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T-Mobile US coverage -- honestly, how bad is it?

T-Mobile US coverage -- honestly, how bad is it?

Old Sep 3, 15, 2:31 am
  #1  
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T-Mobile US coverage -- honestly, how bad is it?

It's been conventional wisdom that Verizon has the best USA coverage whilst T-Mobile has the worst USA coverage.

Could some current T-Mobile users chime in with their experiences? Most of our travel is around Florida and up the East coast of the US. Some international here & there, but we've been limping along with WiFi + Skype (see below).

Background:
I'm thinking of switching our office from Verizon over to T-Mobile, but am seriously worried about reception issues.

I have some of the most tech-UNsavvy coworkers who also happen to have some of the shortest hair-triggers I've seen. It's not uncommon to have someone break equipment in anger. I have a stack of mutilated Cisco IP PBX phones sitting on the shelf awaiting repair. I also get chewed out a few times a year in staff meetings because, "the phone system sucks, get us something that works." The PBX's crime? Nothing -- an incoming cellular call dropped when a client was calling from their car. This of course was the biggest crisis in the history of mankind to my coworkers and they insisted that somehow I fix it.

As you can imagine, when these guys travel internationally the concept of buying and activating a foreign SIM is beyond their capabilities. I tried...even gave them a 3 page packet with Google Maps directions from their hotel to an electronics store down the street, even had pics of the actual package to buy and all of the important phrases translated. No dice. Just last month I was getting nasty e-mails from one of the execs because they couldn't get Skype to work. Why? They were using the host country's country code instead of +1 to call the USA and couldn't wrap their head around the issue.

One of my coworkers kept filing trouble tickets saying they couldn't hear callers on their flip phone. I never found a problem with their phone until one day I was at lunch with them and their phone rang...they put the microphone side of the phone to their ear. ::facepalm::

So that's what I've got to work with on my end.

Is T-Mobile a reasonable solution or will I be introducing even more problems? I like their hassle-free international roaming, and love their rates. It looks like it'd save us ~$300/month to switch, $900+ if I were to have the equivalent plan on Verizon as T-Mobile is offering us. The built in WiFi calling also looks interesting to me as we have very poor Verizon reception in a ~6 block x 6 block area where our office is located.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 4:51 am
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I would suggest that you buy a T-Mobile SIM only card and test it thoroughly around where you will be working - that's the only way of dealing with this. By the by, I have found T-Mobile to be just as good as ATT in the Bay Area.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 7:04 am
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I've been quite happy with TMo service in central FL (Daytona Beach down to Orlando, or up to Jacksonville is where I am most of the time) and other locations in the US and the World when international travel has me roaming.

The Band 12 build out is supposedly a go for this area, which will help make things better for folks whose phones have that band. I'm not seeing it yet in Daytona Beach.

Based on the description you provided of your co-workers, I'm not sure if ANY of the cellular carriers will provide the level of delight and perfection that they demand.

I moved to Google's Project Fi service a little over 2 months ago and have the benefit of both the TMO and Sprint networks as well as service via WiFi but the "magic" is still being fine tuned, and I would NOT recommend this yet for your company based on your users lack of patience and understanding.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by KRSW View Post
Could some current T-Mobile users chime in with their experiences? Most of our travel is around Florida and up the East coast of the US.
I live in suburban Philly and do not have T-Mobile reception inside my house. I used to regularly take Amtrak to NYC and calls would often drop over long stretches of the journey. (I used to have a Verizon mifi and that worked just about everywhere.)

I ended up switching over to AT&T earlier this year.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 8:39 am
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For a long road trip from Kansas City to South Dakota a couple of years ago in the winter, most of it over back roads and through small towns, I got a cheap Tmobile phone and some minutes as a backup just-in-case I couldn't connect with my AT&T phone. I shouldn't have bothered. I'd say 80% of the time there was no signal for Tmo.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 9:00 am
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Former user here with VZW for most of 25 years, going back to the NYNEX mobile & alpha-numeric/tone-only paging days, also had AT&T WS/M for a # of years as secondary before switching some lines over to T-Mo. From down south along FL & up/down the East coast, unless your corporate team are heading into the woods, coverage should be almost as good & nearly as good - depending on budget & hardwares, choose your mobile smartphones carefully for best use of the 4G/LTE networks & towers - for optimal integration of cellular, WiFi and roaming/oversea coverage on all the single mobile # including texting & data access.

It sounded like your office folks just wanted nothing more than the ability to flip the switch, get the virtual dial tone (wireless signal) and able to make/receive calls - and not worry about anything else & hate reading/following instructions and prompts.

T-Mo has a business division and reps that can work with you (deals for up to 10 lines, credits/rebates for porting/moving lines & even dealing with ETF's and so forth) There is also a money-back/worry-free program to try out for 30+ days (??) as I was just reading it on my (formerly Sprint) iPad mini this week now on T-Mo's free monthly 200MB FDFL program - useful for an upcoming trip as it has the global LTE bands abroad.

Simple Choice North America Plan would extend coverage to Canada & Mexico, recently rolled out - and, without contracts, as others suggested, get a new line for 30 days and for as little as $70 or $80, the user will get unlimited calling & texting, and as much as 3 to 5 GB fast 4G LTE data to use - (speed is faster than/comparable to AT&T's signal/coverage) Aside from iPhone 5s or 6 - not locked to any carrier, of course; devices like the Nexus 6 or Moto X Pure Ed. or 3rd. generation "G" might just be the hardware ticket to convince the majority to take the plunge.

Home in metro NY, VZW continued (no plans to add extra towers for the fringe section of our "town" ... just a few dead zones to them, hmmm) to the worst, and surprisingly - indoor coverage with T-Mobile is even better/stronger reception over AT&T. Out on the West Coast, T-Mobile is just fine too ... except inside the Grand Canyon NP, while vacationing. On the whole, we switched 2 years ago & not missing Big Red at all (for those who hasn't tried T-Mo in the last year or two, I'll say give them another run for your money - there's a $30 prepaid plan for 5GB data, unlimited SMS & 100 mobile minutes, and, the 3-in-1 Sim card is (was) free again.

Where are their overseas trips landing them - FT's are reporting good success with the free roaming data all over under T-Mo and not paying extra, try doing that under the "Can you hear me now" banner
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Old Sep 3, 15, 9:00 am
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T-mobile is good-to-great in most medium and bigger towns. Coverage is also pretty solid as long as you're within a mile or two of an interstate highway. If you require wall-to-wall coverage, stick with Verizon or AT&T.

Ultimately, the best advice would be what was said above: get a T-mo SIM for yourself and use it on a test basis for a few weeks in the places you'd need coverage. Recognize that your temperamental colleagues will still find reasons to complain. Also perhaps they should get counseling for their anger management issues.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by Letitride3c View Post
(for those who hasn't tried T-Mo in the last year or two, I'll say give them another run for your money - there's a $30 prepaid plan for 5GB data, unlimited SMS & 100 mobile minutes, and, the 3-in-1 Sim card is (was) free again.
I could not agree with this more. T-Mobile has made remarkable strides in network coverage in the last year, and plans to keep the pace going - they're not just a "major cities only" company anymore.

Definitely try them out on the $30 prepaid plan, but it's important to use an LTE Band 12 phone as a lot of the new network expansion uses this 700MHz spectrum. We'll know next week if the new iPhone 6S support it (very likely it will, the current iPhone 6 does not); in the meantime, get something like an LG Leon ($50 on sale from T-Mobile right now, often at Best Buy for under $70) which has excellent support for all T-Mobile bands and great cellular radios to boot.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
T-mobile is good-to-great in most medium and bigger towns. Coverage is also pretty solid as long as you're within a mile or two of an interstate highway. If you require wall-to-wall coverage, stick with Verizon or AT&T.

Ultimately, the best advice would be what was said above: get a T-mo SIM for yourself and use it on a test basis for a few weeks in the places you'd need coverage. Recognize that your temperamental colleagues will still find reasons to complain. Also perhaps they should get counseling for their anger management issues.
The above nails it. It sounds like you have a rather tough crowd to appease, and in that case, I'd say you are better served with Verizon. Especially if your employees travel frequently (on the road) between large metro areas. The areas in-between are where T-Mo will let you down.

Also, their in-building penetration (or lack thereof) is a concern worthy of your consideration.

I moved my family of 5 lines from VZW to T-Mo, and I have been happy for the most part, but it did require me to augment the indoor reception at my residence with some gear from Wilson. I made the switch only when my personal reasons necessitated it. I found that T-Mo had blistering speeds at my office, and I was tired of VZW's veiled threats of throttling my unlimited (grandfathered) data. I also am a shameless Android junkie who loves to tinker, so VZW was a thorn in my side with their restrictive policies on their hardware and slow update cycles (due to their respected Q&A process).

If you are unfortunate enough to have people to please who want both high performance and low cost, then I truly feel sorry for you. The premium VZW commands does pay dividends from their coverage and overall network performance.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 10:05 am
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For those who are on T-Mobile right now, I'd love to know whether you're using an LTE Band 12 device.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by CatJo View Post
Definitely try them out on the $30 prepaid plan, but it's important to use an LTE Band 12 phone as a lot of the new network expansion uses this 700MHz spectrum. We'll know next week if the new iPhone 6S support it (very likely it will, the current iPhone 6 does not); in the meantime, get something like an LG Leon ($50 on sale from T-Mobile right now, often at Best Buy for under $70) which has excellent support for all T-Mobile bands and great cellular radios to boot.
Why should OP have to purchase anything? As stated up-thread, OP can call the T-Mobile business department and probably get setup with a free trail.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by CatJo View Post
For those who are on T-Mobile right now, I'd love to know whether you're using an LTE Band 12 device.
I was hoping Miss Swede's Moto E LTE was going to be our household's first device; alas, T-Mobile made Motorola disable it.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by pseudoswede View Post
Why should OP have to purchase anything? As stated up-thread, OP can call the T-Mobile business department and probably get setup with a free trail.
T-Mobile's consumer Test Drive currently uses an iPhone 5S, would be much better to use an LTE Band 12 device to get a true idea of what coverage is like. Not sure what the Business Dept would offer though, so certainly worth checking.

Originally Posted by pseudoswede View Post
I was hoping Miss Swede's Moto E LTE was going to be our household's first device; alas, T-Mobile made Motorola disable it.
Yeah, that's a bummer - something about needing to support VoLTE on a Band 12 device. Unsure if even the Moto X Pure edition will have it.

For others looking for a T-Mobile Band 12 device, here's a good list.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 11:20 am
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I have the Note Edge on T-Mo, so I apparently have band 12 support.

Here in the office, I just did a speed test. 37.83Mbps down and 9.49Mbps up. I need to get a diag tool to see what band it is using. I don't know if they have lit up band 12 here in STL or not.
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Old Sep 3, 15, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by CatJo View Post
For those who are on T-Mobile right now, I'd love to know whether you're using an LTE Band 12 device.
I'm using iPhone6.
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