I'm not an engineer nor T-Mobile employee.
But, could it be the number of connections the tower has to it at the time? I've seen my router not reach as far when I add more and more devices to it.
Is the area you're measuring more congested at these times of day of lower signal vs higher signal? I've never checked the dB strength when I lose signal at work because of extreme congestion (read: major conference next door) in the area.
Well there will always be load differences on the tower throughout points of the day, that is correct, but I don't think it would affect the tower's output/transmit power? To me that sounds like some sort of overheating issue with the base station, if it has to decrease transmti power for any reason.
By the way - unrelated, but during congested times of the day (if/when there is signal), the quality of the connection is horrible since everyone is on the tower, but that's something entirely different and expected (*cough cough* - more towers please! )
I'm no tech guru but I at least have the tools to take a look at the area to see if I can figure out what's going on. What zip code does your phone stay in when this is happening? Also, that's an interesting theory about the base station possibly overheating - one I wouldn't have thought of. Last question - have you talked with Tech Support about this yet, and if so, what was the outcome?
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When it drops vs high is it always Band 12? In markets that have Band 12 and Bands 2/4/66 the phone will only use Band 12 if it can't hold the other primary bands. Most all of TMO's Band 12 came from VZW (they have picked up some elsewhere) but most of it is all 5x5 blocks and low band has inherently less band width as the higher bands which in most cases TMO has 15x15 or 20x20 blocks so they don't want devices choking up the low band if the phone doesn't need it.