Thomas, WV: VoLTE voice but no data connectivity


    Over the last year, I have been making regular trips to Thomas, WV and the Canaan Valley.  Voice and SMS have worked consistently. Cellular Data has rarely worked on my iPhone 6.  Every blue moon or so - for maybe 2 minutes once every five days -- cellular data will connect.


    Also, my iPhone battery drain very quickly on these trips.


    I suspect my phone is hunting for data connection all the time.


    On a recent trip, I tried an Android phone.  While still not connecting on cell data, I was able to establish HD voice connections regularly. 


    Could you explain how I can establish an HD voice connection without an LTE data connection in this area?

      All replies

      • dragon1562

        HD calling works on both LTE and HSPA+ in my experience. In regards to the iphone rarely connecting it could be due to a lack of band 12 support during your travels. What android device were you using if I may ask? Was it connected to 2g(E), 4g(HSPA+) or LTE? Were you roaming ? Thanks for the additional info and I'll try my best to help. If you could provide a specific place to look at on the coverage map it would also be helpful.

        • tmo_chris

          Hey hartmann,


          dragon1562 is correct. The phone 6 does not support band 12 and currently the only frequency we have in Thomas is band 12. It is possible that your phone was connecting to a roaming partner ATT (which covers the area primarily south of Davis) and that is why voice services such as calls and SMS worked. Does your phone show that it is roaming when you notice the issues with the internet not working?

            • hartmann

              Thank you, Both!  We are heading to Thomas, WV now and this Is helpful.


              My android phone is an Essential. I will check it’s LTE Band coverage; i do

              believe it supports band 12.


              On the Android phone, i could see the data connection established when the

              phone was connecting on HDSP. HDPA would be the first connection after

              starting the phone. After some random time, the connection would drop UTMS.

              The data service would then disconnect.


              As for roaming, the ‘“R” is always on. I do not know if I am on data

              roaming or just voice roaming.





                • tmo_chris

                  What Android device do you have? Also, the R does indicate that you are roaming and it is possible that if it is always on, you may have reached your data roaming allotment in the few spurts that data actually worked on your phone. There is a limited amount of data that can be used while domestically roaming and that amount is based on your plan. Domestic data roaming


                  As you can see from the list, the highest allotment is 200MB and that is if you are on one of our older 11 - 25 GB high-speed plans. If you are on a plan that has unlimited high-speed data, you only have a 50MB data allotment when roaming and 50MB can go super fast!

              • tmo_mike_c

                Hi there!


                Chris a great follow up comment in regards to your issue. Can you take a look at it and let us know the results? Thanks!

                • hartmann

                  Thanks again for the follow ups.  After another weekend of testing, here is some more information.


                  The android phone I am using is an "Essential PH-1," which you can look up on their site


                  Looks like I hit the data roaming limit and must have been using ATT (or a partner) while in Thomas.  My location while in Thomas is above town on the south side near the intersection of Euclid St and the Applachian Highway (Rt 32) -- the Sunoco gas station is at that intersection.  I am not sure where the T-Mobile tower is but when I have line of sight access to the southwest, I can get 1-2 bars of T-Mobile LTE.  (Is there any way to tell which band of LTE my phone is using?)  Otherwise, the cell operators reported by the phone are either US Cellular or ATT -- both of which at roaming.


                  It seems I need to turn "data roaming" to off to prevent the erratic connections to HDPA data services while in the Thomas area.  I understand the evolving coverage situation.  The challenge was understanding the intermittent data connectivity. One of the most significant challenges has been the iPhone iMessage protocol communication.  iMessage runs across data and not SMS.  The iPhone is set to default to iMessage, which makes communication by SMS/iMessage throughout the Canaan Valley, West Virginia area a bit more challenging.


                  Knowing that Voice/SMS are reliable is the important piece of knowledge I am trying to finalize on.  Am I right in assuming that?







                    • dragon1562

                      You can check what band you are connecting to by putting the device into service mode using a special code on the dialer, or by using a app like LTE discovery. The reason I did not mention the code for the dialer is because I do not know off the top of my head like I do for Samsung devices. You can probably find it with enough Googling. Also SMS should be reliable when roaming. However, if issues arrise its not necessarily T-mobiles fault as things get a bit weird when roaming. I personally have never had a issue with texting with roaming partners, but I have had calling issues before. In those circumstances I would just use my other phone with AT&T since that is who T-mobile roamed off in my location at the time. They now have native coverage so its no longer a issue to me.


                      Hope that info helps.

                    • hartmann

                      Thank you, dragon1562. Your solution is where I have come out too. Text is the most reliable in the area, followed closely by calls Andy the a distant third is anybdata connectivity.


                      The one aspect iphone’s that complicate it for me is iMessage. Contacts who typically reach me iMessage are not able To reach me unless i am on WiFi. I can turn imessage off on my iPhone and reach them but there is a gap for me when they initiate the contact.


                      I am good to go for now. Thank you all for your thoughts and insights!