Why does the service usually suck?

  • 18 December 2017
  • 14 replies

So I've been a loyal T-Mobile customer for over a decade now and figured that over time, the service would get less shoddy and T-Mobile would become quite a reputable company. Oh how I've been so wrong and continue to be the laughing stock amongst my friends when it comes time to stream a video or song or look something up.


In 2017, over a decade of being here and I am still getting the infamous "full bars, LTE" with NO SERVICE. It's so bad sometimes that I can't send iMessages, can't Google anything, or even Speedtest my connection. This is all from a iPhone 6S (purchased 2 years ago but shouldn't be the problem..). Obviously I reset the connection repeatedly, just to come across the same results of 3-4 bars, LTE, and nothing working. I usually end up getting so impatient that I reset my phone in hopes that it'll reset the connection and it usually fixes it, but I shouldn't have to reset my phone each time the connectivity sucks.


I write this from Queens, NYC, where you'd imagine the service to be impeccable (or at least close to it), to state that the connection in Queens is consistently wrong (in terms of strength indication) and slow. And no, I'm not underground or in a huge building, I always experience these problems outside (not restricted to Queens, Brooklyn included). Inside my house (Queens/Long Island border), the connection is really bad as well but thankfully I have wifi, or I would've switched carriers out of rage years ago.  I am seriously considering switching to Verizon as I've never seen anyone with Verizon experience this problem in the past 15 years.


Can someone please explain to me how there are times I get 0.2 mbps download speeds (and THATS LUCKY because it usually never even connects in these situations) with 4 bars and LTE in NYC? Is there any way to fix this within the settings of the phone or something, which sounds highly unlikely? Or should I just switch carriers now?

14 replies

Userlevel 5

Hey, @frugalmeister!

Welcome to our Support Community! After being with us for over 10 years, I'm bummed we're meeting on these terms. You're right about the area in Queens -- you should be getting a much stronger, faster signal. It's odd that only resetting the phone generally works for you. From the information you've provided, it sounds to me like the issue could be the device. I have a few questions to figure out what's going on. I truly want to get to the bottom of this for you because we never want to see a customer leave under circumstances that we can't get to the bottom of.

  • When you say that "resetting" your phone usually does the trick, do you mean restarting it?
  • By chance, have you tried your SIM in a different phone?
  • Do you know others in the area with T-Mobile that have the same experience that you do?
  • Have you worked with our Tech Support team regarding this issue previously? If so, what was the outcome?

I look forward to hearing back from ya!

I think you're running up against the laws of physics. In Queens, T-Mobile has deployed 20x20 LTE on the AWS band and 10x10 on the PCS band plus 5x5 of 700 MHz, with sites spaced about about 500 m apart and it's not enough to keep up with demand. Unlike some of the other carriers, T-Mobile does not have a huge block of high-band to augment their service in dense urban markets. Your 6s has all the current bands and two-way carrier aggregation. It's a good phone.

T-Mobile is working to get their 10x10 MHz of 700 MHz (band-71) spectrum online ASAP. They also are moving to deploy an LTE augmentation in the unlicensed 5 GHz band (band 46). Neither of these will directly help your 6s but could help by off-loading some of the traffic from power users who elect to buy phones that can take advantage of them.

Userlevel 5

Just checking in here to see how things are going. Did you get a chance to look over Amanda and DrNewcomb’s replies to you?

Userlevel 6
Badge +12

Just wanted to say that what your experiencing is congestion more likely than not. Your best option is to stick it out just a bit longer and then upgrade your phone to whatever the next iPhone is that comes out in 2018 if you want to stick with Apple or to buy a android device like the S8 which can take advantage of T-mobile more recent improvements (i.e 4x4MIMO,256QAM modem and 3 way  Carrier Aggregation). That is pretty much the only thing you can do on your end to ensure the best experience possible on the network. Also I promise you that Verizon experiences the same issues that all the other carriers are facing in cities like NY. Their are just too many people trying to use a finite resource with the current tech aviable not being efficient enough to support it all.

Just to add to what @dragon1562​ says. If you get a new phone, make sure it has band-71. Right now, only two top-end phones: LG V30 and the Samsung S8-Active have this band. Next year there should be several new, mid-range, phones available. In the NYC market, it's important to have a high-tech phone with all the bands and network features you can afford. Not talking about cameras and facial recognition. This means things like Carrier Aggregation, MIMO, 256-QAM, LAA-capable (if available), etc.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

Hi there!

You've got some great help from our community folks. Have you taken a look at the suggestions above for help? Please give us a reply and let us know. Thanks!

I called in 10 days ago because after 15+ years, I am not getting bars in my house.  It started about 3 weeks ago,  coincidentally soon after I downgraded to a pay as I go plan.

I was told that 2 of the 4 towers in my area were not working as they should be and to click back and forth on and off airplane mode until I get more bars (catch a different tower). 

My phone works fine in other houses and even when I was in the boonies on vacation. 

This is such a bad excuse. Get the darn towers working right. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

It could also be that since you changed to a prepaid plan you lost some roaming service in your area.

Why would I be roaming? I'm in a major city a block from a t mobile store.  

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

Never know. The roaming tower may have a stronger signal so it locks in.

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

Also it could be your phone.

Userlevel 3
Badge +5

Why would I be roaming? I'm in a major city a block from a t mobile store.  


the agent told you why...two out of 4 towers are down..the remaining two towers are probably overloaded with people. as you mentioned the phone worked fine at other houses and while you were in the boonies on vacation..that means its location based..meaning tower related.

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Why would I be roaming? I'm in a major city a block from a t mobile store.  

I’ve been to places in the past (another wireless company) where there was literally no usable service outside, and a mini cell (equivalent of a cellspot) was deployed in the store, otherwise there was literally ‘no service’ in the store.  Stores and cell sites aren’t always in alignment.


I'm in Pensacola Florida been a customer for over 15 years and my story is the same. I have 5 lines with 5 different  types\brands of phone and it's always been crap service but we saved 100 bucks a month and like you sir wifi came to T-Mobiles rescue. Well during the recent category 2 hurricane I had no service on any of my 5 lines for 3 days the at&t phones my mother and aunt have never lost service for 1 minute and always have full bars in my house. I have an e with no bars standing next to them. Total BS sooo I'm going to give t mobile this one opportunity to make up for many years of every person around me giving me crap and not being able to make a call where a cheap a$$ prepaid straight talk 40$ phone will. How will you keep my business t mobile? at&t offered 2 free New phones and the other 3 at half price and they matched what we pay every month with unlimited talk text and web. Oh yes I forgot 5g capable phones for the two initial phones not the other 3