Question

Service degrading around Eureka, CA

  • 27 February 2021
  • 6 replies
  • 124 views

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After spending an hour on the phone waiting to talk to a customer service rep at 1-844-275-9310, and never getting to talk to one, I’m irritated.

We became T-Mobile Home Internet customers last September. Now we’re wondering if we made a mistake. We’ve got the white gateway, although I asked for the new gray Nokia replacement weeks ago. It has been performing pretty well, with Excellent 5-bar signals and usable down/up speeds in the 50 down, 20 up or better when I run a Speedtest through an Orbi configured as a WiFi access point and connected via ethernet to the LTE gateway’s LAN 1 port. However, occasionally I’ve been getting single digit download speeds with double digit upload speeds. 

Initially, we had one or two video glitches -- brief pauses, buffering, etc. -- a day, usually in late afternoon or early evening. Now, 6 months later, it’s a common and regular daily occurrence many times during the day. We’ve also started having really messed up phone calls on our Ooma VOIP system connected to our T-Mobile-powered LAN -- both local and long distance.

In the last couple of weeks, what had been a rock solid Excellent signal strength in the app began dropping to Very Good 4 bars for hours at a time, then occasionally cycling to 5 bars and back to 4. It’s been on 4 bars all day today.

Earlier this week, the signal froze about 9 p.m. Nada. So I turned off the white box and turned it back on. The signal came back on at Excellent level, but the Band changed from 66, where it has been for months, to 4. Another immediate reset and it came back to 66. It was 66 last night when I check the cell tower metrics in the app, but this morning it was back to Band 4. After resetting the gateway, it has stayed on Band 66 all day today.

Here are the current cell tower connection metrics:

CQI  -- 6

RSSI -- -58

RSRQ -- -8

RSRP -- -84

SINR -- 21.8

BAND -- 66

BANDW -- 15

CID -- 301

CGI -- 22926082

TAC -- 14444

What for the first 6 months was a generally good experience (which Suddenlink was not), we’re getting frustrated. I had hoped to talk to a customer service rep today, but an hour on the phone listening to screechy, shrill “music” was all I’m willing to tolerate. Any idea as to whether our local cell tower is overloaded, or we’ve got a failing gateway? We’re about a handful of keyboard clicks from ordering a Starlink system.

Help!?1?


6 replies

Userlevel 2
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^^ I can understand your frustration, good luck. Im only commenting because of one thing in your post. You do not have to be put on “hold” and wait one hour to talk to someone at Tmobile Home Internet Support. 

When calling the number, say  yes to them calling you back, it works perfect and keeps your place in line.

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Thanks for the tip. However, I never got or heard an offer for them to call me back. I get it every time I call Apple and some other companies. But not when I made my first call to T-Mobile as a customer, nor when I called a second time later. So much for warm and fuzzy ads and corporate aura-building, but I might as well have been calling a cable company instead of T-Mobile Home Internet. How disappointing. There’s not even an option to send an email, or live chat, both of which have worked well for me with other companies. Now I know what “uncarrier” means.

Userlevel 2
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Interesting, I guess it’s not set up in all parts of the country.

I assume you were calling the home Internet support line as posted in the app and on the web GUI

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Yes, the number I called, as noted in the first paragraph, was the one posted online and in the app.

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Just a follow-up. I ordered Starlink last night. T-Mobile needs to get its stuff together. T-Mo’s online pages still say we can contact T-Mo via phone or email. Guess what? There’s no way to email T-Mo for Home Internet support any more. Apparently some areas give T-Mo customers the option for a call-back, but it’s not available in the Eureka, CA, area. The best I can hope for is that someone from T-Mo with the ability to do something will read this thread and respond. 

Connection quality continues to fluctuate between 5 bars and 4 bars, and today is a nice bright and sunny 66.6 degrees F. with no wind. Speedtests with Fing, Orbi and my iMac at various points on my LAN are all over the place. Downloads will start out as high as 75 Mbps and quickly drop to almost zero and climb back -- sometimes to 60s and 70s, but quite often to low single digits. Uploads are more stable, but quite often higher Mbps than downloads. Sometimes the Speedtests time out. Is it our gateway equipment, which has been in the same location since last September? Or is it the cell tower a half-mile north of us? Or are there too many customers on that cell tower, which is why the Band switches between 66 and 4? Cell tower info: BANDW: 15; CID: 301; CGI: 22926082; TAC: 14444.

T-Mo apparently is selling its excess capacity to Home Internet customers. However, it’s very apparent that we are second-class T-Mo citizens. As soon as cell phone customers stress the system, Home Internet customers take a hit (stuttering, freezing, buffering).

The first six months were OK, but it’s becoming clear that Home Internet customers are not a priority with T-Mo. We’re just a way for T-Mo to justify gobbling up Sprint. The gateways are hobbled (no bridge mode, for starters), gateway placement is restricted to windows looking in the direction of a cell tower (no external antenna connection or option). And so on. Sometimes, you actually get what you pay for. 

T-Mobile, if you’re listening, this is no way to build a business. You have driven me into signing up for Starlink. I can’t wait until the hardware package arrives. 

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Ran some more Speedtests today, with results all over the place. Our service has become anything but stable and predictable. I pressed the button on the front of the Askey gateway this morning. The LED started flashing red, then after about 5 seconds, it flashed green. Before all the current issues, the LED immediately flashed green when the button was pushed, and continued to be green. The only time I could get it to flash red was by standing directly between the box (which is at chest height on a stand) and the cell tower. 

I’m going to print out this thread and mail it to T-Mobile Customer Relations in Albuquerque. Maybe someone at the uncarrier will care. Maybe not.

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