Aug 04 AT 8:38 PM Dustin Earley 66 Comments

Is T-Mobile’s network killing your battery life?

t-mobile-sign-image-via-gigaom

Here at Android and Me, we’ve recently started receiving a lot of tips from readers saying their phones seem to be dying faster than normal. From what we’ve gathered, starting in late July, phones on T-Mobile’s advanced wireless networks (3G and 4G) just started rapidly losing battery for no reason. At first it seemed the issue was limited to the G2, which meant it could have been related to the recent update to Gingerbread for the device. As time goes on, however, the problem is starting to look like it’s more widespread than that.

Enough people with different devices have complained to T-Mobile for Magenta to start publicly trouble-shooting the problem. Over on the T-Mobile support forums, a thread has gone live asking users a few simple questions to try and help sort the situation out. T-Mobile wants to know:

  • Device make & model
  • Start date on the issue
  • Where are you located (Market, City, State)?
  • Are you in a 2G, 3G or 4G area?
  • When battery indicator shows ‘No Power’ does the device still work or is the power drained?
  • Does “3G only mode” improve the battery drain issue?

After reading through four pages of responses, the problem is just as we thought. Regardless of device, anyone using 3G or 4G is experiencing battery drain. Switching to 2G (EDGE) stops it.

Personally, I use a T-Mobile G2 and I’m supposed to be in a 4G area. At my house I’m stuck on EDGE, so I haven’t spent much time in a 3G or 4G zone. I may have to brave the heat and find somewhere I can put this to the test though. If you’re on T-Mobile, be sure to let us know what your battery life is like in the comments below.

To participate in the survey, head on over to the T-Mobile support forums now.

Source: TmoNews

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • teecruz

    this is insane! my SK4G is perfectly fine.
    G2 owners, it’s the Gingerbread update (:

    • mike

      Sorry it’s not the Update….

    • BoringPostcards

      I haven’t gotten the update on mg G2 yet, but I got the battery drain issue starting around the end of last week.

  • btelks

    htc sensation- had since jun 15th- ZERO battery issues. pretty much all day on 4G

    • Galen20K

      ditto, absolutely no problems with my Sensation. Its like butttaaaaaa!

      • http://facebook.com/jestertx2001 Jes

        “Ed!”

  • http://brainsparks.net David

    It is not just the G2 my Nexus 1 recently has seen a major reduction in battery life

  • Duckzero

    I’ve had that problem as of late. I have a HARD time keeping my phone from dying really, really, really fast in the last month or so. Also, I’m dropping way more calls. It’s an original Vibrant, but yeah the battery shouldn’t have dropped off this quickly.

    • b

      My Vibrant is fine in North Jersey.

  • BiGMERF

    Im using a sensation 4g.. I am usually on wifi and have not had any issues.. I will switch now to 4G and see if I have any issues. Will report back after a full night and partial day tomorrow using the network

  • Ruperto

    HTC sensation. No issues here on 3g area.

  • Astranger

    Really?? I do have that issue with my nexus one, but I never thought T-mobile would be the culprit.

  • Chris C

    I *thought* something was wrong with my Nexus One. It has been dying pretty quick lately. :/

  • SanzaBlancoAkA2C

    I’ve used both a G2 and Nexus One, the latter I’m currently using and never had any issues with the battery. I’m in Philly a 4G area as well. The only phone I’ve ever had a major issue with as far as battery life is the G1.

  • garet

    Sensation user here with no problems with battery life keeping data connection big problem have to reset phone 3 times a day or more depending on usage Chicago area on 4g

  • https://plus.google.com/101734779295883866329/posts Karbide

    I’m in the Houston area using an OG Mytouch 3G with minimal apps and I get maybe 5 hours of battery life after a deep charge and almost no use. Pretty weird it’s def. something going on with the network here.

    • Laura

      same phone, same area, same problem :( I was just gonna buy another one until I read this…

  • bob dole

    Nexus ones are old and battery may be getting worn. I have a modded vibrant and battery is better than stock but the battery time is the exact same for tethering straight which means there is no network eating battery in Florida. Still got the same straight tethering till dead time of 3.7 hours.

  • Mark

    G2 here and I’ve been experiencing weird battery drains as usual. Like my batter can be at 75% at night when I go to sleep and by the time I wake up in the morning, it’s dead. Even through the day as well, I can literally see the battery bar going down with my bare eyes. It’s crazy.

  • nnoised

    San antonio 4g area with LG G2x…absolutely no problems at all, even for a G2x, in fact my battery life has improved vastly, i’m sure the gingerbread update helped but on pretty normal usage with a lot of media/internet…and i could get a good 12 hours on it,..no custom ROM, no root access, just a normal simple G2x… sorry folks

  • sublimejackman

    Have a G2x and since the Gingerbread update I regularly get 40+ of battery life. Spend half the day at work with 4G and the other half at home using wifi calling.

    • sublimejackman

      *40+ hours*

  • shadowxof

    i have noticed that in my area i tend to switch between edge and 4g a lot which would bog down my battery if it keeps flickering in and out. Thats really the only issue i’ve had with the network killing my battery

  • anonyflip

    It looks like phones running Stock GB or GB/AOSP Roms are affected.

  • TammyAnn

    I have HTC incredible from Verizon with an extended battery and my phone a few month ago is having the same issues.my battery keeps dying and ive been having 3G issues also.i dont need another battery cuz mines new.This all started not that long ago bcuz before then every thing was fine.does anyone know whats going on.oh also I dont have gingerbread on my phone,my phone is 2.2 Software.THANKS

  • Taylor

    Hard to tell for me. The Gallery app does a *wakelock* thing all the time that drains the battery so fast nothing else has a chance to make a dent. Nexus S, no mods. I just need a day to flash the thing to stock and retry, unless there’s a workaround I haven’t heard of.

  • sonicjam

    Well i have the myTouch 4G Slide and it dies in 10 hours every time. Then i decide to kill background data and turn on power saver setting before i go to work. I put my phone in my locker and in there it has no signals what so ever. When I get off work and my phone’s battery is up to 80% full. This article caught my eye and got me thinking about my phone.

  • aj

    im on verizon so no worries but we all know 4g whether LTE or even this fake hspa+ or whatever seriously kills batteries of phones. I mean verizons LTE puts some DSL and even high speed digital internet providers to shame. Our phones could become modems(except with all throttling it wont be possible and overage charges) and those things run on a connected cable all the time. So while 4g is awsome battery technology needs to advance big time instead of 20 cores and 10 gb of ram in my phone work on those batteries.
    I feel bad though for those having worse battery life on just plain old 3g though

    • chproject

      No problems with my Nexus 1 here in Hawaii. My wife has G2 but no GB update…she has no issues. To be honest we are on wifi most of the day. We have network issue at home and only get edge that is why we use wifi more.

  • Raptor

    Vibrant. Zero problems.
    Can confirm by screenshot from BatterySnap graph for the whole week. Discharge <1% per hour on 3.5AH battery 4-5 days standby (means 2% /h on regular battery or 2Day standby)

    GPS/ WIFI/ Backgr data /Autosync are all ON,

  • Darshan

    My Nexus One inexplicably (until now) started draining about seven times faster than usual right around July 28th. It was extremely frustrating for a day or two until I realized that putting it in 2G-only mode made it last just as long as usual. This is frustrating in its own way, of course — my data is crazy slow now — but at least my battery is still mostly full at the end of the day like usual.

    This, combined with all the other reports, makes it clear that this is not just my battery getting old, and it’s certainly not a G2 software issue — it’s clearly some kind of network issue.

    Thanks, Android and Me, for bringing this to my attention. I’ve been annoyed about it but hadn’t bothered to contact T-Mobile or look into it further. I’ve reported my issue on the linked forum, and it’s nice to know they’re looking into it.

    • Dustin Earley

      Where do you live? Just curious…

  • jian9007

    No issues for me on my Sensation 4G in the Dallas area.

  • AME

    I’m not experiencing any problems with my G2x. I’m in LA and travel around town where I’m on 2, 3, and 4G in all different areas on all different towers.

    Are G2 and N1 users the only ones experiencing battery drain? Have the devs at XDA come up with anything?

  • jmb98115

    going on two weeks here in seattle.
    stock G2.

  • samzilla

    I have a mt4g here in central Cali and my battery does drain super fast when I’m allowed to be on 4g. I’m being throttled like crazy. That’s my biggest issue with T-Mobile at the moment. I don’t really notice the battery drain as much though because I use juice defender ultimate

  • http://www.totallychristianshow.com wondercoolguy

    Dallas/Ftworth Nexus One went from having 16 off of one charge to 8ish….

  • Bruno

    I have a pretty big drain on my Original MyTouch in 3G areas but i thought it was because my phone is so old. :)

  • Paul

    Wow. Hit the nail on the head. I have a G2, and I’m so happy to see how many other Android fan’s use this phone, it’s a great phone (except for the rather loose hinge, but whatever). My battery life has always been horrible, I suspect it’s the 10 or 20 CM7 nightlies I’ve installed w/o wiping the /data partition. My MIUI test revealed my phone could indeed get great battery life. I’ll install MIUI again and see how the battery life is today. I love my G2, I hate T-Mobile. I live in between 2 4G areas but my town in between the 2 big cities is only “3G” but on the outskirts I can get “4G”. If that was the only issues I’d be happy but too many times I’ve seen my phone drop to Edge, and I’ve seen it drop to GPRS (1G!) on occasion as well. Their network is just stupid where I live.

    • ihatefanboys

      Dont take this comment as an attack because its not. That being said, there is no “loose hinge” problem with the G2, its an extremely ignorant observation. It’s a hinge, no more, no less, just like on your car door, house door, microwave door. What does a hinge do ? swing right ? swing along the axis of the hinge. So if you put that hinge in a position where gravity will affect it to swing, guess what it’s going to do, swing. There is no spring, never was a spring.. that being said, ive been lucky, i usually sit on 4G unless im at work, where there is tons of interference from other computers and wireless devices, i think the room is slightly shielded as well…havent noticed the battery drain issue because i use my phone actively during the day, even at work..

  • LadyDi

    I was thinking it was just me. I have the MT4G and over the last week, even having juice defender, my battery life has been horrible. Thank you for this post.

  • Dwayne

    mt4g in Oklahoma. I’ve always had horrible luck with the battery, I’m on my third battery, this one came from HTC. I usually get about 6 hours out of a charge, and that’s using Juice Defender. Most of the time, it looks like I’m on the 4g network, but it switches back and forth between 3g. T-Mo knows how unhappy I am with the phone/battery issue, but they’ve given up on helping me.

  • BiGMERF

    After switching off of wifi last night and using the network all night until, I experienced no issues.. Battery is fine on my sensation

  • sdotunome

    G2X new jersey, delaware…. I have noticed a SEVERE reduction in battery life as of recently. My phone is unplugged at around 6:30 am… current time is 11:24 am… my battery is at 41% with minor usage! I’m going to sell this phone anyway once T-Mobile gets the SGS2.. which we are gettin with-in the next month or so ; ).

  • Sean

    I have my ancient Nexus One on T-Mobile and I have definitely seen a difference in my battery life. It used to last a whole day or even two, but now I have to charge mid-day. Can’t pinpoint a time when it started happening though, thought I just had too many apps open.

  • BoringPostcards

    This started happening to my G2 in Atlanta around the end of last week. (My phone is still on Froyo, no custom anything in the phone.) I used to be able to use my phone normally for 18-20 hours with no problem, and I have 4G at work and at home. Now when I unplug it about 6 AM, it’s giving me the low-battery alarm by 11 AM.

    • Dustin Earley

      I was originally seeing most of the reports come in from the NW, but Atlanta? The plot thickens.

  • Jorge89

    My phone hasn’t changed at all in the past 18 months, at least battery wise, unplugged at 9 am and I plug it back in at midnight, depending on how much I use it it usually has 10% left.

  • Ant

    My touch 4g in Atlanta. Same problem, noticing a bad battery drain in the past week or so. Still on 2.2 and my wife has the same phone and having the same problem. Oh and about the switching the phone off 4g…are you f*@#ing kidding me? Tmo charges an extra fee a month to use 4g and now I’m supposed to not use it bc there is a glitch in their system…?

    • Dustin Earley

      This was my initial thoughts, but I’m sure Tmo will compensate in some way. If not, AT&T can have ‘em.

  • J240

    I was having battery drain issues on my MT4G lately (last week or two)…. But these last couple of days it seems to be better now…. I am in Florida in a 4G area, but typically I’m on 3G at work where I have experienced the most drain.

  • Stella

    I’m in east Tennessee. Lately, I have noticed battery drains on my Vibrant when I’m at work on 3G with little or no usage. At home, I’m only on the 2G network and I have a longer battery life. I thought maybe flashing new ROMs were effecting the battery life. I hope the issue is resolved soon.

  • JBnHollywood

    Mytouch4g in South Florida. Not only had my battery been draining twice as fast, the phone restarts at the worst moment. Thanks for the article, I was also about to buy a new phone.

  • linda d souza

    Let T-Mobile resolve your Battery-Drain Issue http://bit.ly/qfdPfj

  • Jason

    Had the battery issue until I updated to the ota gingerbread for the g2…problem solved if u haven’t got it yet there is a link on tmobile fourums to get it

  • jose

    the problem started this week

    G2
    4G & 3G area
    Bayamon, Puerto Rico

  • resnasty

    Just landed on this conversation. Glad I did… explains why recently I have been having battery issues, that for the past year I haven’t dealt with.

    I own a N1 (rooted with CM)

    Until about a few weeks ago, my battery life lasted from 7am – 10pm (with minimal usage – I have a work phone that I use mostly during the day) Now I have noticed my phone is completely dead by 4-5pm (again, this is with little to no usage throughout the day)

  • kazahani

    No problems in Cincinnati on my Vibrant 2.2

  • Bobby

    TMobile G2 user here, on CM7 and battery is fine…

  • bob0mb

    UT (Salt Lake/Layton area) -> my wife’s myTouch 3G Slide started having battery draining issues around the end of May/beginning of June. i thought it was a battery issue, and had T-Mo replace the battery under warranty. that was about a month ago, and it still is having issues dying during the day. she can charge it fully and unplug at 7am, by noon she is down to 25% battery. i use a Vibrant, and have noticed a slight decrease in my battery as well over the last month.

  • Mike

    Same battery issues with both my g2 and nexus one, also a note, the phones are both getting very hot and the signal keeps disconnecting. It almost seems like to me something is causing an unstable signal which is making the phones overheat due to the switching which is draining the battery.

  • justin

    G2 manually updated to 2.3.4 with no battery issue in northern indiana, 4g market. My girlfriends sk4g however has failed miserably in all aspects since the recent OTA update(s). Magenta told me on the phone they are aware the OTA update is breaking the phones and have no workaround and to be patient while it is fixed. Any insight on this, webby?

  • Buck Buttafuocco

    I have a stock G2, didn’t install the update the first time my phone notified me was available, the notification went away after a day,. And showed up again yesterday, I researched the differences and installed it last night. I’m usually in 4g areas (in Phoenix). Today my battery life dropped to about a third of what it was. I literally only used my phone about 20 mins total, the rest was on standby, and it died in about 8 hours. It’s insane!. I used to get through the whole day (14 hours) also while using it about an hour and a half before a charge.

  • Buck Buttafuocco

    I have a stock G2, didn’t install the update the first time my phone notified me was available, the notification went away after a day,. And showed up again yesterday, I researched the differences and installed it last night. I’m usually in 4g areas (in Phoenix). Today my battery life dropped to about a third of what it was. I literally only used my phone about 20 mins total, the rest was on standby, and it died in about 8 hours. It’s insane!. I used to get through the whole day (14 hours) also while using it about an hour and a half before it needed a charge.

  • G.G.

    if you install big S to some other’s smaller B, it can be the same size end of all, than every time in old H.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2nCx9l09tc&feature=related
    Keep the life somewhere.

  • Ravyn

    My phone just started doing this yesterday. Mytouch 4g and It’s making me SAD…
    I think I’ll stop by the t-mobile store today and be like “Hey!! Fix this!!!”