Tmobile needs to step up for India travelers and fix issues.....

nsamuel

    I  have been doing some  international roaming  in past few years, and have consistently  noticed  data issues  in asian  cities  where there was plenty of coverage.  Currently,  i am in one of the biggest cities in  India (Bangalore)  and the following issues were noticed in the heart of the city where the signal is high.

     

    1. To  start with,  on T-mobile website if you search of  india roaming,  it shows a coverage map  in various parts of india.  Surprisingly,  in  the Technology center of  India (city Bangalore),  the map shows  no  3G,  whereas  small cities elsewhere  show  there is a 3G  coverage.   Does it make sense to provide  2G in  the  fastest  growing  city of  India  and  provide  3G  in  small  cities  that are not even  metropolitans ?  Indeed, i am getting only  2G speeds in this city.
    2. Even those 2G  speeds in Bangalore, and  slower than what  one would expect as 2G  speed.  As proof, i ran speed test 4 different times using 4 different servers in  nearby  servers in Bangalore and took screen shots.  The screen shots are attached in this message,  and consistently  the  latency was over 500 ms  and  jitter  was  over  50 - this has been shown in one of the screenshots.   In all the 4  tests,  the  download  capped at  0.12 Mbps which is much lower than a 2G  speed  (I can provide  research data submitted in an internet article,  explaining the  2G speeds  in  indian  telecoms, which shows that  the  2G  has to be well over  what is shown in screenshot /tests).
    3. To  discuss this problem,  i called  the number that is listed in  "T-mobile  international  roaming" webpages.   The webpage says that i can  call  +1-505-998-3793  free of  charge,  while  one is roaming.  But  when i tried this number 3 different times,  i was given options to  "choose to talk to an operator" and  after punching in some options, the  system  dropped my  call  every time.  Why is this happening ?
    4. My final  question :   If  i log into  my-Tmobile.com  and  choose the  "CALL ME"  option  listed  at top of that  page,  will i  get  charged  when  i receive  a call  from  T-mobile  customer  service  ?   (My  understanding  is that   i will be charged  0.25  cents  for incoming calls  while  i am roaming in india with my  Tmobile  One  plan).   Every  incoming and outgoing calls  were  charged  while i was roaming here  last time.

     

    Approaching Vodofone customer service (the indian partner that shows up in my roaming phone at Bangalore)  will be useless for these speed issues.  Hopefully  someone  in technical  support of  T-mobile will see this fast enough for me to  use  my phone  while i am here for next 2 weeks.

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      All replies

      • drnewcomb2

        1. Did you try manually selecting different carriers?

        2. 0.12 Mbps (128 kpbs) is "2G" speed. Keep in mind that this does not mean "2G service". It means that the speed is throttled at T-Mobile's switch.

        3. India's cellular licensing system is almost as confused as in the USA. A carrier will have different operating companies in each state that cooperate with each other, (to a certain degree) to form a national network. AFAIKT this is why T-Mobile may roam one carrier in Deli but not be able to roam in J&K.

        4. The map may snow no 3G roaming in Bangalore but your phone shows 3G. T-Mobile is dependent on (at the mercy of) their roaming partners to provide coverage maps.

        5. I don't know why you are having problems with the international roaming support line. I would assume that if you are roaming (vs on WiFi) and you get a callback from T-Mobile it will cost you.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • nsamuel

            The  phone  is  Samsung  Galaxy  S4 running  Android  4.4.4  (that is the last update from  T-mobile even though samsung has provided 5.x  version - don't  even want to go why  T-mobile  lacks support  is   OS).    i  did   try  all the  other  available  networks in this big  city,  but  the phone could not  successfully  "Register + connect"   to  any of the others.  Only   Vodafone-India  seems to  provide  partnership  in this location. 

             

            Regarding the  2G  speed/service  that you pointed out -   yes,  i am  understanding the difference,  having  spent  over an hour reading about  nuances of  various  speeds/services.   Even  a  0.6  Mbps   would qualify  as  2G  speed,  but what i am point out here is that  my speed is getting throttled  at  0.12 Mbps,  which is  well below  the  Max   2G  speed  that  Indian  networks are capable  are delivering.   Digging  a bit more, i  noticed that the   APN  has only  one  choice  available  and  it is  set to   "fast.t-mobile.com    (Tmobile   USA  LTE  )".   There is a plus button there to add other  APNs,   but i do not know the settings for   Vodafone-India  in order to  try and see if that makes a difference.  I do not understand   APNs  fully,  and  have not gone to the  local office of  Vodafone   with this issue,  because  they would be useless in terms of  technical   help like this.    My guess is that  the data  connection is going through  fast.t-mobile.com  and  Tmobile  is throttling me  at  lower  levels  than  what the network is capable of  delivering here  (because  4G is possible here in a big city,  and i should  atleast  be  seeing the  max   real-world  capacity  of  the  2G  speed.   0.12Mbps  is not the max  real world  speed.    I understand  that   T-mobile is  only  promising   2G  speeds   while in international  roaming  (even though  they  market   it saying   3G  would be given if possible).

             

            Finally,   i want to emphasize  that  T-mobile  needs  to take  a serious  look at  their  service in  India (while roaming)   because  this is a technologically  advanced country (atleast in the mobile space),   and  there are plenty of  customers who would be travelling to India often.   If the  service  is not properly  working  in  the  most  significant  metropolitan  area  of  India,  then it needs to be  resolved  with prompt attention.

             

             

            Thanks   T-mobile

            -  a  loyal  customer  for  over a  decade.

              • drnewcomb2

                nsamuel wrote:

                ...My guess is that the data connection is going through fast.t-mobile.com and Tmobile is throttling me at lower levels than what the network is capable of delivering here (because 4G is possible here in a big city, and i should atleast be seeing the max real-world capacity of the 2G speed. 0.12Mbps is not the max real world speed. .....

                 

                Here is what T-Mobile's website says in the fine print, "Coverage not available in some areas; we are not responsible for our partners’ networks. Standard speeds approx. 128 Kbps. Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network. Device must register on our U.S. network before international use." (Emphasis added)

                 

                So again, you should not confuse "2G" with T-Mobile's definition of "2G speed. This would be dangerous, since T-Mobile's 2G data in the US is virtually useless, I would not want to have actual "2G" service when roaming.

                 

                APNs are bridges between a cellular network's internal data stream and the outside world. They can have entirely made up names, as long as the phone can resolve it to an address on the internal network. One issue that sometimes occurs is that some roamed networks have problems with IPv6 and data won't work at all. In these cases the connection can sometimes be improved by turning off IPv6 and switching to epc.tmobile.com but that for the situation where roaming data doesn't work at all. You won't be able to connect to a Vodafone.in APN with a T-Mobile SIM.

                 

                I agree that there are many issues with roaming in India. At least some of them have to do with the Indian networks. Others may be a byproduct of T-Mobile's desire to deliver free roaming data. A local prepaid SIM is always an option.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • magenta5919070

                    (NOTE:   This is the original  poster of the qustion;   i don't  know  why  my   display  name  got changed.  Because of change in display name,  i am not able to  tag  this  as  the  "correct  answer".   Would  a t-mobile  rep  do  it please  ?  Thanks).

                     

                    There  are a few  things  to  summarize  as  answers to this question.....

                    1. What  has been pointed out by  drnewcomb2  in   highlighted  letters   (ie.....".....Standard speeds approx. 128 Kbps. .....")     appears  in the fine  print   on   T-mobile  website.   To  be  fair,    tmobile  needs  to  highlight  this  on their  website  too,  so that  travelers   will  know the fact  that  they  may  not  even  get   the  actual  2G  potentials   in  a   4G  filled  technology  city of  India. 
                    2. To   stress the point  above,  i have to  give further  data.   Currently,  i am travelling  in the  rural  areas of  Tamil Nadu,  India.   Here,  my  T-mobile  SIM  is  providing  more than  double the speed  (0.26 Mbps)   of   the  most  technological  city  of  India  (Bangalore).   In this location,  the local  india  SIM  i purchased  shows  a  4G  coverage (though rural  area near  another big city)  and  speedtest on  local  SIM  shows  me  6 Mbps or so.
                    3. T-mobile  needs to  stress the fact  that  it  is  throttling   speeds  (possibly  because  t-mobile  pays local carries based on data used)  even  in  areas    where  4G  is  the standard.   Showing  on  a  coverage  map   "3G"   speeds  in  cities  of  India   and then,  throttling  speeds  to  below  2G  levels   is  simply  a  marketing  ruse  by   T-mobile   in order to  delude  customers  into  thinking that  they  may  get  3G  speeds  in  parts of  india.   The reality  is   my  suspicion  that  no  traveler  to  india   would see  3G  speeds (over 2Mbps)  while  roaming in this country.   I  am not sure about this, but would  love to hear from others  who  can  see  3G  speeds somewhere in  India.
                    4. In  any event,   T-mobile  needs to  look into  and  fix  the  problem  of   providing  1/2  the  amount  of  2G   capacity  in the biggest  technology  center  of  India  (Bangalore).    0.12 Mbps   is  unacceptable,   while   tmobile  is throttling  at   0.26  Mbps  in   rural areas.
                    5. Finally,   T-mobile  needs  to  broadcast  in big  letters   on their  website  that  they are the ones  who  are doing the  speed throttling,  and  there  maybe   4G  speeds  in the same  location  by  local  carriers.   Hence,   the  best  solution  for a traveler  is to purchase a local  SIM,  even  if  all you need  is the  "google map"  for travelling.

                     

                    I  will tag this  as the best solution,  since  it brings  out  all  facets  of the reality  on ground here.   Thanks for all the replies.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • magenta5894321

                Yeah i too faced these issues whilew i was travelling to India. very poor network reception and speeds in the city of bangalore was really bummed.

                • magenta5919070

                  Basically,   what  tmobile   is saying  here  is  this  ....... 
                  "  We  will give you  connectivity   while  abroad somewhere,   but  all you can do  with it is   send/receive  SMS.    Other than  that,  even  in the most advanced  cities   (like  Paris, where i was recently),   the  speed  will be  restricted  to   unusable  levels,  when  it comes to  maps  or  images or videos.   This  way,  we can  advertise  big  on the marketing  channels,  but  provide   dirt  cheap  services".

                    • drnewcomb2

                      Actually, I was in Ireland this spring and everywhere, except a few very remote places, I could read and post to Facebook, send and receive e-mail, use VoIP applications, etc. I don't normally stream music but you should be able to do that too. Streaming videos are right out but you can pay extra and get higher speed roaming. I found that standard international data roaming did everything I needed it to do with my Avant, which was limited by having only UMTS band 1 for fast data. My wife's Nexus 5x had several international LTE bands and did significantly better. Some of the low-end phones that T-Mobile sold have no international 3G or LTE bands and, hence, are limited to actual 2G service when roaming.