Carrier T-Mobile performance with iPhone Xs or Xr

CaryMacGuy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 2, 2006
546
118
Morrisville, NC
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
 

Kung

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2006
160
92
If I'm not mistaken, T-Mobile doesn't quite support the bands that Verizon does, to a very large degree. I experienced the same thing when testing differences where I live (the Ozarks) between AT&T and T-Mobile.

Reception was SO bad that the test lasted maybe 1/2 hour, and I said "Forget this" and stuck with AT&T. I'd go back to Verizon (or ANYONE else other than T-Mobile).
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,245
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If I'm not mistaken, T-Mobile doesn't quite support the bands that Verizon does, to a very large degree.
I'm not so sure this is a relevant argument.

There is some small crossover in frequencies between carriers, but each carrier has their own licensed frequencies. Apple sells devices that use the majority of the frequencies all carriers (including those outside the U.S.) offer. That has no bearing on the frequencies the carriers are licensed to use.

That aside, it doesn't really matter that T-Mobile 'doesn't quite support the bands that Verizon does' because T-Mobile doesn't USE Verizon's bands. The FCC does not license T-Mobile to use Verizon's bands, just as it does not license Verizon to use T-Mobile's bands. And so on.

So T-Mobile uses it's own bands. And Sprint, AT&T and Verizon uses theirs - according to what the FCC has licensed them to use.

You can't have all four carriers using the same frequencies. Nothing would work.

As to OP's dilema…OP, while it could be your phone, I doubt it. Most likely your area is just in weak coverage. Either T-Mobile improves that or they give you something to help (such as a 4G LTE Cellspot (or booster). Upgrading is unlikely to improve what is a carrier issue and not a radio issue.
 

Wide opeN

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2010
1,726
958
Georgia
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
Zip Code would help. It seems you don't have Band 12 in your area, so yeah Band 71 would be the only thing that helps.

I have been with T-Mobile 4.5 years with NO PROBLEMS. Every carrier is going to have their problem spots/areas, T-Mobile is no exception.
 
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Banglazed

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2017
3,379
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Cupertino, CA
I have great coverage outside where I would I get 4 bars but as soon as I step in the house the coverage would drop to 0-1 bar. I have the same issue with AT&T as well but I haven’t tried Verizon. However, you can get 4G LTE Cellspot. By having this device connected to the internet via the Ethernet cable, you can have your own mini tower in the house. T-Mobile may require $25 deposit or they can waive it depending how severe your complaint about the coverage. The only downside is since it’s a mini tower, any T-Mobile customer nearby can utilize it.

https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-36766
 

Kung

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2006
160
92
eyoungren said:
That aside, it doesn't really matter that T-Mobile 'doesn't quite support the bands that Verizon does' because T-Mobile doesn't USE Verizon's bands.
I may be getting caught up in semantics here, but 'not quite supporting the same bands, to a large degree' is somewhat the same as '....some small crossover but they have their own frequencies' is it not? Supposedly, aside from the 1900MHz band, I was aware they all owned/used their own frequencies; thus my statement above.

That said, I admit that my choice of words may not exactly be optimal, as my forte is (obviously) not cellular communications. LOL
 
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coney718

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2014
239
254
I had an ipHone X and now an XS Max with T-mobile and I honestly didnt see much improvement in coverage. Download speeds were a bit better but thats about it.
 

Ladybug

macrumors 68000
Apr 13, 2006
1,765
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T-Mobile doesn’t work in my house either. Works great outside but little to no signal indoors. We stuck with AT&T.
 

prospervic

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2007
417
299
NYC
I live in NYC which is supposedly one of T-mobile’s “strong” urban areas for coverage.
Yes, outside it’s mostly very good. But falls-off when I go indoors in some locations, especially if a store has floors below street level, as many here do. Subways are especially frustrating! All the carriers drop when trains enter the tunnel, but of the top 3, T-mobile is the slowest to reconnect when re-emerging into a station. Sometimes it never does. AT&T is best in this regard, with Verizon not far behind.

However, when visiting more rural areas sometimes I completely lose the T-mobile signal, while my companions with Verizon phones are just fine.

I’ve been waiting for almost 2 years since T-mobile won that spectrum auction for them to deploy Band 71 (600mhz) in my area. Last year they said it would be complete here by “early 2019”. Now they’re waiting to use it for 5G in “2nd half 2019”. I’m tired of waiting, and am seriously contemplating switching to Verizon since they’re offering a great deal to us, and will allow us a temporary phone number tryout.

BTW, I really don’t give a fart about 5G, since it’s going to be severely limited at first, anyway and, according to ever-increasing scientific studies, could pose a serious danger to human health.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,245
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I may be getting caught up in semantics here, but 'not quite supporting the same bands, to a large degree' is somewhat the same as '....some small crossover but they have their own frequencies' is it not? Supposedly, aside from the 1900MHz band, I was aware they all owned/used their own frequencies; thus my statement above.

That said, I admit that my choice of words may not exactly be optimal, as my forte is (obviously) not cellular communications. LOL
Well, that's me trying to cover my bases…

For example, my Sprint iPhone 5 is fully unlocked and supports 1900mhz HSPA+ on T-Mobile. That gives me voice and 4G data (3G really). So, technically, the Sprint model of the iPhone 5 'supports' a T-Mobile frequency - and therefore it could be tortuously extrapolated that Sprint supported a T-Mobile frequency.

That's what I meant, whereas I took your argument to mean that the phone wasn't working because Verizon doesn't support T-Mobile's frequencies.
 

TechDiva

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2014
365
150
SouthEastern United States
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
I upgraded my college age son to an XR in December 2018. We live 30 miles north of Atlanta and never have signal issues but my concern was with the cellular service in the small town in Kansas where he was attending school. He said that his signal was significantly improved with the XR and he was getting service in places where his phone consistently dropped.

Of course, this is dependent on your location but hope this helps.
 

1rottenapple

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2004
2,723
871
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
Are you on a payment plan or can you switch any time? I’m asking because I would have love T-Mobile (aka metropcs), but coverage is bad at work. I’m on cricket which is at&t. It has pretty great coverage and you can’t beat the price. $35/$55/$65. I’m on the $35.
 

myapple2019

Suspended
May 10, 2019
163
145
I live in NYC which is supposedly one of T-mobile’s “strong” urban areas for coverage.
Yes, outside it’s mostly very good. But falls-off when I go indoors in some locations, especially if a store has floors below street level, as many here do. Subways are especially frustrating! All the carriers drop when trains enter the tunnel, but of the top 3, T-mobile is the slowest to reconnect when re-emerging into a station. Sometimes it never does. AT&T is best in this regard, with Verizon not far behind.

However, when visiting more rural areas sometimes I completely lose the T-mobile signal, while my companions with Verizon phones are just fine.

The situation described on the above comments was the reason I left T-Mobile despite their perks and lower price. Not worth the lower price and any of their perks, even if their signal is weak inside buildings and certain part of towns/cities, between towns/cities. I have not had any connection or signal issues since I use Verizon wherever I am. We get what we pay for. No lunch is free.
[doublepost=1559418760][/doublepost]
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
I am not surprised what you are going through. I left T-Mobile for the horrible indoor coverage and worst coverage in fringe areas. No worth of their lower price and perks with this horrible connection issues. I believe your move is not advisable. With Verizon, I have never experienced any connection issues indoor and in fringe areas wherever I am. You get what you paid for.
 
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valkyrie917

macrumors member
Jun 1, 2019
83
40
I currently have an iPhone X and recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile. Since switching, I have noticed terrible indoor coverage and generally worse coverage in fringe areas. I have read that the iPhone Xs and Xr have support for LTE band 71 (600 MHz spectrum) and that supposedly helps with indoor coverage and fringe areas. I am wondering if there is anyone with T-Mobile who has upgraded to an iPhone Xs or Xr that has noticed a big change when it comes to coverage. I am trying to decide whether I should go back to Verizon or wait until the fall and upgrade my phone to whatever comes out (which will presumably support that 600 MHz spectrum).
T-Mobile has always been pretty awful indoors, which is why they were really the first to work so hard at getting WiFi calling up and running. Indoor service has improved on cellular only but it's still quite poor compared to Verizon.

I know because while I liked T-Mobile and it worked for my needs for a while (lots of international travel and worked mostly indoors where WiFi was plentiful), I moved to Verizon and the service is so much better for the areas I'm in (YMMV). With Dual SIM iPhones, I'm much happier to pop in another SIM for data when overseas.
[doublepost=1559419770][/doublepost]
I live in NYC which is supposedly one of T-mobile’s “strong” urban areas for coverage.
Yes, outside it’s mostly very good. But falls-off when I go indoors in some locations, especially if a store has floors below street level, as many here do. Subways are especially frustrating! All the carriers drop when trains enter the tunnel, but of the top 3, T-mobile is the slowest to reconnect when re-emerging into a station. Sometimes it never does. AT&T is best in this regard, with Verizon not far behind.

However, when visiting more rural areas sometimes I completely lose the T-mobile signal, while my companions with Verizon phones are just fine.

I’ve been waiting for almost 2 years since T-mobile won that spectrum auction for them to deploy Band 71 (600mhz) in my area. Last year they said it would be complete here by “early 2019”. Now they’re waiting to use it for 5G in “2nd half 2019”. I’m tired of waiting, and am seriously contemplating switching to Verizon since they’re offering a great deal to us, and will allow us a temporary phone number tryout.

BTW, I really don’t give a fart about 5G, since it’s going to be severely limited at first, anyway and, according to ever-increasing scientific studies, could pose a serious danger to human health.
Yes, I'm in NYC also and I'm much happier w/ Verizon. Data is much faster on Verizon, despite what John Legere tells you. And it absolutely connects much faster to cell towers when the subway pulls into stations.
 
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jay968

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2019
130
88
California
I tried both the iphone Xs and Xr on Tmobile recently and compared them to reception using a Galaxy S10e. The iphones consistently had between 7 and 14db worse signal strength than the Galaxy.
That said, Tmobile's band 71 deployment has been a major source of frustration to me. I went with Tmobile last summer because of everything that I had read about this band and how it was going to make Tmobile an awesome carrier, right up there with Verizon. Well truth be told, although I have driven through and stopped in many many band 71 areas, I had never once connected to a band 71 signal. Never. I (maybe mistakenly) came to the conclusion that Tmobile has no real interest in this band and its supposed superior building penetration but rather they just purchased the bandwidth because their network was just getting too crowded and they needed more space. I was told by a Tmobile person that it is NOT a priority band, meaning that your phone would rather almost lose connection altogether by insisting on staying with band 4 rather than switching to band 71 (or band 12 for that matter...the 700mhz band). I also think that Tmobile may have some band 71 plans for 5g when and if that ever becomes much more than a curiosity.
A few weeks ago, I switched to Verizon. I am once again using an iphone Xr. Signal strength is decent (not quite as good as on some Android phones, but certainly good enough) and indoor coverage is pretty good as it's always been on Verizon in the past for me.
So is the iphone poor on Tmobile? I hate to say so, but that sure was my finding. And don't rely on band 71 to be its savior. It's not gonna happen.
 

eyefoniac

macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2008
405
18
Everywhere and nowhere
I’ve had t mobile with iPhone 6, 6s+, 7, 8, X, and XS Max but have been in large metropolitan areas. Always had fantastic speed and coverage. If I don’t have signal, no one else does. I realize I’m the exception and not the rule.
 

jay968

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2019
130
88
California
None of these problems exist in Atlanta.
You may not see these problems if you don't have a comparison. I had both the Samsung phone and the iphone at the same time. There is no question the Samsung had better reception and still does even with Verizon. For various reasons I just prefer the iphone though and continue to use it as my main phone.
As far as Tmobile itself is concerned, I just got tired of its poor reception indoors and what appeared to be bad reception during network congestion even outdoors. Maybe Atlanta just isn't as congested as LA is. At any rate, the biggest problem of all was the fact that Tmobile insisted on clinging on to band 4 as long as it could even though band 12 would have much better signal strength on the phone (as reported by Cell mapper on the Android phone). It was very frustrating to learn that after going all in with Tmobile because of the promised great things that band 71 would do for the network, the reality was that it never wanted to connect to a band 71 signal. And rarely even a band 12 signal even if that too had stronger signal than band 4.
 

Wide opeN

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2010
1,726
958
Georgia
You may not see these problems if you don't have a comparison. I had both the Samsung phone and the iphone at the same time. There is no question the Samsung had better reception and still does even with Verizon. For various reasons I just prefer the iphone though and continue to use it as my main phone.
As far as Tmobile itself is concerned, I just got tired of its poor reception indoors and what appeared to be bad reception during network congestion. Maybe Atlanta just isn't as congested as LA is. At any rate, the biggest problem of all was the fact that Tmobile insisted on clinging on to band 4 as long as it could even though band 12 would have much better signal strength on the phone (as reported by Cell mapper on the Android phone). It was very frustrating to learn that after going all in with Tmobile because of the promised great things that band 71 would do for the network, the reality was that it never wanted to connect to a band 71 signal. And rarely even a band 12 signal even if that too had stronger signal than band 4.
No arguments from me. You have to do what's best for you.
 

felixroqu3

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
493
364
New York, NY
I have had T-Mobile for 10 years now. It was complete crap at first, but within the last couple of years service has improved drastically. I live in NYC, so i get amazing service/coverage. I rarely go to rural areas, so its not an issue for me. Whenever i travel i tend to stick to large cities. Also, when i travel overseas my phone works for free. Granted, its at 3G speeds, but its more than enough for facetime, imessages/texts, email, and google maps. Huge plus for me.
 

taoisawesome

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2019
42
6
Generally, T-Mobile has the best price. The signal is fine, but when you are in building or on the state highway, you better use Verizon
 

Zaft

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2009
4,071
3,266
Brooklyn, NY
I switched from sprint to t mo here in NYC and it’s better in some areas worse in others.
I have noticed the slow connection on the subway, Sprint was faster to re connect for sure.
 

slippery-pete

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2007
1,662
576
Co-worker I travel with a lot has T-Mobile and has the same issues you are describing. Several different cities, same issues.
 
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