Why does my T-Mobile coverage go out during power outages?  A real problem.

magenta2753493

    It was for just few hours yesterday, but a snowstorm caused our power to go out, and immediately, when it did, so did our T-Mobile cell coverage. This has always happened in the past as well. When the power came back on, 4G lte service was immediately restored.  It concerns me, because in a national emergency or a prolonged outage, we would have no way to communicate with family or the outside world.

     

    Friends in the area have told me their coverage does not go away when the power goes off - they maintain coverage.  Please help me understand what is going on and why that is happening. It could be a life-threatening problem at some point.

      All replies

      • syaoran

        You might want to call in and report that issue to T-Mobile support and make sure you provide the specific area so thet can check the towers.  Cell service going out during a power outage is not normal!

        • snn555

          I'm assuming you don't have a connection to an LTE cellspot correct? and that you're not depending on Wi-Fi calling correct? otherwise it's very coincidental that a towers power would go out at the same time every time as your home's power does. This is considering the fact that all towers have multiple power backups.

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            • magenta2753493

              Definitely not using WiFi calling or anything related to WiFi.  This is a loss of cell coverage when the power goes out. It is not a coincidence - It has happened repeatedly and the timing is precise.

               

              So I think what must be happing is that there is apparently a problem with my specific tower and the "multiple power backups" are not in place or are not working.

               

              This is a real problem, not an imagined one.  I'm sure both types are encountered here.

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            • magenta2753493

              This was the reply form a T-Mobile chat session with the "solution" being that it will be "notated on your account."  I am not sure how that helps me or my neighbors. We lose cell coverage when the power goes out, but at least it's notated on my account  

               

              >>>>There are many factors that come into play regarding the towers, and an individual tower may not exclusively be for just T-Mobile. We do work very closely with all cities and counties to provide the best possible set up when towers and the grids are designed. I really appreciate you sharing this with me, and I'll definitely ensure this notated on your account. <<<<

               

              >>>>We're always looking for ways to improve the network and may see changes in the future! Rest assured that I've got you covered and have everything notated!<<<<

              • drnewcomb2

                AT&T and Verizon have many more cell sites protected by backup generators than does T-Mobile. Also, T-Mobile often uses backhaul supplied by alternate providers, such as cable TV companies. This backhaul tends to not be as robust as Telco provided backhaul. With the advent of FirstNet, if you want the most reliable cellular service, I'd suggest switching to AT&T or one of their MVNOs, like Cricket.

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                  • syaoran

                    Do you have a map that show all of the locations across the US of every cell site for every carrier and each one marked as to whether or not they have some sort of back up power available to them?  If you do, I'm sure we would all like to see it. 

                     

                    The reality of the situation is that some cell towers are in places to provide coverage but it just isn't possible to have a back up power system connected to them.  Not all cell towers are in big open fields, on the roofs of big large hotels, etc.  Yes, it definitely sucks if you live somewhere that loses your cell service when the power goes out.  That definitely isn't everywhere though, because a friend of mine was without power in Williamsburg, VA for a few days when the last snow storm hit but her phone worked perfectly.  If your area doesn't have back up power supplied to the tower, there is lrobably a reason for it.  If T-Mobile didn't care about being sued over safety, then there wouldn't be number port in restrictions for areas they don't currently have e-911 service.

                      • drnewcomb2

                        As far as I know, no such map exists for all carriers. Of course, each carrier knows what they have. I have checked the T-Mobile sites nearest to my house and all three have backup generators. If you can't access a site, one technique is to look on Google Maps and see if there is a propane tank for each rack of antennas.

                        Since T-Mobile's sites all have to be in real-time communication with the network control center to work, T-Mobile has to know the status of each site in their system. I've contended that they could automatically unblock roaming on AT&T for an area (LAC) when there is a widespread power failure affecting the area. So far, no one has offered a cogent argument as to why not.

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                    • esbtoo@gmail.com

                      I called and reported the same problem.  Thought I’d get an answer along the lines that we’ll check it and wirk on fixing it.  To my disma, they said there was no backup power and that a team comes out when they can to fix.  I told her that they are not fast, and if there is an emergency we are in a bad situation.  The technician said that is just the way it was and you are going to have to deal with it.  I said that is unacceptable and that I would probably look at other providers (whose service does not go out during power outage.  She said you are welcome to do that.  Wow, just wow.