Differences in Carriers. Ditch AT&T?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Sean Dempsey, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #1
    I have to get a new phone and plan (losing company phone). I've been on AT&T since day one, but I have the chance to start with a new carrier, and I am wondering if things have changed in the last few years.

    I have heard that T-Mobile is the best iPhone carrier right now. I need to be able to use the internet at the same time as the phone, so I think Verizon and Sprint are out?

    I'm in the non-coast western US, if that matters.
     
  2. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #2
    Talk&Surf = gotta go GSM.

    Yes, people like t-Mobile these days.

    Your next task, find out what the t-mobile coverage is like in your particular area(s). Non-coast western is no information, you need to know what zip codes you frequent, and we're not going to look it up for you.
     
  3. Jades macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    #3
    If you still have an unlimited data plan on AT&T - very surprisingly the lte works so much better than vzw especially indoors here in NYC. You may want to double check service before you switch and give up a good grandfathered plan.
     
  4. dictoresno macrumors 601

    dictoresno

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Location:
    NJ
    #4
    the only reason t-mobile is a "favorite" right now is the pricing of their plans, new network configuration and the fact they just officially got their own iphone. besides that, they are still primarily a 1900 mhz network which is still horrible in most locations for building penetration and they still dont have the footprint of the other major carriers.
     
  5. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #5
    TMo is the cheapest. Cheapest does not mean best. They have a lot of pro-consumer policy right now. Once handset is paid off, or you bring your own, your bill drops, they don't block hotspot or facetime over cellular. They don't have overage charges. They don't have contracts and ETF's, but you do have to pay your device off if you finance it with them.

    But their network is NOT the best. And their inside building coverage is poor due to their high frequencies.

    ATT and Verizon have the best coverage and networks.

    Verizon has the most LTE by far, and it's very fast. But if you don't happen to have LTE, their 3G is miserable.

    ATT has 2/3 to 1/2 of the LTE. But their 4G/HSPA+ network is very fast and has phenomenal coverage at 21mbps, which is honestly, plenty.

    In the boondocks, where there is no TMO... ATT or Verizon is likely to have coverage.

    iPhone 4/4S data during calls works fine on ATT. With the iPhone 5, something is busted.
     
  6. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #6
    Give T-Mobile a shot, of u don't like it return it.(within 14days)
     
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #7
    As others said, the first and most important factor is the coverage in the places you'll use your phone.

    If your current phone can be unlocked used on T-mobile, you'd be smart to pick up a prepaid TMO sim and try them out on a prepaid account for a couple weeks before making a switch.
     
  8. kmichalec macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    #8
    Agree with most of what ^^^ says. If you happen to live in a good TMobile coverage area, and you don't travel much, and don't mind an occasional drop to EDGE speeds, then TMobile will most likely save you some money. The savings add up the more lines you have, however, if you are just talking one line, then AT&T's new prepaid serivce, which is $60 for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data is a pretty enticing option.

    So, really, you just need to figure out how many lines, and how's the coverage in your area, but it sounds like if you want talk and data at the same time, TMob and AT&T are your most likely choices.


    Menel,

    What did you mean by "With the iPhone 5, something is busted"? I was on AT&T with an iP5 until I just switched to TMob last week, and I never had a problem with using voice/data at the same time (on either, actually).
     
  9. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #9
    Only one problem with that you won't get the complete T-Mobile experience.
     
  10. scaredpoet, Jun 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #10
    I'll agree with what the others have said: T-Mobile is great, IF the coverage in your area is good and you don't plan on traveling much to places where it's bad. Unfortunately, there's a LOT of bad. They are also very, very far behind in not just their LTE deployments, but in overlaying HSPA (3G/"FauxG").

    That's really what sank them for me. I really, really wanted to switch to T-Mobile because my iPhone 5 is unlocked, can handle AWS and I could save myself close to $35 a month. But the coverage maps are keeping me away. No LTE where I live and work. Places I travel frequently have spotty coverage, and some areas have only 2G coverage still, even though I'm not in the boondocks. It would be a HUGE step down, and it's not worth the lower cost when I often need to be reachable, and a good, fast data connection would be nice to have.

    Your best bet is to check the coverage map. Not just where you live, but where you work and any place you think you might be visiting in the future. If it's all solid coverage, then it might be worth trying out. If there's a lot of 2G or no coverage, stay away.

    And yes, Sprint and Verizon are definitely out if you want voice and data at the same time. Even worse for Verizon: they're going to be launching Voice over LTE soon (which is good), but with no circuit switched fallback (which is really, really bad). that means if you're on a voice call in LTE and your signal is weak, the call will drop, even if there's strong 3G signal in that same area. Verizon's CDMA isn't capable of packet-switched calls, so it can't directly take a handoff from VoLTE.

    By contrast: AT&T and T-Mobile could deploy circuit-switched fallback, but they don't really have to. Their 3G is capable of supporting the same packet-switched calls as LTE can, so a switch down shouldn't be a problem. Of course, it would be nice if AT&T started rolling out VoLTE soon...
     
  11. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #11
    It'd be more helpful if you'd put some detail behind this statement. Tethering and roaming make sense as differences. Lower priority in times of network congestion of course. What else?

    Carly Foulkes lighting up your night isn't going to happen either. :)

    ----------

    Maybe something to do with LTE bands and when the iphone5 was built?
    See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5720
    http://consumerist.com/2013/04/15/m...e-iphone-or-youll-get-stuck-in-the-slow-lane/
     
  12. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #12
    When you make a call with iPhone 5 on ATT. Drops of LTE, back to 4G. But the data available is miserable, trickles at Edge speed, if that. Many people reported this...
     
  13. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #13
    Using existing iPhone 5 on T-Mobile will lack AWS. Prepaid may have soft caps in some markets. It cost him almost nothing to try out T-Mobile with the newer iPhone 5 for 14 days.
     
  14. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #14
    It will lack AWS for HSPA+.

    Will HAVE AWS for LTE.

    AWS is only broken for HSPA+.
     
  15. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #15
    Yes
     
  16. kmichalec macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    #16
    All LTE GSM phones do this when making a call and using data at the same time, as the haven't implemented Voice of LTE yet. This is not specific to an iPhone 5.
     
  17. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

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    Mar 25, 2011
    #17
    Yep but the difference is T-Mobile will not throttle your data speeds.
     
  18. Irish Rose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #18
    TMobile says this now, but I can't help but wonder if this will still be the case once their network starts getting over loaded from an increase in data usage.


    Sent from my iPad Mini using Tapatalk 2
     
  19. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #19

    Ought to have 4g speed though, but its horrible, .1 mbps edge speed.
     
  20. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #20
    They are years away form being at capacity. Their higher frequencies give them a greater capacity than att. Plus they are buying/gaining more spectrum.
     
  21. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #21
    Agreed, figure out the network first. A great phone and a low price is meaningless if it doesn't work in the areas you live or work in.
     
  22. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #23
    Yup, check out the coverage maps and talk to some of your local friends.

    I'm with Sprint and as it's not available in my area I'm looking to go with another carrier. Around here AT&T is king and it shows by their coverage map. Some people have Verizon and T-Mobile but looking at their maps coverage is bad or, with T-Mo, has only 2G speeds.

    Also when I visit family Verizon and T-Mo has spotty coverage, AT&T is great.

    I just have to wait until my contract is up.
     
  23. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #24
    They are also years away from being at coverage.

    Where their spectrum allocations lie in terms of frequency has nothing to do with capacity. And the entire issue will become moot when AT&T flips the switch on VoLTE... which will be available on far more places than on T-Mobile's network for years to come.
     
  24. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #25
    What benefit does someone gain from coverage or service availability in places they'll never visit?

    Seems to me what matters is coverage in the places they will use the phone.
     

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