WHy is my speed so slow?

Issue 1: I have a T-mobile One plan with the "$10" add-on and my speed still doesn't pass 4 mbps under 10GB hotspot. I changed it to the "International Plus" with its Unlimited Hotspot and the speed remained the same, specially when I test it on a non-tmobile device even though it's compatible with T-mobile's B2, B4, and B12. Data on the phone is also slower than I had living 15 minutes away. My speed fell from 60 - 100 Mbps to 3-15 Mbps where I live now (Downtown Houston). The hotspot speed fell from 15-25 Mbps to 0.60 - 4 Mbps. This is unacceptable taking in consideration the location and plan I am paying for.

Issue 2: The signal in my apartment is acting horrible despite having full bars in it. I have full bars in my living room and yet the call randomly drops or my data stops responding. When the signal drops the bars goes from full to 0 (zero) and back to full. I called to notify the issue, and a signal booster (RSC) was sent (not the latest one). Turns out the booster has issues connecting to the network unless it has the same problem as all phones here. I am not interested in a WiFi router to make calls because I don't have WiFi.

Conclusion: I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of paying for UNLIMITED Data at LTE but receive a 3G like unreliable service. I live in downtown, where I receive Band 2, 4, and 12. I have an app on my phone that monitors the network and shows signal drops on Band 2 and Band 4. Even though my phone is capable of band 12 it seems everyone is connected to it because all I get is less than what I used to get back in HSPA+. Hotspot on 4G LTE network remains slower than 4 Mbps.

Phones I have troubleshot the network with:

  • Non Branded t-mobile phone
  • LG V30
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
  • LG K330

I have offered to welcome engineers into my apartment so they can see what the issue looks like but the invitation was rejected. I offered to install an external antenna on my balcony but the option was discarded as well. I am a loyal t-mobile customer who happens to be loosing its faith. This is my last attempt to fix the issue before I call it quits.

PS: At&t does allow unlimited Hotspot line for the same price as adding a voice line to your Unlimited Plus account ($20), and its speed normally stays around 10 MBPS. I believe if I am paying for a hotspot plan (regardless whether its $10 or $25, and regardless the device I choose) I should at least get a reliable service and speed on the network, specially if it's being marketed as LTE speeds.


Best answer by magenta4456797 16 April 2018, 02:43

Update 2

I have received a call from Tech Support providing a new deadline for the modernization progress to be complete. It was also mentioned that this particular tower (which is literally in front on my building)  has been going through this "modernization" since 2016. Last month the deadline was March 25th, now the new "On Air Date" is scheduled for the 21st. Until then we cannot confirm if the problem will be resolved or if a new ticket will have to be opened. Then again, this is not the first date I have have been given for the tower to be on air. It was also confirmed this tower will work on the 900 Mhz or B4.

Regarding as of why the Hotspot is automatically throttled (not prioritized)  to half the speed of what the handheld recieves still remains unclear and no update has been provided.

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45 replies

Update 1:

I have received the replacement booster; same model as the one with issues. As expected, I continue to receive issues with the booster. It is giving an E1 error message, which according to the instruction the booster is a problem to connecting to the network. At this point I am convinced it must be something with Band 2 or 4. It seems my phone provides a more stable connection on band 12 but way slower.

The times I have been able to do a speed test on band 2 and 4 the download and upload speed seem significantly higher.

Userlevel 6
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external antenna was probably rejected due to rules and regulations in place by the FCC and various other government organizations. Signal strength also is not a accurate representation for coverage. If possible I would try forcing a connection to only bands 2/4. I am not sure if it is available on the V30 but I know that many manufactures have short codes you can enter on the dialer to access a service mode and turn off and on specific radios on the device.

You should file a trouble ticket with them in regards to the service issues and explain the problem to them being as detailed as possible. After 48-72 hours a engineer should respond to the ticket and it will be notated on the account so when you call back in you can see what the engineer had to say.

I also wanted to add that band 12 will always be slower because it is not really ment for speed per say. It only has a 5x5 block of spectrum allocated to it for most markets while band 4 is usually  20x20 and band 2 is 20x20. You have a phone that supports the entirety of the T-mobile network so I would not advise a switch as you will have to spend more money buying a new handset for AT&T. Sometime in the future your market will gain access to band 71 which T-mobile acquired in there most recent auction so the problems above should go away as this will allow for even more consumers to enjoy fast, reliable speeds.

I will ask though if you have the same problems outdoors on band 2/4 or if it is only when inside. Band 2/4 don't penetrate buildings well like band 12 did so that could be at play. Also have you tired moving the booster around to different locations to see if the error goes away?

Hello dragon1562,

I suspected that would be the case with band 12. I actually kind of confirmed this issue. The K330 only supports Band 2 and 4 on Tmo which was great to test it since, unlike my V30, it's would not even be able to see Band 12. With the K330 I found to have a more stable and faster connection than my V30; up to twice the speed. How is that possible? I believe there are too many users connected to Band 12. But since that antenna is the one giving full bars, the V30 tries to stay connected to the band instead of switching over to the other ones with less bars but better connection, and if it does, the device interrupts the data connection, call or VoLTE.

I do find it interesting that none of the both boosters sent by Tmo could connect to the LTE network.

When I activate tethering or hotspot, the download speed remains slower on the handset than it was before I had tethered or activated hotspot. Feels like it gets automatically throttled to almost half the speed.

Userlevel 6
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Well hotspot data is not treated equally on the T-mobile network. By default it is de-prioritized, and if you went above the 50GB threshold on your plan you also de-prioritized during times of congestion. T-mobile mind you is not the only carrier to do this. I think it would be really helpful to test the booster in other locations to see if its just a issue of placement.

Userlevel 6
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Hi there!

If this is more of a signal issue just in and around your apartment, I think getting an engineering ticket is a good plan to have our team take a look at the data in that area. While we won't need to go to your apartment, we can check out our equipment in that area to see what we can do to help you out.

Userlevel 6

Hi hi! Just wanted to check back in here and see if you'd had a chance to test the booster in another location, as @dragon1562​ suggested, or reach back out to our Tech team for a service ticket so that our engineers can take a look at the area where you're located as Mike mentioned. How are things going for you? 

Userlevel 5

Hey, @magenta4456797​!

I'm just swinging by to see if you've looked over the replies from @dragon1562 or @tmo_mike_c​ where a few suggestions have been provided. We really want to help figure out why you're seeing slow data speeds on all the phones you've tested out. Ultimately, it may come down to working with our Tech Support team to file a ticket on your behalf with Engineering to determine if something is going on with the tower that services your area. Please keep us updated!

I understand but there is a difference between throttling and de-prioritizing which happens mainly in peak times. The handset is automatically thottled and the hotspot connecton is thottled from the speed it has been already throttled.

There has already been numerous tickets filed with tech support before I started this discussion regarding the coverage. Engineering team concluded every time everything is running normal. I have not been able to test the booster elsewhere. I will try this weekend.

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Ok I look forward to hearing the results by testing the booster elsewhere. Hopefully it will be a simple fix for you.

Userlevel 6
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Hi there. Have you had the chance to try the booster somewhere else? Knowing this will really help us on suggestions with how to get this resolved. Thanks.

Hey there!

I did! I'm so so sorry for the delayed response I've been extremely busy. The same day I posted last response, I tested the booster downstairs at the lobby level of this building. The booster showed full signal bars about 5 minutes after connecting it. I decided to do the same test up in my apartment at the 24th level. The booster immediately started acting up again and giving me an E1 error after searching for signal for hours. (But my phone has 2-4 signal bars on Band 2 and 4  and full bars on Band 12.)

I have a feeling there might sort of interference in my apartment with something else, perhaps another signal booster. Is it possible my phone keeps bouncing from someone else's signal booster to the Towers causing inconsistencies in the speeds and Signal?  Voice over LTE seem to have a constant issue while in a call. Its like the call fades away every certain minutes and sometimes drop although I have full bars on my handset. My phone would have a download speed of 40 Mbps one second, and the next II have 4-6 Mbps, sometimes less than a megabit.

Userlevel 6
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So based off of what I read, the booster worked fine down in the lobby and only acts up on the 24th level. If that is the correct understanding then there might be something going on that is causing the issue inside the building. What is the service outside like though is it more consistent? I don't remember if you ever answered that. Also can you try moving the booster around in your apartment. Thats what i ment from the start not necessarily going down to the 1st floor, although I am glad you did because it gave valuable info.

Hey there,

I already tried all corners of my apartment and have the same issue. Something just doesn't make sense. This is not even 3G speeds.

Userlevel 6
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I just wanted to ask if you had tried different servers for the speed tests? Also you are right those speeds are not normal at all. I would relay this info to the t-force team if you call in again and let them know the further testing you have done. I would also ask them to double check that everything is correct on their end for your account.

Userlevel 6

The difference in performance between your apartment and the lobby is definitely a let-down! Can I ask what the signal's like in your apartment without the booster?

I have tried several servers and several phones. This is the "3G speeds"  When the hotspot is on. The 2nd screenshot shows the amount of bars without any booster on.  This information has been forwarded already several times. Still waiting on a solution.

Hello there,

I have full signal bars without a booster in my apartment.

Userlevel 6

Ugh! In that case I'm inclined to agree that something's not quite right. If you have full bars (3G? 4G?) in your apartment without the booster, but the booster is functioning in the lobby but not the apartment itself, then it seems like there has to be some conflicting signal or maybe even just the structure of the apartment itself that's causing trouble. I'm going to ask one of my colleagues who's a bit more tech savvy, but I'm at a loss as to how we'd pinpoint why the experience is so different from one floor to another. :/

Userlevel 6

Hey, @magenta4456797​. I consulted with my colleague last night about this issue and he is equally stumped. 😕 To quote him, "it seems like congestion with a dose of interference".
We know the problem's not your phone, since it works fine elsewhere. We also know that the issue isn't the CellSpot device itself, since it's functioning normally in the lobby. So it's got to be a signal issue -- which means it's either the network itself, the environmental factors at play in the construction of your building, or a potential interfering signal that are causing the conflict.

I know you've already filed tickets, because that's how you wound up trying the CellSpot as a solution, right? I think at this point the next step is to either escalate one of the recent tickets, if any of them are still open to do that, or to file a new ticket -- either way, including as many fine details and as much specific information as possible about this experience. The notes should call out the fact that this is the second booster, and that it's working in the lobby but not in your apartment. The speeds you're experiencing and the bars of coverage you're receiving, as well as the error message that the booster is throwing, are important to include as well. Our engineering team might be able to determine that the apartment sits in a "null coverage" zone -- maybe no antenna is pointing directly at your location -- and if that's the situation, there may be a possible modification to resolve it. If the issue is interference or construction, then there may not be an option for T-Mobile to employ, but to be honest, it's better that you *know* that than keep trying to figure out what's happening here!

Userlevel 6
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I'm not 100% sure another booster would interfere and cause this to happen. I just haven't heard of that. Since it's only happening in your apt. it's safe to say the booster isn't causing the issue. It's just hard to say what's blocking it from working in just that spot. Do you have landline internet and a router? I'm also curious as to what kind of service you get outside of this building. Is it 3G or much stronger?

Hello Mike and Marissa,

I don't have landline not wifi in my apartment. Like I mentioned before I have full signal bars inside my apartment but randomly the phone acts as if the network is not responding to the data packet requests. I can see the up arrow lighting up but not the download. At that point signal bars would go to zero and LTE disappears . Several seconds after it would lock into 2G full bars again and eventually switch to LTE full bars as well. I called T-Mobile once again yesterday for something unrelated but was able to chat about it with another technical support which gave me a better insight of what might be going on. He explained the network is extremely congested because the upload speeds are faster and more stable than the download speeds. He also mentioned they are several Towers in my area that are being upgraded but have not been activated yet. They were supposed to be in service by the 25th of March, but there has been a delay on that. He said to wait about a week, hopefully these towers will come online and stabilize the service. Congestion seem to be the issues. He mention that the airwaves I should be receiving are different than from ground level, which would make sense that these frequencies are experimenting congestion due to Towers being offline.

One of the tech support (tier 2 as I was told) reopened the ticket and requested me to pass by the store, have an agent look into the ticket and share my speed test results. Not sure what's next. I don't want to leave Tmo, I just want to cottage add much as I can to resolve this issue for me that must be affecting everybody else in a similar position.

Userlevel 6
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This is definitely the right move since it will benefit many others. Hang in there since I am sure at somepoint service will be better. It is all just a  matter of when.

Userlevel 5

We don't want you to leave either, @magenta4456797​! I'm happy to hear that tech reopened the ticket with our Engineers. Have you received any updates about the ticket? Once those new towers are online, I'm sure you'll see the difference in speeds.

Userlevel 6

I know that only a few business days have passed since the ticket was reopened but I still wanted to check in and see how things were going. 😊