Coverage/Roaming issues - Lake Michigan Lakeshore




    We were camping this past weekend at Silver Lake State Park in Michigan. The address is 9679 W State Park Rd, Mears, MI 49436. Coverage didn't exist, and we were unable to roam on AT&T. We continually received "device not registered on network" when trying to connect to AT&T. I really didn't care about data coverage, it would be a nice to have while camping, but calls did not even work. This became a problem when a family member tried to call us and had to call the ranger station to relay a message. Anyway, we have 1 galaxy s9, a galaxy s8 international, and galaxy s8 plus, and all phones received the same message when trying to roam on AT&T. Previous to our trip I checked the tmobile coverage map and it showed fair coverage at the campground, which turned out to not be true. I am not here to grumble about tmobile, rather point this problem out as other customers may encounter this as well. Maybe I need to be patient and wait for Band 71 to get turned up in this part of Michigan, which would have only helped on my S9 anyway. Ironically, when in the Upper Peninsula this July camping we were able to roam on AT&T and complete phone calls. I even got a taste of Band 71 in the Western UP at times and it worked well.


    Aside from that, I called 611 yesterday on our way home. I talked with some very nice support folks and they opened a ticket. I received a text message last night that the problem was resolved, but I don't think it is. 


    My question is, can anything further be done to help with this situation, or others who experience it?



      All replies

      • mrtrbx

        That's no good! It's very odd that you aren't able to roam as well! Those tickets are going to be the best thing to get that addressed! What was making you think that the issue wasn't actually resolved?

        • magenta5850047

          We had the SAME problem on the Lake Huron shore/Mackinaw Island.  We were in the ATT/Roaming area, from the tip of the mitten, to Pinconning.  During that entire time, we could not contact ANY family member using Tmobile.  Totally unacceptable.  Also, I'd like to add, that "unlimited data roaming" is truly not, and we were cut off, after 200mb, which eliminated facebook messaging, since we could utilize tmobile  in the ATT/Roaming area.

          • tmo_chris

            Hey shima1970 


            looking at that location, the only coverage we have there at the moment is 700mhz and it is pretty lite. When you had the ticket opened, was it for the lack of T-Mobile signal or the inability to roam?



            What specifically happened when you tried to contact your family members using T-Mobile? Did your phone show that you had AT&T coverage and let you call all other numbers other than T-Mobile numbers? As for data roaming, we do not have unlimited domestic data roaming. There is a cap on the amount of domestic data roaming you can use and it is based on your rate plan. Domestic roaming data

              • shima1970

                The ticket I opened was for coverage and the roaming problem.  I fully explained what happened to the call center and they created the ticket for network engineering I was told. 


                For the calling part, I was not able to place a call whatsoever unless it was to 911 (emergency calls only).  AT&T showed strong service, however we kept getting the message of "device not registered on network" when trying to use data/call, pretty much anything.  Reboots, searching for AT&T, and any other attempt at trying to roam over failed.  Also, when someone tried calling us, they would just get sent right into voicemail, just like when your phone is turned off.

                  • drnewcomb2

                    The nearest towers are about 10 km to the NE and SE. The topography around the area seems pretty flat. It's possible that the antenna tilt needs to be adjusted. T-Mobile has a tendency to crank the antennas downward to make the cells smaller in order to avoid cochannel interference.


                    T-Mobile may have turned off the option to roam AT&T in this area, altho it's shown in nearby areas like Walkerville.


                    They may or may not elect to meaningfully address your problem. You might want to consider a backup plan.

                      • shima1970

                        Wow 10km is a ways out even for Band 12 to work well I would think. The

                        area near the towers may be flat, but as you approach the state park there

                        are hills, and then the sand dunes are to the west of Silver Lake and

                        closer to Lake Michigan. I just hope that they have not turned off roaming

                        until a better solution is in place. One of the questions I asked the tech

                        was whether or not roaming was turned off. All he said was "some areas in

                        Michigan were removed from roaming with AT&T".


                        Next year I am hoping that Band 71 is turned up in this area. I am not sure

                        when/what phase this part of West Michigan falls into with that though.

                          • drnewcomb2

                            I don't know where T-Mobile has disabled AT&T roaming. Their objective seems to be to have a pretty magenta coverage map and to avoid paying AT&T for roaming. It's not so important to actually have service, just so long as the map looks nice. I mean, they can't be unaware of just how bogus their coverage maps are, they've been told a thousand times.


                            Band 71 won't do that much for coverage in places where they already have band 12. The weak link in the chain is the upload channel and band 71's upload channel is adjacent to band 12's upload channel, so the range will be the same. Band 71 will have better capacity due to having 15-20 MHz of bandwidth.


                            10 km is not that far. T-Mobile practices a very conservative network engineering approach, even in places where they need to be a bit more aggressive.

                            • tmo_chris

                              Thanks for clarifying. When I looked at the area, I did not see any open requests so it is possible whatever issue was found was resolved. If you do find yourself up in the area again, please let us know how it goes

                      • rogersk29

                        This issue still persists. Today I was at Mackinac Island, MAC City and the Area. TMobile service was spotty and even when it was connected to their network (it was usually connected to AT&T) there was no internet connection. And roaming on AT&T was useless as the data speed was non existent.  T-Mobile is opening a store in Petoskey yet they have  almost no coverage north of Petoskey and a huge gap in coverage between Bay City and Grayling up I-75. I am using an IphoneXS and have access to all of their bands, so I am at a loss. I think now that I am spending more time up North I need to switch to AT&T since I’m on their network most of the time anyway!!

                          • shopsalot61

                            You are right!  I just got back from Michigan.  I was in Dearborn, Atlanta, Traverse City, Leland and Sutton’s Bay.  I basically had no phone.  Calls rarely worked.  I could not send pictures to my family.  I had no data.  I called T-Mobile by standing outside in the street and they kept telling me I was breaking up!  They offered to send a booster that I could have the owners of the location I was staying at install.  not acceptable!  I stayed in several places that I don’t own, e.g hotels, cottages.  I am switching to Verizon today.  I never had issues with their service, they just cost more.  i can’t be without a phone so o think it’s worth the extra $$.

                              • pdm20008

                                Huge, huge problem. I'm on Mackinac Island and my phone shows 5 bars, 4G/LTE, but nothing works. No data, no phone. (I'm on WiFi now, but I still don't have voice calls). Have tried contacting 611; it sounds fine on my end but I've now had three different reps say they couldn't understand me and hang up on me (well, two - the third seemed to have limited English and would just start the script from the beginning when he got confused). So I'm on an island for several days where service doesn't really work and I have no way to get help. Horrible.

                                  • drnewcomb2

                                    This is a script-reading robot question but have you rebooted your phone?

                                    Also, try setting your phone to prefer WiFi for calls. Put your phone in Airplane Mode then turn WiFi back on to see if you have calling.

                                    AFAIK there are no T-Mobile towers on Mackinac Island. Rather service relies on the two towers at each end of the Mackinac Bridge. If there's lots of traffic, the circuits could be saturated.

                              • pdm20008

                                Thanks - nothing against the simple solution, but rebooting was the first thing I tried. I suspect you're right that it's a capacity problem, since I have a strong signal but nothing's going through. Incredibly frustrating.


                                I'll double-check the Wi-Fi calling; that's a good point.

                                  • drnewcomb2

                                    You may be getting service only on band-12 which may well be totally overloaded with holiday traffic and everyone who wants to live-stream the trip across the bridge. I think T-Mobile may have been gobsmacked by the amount of summer usage their network gets in northern Michigan. Once the folks in the southern part of the state learned that T-Mobile worked up there, they decided to give T-Mobile a try and then the summer vacation season hits. It will probably be October before T-Mobile can begin deploying band-71 (600 MHz) in that area. ITMT, T-Mobile should probably locate a site/tower on Mackinac Island but I can't say they will.

                                      • drnewcomb2

                                        On 2nd thought, looking around Mackinac Island on Google Street-Level View, I doubt that T-Mobile would be allowed to build any sort of tower on Mackinac Island. This place beats Martha's Vineyard for a picture-post-card-perfect vacation spot. They hide their public works operation better than Disneyworld. They'd probably go catatonic at the suggestion of a cell tower. It will just have to wait until October.