of that issue, that's no good. Have you tried an alternate SIM card...? I know SIM cards can do some funny things, and it sounds like you have already gone through troubleshooting with the device itself, so it may be time to investigate the SIM. 😊


Userlevel 4

Hey there! Were you able to try an alternate SIM card? Where specifically in Alaska are you?

Yes,  I tried 2 different SIM from my other phones.   When it is placed in the updated S8 it says I'm roaming.   When I put the sims card in all the other phone it doesn't says I'm roaming.   I'm using the phones in Anchorage.   At this point even with the new mother board installed it still roaming so I think it's the system update.  Samsung said they can't verse the update.  I'm not sure what what I can do here in Alaska.  Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Yes,  I tried 2 different SIM from my other phones.   When it is placed in the updated S8 it says I'm roaming.   When I put the sims card in all the other phone it doesn't says I'm roaming.   I'm using the phones in Anchorage.   At this point even with the new mother board installed it still roaming so I think it's the system update.  Samsung said they can't verse the update.  I'm not sure what what I can do here in Alaska.  Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.  O have a brand one unused SIM but I don't know if it'll help.

Userlevel 4

So looking at Anchorage, this is all roaming coverage with GCI so you will not get T-Mobile coverage and the data roaming will be limited based on your plan. I sincerely apologize for the confusion.

Similar in Anchorage suddenly NO Coverage.  Worked perfect for many years.  Turned on phone the other day - zero coverage.  Support sent new SIM card but I can't activate it because no signal and no store to take it too.  Tech support will not activate unless in store.  Gotta cancel Tmobile and get different carrier unless someone can help?

Userlevel 4

Oh no! We still having roaming coverage in Anchorage. Is this where you live or are you just visiting? Do you have any other lines on your account or know anyone else with T-Mobile that is having the same issue?

I live in Anchorage and have had no issues prior to the weekend - picked up service for about 10 years up here.  Travelled - had service in New Orleans and San Fran... when I landed in Anchorage and turned phone on Sunday night -No service?  Phone shows a wi-fi signal from public/home... I don't use data.

Tech tried to help but sending me a new sim was a waste of time becasue we can't activate it... no signal = can't activate... no stores up here to go to.

Hope ya can help.  Will probably cancel and go to another carrier today unless you have feedback.  15 years w/Tmobie.

Userlevel 4

We definitely do not want to lose you! For this to pop up out of nowhere, I would be curious to see how the phone worked in other areas around Anchorage. Have you had a chance to go move around the area to see if your phone is able to pick up signal in other areas maybe 10+ miles away?

I live in Anchorage and have been for a while.  I have 4 other lines with T-Mobile and they are not roaming and could use data as normal.  I'm the only one roaming because I did a phone update.   When I put my Sim into the other phone it didn't say I'm roaming and works fine with all the other phones.  I don't know anyone else with T-Mobile.   My sister also has an S8 but she didn't do the phone update so hers is working fine, she's not roaming and has access to limited data.

That sucks.   I'm sorry to hear that.  My phone changes were out of tnt blue too.   I traveled to multiple different states and came back without issues too.  One of the service member wants me to send my phone down to a family remember to have them flash my phone but that'll make me go without a phone for at least a week.   I've been with T-Mobile for as long as you too.   My dad has the last line on my account in Cali and if I can't fix my phone we might have to change service too.    I was about to register my Sim online at the T-Mobile website.   Have you trotted that yet?

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

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.  

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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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. 

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?