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Thread: Did T-Mobile just make some changes to their LTE in NYC?

  1. #1
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    Did T-Mobile just make some changes to their LTE in NYC?

    In NYC Queens, we are suddenly having issues making calls on AT&T branded (unlocked) Note 3 N900A.
    It was fine before we went overseas, after 6 week trip, we came back, and now we cannot make calls or receive calls.
    It goes "Dialing..." but never connects. At exact same spot I have other phone also on AT&T, but there is no problem making calls with them.

    One thing, though, we cannot disable LTE and enable 4G or 3G, I think LTE is the problem. When I disable LTE, it has to go down to 2G/EDGE, which has no problems making/receiving calls.

    Please help, wife is complaining about it, she loves her note 3.

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    I heard that HSPA+ was eliminated in NYC- did your phone used to connect that "4G"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by erikkarma808 View Post
    I heard that HSPA+ was eliminated in NYC- did your phone used to connect that "4G"?
    Very very likely, I never really paid attention since it is my wife's phone. Originally AT&T so very likely it has been using HSPA+ all this time. N900A might be missing some bands and if T-Mo eliminated the ones that worked, now we might have a problem.

    One very important thing, though. I have full internet/data speed (10-12mbps) when I run testmy.net or speedof.me, but making calls is extremely difficult. 10 calls, 9 is stuck at "Dialing"... and 1 will go through if I am lucky. How could data work so fast, but voice get stuck like this and never connect. 2 bars most of the time sometimes 3 sometimes 1.

    My Priv, at exact same spot, Priv from AT&T (unlocked) has no issue making calls.

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    That particular AT&T phone had band 2 and 4 LTE so it was likely using bands 2 and 4 for internet and data but dropping to 4G for calls. If T-Mo repurposed those 4G bands that would explain the still having data but not being able to make calls.

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    T-Mobile is doing a major reorganization of their spectrum in several markets, NYC being the first. They used to split their 10x10 MHz of PCS between UMTS and GSM. They have now converted that to 10x10 LTE with a very thin layer of GSM running in the LTE guard bands. If they left any UMTS, it's in an extra 5x5 MHz of AWS spectrum of the 25x25 they have, since the widest LTE you can deploy is 20x20. This is causing big issues for people with older phones and some BYODs, most notably Samsungs, which are highly customized to fit the needs of the carrier that sold them.
    Last edited by DRNewcomb; 09-01-2017 at 09:44 AM.
    Donald Newcomb

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    I think that it's because that phone is so old - 2013 - and it probably doesn't do VoLTE. Especially since it was AT&T branded. In 2013, T-Mobile was just starting to deploy LTE, so no one had VoLTE at that time. Since they've converted mostly to LTE, you probably can't make the calls.

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    If you feel gutsy, you might looking into flashing that phone with T-Mobile's version of the firmware. I've heard of this being done but not done so myself. At your own risk.

    P.S. For my info. Could someone in the NYC market with a T-Mobile Samsung phone try locking the phone in UMTS 1700 (band 4) mode and see if you get a signal? I'm curious if they actually did leave some UMTS running or if everything was converted to LTE.

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    This is most unfortunate because this phone is still rocking much better than recent phones that you can get for $200-$250 range and it's in great shape. I guess best way is to buy T-Mo branded or totally unlocked phones.

    Thanks for the replies, it looks like the other problem with this situation is this particular phone can't select 4G without LTE as connection/speed.
    When I use *#*#4636#*#* there is no option for 3G or 4G, so I have to use GSM only (which gives me E speeds) or LTE (which gives me the problem we are discussing). Unlike my Priv, I cannot drop this down to 4G.

    Is there anyway to flash T-Mobile Official Rom instead of AT&T Rom so I can select 4G (non LTE) and hope that it allows us to make calls?
    Otherwise T-Mobile suggested we get a signal booster at home, do you think that could help us? They asked for $25 deposit.

    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    If you feel gutsy, you might looking into flashing that phone with T-Mobile's version of the firmware. I've heard of this being done but not done so myself. At your own risk.

    P.S. For my info. Could someone in the NYC market with a T-Mobile Samsung phone try locking the phone in UMTS 1700 (band 4) mode and see if you get a signal? I'm curious if they actually did leave some UMTS running or if everything was converted to LTE.


    Looks like you posted while I was typing.
    Yes, I don't mind flashing T-Mo rom to see if that helps at least if it gives us option to go down to 4G.

    I can lock my other phone (Priv) to Band 4 if you can tell me how (and how to unlock it) to test it. Or if you can tell me how can I find out which band it's connected now, I can also check and report that as well because I know Priv has almost every available band unlike Note 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by IheartBB10 View Post
    .....Yes, I don't mind flashing T-Mo rom to see if that helps at least if it gives us option to go down to 4G.

    I can lock my other phone (Priv) to Band 4 if you can tell me how (and how to unlock it) to test it. Or if you can tell me how can I find out which band it's connected now, I can also check and report that as well because I know Priv has almost every available band unlike Note 3
    I've never reflashed a Samsung phone. There may be some folks here who can give you pointers. As I understand it requires you load a Samsung flashing program on your PC and then upload the image to your phone. More than that, I don't know.

    On T-Mobile Samsung phones you dial "*#2263#" and the phone drops into a black & white menu that allows you to select different modes and bands. Just selecting "WCDMA Automatic" would confirm if there is any WCDMA/UMTS running in your local area or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IheartBB10 View Post
    When I use *#*#4636#*#* there is no option for 3G or 4G, so I have to use GSM only (which gives me E speeds) or LTE (which gives me the problem we are discussing).
    I have to do a lot of manual band switching to keep stuff working, and have found that number tedious, especially since the phones I use won't recall it so I can set it to a dial contact.

    I did however find this app, after asking for help here at Howard: 4G Switcher.

    It appears to go right to the number-sign, asterisk, 4636 menu without having to do the tedious dialer step.

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    There's still 4G WCDMA across the river in Jersey City, I just checked. I'll be back in the city though not in Queens later today and I'll check there too.

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    They moved the 4G WCDMA (HSPDA) to Band 4. So if the AT&T version of this device doesn't have AWS enabled for Band 4, that's why you can't make calls. I can't explain why it doesn't kick down to GSM on its own to place calls, but that's a different issue.

    For devices that T-Mobile expected to lose LTE coverage as a result of this change, they proactively texted affected customers with some equipment offers. It may be that you didn't receive the text since your device either isn't in their database or they are unaware that the AT&T version lacks the T-Mo LTE bands. Here's a link to where I was directed based on the text I got for my old iPad that was losing LTE coverage:

    https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DO...5T14QJLY398398

    Other cities, including NY-Metro were on this list, but were subsequently deleted after the upgrades were made. I don't have a copy of what this looked like with NY, but the offers differ slightly by region.

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    Quote Originally Posted by high technology View Post
    .... I can't explain why it doesn't kick down to GSM on its own to place calls, but that's a different issue......
    They've shoved GSM into the PCS LTE guard bands. This allows only a few 200 kHz channels. Each channel can handle 8 calls. So GSM may be limited to maybe 64 simultaneous calls per sector.

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    Since it seems like a carrier issue, I suppose flashing T-Mobile software won't help much, unless that will allow me to force phone to use 4G (non LTE) or even 3G. That should give us usable data connection and voice coverage.

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    It will if the AT&T firmwaret has support for the non-AT&T bands disabled. If the hardware is capable, then the T-Mobile flash will enable the right bands for T-Mo.

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