Serious lack of signal and building penetration

  • 22 January 2018
  • 30 replies


I've only just moved to T-Mobile from AT&T last week. Since then I have been experiencing incredible fluctuations with service quality. When I have reception, everything is lightning fast. However I do not often have reception. My main issue is building penetration- although LTE and Edge fluctuate while I am outside as well. I also have an issue where I must restart my phone to regain data usage, even if it displays LTE. Airplane mode on/off does not work. For example, my service today looked like this: No service at work, restart my phone as I walk to my car, trip to Costco where I also have no service, restart my phone again to regain service, no service inside CVS, restart my phone again before I head home. When I say no service, I don't mean a slow connection or one-bar reception; I mean I have no service at all. 0 bars.

I live in the SF Bay Area and I am on an Iphone X. I have checked my coverage based this tool:

4G LTE Coverage Map | Check Your 4G LTE Cell Phone Coverage | T-Mobile

I have also troubleshooted based on this support page, going so far as to factory reset and then restore my phone:

No Internet troubleshooting

I travel a lot and I was very excited to try out the international capabilities of T-Mobile in a few weeks. Unfortunately I am not having any confidence in the service reliability right now. Is there any explanation as to why I am getting such terrible service? I feel like the service is so bad something must be wrong. Is there anything I can do? I would rather not switch back to AT&T.



Best answer by alexanderleemd 27 January 2018, 04:15

Hi Amanda, thank you for the suggestion. I think I have received plenty of help from the community here and I will turn to the tech's for further support.

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30 replies

Userlevel 6

What model phone are you using?  Is it a T-Mobile branded device or just compatible?

Your iPhone 10 should provide service on all the bands T-Mobile currently uses in the Bay Area. I get mixed reports from users in the Bay Area. Some claim lots of dead spots and poor indoor service, Other's say the service is perfect there. Go figure. The lack of indoor service may be the result of T-Mobile's network design philosophy, which is to optimize the network for speed. This has the side-effect of leaving some dead spots and providing less than sterling indoor service.  Band 12 (700 MHz) was supposed to fix many of T-Mobile's issues with indoor coverage but has not solved them all. Having said that, what a carrier has to do to get service inside a windowless metal building is really counter to what they want to do to provide fast service. Many customers, like myself have developed the habit of logging onto a big-box store's WiFi when we walk into the building.

Userlevel 6

Sorry. I missed the iPhone x and SF Bay area paragraph.

Thanks for the reply. It is a factory unlocked phone from the Apple store.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, my mom told me that T-Mobile had bad reception, but my brother is with T-Mobile and he has no complaints. Cupertino and San Jose respectively. I understand their design model as you have put it, but I think I value reliability over super fast speeds. It's a shame theres nothing I can do to improve this on my end. AT&T was not that much slower anyway. I will surely miss the international roaming that I never got to try. I will be switching back to AT&T I guess.. thanks for the input.

Just curious, what phone does your brother use?

My brother has an iphone 8, also factory unlocked. My mom used T-Mobile a few years ago with her iphone 6. I thought that was years ago and T-Mobile must have fixed up their spottiness. I guess I'm just in a dead zone or something.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Do you have a Qualcomm radio or an Intel radio version?  There's a difference in performance between the two.  Qualcomms tend to have better performance, connectivity and battery life.

Thanks for the reply. I have the Qualcomm model, A1865.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Where did you buy it from?  Sad you will not get 600 spectrum support with you X.  700 spectrum isn't getting rolled out everywhere.  Low band is what gives better building penetrations.

Also you may want to check the neighborhood board and such and see if they may be blocking potential tower development.  Sometimes these things force carriers to put them well out of the optimal position to give service to everyone.

I bought it from an apple store here in the Bay Area. Yeah, I read that the X will not work with the 600 spectrum. I have not investigated tower development in my neighborhood but it may be a useful step, thank you. I do get excellent reception in the area around my house however. It's just very spotty service as I commute through the Bay, especially indoors.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

When was your home built.  The problem could be your house may be a faraday cage for certain spectrum.

I just recently replace my windows(old cheap windows uses lead to polish) and my coverage went up for all carriers for example.

heres a link on how people around you can affect your coverage.  So you want coverage?

Userlevel 6
Badge +13

Hey there!

Looks like you've gotten some really helpful info from our fellow members. Did you still need help here? Please let us know.

Userlevel 5

Can I just say, "WOW"?! You did your homework based upon your device type and coverage area but then even went a step further to troubleshoot the issues. I'm impressed, @alexanderleemd! Also, welcome to T-Mobile and our Support Community! As Mike mentioned, a lot of helpful info has been passed along. However, one thing I'd like to recommend is getting in contact with our Tech Support team via 611 or Facebook/Twitter. They'll have one of our Engineers investigate the area to see if something may be going on with the network or if it's simply not strong enough to penetrate the buildings.

Please keep us updated with the outcome.

Thank you for your continued responses to help me troubleshoot. I believe my house was built in the late 80's, however I have good reception at my house. It just that hit many dead areas as I commute and run errands. I took a look at your link and I will do further research on the matter, just in case.

Hi Mike, I think there's nothing I can do to improve my service. I am learning to log into wifi when I enter buildings, where I almost always lose signal completely.

Hi Amanda, thank you for the suggestion. I think I have received plenty of help from the community here and I will turn to the tech's for further support.

Userlevel 5

I'm happy to hear that you've gotten a lot of help from our users! Please keep us updated after you speak with tech.

I'm just posting this in case any one else has my issue and stumbles across this thread via a Google search. After many weeks of troubleshooting between T-mo and Apple, we had come to the conclusion that the fault must be with the iPhone X itself. I switched to an 8 plus and that literally solved all my issues. I now get 2 bars in buildings where I used to get no service. I don't have dead spots anymore. Very happy to say the least. The 8 plus model I got is a sim free A1897. Hopefully next year's iPhones will not have a reception issue.

Same problem. Have had practically non-existent signal connection indoors. I live in a high density urban area, yet almost zero solid indoor connection. I can't stream anything w/out endless buffering majority of the time. Be it a less than 2 min YouTube video to an hour long Netflix movie, constant buffering interruptions. Including work out videos from 20 mins to 45 mins, buffering can start at 5 mins in to 15 mins in and rarely does video go to full time w/out start/stop multiple times due to no signal buffering. No I don't choose the building I live in based on how strong an indoor signal will be. Like who does that...!!?? Have been a T-mobile customer 4-5 yrs and this indoor signal issue gets worse. I've reported many times, yet all T-Mobile says is they can't always provide clear signals in all area locations. Really!? I have a signal booster, getting 2-3 bars indoors with 4G, yet many times that showing drops to  "E" or no signal where it says 4G. Rarely do I ever get 4 bars consistently indoors. Same at some locations outside or a building indoors again little or no signal. Horrible service. How can they stay in business!? You can't make it up.

I have an IPhone 8+ in St Louis and have the same issue. it seems completely random at times. I will move a few steps and have no signal when outside. I will step into a store and lose all signal. It’s infuriating. But the service people are really nice.

You need a phone that allows you to turn off band 12. my coverage went from improved to unusable outside of Chicago in 2018 , and i was shocked! Turned off band 12 forcing s7 to choose between band 4 ans band 2 which are traditionally stronger. The new bands are somewhat of a engineered rollo the dice!

This has narrowed the shopping field down unfortunately too. Pixel phones do not generally allow ( unless rooted..) band selection. Sold two pixel phones in 2 years also. bummer! Lg v30 has a band section mode.


Claim that T Mobile signal is good it is just interference what makes it interrupted is false. I‘ve been with Verizon for 12 years. No signal problems at all.

i work in the same buildings, same work. When I was with Verizon, I had good signal all the time. Now, with T Mobile, same buildings, same rooms, no signal. I have fluctuating signal at my home.

Don’t tell me it is not T Mobile signal.

It is!

I switch to T Mobile because it is cheaper. I can manage this. But, lets make this straight. You pay less, but you also get less quality.

Simple as that! No offence.

When I was with ATT I get good signals inside a lot of buildings and now I am constantly seeing weak to no signal. I guess you really get what you paid for