bexthemess

    I've been having some problems with other aspects of my service (BingeOn & massive data usage) for several months now. Concerned that one reason for the issues was the age of my S4, I purchased a new unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5. And here's what's happening.

     

    1. It connects to the network and I can make/receive calls and texts just fine. I can surf the web on the device itself (although sometimes it's super slow and video buffers) but when I attempt to tether or use my hotspot, which is a feature that I use daily, webpages take minutes to load (and sometimes don't load at all) and video streaming is pretty much impossible.

     

    2. In an area where I've always had a great signal and full bars on my other device, I can't get more than 2 bars now and sometimes service drops completely for a second or two before coming back up. The 4G LTE icon shows up on my screen, but I'm far from experiencing 4G speeds. If I remove the SIM card, it shows full bars even though I know I have no service without the card...but the second I put the card back in, 2 bars if I'm lucky and back to not being able to load anything.

     

    3. Everything works fine if I connect to wifi.

     

    4. I've checked for band compatibility. I've checked the generic TMobile settings in the device. I've gotten a new updated SIM card. All of these possible issues have been checked off. And the problem persists. Sometimes, when I'm in the car or at a location away from home, I have full bars. But...I always had full bars at home on my other device and I live in a spot where I can actually see a cell tower from my kitchen window so I don't understand why my signal is like it is.

     

    Is there some setting or something that I'm missing here?

      All replies

      • e2k

        Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

        Did you change you APN settings to match those of T-Mobile?

         

        I would not expect tethering to work at all, since the only tethering app that TMO supports is their own, which would not be installed on an AT&T variant.

         

        You mention issues with a hotspot. What kind of hotspot?

          • bexthemess

            Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

            As I said, I've checked the settings on the device and anything that I saw that needed to be changed was changed. The APN settings match.

             

            Tethering worked just fine and dandy on my other device...which was also an unlocked non-TMobile device. I've never purchased a phone from TMobile. Tethering also works on this device...but it's super slow and takes forever to load pages. I'm able to watch some short YouTube videos on my laptop this way, but every other video or streaming service buffers every few minutes and web pages take forever to load. I'm actually typing this on my laptop using my tethered connection from my phone right now.

             

            The 14GB hotspot that's included with my phone plan.

              • e2k

                Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                What app do you use to tether?

                 

                I'm still confused about the hotspot, mainly because hotspot is an ambiguous term. What hotspot(s) do you connect to, and how?

                  • bexthemess

                    Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                    In my phone, I go to Settings and then to Tethering & Wifi Hotspot and I turn on my tethering or hotspot from there. This is how I was able to use the hotspot and tethering on my old phone as well. I've never used any other app or method of connecting and I've been using it for 3 years now.

                     

                    I am on the $95 unlimited plan which includes 14GB of hotspot data to use by connecting to other devices. That's the hotspot that I'm referring to. I'm not talking about a separate hotspot data device or anything like that.

                      • e2k

                        Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                        Got it, thanks for clarifying.

                         

                        All I can really tell you is that if it's not a T-Mobile hotspot, there is not guarantee that it will work, and moreover, is not authorized to be used on the T-Mobile network. Yes, I know, they give you a hotspot allotment, so you're not doing anything wrong, but technically, you have to use their app.

                         

                        In order to try to isolate the problem, I would first try to get as close to a cell site as possible. Customer care can tell you where the cell sites are in your area (ask to be transferred to tier 2 or 3 tech support if they don't give you a straight answer). It also helps to use a real signal strength app rather than looking at bars (which are not based on any kind of standard). You might also inquire as to which bands are in use on the cell sites in your area and on which standards (e.g., LTE, 4G, 3G, GSM, on band 2, 4 or 12).

                         

                        I read that you can see a cell site from your house, but do you know for sure that it is a T-Mobile site, and if so, how?

                         

                        When you have the strongest signal you can possibly get, do some speed tests. You could try using your hotspot as well. Then do some more as you get further away from the site(s), and compare results. If the results get consistently worse as you move closer to your house, the issue is probably coverage related and/or poor penetration into your house.

                         

                        In terms of streaming, have you tried disabling Binge On?

                          • bexthemess

                            Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                            The whole reason I switched to this plan from the grandfathered $70 unlimited plan that I was on was to GET the BingeOn service. And we're not even going to go into the issues I've had with THAT. Ok...maybe we are. The BingeOn service has never worked for me. It still uses data whether I'm streaming on my device or through tethering/hotspot. They've toggled it on and off in some failed effort to kick it into gear and I have a pending trouble ticket regarding it. So, no. I haven't and I will not try to turn my BingeOn service off.

                             

                            I've spoken to tech support. All the way up. In fact, I'm pretty convinced at this point that the agents have grown to hate me because I've had constant issues over the past 6 months or so since the last time they made changes to the way the plans are set up.

                             

                            I know where the nearest cell site is. I can see it from here. I'm looking at it right now. This is why I'm so confused as to what's going on. After going into the TMobile store twice this week, calling tech support 5 times and having 2 trouble tickets filed...only for them to be closed out with no resolution and no contact with me, and several unhelpful Google searches, I was hoping that maybe someone on here had some insight that customer care and tech support had been unable to provide.

                             

                            And when you talk about the TMobile Hotspot app, I have no idea what you're referring to. The only app for that I see in the Play Store is for you to connect to TMobile's hotspot as a wifi connection. Not for using your device as a hotspot. Also, considering I've spoken to over 60 TMobile representatives in the past few months (contacting CC, tech support, social media department, and online chat) and not a single one of them has mentioned this hotspot app to me even once...I'm not sure you're talking about the same thing I'm talking about.

                              • e2k

                                Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                Your only other recourse is T-Force. See their contact information at the end of this post.

                                 

                                Humor me, please. I still want to know how you have verified that the cell site that you can see is indeed a T-Mobile site, which bands it uses, and for each band, is it on LTE/4G/3G/2G. I'm not doubting anything you say, just trying to hash out scenarios and isolate the issue. After all, TMO will provide essentially zero support for a non-TMO phone.

                                 

                                To contact T-Force

                                Go to the Contact Us page and use the Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus link under in the “Social Support” section.

                                  • bexthemess

                                    Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                    I've had 3 agents this week tell me that it's a TMobile cell site and that I should have a perfect signal (which I had on my other non-TMobile device before I made the switch). I've since tried to take the SIM card out of this phone and put it back in the old phone and I experience similar issues. I was even told that one of the trouble tickets that was filed was for service techs to go to the site and verify that it was working correctly.

                                     

                                    And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't "T-Force" be the ones you can contact through Facebook in the social media department? If that's the case, pardon me while I laugh heartily because they're the ones who changed me to my current plan in the first place and who I dealt with for several days regarding my BingeOn issues before they finally told me to call tech support.

                                     

                                    I'm sorry. I'm just supremely frustrated at this point. I've spoken to every department I can think of. I've tried their Facebook page. I've tried online chat. I've called customer care and tech support (all the tiers). I've been around the block with this and, if I could actually find a comparable plan at a decent price from any other carrier, I'd already be gone.

                                      • e2k

                                        Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                        Yes, T-Force is the group you (have already) contacted via social media.

                                         

                                        The only other thing I might suggest (if you have not already done so) is to call customer care & ask for tier 3 technical support. I have found them to be quite effective. Ask them to look at the status of the cell site near your house. They should be able to tell you if it is having issues without creating a trouble ticket (I don't trust that trouble tickets are actually investigated). Also, find out what bands are in use. These things can be important.

                                         

                                        Have you tested the device near other sites? Do you know what bands those other sites use?

                                         

                                        Again, I'm just trying to help narrow things down, as getting adequate assistance from TMO might be a very unlikely scenario.

                                         

                                        As you may or may not know, this is primary a user forum. T-Mobile employees review the messages, make basic suggestions, and refer people to T-Force. There is no "high level" support from T-Mobile employees on this forum.

                                         

                                        Another thing to keep in mind is that your phone is using AT&T firmware. The AT&T phone might automatically prefer a band that your local cell site does not use, so it connects you to a more distant site that is further away.

                                         

                                        If you can borrow a T-Mobile phone & slip your SIM card into it, the results might be very helpful in isolating the issue.

                                        • tmo_mike_c

                                          Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                          Hi there bexthemess that's really rough that you've been having a multitude of data connection issues but I'd like to offer my thoughts on this matter. There are a few things that could be contributing to this and how this can get addressed will depend on what we can test.

                                           

                                          This could be something going on with your network connection in which we would need to have tech support file a Trouble Ticket to have this investigated. I do realize that you've mentioned filing tickets before but this sounds like they were Service Requests that are meant to have field techs make sure that the cellsite is working properly in that area. Network Engineers would view your connection and investigate a root cause behind the data after a Trouble Ticket has been filed.

                                           

                                          The other option to consider is the phone itself. I'm aware that you've been able to use non T-Mobile devices before, but you should know that the services on phones not sold not sold by T-Mobile are not guaranteed Non-T-Mobile phone & software disclaimer. We'll make every effort we can to make sure the settings are correct as well as make sure that the account has the correct features, but ultimately, services working consistently on Non T-Mobile phones can be hit or miss.


                                          Here's where we stand. Ideally, we'd need to test the sim card in a T-Mobile phone for 2 reasons. 1. We want to see if the data woes happen on a T-Mobile phone to eliminate the Non T-Mobile phone as a possible root cause. 2. If the data trouble does continue in a T-Mobile phone, this will show up on the engineering side and this will help isolate this as something going on with your network connection and show that this is not a phone issue. It's encouraged that we do this test as most of the time engineering will request this test be done before a Trouble Ticket can be filed.


                                          I do understand you've called many times already and even contacted our T-Force team but this would be only something Tech or T-Force would be able to resolve as they are the groups that have access to tools that can get this escalated to the Network engineers if needed.

                                            • bexthemess

                                              Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                              Thanks for trying to help, but actual trouble tickets HAVE been filed. I can provide ticket numbers if needed. Only one of the tickets was for service. The trouble tickets keep getting closed out without them contacting me and without issue resolution. This isn't my first rodeo. I've worked for two cell phone companies throughout the course of my career and I understand how these things work...at least to some degree.

                                               

                                              The SIM card I am using right now is brand new and was put into my phone by an agent at the local TMobile store yesterday after a tech agent stated that SIM cards are recommended to be replaced every 2 years and there had been changes made to the SIMs that TMobile uses since I got my last SIM card 3 years ago. Due to notations on my account, the new SIM card was free. It's not the SIM card.

                                               

                                              My signal improves when I'm away from home...in some areas. However, I don't generally use my hotspot or tethering anywhere but at home, so I can't confirm if those services improve as well.

                                               

                                              I realize that the company can't guarantee everything will work on a non-TMobile device, but I've been using a cell phone for 20 years and, ever since I've been able to use an unlocked phone, I've done so. Every other time, I've had no issues. It strikes me as interesting that the one time I do have issues is at the same time I've spent 2 months dealing with inept customer service over a high profile feature that refuses to work correctly. No accusations against the company. But, having worked for 2 of their competitors...in customer care and tech support...I know that the odds against my device having an issue of this nature due to it not being from TMobile are astronomical. If that were going to cause an issue, it would more than likely mean that I'd have no data service at all rather than just cruddy service.

                                               

                                              So...I'll go back to calling tech support and begging for help. No matter how futile I've come to believe the effort is.

                                                • tmo_mike_c

                                                  Re: Unlocked AT&T Galaxy S5 Data Issues

                                                  Hey sorry about this bexthemess and I know it's rough having spent so much time on getting this working. As for the phone, we'd like your services to work whether you're using a T-Mobile phone or not. As you mentioned, there is a chance that it could be the device but that's why we want you to test the service in a T-Mobile phone. Were you able to test this out? Have you already spoken with Tech Support again, and if so, what did they say?