I brought an Iphone 6 from Verizon and activated it on T-Mobile. I am using it in Atlanta and I can get LTE in most places but some places where my friend has LTE I will be standing right next to her and be on the HSPA+ network. Does anybody else have this problem or have a fix?
There's nothing wrong with HSPA+. The situation you are experiencing has to do with two factors:
First, T-Mobile has (almost) no 850 MHz cellular licenses to create an blanket of coverage like Verizon and AT&T have. They rely on ~2 GHz "midband" licenses for their service. This naturally tends to create more little pockets of good and band coverage.
Second, they follow an engineering philosophy they call "data strong". This also tends to create smaller cells, with just enough power to do the job. The idea is to minimize pilot pollution caused by co-channel interference. This is why their network is actually faster than the competition.
What's changing is that T-Mobile is starting to use new 700 MHz licenses that will be better at providing the blanket of coverage, similar to what Verizon and AT&T have. In the Atlanta market this has to wait for WPXA-TV to relocate from RF channel 51 to channel 31.
HSPA+ is just a bit congested and slow for me sometimes. But I'm still confused as to why my friend who is also on T-Mobile can get LTE coverage while standing next to me and I get dropped down to HSPA+
Do you have the same model phones?
No. She has an HTC M8.
Funny thing is that the HTC One M8 lacks LTE band 2. This means that in many places the HTC will fall back to 2G while other phones (e.g. iPhone 6) have LTE. Otherwise, the iPhones are not the highest regarded for signal reception, vs other phones.
Just to add on to what @drnewcomb2 mentioned, I have always had Samsung Galaxy's and my friend is hard core Apple and one of the things I have always been able to give him a hard time about (even when standing right next to each other) is I have always had better signal and in some cases like you he dropped back to non-LTE (HSPA+) or even 2G sometimes versus my Galaxy. iPhones for some reason never seem to have had/have as good antenna's as other devices.
Now as he mentioned as soon as WPXA moves off channel 51 (which their request is pending FCC approval) then T-Mobile as part of their $3 billion purchase of 700 A-Block spectrum which Atlanta was part of so hopefully since they already have turned it on in a lot of markets that were clear of the channel 51 issues it will go live shortly after the station relocates to channel 31 which will fill in the weaker area's and gaps that exist. I can tell you I am out in North Paulding county and I pull 35-70 Mbps with no drops in coverage out here and it is consistent all the way to Marietta or the airport which I am at frequently.
Yea that's why I was confused that her phone was getting LTE in places where I was not. I know the iPhone isn't the best for signal reception but I thought that having the other LTE band would at least give me LTE signal where she did.
I drive along 85 from Midtown to Duluth and the LTE coverage is great but its in certain rooms of buildings that I lose LTE while she still gets it so I'm kind of confused. I have also noticed that from time to time I will get a about 2 bars of LTE signal in those places but only very temporarily and it will drop to HSPA+ and stay that way for about 99% of the time.
Most devices will try to go with the stronger signal so if only 2 bars of LTE but it can sustain a higher snr with HSPA+ it will stay locked on that.
The new Band 12 will solve the issue with the buildings etc but as it stands right now the iPhone 6 doesn't support that LTE Band. Apple saw fit to put 20 LTE bands in it but skipped that one or who knows maybe it is in their but not activated although you would think they would have done that since T-Mobile LTE Band 12 is active now in some markets so I am thinking they didn't. Currently only the Samsung Note 4, Edge, Avant and with an update the Z3 sometime later this year. T-Mobile's LTE band in Atlanta is Band 4 for everyone and then eventually the Band 12 will overlay on top of that.
Yea its a shame that they didn't include Band 12. I'm just a bit confused how my friends M8 can get LTE with just one of the LTE bands and I can't with both.
Even though your device supports Band 2 LTE and the M8 doesn't it really doesn't matter in Atlanta since they don't use LTE on Band 2 here. Atlanta will only use LTE Band 4 and 12 (once channel 51 issues resolved). Now eventually the next step/evolution of LTE that will be launched is LTE-A where they "aggregate" all the bands essentially into 1 big LTE band (thus LTE-A) so the device (that supports it of course) can use all the spectrum in the market and combine it to make 1 big "channel". Currently Atlanta is running 20x20 bandwith channel in Atlanta which is quite big already.
drnewcomb2 & @stevetjr have great suggestions and tips! For the coverage on your phone it has to do with the bandwidths and the coverage in your area. You always can put your SIM card in a T-Mobile phone and test it out.
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