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?

60 replies


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.


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.

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.


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.

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. 

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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. 

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 

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 


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???

"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.

I have a Samsung Express 3 Phone  when I test this phone tonight with it hotspot per WiFi to my home computer on speedtest.net I get around ping 36ms, download 18.39 Mbps-upload 0.48 Mbps.

I just purchase a like new condition Samsung S7  this week and I hotspot per WiFi to my computer I get ping 45ms, download 0.09Mbps-upload 9.69Mbps tonight as I have both phones.

Found this support forum though Google searching to find out why the Samsung S7 T-mobile phone SM G930T phone is so slow compared to the Samsung Express 3 per speeds above. No luck so far. when I get time I will go to my T mobile store with both phones and see if they can help with this problem and or if they will call tech support from their store, will report back if they fix the problem or can why this is happening.

Hotspot WiFi to my desktop tested at speedtest.net both phones tested tonight back to back.

Samsung Express 3

Download speed 18.39 Mpbs

Upload speed 9.69

Ping 36

Samsung S7 T Mobile Phone SM  G930T

Download speed 0.09 Mbps Mbps

Up[load speed 0.48 Mbps

ping 45ms

After troubleshooting for almost 1 year on 4 phones (iphones & LG), multiple calls, multiple tickets with senior techs, and network engineering team too, no one told me that speed would be 0.5 mpbs on ONE plan.  In todays call with advance tech and i said its time to say good bye due to issue not being resolved for a long time. she then said you'll get 500 kbps (0.5 mb) speed on your plan ONE, but if you change plan to ONE Plus (extra $10 each line) it'll give you 4g speed. and she offered me 1 month free trial right away. i'm going to try 1 month and will shop around meantime.

Hello Phantoms1 I just read through this entire thread. I have the 15 dollar 20g hotspot data plan and I still I am also getting the not even 1 mbps insanely slow hot spot speeds which i am Paying for. I clicked on your name to send you pm to ask you what was it that you did here to increase the speeds bu 27 mbps. You never posted the solution you just told original p that you were going to try something out and put on the screen shots of the speed test. Please can you pm me the fix you found.

Thank you.

I have the same problem with less than 1Mbps tethering speeds.  I only need to tether to my PC for a few hours once every month when my cable internet service provider shuts down my service for line maintenance around my service area.  But to be fair to T-Mobile, I am paying for "up to 150 Mbps" bandwidth on Cox Communications and I rarely get above 100 Mbps bandwidth using a cable Ethernet connection.  Cox won't do anything about it, so I don't expect much to be done about it here either.

I noticed that this thread is still active so I figured I'd let people know what I've learned. Thanks to an above post the terms of internet services from t-mobile are made clear here: Internet Services | T-Mobile’s Broadband Internet Access Services. It's actually worth a read. As a customer with the Essentials package, the following excerpt was relevant to me:

"Some plans may, however, also include maximum speeds for some services. The Magenta plan includes a set amount of tethering at up to 4G LTE speeds, and then continues at a maximum of 600kbps. The T-Mobile Essentials plan includes tethering at a maximum of 600 kbps. Customers may choose to activate an add-on feature for a set amount of tethering data at up to 4G LTE speeds. Wearables plans provide a maximum of 600 kbps. See your plan for details."

as well as:

"Some high-speed smartphone data plans include a data allotment for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering); after that allotment is used, tethering is slowed to up to 2G speeds (128 kbps) for the rest of the billing cycle. The Magenta plan includes a set amount of tethering at up to 4G LTE speeds, and then continues at up to 3G speeds (600kbps). The T‑Mobile Essentials plan includes tethering at up to 3G speeds (600 kbps). Customers may choose to activate an add-on feature for a set amount of tethering at up to 4G LTE speeds."

Also from their Terms and Conditions:

"We prioritize smartphone and mobile internet (tablet) over Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) traffic on our network"


"Further, to provide the best possible on-device experience for the most possible customers on T-Mobile branded plans and minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, we may, without advance notice, take any actions necessary to manage our network on a content-agnostic basis, including prioritizing all on-device data over Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) data..."

Unfortunately t-mobile is using a misleading loophole by advertising "unlimited 3G hotspot data" for hotspot/tethering on my Essentials plan, while the term "3G" has no official/standard quantified speed. They further cover themselves legally with the vague excerpts from Terms and Conditions above.

It should now be clear that this problem is not device / software / coverage related. While some folks have found success with 3rd party apps on their phones that hide their tethering/hotspot usage, this is prohibited in the Terms and Conditions when these apps:

"Results in unusually high usage (specifically, more 50GB (updated periodically) in a month) and the majority of your data usage being Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) usage for any 3 billing cycles within any 6-month period;"

So, as long as one would not violate these terms using a 3rd party app (I would), one can feel honest as a customer.

As a heavy data user, I have replaced a home broadband connection through a usual ISP with t-mobile's mobile data. This is not explicitly prohibited in the T&C, but is commented on in the Internet Services link:

"T‑Mobile mobile service is designed to be used primarily on smartphones and tablets. T‑Mobile mobile hotspot features are intended for personal mobile connectivity, not intended to be a complete broadband replacement for multiple users over an extended period of time. If you are a Heavy Data User and use a device as a mobile hotspot for the majority of your use over an extended period of time, we may contact you to discuss your plan and your options."

For me, it's important to remember I am not using this service as it was intended and while t-mobile has been somewhat misleading, in my opinion, they seem generally of the honest position that they simply want to provide equal and fair use to all customers. I can respect that. As a result of this research, I actually purchased the additional 10$ add-on for mobile hotspot high speed, even though I don't really need it, and will trust that when my data are throttled it's because the network is congested and I'm an unusual customer to begin with.

What I would hope t-mobile offers in the future is some sort of compromise. I don't need excessively high (and often impressive) speeds for my day-to-day tethering needs, but I also can't tolerate the crippling 600 kbps maximum when I'm throttled. I'd pay the same price ($80 / month) for a plan that's consistently 10 or even 5 mbps regardless of on-device or via tethering.

My tethering speed is around .3mps/.5mps while speed test on my phone is 2mps/10mps . I just read through this entire post. It's july 2019 and still nothing has been done about this.

AT&T was giving me tethering speeds about the same as my phone. Wish I had known this before I switched. This is just useless even for the most simple tasks.

This issue is still a problem for me, T-Mobile. One of the trouble shooting steps I did about six months ago when I was in a T-Mobile store seeking help on this issue was to purchase a tablet and a new line of service. The specific reason for purchasing the tablet and line of service was for tethering. As a trouble-shooting step, this would allow us rule out the possibility that the tethering issues I have been facing were related to my devices. So I bought a new device with a new line of service.

I have been trying to get adequate tethering speeds on that new device since I purchased it six months ago. No such luck. My tethering speeds remain about 0.3 Mbps download and 0.1 Mbps upload on average. So today I canceled that line of service. I still have nine other lines with T-Mobile, but if you don't offer me a workable tethering solution, I will take all 9 of those lines to another carrier.

I still don't have a solution to this issue or any other support issue I have opened with T-Mobile. My phone bill is over $200/mo and I can't even use tethering, DIGITS doesn't work properly and support won't ever follow up with me like they promise.

They are obviously sandbagging because they dont want us to use it. Im on the lookout for another solution. Tmobile has been good for me for years but now they arent giving me what I pay for.

It appears TM doesn't want it's customers tethering and using a lot of bandwidth so they act like there is no solution. We can fix this problem. We should all boycot tmobile and leave until they change their methods and stop giving us the runaround with useless troubleshooting and wasting our time.

This is the saddest thing I've ever read. I've been a metro pics customer for almost 4 years and have loved them and the hotspot plans they offer. But now that tmobile has a controlling interest in them I am worried that will change. After reading about all of your experiences at the first sign of trouble I will be ditching metro

On this page: Internet Services | T-Mobile’s Broadband Internet Access Services

About half way down the page, under

Speed and Latency

The T‑Mobile ONE and T‑Mobile Essentials plans include tethering at a maximum of 600 kbps. Customers on these plans may choose to activate an add-on feature for a set amount of  tethering data at up to 4G.

After learning this, I opted to add the 4G tethering to my plan. $15 a month for 20GB HotSpot data. I now get 20 Mbps, or better.

Even with the additional $15 a month, I'm still paying $90 a month less than I did with AT&T, so 😊 .

I've noticed the same issue since March of this year when I fist got my t-mobile sim. It's a business plan so it's supposed to be unlimited . I'm glad this has been covered extensively on this thread.

I see a post suggesting APN but has anyone had luck with it ?

Another annoyed and upset user here with crappy tethering speeds.  I am paying for the tethering option on one of my lines.   But  I have been throttled I get full 3g outside of throttling but when I run from the computer 1mbps download and 0.38mpbs upload.   Several support calls and tickets later NO HELP AT ALL!!!!  I get the same questions, give the same answers and just get more annoyed with the fact that this company cannot get tethering to work.    What I need is very simple.

1.  Someone KNOWLEDGEABLE about computers and tethering

2.  Can actually fix the problem

3. Someone who is there when I call not hours later.

Look I'm willing to pay but if the service is not there it's time to cancel.  I have explained that to reps and still get nothing.

Customer service is not fixing my problem

@phamos1 I'd be very interested to try your solution. I've sent the follow request. Thanks.