Poor Coverage in Tennessee (Hendersonville & I24 to Chattanooga)?


         Recent switcher to T-Mobile from AT&T. Was very pleased with AT&T's coverage, but not pleased at all with their pricing and plans. Now I'm having the exact opposite issue - the T-Mobile plan is fantastic, but the coverage seems to be lacking. Wanting to see if other Tennesseans are having the same issues or if I'm unique.



    Me - iPhone 6

    Wife - iPhone 7




    1) Home Area - Hendersonville

    I live north of Hendersonville in unincorporated Sumner County (near New Shackle Island Road and Long Hollow Pike for those familiar with the area). I can get a signal at my house but it's nothing to write home about. But we compensate at home with WiFi Calling so no issues there. In town, things are generally fine - I never see more than 2-3 bars, but it seems to work so no complaints.


    It's when I go north that things fall apart. The coverage maps clearly show that there's coverage on Long Hollow Pike all the way between New Shackle Island Road and Gallatin, but I lose service ("NO SERVICE" on phone) all the time. Same thing for New Hope / Tyree Springs north of Long Hollow to White House. My wife and I both lose service on this road until we reach White House, and that's a long, windy stretch to be without any service if we were to break down.


    2) Traveling - I24 from Nashville to Chattanooga

    We travel to Chattanooga/Atlanta via I-24 fairly often and did so again this weekend. Usually I drive while my wife works on her computer via tethering to one of our phones. Never any issues with AT&T doing this. With T-Mobile, my wife eventually gave up in frustration for lack of service / speed, asking "How much are you saving with this plan?!?" I get that service might be spotty through places like Monteagle since you're, you know, going through mountain passes, but how am I supposed to look at my wife and say that we should deal with the lack of service when we're driving by cell towers that are RIGHT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Does T-Mobile just not have equipment on those towers?


    (Note: T-Mobile service/coverage in metro areas like Atlanta and the SF Bay Area have been fantastic - rock solid and fast, which makes it more frustrating when I CAN'T get it where I need it.)


    I've already been in contact with T-Mobile customer service AND visited my local store to see what steps I might be missing. At first I was thinking that maybe it was my older iPhone 6 just not being able to take advantage of the "Extended Range LTE," but my wife's iPhone 7 (which does support that mode) seems to have the exact same issues in the exact same places. So I've already reset network settings, popped out the SIMs, restarted the phones, turned data roaming on and off, tried turning LTE on and off, tried turning LTE to data-only, and on and on and on.


    So what I'm trying to figure out is: is it ME or is it T-MOBILE? If it's me, fine, I'm happy to deal with it or fix it. If it's T-Mobile, I need to know if this is something they're going to improve or if this is an example of you get what you pay for. I love being $100 all in for two lines of unlimited data, but if there's no coverage it doesn't really matter. If I have to go back to AT&T, I'll do it, but I'd like to prevent that from happening if at all possible.

      All replies

      • tmo_chris

        Hey toddword! I appreciate you taking the time to post to our community and for all the details you provided. I took a look at the areas you mentioned and we definitely have coverage. Although, the towers that serve those areas are pretty spaced out so the coverage is not as strong as it could be. We do have LTE 700 (extended range) in Hendersonville but since both device are having issues, it might be worth reaching out to our tech support teams again and having them open some service requests for your areas as you should not be losing signal entirely.

        • barron58

          I agree coverage in Tennessee is poor.  I visit Manchester / Tullahoma frequently, hwy 55 near the communication center is a dead zone, calls drop and you have to drive back to the Manchester high school to get a signal again.  Phone doesn't work at my house unless it's wifi.  I was up there last week for a important event, I had 40% failure rate on sending and receiving text messages. I also received a message suggesting I turn off automatic date and time, this almost caused me to miss my connecting flight back through Atlanta.  Coverage has greatly improved vs 3 years ago, but it still sucks.


          For good service in TN you need Verizon.  Family members all have Verizon and they have no problems.


          My phone Samsung Galaxy J7

          Wife phone Samsung 7 edge

          • drnewcomb2

            toddword wrote:



            Me - iPhone 6

            Wife - iPhone 7


            going through mountain passes, but how am I supposed to look at my wife and say that we should deal with the lack of service when we're driving by cell towers that are RIGHT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Does T-Mobile just not have equipment on those towers?



            I know how frustrating it is to get "no service" or "emergency calls only" and look up and see that you are right next to someone's cell tower.  Been there many times.

            1) Your iPhone 6 will not be able to use T-Mobile's band-12 service.

            2) In rural areas, T-Mobile tends to install "just enough" towers, which in reality seems to be "not quite enough". They are working very fast to get the FCC-mandated coverage for their new 700 MHz licenses by the deadline. To do this, they sometimes overestimate the range of one tower and fudge the coverage maps (IMHO). This also leads to a lot of dropped calls in rural areas while in motion.

            3) You should be able to tether reasonably well on I-24. How's the signal strength there? It might be just overloading of their initial rural LTE conversion. In many areas T-Mobile just upgraded backhaul and ground-based RF cards when they went to LTE. They still have to go back to many sites and install new antennas to allow them to take advantage of all their bandwidth.


            Have you checked your problem areas on sites like Sensorly and CellMapper?

            • t-motn

              T-Mobile has been rapidly building out in Tennessee. I came over from AT&T and have been very happy. There were times where I could not even use my phone with AT&T during the day because the network was so slow. I've been to Hendersonville in the last month and didn't have any issues. I know your 6 will work on the 1900 and 1700/2100 MHz network which can be horrible outside the city. I would probably upgrade it to a new phone that supports 700MHz.