T-Mobile not switching between Cell Towers

  • 5 September 2020
  • 6 replies


This is specifically about phone coverage, not data. My daughter is driving from Austin, TX to Sacramento, CA.  All the way through Texas (I-40), calls would last less than 10 minutes, then I’d have trouble hearing her, or she hearing me, and I would hang up and call her back and the voice quality excellent--for under 10 minutes. Etc.  Next day we played this game from Amarillo to the New Mexico border, whereupon I was able to talk to her for an hour straight.  It was all good through New Mexico and I think most of Arizona, but once she reached Bakersfield, from Bakersfield to almost Fresno on US 99, it was like the Texas experience.  And since just before Fresno, it’s been fine (so far). 

I can understand if cell towers are far apart and the call drops and later there is a signal. But here in the 21st century, shouldn’t it be possible to switch from one to the next? Or is that just beyond the scope of technology?  But surely there were switches in New Mexico, and Central California, and they are seamless. But very “seamy” in Texas, have to be done manually.  Any ideas?

6 replies

Userlevel 1
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Has to do with what bands your phone can handle.


make sure your phone is under automatic when it comes to lte, 4g, 3g and 2g connections.


it does have to do with data, if your lte data is crap, or crappy phone, the lte (data) calls will be crap or wont transfer smoothly from one tower to another. towers can go over a mile easy, each from one another, so the transition is always smooth. turn off lte and try again, like stick to none lte calls. guarantee you it wont crap out on you. :]






Do you mean Settings-->Cellular-->Network Selection ?  That is on automatic.  (On both phones in case you thought I was just checking mine, which hadn’t left the house.)

I didn’t have her check that LTE was enabled.  Are there any other settings to check?  Hers is an iPhone 11, I would hope it can handle whatever T-Mobile throws at it (given the right settings). 


Oh, and thank you for responding. 



Userlevel 4
Badge +5

An iPhone 11 has all T-Mobile’s current LTE bands. The problem comes from the fact that T-Mobile designs their sites to almost go to zero signal where the two cells meet. This does not allow the phone much time to gracefully hand off from one tower to the next. Add to this the fact that iPhones are not known for having the best reception and you experience what you report.

What would cure this problem is an outside antenna but manufacturers decided that those were not needed and removed all the external antennas and jacks for same many years ago. The best you can do is an in-car booster from WeBoost.

Other than that, you can call Customer Service and file a complaint about poor hand-offs on I-40.


We have used TM on 99 from LA area past Fresno to about Stockton many times over the years w. no problems.  While we don’t engage in long phone calls - do use data to play music (Pandora) most of the time.

Userlevel 1
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What Drnewcomb wrote is spot on, but only if you really need to do so. she is traveling so it’s a switch issue. maybe in some areas, as she drives, the towers are not that good, or maybe at those particular spots she is hitting the end of some towers, especially driving.


her lte should work just fine, even if she is using up the internet. what I want to see if her lte in those spots are congested, or again driving away from some of the towers, to get a good signal, for good data bandwidth.


and I apologize, I meant to say, turn off volte, on lte calls.


you can still turn off lte and use 4g/3g/2g. If lte or lte with volte on is having issues in those dead zones.


I just want to see if it behaves better, if it does not drop, with volte off, it’s just prob what I wrote before.