Dropped calls to my phone

kweeri

    Recently, at work, I started to experience a situation where calls would go straight to voicemail. This didn't use to happen until a few weeks ago.

     

    My phone is an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 ATT phone for the US (Samsung SM G900A).

     

    I spoke to T-Mobile support, and the person I spoke to said that this was because my phone was impacted by the recent work that T-Mobile had been carrying out to upgrade its network to LTE.

     

    However, I am not convinced that this is the reason, because:

    - My phone can still receive calls at home;

    - My phone shows a 4G LTE symbol, which indicates that it should be able to work on an LTE network.

     

    Can anyone help to clarify this? Is a Samsung SM G900A compatible with T-Mobile's upgraded network? And if so, why am I experiencing dropped calls?

      All replies

      • tmo_chris

        Re: Dropped calls to my phone

        These are some great observations! When you are at work, do you also notice that you are getting LTE or are you only getting LTE at home? When you are at work, how many bars of signal does your phone show that you have? If you step outside of your office, are you then able to make and receive calls?

          • kweeri

            Re: Dropped calls to my phone

            Chris,

             

            Unfortunately, it appears the issue is worse than I thought.

             

            Both at home and at work, I am having difficulty receiving and making calls.

             

            The LTE reception (indicated by the number of bars) both at home and at work varies, even if I step outside; sometimes, there are 'full strength' bars, sometimes none; sometimes there's an LTE signal, sometimes there is none.

             

            Can you help me clarify whether or not the Samsung Galaxy S5 SM-G900A is compatible with T-Mobile's upgraded network?

              • tmo_chris

                Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                Hey kweeri,

                 

                I was looking at the specs for this phone:

                2G bandsGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
                3G bandsHSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100
                4G bandsLTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 17(700)

                 

                While it does support band 4 for LTE which is 1700/2100, the device itself does not support VoLTE so the phone will not be able to make calls over that band. It does support 2G 1900 for voice calls but that signal may not be strong enough in your area for your phone to switch to it when a call comes in. If you could provide me with your ZIP code, I can take a high-level look at your area to see the coverage level of 2G 1900.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • drnewcomb2

              Re: Dropped calls to my phone

              You've done a very good job of describing the symptoms. Unfortunately, Samsung and the carriers have cooperated (conspired?) to so customize the phones sold by each carrier so that they have just the features and bands used by that carrier and exclude any features and bands not needed for use on just that carrier. This makes BYOD with a Samsung device a dicey proposition, at best. Unfortunately, the vast majority of customers are unaware of this and believe that a Sprint S6 is the same as an AT&T S6, etc.  For better or worse, T-Mobile has been reorganizing their spectrum in some markets to deploy as much wide-band LTE as possible. This is a big aid to customers with fairly new T-Mobile and other very compatible phones. It's proven a royal pain in the rear for many people with BYODs, particularly those lacking UMTS 1700 or fully compatible VoLTE. Here are some possible options:

              1) Get a new phone. Preferably one of the "universal" ones like the Nexus 6P or iPhone 6s. This has a hidden issue because T-Mobile is currently starting to deploy new 600 MHz spectrum and the first phone to be able to use this (LG V30) has not yet been released. So buying a new phone, right now, may not be a good idea, long term.

              2) Port your service back to AT&T or an AT&T MVNO (like Cricket)

              3) Flash your S5 with T-Mobile's firmware (the AT&T and T-Mobile phones are physically the same. The only difference is the firmware.) This is done entirely at your own risk and beyond my experience. I've only seen it discussed as an option. I wouldn't do this unless I had a backup phone on standby.

              4 of 4 people found this helpful
                • kweeri

                  Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                  Hi drnewcomb2,

                   

                  Thanks for you answer - it is very illuminating indeed.

                   

                  I would rather not get a new phone, as I am happy with my existing phone, and a new phone is expensive.

                   

                  I would prefer not to leave T-Mobile if I can - the service has been very good - but I am running out of options here.

                   

                  In fact, the only option seems to be the third one - flashing my phone. Can you point me to more information about this?

                    • drnewcomb2

                      Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                      Only Google. I've just seen the process discussed as an option.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • j.a.r.v.i.s

                        Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                        kweeri - XDA developers website has some good info on firmware flashing.  It's definitely for the advanced power user and there is risk of bricking your phone...standard disclaimer applies...usually it voids your warranty as well...I've done it in the past, but now I just go with T-Mo sold phone as quite a lot of the advanced features are only available with those phones (VoLTE, Carrier aggregation, RCS, etc..).

                         

                        Good luck if you try it out...can be quite fun if you enjoy that type of stuff!

                    • tmo_chris

                      Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                      So that ZIP code is for Bellevue which is part of the Seattle market which was upgraded. The area still has some pretty strong 2G coverage but you may have to force your phone to connect to 2G only so that it is not scrambling to switch when a call comes in causing the call to be sent to VM. As j.a.r.v.i.s mentioned, flashing the phone is a pretty advanced process and not something that we can support. I will admit that I have flashed a few phones of my own in the past and it may seem pretty daunting at first but the folks that provide this type of information usually go over the process in great detail.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • kweeri

                          Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                          Hello tmo_chris,

                           

                          Well, the good news is that when I force my phone to use 2G only (by dialling *#*#4636#*#*, then selecting 'Device Info' > 'Set preferred network type' > 'GSM only'), the call reception and placing improves dramatically.

                           

                          The bad news is that my data upload/download is now terrible.

                           

                          So I will be switching to Cricket Wireless, as drnewcomb2 suggested earlier. Maybe one day, when I get a super duper phone truly capable of working with all carriers, I might switch back. But in the meantime, it's been real, TMo - thanks for shaking up the phone market when when other carriers were content to stick with their 'gouge-the-customer' plans.

                            • tmo_chris

                              Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                              I totally understand that 2G data speeds are rough! IT is basically like not having internet on your phone at all. We hope that you do eventually come back to us kweeri. We often run some pretty amazing deals making it easy to get a phone with all the network bells and whistles. Please do keep an eye on T-Mobile.com as you never know when we might have a deal that is perfect for you!

                          • magenta2572551

                            Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                            tmo-chis ,

                            it is Samsung Galaxy s6 edge, initially for AT&T SM-G925A ,  and being unlocked .

                            but what I am saying is we been using this type of phone forever, and the reason why is because the same GSM Technology .

                            and if T-mobile did not solve that problem , they will loos a lot of business simply , customers just switching to different carrier with same service payment , and they do not have to change their phones.

                              • tmo_chris

                                Re: Dropped calls to my phone

                                We definitely do not want to lose customers. In fact, the whole reason we are doing these upgrades is to provide our customers with faster and more reliable LTE coverage. Looking at the specs for your specific phone, it supports LTE band 4 1700/2100 and GSM 1900 so you should not have any issues using it on our network. If you could provide me with your ZIP code, I can take a closer look at your area to see what the signal strength for those areas look like.