Three doesn’t feel at home on 4G networks
If you’re a Three customer using a 4G capable device abroad with their Feel at Home free international roaming then you may have to manually select 3G as the network preference in order to get a data connection.
Update 1: Terence Eden provides a telco insider explanation what what’s going on (or should that be what’s going wrong) in comments below. The bottom line – 4G is excluded from most roaming agreements (at least for now) and the devices don’t deal with this gracefully.
I’ve been a Three customer for many years now, so I was very happy when I found out about Feel at Home. As a fairly frequent visitor to the US I’d grown accustomed to forking over $30 to AT&T for a month of data, and using a combination of a local SIM and Skype ToGo in order to call home.
I first tried out Feel at Home on a family holiday to Florida, and it just worked, and worked well. I was able to catch up on emails and Twitter whilst waiting in theme park lines, and there were no nasty roaming bills waiting for me when I got home. Best of all I didn’t have to deal with AT&Ts customer hostile buyasession web site.
When I arrived in SFO yesterday my phone was working fine, but my tablet wasn’t getting a data connection. If I turned flight mode on and off (or rebooted it) then I’d briefly get a connection to AT&T or T-Mobile, but then it would report No Service.
I double checked that data roaming was enabled. I tried manually selecting a network. I was just about to email Three Support about it when I had a final look in my settings to see if there was anything else I might change…
The only other setting available was Network Type. I changed from 4G (preferred) to 3G:
and I was connected again :)
It’s nice to have R back, though I do miss being able to tell what connection speed I’m getting – with an AT&T local SIM I’d get the logos for LTE, H(SDPA), 3G, EDGE or G(PRS) as appropriate. R just tells you that you’re connected with no indication of quality.
In retrospect the same issue might have been happening whilst on a recent trip to Chicago, but I wasn’t out of WiFi bubbles long enough to properly diagnose it. I guess that San Francisco (and Chicago) have received 4G updates ahead of Orlando and Tampa.
Now I just need to remember to switch back to 4G when I get home – as I increasingly see that I get a 4G connection in and around London on Three’s network :)
 My Samsung S4 Mini is able to show that it’s roaming and what type of connection it’s getting, which seems loads better to me than what I get from my Nexus 7 LTE.
Is this a rare example of OEM mangled Android being better that stock?
Filed under: howto, technology | 7 Comments
Tags: 3G, 4G, data, feel at home, no service, roaming, Three