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Thread: Getting very frustrated with TMobile's rural (or lack of) coverage

  1. #1
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    Getting very frustrated with TMobile's rural (or lack of) coverage

    I am a photographer and have been doing a lot of driving around into more rural areas of Southern California lately, always checking the coverage maps before I go to see what kind of coverage I will have in these areas.
    I am at the point where it is becoming obvious to me that the maps are no more than absolute fiction or wishful thinking at best. Just today, I traveled through a lot of the areas east of Escondido, into the mountains there, towards and beyond the city of Julian where coverage maps show excellent LTE coverage. Well, after driving through there today with my Galaxy S9 and my wife's Galaxy Note 9 I can honestly say the coverage there absolutely stinks, almost non existent. This was an area of about 100 miles or so, from just west of Julian, through the mountains and out the east side. Coverage only started to become acceptable closer to Anza Borego, way east of Julian. We have been through this area with AT&T phones in the past, with no problems at all.
    I know that traditionally, Tmobile was never really great at rural coverage but I thought that this has been changing for the better in the past few years. Their maps certainly state as much and their comparison slider map sure looks like it has gotten so much better. Well, after my recent experiences, I would just say that no, this is not so. It actually seems to be very bad.

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    Don't continue to suffer switch to another carrier backbone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    I am a photographer and have been doing a lot of driving around into more rural areas of Southern California lately, always checking the coverage maps before I go to see what kind of coverage I will have in these areas.
    I am at the point where it is becoming obvious to me that the maps are no more than absolute fiction or wishful thinking at best. Just today, I traveled through a lot of the areas east of Escondido, into the mountains there, towards and beyond the city of Julian where coverage maps show excellent LTE coverage. Well, after driving through there today with my Galaxy S9 and my wife's Galaxy Note 9 I can honestly say the coverage there absolutely stinks, almost non existent. This was an area of about 100 miles or so, from just west of Julian, through the mountains and out the east side. Coverage only started to become acceptable closer to Anza Borego, way east of Julian. We have been through this area with AT&T phones in the past, with no problems at all.
    I know that traditionally, Tmobile was never really great at rural coverage but I thought that this has been changing for the better in the past few years. Their maps certainly state as much and their comparison slider map sure looks like it has gotten so much better. Well, after my recent experiences, I would just say that no, this is not so. It actually seems to be very bad.
    Is B71 even cleared in this area and do they own B12?

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    Zip code and some street addresses? Imma make a report to engineering.


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    I use Google Fi where your phone switches cell providers based on the strongest signal and T-Mobile is a major component of that service. In my travels, I have noticed some improvement in T-Mobile coverage but the accuracy of their coverage maps leaves a lot to be desired. I just returned from a car trip from NH to FL and back and I was surprised that my phone (Pixel 3) was on Sprint more that T-Mobile. I guess if the merger is approved, T-Mobile’s coverage areas will improve as they convert Sprint towers.
    Nexus 5x, Pixel 2, 3, 3a, Moto X4, G6 & G7 on Google Fi
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    Your observations about T-Mobile's coverage maps is correct. Despite years of having a lot of band-12 licenses and now having band-71, T-Mobile still lags behind Verizon and AT&T in terms of rural coverage. You may want to investigate if T-Mobile's Lifetime Coverage Guarantee applies to your situation. I don't spend a lot of time out in the boondocks but I do go there and I keep a PagePlus PAYG account active for rural adventures. It gives me access to Verizon's coverage for ~ $32/year.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    I am a photographer and have been doing a lot of driving around into more rural areas of Southern California lately, always checking the coverage maps before I go to see what kind of coverage I will have in these areas.
    I am at the point where it is becoming obvious to me that the maps are no more than absolute fiction or wishful thinking at best. Just today, I traveled through a lot of the areas east of Escondido, into the mountains there, towards and beyond the city of Julian where coverage maps show excellent LTE coverage. Well, after driving through there today with my Galaxy S9 and my wife's Galaxy Note 9 I can honestly say the coverage there absolutely stinks, almost non existent. This was an area of about 100 miles or so, from just west of Julian, through the mountains and out the east side. Coverage only started to become acceptable closer to Anza Borego, way east of Julian. We have been through this area with AT&T phones in the past, with no problems at all.
    I know that traditionally, Tmobile was never really great at rural coverage but I thought that this has been changing for the better in the past few years. Their maps certainly state as much and their comparison slider map sure looks like it has gotten so much better. Well, after my recent experiences, I would just say that no, this is not so. It actually seems to be very bad.
    Data or voice coverage?

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    If you're unhappy with local TM coverage you should seriously consider what carriers would give service in the areas you choose.

    Then you can return to this forum and post about how crappy TM is, and how they are terrible in most areas and light years behind Verizon and AT&T and will never catch up, and that the merger is a horrible idea and bad for all consumers, and Trump personally uses TM to help build the wall, etc...

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    Great another guy that account says Verizon that we are so fond of their opinion here about T-Mobile. If T-Mobile doesn't meet your needs then move to another network but since you list Verizon as your Network ... I guess you already have.

    In South Florida we have great T-Mobile coverage in rural spots like this one in the Everglades Swamp on a Airboat about 5 miles past US 27 and Griffin Road with GPS spot. IMHO T-Mobile is equal with Verizon and a lot better than AT&T. This was with Band 66 and I can't wait till we finally get Band 71 for even better service.

    Attachment 161672 Attachment 161673

  10. #10
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    Tmobile rural coverage has gotten a lot better in recent times and will continue to get better. You can always use someone else in the meantime and come back to tmobile later

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
    Great another guy that account says Verizon that we are so fond of their opinion here about T-Mobile. If T-Mobile doesn't meet your needs then move to another network but since you list Verizon as your Network ... I guess you already have.

    In South Florida we have great T-Mobile coverage in rural spots like this one in the Everglades Swamp on a Airboat about 5 miles past US 27 and Griffin Road with GPS spot. IMHO T-Mobile is equal with Verizon and a lot better than AT&T. This was with Band 66 and I can't wait till we finally get Band 71 for even better service.

    Attachment 161672 Attachment 161673
    If I could figure out how to change the info in my profile to reflect both the carrier I am with and the phone I am using, I would have done so several years ago. You may notice that it says I am using a Droid phone! That was one of the very first Android phones and I believe I owned it about 10 or 11 years ago. It was either an HTC or a Motorola (I don't remember).
    For what it's worth, I purchased a prepaid SIM from Verizon a few days ago to see what their coverage is like these days around my home. I was told by a Verizon rep several years ago when I left them that once LTE is deployed in my area, their coverage would be spectacular!! Well, I put the SIM card into my same (unlocked) Galaxy S9. Result? I am lucky if I get one bar and any better than -109db in my house, and during a 15 mile drive around my area, I rarely got above 2 bars. Yes, there are plenty of LTE towers here and I do live in a populated city in Southern California, not some remote area.
    I went to Tmobile about a year ago because I wanted something less expensive than AT&T which is what I was on. Plus I kept reading about 600mhz and how that was going to make Tmobile closer to Verizon in national coverage. I drove through an area where 600mhz has been deployed in Socal and found out that even though it is there, Tmobile won't even use it if it doesn't have to, as it is not a priority band.
    I had and still have hopes that as time goes on, Tmobile will continue to improve, but yesterday's experience in that area around Julian, Ca was eye opening to say the least. Their maps indicate great 700mhz coverage all along route 78 which is where I was. But I got absolutely no coverage at all except for some very very spotty coverage in some places. Voice AND data btw. Cellmapper just indicated No Connection, period.
    Bottom line is, either their entire tower system was down in that entire area yesterday, my and my wife's Galaxys suck, or Tmobile's maps are misrepresenting their coverage.
    Know what I would REALLY like? For the manufacturers and cell companies to stop coming out with fancy dancy phones and newer whiter than white cell technologies that appeal to 15 year olds, and just work on making what they already have work correctly. I am tired of constantly having to upgrade every few years to avoid things not working correctly anymore to once again come face to face with a new phone, with new doodads, or a new zippier 3g, 4g, 5g etc, which works poorly and has to go through several major upgrades before it works the way it's supposed to....and then play second fiddle to the NEXT fancy dancy thing that comes out. It's getting old.
    It's amazing to me that in the country where the telephone was invented, the most common phrase uttered over them these days is "you're breaking up."
    Last edited by californiajay; 02-23-2019 at 05:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    Know what I would REALLY like? For the manufacturers and cell companies to stop coming out with fancy dancy phones and newer whiter than white cell technologies that appeal to 15 year olds, and just work on making what they already have work correctly. I am tired of constantly having to upgrade every few years to avoid things not working correctly anymore to once again come face to face with a new phone, with new doodads, or a new zippier 3g, 4g, 5g etc, which works poorly and has to go through several major upgrades before it works the way it's supposed to....and then play second fiddle to the NEXT fancy dancy thing that comes out. It's getting old.
    It's amazing to me that in the country where the telephone was invented, the most common phrase uttered over them these days is "you're breaking up."
    This is a mostly T-Mobile issue, as they've been getting licenses that didn't exist a few years ago and some handset makers are slow to adopt because it's unique to T-Mobile. I can only speak to the context of iPhones, but I suspect you'll see very similar patterns from your favorite Android device maker—on the iPhone side of things, it took forever to get Band 12 (the previous "this is going to be good for rural" band), despite 700MHz bands being available on the iPhone 5 for AT&T and Verizon (Band 17 and Band 13, respectively). 600MHz is another that is rolling out slowly for both hardware and actual locations, and part of that is that it was a space previously occupied by television signals.

    I think some of this goes back to the old days and certain carriers being granted certain licenses in certain areas and AT&T and Verizon getting the good, low-band stuff, but basically, T-Mobile is slowly but surely piecing together a good network on frequencies that weren't even considered for cellular use not that long ago. That's led to some inconsistencies, weird priorities of which band to use, and even stuff not being turned on yet. Personally, I like a lot of things T-Mobile is doing in the industry, but I also appreciate the almost stupidly consistent network that AT&T has (generally good enough and almost always on Band 12 (really 17 via MFBI) or Band 4). It's also been interesting how AT&T and T-Mobile have "decommissioned" old parts of their networks - T-Mobile appears to be sticking to 2G and LTE, refarming HSPA "4G", while AT&T shut off their 2G network entirely and plans to shut off their HSPA network in the next couple of years, but has been refarming 2G for LTE (Band 5 specifically). Both seem to have kept long tails on older technologies, but there's probably a cost that comes with keeping too many prior generations of hardware running.

    As others have said, perhaps finding a carrier that works for you should get priority and you may want to try some of the in-house prepaid services or MVNOs out there for AT&T or Verizon if you're looking to save money?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecs0013 View Post
    This is a mostly T-Mobile issue, as they've been getting licenses that didn't exist a few years ago and some handset makers are slow to adopt because it's unique to T-Mobile. I can only speak to the context of iPhones, but I suspect you'll see very similar patterns from your favorite Android device maker—on the iPhone side of things, it took forever to get Band 12 (the previous "this is going to be good for rural" band), despite 700MHz bands being available on the iPhone 5 for AT&T and Verizon (Band 17 and Band 13, respectively). 600MHz is another that is rolling out slowly for both hardware and actual locations, and part of that is that it was a space previously occupied by television signals.


    As others have said, perhaps finding a carrier that works for you should get priority and you may want to try some of the in-house prepaid services or MVNOs out there for AT&T or Verizon if you're looking to save money?
    Appreciate the reply but you're not really understanding my point. I am not talking only about cell phones. I can actually say the same thing for computers. It seems that every other year, as soon as a manufacturer or software company (Apple, Microsft) release the latest version it's back to square one with headache after headache of going through the upgrade blues of putting up with poor working stuff until they can do the upgrades to make it work right. Then by the time they get to that point, they announce that they are about to release the next version and we have to start all over again, putting up with the headaches of the new buggy systems. I often make jokes about it to keep my sanity and say things like "what was wrong with Windos 3.1?" I mean can you imagine how good that would be today if they just stuck with it and kept improving it? But no, every two years they have to come out with a totally brand new Windows, changing everything that took me 2 years to get used to, and introduce a brand new set of bugs that will take another 2 years to iron out.
    As far as newer and faster cell service goes, who exactly does it benefit really? Kids who are into games and virtual reality? Geez, just give ma phone that is reliable and one that I can make calls on whenever I need to. I need 5g on a cell phone like a whole in the head.
    What really was wrong with analogue cell phones? I honestly don't remember anywhere near as many "you're breaking up" comments from those days!

  14. #14
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    Unless you need your hand held, phone subsidies, etc. Then just move to a MVNO or carrier 2nd label. And you'll save a **** load of $. That's why you moved to TM from AT&T you said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    If I could figure out how to change the info in my profile to reflect both the carrier I am with and the phone I am using, I would have done so several years ago. ....
    Top of page: Settings -> Edit Profile. Near the bottom. Carrier and Phone info. Save.

    Quote Originally Posted by californiajay View Post
    ... I often make jokes about it to keep my sanity and say things like "what was wrong with Windos 3.1?" I mean can you imagine how good that would be today if they just stuck with it and kept improving it? ...
    A Windows 3.1 system would last about 5 minutes when connected to today's Internet. It was a kludge built on top of the world's least secure operating system. Some of the changes that have been made have been good but some seem to be undertaken just so corporations can monetize our personal information. I'm still running some programs from the '90s. At least Windows has that ability. At one time I worked on a Univac computer when their major claim to fame was that it was binary compatible with programs written in the 1950s. I was glad to get off that beast and onto more modern systems.

    I agree that manufacturers seem to chase the next sparkly thing. So many people seem to believe that the most important thing about a phone is if it has a notch or not or if it has a folding display. Don't get me wrong, I like a smart phone but I'm much more interested in its ability to communicate and work with any carrier than how cool it is.

    P.S. In most of California, band 71 is not going to provide coverage that's not also provided by band-12. More capacity, yes. More coverage, no.

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