How to fix my S4 that sometimes is "Not registered on network"

hermhart

    I have a Galaxy S4.  I bought it a few months ago, but new, never used.  It came to me set up for T-Mobile.  WIFI calling works fine.  In many locations the phone also works well with the T-Mobile cellular network.  But it just happens that it will NOT work in my local area where I need it most.  When I try to make phone calls, or access the internet, I get the message, "Not registered on network".  This is so even if the full 4 bars of signal strength are indicated.  I have tried going into Network mode and selecting WCDMA ONLY.  No help.  The T-mobile store tech told me that it's just that my phone is old and cannot take advantage of newer protocol features.  I don''t think that is correct because my phone is capable of using 4G/LTE.  Is it possible that the strong signal I am seeing does not happen to apply to my phone's protocol?  The T-mobile coverage map for my area shows FAIR.  They told me that they plan to improve the coverage "soon".  But we're talking about a busy, much-used business area on a US highway!!  Not back in the sticks somewhere.  So is there anything I can do to make my phone respond in this area?

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      • tmo_marissa

        Hey hermhart!  Sorry to hear you're not getting service where you need it most!  It sounds like our Tech team might have been saying that the equipment that you're using doesn't support the specific 4G/LTE band(s) we have deployed in the area that you've mentioned - not necessarily that your phone isn't capable of getting 4G/LTE at all, but simply that it can't take advantage of the signal we're putting out.  However, it does seem odd that you're experiencing this in such a high traffic area!  When you spoke with us, were you able to provide an address for us to review?  I know you mentioned that you'd already tried manual network selection and switching between network types, but have you had a chance to review the Network & APN Settings For the S4 and check them against your phone? 

         

        - Marissa

          • hermhart

            Thanks, Marissa, for your reply.  My device is an SGH-M919 and I am seeing an impressive list of compatibility bands including 1900 for LTE.  So I believe that my device is capable of using the signal being supplied.  In any case it works fine a few miles away where the signal is stronger.  When I go to the APN settings the options are all greyed out.  But they seem to me to be close enough to the chart you refer to.  When I asked a T-Mobile rep about my concern, I told them the area where I live and they checked the coverage map in my presence.  Our zip is 46528, Goshen, Indiana.  Goshen is a town of about 30,000.  Downtown shows T-Mobile strength of excellent.  As we begin to head out of town it becomes Good.  About 2 miles from town central it becomes Fair and stays Fair from there on as we follow US33 southeast including through a very important business area with at least 6 big name hotels, Walmart, DQ, McDonalds, Menards, etc, etc.  In this same area AT&T and Verizon have very good signals.  They told me at the T-Mobile store that they are working on improving the signal for us, but no promises made.  I will grant that my model is not on the list committed to in the coverage map and my son who has an S7 is able to manage with the signal as it is.  But for reasons given above it still seems to me that mine should work.

            Question... When I look at the option to Set Network Manually, I am offered AT&T and Verizon.  What would happen if I selected one of them?  Would it work?  If it did would I incur roaming charges?  Thanks.

              • tmo_chris

                So the coverage in that area is going to be stronger when you are in Goshen but I do see multiple towers in the area that were under maintenance. I am not sure how your coverage has been the past few days but with this tower maintenance, it’s possible that you may have noticed some degradation. The maintenance was completed last night so I wanted to see if you have noticed any improvements.

                 

                As for connecting to VZW and AT&T, if you are in a T-Mobile coverage area, the phone will not actually let you connect to those networks as we would not have roaming agreements in an area that showed T-Mobile coverage.

                  • hermhart

                    Well, the poor signal I have been experiencing in my area of Goshen has been this way for the 9 months since I have been with T-Mobile.  So if this tower maintenance was only for a few days, then that is not significant and could not be the cause of my problem.  However, I will make a point to check it in the next few days and see what I get.  Thanks for the info about using/not using VZW or AT&T.  Now I know.

                     

                    For what it's worth, it's common knowledge that T-Mobile is weak and not very usable in the area I'm referring to.  As for me, I just went ahead and bought a cheapo Tracfone using a prepaid card so that at least my wife and reach me or I can reach her in emergencies.  I will still keep my T-Mobile account for use when I'm near WIFI, GPS, and when and where the signal is strong enough.  So that's my survival plan for now..

              • tmo_marissa

                Well hermhart, I'm glad you have a workaround solution in place, although I'm sorry to hear it's necessary at all.  I wish we could support your service needs in this area without a backup.  Maintenance is certainly not the same as modernization, which would likely improve the overall signal strength in your area, but I do hope that it helps at least improve the immediate situation, even if slightly.  Please let us know what you notice!

                 

                - Marissa