I May be Committing T-Mobile

I’ve been with Verizon for several years, and have been basically happy with their service. Recently, I’ve even been pretty happy with their pricing – it’s come down, overall, for what we use. Service at my house is a little sketchy, but that’s partially because my house is a virtual Faraday cage. Getting any kind of signal inside is hard (I’m looking into an outdoor antenna and indoor femtocell). I’ve even enjoyed Verizon’s deal with the NFL, giving me an option to stream games (over my crappy CenturyLink DSL line) now that I’ve cut the TV cord.

But damn, T-Mobile has been putting together a pretty compelling option.

  • No contract. Everyone’s basically ditching contracts, though, and I like it.
  • BingeOn. The ability to stream Netflix and Hulu without counting against my data cap? Um, yes. And yes, I know it’s 480p quality, and when I’m watching on my phone – essentially an animated postcard – that’s fine. Oh, also, I’m getting a microwave antenna on the roof next week to replace my craptastic CenturyLink DSL. So streaming at home will be in HD over that new connection, anyway. I just want to be able to catch up on Daredevil while I’m on the treadmill, and BingeOn should make that a lot cheaper.
  • Unlimited data option for phones. Tablets don’t get this, and T-Mo is pretty clear about what “unlimited” means. After 23GB of use per device, that device gets speed throttled for the rest of the period. That’s fine with me – it’s more than double the data allowance I have with Verizon anyway.
  • Tethering. On the unlimited plan, a separate 15GB bucket is available for tethering your laptop. Again, that alone is more than my total data cap with Verizon.
  • No sharing. This is actually a bit of a downside, as I’m ending up buying more data total across two phones and two tablets than I will probably ever use. But that’s only costing me about $10/mo extra, so it’s not a big deal. But I had gotten used to the Giant Shared Bucket. Of course, I’m going from a flat 12GB bucket to a 58GB bucket split across four devices, so… OK.
  • Canada and Mexico. T-Mo lets me use my LTE data and texting throughout North America for no extra fee. No roaming. This is big for me, as I get to Mexico a good bit, and am used to dropping another $50 per trip to use data there.
  • No international roaming for data or texts, and $.20/min voice calls from overseas. OMG this is huge for me. Huge. Sure, in some countries (yay, Finland!) it’s cheap and easy to get a prepaid SIM for a week or two; in other countries (boo, France!) it’s all but impossible for visitors due to anti-terrorism laws. Being able to use my data – even if it’s just at 3G speeds – overseas is massive for me.
  • Rollover data. As if all that data weren’t enough, unused data on my tablet plans (which are 6GB/mo, the lowest plan offering rollover) rolls over for up to a year. If I do this, I’ll start the tablets here. I’m honestly not sure I need 6GB a month anyway – I may end up knocking the tablets to the lowest 2GB plan, which doesn’t offer all the same international and rollover benefits, so we’ll see. It’d be a $120/year savings per tablet (times two tablets), so it’s significant enough that I’ll be paying close attention.

So I’m kind buying the whole “un-carrier” hype. We’ll see; T-Mo used to have pretty awful coverage in Vegas, and they’ve invested hugely. They just bought naming rights for our new stadium, too, which should incentivize them to providing pretty solid coverage here. I’ll keep ya posted.

9 thoughts on “I May be Committing T-Mobile

  1. Ed Aldrich

    Don, what is on the other end of that microwave antenna on your roof? Where is the source??? VERY interested in your DSL issues!!!

  2. Paul Saldanha

    hey don, love your talks at various techeds/last ignite. we switched to tmo last summer due to job change. the big driver was 10gb/device and no roam charge in Canada. we are up there a lot due to my son’s hockey. I regularly use bingeon feature at lunch at my desk and never come close to using all the data. the biggest downside is coverage. since we are usually driving to Canada from pdx the coverage is spotty to non-existent as we travel between large populated areas. along the I5 corridor is tolerable but driving east through the gorge or central/eastern WA forget about it. could be the older lumia 925s but I doubt it. still, since most of my usage is within Portland, we are happy with the switch from Verizon.

  3. rickvanover

    Poor service in rural areas and the International data is really unusably slow, especially indoors deep and afield.

    Lastly, the Droid devices just have it right. I don’t fancy the Samsung experience.

  4. BladeFireLight

    I was on tmobile for over 10 years and loved it. Then I moved to the Omaha area and while the advertise heavily here they have no coverage. I had to switch to Verizon. Don’t trust the coverage map. Check with actual customers

  5. Nicholas Head (@backpackhasjetz)

    I can’t stand Verizon due to their aging network/non-global standards. I had AT&T forever, but recently switched to T-Mobile and have had a pretty decent experience. Indoor reception has been poor in some places due to their frequencies, but supposedly will be getting better soon. Speed is great (and better than AT&T on average). Customer service has been great. BladeFireLight is right, their coverage map is not accurate. I’ve found at least one area that is totally dead where their map says it has LTE. I’ve reported it, but all they can tell me is a “complaint number”. No updates on resolving the coverage issue.

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