Is T-Mobile for me?

Cchs229

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2014
7
0
Hello,
I've actually been thinking about switching to t-mobile lately. I currently have an iPhone on Sprint. However sprint has drove me crazy these past couple of years, mainly with data speeds etc. I can't lie, sprint has improved since I switched to them in 2011 but I still find myself frustrated at times with my data speeds and unreliable LTE.
I looked into T-Mobile and I noticed that I'd pay the same amount per month on both carriers. Now it's just to determine which is best?

I recently just did a road trip from Atlanta to Massachusetts and Sprint held up okay. Streaming music the entire way was out of the question however.

How has your t-mobile experience been in terms of coverage and road trips?
 

Woochifer

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2007
685
0
Entirely depends on the area.

In the Bay Area, Sprint's coverage has been so bad that their subscriber count ranked behind Metro PCS. By comparison, T-Mobile now has much of the Bay Area covered by LTE service, and their HSPA+ coverage has decent speed in most of the non-LTE areas.

T-Mobile's biggest weakness is their rural and outlying area coverage. In my travels, their data coverage is fine in the metro areas. But, on a long distance road trip where you don't hit any metro areas, LOTS of dead air.

That's the crux of the tradeoff when you go with T-Mobile. It all depends on how often you want broader network coverage in the non-metro areas, and whether you're willing to put up with the added cost and contractual lockdowns going with Verizon or AT&T.

I went with T-Mobile, because their $30 prepaid plan met my exact usage needs and I can take my unlocked phone to a different carrier at any time. Those considerations outweighed the network gaps that I encounter on my road trips.

If you want to check their network, try T-Mobile's 7-day test drive. I've been reading posts from people who've tried it, some of them wound up switching to T-Mobile, while others found network gaps in their areas that swayed them against switching. All in all, it's a fair and transparent way of weighing the tradeoffs for yourself.
 

Amplelink

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2012
767
174
I love the pricing, but the coverage sucks. It sucks in two ways. One is the penetration into buildings in cities. The second is coverage outside of cities. There's a huge swath of the US, even on the major interstates, where you'll get 2G only. And this 2G is pathetic sometimes because you don't even get any data. So essentially your'e just left with a feature phone at times.

I switched to AT&T prepaid for just a month to see what it was like. Night and day difference in terms of network coverage. But TMobile makes more sense financially so I'm sticking with them for now. They claim to be making buildouts to their network. Maybe things will get better within the next 1/2 - year.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,888
900
I recently just did a road trip from Atlanta to Massachusetts and Sprint held up okay. Streaming music the entire way was out of the question however.

How has your t-mobile experience been in terms of coverage and road trips?
Roadtrip coverage is basically nonexistent on T-Mo. The only carriers that can give you streaming music on that entire stretch would be AT&T and VZW, not TMo/Sprint.

You can't even go from Boston and NYC and expect to have streaming audio the entire journey on T-Mobile. All of the highways between Mass and NYC are littered with GPRS/EDGE and spotty HSPA. Pretty pathetic, if you ask me...

Do yourself a favor. If you actually want to have working data when you're on a road trip, stick with AT&T, more specifically, go to one of their MVNOs to save some money.
 

nickprete11

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
146
0
Philadelphia
Roadtrip coverage is basically nonexistent on T-Mo. The only carriers that can give you streaming music on that entire stretch would be AT&T and VZW, not TMo/Sprint.

You can't even go from Boston and NYC and expect to have streaming audio the entire journey on T-Mobile. All of the highways between Mass and NYC are littered with GPRS/EDGE and spotty HSPA. Pretty pathetic, if you ask me...

Do yourself a favor. If you actually want to have working data when you're on a road trip, stick with AT&T, more specifically, go to one of their MVNOs to save some money.
Actually, no. I went on a road trip from Philadelphia to Washington DC and didn't hit EDGE/GRPS once. I was on LTE 90% of the time and the rest was HSPA+. T-Mobile's network is actually improving, and in cities, their LTE is often faster than AT&T and Verizon.
 

P A U L

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
42
0
Actually, no. I went on a road trip from Philadelphia to Washington DC and didn't hit EDGE/GRPS once. I was on LTE 90% of the time and the rest was HSPA+. T-Mobile's network is actually improving, and in cities, their LTE is often faster than AT&T and Verizon.
Agreed, did the same road trip last month and got mostly LTE! Some people (not mentioning any forum names, even though I love cars) always go onto T-Mobile threads and bash on their services.

When I compare speed tests with my T-Mobile line and Verizon line, T-Mobile wins by at least 10-20mbps 95% of the time.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,888
900
Actually, no. I went on a road trip from Philadelphia to Washington DC and didn't hit EDGE/GRPS once. I was on LTE 90% of the time and the rest was HSPA+. T-Mobile's network is actually improving, and in cities, their LTE is often faster than AT&T and Verizon.
The specific example I used was Boston to NYC. Even I-95 (one of the most busy highways in the US) doesn't have 100% HSPA coverage on T-Mobile.

Kindly refer to a coverage map. I've done this trip dozens of times. I know exactly where the T-Mobile deadspots on, and no, they haven't improved in the past few months. My T-Mo device is still a paper-weight on MassPike, I-95, 84, 91, Merritt Parkway, etc.


I hope for T-Mo's sake that they, at least, have 100% HSPA between Phily and DC. It would be pathetic if they didn't.


Obviously, TMo is fine if you stay in top metro areas, but if you are actually traveling between them... forgot about it.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,764
14,918
Jacksonville, Florida
Leaving Sprint to go to T-Mo?

Not sure what is worst but took a road trip with a friends from Atlanta to Memphis and his T-Mo iPhone had service only near a big city and sometimes not even then. My ATT iPhone never lost service, ever.

I know Sprint is bad but if you get out and about at all, not sure T-Mo is any better.
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,373
1,132
Charlotte, NC
Data coverage is bad on T-Mobile between cities. 2G in most areas. So on the road you probably won't be any better off than you are with Sprint. Inside the metro areas you'll get a superior experience though compared to Sprint.
 

chestvrg

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2010
1,157
71
I often switch from one carrier to the other between AT&T and tmobile. Just recently I went back to tmobile....I got on the $60/mo plan with 3GB.

My main concern was getting the employer discount which I am in the works to get it applied. As far as getting good coverage I rarely travel from my city. Last time I took a local road trip from Miami, drive all the way to near Clewiston (lake Okeechoobee) and westbound towards Ft. Meet and then back after two days with a sleep over in Ft. Myers eastbound via tamiami trail. All the time I was on AT&T and had 3G or LTE (amazing).

Now I would like to take the same trip on tmobile and see how the service works.
 

yeah

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2011
939
104
If you are staying in a metro area, T-Mobile would be a great choice.

By the way, T-Mobile is installing LTE on all of their EDGE towers by the middle of 2015 and also deploying 700A MHz LTE (the 5S/5C may support this band with a radio update) in several cities by the end of 2014. :D
 

Zaft

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2009
3,930
3,009
Brooklyn, NY
Hello,
I've actually been thinking about switching to t-mobile lately. I currently have an iPhone on Sprint. However sprint has drove me crazy these past couple of years, mainly with data speeds etc. I can't lie, sprint has improved since I switched to them in 2011 but I still find myself frustrated at times with my data speeds and unreliable LTE.
I looked into T-Mobile and I noticed that I'd pay the same amount per month on both carriers. Now it's just to determine which is best?

I recently just did a road trip from Atlanta to Massachusetts and Sprint held up okay. Streaming music the entire way was out of the question however.

How has your t-mobile experience been in terms of coverage and road trips?
Tmobile is good in the metro areas. Not sure about other places. I would suggest you try out a triband phone on sprint. The current iphones dont use the new band 41. Speeds will be much better.
 

nickprete11

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
146
0
Philadelphia
Yeah, T-Mobile is adding LTE to all EDGE towers, so the metro area only problem should be solved by 2015. I understand T-Mobile's coverage isn't up to par in rural areas as AT&T or Verizon, but they sure do have a lot more perks. I'm a student, and I travel internationally a lot, and being able to use my phone around the world and not worry about racking up huge charges is a big thing for me. I live in Philadelphia, and I frequently travel to DC and NYC, and the coverage here for me is great. It truly just depends on the area. Oh, and unlimited data is a perk considering I use around 6GB/month.
 

Tubamajuba

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2011
2,072
2,008
here
Agreed, did the same road trip last month and got mostly LTE! Some people (not mentioning any forum names, even though I love cars) always go onto T-Mobile threads and bash on their services.

When I compare speed tests with my T-Mobile line and Verizon line, T-Mobile wins by at least 10-20mbps 95% of the time.
You do realize that not everybody lives where you live. It's possible that T-Mobile isn't great in every square inch of the US.
 

thelookingglass

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2005
1,901
300
Yeah, T-Mobile is adding LTE to all EDGE towers, so the metro area only problem should be solved by 2015. I understand T-Mobile's coverage isn't up to par in rural areas as AT&T or Verizon, but they sure do have a lot more perks. I'm a student, and I travel internationally a lot, and being able to use my phone around the world and not worry about racking up huge charges is a big thing for me. I live in Philadelphia, and I frequently travel to DC and NYC, and the coverage here for me is great. It truly just depends on the area. Oh, and unlimited data is a perk considering I use around 6GB/month.
The international data is the single reason I stay with tmobile. It is incredibly useful for my family and me. We don't even have to get a local SIM much of the time when we're overseas. And the fact that the data is unlimited is just fantastic. This feature alone overcomes the poor network coverage while in the US just given how much traveling we do.
 

nickprete11

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
146
0
Philadelphia
The international data is the single reason I stay with tmobile. It is incredibly useful for my family and me. We don't even have to get a local SIM much of the time when we're overseas. And the fact that the data is unlimited is just fantastic. This feature alone overcomes the poor network coverage while in the US just given how much traveling we do.
Same here. But I stay also just because T-Mobile is pretty good to the consumer. When was the last time you heard AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint announce an "Uncarrier" type event? I like how fast T-Mobile is growing and everything they're doing. The other carriers pretty much just stay stagnant.
 

AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,888
900
By the way, T-Mobile is installing LTE on all of their EDGE towers by the middle of 2015 and also deploying 700A MHz LTE (the 5S/5C may support this band with a radio update) in several cities by the end of 2014. :D
Incorrect. There are no phones that support 700a currently. And Apple never "adds" bands to their iPhones. Remember when T-Mo launched the iPhone? Even though they all supported AWS LTE, Apple had to release a new model that also supported AWS HSPA (1700/2100)

However, B12 support is around the corner for new devices.

http://www.tmonews.com/2014/07/upcoming-galaxy-avant-and-xperia-z3-to-be-a-block-band-12-lte-compatible/

----------

Yeah, T-Mobile is adding LTE to all EDGE towers, so the metro area only problem should be solved by 2015.
That is not going to improve service on major highways, etc unless TMo decides to add more towers and densify their cell grid. Compared to EDGE/2G, LTE is a much more fragile airlink.

Even if LTE is added to all EDGE towers on PCS/AWS, our devices will hop on the stronger EDGE signal at the edge of cell sites/or between cell sites.
 

Mahler12x

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2008
240
30
California
I'm moving from the boondocks of Nevada, back home to Sacramento next week and I plan on ditching AT&T the moment we arrive. I once had unlimited data with AT&T. I had to drop my plan during my last year of school and of course, lost it forever.

I'm moving to T-Mobile primarily for the unlimited data but an added perk is that my brother in law switched to T-Mobile and gets far more reliable and faster LTE in the Sacramento area than I do with my capped AT&T. I can finally get back to streaming my baseball games etc when the wife is shopping.

I can't wait to switch. AT&T is just ridiculous for dropping unlimited data. I mean, keep the caps and just drop folks to 3G when they've gone over. It's brilliant that T-Mobile does it this way. I've had enough of paying $10 every time I bust my cap. I get that T-Mobile has some growing to do but I like the fact that they're rapidly expanding and offering perks the other carriers have abandoned and are willing to take a loss in the immediate term in the hopes that the consumer will reward them with their business.
 
Last edited:

P A U L

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2014
42
0
You do realize that not everybody lives where you live. It's possible that T-Mobile isn't great in every square inch of the US.
Did I state that I'm getting coverage everywhere I'm going? I was specifically talking about the same route the other user was mentioning.

That goes for all carriers; not so great in every square inch of the U.S. :rolleyes:
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,373
1,132
Charlotte, NC
Even though it won't help in my area, I do wonder if Apple will add Band 12 compatibility to the iPhone 6. It's certainly in T-Mobile's best interest that they do.
 

KieranDotW

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2012
621
68
Canada
In the Bay Area, Sprint's coverage has been so bad that their subscriber count ranked behind Metro PCS. By comparison, T-Mobile now has much of the Bay Area covered by LTE service, and their HSPA+ coverage has decent speed in most of the non-LTE areas.
Have you tried things out in Oakland?
 

keitarou

macrumors 6502
Dec 7, 2012
254
0
The specific example I used was Boston to NYC. Even I-95 (one of the most busy highways in the US) doesn't have 100% HSPA coverage on T-Mobile.

Kindly refer to a coverage map. I've done this trip dozens of times. I know exactly where the T-Mobile deadspots on, and no, they haven't improved in the past few months. My T-Mo device is still a paper-weight on MassPike, I-95, 84, 91, Merritt Parkway, etc.


I hope for T-Mo's sake that they, at least, have 100% HSPA between Phily and DC. It would be pathetic if they didn't.


Obviously, TMo is fine if you stay in top metro areas, but if you are actually traveling between them... forgot about it.
Just did this trip yesterday and there is a stretch on I-84 and I-91 that I got Edge or GPRS. Overall, I had LTE or HSPA+ on my 5S 90% of the time. However, in Boston, although I had LTE, speeds were around 4-6 mbps which was pretty disappointing. It's usable but as AutoUnion said, not as fast or good as Verizon.

Overall, satisfied with the service for what I pay and looking forward to more improvements.
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,373
1,132
Charlotte, NC
Just did this trip yesterday and there is a stretch on I-84 and I-91 that I got Edge or GPRS. Overall, I had LTE or HSPA+ on my 5S 90% of the time. However, in Boston, although I had LTE, speeds were around 4-6 mbps which was pretty disappointing. It's usable but as AutoUnion said, not as fast or good as Verizon.

Overall, satisfied with the service for what I pay and looking forward to more improvements.
That's the phase they're in right now in terms of the EDGE to LTE overlay. Upgrading 2G only stretches of highway between cities to LTE or HSPA+. It will probably be enough to satisfy most consumers.

Of course they'll still be absent of native coverage in places like Montana and West Virginia, but I'd imagine the number of potential users in those areas is pretty small.