Should I switch carriers?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by applegeek25, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. applegeek25 macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #1
    I have a slight dilemma and I'm hoping to get advice from you guys on what I should do. I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile in early January (prior to their "un-carrier" initiatives and no-contracts) in order to save 50% a month for service that I barely used previously with VZW. I was persuaded to sign a 2-yr contract in order to receive a value plan that offered approx. $10-$15/mo savings compared to their "Classic" plans at the time.

    Since my little switch to magenta, I've begun to utilize my iPhone more for work and organizing my upcoming transfer to Los Angeles after Christmas. I've also traveled to several major cities (i.e. Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago) and could barely use LTE/HSPA/EDGE indoors. I'm concerned that maybe my decision to switch to T-Mobile was a complete mistake. I've heard similar complaints from subscribers in the LA area and I feel now is the time to decide whether to switch back to Verizon or keep T-Mobile and hope (or pray) for the best.

    In addition to my coverage issues, I will be purchasing an iPhone 5S for my father to use on the road (he just re-joined the workforce and will be driving cross country full-time). I'm not sure T-Mobile would be the best option for someone in his situation.

    I guess I'm asking for personal experiences with traveling and using both carriers. As it stands right now, I will need to pay T-Mobile $380 for my remaining iPhone 5 EIP balance + $200 ETF since I signed a 2-yr contract (but still didn't receive a hardware subsidy and have since been forced onto the new Simple Choice plans with no monthly discount).

    What would you do?
     
  2. Lammercy macrumors regular

    Lammercy

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    #2
    T-Mobile has pissed me off to no end. Calling to cancel my girls service so she can move to Sprint with me and they tell her that she's signed to a contract till 2015. Apparently when she called to ask about the contract less service as she only wanted them for a few months the associate discussed it with her and signed her up however she failed to mention that they weren't actually kicking the feature off for a few more days(which we only learned a few days ago). We even went into a local Tmobile store to get her a SIM card since she was bringing her own phone and the lady told us that there would be no additional cost besides the final payment if we decide to end service. The CS representative I spoke with told me that they can't control all of the misinformation their in store associates relay. Now we're paying a $200 cancellation fee which is worth it. In the nations 4th largest city and the phones were steadily on Edge. If you can just go with AT&T and Verizon. Sprint isn't recommendable. T-Mobile isn't worth it.
     
  3. NoCleverSNForMe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    #3
    If you have no service, your iPhone is an iPod touch. Switch. Today.

    I have T-Mobile. They're known to not have great building penetration because of their signal frequency. It sucks not having service whenever I meet with friends at certain restaurants or sports bars, but sometimes it's good to just put the phone away. I accept T-Mobile for what it is. They have great coverage outdoors here in the DC area (and in my apartment). I pay $70/mo before my discount and I get to use my iPhone as much as I want to without worrying about going over a data limit. That's the blessing of T-Mobile.

    The blessing of Verizon is that you almost never see "No Service". If you need better coverage and you rely on your phone having coverage, make the switch today. Your $200 penalty is not worth missing calls if they're that important.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #4
    Yeah...its been a total nightmare. It's actually going to cost me MORE to cancel 1 line after 9 months with T-Mobile than if I had purchased an iPhone 5 on contract with Verizon and cancelled after a month or two (and I'm not even counting the Note II that I purchased in January and paid off a month later).

    In all fairness to T-Mobile, the other 3 carriers aren't that much better these days, but at least you don't have to worry about customer service or nationwide coverage. On numerous occasions with T-Mobile, it took at least 3 or 4 calls to customer care to get even the most basic of account changes processed...and processed correctly. For example, I spent over an hour and 6 calls later just to add a hotspot feature to my plan. This included the first rep changing my entire rate plan, the 2nd rep trying to fix it but ended up changing the plan to something else totally different, the 3rd rep lying and reassuring me that she had come to save the day and fixed my issue without delay, and the 4th/5th/6th reps either hanging up on me, applying a $5 credit and telling me "it should work now," or putting me on hold for 15 minutes while a supervisor manually fixes my plan, backdates it, re-adds the original features, etc. At that point, I was told that the value plan is no longer offered (surprise!) and that I would have to in fact switch my entire rate plan to something more expensive just to add the hotspot feature (which would also increase my monthly fee even further).

    Obviously these issues aren't unique to T-Mobile, but at least you're receiving SOMETHING from the other guys. T-Mobile acquires zero liability for that expensive phone you just bought + you're paying $200 to cancel (if you're an existing "value plan" customer from before the un-carrier launch).

    I may have disliked Verizon's pricing a bit, but at least their customer service reps were professional and knowledgeable. No offence to anyone "credit challenged" on MR, but T-Mobile is really catering to this type of clientele and that's it. They know that these subscribers are less likely to switch to Verizon or AT&T, so they run their entire business assuming every customer must be credit challenged and doesn't expect the same level of service that they'd receive elsewhere.
     
  5. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #5
    Haha I couldn't help but smile when I read this. Thank you for showing me the lighter side of this issue. :)

    You're right though. I recently became self-employed and now rely on my iPhone more than ever to make/receive calls, grab e-mails, etc, etc. I can obviously utilize certain tax credits next year to help compensate for the switch, but I'm still angry at T-Mobile due to my short experience with them (and having to pay $200 to cancel...which is basically a total cash grab).
     
  6. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #6
    So I ended up caving in and ordered a Verizon iPhone 5S via Apple's website. Apparently you can only purchase 1 device if you're creating a new account. Apple states that you have to wait till you activate the first device in order to add additional lines onto the account. Weird eh. :confused:
     
  7. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #7
    Did you buy it off-contract? If so, why don't you stick with T-Mobile for a little bit and see how it goes? If it works fine, keep your contract and cancel once the contract is done (won't have to pay cancellation fee).

    If it doesn't work, then terminate, pay fee, and go to Verizon.

    If you bought a contract-free phone, the Verizon 5s will work on T-Mobile and other GSM carriers, the unlocked phone can work with all of them. Just swap in your T-Mobile SIM and do an iTunes restore on your new 5s.
     
  8. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #8
    Probably off topic but here are my two cents:

    In all fairness the TMobile network has vastly improved from the beginning of 2013.

    I'm still on AT&T but i have a prepaid tmobile sim which ive been trying out to test to see if the network will suit my needs, and while i dont get LTE coverage indoors, 4G penetration still works alright. Theoretically LTE should penetrate better since the AWS band is at a lower frequency than the 1900Mhz PCS band (4G band).

    I do hopefully expect them to improve in the meantime though. $70 unlimited data is really hard to pass up. I honestly can't wait to get rid of AT&T. I live in a city where Tmobile has LTE service but AT&T doesn't...lol pathetic. I would go with Verizon too except their fallback 3G is just terrible and when their CEO makes comments on how they are not going to compete on price, i really cant justify overpaying if i can get similar service for a substantial discount.

    If it were me, id stick with Tmobile. Like you said, you're under contract anyways.
     
  9. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #9
    T-Mobile has been great for us. Give them a shot.
     
  10. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #10
    No I didn't. Honestly, I'm sick of only getting marginal service. I don't travel outside of the metro area often, but the few times that I needed to I spent the majority of a 4+ hour drive listening to music from iTunes on my glorified iPod lol. I also get maybe 1-2 bars of service (whether LTE, 4G, Edge, doesn't matter) at home, so I'm forced to use WiFi anyways. The deciding factor was really questioning whether T-Mobile would be appropriate for my dad on the road. I don't think it would be wise to add him to my T-Mobile account and expect him to get service in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, or God only knows where else.
     
  11. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #11
    Being under contract with T-Mobile doesn't really matter when you're not getting the service you're paying for. You might as well consider a portion of that $70+/mo as a loss anyways. I was a bit concerned with Verizon's fallback to 3G, but apparently they've been busy since I was using their network. 500+ cities covered and 95% of the population (99% of their 3G coverage area has been upgraded to LTE). Obviously there's a good chance you'll encounter 3G at some point, but at least I'll still have service lol. :)

    I actually agree with the CEO's comments (to a certain extent). Unlimited data isn't sustainable, and it doesn't take someone with an IQ of 180 to figure that out. There's really no legitimate reason for someone eating up 70-80GB of data a month on their smartphone. You have public WiFi, home broadband, and internet access elsewhere. I'm more than willing to pay for what I use, but I'm hoping that the price per gigabyte goes down as the competition catches up to Verizon and AT&T (even if only in the major metro areas).
     
  12. largefarrva macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    #12
    To the OP....I was going to recommend getting a 5s with Verizon. Glad to see you already did was I was going to mention. :)

    My wife and I were with AT&T until Verizon started carrying the iPhone...so we switched over to Verizon and upgraded our 3GS's to the iPhone 4, and haven't looked back since.

    We actually save a bit of money with Verizon (18% discount for her being a government employee FTW) and we can actually use our phones in the house. We were so sick of not getting any signal in our house with AT&T so it was a no-brainer for us.

    AT&T were absolutely ridiculous to deal with when we switched. We ended up paying our final bill twice just to get them to stop calling and harassing us. (long complicated story) We have sworn off AT&T forever because of this.

    I've had T-Mobile in the past and their service (reception) sucked back then and from the sounds of it, they still suck now. I think you'll be much happier paying the ETF just to get away from them...what good is a phone if it never has a signal?

    My old company phone was with Sprint and their signal reception issues are absolutely terrible. There were times in downtown Chicago where I would lose signal with Sprint...I would never go with them.

    Your choice to go with Verizon was a very wise one. Even if it costs a few bucks more....you get what you paid for.
     
  13. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #13
    Yeah I'm with T-Mobile and enjoy my service but if I were traveling to those areas you mentioned on a regular basis then no doubt I would go Verizon. I wouldn't trust any of the other 3 carriers to provide reliable service out there. If you're not getting the service you need then go ahead cancel, even with the fees. You don't have to pay it all at once if it's a lot to you. They allow you to pay it in parts if necessary. You should also call to have your iPhone unlocked. That will help your resale value.
     
  14. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #14
    I understand that point, but those people are far and few between. The whole point of unlimited data is not having to worry about overages. Like seriously, 4GB for $110+ is just a tad too much imho.
     
  15. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #15
    Trust me, you're preaching to the choir here lol. :) If I had another option that was realistic, I wouldn't pay 4GB for $110. Actually it's going to be $150/mo since I'm activating 2 lines. My problem is that even at $70/mo each, it's only worth maybe 1/4th of the cost if you actually rely on the service for work/travel. Even in the Chicago/Indianapolis areas, T-Mobile would drop off to Edge or voice-only outside of the city. You can only imagine how frustrating it was to sit through a 4.5hr drive without data and sometimes even voice (i.e. 20miles outside of Indianapolis I had no service and a client was forced to leave me a voicemail).

    I'm not saying that Verizon is a saviour by any means, but at least the service
    works.
     
  16. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #16
    yeah i hear you. its one of the things im afraid of switching to tmobile, but they are working hard on upgrades, and they're doing a far lot better than sprint so im fairly confident as long as i stay away from rural areas, i should be okay.

    Ironically in many places where i have bad reception for AT&T, i have better reception on Tmobile.
     
  17. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #17
    I'm less concerned about the $200 ETF than the ongoing monthly loss of $70+. The necessity to provide my dad with an iPhone in the next few weeks just so happens to be a blessing for my own service needs. Common sense would tell you that all 4 carriers will differ based on where you live and even which street you live on...but I can't help reading complaints from T-Mobile customers living in SoCal and realizing that even in the most populous cities in the country, T-Mobile still has the same reception issues that you'd see in a city with a modest population of 150k. That's just insane to me. It almost makes you wonder if T-Mobile is investing the same amount of money in upgrading towers in cities that are 10-20x the size of others.

    I also find their "un-carrier" strategy a bit offensive to existing customers who were blindsided by this move. It's unethical to offer a monthly discount if the customer signs a contract and then a few months later begin restricting the changes that the customer can make to their account if they want to keep this "value plan" discount. I'm not passing 100% of the blame here, since it's all disclosed in the contract, but T-Mobile needs to accept responsibility for their part. In contrast to other carriers' business practices, T-Mobile customers weren't signing a 2-yr agreement for the purpose of receiving a device discount, but for the monthly discount of $10-$15 off the regular "classic" plans.

    Any sane individual will realize that locking someone into a contract for a discount and then effectively forcing them off the plan w/ the discount should be grounds for contract termination. Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint will promptly tell you that the 2-yr contract you signed allowed you to receive a device discount and wasn't tied to a specific rate plan. What is T-Mobile response? "You signed a contract because at that time, we required all postpaid customers to accept a 24-month agreement to activate service with us, regardless of a hardware discount or not." I don't know about you guys, but I'd much rather have Verizon give me SOMETHING tangible upfront in exchange for signing a contract. If Verizon discontinues my rate plan a month or two later and I want to make changes to my account, then I'm willing to accept that I need to change my rate plan to one that is currently offered. That's a fair deal to me.
     
  18. applegeek25 thread starter macrumors regular

    applegeek25

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Windsor, ON / Austin, TX
    #18
    I definitely understand where you're coming from. I'm not saying that Verizon and AT&T are cheap nor fair with their pricing, but at least you can see where your money is being spent. Verizon's LTE now covers 500 cities and AT&T LTE is available in over 413 markets now. Although T-Mobile is launching LTE nationwide, I wouldn't expect them to invest in upgrading/expanding coverage to rural/suburban areas. T-Mobile's acquisition of Metro PCS was a red flag to people who live 10+ miles outside of downtown.

    Lol please don't get me started on AT&T. My contract with them ended in mid 2011 and I couldn't wait to leave (and I'm sure they were dying to kick me off their network anyways). Although my contract had ended, I was told that because I moved and changed my phone number as a result, I wasn't eligible for a full upgrade until 5 months later (yes that's right. no contract and no upgrade available). 3 calls, 2 supervisors, and a 45-minute wait on hold left me with no options to upgrade to a new phone. My account was never past due and the rate plan/features were always the same. I'm assuming that denying me an upgrade was probably an attempt to kick me off the grandfathered unlimited data, $29.99 300min rate plan, and $5 unlimited texting. On top of this awesome plan, I was receiving a 22% corporate discount every month. :)
     

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