Why is my tethering speed so slow?

My issue is similar to other threads I have seen here. I am a on a grandfathered Simple Choice NA plan with 10 GB of high speed data. I am not close to using all of my data. My data speeds are always around 10 Mbps (or higher) download and 8 Mbps upload directly on my phone. (On the SpeedTest I just ran I got 25.5 download and 8.11 upload.) However, when I USB tether to my laptop (or desktop), data speeds drop to about 0.3 Mbps download and 0.1 Mbps upload.

I have multiple lines with T-Mobile and multiple phones. It happens on all phones and all lines. The issue is not related to my location because data speeds on the phone are adequate. As soon as I USB tether, speeds drop drastically. The issue is not related to tethering to one particular laptop either. I have been having this issue for the last 1.5 years and in that time I have used several different laptops. Prior to 1.5 years ago, tethering speeds were fantastic. My T-Mobile plan has not changed during this time.

My phones include a Galaxy S8 and a Galaxy S8+ (but the problem has happened with prior phones, as I mentioned). My phones are all T-Mobile branded devices. My current laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad. I do not have to use a 3rd party app on my phone (USB tethering is built in to Android on the S8, S8+) and I do not need a 3rd party app on my laptop. When I turn on USB tethering, I get a proper connection. The issue is that it is very SLOW.

I also tested the mobile HotSpot feature. For about the first 5-10 minutes, I had good speeds while connected with my laptop, but then the speeds dropped to the 0.2 or 0.3 Mbps range and stayed there the rest of the day. That looks like throttling to me...

Over the last 1.5 years I have called T-Mobile support many times regarding this issue. Tickets have been opened. Unfortunately, no solution. Usually the support person is very nice and promises to follow up with me. So far not a single person who has made me that promise has actually followed up.

Multiple T-Mobile support reps have told me that my plan has no throttling of my 10 GB data allotment. I used to be a huge T-Mobile fan. I have had my current account for over 6 years with multiple lines. Before that I was with Verizon for 2 years, but prior to Verizon I was also with T-Mobile a long time. (I was a loyal T-Mobile customer even when their network was not as competitive as it is now.)

Can anyone from T-Mobile solve this for me?

61 replies

"Upgrading" to One Plus hasn't helped. I've been back and forth with technicians for a whole month without resolution.

My last download speed minutes ago was 0.56Mbps, and upload a whopping 0.00Mpbs.

Seriously thinking about switching providers at this point. This is completely unacceptable.


Thank you for the excellent suggestion to contact T-mobile support.

Do you have any other alternative suggestions if I've been back and forth with tech support for over a month without resolution of the problem???


that is because t-mobile slowing down the tethering on purpose …

my USB tethering is over  from 160mpbs ~ 240Mpbs….https://www.speedtest.net/result/9667731934

T-mobile won’t help you until you paying the premium for the tethering….or you have work around...

business is business 

I've been having same issues been with tmobile for gosh I think 3 years and every time I have incredibly slow download speeds when tethering or using Hotspot on my laptop it sux 

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T-mobile says or said things for years that are not part of their agreement. I remember getting the Nexus s many years ago and the guy said that hotspot was unlimited at full speed then they came after us for using too much hotspot that they couldn't see until Android updated to 4.4? I believe. The entire thing was as ridiculous as it is today. The ignorance of representatives of T-mobile over the years makes me read everything and not trust anything they say because they can promise everything but whether you receive it is totally not their responsibility. 

Under these exact circumstances, i.e. a colossal waste of my time with no results, I will sue the carrier or company - AT&T, Frontier, All of them, and you should do so. There sin’t a carrier or  ISP in business that I haven’t sued for the exact same collection of issues. Failed tech support for malfunctions and a colossal waste of personal time. They are 100% liable, it is a slam dunk, and they KNOW it. Small claims court will award you damages based on the time you spent on this, loss of productive, personal, and professional time which resulted from inability to use the service you’ve paid for, etc. Your damages could reflect that you paid a lot of money for a service that did not deliver as promised. Then T-Mobile will work out a settlement in the form of several hundred to 1000 + dollars in service credit applied to your account. OR, you may talk them into giving you that credit without litigating. I would bring it up with them and say “we can do this in the form of credit, (name a number no lower that $500,) or we can do this in court, your choice”. It WILL work. Because it’s ALWAYS about the money. If you shake that tree and threaten to litigate and cost them hundreds and thousands in actual costs and fees, you change the dynamic. Instead getting a revenue stream from your pocket to theirs, suddenly they are facing a substantial cash loss in the other direction. They lose no actual cash by doing this is the form of credit, and then they preserve the customer revenue stream from your pocket. 


timmyb wrote:


After my initial frustration, I decided to bump up the plan to the paid option. It worked instantly. Kind of disappointing that I need to pay for it ...

I have to disagree. What's really frustrating, and what this thread is about, is those of us who are paying for the best tethering T-Mobile offers and are not getting it.


I've been paying T-Mobile hundreds of dollars a month (multiple lines) for more than six years. For the last 18 months or so, tethering has not worked for me even though I am paying for it. I'm going to try @phamos1​ suggestion tonight and see if that helps me as much as it helped him. (Speaking of frustration, another one is that T-Mobile's best support people did not resolve this for me after multiple support tickets over 18 months.)


Anyway, I am happy that tethering is working well for some people, but I am just taking exception with that we should call frustrating. As I said, the real frustration is when you pay for it and you still don't get it.

You can sue them in small claims court and seek a full refund of everything you’ve paid during the time in which this problem went unresolved. Just fill out the small claims court form and first send T Mobile a copy. Don’t file until you have to. T Mobile will cave and give you money back in the form of credit. I have done it a dozen or more times with various carriers and ISPs. Don’t let them get away with it.

I was having the same exact problem, didn't matter if it was wireless or usb tethering.  I downloaded PdaNet+ http://pdanet.co/ Install it on your computer and phone.  After installing and following the instructions I was getting up to 30Mbps down and 15Mbps up.  I was getting those speeds with usb tethering, haven't tried it wireless.


Sorry, T-Mobile gives top priority only to the data stream on your smartphone and throttles the speed on everything else including their MiFi 2000 standalone hotspot  and any and all devices connected through your  smartphone mobile tethering option. This is to provide the higher BW needed for watching Netflix on your phone (and to be able to advertise their high speed network). This explains why you can  get a 650 Mbps Speedtest on your new 5G phone while sitting under a new 5G ultra capacity tower, while only getting a fraction of that on your new MiFi  2000. It also explains why the sales reps don’t like it when you ask them at the T-Mobile store to demonstrate and explain why the difference.  And the only reason we need or may want  (pay for) 5G on our phone is to watch streaming video, so that gets the priority, at the expense of tethering a separate device. Nobody needs or will pay for 5G speeds for text messaging and we surfing. 4G is fine. When the sites like Opensignal and Rootmetrics claim which carrier has the fastest network, they should also publish tethering speeds. It’s easy to determine and would give a more accurate message on the state of 5G. My guess is that all carriers are throttling, and they all bury this truth as best they can.


And by the way, installing PdaNet+ didn’t solve this issue. And prioritizing BW is likely being done for streaming online gaming in addition to improving streaming Video services like Netflix directly to your phone, and Tethered devices aren’t part of the deal.

I’ve been having the same issue with slow downs but without tether just my mobile devices being throttled I don’t even use tethering and I’m consistently getting below 1mbps most cities I’m going to my devices iOS and android report full service but you pull up maps or google maps and nothing you can’t search anything or get any form of data to navigate a city and while at home you’ll see speeds up to 350mbps for first week or so tha. It’s throttled down to 1mbps or less  I’m using on average around 30 to 80gb a month strictly from my mobile devices no tethering involved 

I have found that using a solid vpn almost always resolves this just DO NOT TELL THEM YOUR USING A VPN they will want to find out which one and eventually it’ll get blocked too by blocked I mean slowed down to 600kbps or slower if you don’t tell em you’re on vpn or which one thus far they do not throttle you or the vpn connection I’m assuming this is working because the device it self is acting as a proxy and is connecting to a proxy outside of device and eventually after a few hops the data is back to me it’s possible the methods im using they’re not able to decrypt my traffic and don’t know what it is and therefor can’t throttle it or something not sure why this works this has also worked in resolving literal no service at all for both my cellular devices and my home internet gateway which btw is also throttled my gateway uses an average of 1tb of data but again vpn stops them from throttling my gateway even