Slow data speed problem confirmed as “minor software issue”, fix coming today [UPDATE: Official Statement]

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Over the weekend we collected a number of first hand reports from Tmo customers stating that they’d noticed a significant slow down in data speeds over the past few weeks (read our report here). We weren’t really sure what the problem was, but we guessed it wasn’t throttling, or an issue with specific phones.

Thankfully, there’s a fix on the way. John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO tweeted a short while ago stating that this software fix is going in place today. So, we should see the issue disappear over the next couple of days. We’ve not heard if this is a software issue on the infrastructure end, or if individual phones will need to download something. My suspicion is the former. I’ll update you if I hear any more details on this.

UPDATE: 

T-Mobile got in touch to confirm that the software update is on the infrastructure side. Customers don’t need to do anything. 

Also, the company’s official statement on the issue is below: 

“We are aware of a recent software issue that has slowed data speeds for a very small percentage of our customers, only when downloading large files. Our engineering team is fixing this now and we expect resolution by the end of the day today.”

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  • besweeet

    Yay!

    • ggfb20

      So much for my testing on the East side of El Paso, TX they beat me to the punch with a fix, how cool is that.

  • Qbancelli

    Props to T-mobile for trying to fix this quickly.

  • David VanHouse

    TMO news to the rescue!

  • Willie D

    I live in San Francisco, I still experience the issue. So if the fix is in place, the software issue was not the cause. This leaves me to believe that the problem may be upgrade issues, bad sim card stocks, capacity issues, or account services that have blocks of accounts on throttle modes.

    • besweeet

      I can’t imagine their “fix” being implemented THAT quickly… I’d give it a few days.

      • donnybee

        I agree. I think they have been able to find the problem, but it will take a minute to not only develop the fix, but to implement it across the board since it’s not contained to any single markets.

      • donnybee

        Although John does state the fix is going in place “today”..
        We’re all hoping it’s sooner rather than later! But I’m sure T-Mo News will be sure to report if it’s still ongoing!

        • Willie D

          That’s my thought, if John said the fix was going into place today, and it was a software issue, those are usually handled immediately or within the day. On the west coast it is nearly 3PM, so I assume likely before nightfall. On east coast, it is nearly 6PM. Im thinking, they would want to get the fix in place before the day is through and before holiday travel starts tomorrow.
          T’is why I said the problem is still going on if the fix is in place.

        • donnybee

          With T-Mo located in Bellevue, they’re probably going by their time. I’m with you though, I’m hoping this comes today as described. At least in most areas.. My area isn’t as densely populated so mine might come in a couple days if they can’t get it done today. Time will tell.

      • philyew

        If it’s a policy setting, then they can be set in one location and cascaded throughout the network to whatever devices implement the policy controls. In that case, it would be a short time to configure, test and deploy.

  • Travis Tabbal

    Thanks to TMO for responding quickly and TMONews for helping to get the word out. Hopefully we really do get a fix quickly.

  • donnybee

    Definitely looking forward to this. T-Mobile has made such a great transition from the days of floating by and hoping people don’t leave. Props to John and team for getting things going and resolving bad experiences!

  • Frustrated User

    Every T-Mobile customer owes this site e very big THANK YOU! Without the coverage of this issue provided by this site, this issue would have never been addressed.

    • Cam Bunton

      Thank you very much. I think as soon as it became clear that there was an issue, and we posted it, T-Mobile took notice. Individual calls to Tech Support weren’t enough for them to see the big picture. I think all we did was point towards the fact that it’s happening to a lot of people (not all), and that something needed addressing. It wasn’t so much pointing the finger as supplying them/you with enough information to find the issue.

  • sean32

    Hopefully this will work. Its really for t-mobile’s benefit as well. Its better for their network that I upload a 100MB file once, rather than waste 500Mb data trying to upload it 10 times with it failing at 50MB.

  • Thanks Cam, I worked with the Tmo Help folks over twitter and pointed them to this blog for reference. They had me try several things on my phone, none of which worked. But this AM they tweeted me that their engineers were working the problem and you’ve confirmed it here. Hopefully it will be resolved soon.

  • TMOGuest

    Software fixes usually are done at night. This is due to the fact that there is always the potential for more service impacting issue should something go wrong.

  • cameo

    I’ve been vacillating about buying some T-Mo stock in the coming days and a quick fix of this slowdown just might push me to buy because it would show that T-Mo has indeed changed for the better on the top.

    • Khalints

      I honestly feel like the only reason this was fixed is because Cam brought it up on TMONEWS, and Jon pays attention to this website. Also, did you see the amount of comments that the previous post received? That had to have sparked some interest in the CEO himself, ugh. I can’t believe that this is what it took after 2 months of multiple calls to T-mobile’s “tier 3” technical support. I put tier 3 in quotes because they were just as helpful as a potato.

      • philyew

        In fairness to the tier 3 support, if this was, as some suspect, caused by flawed policy settings for the 3GPP PCC, then most of them won’t have any knowledge of this as it will be a niche competence among a few network engineers, who are themselves unfamiliar with this new LTE-related capability.

        I can well imagine that the customer support function is still blighted by the old regime policy of offshoring, unbalanced focus on time-to-resolution of calls rather than customer satisfaction, and general unfamiliarity with the impact of the many changes in technology both in the hands of the customer and in the infrastructure.

        The bottom line will have been a failure to recognize any kind of pattern out of the variously described symptoms over the last few weeks/months, until the complaints reached a semi-coordinated level in the several discussions that have taken place in different forums this week.

  • Chrisrj8084

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue, it’s driven me nuts for months. Hopefully this will make an impact. Thanks again

    • Nick Gonzalez

      Months?

      • besweeet

        Same. Months. At least two of them.

        • kuma951

          same, A month ago on my brand new iphone 5s Gold, from Riverside, CA

        • ljhsd

          yes, it is more than month. when i check speedtest, it gives me around 30 Mbps but in less than two second, it goes always to around 6 Mbps. also, when i watch any video on youtube, it stops after 1 or 2 minutes. it just pissed me offffffffff

        • Nick Gonzalez

          Thanks for clarifying the color…

        • Nick Gonzalez

          Hmmmm. Well, I noticed lately, like the past 2 weeks, that when I watch videos on youtube it buffers a little more than usual. Maybe I have been experiencing this too and just never realized. I just thought that because I always watch in HD or HQ on youtube it takes longer to load the video.
          I download music all the time, but those are usually smaller files and download within 3 to 20 seconds when i’m on LTE.
          What apps are slowing down for you so I can check it out too?

        • donnybee

          Mine was really only happening in the last 2 weeks as well. Here in UT, I’ve seen great speeds. I thought it could be due to the increase of customers (my surrounding markets are on a 5+5mhz bandwidth). I haven’t called support about it because I was holding out hope that they were upgrading the towers to increase bandwidth (still holding out hope). I’m just glad we have such an instrumental blog that has the ear of John and the ability to shed light on real issues. Thanks T-Mobile and T-MoNews!

          Also, Cam I’ve been a regular visitor on TiP, and was wondering how you would cope being here.. But I can say I’m glad you’re here. Hope you like it!

      • Frustrated User

        It’s been months for me too. I first noticed and called T-Mobile about this back in August.

      • ccnet005

        Yes, months.

      • Khalints

        Yes this was happening to me for close to 2 months…multiple calls to T-Mobile about it and no one knew about this until Cam brought it up on TMONEWS.

      • Trevnerdio

        Yes, it’s been happening for a long time.

  • GinaDee

    That’s why i love this guy. Legere is a true leader!

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    I noticed some Google play downloads would hang up half way thru but my issue is with YouTube where I am getting 15-20 mbps but still YouTube is really slow and hanging up..

    • ⓜ@®!ⓞ G@®CI@ ™

      That same issue happens to me on WiFi and I have 20Mbps consistently I think it may be the YouTube app but what do I know

  • substance

    I’ve had this problem on my Xperia Z for at least a month too. Hope it truly is fixed real soon!

  • worn out user

    I am glad it is being addressed but– this is not really fast! I have complained about this for close to a month with support telling I had to replace sims, do a master reset on the phone, etc. I was even frustrated enough to replace a Note 2 with a 3 to try and resolve the issue with no luck. The best I got was that they were going to “monitor” the towers to see if there was really an issue. I do have to give credit to Legere for finally admitting to the problem but hope we are getting the correct info and that it really only takes a few days to fix! Really hard to try and explain to support that everything had been changed except the network and still have them act as if you are uneducated (crazy)and really don’t know what you are talking about! At least I had a “good” reason to get the Note 3 to replace a perfectly good Note 2.

    • Willie D

      Now watch TMobile charge you for swapping out the perfectly good phone at their request. Haha

    • Trevnerdio

      Well, at least you got a phone upgrade :D

  • alejandro

    I changed my sim card thinking it was the problem and it didn’t work then i got a new phone and the problem still here hah and now i read this :( i spent money tmobile!

  • Khalints

    “very minor software issue” ?!? F-ing A man…..it was going on for almost 2 months and no one did SH$# about it until Cam brought it up on TMONEWS.

    Very disappointed with T-Mobile, absolutely no apologies whatsoever. I am very close to leaving. This is really pushing me to the edge.

    • k-mack

      you are funny, dude. no need to mention crap about leaving. if you’re disappointed, so what?! move on. your comment about John reading this site just proves that you are saying this crap because you think people are listening to you as a true customer with a concern, but alas we are all just techies and just catching up on our techy stuffy. you aren’t going to change any opinions here.

      • kalel33

        John has referenced this site before a couple of times on his twitter feed, when replying to an article. He does know what’s posted here. Maybe you’re just new here.

        • k-mack

          agree 100% with you guys that John reads this site. i’m just commenting on khalints 2nd “very disappointed” statement. it’s not necessary.

      • besweeet

        Techy stuffy. Don’t know why I found that funny.

      • Cam Bunton

        I can confirm, John does read this site and follows our official Twitter account.

    • JBrowne1012

      Yeah man this has been an issue for a while thank goodness for this site

    • vrm

      sure, other carriers are waiting to offer unlimited, unthrottled data for peanuts.

      You’d be lucky not to be gouged just for signing up on their network and then it just gets started.

    • Spanky

      “This is really pushing me to the edge.”
      I see what you did there. ;)

      • Nick Gonzalez

        LOL
        Not sure he mean to go there though.
        I see what YOU did there…

  • Irfan

    plz try HSPA or so called 3G plz test and report plz…its LTE problem
    T-Mobile is providing MetroPcs a separate network id on its network and want some changes may be this is a problem

  • NardVa

    Very suspicious that people have been calling this issue into T-mobile for months and nothing was done. Now a blog puts the issue on blast and there is a fix coming. T- mobile knew this issue was going on. Probably intentional to control data. T-mobile is full of BS.

  • luis

    It does suck that I was told that it was my sim so I got a new sim then I was told it was my phone so I spent $100 on a new phone and I still have the issue. The issue is still not fixed I still cannot stream consistently and I live 200 yards from a t-mobile tower.

    • philyew

      Legere does need to think about what can be done for people who followed advice from TM customer support and spent money pursuing unnecessary fixes for this problem.

  • JB

    new castle,DELAWARE….LTE SIGNAL IS BEEN BAD ON NOTE 3 ON FOR ABOUT 30 SECOND AND DOWN TO E.

  • mb

    Read about the 3GPP PCC (including the PCRF and PCEF). The problem is most likely a misconfiguration in policy settings. The software fix he is referring to is very possibly just his wireless engineers tuning their PCC functionality in the network.

    • philyew

      Exactly.

  • Little John

    CEO is a smoke screen for the truth, data speeds are being reduced for money reasons and demand issues. Stock holders first then customers.

    • Curious how this even makes sense. “Money issues”?

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Nothing yet fresno

  • frigadroid

    Well it all makes sense now. I knew something was up but didn’t bother calling because I knew the people who answer the phone just follow a flow chart & wouldn’t have a clue. Thanks for getting out the word! I was starting to worry that the Apple haters might have been right about them coming over and slowing our speeds.

  • guidomus_maximus

    You and john, da man!

  • Rick Keith

    Ive had less than acceptable performance on my Nexus 4 for the last couple months. I was starting to believe it was the radio in my device. I was so excited when I got my Nexus 5 last Friday because this one had Lte and I thought my woes would be over, and then I tried to use it at home and I really wanted to cry… It was worse. I jumped on line and was reading all sorts of stories about how T-Mobile was throttling LTE with big downloads; or it was all due to the N5 using iPV6,or….the stories went on and I was trying everything because I was so disappointed.

    I hope this resolves my issues and I can be happy with my service again. When I moved here a year ago my service was good, I had no complaints. Then a few months ago my service was getting bad and I thought it was my N4. I did change my apn settings to ipv4 just last night to see if that would help, but I think I’ll change it back to the default and wait it out for a couple days.

    My question is though, when they say a small number of people are affected; is this small number spread across the whole country (must be) and is it limited to certain devices like my Nexus 5, or is it all devices? Or they have no idea.

    • Travis Tabbal

      It seems to be a reasonably large number of device types. Reports were spread out all over the place, so it wasn’t geographic. I tried ipv4/6/dual, no change. It also didn’t seem to be related to the specific plans, as people with prepaid, postpaid, unlimited, and capped were reporting issues. IOS/Android both seemed affected. I am not aware of TMO being specific about the cause or who/what were affected. It would be interesting to know though.

  • Travis Tabbal

    Things look good in the area I’ve tested around Sandy, Utah. As of this morning downloads were completing properly and not getting slowed down to GPRS speeds.

    While it would be nice if they were more proactive with stuff like this… Keep in mind that the customer service folk only know what the computer tells them. It’s entirely possible the upper management didn’t know about it until TMONews made the issue “loud” enough to get noticed. A company this big isn’t going to react on a few calls to CS. Although it really sucks that people spent money trying to fix something that was network related on the advice of CS. Hopefully, TMO learns from this and checks for this sort of thing in the future. And perhaps changes some internal policies to help identify issues when people call in. It’s tough though.

    If it really is “a very small percentage of customers”, which seems likely considering the number of reports, it’s reasonable to assume it didn’t make the threshold to get pushed to the top. A lot of users that were affected probably didn’t realize it. People on here, HowardForums, and XDA are in a small minority of people that would ever move that much data around the cell network at once and be willing and able to track the problem down. Others might have seen it and written it off and a signal glitch or something.

    It’s convenient, and often correct, to think the carriers are being malicious. In this case it got noticed, acknowledged publicly, and fixed the same day we KNOW they were told about it. That’s far more than I expected. Did they know before? Maybe. Maybe it was intentional in a “let’s see if we can get away with it” rubbing their mustaches and petting white cats while wearing monocles sort of way. :D We can’t know. Though now I’m going to think of that image whenever someone mentions the TMO board meetings.

    • philyew

      Good points, though I still don’t think that a savvy operator like Legere would make the mistake of approving a seriously debilitating policy on the off-chance that they could slide it by their customers.

      Right now, they are interested in boosting the image of the company aggressively against that of their main competitors and I doubt anyone would think that deliberately throttling file downloads so aggressively could possibly do anything for that image.

      I’m willing to bet is was a rookie mistake setting policies for 3GPP PCC and no one was smart enough about the new LTE capability to join the dots between that action and the consequences that were being reported to an even more clueless customer service group.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    has anyone been noticing a difference?

    • kuma951

      yes, I Live in Riverside, CA, I had a problem with T-mobile LTE speed on my iphone 5s and my girlfriends’ iphone 5. the problem was, when you start speed test it shows 25-35 Mbps for 2 seconds, after that it go down alway until it is around 1-2 Mbps, even we couldn’t watch youtube, too much buffer for 5 minute youtube video . Finally, t-mobile fixed this issue today.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        Same in fresno, ca

  • TMo is a liar

    This company is appearing to be like the rest of them: greedy, corrupt, and a liar.

    UnCarrier is all smoke and mirrors. LTE launches are a joke, considering countless millions are still stuck in EDGE hell. Now this problem has been affecting me and my family’s 5 lines, prompting us to SPEND MONEY to fix this infrastructure problem, thinking its our fault.

    And it’s been going on for months. Only now do they acknowledge it, after countless hours spent with clueless customer “service”. Thank goodness for this site that is exposing these crooks. Shame on T-Mobile for lying!

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Every company is like that some more than otherAPPLEs

      Cant blame CSRs for knowing they usually dont know anything about anything.

    • Irfan

      its happan every where , u may forgot about att 3g problem when they lunched iphone ,this is electronic world problems comes and fix and thats how tech world learn , once t mobile said unlimited every thing mean unlimited , 8 years in usa I found t mobile better , att give u some sweet when u call csr but not that mean they look forward to u . lie in any business is the key of success.

  • RioA

    Fix confirmed here in San Francisco/Bay Area. For the first time I watched a 60 minute video on YouTube in HD with zero hiccups. Also Downloaded a 700 MB file as well to confirm, all on T-Mobile LTE. HTC one Google Play Edition, customer since September 2013

    • Tristan Sergent

      Same here. I’m in San Mateo right across the bridge and was able to download a 2gb file without hitting the stalled speeds.

      • RioA

        Well now im pissed because I originally went with the LG G2 and returned it because I thought there was an issue with it. Very Very Very Frustrating

  • T.Wheelz

    how is this fix suppose to come? up until the uncarrier event I saw speeds of 15mb+ down and 2mb up but since then I haven’t went past 5mb but lucky if I see 7mb down and 0.36kb up.

  • I think @johnlegere is AWESOME but I still think that unlimited data on wireless is unsustainable and encourages the bad people to clog the network. But, doesn’t appear to be a problem… YET.

    • me

      That’s why TMo was adding there throttling algorithm but the software guys screwed it up and throttled people at random.

  • mo

    What was the software issue? Was it them enabling throttling when certain conditions were met but their condition matching algorithm was broken and throttled anyone who had a sustained download (ie. streaming, app downloading, etc.)?

  • looks like it’s fixed here in san jose, ca. i am getting consistent speeds now unlike the last few days.

  • worn out user

    Well, here in Texas when I turn off LTE I get better speeds (8-10 Mbps)AND can complete a speedtest. When I tun LTE on I don’t even get 3g speeds on download and on upload I get “network communication issues” and speedtest fails about 90% of the time. SOOO- want a fix, turn off LTE. Way to go on the fix T-mobile! Maybe they are working on a time machine to take back in time and soon we will all be on edge again.

    • ccnet005

      You’re on to something, I notice the same performance increase when I turn off LTE.

      • RadMac

        Same here been having speed and connectivity issues here in Harlingen, Texas. I turned off LTE and my problem went away. I am fine with HSPA+, but LTE would be nice if it was fixed and working properly.

    • fsured

      I showed a store rep this same thing happening on my Xperia Z. His response was he had never seen that lets swap similar cards. Tried it again and we both saw the the same network communication error. He said try a master reset or warranty exchange.

      Its not the phones but the network. When HSPA+ was launched the same issue was present.

  • ndog21

    Thanks T-Mobile for fixing it, I just switched to Tmo from sprint I thought those speeds were normal. Now I regularly get 22 MBS down and 10 Up.

  • Joseph G

    My speeds have improved significantly over the last few days. Thanks T-Mobile.

  • Johnny Doe

    Hmm.. Maybe its working, maybe its not. I’m not sure anymore. Last night when my family and I were driving home through Factoria, WA (where Tmo Headquarters are) I was get 30+MB d/l and 15+MB u/l speeds. Now being back in Lynnwood, WA. my LTE d/l speeds barely hit 8.5MB and u/l speed is 1.5MB at best. If I go back to 4G I get 14MB d/l speeds.

  • Disgruntled TMO Cutomer

    If the issue is so “minor” then why does it take a few weeks to Correct it?

    How about a refund TMO?

  • sean32

    Fixed in Berkeley too. Uploaded an 800 Meg file no problems.
    Only issue is, Still have to use a booster. According to the T-mobile coverage map LTE In South Berkeley where I live is shown as excellent. But I barely get 1 bar of lte outside.
    Hspa+ is also fixed.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Looking good sad it took this for tmo to realize and fix it. But alls good

  • Wolverinexmen9

    I have the GS3 HSPA+ model in Phoenix, Arizona. This phone use to have LTE until an unknown update deleted it and T-Mobile said they would have a different GS3 made just for LTE. Thats the only difference. Most stupidest idea ever. Anyways, I have noticed slower speeds on HSPA+ for the last couple of months actually. HSPA+ is able to get up to 42+MBPS download. I’ve been getting about an average of 4 to 9MBPS download. Then I saw this post and the one before and hoped the towers were being updated. Guess what? I’m now getting 9 to 12MBPS download. Thank you T-Mobile! I’ll have to try out the LTE speeds in my area when I get my nexus 5 in the next couple of weeks!

    • Johnny Doe

      Considering the T-mobile/SGS3 never had the chipset/hardware I don’t know what you’d be getting worked up over. I too owned a Tmo / SGS3, it was never a big deal not having LTE.

      • Wolverinexmen9

        HSPA+ On my S3 got me 9 to 12 download. LTE on Nexus 5 got me 30 download. HSPA+ on Nexus 5 got me 15 download. It was a big deal to me and my neighbor when they took LTE off our S3’s and said we would have to buy a new S3 just to get LTE -_- and my results prove that HSPA+ and LTE does make a difference on the S3.

  • scb1898

    LTE in OKC is still slower than HSPA+ on my 5s and Nexus 5. Hopefully, speeds will increase soon.

    • Andre Stubbs

      4.5M down and 255K up in north OKC on LTE. TMo need to get it together. Getting 3x’s the speeds on HSPA+

      • scb1898

        I get blazing speeds in certain areas of town, but I need better building penetration.

  • Alexandra

    This issue would have never been addressed. every T-Mobile customer owes this site e very big THANK YOU! Without the coverage of this issue provided by this site,

  • ATNYC

    Still slow in Corona , NY

  • Hokte

    I find this all a bunch of crap considering I’m still on Edge and have been the last 10 years. come on T-Mobile if your going to upgrade, Please upgrade the whole network.

    • Enoch Cheng

      If a thing is broken fix it. Time to switch carriers…

  • Martin

    Still slow in Walnut Creek, CA

  • Jeff Martinez

    Yes, thought it was just me. It was enough to definitely notice. Glad to hear the fix is coming. Phoenix AZ.

  • Pete Sake

    How T-Mobile fix their My T-Mobile site for mobile broadband users? It’s been down over a month. There are multiple posts in their forum about it as well.

    • Luis

      I use T-Mobile for prepaid mobile broadband as well. It’s convenient to add data through their site but it’s been down for a very long time now. As usual, calling tech support is a pain and they tell me they didn’t know it was down at all. Then it takes them forever to add funds or buy some data.

      Even when you want to purchase their services, you can’t. If this continues next month then I’m going to look into AT&T’s and Verizon’s prepaid broadband services. I have Verizon phone service so I may end up with them for broadband.

    • ATT User Now

      I’ve switched to AT&T prepaid mobile broadband who has a working website. Thank you T-Mobile. Now I have an even better mobile broadband experience. I wish I went with AT&T in the first place.

  • Andrew Finkenbinder

    I still cannot watch a single YouTube video. Harrisburg, PA (LTE, full bars, correct APN settings). Hell, maybe Sprint….

  • s0uLjah

    Hey Cam,

    Have they rolled this out because over here in the Portland (Oregon) metro area the data sucks and is very inconsistent; jumping back and forth from 3G to HSPA+.

    Any news?