AT&T Network?

magenta8458047

    Last week I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T and I have an iPhone 6 (MG4W2LL/A). This past weekend I drove from Lansing, MI (home) to a cabin in the woods about three hours north near Luzerne, MI. When I was about an hour from the cabin I noticed that my phone was connected to the AT&T network, and it stayed on AT&T for the rest of the time I was in the area despite driving around to various small towns. The connection was always 1-4 bars of AT&T 4G. Data download speeds were dismal (~50KB max) and almost unusable, and I never saw LTE until I drove about an hour out of the area. I did a few speed tests using the OpenSignal app and most of the time I saw download speed errors, but interestingly ping times were steady in the 300ms range and upload speeds were in the 1-3 Mbps range. As a point of reference, at my home location my phone shows T-Mobile LTE service only and works perfectly in every way.

     

    On T-Mobile's coverage map the entire area of my weekend travels is covered, and my specific location at the cabin is shown as T-Mobile 4G LTE (Fair.) However, I never saw the T-Mobile network at all on my phone so I'm thinking something is up. Is this a problem with the iPhone 6 lacking bands 12/66/71? Am I domestic roaming and going to face draconian data restrictions? Is my phone somehow still tied to AT&T in some way? I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T because I now need an "unlimited" data plan and I like some of the perks offered, but I'm wondering if I've made a mistake because I used to be able to receive LTE signal from AT&T at the cabin.

      All replies

      • syaoran

        Re: AT&T Network?

        Domestic roaming can potentially be throttled.  AT&T's network is usually incredibly slow though as well.  A lack of band 12 is probably what is stopping you from having service up there.  700MHz and 600MHz are usually the ideal bands to run in rural areas. 

        • drnewcomb2

          Re: AT&T Network?

          I agree with syaoran . The iPhone 6 lacks both LTE bands 12 & 71. This forces you to roam AT&T in this area, which is never good.

          • magenta8458047

            Re: AT&T Network?

            Ok, so it seems like lack of band 12/71 is keeping me off of T-Mobile's network, which means I'm also domestically roaming, meaning slow and little data. I presume AT&T's network is different enough that it allowed LTE with the same equipment/location. Bottom-line, this phone won't be my data solution with team magenta (at least in the area of the cabin) so I need a different device or phone with modern LTE bands if I stick with T-Mobile. Alternatively I could go back to AT&T and my problem is solved immediately, just without some of the TMO perks...

              • syaoran

                Re: AT&T Network?

                Ultimately, the choice is yours.  Personally, the free Netflix, free T-Mobile Tuesday promos and items, and the more friendly and customer focused service are important aspects to consider.  Whether they add up in worth enough to offset the cost of paying for a new device, is up to you.

                 

                There are some decent and cheap devies out there, depending on what you want.  Xiaomi's Pocophone F1, LG's V30, Samaung's Galaxy S9, iPhone 8's, and so on.

              • tmo_mike_c

                Re: AT&T Network?

                We don't want to see you leave the T-Mobile family, but we understand needing to have service where you go. In areas where our coverage isn't as strong, we do have roaming capabilities but we get that it's not always feasible. We can have service complaints filed for trouble areas, but the end results is our engineering team making improvements to increase our footprint.

                  • magenta8458047

                    Re: AT&T Network?

                    I called T-Mobile support to discuss the situation, and they agreed that the problem was my iPhone 6. Because I'm a new customer I apparently qualify for a new phone for free, which I expect to arrive this afternoon. I'll test it out at the cabin in a couple of weeks and hopefully the problem will then be solved. The nearest T-Mobile tower to the cabin is about 2 miles away, and broadcasts on band 12 only, so I'm optimistic that the new phone will solve my problem.

                  • magenta8458047

                    Re: AT&T Network?

                    I've had my new iPhone XR for several weeks and I'm having much better results now. I stay on the T-Mobile network >99% of the time, and even in the remote woods I'm getting 1-2 bars of T-Mobile signal. At the cabin I'm always on band 71 and my phone indicates signal strength of ~-115db. Download speed tests generally show 1-5Mb, upload testing generally errors-out. My phone is now usable, even for streaming in the woods, as long as I wait for the initial buffering. Thank you T-Mobile for giving me a new phone!