T-Mobile in Detroit Burbs with AT&T 4S & 5?

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
I'm considering switching to TMobile, as my bill would be half of what it is with AT&T. Plus, getting tired of AT&T restrictions/practice on things like restricting built in functionality (Facetime on iOS devices, video on Google Hangouts on Android devices, Charging extra for tethering, etc). Currently live in the northern burbs of Detroit. Does anyone on here have any experience with an AT&T 4S and/or 5 unlocked and now on Tmobile who lives roughly in this area? I have both phones (my wife's and mine), and was wondering what your experience has been like. Are you still glad you switched? Are you noticing any pitfalls, or especially bad coverage areas? Are you getting LTE on the iP5 yet?

I spend 90%+ of my time in this area, as I don't travel for work, so only occasional vacations would be of issue, but since it's a vacation, it's not a huge deal if I lose coverage for a bit while travelling.
 

paulbennett95

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2012
581
0
Long Island, NY
If you're asking about non-AWS 4G you can check airportal.de to see if anyone reported 1900mhz "4G" (supported by AT&T iPhones) in your area.

I have no experience there, but from my experiences in NY and FL it's pretty good coverage. I average around 5mbps down and 1.5mbps up with the 1900mhz "4G"
 

mmberry1

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2012
61
7
I switched last month and I'm saving a ton. I live west of Detroit and the coverage is great I get 4G pretty much all over the metro Detroit area. No lte yet but I know its coming. As for using att iPhones I have an iPhone 5 and two 4s that I am using on tmobile and they all work to perfection. If I had one complaint it would be that if 4G is unavailable, your bumped down to edge but its been rare for me anyway. Best part is I have the unlimited 4G and I'm not throttled which is great! Hope this helps.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
Thanks Paul. I'm looking at that site. Thanks for including your experience with 1900Mhz "4G".

Thanks mmberry1. That's exactly the kind of report I was looking for. Obviously, I expect that it will be a little bit different for everyone, as we all live/work in different places, but if we live in the same metro area, and likely tend to go to the same public places (downtown, malls, etc), it's nice to hear what other people's experiences are like. So it sounds like you don't regret the switch at all? It wasn't too big of a difference going from AT&T LTE on the 5 to the 4G (hopefully, just temporarily, until TMob gets thier LTE going - I'm hearing late May, early June for Detroit)? Does the iP5 on tmobile seem to be any faster than the 4S, or are they the same until LTE gets going? I think the answer is the same, but just wanted to confirm. Thanks for the report.

Anyone else in the D with experiences with this type of switch?
 

hexonxonx

macrumors 601
Jul 4, 2007
4,610
1
Denver Colorado
I'm considering switching to TMobile, as my bill would be half of what it is with AT&T. Plus, getting tired of AT&T restrictions/practice on things like restricting built in functionality (Facetime on iOS devices, video on Google Hangouts on Android devices, Charging extra for tethering, etc). Currently live in the northern burbs of Detroit. Does anyone on here have any experience with an AT&T 4S and/or 5 unlocked and now on Tmobile who lives roughly in this area? I have both phones (my wife's and mine), and was wondering what your experience has been like. Are you still glad you switched? Are you noticing any pitfalls, or especially bad coverage areas? Are you getting LTE on the iP5 yet?

I spend 90%+ of my time in this area, as I don't travel for work, so only occasional vacations would be of issue, but since it's a vacation, it's not a huge deal if I lose coverage for a bit while travelling.
I've been using a 4S on T-Mobile since February and have been very happy with it. Here in Denver, the service has been more reliable than AT&T in that I actually have very fast speeds at my house where as with AT&T, I can barely get 0.50Mbps if I am lucky.

I also have a Nexus 4 on T-Mobile and since this phone is made for T-Mobiles frequencies, I often get 5Mbps or more when my 4S can only get edge.

With the money I'm saving over AT&T, I can keep three T-Mobile accounts open, two for the phones and one for my Nexus 7 tablet.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
I've been using a 4S on T-Mobile since February and have been very happy with it. Here in Denver, the service has been more reliable than AT&T in that I actually have very fast speeds at my house where as with AT&T, I can barely get 0.50Mbps if I am lucky.

I also have a Nexus 4 on T-Mobile and since this phone is made for T-Mobiles frequencies, I often get 5Mbps or more when my 4S can only get edge.

With the money I'm saving over AT&T, I can keep three T-Mobile accounts open, two for the phones and one for my Nexus 7 tablet.
Thanks, hexonxonx. So you definitely notice more reliable speeds with the device from T-Mobile, it sounds like. Was wondering about that too, as was wondering if it's worth getting an iP5 on T-Mobile and passing my AT&T iP5 on to my wife (who doesn't use the data plan that much), and then sell her AT&T 4S (to help pay for the T-Mob iP5).

I know Denver is different from Detroit, and coverage will vary, but do you find yourself bumping down to Edge quite often on the 4S?

Anyone else from Detroit with anyone first hand experience with this type of switch?
 

coolio93

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2013
296
49
Houston, TX
Thanks, hexonxonx. So you definitely notice more reliable speeds with the device from T-Mobile, it sounds like. Was wondering about that too, as was wondering if it's worth getting an iP5 on T-Mobile and passing my AT&T iP5 on to my wife (who doesn't use the data plan that much), and then sell her AT&T 4S (to help pay for the T-Mob iP5).

I know Denver is different from Detroit, and coverage will vary, but do you find yourself bumping down to Edge quite often on the 4S?

Anyone else from Detroit with anyone first hand experience with this type of switch?
I am in Houston and had the non tmobile iphone 5 for a bit. While coverage was ok, it was still very spotty and was annoying to be bumped down to edge when I needed the fast Internet. I upgraded to the tmobile version of the iphone 5 and am happy to say that I am very pleased. I get 4G everywhere even in the outer suburb that I live in. Internet is definitely faster...im always pulling in no less than 10 mb. My recommendation is that you take the time to either trade in your iPhones for the tmobile version at the tmobile store, or sell them on eBay or Craigslist and get the tmobile version of the 5. The hassle is more than worth it. Plus u get HD voice on the tmobile version
 

hexonxonx

macrumors 601
Jul 4, 2007
4,610
1
Denver Colorado
Thanks, hexonxonx. So you definitely notice more reliable speeds with the device from T-Mobile, it sounds like. Was wondering about that too, as was wondering if it's worth getting an iP5 on T-Mobile and passing my AT&T iP5 on to my wife (who doesn't use the data plan that much), and then sell her AT&T 4S (to help pay for the T-Mob iP5).

I know Denver is different from Detroit, and coverage will vary, but do you find yourself bumping down to Edge quite often on the 4S?

Anyone else from Detroit with anyone first hand experience with this type of switch?
Yes, when I am out driving, it switches to edge half the time, something my Nexus 4 never does. The T-mobile iPhone 5 would be as reliable on T-Mobiles service as my Nexus 4 is because they are both made for T-Mobile.
 

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,042
1,805
Manhattan
Just about the facetime bit--AT&T announced that they will allow facetime over cellular for unlimited LTE customers starting in June.

(I assume you're on unlimited -- since you can't use facetime.)
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
I am in Houston and had the non tmobile iphone 5 for a bit. While coverage was ok, it was still very spotty and was annoying to be bumped down to edge when I needed the fast Internet. I upgraded to the tmobile version of the iphone 5 and am happy to say that I am very pleased. I get 4G everywhere even in the outer suburb that I live in. Internet is definitely faster...im always pulling in no less than 10 mb. My recommendation is that you take the time to either trade in your iPhones for the tmobile version at the tmobile store, or sell them on eBay or Craigslist and get the tmobile version of the 5. The hassle is more than worth it. Plus u get HD voice on the tmobile version
Thanks Coolio93. That's what I was thinking too. Might really be worth it.

----------

Yes, when I am out driving, it switches to edge half the time, something my Nexus 4 never does. The T-mobile iPhone 5 would be as reliable on T-Mobiles service as my Nexus 4 is because they are both made for T-Mobile.
Again, further making me think about trading in/up.

----------

Just about the facetime bit--AT&T announced that they will allow facetime over cellular for unlimited LTE customers starting in June.

(I assume you're on unlimited -- since you can't use facetime.)
Yeah, I saw that yesterday. My beef is that they play these games, and then try to come off sounding like they are doing us a favor now, and that it wasn't their choice before. I'm just tired of them trying to nickle and dime their faithful long time customers. Time to make a statement. It may not do much, but at least it makes me feel better, and I stop giving them my money.

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Anyone else from the Metro Detroit area that has done the switch? Was hoping to get a few more opinions from this area (although I do appreciate everyone elses too!).
 

moizsb

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2013
5
0
Any new reports in the Detroit area?
Using my unlocked ATT iPhone in the Detroit suburbs (Southfield, Farmington, etc) 4G service is spotty. I have noticed that in areas where a Tmobile Sony Xperia Z gets 4G (HSPA+), the ATT Iphone is only getting Edge network signal. There's definitely an advantage to switching to TMobile's iPhone 5, at least in this region right now.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
Using my unlocked ATT iPhone in the Detroit suburbs (Southfield, Farmington, etc) 4G service is spotty. I have noticed that in areas where a Tmobile Sony Xperia Z gets 4G (HSPA+), the ATT Iphone is only getting Edge network signal. There's definitely an advantage to switching to TMobile's iPhone 5, at least in this region right now.
Yes, that's what I wound up doing. Took my AT&T iP5 to the Apple store and talked them into exchanging it for one of the ones with the that support both the AT&T and TMobile bands. Now on TMobile, and really liking it so far. Especially for the price (half of what I was paying on AT&T).
 

apollo1444

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2011
1,305
5
mexico
Yes, that's what I wound up doing. Took my AT&T iP5 to the Apple store and talked them into exchanging it for one of the ones with the that support both the AT&T and TMobile bands. Now on TMobile, and really liking it so far. Especially for the price (half of what I was paying on AT&T).
do they exchange aws i5's just like that?
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
do they exchange aws i5's just like that?
Some people have been having luck getting them to do it, as it appears that Apple is only stocking the updated GSM iP5's which support the AWS for Tmobile as well as the existing bands for AT&T, since its easier to have one device.

See this thread below where it's been discussed for while.
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1572942

Some people (myself included) were able to get them swap it by just being honest with them about why we wanted it swapped (it's the same phone, same hardware, just the software isn't enabled to allow use of the AWS bands on the old version). Other people have "exaggerated" and made up other "issues" with their current device in order to get a swap. You just need to verify the serial number on the device to know for sure.
 

moizsb

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2013
5
0
Some people have been having luck getting them to do it, as it appears that Apple is only stocking the updated GSM iP5's which support the AWS for Tmobile as well as the existing bands for AT&T, since its easier to have one device.

See this thread below where it's been discussed for while.
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1572942

Some people (myself included) were able to get them swap it by just being honest with them about why we wanted it swapped (it's the same phone, same hardware, just the software isn't enabled to allow use of the AWS bands on the old version). Other people have "exaggerated" and made up other "issues" with their current device in order to get a swap. You just need to verify the serial number on the device to know for sure.
Honesty is the best policy! I'll try the exchange at Apple store this week and post what happened.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
Honesty is the best policy! I'll try the exchange at Apple store this week and post what happened.
Good luck! Hope it works out for you! Also, check the link I sent, and find in it the link to the Apple Support Article that details the difference in the phones and which ones should be used on the AWS network. I printed that and brought it with me for support, so they could see that I did my homework and knew what I was talking about.
 

SBA

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2008
85
8
No lte yet in Detroit? I thought I read TMo had coverage there now.

Hopefully soon though - I'm looking to make that same switch from AT&T.
 

moizsb

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2013
5
0
No lte yet in Detroit? I thought I read TMo had coverage there now.

Hopefully soon though - I'm looking to make that same switch from AT&T.
There is LTE in metro detroit, but most areas without LTE are HSPA+. On T-mobile iPhone this HSPA+ works without issues, the ATT iPhone doesn't "pick up" that HSPA+ signal and instead delivers the Edge GPRS network, which as you know is quite slow.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
There is LTE in metro detroit, but most areas without LTE are HSPA+. On T-mobile iPhone this HSPA+ works without issues, the ATT iPhone doesn't "pick up" that HSPA+ signal and instead delivers the Edge GPRS network, which as you know is quite slow.
Technically, the AT&T iPhone can pick up TMobile HSPA+, but only the band on the refarmed 1900Mhz frequency. It can't pick up the TMobile native AWS HSPA+. So, you can get some HSPA+ on TMobile, but not all HSPA+ on Tmobile. You'll see a lot less Edge with a Tmobile iPhone 5.
 

SBA

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2008
85
8
I picked up an unlocked iPhone 5 back in December, which just started having issues - got it swapped at the Apple Store the other day, and the new one is compatible with T-Mo (has AWS band for 3g).

That's what is making the switch even more enticing for me. I'm hopeful I don't end up on Edge half the time though. I may end up making the jump anyway.
 

moizsb

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2013
5
0
Apple store genius refused to exchange my unlocked att iphone 5 for a tmobile iphone 5, when I cited the AWS band issue. His rationale was that I purchased an ATT iPhone and he could exchange it with the same exact model, but not a different one. Although it's frustrating, I understand that there's a policy behind it which I agreed to when I purchased the phone.

@kmichalec: at which apple store were you able to do your exchange? I tried the twelve oaks one, no luck.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
Apple store genius refused to exchange my unlocked att iphone 5 for a tmobile iphone 5, when I cited the AWS band issue. His rationale was that I purchased an ATT iPhone and he could exchange it with the same exact model, but not a different one. Although it's frustrating, I understand that there's a policy behind it which I agreed to when I purchased the phone.

@kmichalec: at which apple store were you able to do your exchange? I tried the twelve oaks one, no luck.
Sorry to hear. I did it at the Partridge Creek store.

Based on the reason that the Apple Genius cited for why they couldn't, you have to kind of reiterate that you are attempting to exchange it for the same phone. There is no physical hardware difference in what you have, and what you are attempting to exchange it for. Both phones have the same hardware in it to get both AT&T and TMobile bands. The only difference is that Apple now has enabled the firmware to use the hardware to pick up the AWS bands in the latest models. It sounds to me like maybe the Apple Genius wasn't aware of that fact, if they reiterated that the it's different hardware.

Did you bring a copy of the Apple Support Article too?
 

moizsb

macrumors newbie
Jul 28, 2013
5
0
Sorry to hear. I did it at the Partridge Creek store.

Based on the reason that the Apple Genius cited for why they couldn't, you have to kind of reiterate that you are attempting to exchange it for the same phone. There is no physical hardware difference in what you have, and what you are attempting to exchange it for. Both phones have the same hardware in it to get both AT&T and TMobile bands. The only difference is that Apple now has enabled the firmware to use the hardware to pick up the AWS bands in the latest models. It sounds to me like maybe the Apple Genius wasn't aware of that fact, if they reiterated that the it's different hardware.

Did you bring a copy of the Apple Support Article too?
I did bring a copy of the Apple Support Article, and the apple store genius was adamant that it is difference in hardware, not just firmware and that Qualcomm is to blame.
 

kmichalec

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2010
807
198
Hmmm. That's not the way I understood it to be, but ok. I wondering if they are starting to crack down on swapping those out.

I'd say give it one more try at a different store, and then if not, it sure looks like your phone is having WiFi issues and that should warrant a swap (which will get you a new one with AWS supported)...;)