• After 15+ years, we've made a big change: Android Forums is now Early Bird Club. Learn more here.

Will T-Mobile 5G upgrade improve reception or not?


Mar 31, 2019
I've got an Android LG G6 and switched to T-Mobile about 6 months ago. Frankly, I get horrible reception and I'm in a major suburb of Denver, CO. halfway between downtown and the mountains. My typical signal strength is one bar, sometimes none, sometimes two but that's it. If I drive a mile away I can get 5. There's nobody to actually talk to at T-Mobile and of course they tout "complete coverage". When I've complained online the response is you must be using your phone inside (well, duh!) or it's time for an upgrade (well, duh again!). But why the poor reception which I didn't have when I switched from AT&T? I want to upgrade, probably to a Samsung A52, but I'm concerned that reception won't improve and could get worse (impossible!!). I keep reading about T-Mobile and their push to all 4G/5G but also complaints with poor signal strength. Any thoughts? Any way to contact human tech support within TM? Do I switch to another carrier?
5G won't help with reception. It's rarely available here in L.A...... Until it's every where you really are not going to see a difference...... Maybe in a year or two.

As for where you are at in Colorado? I would look to either ATT and Verizon. I'm on Verizon here in SoCal and I get really good reception in most places.

Have you checked the TM's coverage map for your area?
  • Like
Reactions: codesplice
Upvote 0
5G here in America is still a spotty, fractured implementation. Keep in mind that 5G is touted as providing faster bandwidth speed and lower latency, but longer range and expanded coverage is not a 5G plus point. It also requires more 5G-specific cellular access points to saturate any given area. In an urban setting, if there's a 5G cell tower with line-of-sight and you're within close enough proximity, you're going to have great online connectivity. Walk around the corner of a building and your phone will bounce back to its more expansive and consistent 4G or LTE connectivity.
In a low density, open setting like you're describing don't put a lot of hope that 5G is going to be a fix for your coverage problem. The news media continues to imply 5G as an awesome, almost magical service, but that's a bit misleading. It'll be great for the select few (close enough to a 5G cellular access point) but given American cellular companies tend to be averse to spending their own profits on expanding/improving infrastructure as an acceptable business model, the odds any carrier is going to be putting up 5G towers in less populated, remote areas isn't a good bet. If you're not able to get good 4G or LTE coverage now, note that 5G is good for short distances, not longer.
Upvote 0
There are basically two flavors of 5G:
  1. mmWave 5G, which operates at ultra-high frequencies (24-40GHz). Those high frequencies mean you can cram a lot of data into it, providing your crazy-fast speeds. High frequencies also don't travel as far, and they don't penetrate very well - like a single mmWave tower may only provide service for about one city block. You're really only going to see this deployed in very dense urban areas, and it's not going to work well indoors. Thanks to marketing hype, this is what people think of when you say "5G" but you may never see this in your service area.
  2. Sub 6 5G, which operates at much lower frequencies (literally sub-6GHz, but specifically 600-4700MHz). These lower frequencies have a lot of overlap with existing 4G bands. They'll penetrate buildings and travel much further than mmWave, but the lower frequencies mean they're not really able to carry much more data than 4G. It's still a fifth-generation network but doesn't provide the ridiculous speeds that (mmWave) 5G advertises. You'll be seeing this pop up most everywhere there's already 4G. In my experience, the Sub 6 5G networks I've encountered behave pretty much exactly the same as the 4G ones - just with a different icon on my phone's status bar.
I don't think that 5G is going to improve your coverage in any meaningful way, but 5G is the way things are going so it makes sense (to me, at least) to upgrade to a 5G-capable handset for long-term support even if you won't immediately benefit from 5G service.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: ocnbrze and tube517
Upvote 0
Thanks for the comments. I've looked at T-Mobile's coverage numerous times - mostly out of frustration and disbelief. It's no surprise that my neighborhood has "outstanding" coverage - except it doesn't. Interestingly my daughter's boyfriend has worked for a company for several years that installs cellular towers and repeaters for T-Mobile and he's well aware of the issues. The majority of new installations are in the areas of new construction, mostly south and east, which makes sense, but it leaves more established areas with older technology and less "saturation" as a result. In the rush to dominate the 5G market T-Mobile is taking shortcuts that may come back to haunt them - like me potentially switching to another carrier!
  • Like
Reactions: puppykickr
Upvote 0


We've been tracking upcoming products and ranking the best tech since 2007. Thanks for trusting our opinion: we get rewarded through affiliate links that earn us a commission and we invite you to learn more about us.