Michigan - have 4G - but NO data - PDP Authentication Error

We have a couple of iPhone 5 and 5S phones - GSM SIM -

Took a trip from Chicago over to Michigan, and up along the coast to Petoskey, Michigan via Traverse City and Saugatuck, etc - When we arrived I noticed that the phones had the 4G icon, so thought all was good for looking up places on Yelp, etc.

Well - NO -
there was NO DATA because we kept receiving the -
PDP Authentication Failed error message.

So basically, our phones were useless until we were in range of our B&B and their WiFi - or someplace where the PDP error was not appearing..

Looking up our vacation location on the Ting / T-Mobile Coverage Map -
this is what appears in the drop block.
Our iPhone 5S is not listed for LTE - but we still should have had some flavor of data - but all we had was the PDP Auth error -


Traverse City, MI

There is newly expanded 4G LTE here. See if your device is compatible with the service in this area.

LTE Capable Devices in This Area

We've expanded our 4G LTE coverage in this area.
This is great news! To support this expanding 4G LTE network, like other major carriers, we use a variety of technologies. This variety means not all devices can harness the speed boost available with the 4G LTE in your area. And this will vary by location, so always check the device list.

To ensure you have a device that can take advantage of the best technology available, check out the list below for devices capable with the 4G LTE in this area. With any device not found on this list, based on the technology in your area (700 MHz-Band 12), you would experience up to 2G speeds. Of course, you will also have access to voice and text services.

  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  • Apple iPhone SE
  • Apple iPhone 6s
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
  • Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Inch


  • Hey Philip.

    Based on the error message you are receiving on your device it seems like your phone might have hit a few pockets of partnered coverage which would throw you off the original network. I know this might be redundant, but have you verified that the APN settings are still entered in the phones correct? I only ask this because when there is a software update on the device they automatically delete sometimes and need to be re-entered. https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/articles/205428708-GSM-iOS-APN-Settings --  Your APN settings. One other option is to turn off LTE on the device and force it to use 3G.. this could improve your signal as well as your data connectivity.

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  • I tried a variety of changes to settings - we are back in the Chicago area now - so no more "testing".

    APN - all entries were ok, even the MMS - I learned to check these for Group Texts & texting photos.
    Don't recall now, but I think that even simple texts were NOT going thru.

    LTE - tried with option turned off or on - no difference -

    Roaming - tried with option turned off or on - no difference -

    Again, the iPhone 5 and 5S icon row had ---->  TING  4G  <---  showing ALL the time,
    but there was no data access, it always resulted in the PDP Authentication Error

    VERY frustrating to have a smartphone that says you have "data coverage", and doesn't !!!

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  • Totally Agree.  Actually the coverage for the 5s is even worse than that.  Basically if you get north of Grand Rapids anywhere on the west/west central part of the state there is ZERO coverage.  You can drive for 2 hours with nothing but PDP errors.  I had a little coverage in Traverse City, Charlevoix & Cadillac, but you had better know how to get there because you won't be using Google Maps!  Also I find the coverage maps very misleading in this regard - not transparent at all.

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  • Karen, 

    That's oddly expected for the 5S on Ting GSM. It doesn't have the 700 MHz Band 12 frequency that our network partner is putting in all these off-the-beaten-path places to solidify the network.

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  • It is odd, but not really expected as you have to dig very deep into the coverage map to discover that the coverage is only for some phones. Fortunately I live in a covered area and only vacation in morthern Michigan and my husband has a different carrier so we have data. My suggestion would be to make it clearer on the coverage map that not everyone would actually have all that nice pink coverage instead of having to click on each city and reading the fine print. Again, it just goes towards transparency.

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  • Karen,

    I sincerely agree. I wish our network partners would give us a more detailed map with regards to what phones can receive what frequency. We can do a "best guess" if you contact us via https://ting.com/support , but because coverage maps are made by computers rather than people, it boils down to just "a different computer's best guess" on coverage versus what our coverage maps say.

    I'll take your feedback to the team, though, to request a more-detailed coverage map based on the phone a Ting customer may have. Thanks! 

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  • Not sure how to actually add a comment... so here goes - one year later - over in Wisc...

    The iphone 5 and 5s are still with us - and the Carrier Info appears to be automatic now, with no manual entry for the data and MMS connections.

    Anyway - up in a B&B in Green Lake Wisc - and nope - it is NOT on the green coverage map...
    SO - basically - as I have mentioned in another thread... you have have 4 bars and "4G" icon showing,
    but you still have NO DATA capability in these areas.... PERIOD -

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  • Phillip, 

    On the iPhone, you no longer have to add APN settings manually. As of iOS 10, those are set automatically.

    As for coverage at the B&B, you're right that we don't have data coverage. It's not green on our coverage map, so you're probably roaming. When you're roaming, your phone will continue to connect to the right roaming partner's towers (4G), but you won't have any data, because we do not offer data roaming in the US. It's like tuning to a radio station, but the DJ isn't saying anything, and they're not playing any music.

    We would love to offer it, but it's too expensive for both you and us. If we allowed data roaming in areas where we only currently offer talk and text roaming, you would be paying several hundreds of dollars per gigabyte. This is the state of data roaming in the US as the carrier that owns the towers you're connecting to in Green Lake (probably AT&T, but it's hard to tell for sure) won't sell data roaming access for cheaper.

    We still provide talk and text roaming for no additional charge, as the carrier that owns the towers offers us good rates on that. But for data services in these areas, you're going to have to rely on WiFi.

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  • Thanks for the update -

    And yes... we did notice the APN auto-change when updated iOS 10.x -
    We have pretty much learned that unless we are showing LTE -
    there is NO DATA avail to us. 

    It only happens out on these trips to Michigan and Wisconsin - from our home in Chicago - and I'm sure all the other travel getaway locations as well. 
    Just have to live with it - OR - pay double/triple for an account with ATT to get overall remote area coverage.

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  • We do still offer 2G and 3G HSPA (sometimes called "4G" rather than "4G LTE") data, but those places are getting few and far between as our GSM network partner shuts down their 3G network.

    What's extra frustrating is that as the roaming partners (AT&T and others) allow for LTE roaming, you're going to start seeing your phone connecting to LTE in these areas, but still not have any data. The only indication will be our coverage map. 

    Until AT&T and our other roaming partners drop their roaming data rates (which isn't likely, unfortunately, as they've been fighting on this for years), any network that uses T-Mobile as it's underlying tower structure is going to have this problem.

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  • Hi from Maine.

    I am getting PDP authentication errors. I understand from this post that it simply means I’m “roaming for data” and not that I have any sort of configuration error. Correct? In most places I get LTE just fine but I don’t seem to ever have data when my phone says “4G”. Presumably it is just saying the voice connection is 4G.


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  • That's probably right, Stephen. When your phone says "4G" rather than "3G", there's a good chance you're just roaming for talk and text on a network partner. Because we don't offer domestic data roaming (no MVNO does), that's why you don't have data coverage when connected to a partner's towers.

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