Question

t-mobile Home Internet - Location Issue


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I live in Los Angeles County California, and the home internet is showing the different sites that I am in Las Vegas.  This creates a problem from things like streaming YouTube TV, to access my local channels.  Spent many hours with Home Internet (they act like they have never heard of the problem - yet I have seen some comment on this chat (doesn’t T-Mo monitor the chat room, (another question for another day))).  It was suggested that I wire my personal router into the T-Mo router, and at first it appeared to work but then when I went to You Tube it showed location as Vegas again, An hour on chat with You-tube (this person appeared to know what they were talking about) and he finally said that You tube uses your IP address to determian where you have access and since my was saying Vegas that all they can do.     Anyone have any suggestions on a work around, I would hate to go back to Spectrum to solfe  the issue.


37 replies

I get this too. I’m in the Lancaster area and it thinks I'm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This has triggered extra security and identity verification measures for certain accounts when attempting to log in. 

Two myths that have been prompted in this thread are absolutely false.

 

  1. “T-Mobile cannot be held responsible for flaws in Operating Systems or that streaming providers use IP address for Geolocation”.    That’s tantamount to having the entire industry be the issue, when it’s really only T-Mobile’s model of providing IP addresses Willy Nilly instead of using local IP addresses as all other Internet Providers do (like your local cable company).  Using the T-Mo device, I could not see Yankees Baseball in the YES Network app on my Roku TV.   Yet in the same house, using my T-Mo cell phone, the app came up perfectly.
  2. Stating that “this is the way cell phone geolocation works” is also provably false.   When I do a search for Home Depot on my T-Mobile phone, it shows locations for the LOCAL Home Depot locations.  I suspect this is because my phone uses GPS for geolocation.  It does not show me locations in California as the T-Mo Home Internet device did during my very brief dalliance with it (I live in NY).  It can be done.   T-Mobile is just not doing it.

I must say, I was very disappointed.   The T-Mo device gave me twice the bandwidth as my local cable company at half the price.  I spent hours on the phone with 5 different agents, only of whom even knew about (or was allowed to discuss) the geolocation issue.

 

After three (3) days, I returned the device to my local store.  Employees there also knew nothing of the geolocation issues.

 

T-Mo customer here for years, and I’m going nowhere else for cell service.  The company has served me well.  However, there refusal to solve this issue is sad.   I’d come back in a heartbeat to TMHI.

Has there been any resolution to this yet? I hate how locked down their home gateway is. I have not fount anywhere to make changes to the NTP server or set time zone. 

Userlevel 4
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Thank you for your reply. I have a chrome laptop and nothing can prevent this. I don’t think we should be charged as much for our service if we have to bother with changing our address when browsing, for example, google shopping and my banking institution and more. The thing is I wasn’t forewarned of this. Why is Tmobile not fixing this??? 

Primarily because it’s not a T-Mobile issue as noted here:

T-Mobile cannot reasonably be expected to correct flaws in operating systems, apps or browsers.

T-Mobile does provide some compatibility requirements for T-Mobile’s Home Internet Service and in particular for live streaming but they fail to mention that equally applies to other content providers who rely on IP address geolocation:

https://www.t-mobile.com/support/home-internet/connect

I agree that T-Mobile should make this clearer and also clarify it in their Open Internet Policies which the FCC requires published. See Open Internet link at the bottom of this page. When you signed up with T-Mobile they probably mentioned those policies in passing (most folks don’t read them anyway and are unaware of certain disclaimers).

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Thank you for your reply. I have a chrome laptop and nothing can prevent this. I don’t think we should be charged as much for our service if we have to bother with changing our address when browsing, for example, google shopping and my banking institution and more. The thing is I wasn’t forewarned of this. Why is Tmobile not fixing this??? 

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I often get messages on my cell phone about verifying it’s me from banks and such.  I think that is mostly 2-step verification, though, and doesn’t have anything to do with location.  (The messages often do show I’m in another state, however.)  There are only two websites I can’t fully access with the Chrome browser, due to location problems.  My state lottery website is one.  (You can only play online if you are in the state.) Since I can play using the Firefox browser, it’s no big deal.  Although Firefox recently asked if I wanted to turn on VPN.  Would doing so likely get me location problems with that browser, too?  I know nothing about VPN.

Without getting into technical details, a VPN essentially works in two ways: it conceals your true IP address and which obscures your location with those content providers relying upon IP address based geo-location; and it encrypts your traffic such that nobody can see it or modify it (including your ISP). Some folks have success with the location issues provided they are assigned a VPN server in their region but that’s not always the case. At the same time be aware that some sites block access altogether if a VPN is detected.

Since you do mention Chrome and Firefox, there is an add-in (or extension) called Location Guard that can be used to establish your proper location. It also works on Microsoft’s Edge. In all of these cases it can be successful provided the content provider (or site) relies upon the browser’s built-in java script API and not an inaccurate geo-location database service. The add-in is only available for desktop browsers at this time. It works on most websites for me using any of the browsers mentioned and saves me a lot of aggravation.

P.S. For me it’s always preferable to have banks and other critical sites perform 2 step authorization from a pure security perspective (although some allow turning it off at your own peril).

 

 

 

Thanks for all the info!  I use a desktop all the time and use Chrome, Firefox and the Edge. I also don’t mind the 2-step verification, since I always have my cell phone right next to my PC.

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I often get messages on my cell phone about verifying it’s me from banks and such.  I think that is mostly 2-step verification, though, and doesn’t have anything to do with location.  (The messages often do show I’m in another state, however.)  There are only two websites I can’t fully access with the Chrome browser, due to location problems.  My state lottery website is one.  (You can only play online if you are in the state.) Since I can play using the Firefox browser, it’s no big deal.  Although Firefox recently asked if I wanted to turn on VPN.  Would doing so likely get me location problems with that browser, too?  I know nothing about VPN.

Without getting into technical details, a VPN essentially works in two ways: it conceals your true IP address and which obscures your location with those content providers relying upon IP address based geo-location; and it encrypts your traffic such that nobody can see it or modify it (including your ISP). Some folks have success with the location issues provided they are assigned a VPN server in their region but that’s not always the case. At the same time be aware that some sites block access altogether if a VPN is detected.

Since you do mention Chrome and Firefox, there is an add-in (or extension) called Location Guard that can be used to establish your proper location. It also works on Microsoft’s Edge. In all of these cases it can be successful provided the content provider (or site) relies upon the browser’s built-in java script API and not an inaccurate geo-location database service. The add-in is only available for desktop browsers at this time. It works on most websites for me using any of the browsers mentioned and saves me a lot of aggravation.

P.S. For me it’s always preferable to have banks and other critical sites perform 2 step authorization from a pure security perspective (although some allow turning it off at your own peril).

 

 

 

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I can’t believe this is how cellular works. I am in Iowa but my computer says I’m in Minnesota. So when I sign in to my online banking, they always send me a notice of a log in from Minnesota as do some other’s and I have to answer of it was me or not. When I do a google search, it will take me to the site in Minnesota so I have to delete it and put in my correct address.

THis is a big annoyance when I’m paying good money for service. Additionally, I was not informed of this when I signed up with you. If not corrected, I will be changing servers and alert others to this problem 

I often get messages on my cell phone about verifying it’s me from banks and such.  I think that is mostly 2-step verification, though, and doesn’t have anything to do with location.  (The messages often do show I’m in another state, however.)  There are only two websites I can’t fully access with the Chrome browser, due to location problems.  My state lottery website is one.  (You can only play online if you are in the state.) Since I can play using the Firefox browser, it’s no big deal.  Although Firefox recently asked if I wanted to turn on VPN.  Would doing so likely get me location problems with that browser, too?  I know nothing about VPN.

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Believe it or not, that’s up to you. I’ve provided you with sufficient explanation and technical buzzwords whereby you can verify or disprove what I said. In the process of doing that you’ll educate yourself on how to counteract this behavior. If you want to start at the beginning research what an IP address is (and isn’t); from there move on to CGNAT (consumer grade network address translation) and how your public IP address is shared with other customers who may or may not be in the same geographic region as you are. An entire book chapter would barely be enough to explain all of the technical details involve with geo-location issues. 

One thing is certain however; you didn’t sign up with me. I don’t work for T-Mobile. This is a peer-to-peer (i.e. customer-to-customer) support forum and not direct T-Mobile support. T-Mobile’s presence here is one of moderation to help ensure healthy exchanges.n

I do agree, however, that T-Mobile should make this better know up front and it should be included in its Open Internet Policies publication which is required by the FCC. You’ll find that link at the bottom of the page and might be surprised by some other things that weren’t disclosed except by a reference to that document in passing when you signed up with T-Mobile.

But I’ll stand by my suggestion to complain to those who are really responsible for this issue - content providers who rely on faulty geolocation database that use an IP-address for anything other than its intended purpose. Complaining to T-Mobile wont fix it and it’s not simply limited to T-Mobile.   

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I can’t believe this is how cellular works. I am in Iowa but my computer says I’m in Minnesota. So when I sign in to my online banking, they always send me a notice of a log in from Minnesota as do some other’s and I have to answer of it was me or not. When I do a google search, it will take me to the site in Minnesota so I have to delete it and put in my correct address.

THis is a big annoyance when I’m paying good money for service. Additionally, I was not informed of this when I signed up with you. If not corrected, I will be changing servers and alert others to this problem 

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I just got T-mobile internet and suddenly the ads on streaming services are for Atlanta businesses (I live in North Carolina).

 

Also when I go to sites like Lowes.com and Walmart.com it thinks I am in Atlanta, but Target.com thinks I am in Chattanooga, TN. Other sites see that I am in NC. 

I hear that Netflix may soon be rolling out a feature that blocks people from sharing passwords by making them login at their home location. I worry that since my internet thinks I am in Atlanta, this will cause problems in the future. I also worry about what other issues may come up. I am still in my 15-day trial period. 

I rejoined Netflix for a month last weekend and got an e-mail from them yesterday saying someone in Pennsylvania signed into my account. (I’m over 250 miles away from that state.)  I think that happend after I signed in on my PC, not when I opened the app on my TV.  The e-mail said if it was someone in my household, to enjoy watching.  But it also reminded me that Netflix does not allow anyone outside of my household to use my account. 

I did a live chat with Netflix telling the rep that anyone with T-Mobile internet may show another state location. He said that was not a problem with Netflix . . . which I knew . . . and since they use the IP to identify location, I needed to turn off VPN.  Had no idea what he was even talking about, and told him the only reason I was chatting was to see if Netflix intended to continuously accuse me of allowing others to use my account.  He said no, they would not accuse me of that.  I told him okay, but if they did, I would have no problem cancelling my subscription. :) Not that I think the email was a big deal. I simply wanted to inform them of the situation with 5G internet, in case they didn’t know such things.

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The solution (best answer) provided by @Cali Cat is just as valid now as it was a year ago. This isn’t a T-Mobile issue, but rather a content provider issue. As long as content providers rely upon inaccurate 3rd party IP-adddress based geolocation database services, the issue will persist. You should be directing your fire towards those content providers.

You yourself state that it doesn’t occur on your phone. That’s because your phone has GPS and content providers can rely on that rather than a 3rd party inaccurate service (unless of course you deny location permission to apps or web sites through your phone’s browser app).. Smart TVs don’t have GPS capabilities. Laptops typically don’t have GPS either.

The bottom line is that an IP-address is not a physical address. Prior to the advent of mobile carriers, some enterprising third parties figured out they could  track IP addresses and correlating them with known physical addresses obtained from various sites that expose your physical location,through data collection, This hack quickly breaks down with both mobile carriers and satellite ISPs. However it was always considered close enough for horseshoes on wire-line carriers primarily due to how they could allocate IP addresses due  to their physical infrastructures.

If you want it corrected, direct the complaints to content providers who continue to rely on 3rd party IP-address based geolocation databases that at best are nothing but wild guesses and some are wilder than others. Alternately choose content providers like YouTube TV that allow more flexibility in determining your proper location.

The only way this s truly resolved is with the introduction of GPS to all devices - but be careful what you wish for.

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More than just Sling.  Connect a computer to it an all your searches will be wrong.  Connect to Google Home.  It freeks out.   They tell me to get a vpn.  T-MOBILE, YOU PAY FOR THAT.  Don’t expect me to pay for something that is doesn’t function in the first place.

The explanation that “this is how cellular works” is a poor excuse.  okay, I could understand if it good the exact address wrong, but this is ridiculous.  It says I am in a different city and sometimes even state.   And my phone on the cellular network does not do this.  FIX THIS T-MOBILE

Im in Dallas Texas or Austin Texas according to my ip address, I'm actually in Oklahoma City.  They need to fix this issue for streaming services like ESPN 

This is how cellular internet works just like a cell phone. The local towers connect to a backend that could be a long distance from your physical location. As for YoutubeTV, you just update your location using your YoutubeTV mobile app and it will use the GPS of your smartphone to identify location. I assume you are trying to set the location on a streaming device so just follow the onscreen instructions that tell you to open the mobile app. I have both TMO Home internet and YoutubeTV and using the YoutubeTV mobile app to pinpoint location works fine.

This doesn't work with Sling TV.  It goes exclusively off your ip location

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The explanation that “this is how cellular works” is a poor excuse.  okay, I could understand if it good the exact address wrong, but this is ridiculous.  It says I am in a different city and sometimes even state.   And my phone on the cellular network does not do this.  FIX THIS T-MOBILE

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Ive been having the same issue for over a year. Even my bank sends me notifications after I sign in, that my location is incorrect. What’s the deal? It’s a hassle

THIS IS A WELL KNOWN issue..T mobile just  doesn’t give a sh-t. People need to call them out and cancel..When you call ..they tell everyone the same Bull-Sh-t. The internet is littered with this problem. There is nothing you can do...THEY NEED TO FIX IT. Its the way they use Geo location instead of your zip code to report your location IE address instead they report their own Geo location instead of your home location therefore your assigned the local channels. from where they are located….not your physical  home address.  

 

WAK

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Same issues as above. VPN’s can be tricky and troublesome, but for the 95% of the time it works for me I can live with that. T-Mobile Home Internet has had me show up in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and even China. So, you can imagine what comes back on web pages I was using. I am north of San Diego. My solution was to fire up the VPN and set it to only use a Los Angeles based server for an IP address.

 

Thinking about using one of my Asus routers and setting up the VPN on it, so all the stuff using the wi-fi will use that LA based VPN server for a WAN IP address, it would hand out the LAN IP’s. Speeds will slow down, higher latency and longer pings. Just not sure if the slower speeds are worth the trade off for sites and services not liking the VPN? Google results is one that gives a failed connection results when using my VPN. If I could count on T-Mobile for decent Home Internet, it would not be an issue to use a slower VPN through a router to handle DNS and obtaining local IP addresses. Without the L.A. VPN getting results in Spanish is a pain, my Spanish is very limited T-Mobile and images don’t translate!

I just got T-mobile internet and suddenly the ads on streaming services are for Atlanta businesses (I live in North Carolina).

 

Also when I go to sites like Lowes.com and Walmart.com it thinks I am in Atlanta, but Target.com thinks I am in Chattanooga, TN. Other sites see that I am in NC. 

I hear that Netflix may soon be rolling out a feature that blocks people from sharing passwords by making them login at their home location. I worry that since my internet thinks I am in Atlanta, this will cause problems in the future. I also worry about what other issues may come up. I am still in my 15-day trial period. 

 BTW, does Verizon 5G Home have similar problems????????   I’d try it if it was available in my location.

This problem is worse than described, at least for me.  When browsing to various websites, my location is determined to be one of a number of places. It may be either New Orleans, Orlando, or Jacksonville FL for many shopping sites such as big box stores, restaurants, and state government service. But various ‘geo-locators’ such as “iplocation.net” show it to be in Mobile AL.  This causes problems such as inaccurate inventory and pricing, wrong ‘near me’ lookups, and as others have reported, denial of service because of wrong state!

Additionally there are similar problems as reported by others on this thread for sports apps/websites such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, etc.   (Although I would appreciate receiving the “wrong” NFL games at times given I have no interest in the chosen local broadcast, the selected city has never been far enough to allow for an more interesting alternative.)

All of that and also video streaming and/or television services!

Come on T-Mobile!  There has to be a solution to this.   This is systemic to your network! 

BTW, none of this makes sense to me.  Since this is cell-based network connection, our location should be easily correctly determined.  After all a cell-phone can be tracked to a physical tower, so surely a fixed location cell-based-gateway could also be tracked to a tower and that location be utilized for all geolocation requests!!!

I have an update on this…... I finally called T-Mobile support about the wrong location content on our Roku TV.  The rep looked at my account and said she noticed some incorrect location information and she suggested re-checking things in a couple of days.  I was a bit skeptical but now we are correctly gettting Phoenix content on the Roku TV at last (instead of Los Angeles). I can’t say for sure exactly what she found that was incorrect but I would suggest taking the time to give them a call… it just may help!

Great - NOT!   A “one of” fix is not needed!!  This is SYSTEM-wide.   Why isn’t T-Mobile communicating about this??

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The person that marked this as solved it an idiot. The issue is with the lease time of 12 hours. Your public IP can change every 12 hours. The server that hands out or assigns the IP (DHCP server) to the gateway can assign an IP that is owned by T-MOBILE from the ENTIRE network and not just the network segments that a reflective of your geographic location. This is means the towers are not segmented into geographic segments, but just in network segments that can pull an IP for anywhere in the country. I live in Kansas but my home internet is choosing a Denver, Co or a GA location for me. Who is the person that designed this?

T-Mobile’s solution to me was to set a static IP, but I would have to convert to a business account. I have no idea if this is going to cost more money monthly, but it better not, as I will just cancel and go back to the cable company that provides this for free as part of the standard setup.

I have an update on this…... I finally called T-Mobile support about the wrong location content on our Roku TV.  The rep looked at my account and said she noticed some incorrect location information and she suggested re-checking things in a couple of days.  I was a bit skeptical but now we are correctly gettting Phoenix content on the Roku TV at last (instead of Los Angeles). I can’t say for sure exactly what she found that was incorrect but I would suggest taking the time to give them a call… it just may help!

We have been having the same problem with the geo-location for the Nokia gateway being incorrect for about 6-8 weeks now. When we added internet back in July 2022, it was working well without any problems. Now, we keep getting an IP address from Altanta, GA (eastern time zone), but we live in Nashville, TN (central time zone).  We first noticed this when our clocks and weather settings kept messing up on all our devices. When watching TV through the Roku, we started getting Georgia election commercials and Atlanta news/weather feeds instead of for Nashville. Very frustrating.

Now, this is affecting the clocks on all our connected devices such as computers, tablets and Echo Show devices that we use as our alarm clocks. I keep having to reset my clocks and alarms to the Central Time zone which will only work for a while.  Extremely frustrating.  Is there anything that T-mobile can do to fix this?  If not, we might have to go back to paying more for AT&T fiber.

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