Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?


    Mine is a Verizon Note 3.  I was with VZW -- mostly problem free -- for ten years.  But recently, due to some specific coverage issues with Verizon, I recently switched to T-Mobile.  And I've had multiple "issues" ever since.


    After several visits to the local T-Mobile stores some of my phone issues have been fixed (through a lot of time and trial and error -- changing various settings, etc.)  Still, not everything works.  (One problem, for example, is that I cannot download files from Netflix.)  I'll provide more details about my "issues" if requested but, for now, my primary question is ... is my Note 3 simply too old to work with today's wireless technology?

      All replies

      • tmo_marissa

        Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

        Darn, magenta1580819! We never want to be ageist and relegate a device to the junk drawer based on its manufacture date. It sounds like you've put in plenty of hours on this mission to get your phone working. To be honest, it's tough to tell you which issues you're having that are related to the device and which may be related to using it on our network.
        Generally speaking, you can run into trouble with a phone when the apps you're using outpace the OS version. If you're using a Note 3 on 5.0 Lollipop but your apps are up to date and optimized for 7.0 Nougat, there could be some hiccups here and there. Does your trouble seem to be related to third party apps, or to basic device functions like calling and messaging? Regarding the specific issue you mentioned with Netflix downloads, I know that's a newer offering from Netflix (and I love it, because preschooler + road trip + Netflix now = Sid The Science Kid FTW) -- did this work on your device before you came to T-Mobile? How's your phone's memory capacity looking these days? Have you had a chance to try clearing the cache on your Netflix app?


        - Marissa

          • magenta1580819

            Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

            tmo_marissa, thank you for your reply.


            I don’t want to relegate my Note 3 to the junk drawer either!  As

            mentioned in my original post, before I made the switch to T-Mobile I

            have virtually NO problems with it.


            For what it’s worth I’ll summarize the issues I’ve experienced with my

            Note 3 since making the switch from Verizon to T-Mobile and the “fixes”



            -- Consistant message: “SIM card is not from Verizon.” Long-pressing the

            message shows “Activation Agent” (version 1.0). I do not know what

            “Activation Agent” is or what it does.  One can Force Stop it which

            stops the message from showing.  I have found NO difference in device

            functionality whether it’s turned on or force-stopped.  (This issue is

            widely discussed on the Internet. Seemingly, there is no way to

            permanently stop this message.)


            -- I could send a text to one person.  When attempting to send a text to

            more than one person the message would not send.  (Why T-Mobile may use

            a different protocol for sending texts to more than one phone number

            remains, to me, a mystery.)  This issue was fixed by an in-store

            T-Mobile representative by changing one of my phone’s settings. I have

            NO idea what setting it was or what he changed it to.


            -- When making a phone call after the phone call has connected one often

            has to press additional numbers … (‘Press 1 for this, 2 for that,’

            etc.)  After connecting via a phone call pressing numbers on my keypad

            were not recognized.  After spending some time with another T-Mobile

            representative in another store the “fix” was stumbled upon.  Settings ?

            Call ? DTMF tones ? change from “Normal” (the default) to “Long.”  Fixed!


            After considerable frustration and time spent, the three issues

            mentioned above seems to have been fixed.  One remains....


            -- Without changing any settings, downloading large files is so slow

            it’s virtually impossible.  Again, with the assistance of an in-store

            representative we happened to stumble across a "fix." But it’s a “fix” I

            find unacceptable.  In order to download large files I 1) must be at

            home and connected to my wifi and, most importantly 2) turn OFF a

            setting called “Mobile Data.”  When I am at home, connected to my wifi,

            and have “Mobile Data” turned OFF large files download at lightening

            speed.  But, unless those two criteria are met, no dice downloading

            files.  Which leads me to believe there is something in the my “mobile

            data” settings (whatever it is) which is interfering with my ability to

            fully connect to the Internet.


            I am happier with T-Mobile now than I was a few weeks ago.  Still, it

            should be said again, don’t expect to bring your old device from another

            carrier and expect it to work problem-free.

              • stevetjr

                Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                Hi I hopefully can answer a few of these from a technical (geek) perspective.


                The SIM card, before LTE only a few versions of Verizon (and Sprint) phones had them and mostly blackberry and were called "world phones".  This is because most of the ROW (Rest of the World) uses GSM for 2G/3G. Depending on how long you were with Verizon you would probably and do probably remember that when you get a new phone you have to call and have them "activate" it.  That is because the IMEI is what is tied to your phone number in their system, GSM your phone number is attached to your SIM card so you can just move your SIM to a different device (provided it is the same size) and without ever talking to the carrier your number rings on the other device.  In reality with GSM the SIM card is your phone the device is just a shell.  With LTE the SIM Card was added because LTE uses that tech.  All US Carriers lock their phones with the exception of Verizon, not because they don't want to but because they have to due to a decree they signed with the FCC over some spectrum.  You are right regarding force stopping it as it is just an app that Verizon put on their to get around their agreement with the FCC since the phone is unlocked but doesn't prevent them from reminding you where you got the phone lol.  Unfortunately I am sure they loaded that app so you can't delete/uninstall it without rooting the device which opens your device up to a lot of other potential problems and risks.


                As for the group messages, that is because SMS (standard messaging format) doesn't do group messages that would be part of MMS (multimedia messaging service) which uses data and justin the settings just needs the location of T-Mobile's MMS server ( added in the APN so the device knew where to send them.  Verizon has a bad habit of hard coding those into the APN rather than letting the SIM card update the APN with the correct info, so it just manually has to be changed.


                As for the last slow data. It could be potentially the market your are in and the Bands (frequencies) that version supports.  It does support LTE Band 4 which in most markets is T-Mobile's primary band but in some markets T-Mobile doesn't have that spectrum available so they use Band 2 for LTE which that phone doesn't support.  The other thing is that phone doesn't support any of T-Mobiles HSPDA+42 3G and 3.5G (marketed as 4G) so when your phone doesn't or isn't getting Band 4 LTE it is dropping all the way to 2G which yes will be painfully slow.   As for why you would have to turn mobile data off to get it to use available wifi that is a bit of a mystery as you shouldn't have to disable cellular to us Wi-Fi data, it should just do that when it sees it is connected to Wi-Fi.  You might want to check the entire APN (it's under settings, connection settings, mobile network) BYOD T-Mobile data & APN settings and make sure everything is correct.  On Samsung devices (unless carrier disabled you can dial *#0011# and see what Band (and service) your phone is using.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • tmo_amanda

                  Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                  Hey, magenta1580819!


                  I wanted to swing by to see if you've had the chance to look over Marissa and stevetjr's replies. We truly want you to enjoy life on the Magenta side with your Note 3 and get these issues taken care of.


                  Keep us updated on how things are working on your Note 3.

              • tmo_marissa

                Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                Well, I'm glad that 3/4 of these most frustrating issues are resolved -- although I, like you, wish we knew exactly which settings were tweaked for all the fixes completed! I have to say, sometimes our retail teams have a fantastic advantage when it comes to hands-on experience, and know which settings to fiddle with because they've simply had the opportunity to handle phones daily. I'm glad we were able to help with those items.

                Regarding the outstanding issue of large files downloading over WiFi only, that's a new one to me. Although my WiFi inside my home has a little more oomph than the network when I'm trying to download something, if you've got sufficient signal, I can't imagine why the files would download sooo much more slowly on the network than at home. Are they timing out? How many bars do you have when this is happening? Are they slow to download everywhere, or just in certain locations/at certain times of day?


                - Marissa

                • magenta1580819

                  Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                  Oyi boi, do I reply or do I not?  That is the question.


                  To both Amanda and Steve, thank you for your replies.  But let's be frank. 


                  Amanda, your replies are of no help.  Are you a T-Mobile auto-bot?


                  I don't know where tmo_marissa went to.  Another T-Mobile auto-bot?


                  Thanks to stevejr.  I read -- even printed out -- his reply.  Informative,  but too techie.  IF I hadn't previously spent several hours taking to in-store techie guys I would not have understood what stevejr wrote.


                  -- My Note3, after hours of tech help and settings changes, still has numerous "issues."

                  -- Don't expect to switch your device from your current carrier to T-Mobile and be issue-free.  The kid-reps in the stores don't have a clue -- and just want to make a sale!

                  -- Don't believe (or even look at) the various carrier's "coverage maps."  The ONLY reason I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile is because a very small area (in which I spend most of my work day) had horrid reception.  In that SPECIFIC area, T-Mobile's reception is better.  But it's worse than Verizon's in many/most other areas of the city/county. 



                  Choose your smartphone wisely.  Choose your wireless carrier wisely.  BUT in the end, no matter what or who you choose, expect to experience issues!

                    • tmo_marissa

                      Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                      Hey, magenta1580819! I promise I'm still here and (for better or worse in the eyes of my four-year-old) 100% human!
                      My last reply to the thread was on the 20th, the same day as stevetjr's response. Since we hadn't heard from you in a few days, Amanda did a routine check in (I was off yesterday, or I would have done the check in myself!). While Amanda and I work for T-Mobile, Steve is an extremely knowledgeable customer and a huge asset to this Support Community. He looks over questions from other customers and tries to help where he can as a volunteer -- and sometimes, he knows a lot more than the average Joe/Josephine, which is one of the reasons we are stoked to have him here with us! I'm glad his reply was helpful to you, even if it took some cross-referencing to break down.

                      I know I mentioned this in a response to your post on another thread, but I do want to say again -- I'm so sorry if we misrepresented how non-T-Mobile devices work on our network. It's definitely not as simple as just putting in a SIM. We offer a Bring your own device (BYOD) guide and our Generic T-Mobile data settings because we want to make the experience of bringing your own device as easy as possible... but we also have a Non-T-Mobile phone & software disclaimer because unless we've tested it and it was manufactured to work on our network, that's just not a guarantee that makes sense to offer. That said, many devices do work just fine when folks bring them over and set them up, so we don't want to shoot your phone down at the saloon door reckless-Western style, which was my initial read of your post and your worries that your phone is too old to work here!

                      Does the reply that Steve had to offer at least give a better understanding of that concern? If you don't mind posting your general location, I can take a look at the bands we have deployed in that area and we can see whether that might be causing slow data! The reason I'd asked about times of day or location specific issues regarding your current large-file download issue was because I wanted to determine if network congestion was the culprit -- but we can also take a look and see if it's just basic compatibility causing the trouble. 

                      Please know we're here to offer any suggestions or troubleshooting we can. Thanks for coming back to reply!


                      - Marissa

                    • magenta1580819

                      Re: Note 3 -- too old for T-Mobile?

                      As I mentioned before, thanks to both Marissa and Steve for their replies. 


                      I have resigned myself to a couple of conclusions:


                      1) All of my issues will never be "fixed."

                      2) Anyone switching carriers and bringing their own device should beware of potential -- and probable -- problems.  (Indeed, Marissa links to "setup guide to bring your own device" and "non-T-Mobile phone & software disclaimer."  But who, honestly and realistically, both understands the tech and

                      legalize language in these links -- and reads them before switching carriers??)


                      Bottom line:


                      1) Thanks for the replies.

                      2) The T-Mobiles support/discussion forum is as unused and difficult to sign into as is Verizon's.  With millions of customers, I find it odd that the cellular discussion forums are so under-used.

                      3) For whatever reasons, don't be in a rush to switch carriers.  Carefully consider all the ramifications.


                      I think I've said my piece.  Peace out.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful