T-Mobile's coverage maps are highly exaggerated

  • 5 November 2017
  • 41 replies
  • 417 views

Userlevel 1
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T-Mobile appears complicit in stating 'coverage' where none is physically possible, and has been confirmed by their engineers.

They've gone so far as to consider themselves as the ONLY carrier with LTE in this area, while it has none.

Sadly, their engineers will acknowledge the lack of service, but T-Mobile ERT and management will not.

This complete area is a 'No Service' zone but T-Mobile seems addicted to the MS-Paint 'bucket-fill' function.

This is highly disturbing as many areas w/o service where its expected (and roaming not-allowed) ends up with people out of coverage.  This is a major highway in SoCal 2 miles from the freeway.


41 replies

Userlevel 6

Hi, @formercanuck​. This is such a bizarre situation, and I can totally appreciate why you're frustrated. I read over the thread you started earlier this year here: Why does T-Mobile claim 'verified' 4G LTE service (and actual service) where there is none ? to familiarize myself a bit with what was going on. I wish I could speak to how our Executive support's drive team was able to receive service in an area where you're not. I know it's not a device issue, as you mentioned testing with more than one 700 MHz compatible phone. I took a look at our internal map and can see that multiple recent tickets have been filed around this area -- I appreciate your commitment to reporting this experience.


Amanda is out until Tuesday, but when she returns I will definitely connect with her to get the contact information she used to initially reach out to the team that reviews the external map for accuracy. I want to be straightforward -- I can't promise what updates to the map might occur if our team has verified coverage there, *but* I do think it's worth reaching out and providing the ticket numbers for additional review. I'll keep you posted on anything I hear back, and thank you for taking the time to return here and let us know how things are going.

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I have met with T-Mobile's Drive team, and they were NOT able to obtain service at that location. 

Similarly, I spoke with your engineers last night, and they are aware that service is technically impossible in this area.  I.e. Service can easily travel +3miles.  Service however is not able to travel +3 miles, through 2 moutainsides (1/4 mile deep) and into a valley +600' below.

T-Mobile 'painted' the entire valley with service as soon as they deployed L700 service.  L700 service does NOT go through moutains.  Your engineer (local engineer Brian, who I spoke with, not level 2 support) as well as your drive team, and several members of your level 2 support team are in agreement.  There is NO SERVICE in that area.

John Legere is being a hypocrite, as he in the past condemned AT&T for its spotty coverage and painting of its service everywhere, while he is doing those very same actions.

Userlevel 6

Oh, gosh! I'm sorry -- I must have misunderstood; I was referencing your post on the other thread where you mentioned that ERT sent out the drive team and they reported coverage. If you've met with the drive team, that's a huge deal! I have to say, with all of the folks you've consulted with, I really am surprised that the map doesn't convey a description more consistent with what you and the ENG folks you've worked with are experiencing. We'll definitely pass that along! Is there any other information you'd like for me to include?

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As a mention to those 'Verified' coverage locations.  I have verified that none of those locations have service, nor could T-Mobile's service be scanned.  Also, many of those were actually showing up +6 months BEFORE T-Mobile deployed L700 (October 2015 vs. April 2016).  T-Mobile does not have service in this area, and I would go on to say that their 'verified' coverage maps are false.

Coverage where none exists/can exist (this goes beyond).  If T-Mobile considers 'Emergency SOS on Verizon then that would give it some erroreous validity.  Similarly, a few years back T-Mobile/AT&T had roaming agreements - these are suspect to be 'old' entries (ie. locations have _never_ moved in 2 years)

Userlevel 6

Got it! I can provide that feedback as well, thank you!

Userlevel 1
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Unless you have the ability to escalate BEYOND ERT, I think this will fall on deaf ears.

This... does not give service!

'

Outdoors -verify by time and GPS

Userlevel 6

I don't want to misrepresent our role in the Support Community -- we're primarily a peer to peer user forum for customers to get answers from each other about T-Mobile products and services, so when it comes to looking into individual user accounts, you're right -- we don't have the ability to escalate an issue beyond ERT.


That said, we do have the ability to reach out to other internal teams, and it never hurts to try. Since you've mentioned so much interaction with engineering, I think it's worth reaching out! We're not the folks who make decisions about the map, but we can always forward your feedback, even if we can't promise the result. I would hate to think you spent so much time returning to the forum to post an update on your experience in vain!

Userlevel 1
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Your engineers even told me the only other way is to troll John and Neville on twitter until they actually reach out to me.

Userlevel 6

Eek. Everyone knows we love Twitter, but we should definitely not be recommending trolling anyone -- whether it's our senior leadership or that NOT A WOLF account -- just as a best practice. 😥 Do you still have a way to contact ERT? I know that when you work with them they sometimes provide their contact information -- they also respond to executive issues via social media.

I can reach out to the same contact Amanda used initially with your ticket numbers and both of your thread details, and provide highlights from the conversations you're letting us know about with our engineers. Looking over the older thread, I don't know how much detailed information we were able to provide the last time we did reach out to them. Based on the terrain you're describing, I hear you -- the map doesn't always reflect environmental impacts to service, but if the area you're looking at would require that coverage penetrate through a mountain, then I can understand why the experience you're having is less than desirable. There are areas on the map where terrain is accounted for (take a peek at Yosemite valley), so maybe this is just a matter of needing more detail!

Again, I can tell this has been a long term mission for you. I can't make any promises about the map, but I can promise to try. 😊

Userlevel 1
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The only way that ERT has _EVER_ responded to me was through opening a complaint through the BBB.  They have never responded outside a complaint through that channel, and were eager to close all issues and not respond afterwards.  ERT's only offer was to payoff devices and cancel account.  This area _does_ take mountains into account... Its dark pink on the side facing the tower, light pink on the side facing the valley.

Before adding L700, aka 'Extended Range LTE' the map was all 'white' in the valley.  Somehow those that create the maps (software) have the belief that the coverage can go through a mountainside.

Userlevel 6

Oh, ouch, formercanuck. I want to be straightforward, but I'm worried that the written nature of this interaction might make this come across as unfeeling -- if it does, please forgive me, and know that I really want to make sure we're not doing you a disservice.

It stinks to read that you weren't happy with your interaction with our highest level of customer support. I know that if ERT's solution was to offer to ease your way out of T-Mobile service, when we can't stand to see a customer go, then that's likely the best resolution offer that will exist on an individual account basis. I also know, sad to say, that this likely indicates that there's no upcoming improvement planned in that area for the immediate future.

If the concern is making sure that the map is accurate, I am happy to forward that feedback for you; but I want to be honest about what we can do and what we can't, which is to say; we aren't the team that updates the map ourselves, nor do we have the ability to review customer's accounts or make changes. It's my thinking that while the map's disclaimer calls out that there isn't a guarantee of service for one user based on the reported experience of another, as a company we strive for ethical representation as much as possible, so I think calling attention to user experiences that don't match up is worth it. The first line of defense for this would be through service inquiries (the tickets you've filed), and then through having those tickets escalated, but I know you've already gone through that, so what we can offer here is to forward your feedback to the map team.

I'm super sorry if I'm reading your replies wrong and have just derailed everything myself, but I just want to make sure we're on the same page -- can I clarify that you're looking to get the map reviewed?

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Marissa,

I've had that same response from ERT.  As a result, I have pushed for T-Mobile to at least be honest with their coverage.

I am looking for T-Mobile to 'correct' their maps for coverage, as they are unwilling (and have been for the past 2 years) to fix their coverage.

This is a busy highway (spillover from the freeway), and a backlot area for many movies (Hollywood is ~30 miles away).

Many have been T-Mobile customers due to the benefit of sensible international roaming (vs Verizon/AT&T), however AT&T/VZW have utility pole mounted cell sites every mile.

T-Mobile claims to be the ONLY carrier with LTE service in this area, which is not true (VZW doesn't advertise it much, AT&T has HPSA+), yet T-Mobile has ... No Service for this area (Sleey Valley / The Oaks), but continues to promote it.

While there is no 'Guarantee' on service, T-Mobile might as well put service on the Moon and claim that there's no guarantee.  While I do appreciate that coverage is never guaranteed, I wouldn't expect a whole valley on the other side of a hill be just blanket labelled as covered 'just because' and 'Extended range goes through everything - including a hillside.

Here is your cellsite on the left (top left magenta), and there's your '4G LTE verified' sites on the far right.

When people call out the fact that there is NO SERVICE and T-Mobile's map claims that there is... What is done by T-Mobile to actually validate this?

T-Mobile's own drive team and engineers as well as L2 tech support have verified that there is 'No Service'.

The ethical thing for T-Mobile to do - as this is the backyard to Los Angeles (~13 million people) is to either fix the map ... or fix the service.

T-Mobile has chose to sit on their hands and attempt to buy me off by saying they will pay off my device and cancel my service.

I don't think that this is a very ethical response, when they _could_ verify and fix the map.

It gives me the impression that T-Mobile doesn't really want to do its job in making sure that its coverage is accurate (again a charge that your CEO had against AT&T a while back), and is not only promoting... but not correcting.

I am deeply disappointed by the ERT's decision to not fix the issues, but rather promote it.

Userlevel 6

Sorry for the delay in my reply, your response came in after I'd left for the evening!


I think everything you've laid out here is totally reasonable, and I'm glad that I was misunderstanding where the conversation was going -- I would hate to be stuck explaining the ways our hands are tied here, when instead we can totally get this passed on for you. I'm so sorry that you were disappointed, but I think I understand now that your goals in reaching out were so different than the resolution that was offered that it must have felt like a big dismissal. That's valuable feedback, thank you.

I know you know I can't promise any changes to the map, but as I said, we are happy to amplify your voice and try. 😊 Amanda will be back in the office tomorrow and I'll get the information from her. I'll follow up here and, if you like, can PM you as well! I'm fine corresponding here so that we are transparent if that's what you're comfortable with, or updating you via PM if that's what you'd prefer -- just let me know what works for you.

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I can only be 'hopeful' that this doesn't continue to fall on deaf ears.  From my perspective, the 'Uncarrier' feels more like the old AT&T / Verizon method of doing business where its "We don't really care about you, or the fact that what we have is incorrect... our lawyers have passed this on as fact, and you're SOL".   John Legere in MANY of his tweets has stated that "We're different and listen to our customers".  Well, he is listening.. but doesn't hear.  Its possible that he's on a high from getting churn in the urban markets - he is going to have churn when all of these areas that your map teams have blanketed as 'covered' are 'Emergency Service only'.

Soon enough, I'll be driving through most of Michigan where service is actually listed as 'weaker' than this known area... but also 'blanketed'.  It should be interesting.

Userlevel 1
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Just as a last piece of this... I have asked the same information from your ERT team - 3 times.  If they can't fix the coverage, then at least fix the maps to properly represent service in this area.  They only refused and offered to pay off my device and cancel my service.

Userlevel 6
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Hey as a fellow customer I appreciate you going through all the effort of getting this corrected. I hope things work out for you soon and that maybe in the future the location effected will get some form of native coverage from T-mobile or a partner.

Userlevel 1
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Sadly, T-Mobile has told me over the past 2 years that they have 'no plans'  to build / add sites in this area, which is a busy highway paralleling the freeway.  I can understand T-Mobile's relucatance to build, as they don't tend to build where there is a lower population density (interestingly - they have 2 monopines 6 miles south where the only population is a mobile park - much smaller, each 1/2 mile from each other.)

People would probably not care if it was roaming out here, as long as there is service.

T-Mobile's support claims that they don't provide roaming where they have local service... which isn't quite correct.  No roaming in California, yet AT&T roaming in Hawaii on the island of Kauai where I had service across the entire island.

Clearly, I suspect that this would be fixed - at least on the maps, if there wasn't a reason behind this.

1.  T-Mobile (John/Neville) have become the hypocrites in coverage maps.  John complained about AT&T a couple of years ago for providing coverage maps that were not based in reality.  T-Mobile is doing the same - possibly worse.

2.  Carriers have some obligations on coverage with spectrum - Making claims that are unrealistic are typically done to appease the FCC licensing gods, lest they be revoked.

3.  Sell, sell, sell.  Many will try the service seeing that T-Mobile has a lot of the country covered.  A lot of these don't use the 'less than urban' areas but want the ability... for less.

In general, if coverage where I go today shows 3 bands - L2100, L700, 3g/4g 1900 , '4G LTE Verified Coverage'  - yet 'No Service', nor can ANY T-Mobile service be found through network scan on multiple T-Mobile devices supporting all of those bands.

This tells me that probably 20-40% of T-Mobile's coverage map is a fraud by this basis and should not be trusted.  T-Mobile's own engineers can't get service at the locations marked as '4G LTE Verified by Customer' - what does that tell you about the validity of this map ?

Userlevel 6

Hey, @formercanuck​. I'm sorry for the delay -- I was able to grab the contact information today and forwarded both of your thread links as well as all of the ticket numbers I could find for this area in our internal map tool to the coverage team for review. I'll let you know what I hear back as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience, and I appreciate you allowing us to reach out on your behalf.

- Marissa

Userlevel 1
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Unless your internal map tool people actually reach out to either your local engineers / drive team or visit the area themselves, I'm highly doubtful that they will fix the issue, but I thank you for your effort.

Userlevel 6

I can totally respect your feelings based on the experience thus far, but we want to do whatever we can. FWIW, I forwarded the threads and ticket IDs to the mgmt who oversee the team responsible for coverage layers on both our internal and external maps -- I think they're the perfect folks to review this. Thanks again for the opportunity to give this a shot; and I'll keep you posted!

- Marissa

Userlevel 6

Good morning, @formercanuck​! The coverage mgmt team we passed this on to has forwarded it to the local market engineers to review. I'll let you know what I hear back, but I just wanted to keep you in the loop!

Userlevel 1
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Thanks, please let me know what Brian says (I've spoken with him before).  He has told me that he has requested for 2 cell sites, however T-Mobile management has not obliged.

Userlevel 1
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Hi, tmo_marissa,

It's been a couple of weeks now, and no response from T-Mobile.   What is the latest ETA on fixing the maps and/or coverage?

It's been more than 2 years of tickets for this discrepancy issue.

Userlevel 6

Hey, @formercanuck​. The last update I received was early this past week, that the team was getting ready to prep a report. I did send out a check-in right before we broke for the holiday, but I haven't had a reply so far. Hopefully this coming week will yield some responses -- I know a lot of folks were out for an extra long weekend, so I'm crossing my fingers that they'll have updates when they return.

Thanks for your patience, I promise I will let you know what I hear back ASAP.

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As a note, I filed more dropped calls using the T-Mobile app at both ends of the 'No Service' - aka T-Mobile is the only 4G LTE provider in the zone region, which has 'No Service'.

Based on T-Mobile's coverage map... who should have Service here ?

Based on _real_ visits - T-Mobile service cannot even be found.

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