Six Common T-Mobile Problems and How To Fix Them

T-Mobile logo
T-Mobile logo (Image credit: Android Central)

If you're signing up for new phone service or upgrading your phone, it pays to know how to fix some common T-Mobile problems. Our Android phones and the cellular networks they use to communicate are some pretty complicated beasts. It takes a ton of parts and millions of lines of software code to make magic happen when you tap an icon or enter a phone number to use any of the services and apps we take for granted. Kudos to the folks doing all the hard work to make that happen!

Because things are so complex behind the scenes, there are bound to be a few issues now and then. It's not unheard of for networks to go down completely or for some quirky bug to stop your phone from working altogether, but more common problems often have a quick fix. Let's take a look at some common issues T-Mobile users have and things to try so that they don't stop us from enjoying our phones.

First thing's first, check for updates. App developers and phone manufacturers often release updates to address common problems that may become apparent after a product has been out for a while. Check for both Android system updates as well as app updates through Google Play Store.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Lost service or poor coverage

If you're in an area that you know typically has dependable T-Mobile service, there may be a local or widespread outage. If you have an outage, after reporting the issue to T-Mobile, one of your best bets is to make the most out of Wi-Fi until service can be restored.

If you know other T-Mobile phones are still online, try restarting your phone to get the connection to restart. Sometimes toggling airplane mode on and off can have the same effect.

T-Mobile has been expanding its coverage and upgrading its speeds like crazy. This is a result of a focus on getting new and valuable wireless spectrum to the point of criticism. One of the things this means is that some older phones won't support the entire network, specifically band 71.

If you checked T-Mobile's coverage map (opens in new tab) for a new area only to find that you don't have any signal, your phone might not support the longer-range band 71. If this is the case, it may be time to consider a new phone with support for the entire network. Most of the new best unlocked phones support the entire network, or you can get one directly from T-Mobile. (opens in new tab)

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Poor data speeds

Slow data speeds can be super annoying, and if you're in a congested area, things can get even worse. One reason why you may have seen your speed dip is if you are on the Essentials unlimited plan or have used more than 50GB on your Magenta plan. These users will be subject to slower speeds if the tower you're connecting to is congested.

T-Mobile 5G network on the OnePlus 7T Pro

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

If you've got a 5G phone and your data speeds are still slow, there are a couple of other things to consider. The first thing is whether your phone supports the 2.5GHz band n41, which significantly increases the 5G network's capacity. While this network isn't as widespread as the rest of T-Mobile's network, it can go a long way to keep your connection running fast even during congestion. You also need to make sure 5G is enabled on your phone. Many people disable 5G when they have no 5G signal or just a weak 5G signal to improve consistency, but as the network grows, you need to remember to enable it to get the best of the network.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Low-quality videos on mobile data

You need to shut down Binge On, which is a feature that allows certain streaming services to play without counting against your monthly data usage, and as a result, the streams are throttled to 480p. A 480p video doesn't look so hot on a phone on a big screen like the Galaxy Note 20. Binge On is an account setting, so you'll need to be online to fix it through your T-Mobile account.

  • Visit the T-Mobile website and log into your account or use the T-Mobile app on your phone.
  • Open your profile from the menu in the upper right corner.
  • Click Media Settings.
  • Turn the Binge On toggle switch off.

You can also disable Binge On by dialing #263# on your phone. Turn it back on by dialing #266#. Check if it is activated by dialing #264#.

You need to be using the right plan to be able to disable Binge On, and when you do, all of the media you stream counts against your monthly data use. But YouTube and Netflix look a heck of a lot better.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Receiving too many scam calls

Scam calls are a drag and sometimes can even be quite convincing. If you're a T-Mobile customer, you automatically get access to T-Mobile's Scam Shield. For most people, this will be automatically enabled, but if for some reason it didn't get enabled, or you turned it off and forgot how to get it back, it's really easy. You shouldn't even need your account login info.

Start by downloading the app (opens in new tab) and make sure your phone is connected to T-Mobile's network. Once you launch the app, you'll be able to enable the service with a tap. You can also disable the feature from here if something isn't working right, and the wrong calls get blocked, though this isn't likely.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Wi-Fi calling errors

How to enable Wi-Fi Calling on the Galaxy S20

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Wi-Fi calling is awesome. The call quality is great, you don't have to worry about having a good signal, and you can use it anywhere in the world without worrying about international plans or roaming fees. It's one of those things that you realize how much you loved having it as soon as it stops working. Thankfully, Wi-Fi calling errors aren't as common as they used to be. The software itself and T-Mobile's infrastructure have been tweaked so that it just works for almost everyone, all the time.

There are two common issues you might face, and both are simple to fix.

  • Wi-Fi calling doesn't work on your new phone or new line of service. The first "fix" requires you to do nothing — wait 24 hours. It takes time for your phone to be fully registered on the network and to your account. Part of this happens as soon as you put your SIM card in the slot and turn on your phone, but there is a much longer process that happens behind the scenes to complete everything. You have to wait it out.

If you are still having problems 24 hours later, hit T-Mobile support.

  • You have a Wi-Fi calling error in your status bar. There are about a million different reasons this could happen, but luckily almost all of them are fixed the same way — reinitialize the connection. Try shutting Wi-Fi off for a few seconds and then turn it back on. If that doesn't work, turn Wi-Fi calling off in the settings, then turn it back on. If neither works, make sure Wi-Fi calling is turned on, and you are connected to a Wi-Fi network with internet access, then reboot your phone.

If you're still having problems, you can check and see if it's a global issue or check with whoever administers the Wi-Fi network you're using and make sure everything is working as it should be.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Texts won't send over Wi-Fi

If you're having issues with Wi-Fi texting, you're probably looking at a lot of the same issues that you can see with Wi-Fi calling. Unless you've downgraded to an older phone, you probably didn't lose native support.

  • You're in a new place, and it suddenly stopped working. Wi-Fi networks that use a proxy (and there are a lot of those) can't forward the small data component of an SMS message. All you can do is talk to the person in charge of the network. See if they have an alternative that's used for services that won't work behind a proxy. If not, you'll have to turn off Wi-Fi while you are texting.
  • You've just switched to Android, and some messages aren't coming through. If you've switched to Android from an iPhone, you may need to disable iMessage. The problem is that existing conversation threads on your friend's phone may be sending messages to your iMessage account. In theory, the message should be forwarded to SMS if undeliverable, but in some cases, you may need to direct your friend to start a new messaging thread with your phone number.

How to fix common T-Mobile problems Still need help?

If you have a problem with your phone or account and you're not finding solutions through internet searches, you're not totally out of luck. Start by checking out T-Mobile's support page (opens in new tab) and searching for your issues. If you can't find your specific issue, you can contact T-Mobile support (opens in new tab) either by phone or through the T-Mobile app.

If you can't use your phone enough to do this, you can even contact customer support through Twitter. Finally, you can drop by a store (opens in new tab) and get help from someone in person.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

  • Billing and coverage were my two biggest issues with T-Mobile, which is ultimately why I left the wireless carrier. T-Mobile's billing systems are atrocious. You as the customer have to fight for billing credits or fight to get your rebate card after you have followed the instructions given. Different reps and supervisors give customers different answers. The chaos at that company is very concerning. The coverage issue for me in the Southeast US is horrific. T-Mobile's coverage can be best defined as spotty. I may have fast speed in one area of town and no coverage at all in many others. Also, there are times where I can have full LTE coverage but the data is either very slow or I cannot make a call. I love the phone plans, the extras and promises T-Mobile often present, but the customer service, though friendly, are often clueless about the billing and the very products sold. Now Verizon is no angel because thy were clueless about why the My Verizon app does not work on my Asus ZenPad Z8s, but I never have a billing issue and no coverage issues so far (though I do not like when my phone switches to 3G (but it only happens in elevators)). I think the 600MHz LTE spectrum will greatly help T-Mobile's coverage, but the billing department needs a huge overhaul in my opinion.
  • Just switched to T-mobile and the speed is disgustingly slow. Slowest I've ever had since 2g (not 3g). When I called, they said the area is congested. What? Then how come people in far more densely populated areas have much faster speeds? Sorry but T-mobile is now claiming to be the fastest network in the U.S but in my case a 14 mb app took 4 minutes to download instead of one second like it did even on Sprint subsidiaries like boost. Unlimited streaming they said. Ha! I can't even load the page that the stream is on! The Note 8s we bought are amazing and T-mobile's rebate offer is awesome. But we doubled our monthly price to $100 in order to get unlimited data and we can't even use a single GB because it is too damn slow in this area. I'll probably switch as soon as my rebate arrives.
  • More densely populated areas tend to have more spectrum and denser towers on ANY network. From the sound of it you may be on the outskirts of coverage and likely only have access to band 12. B12 is excellent for coverage but bad for capacity. This will all change as they quickly roll out band 71 over the next few years, unfortunately your Note 8 doesn't support this band.
  • I've been struggling to get proper credits on a business account for 3 billing cycles now. When we ported in numbers, they failed to cancel the temp numbers and so we were billed double. It's taken them forever to cancel the temp numbers and get us credits. I'm finally received a credit and confirmation that the numbers are canceled and should not appear on the next bill. Still waiting for another credit. Every time I call, I have to explain the whole situation again. Honestly I think the whole problem had to do with an incompetent sales manager who did the ports wrong.
  • Text messaging issues are the most infuriating for me. Seems like it used to be so simple and worked like it was supposed to. Lately, seems that either I or the people I send messages to get dozens of duplicate messages, certain messages (on either end) are never received at all, or messages are delayed, sometimes for hours or days, and then sent all at once. T-mobile support claims this can happen when there are more than 20 messages stored in the phone. Not only does this seem like a ridiculously small number of messages, but it also happens when there are few, if any, messages saved. Even after getting a btw phone, it was still happening on the first day of use, with no saved messages. Have tried lots of fixes I found online, but none have solved the problem.
  • I have found this is a common issue with T-Mobile phones. A great way to fix this is to delete old messages and or clean them up to be as minimal stored on device as possible. By doing I have fixed this problem many times's a pain but makes the difference.
  • I'd really love to use T Mobile, but their coverage is just not up to par in my neighborhood. Sure, I can use WIFI calling at home, even in my car in a pinch, but seems like I have to jump through hoops to make it work. If I turn west out of my neighborhood, I hit strong LTE coverage within 5 miles on TMobile. But if I turn west, I'd have to drive over 100 miles before I get a good signal. Really would like to use them or Google Fi, but just not sure it is worth the hassle.
  • You might have better luck with Google Fi. Fi uses both T-Mobile and Sprint's networks for improved coverage over either carrier alone but with T-Mobile being the much better network you'll be on T-Mobile most of the time. It may give you coverage where you need it though.
  • Edit:
    Google Fi also uses U.S. Cellular.
  • I'm North of Boston Ma. I've never had issues in Boston or at home. Or anywhere in New England. We have been on T-MO for 7 years in a now. Only issues we had was getting no bars in a store. But the past year that issue has gone away. I'm happy with them so I never saw the need to go elsewhere.
  • Texting someone who has AT&T and sometimes other carriers is forever a struggle whenever I'm using T-Mobile's network (I'm currently on MetroPCS). I think it's on purpose.
  • Switch to Verizon = T-Mobile problems solved.
  • Except they have horrendous speeds
  • They also cost more, have terrible customer service, treat existing customers like crap, and have recently kicked ~8,500 people off their service for using their phones where Verizon said they could.
  • Verizon has pretty great speeds. Agreed customer service sucks and its expensive, and yes, you do get the Verizon problems instead - however, your T-Mobile problems will go away!
  • But switching to Verizon will lead to having Verizon problems
  • Texting: duplicate messages or a random message I sent or my girlfriend sent me months before being sent. T-Mobile claims it's because we have too many messages in our threads or I need to do a soft reset. Also messages will sent or received late and they will say the same thing to delete my message threads or do a soft reset, and lastly they will say "let me check the network, we don't see it congested" or any other bs they wanna say
  • The billing and proms are joke, yo have to call in every month because the bill is not correct. Sure, they are friendly and they give you the credits but that's because you shouldn't have to pay for them. Speeds are very fast but coverage is not as good as my Verizon busienss line. They all have pros and cons. Either you pay more for no reason or pay less and deal with the headache
  • There is a reason! You're getting better coverage!
  • Thanks for another helpful article, Jerry. I just switched to T-mobile because my AT&T cell signal was horrific and I was either not getting calls at home or having to repeat myself over and over during conversations. The wifi calling feature and reduced monthly rate were the two big draws. So far, the signal is better overall, and the wifi calling is great. I will follow your advice and turn off the "Binge On" feature.
  • Binge On is only on existing Simple Choice plans. If you have a T-Mobile One plan (all that's been available for the past year) then you have to pay for the premium plan to view video over 480p. This only effects streaming over cellular, WiFi will always show the best quality available according to your app settings and internet speeds. Many apps will allow you to download video for later/offline viewing if that is a better option for you.
  • I've been with T-mobile for about 12 years. Ultimately, I love the company due to fair pricing and great customer service. It's weird, but I actually think the network has slowed down a bit over the last five years. Still, have service almost every where I need it (spotty on the long desert drives between Cali, Arizona, and Nevada, but so are most... My two main issues are: Service is null in large buildings. I know T-Mobile is addressing this with their newly purchased bands, but it's not available on most phones at the moment. Wifi Calling is not great. I don't know if I'm alone here, but WiFi calling is not great for me. I was excited to see they had a section in this article for this, but it didn't address my issue. The calls are crystal clear for the majority of the call, but I get 'dead spots' in my call where I cannot hear (or be heard) for a good five second interval. It usually happens at least once (if not twice) during an hour conference. It is a consistent issue, and ultimately, I needed to get a land line because my clients and coworkers were noticing it too often.
  • There all out to get as much $ as they can from you. I have consumer Cellular and there fantastic, English speaking reps, great coverage, low rates, there the best if you don't use much data, and I don't.
  • "I have consumer Cellular and there fantastic...English speaking reps...low rates, there the best if you don't use much data, and I don't." The irony of someone lauding "English speaking reps" while murdering the English language in their comment.
  • Switched my line a few months ago and no billing issues. Brought two more lines the next month and the billing has not been correct since. Not sure why is is so difficult to get right. I use autopay and for some unknown reason it only takes $10 off for 2 lines not $15 for three lines. it is tiresome to call every month for 5 bucks to be taken off. Overall in DFW, the network has been very good. I do not travel as much as when I had att, but so far I have been happy with the service. Also happy to have wifi calling etc when using my pixel Xl which never worked on att. Not sure when 600 MHz will roll out in DFW but hopefully more phones get band 71 LTE. So far only the V30 has it that I know of.
  • Should be retitled: Haven't bitched about T-Mobile much lately? We've got an article for you.
  • This article left an important piece of information out.
    Binge On is only on existing Simple Choice plans. If you have a T-Mobile One plan (all that's been available for the past year) then you have to pay for a premium plan to get access to video above 480p.
  • Sometimes when a text wont go thru I reboot the phone and all is well
    I am on their 55 yo plan 2 lines for one $60.00 and so far the service has been great and even in the BFE areas I drive I get a signal
  • While visiting Vermont and New Hampshire this summer my LG K20 could not give me internet. I could use the phone off from AT&T but the internet was not dependable especially GPS. The internet worked as long as I could use passwords from businesses and did not travel. So does anyone have any ideas what setting I should use next time?
  • I'm on that 2 for $100 promo. Is it okay if I disable binge on?? Just a noob question.
  • I have a problem with downloading MMS over WiFi on my Galaxy 8 using Android Messages. Not sure if it's a TMobile thing or Galaxy S8 thing or if it's Android Messages. I went into developer options and enabled mobile data over WiFi and that fixed the problem. That seems to be a work around. I also wish there was a way to disable the persistent WiFi calling notification.
  • I had the same issue, it's messages. I switched to Textra all better now.
  • Sometimes call quality can be an issue in rural areas and the best way to fix this is to diable the VOLTE. This feature allows for higher data and call quality on upper bands, but tends to have more issues in more rural areas, such as the town I live in 50 miles south of Salt Lake. By turning this feature off in newer (older) phones the calls had less issues and better overall performance.
  • I guess I've been lucky. I live in busy Atlanta and generally travel to big cities where the speed and coverage are great. Now there are issues when I go to rural Georgia. Not sure about the billing issues that were mentioned earlier but I took advantage of the over 55 plan where my bill is $60/month for two lines. So, to paraphrase what I said in the last election, "I'm with them!"
  • I'm currently having a roaming issue where the phone only has voice while roaming on ATT. They keep telling me everything looks good and it should work but it doesn't. We have the One Plus plan so we should have unlimited data roaming but it doesn't seem to work at all. This is on the LG G6 phone. Anyone else have data roaming issues?