Carrier T-Mobile vs. AT&T in NYC

NotJohnnyQuest

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 26, 2009
73
2
So I'm on AT&T with an iPhone 3GS right now, and I'm lucky enough to be grandfathered into their unlimited data plan. However, T-Mobile's free global data is really appealing to me for the 3 or 4 weeks out of the year I travel, and for keeping in touch with international friends. I know T-Mobile claims to offer unlimited data, although in the past this was capped at certain amounts. Do these caps still exist?

I spend most of my time in New York City, where I'd imagine T-Mobile's network would have to be pretty good at this point. Bottom line: is the global data a good enough reason to jump to T-Mobile for me when I upgrade my iPhone? Or should I stick with my grandfathered unlimited plan through AT&T?
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,872
1,531
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
In terms of reliability alone, stick to AT&T. By the way, the days of Verizon being king of cell reception and reliability in NYC are coming to an end. With the roll out of LTE, Verizon has had majors head aches and hiccups in NYC area.
 
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AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,890
941
Not just in NYC. The rollout of LTE has led to hiccups nationwide.
Even with these hiccups, VZW (and AT&T) seem to run a more reliable network across the nation. There is consistency to their networks. This can't be said for their competition, where one might have "islands" of good service, surrounded by a sea of non-working/slow data.
 
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CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,377
1,138
Charlotte, NC
Looks like you should go with T-Mobile. Higher speeds and REAL unlimited data, plus your global data roaming. The network reliability posted doesn't look to be a big enough difference to stick with AT&T grandfathered "unlimited" and exorbitant international roaming rates. Whatever you do, just stay away from Sprint.
 
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NotJohnnyQuest

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 26, 2009
73
2
Thanks for the input, all (especially AutoUnion).

Yeah, leaning more and more strongly towards T-Mo. I also see that I save $200 up front on the 5S with them. Combined with the free international roaming, this could actually save me a few hundred dollars.

I'm a bit uncertain as to what exactly the lower reliability ranking for T-Mobile means for me in the real world. T-Mobile seems to perform comparatively to AT&T in all the submetrics.

I am aware that AT&T is an overall better network, especially when you're taking about nationwide coverage, but I'm thinking the cost savings with T-Mobile might just be worth it..
 
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NotJohnnyQuest

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 26, 2009
73
2
Bear in mind, if you do ditch AT&T and your unlimited grandfathered plan, you will loose it for good. Be sure to factor the value a unlimited plan offers as well.

For instance, consider 'selling' your unlimited data plan instead of killing it.
Yes, this is the main thing that's holding me back. Is there a way to "sell" the unlimited plan? I would want to take my current phone number to T-Mobile.


One more question: I know T-Mobile's free international roaming is pretty new, but has anyone actually had any experience with it yet? Because if the free data were Edge speeds.. that would kind of suck.
 
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barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,104
1,868
Manhattan
Yes, this is the main thing that's holding me back. Is there a way to "sell" the unlimited plan? I would want to take my current phone number to T-Mobile.


One more question: I know T-Mobile's free international roaming is pretty new, but has anyone actually had any experience with it yet? Because if the free data were Edge speeds.. that would kind of suck.
The international free data is indeed Edge speed -- though it's still great that T-mobile offers it at all.

Keep in mind that outside NYC and other select major cities in the U.S. T-Mobiles data drops to Edge and general coverage is very spotty. The charts above give the impression that T-Mobiles service is comparable to AT&T -- but that's just not the case right now. This may not be an issue for you though.

If you didn't have grandfathered unlimited on AT&T then I'd definitely say switch to T-Mobile. However, as it stands I'd stick with AT&T and perhaps consider paying for an unlocked iPhone you can stick a local sim into.
 
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nickprete11

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
146
0
Philadelphia
I'm a recent switcher to T-Mobile from AT&T. I'm very much satisfied with T-Mobile, and I haven't hit EDGE once, and I don't live near a big city, the closest one is Philadelphia and that's an hour away. But anyway, I live in the suburbs and have great service. The general outlook on T-Mobile is that they're horrible outside of a big city, but that simply isn't true for most areas.
 
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jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,872
1,531
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I'm a recent switcher to T-Mobile from AT&T. I'm very much satisfied with T-Mobile, and I haven't hit EDGE once, and I don't live near a big city, the closest one is Philadelphia and that's an hour away. But anyway, I live in the suburbs and have great service. The general outlook on T-Mobile is that they're horrible outside of a big city, but that simply isn't true for most areas.
Keywords: most areas


Down here in New Orleans, if you step outside the metro area for a couple of miles and your T-Mobile signal goes from strong HSPA+ to good HSPA and finally to horrible/spotty EDGE. This is the case for all south Louisiana.

Well, you might wonder how I know? Two of my friends switched from T-Mobile to AT&T due to this curious phenomenon.
 
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Col Ronson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2008
619
2
Thanks for the input, all (especially AutoUnion).

Yeah, leaning more and more strongly towards T-Mo. I also see that I save $200 up front on the 5S with them. Combined with the free international roaming, this could actually save me a few hundred dollars.

I'm a bit uncertain as to what exactly the lower reliability ranking for T-Mobile means for me in the real world. T-Mobile seems to perform comparatively to AT&T in all the submetrics.

I am aware that AT&T is an overall better network, especially when you're taking about nationwide coverage, but I'm thinking the cost savings with T-Mobile might just be worth it..
The difference in the rankings between Tmo and VZW and AT&T are inconsequential. Now Sprint on the other hand...that's just lmao worthy. It's kinda depressing how much they try, and fail.

I too use Tmobile, and get consistent LTE/HSPA+ in all major cities. Going on rural roadtrips however, you'll hit EDGE a lot. You might hit edge in large warehouse stores that don't exist in manhattan anyways.
 
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Apple Trees

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2013
261
0
Verizon = High speed LTE data pretty much everywhere. Can't remember the last time I saw the "3G" symbol on my iPhone
AT&T = Not quite as good as Verizon coverage but better than the other 2
T-Mobile = Good inside the cities, trash every else
Sprint = Bad almost everywhere. Slow data speeds even in the cities. The Rootmetrics scores someone posted above support this.

I recommend you just stay with AT&T unless you spend most of your time in NYC, then TMO might be acceptable.
 
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NotJohnnyQuest

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 26, 2009
73
2
I too use Tmobile, and get consistent LTE/HSPA+ in all major cities. Going on rural roadtrips however, you'll hit EDGE a lot. You might hit edge in large warehouse stores that don't exist in manhattan anyways.
Yeah, although I do find it's harder to keep a signal when you walk deep into buildings in Manhattan sometimes. My signal with AT&T is actually spotty right now inside my own apartment that faces the back. Wouldn't want it to get any worse.


I'm aware of how valuable the unlimited data on AT&T is, but I only use 1.5GB a month on average. I could even go with the 2.5 GB of data on T-Mobile and save more (how much do they throttle you after you pass your limit--to 3G speeds? I could live with that).

Paying for an unlocked phone and then paying for sim cards in different countries doesn't appeal to me too much; I like the idea of being able to keep my US number while traveling.
 
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AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,890
941
Yes, this is the main thing that's holding me back. Is there a way to "sell" the unlimited plan? I would want to take my current phone number to T-Mobile.
You can't sell your plan and keep your number. The buyers get your number.

One more question: I know T-Mobile's free international roaming is pretty new, but has anyone actually had any experience with it yet? Because if the free data were Edge speeds.. that would kind of suck.
It is EDGE. You have to pay for higher speeds.

 
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yeah

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2011
945
104
I think AT&T and T-Mobile both cover New York City very well, especially since it is the business capital of the USA. :D
 
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NotJohnnyQuest

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 26, 2009
73
2
You can't sell your plan and keep your number. The buyers get your number.

Image
When I transfer my current number to T-Mobile, does that cancel my AT&T plan? Or can I keep the AT&T plan and have it changed to another number, and then transfer it to someone else?
 
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jamezr

macrumors G5
Aug 7, 2011
13,271
11,419
US
When I transfer my current number to T-Mobile, does that cancel my AT&T plan? Or can I keep the AT&T plan and have it changed to another number, and then transfer it to someone else?
I have ported number from one carrier to another and it usually takes about 15 minutes. Just do not cancel the service yet until the number is ported. Once the number imported it cancels it on the old carrier to make it active on the new carrier.
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/portability-keeping-your-phone-number-when-changing-service-providers
 
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AutoUnion39

macrumors 601
Jun 21, 2010
4,890
941
When I transfer my current number to T-Mobile, does that cancel my AT&T plan? Or can I keep the AT&T plan and have it changed to another number, and then transfer it to someone else?
What I understand is that when you initiate the port, the account automatically closes and AT&T will send you the final bill. You can't port out your number and put a new number on the old account.
 
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jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,872
1,531
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
When I transfer my current number to T-Mobile, does that cancel my AT&T plan? Or can I keep the AT&T plan and have it changed to another number, and then transfer it to someone else?
Let me repeat myself. If you plan on selling your unlimited data plan, you will loose your current number. If you port your number from AT&T to T-Mobile, your data plan will be lost.

Porting also opens a new account in T-Mobile and cancels/closes your account with AT&T. AT&T will send you a final bill if you owe anything and all active plans will (once again) be terminated/killed.



If you plan on moving your carrier, please consider selling your data plan instead of killing it. The value of that unlimited data can't be overstated.
 
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