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Thread: Something odd with AT&T's network

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Something odd with AT&T's network

    Hey all,

    I've noticed something very odd lately about AT&T's network, specifically in my town. I live in a small city in NE lower Michigan right on the coast of Lake Huron. When I'm near the Lake Huron shoreline, approximately one mile from the AT&T site, I end up roaming on Bell or Rogers LTE. Those sites are across Lake Huron, over 45 miles away. Even if I turn off data roaming, my iPhone still prefers to camp on Bell or Rogers instead of picking up the signal from AT&T's site 1 mile SW. I've attached some maps to illustrate the issue. The issue also happens when I'm just about 3 miles north of the cell site along the shoreline. Zero AT&T signal, but end up roaming on Rogers of Bell LTE. Perhaps an issue with AT&T's antenna tilt overshooting? Any thoughts?

    Due to HoFo's image downsizing, I'll explain.

    This image shows the 1 mile distance from the AT&T cell site to where I was standing outside.
    Name:  Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.13.03 AM.jpg
Views: 423
Size:  56.7 KB

    This image shows the 45+ mile distance from where I was standing outside to Canada.
    Name:  Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.21.40 AM.jpg
Views: 430
Size:  47.7 KB

    My iPhone 13 Pro preferring Bell signal from 45+ miles away over a native AT&T signal from 1 mile away.
    Name:  IMG_2380.jpg
Views: 415
Size:  23.6 KB
    Last edited by TWX; 09-02-2022 at 12:40 PM.
    Your results may vary. Network performance differs per user location.

  2. #2
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    What version of iOS are you using?
    Just another day in paradise.....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial Port View Post
    What version of iOS are you using?
    Latest beta of iOS 16. My wife is still on the latest current public iOS 15 version and her iPhone 13 Pro was roaming on Rogers in the same spot.

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    When I visit my relatives near Niagra Falls, NY my phones do that as well. Granted, it has been almost 8 years since I traveled there. Happened with At&t and Verizon branded phones on more than one occasion. Surprisingly, I never saw any roaming charges in the several trips that I have had over several years. YMMV.

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    Something odd with AT&T's network

    From my understanding I think cell signals travel a lot further over water, Who knows maybe the signal bouncing off the water makes it travel further? I ran into this problem here in CT when I was on the shoreline back in the day when I was using SNET Wireless and domestic roaming was a thing. While on the beach in CT I would connect to a Verizon analog tower across the sound on Long Island somewhere. All the while generating roaming charges, even though I was still in CT. My cell plan only allowed free coverage in CT, and Western MA. Long Island wasn’t included.
    HowardForums Veteran Circa 2004

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    This is a strange anomaly for sure, but it shouldn't be happening. When I'm in Port Huron, MI, I have never roamed on a Canadian carrier without manually forcing it. And Canada is directly across the St Clair River which is about a half mile +/- wide.

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    I understand

    My relatives live in Grand Island, NY and the Canadian shoreline is about 1/2 mile from the US border. They have had to contend with this for many years and they don't get charged for roaming when they connect to the Canadian networks. I have experienced the same thing myself, so I feel your pain. I can't offer a solution, short of making sure your phone has the latest updates to minimize the possibility.

    Yes, being close to a waterway can allow the cellular signal to travel further than normal as it "bounces" across the water and extends the effective range. As a former CS rep for At&t I assisted more than a few customers in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana who lived near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and were connecting to the offshore cellular towers at times, resulting in roaming charges billed in error.

    One other thought: when you see it roaming on the Canadian networks while still in Michigan, try turning your phone off for about 2 minutes and turning it back on to re-home your phone to your native carrier.

  8. #8
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    I recommend calling 611 and asking AT&T to block international roaming on your line. You can call back and have them remove that block if/when you actually do want to roam internationally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VVivian View Post
    I recommend calling 611 and asking AT&T to block international roaming on your line. You can call back and have them remove that block if/when you actually do want to roam internationally.
    Good suggestion. That would do the job.

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    As far as signals traveling where they're not supposed to, I quite often find my phone connecting to sites in Two Harbors and Silver Bay, Minnesota when I'm WI 13 between Port Wing and Cornucopia. Conversely, I've caught my phone connecting to Wisconsin sites while in downtown Duluth. RF is funny.

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    This thread reminds me of the talk about "skips" back in the days when CB radios were so popular. Is this actually something similar?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWX View Post
    Hey all,

    I've noticed something very odd lately about AT&T's network, specifically in my town. I live in a small city in NE lower Michigan right on the coast of Lake Huron. When I'm near the Lake Huron shoreline, approximately one mile from the AT&T site, I end up roaming on Bell or Rogers LTE. Those sites are across Lake Huron, over 45 miles away. Even if I turn off data roaming, my iPhone still prefers to camp on Bell or Rogers instead of picking up the signal from AT&T's site 1 mile SW. I've attached some maps to illustrate the issue. The issue also happens when I'm just about 3 miles north of the cell site along the shoreline. Zero AT&T signal, but end up roaming on Rogers of Bell LTE. Perhaps an issue with AT&T's antenna tilt overshooting? Any thoughts?

    Due to HoFo's image downsizing, I'll explain.

    This image shows the 1 mile distance from the AT&T cell site to where I was standing outside.
    Name:  Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.13.03 AM.jpg
Views: 423
Size:  56.7 KB

    This image shows the 45+ mile distance from where I was standing outside to Canada.
    Name:  Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 10.21.40 AM.jpg
Views: 430
Size:  47.7 KB

    My iPhone 13 Pro preferring Bell signal from 45+ miles away over a native AT&T signal from 1 mile away.
    Name:  IMG_2380.jpg
Views: 415
Size:  23.6 KB
    Stupid question and maybe I missed it. Have you tried just turning off “roaming” in cellular settings? Btw hello fellow Michigander! I live over between Lansing and flint.


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    Does everyone have plans that dont include Canada and Mexico?

    Sent from my Pixel 6 using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial Port View Post
    When I visit my relatives near Niagra Falls, NY my phones do that as well. Granted, it has been almost 8 years since I traveled there. Happened with At&t and Verizon branded phones on more than one occasion. Surprisingly, I never saw any roaming charges in the several trips that I have had over several years. YMMV.
    Yes, I've ended up roaming on AT&T briefly for a few minutes. Never saw roaming charges either. I guess there is an limit to how long before they'll start official roaming maybe a few minutes to an hour, somewhere in there.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckspaul View Post
    Does everyone have plans that dont include Canada and Mexico?

    Sent from my Pixel 6 using HoFo mobile app
    Good question Seems like all plans for the last few years have included all of N. America.

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