Remember back in January when T-Mobile announced they would pay early termination fees (ETF) if you switched to their service? In laymen’s terms, T-Mobile will “break up” with your current wireless carrier for you and cover any fees. As a tech savvy individual, I had previously tried out T-Mobile and found that it worked well in the majority of places I frequented, except while at work (more on this later). So after 5 years in a committed relationship with Verizon, I left them for T-Mobile, or it could be that I had 2 unused lines under contract, and I figured “what the hey” and took advantage of their offer. There are some catches, I had to trade in a device, purchase a new one and then wait about 2 months before T-Mobile sent me the ETF check.
As I mentioned before, there is “less-then-stellar” coverage at my work place. To some of you, this is would be a huge deal breaker but I can overlook this. I work in a tiny cubicle which sits inside a window-less office in the basement of a hospital. The ONLY cell provider that works in my cube is Verizon and that’s because they have repeaters throughout the hospital. So, when I’m at my desk, I connect to the hospital WiFi, which gives me access to almost everything I need. When I’m not at my desk and roaming the hospital, I find the signal kicks right in and normally 3-4 dots of LTE appear. Depending upon WiFi networks has it’s downfalls as well, iCloud email doesn’t work from the stock app and certain game services are blocked. I use Mailbox (thanks Clay) so there’s no problem with my e-mail, and really who has time for games at work anyways :P
There were some pros to T-Mobile like LTE speeds, monthly costs, and customer service. LTE on T-Mobile is crazy fast - I was consistently hitting 30mb down and 15 up. Typical speeds on Verizon were around 12 down and 5 up. I went over the 2.5GB limit once (the plan is unlimited but you are throttled after 2.5GB of usage) and my speed was cut to almost nothing. I was getting roughly 3 down and less than 1 up - it was terrible!! (Speeds will vary depending on your coverage area). Another positive was saving about $30/month on my bill – I still get unlimited talk, text and data (granted LTE is capped) just like I did with Verizon. Finally, the customer service with T-Mobile was great. I only have to call a few times, but they were very polite, friendly and quick to get me to a real person to help solve my issues.
You’re probably curious as to why I switched back. It wasn't the coverage, cost or network speed - I was happy with those. The thing that I could not stand was the quality of voice calls. Talk about terrible. I don't make a lot of calls as most of my communications are email or text, but when I do, I want them to be clear. I don't want to call my wife back 3 times in a span of 2 minutes because she sounded like an alien. Poor voice quality was a deal breaker for me, and ultimately the end to my short 4 month relationship with T-Mobile.
Let’s go back to the cost for a minute. I was paying $70 for unlimited everything on T-Mobile, my wife was paying $100 for 1400 mins, 1000 text, unlimited data (she was grandfathered in); that’s $170/month for both lines. With my Wife barely using 1GB of data, me using about 2GB (I’m almost always on WiFi, and my job pays for tethering on my work phone), that’s on average about 3GB/month. So, I spoke with Verizon and now have a plan which includes, 4GB shared data with mobile hotspot, and unlimited call/text for $150/month. Plus with an added 22% discount through by job, that’s a savings of at least $240 a year – easily covers the cost of the next iPhone right there :)
I did enjoy my time with T-Mobile, but in the end having to make repeated calls due to voice quality was too much to handle. The only thing I will miss is simultaneous voice & data; here’s hoping Verizon rolls out their voice over LTE soon.