Thinking of switching to T-mobile

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BruiserB, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. BruiserB macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    I've been thinking about switching over to T-mobile on my iPhone 4 which has been unlocked by AT&T.

    I'm thinking of signing up for the $30 unlimited text and data plan with 100 voice minutes. This plan can only be signed up for on the web and not in a store so I can't ask my question there.

    I would ultimately want to port over my existing AT&T number, but would only want to do that after seeing how good the coverage is in my area. Supposedly I'm in a refarmed data area but would want to see how well it actually works before cutting the AT&T service off.

    So my question is, can I just set up a new number with T-mobile and give it a try for a couple of weeks and then call up their customer service later and ask for my AT&T number to be ported over? Would there be any charge for doing this later rather than at the time of establishing service? Is this likely to be straight forward or will it be a hit or miss nightmare of trying to find a customer service person who knows what they're doing?

    Really hoping T-mobile can work for me, but would like to give it a test drive first! Used to be a customer until I left just for the iPhone.
  2. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Many folks are considering Tmobile. You will be disappointed anytime you're deep inside a building, be it an office building or even a mall.

    I say this from experience. As in, today, in the mall, I got no service. Likewise, when I'm in the office, little to no service depending on where I am inside the building (it doesn't take very far in to see service drop).

    If you're okay with that, Tmobile is a great way to save money.
  3. Jordan921 macrumors 601


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    You want to port over your number to take over the account you wanna start with them to try them out? I don't think that's possible but it's worth a try I guess
  4. BruiserB thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    I want to first sign up as a new customer and get a new number. Then try out the service and coverage to see if I like it. If all is good, then a few days later I want to port my current AT&T number over to replace the new one that T-mobile issued me. The goal in the end is to have T-mobile service with my current AT&T number. I just don't want to cut off AT&T until I'm sure the T-mobile service works well in my frequent areas...home, work, etc.
  5. psykick5 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2011
    I switched from T-Mo to Verizon. Never looking back.
  6. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    I think you can port over your number right away and port it right back to AT&T if you're not satisfied.

    It's what I did with Verizon. Ported my AT&T phone number to them (when the iP5 was released) and within ten days ported it right back to AT&T without much effort.

    Your hassle though is you may not be able to do so if your plan is offered on the net and not within a brick and mortar location?

    That might throw a monkey wrench into your plan, that is true. Don't know.
  7. cutienoua, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012

    cutienoua macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2012
    straight talk $45 no need to unlock phone

    left tmobile after 10+ years,tired of edge

    just for kicks, I've tried Nexus 4 with Tmobile
    internet was still Edge 90% of the time.
    I was like this is it! it's not only Iphone problem it's the network.
  8. tardman91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
    It really boils down to the coverage in your area. Where I live T-Mobile has excellent coverage and their HSPA+ signal is consistently 8+ mbps. As soon as they refarm my area for the iPhone (which is coming in the beginning of the year) I'm kicking Verizon to the curb and enjoying saving over $50/month.
  9. cutienoua, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012

    cutienoua macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2012
    drove Seattle to Spokane
    also have verizon iphone 5 and ipad mini verizon
    some route I stream music without a hitch
    I understand that everybody wants to save,but it comes down to how you want to use the phone
    I was with edge forever,not any more when 35Mb down are available!
    To be clear never had issue with voice,only slow data!
  10. unagimiyagi, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012

    unagimiyagi macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    Few of us, if we really think about it, need cell phones as mission critical devices. If you can allow for this truth to sink in, T-mobile is more than fine. If I was a cop, if I was a secret service agent, if I was a flight surgeon, if I was a ny times senior reporter, I would want a rock-solid cellphone. But I am not. And likely, my job would pay for my cellphone if I was in one of those occupations.

    So yes sometimes I get Edge when I might get 3G with AT&T...Sometimes my signal cuts out when AT&T would have one bar. But AT&T is twice as expensive as my T-mobile plan, with less than 5% better service. And my T-mobile data speed, which is everything these days, is faster when reception is not an issue (which is most of the time). When reception is an issue, I just walk to a different spot and I can at least make a phone call and get edge. It's not like I have a 1 mile wide dead zone of no reception. And I bet that for most of you in a city, that's the case as well. Cell phone service is a commodity much like running water and electricity these days. Just like we have highways across the nation now, we now have a wireless network that blankets the entire country. It's a solved problem for 99% of us, 99% of the time. And the cell phone carriers would like you to believe that it's not a solved problem b/c they want to differentiate. But the market is mature and the carriers want to keep raising prices to keep revenues up in order to keep their profits up and to keep their stock prices up. But there hasn't been any truly revolutionary to warrant the pretty large price differentials between Verizon and the budget carriers. I'm completely for the free market, but I'm glad that the FCC is regulating the companies more b/c you can't count on companies to do the ethical thing. It's just not in human nature and we've proven it, with unanimity throughout history. Cell phone carriers haven't wrapped their minds around the fact that there is no more ceiling for their product. It's not novel, and it doesn't deserve to be a exponentially expanding profit machine anymore. Normal businesses, they'd have to try to find a newer and better product to fuel growth, but the carriers would rather just tax you to death, invent fees, and mess around with overly complex pricing schemes that no doubt hurt the less savvy among us and/or bank on the fact that many people don't care as long as the bill is within reason. Normal competition rules do not apply in the cell phone carrier market, so it behooves you to leave the contract behind.

    I have not found T-mobile to be any worse than Sprint. I do not find AT&T to be markedly better in reception, and their network is congested more frequently than T-mobile's.

    The most important advice I can give anyone is not to sign a contract ever again. It's good for you and it's good for cell phone consumers collectively. Don't let companies grab you by the balls and ream you for stupid needless packages (e.g., $20 for text messaging, or pay a la carte) and stupid shared data plans b/c you signed a contract. Even if you can't afford say an iphone 5 unlocked, you can afford a NICE phone. Cell phones are advancing so fast that what was new and shiny 6 months ago, is now par for the course, and it'll be $300 or less unlocked no strings attached. Btw, if you do the math, even if you buy a brand new iphone 5 unlocked, you'll save > $600 in just two years.

    People say Verizon's reception is the best, which is probably true, but in no way shape or form would I personally pay their premium. I also favor being able to swap devices if needed on my own. I don't like CDMA technology.
  11. cutienoua macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2012
    while I agree with most of what you said, the lte devices you swap sim cards at whim
    I had used my sim between ipad mini on other devices and the sim from iphone 5 was in a razr before
  12. araje macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2012
    Glad I saw this thread. I am in the same situation. I use an unlocked iPhone 5 and am on tmobile for a long time. There is a ray of hope with this refarming thing going on. I still see 3G only on the roads and E when I am in a mall. I am hoping this improves over a period of time. The reception for voice is good no doubt. I am in a no contract 60$ plan which gives me unlimited voice text and 1gb high speed data. When in 3G I see a speed of 5-6Mbps in Phoenix.
  13. Mr Hill macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    Yes you can sign up for the tmobile $30 plan and port your number over later. As long as the AT&T number is active and not canceled the number can be ported. Tmobile is the way to go if you're in a refarmed area. Savings of over $50 per month. Wish they would hurry and refarm my area soon.
  14. BruiserB thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    This is exactly what I now plan to do. I have found other evidence online that it is possible to port the number after trying the service for a while with a new number. I would keep my AT&T service active until I'm ready to make the switch.

    I live in Minneapolis so I'm pretty confident I should get 3G speeds on my iPhone 4 as it has been announced as a refarmed area.

    I just don't know how far the coverage extends (just central cities or entire metro area)....I work in a near in suburb and a couple of years ago T-mobile installed repeaters inside my company as the signal used to be terrible in our large brick building. It will be interesting to see if the repeater has been refarmed as well. If not, I should still have good voice and edge data coverage in the building and my company has wi-fi access so I wouldn't suffer from slow data while at work.

    I've already got the sim card on order and will be giving this a go over the Holiday break. Hopefully can cut off AT&T before my next billing statement on Jan 1. I had already decided to forego the iPhone 5 and wait for the 5S and it now sounds like T-mobile plans to have some interesting plan offerings in place by the time the 5S launches. Might as well start saving some money now as I'm already out of contract on my 4.
  15. upnorth85 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    You might be interested to know my experience using an iPhone 5 on T-mobile. I was using a year old Samsung Galaxy s2. After Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile announced Minneapolis is now reframed with 1900 MHz frequency compatible with 3G on an iPhone 5 earlier this month. When Apple started selling unlocked GSM iPhone 5, I bought. My experience was horrendous due to the spotty and weak 3G coverage by T-mobile. I had missed and dropped calls not to mention very slow Internet. So after 2 weeks I retired my iPhone 5 until T-mobile's coverage improves here in Rogers, MN. I would warn anyone considering to buy an IPhone 5 for use on T-mobile's network. You are better off on AT&T or Verizon. T-mobile is not yet ready though they claim 23 cities are now ready for iPhone 5 covering 100 million population.
    T-mobile's 4G coverage not compatible with iPhone is fine. I also like their Wi-Fi calling on most phones that allow you to call for free from anywhere in the world where there is Internet. I routinely travel to rural areas and all I need to have access to my phone is to walk in to a McDonalds to access the phone network.

    You will save money but you get what you pay. Check out web site for iPhone coverage and also check out root metrics cellphone coverage app for real t-mobile'scoverage. Neville Ray while he brags about iPhone coverage, he refuses to provide consumers such as yourself any coverage map that shows 1900 MHz coverage. If they do so, they will have to pull down their bring your iPhone to T-mobile marketing campaign. Worse, Apple might just change their intention to partner with T-mobile. So the question to you is, would you move your iPhone to a company that refuses to show you their data coverage maps? If yes, jump on board. If not wait for feedback from users on this forum. Many have used Edge for years and are happy just to see 3G once in a while. People like me had 4G and I refuse to go back to edge on such a fine phone as iPhone 5.

  16. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    If only they had some type of setup where you could make a "call" and talk to "someone".
  17. BruiserB thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    Thanks for sharing your experience! Especially in the MSP market. I live in the city itself and work just west of downtown within the 494/694 ring and don't use my phone outside of that very much at all. I'm surprised you have missed/dropped calls though, because don't they depend on a regular GSM voice connection rather than the actual 3G signal? That is I thought the voice signal was distinct from the data signal (hence the reason you can use data and talk at the same time on T-mobile and AT&T). That may speak to T-mobile's overall weak coverage in your area....I used to use them from the PowerTel days when I lived in Atlanta and then in Minneapolis from roughly 2004 to 2006 and loved them. Voice coverage was sufficient for me, especially after T-mo put their repeater in my workplace.

    I like your comment about thier wi-fi calling that they offer on other phones. Last week they hinted that their iPhone offering would be substantially different than what other carriers have. I wonder if they are planning to offer some sort of plan where you primarily use data for calling (or at least wi-fi when available) and then only use traditional voice signal when there's no data/wi-fi?
  18. BruiserB thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    And also to answer the above question about being willing to move to a company where you can't see the coverage maps.....

    That's exactly why I want to try it before porting my number and discontinuing AT&T service! I want to take them for a test drive on my normal usage areas before making a final decision. Now paying roughly $110 a month for 2 lines with 450 shared minutes and 2GB data plans on each. Hardly use any voice minutes and have thousands rolled over on AT&T. Have occasionally bumped up just over the 2GB on my line and gotten dinged for an extra $10. So if I could cut that $110 bill down to $60, it would be worth it! Just have to make sure both lines work well at home and both workplaces. Will probably activate one T-mo sim and then have each of us carry it in our phone for a couple of days of going to work and at home before deciding.
  19. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Yeah, and for me that was a big factor in deciding to stay with Verizon. I need excellent coverage indoors.
  20. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Used T-Mobile forever since I was a kid in High School (97-2009). Loved the T-Mobile Catherine Zeta-Jones commercials... .... :) Moved to Verizon and it was like a night and day difference in network speeds, coverage, and ... heck... Verizon just has reception everywhere. You get what you pay for.

    One of my relatives on T-Mobile is in tears waiting for their contract to end so they can head over to Verizon. Don't blame them. Yeah, bill is going to go up but like one of the posters said in this thread - your cellphone is becoming a mission critical device. So true. I don't have a home telephone, my cellphone is my only #. I'll pay a few more bucks.
  21. jwlbel macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    I did the same thing when I decided to leave AT&T. I ported my # over to Verizon. When I got no signal inside my house with Verizon I ported my number back to AT&T. No problem.
  22. BruiserB thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 9, 2008
    I know I could port over and then back if I hated T-mobile, but I have data plans (2GB for $25) that fit me well and are no longer available. So if I discontinued service and came back I'd have to select new plans and my bill would go up at least another $10 per month. So I want to try T-mobile out BEFORE leaving AT&T and then port my number over only once I'm happy with the service.
  23. upnorth85 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    The higher the frequency the lower the wall penetration capability. So 1900 is the weakest and 850 Mhz the strongest in being able to penetrate walls and buildings. T-mobile's 3G is exclusive the weakest 1900 Mhz frequency.
  24. Jades macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2012
    Ever used Clear WiMAX and their 2500 MHz frequency? Ouch! So much worse
    Only got signal outdoors. Very rarely indoors

    And believe it or not, Verizon's 3G service uses 1900 MHz!

    AT&T also started off with 1900 MHz on their 3G network
  25. adeedew, Dec 17, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012

    adeedew macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2005
    im in the same boat. Why don't you just get a sim from Tmobile, buy one of their month to month plans and try it out for a month in conjunction w/ keeping your att acct and number? Either swap out your sim and try it around town or carry another iphone (i realize many people don't have extra iphones sitting around) and try it out, i don't think you're going to get an answer that you're happy with until you try it yourself.
    That's what i'm doing, when tmobile lights up the rest of Los Angeles next month, it's going to be pretty easy to leave Verizon, I like never have to think about a damn thing data plans and i like saving $, i also don't like the CDMA network, try juggling more than 1 call at a time on verizon or sprint iphone's, complete nightmare if you're coming from att and are used to how smooth that process is on GSM networks. You already know you can talk and suft on 3g with tmobile and att, not on verizon or sprint iphone's if you dig that feature or as i put it, give the iphone the full potential it was made more, i.e. not crippling features others enjoy.

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