Carrier T-Mobile Speed/Coverage?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iPad Air, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. iPad Air macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    SC, USA
    I want to get a cellular iPad Air. Depending on what I hear about T-Mobiles's service will determine which carrier I go with.

    All of you folks who use/used T-Mobile give me the spill, how is the 4G speed?etc. I know the speed generally relies on good coverage.

    How reliable are connections?

    Can you roam around outside of the city and get good 4G?

    And any other thought that you have! Anything!

    Thank you all. :)
  2. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California
    Purchase the Verizon version which will give you the most flexibility. Then get a free T-Mobile SIM from their website and try out the free 200 MB account to see how their coverage is in your area.
  3. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    It shouldn't. iPads are unlocked and you can use any of them on other carriers subject to the carrier being stubborn. AT&T and T-Mobile are simple to get SIMs for, so best choice of ipad would be Verizon or Sprint depending on which you want as your third option.

    Really depends on where you are and what you mean by "outside of the city"

    Best is look at the coverage maps.
  4. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    I can't speak on how their service is in your area but I'll give you my take on their service quality here in the Charlotte area.

    I get 4G LTE pretty much all over the metro area. Speeds are usually around 20mbps down and 10mbps up. Building penetration isn't quite as good as Verizon so that's going to vary greatly depending on your house or workplace.

    Once you get about 40 miles outside the city, T-Mobile drops to 2G Edge along the highways. So in other words, they're excellent in the cities for data and slower Edge speeds in between cities. So if you plan on being on the road a lot or in rural areas, then I would probably go with Verizon instead. If you're going to spend the majority of your time in cities like I do, T-Mobile will work fine.

    I have my iPhone on T-Mobile and my iPad Mini on Verizon.
  5. mpantone, Dec 12, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013

    mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    You are asking the wrong people. Ask your neighbors: the people who live next door, work colleagues, fellow classmates, etc.

    If you have a friend who is a T-Mobile subscriber, invite them over to your house. During the course of the visit, ask them how their cellular reception is in your house. That is one piece of the puzzle answered right there.

    I live in Silicon Valley. T-Mobile's coverage -- even in densely populated areas -- can be rather spotty and often I find myself on 2G EDGE data. There's really no rhyme or reason to it, and coverage maps aren't accurate enough to show much detail.

    T-Mobile's coverage is definitely weaker than Verizon and AT&T in sparsely populated areas. T-Mobile simply has fewer cellular towers.

    When my iDevices do connect to T-Mobile's nascent LTE network, the speed is pretty good. Due to a lack of spectrum allocation, T-Mobile was late to the LTE party, but they did acquire some frequencies and finally started building out LTE with newer equipment than what Verizon and AT&T had installed, thus T-Mobile often has really excellent speed.

    If you work at medium sized corporation or attend a college, you may wish to contact the IT department. They would definitely know which carrier has the best overall performance in the local area, after all, they're the ones supporting huge groups of people.​

    I would not use a smattering of anecdotes from an anonymous tech bboard like MacRumors to select a mobile network operator.

    Despite all of its shortcomings, I am using T-Mobile USA, even if AT&T has better reception. The key factors in my decision is that I have reliable WiFi at home and at work; cellular reception is very weak inside my condo, but good enough for incoming voice calls. I use Google Voice VoIP for outgoing calls over WiFi.

    I am okay with getting EDGE connectivity in places where I infrequently find myself because I'm saving a pile of money with T-Mobile. I wish my phone was connecting to AT&T cellular towers, not T-Mobile's but AT&T (and its MVNOs) do not offer the same prepaid plan that I'm currently getting from T-Mobile.
  6. fanchee macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2009
    I bought the Verizon iPad and when I received it, immediately put in the T-mobile sim and signed up for the 200mb free service. You get what you pay for, at least where I live. It's ok at best while I'm in the city, but when I went to visit a small town last weekend, wouldn't work at all. But then again, Verizon isn't in the best in that small town, either.

    On the bright side, free is for me!
  7. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    If you're on tmobile postpaid do you get better coverage because of the roaming?
  8. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    This shouldn't be a difficult decision since you can easily put a tmobile or AT&T sim into any ipad and buy a block of prepaid data to try it out. Or use the free tmobile 200mb to try it out.

    Your not locked into anything.

    The only decision is whether you might want to use Verizon or sprint, in which case buy one of those, else buy any carrier. That's what's nice about iPads being unlocked, you have your choice of prepaid plans. As you figure out your actual typical monthly data usage you can switch to whichever carrier gives the best deal for that level of usage, assuming they have coverage where you need it.

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