A Second Dance with T-Mobile

As some of you may know, I have an on-again/off-again relationship with T-Mobile. This started back in 2014, when their latest promotion was covering early termination fees (ETF) when you switched networks & traded in your phone. At first, it sounded like a great deal and I jumped at the opportunity to try it but I soon found myself regretting it. My service was spotty, and voice quality was terrible, so my time with T-Mobile was short lived. I went back to Verizon within 2 months and have been a satisfied customer ever since. Well, maybe not that satisfied since I’ve recently found myself thinking about T-Mobile (again). Maybe it’s their flashy black, white and pop of pink ads that catch my eye, or could it be their frequently changing deals? Whatever it may be, I decided to give them another chance.

Back in November, Magenta announced a new branch of their un-carrier movement called Binge On. Binge On allows users to stream 480p from a bunch of providers, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and many more. The carrier also offers Music Freedom, which allows you to stream music from Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify and other without using your data. In addition to Binge On and Music Freedom, T-Mobile has also launched a new expanded LTE network with double the LTE coverage.

I thought to myself, who wouldn’t want double coverage and the freedom to binge on their favorite shows & music? So before I could blink my eyes, I was back at a T-Mobile store. I walked in with my iPhone 6s on Verizon’s network and walked out, once again, connected to T-Mobile's (didn’t need a new phone, thanks to the FCC requiring phones be unlocked). Not wanting to make the same mistakes twice, I analyzed the speed before I left the store. With the help of the Speedtest.net app, I ran a quick test and received decent results - I was pulling down 45mbps and had an upload of 20mbps, pretty much in line with what I was getting from Verizon.

To my delight, I found coverage has greatly improved. I am able to get LTE or 4G just about everywhere I go. Even when I have a poor signal, T-Mobile offers WiFi Calling on most of their LTE devices, Verizon has just recently announced WiFi calling coming to select devices with more rolling out across 2016. For those who may not have WiFi, I know it's rare but it could happen, T-Mobile offers a Cell Spot to boost your signal strength. The device plugs into your router at home and broadcasts a more powerful LTE signal for your devices. I picked one up because why not? It's only $25.00 that is refunded when you return it. I now have a full LTE signal everywhere in my home.

So far so good - majority of the issues that led up to our breakup have been resolved, but we’re not quite ready to go steady. If you recall the deal breaker last time was voice quality - making multiple calls to the same person in a short period of time is not my idea of fun. With that being said, I am happy to report the issue seems to have been resolved. Whether I’m connected to WiFi, on LTE, or even at home with the Cell Spot - voice quality isn’t a problem. The only time there’s trouble with reception is at my second job - when I’m inside the building I can only get one bar of 4G service, sometimes 2 of LTE. It could be the environment I’m in (if so, there’s not much I can do to fix it), but I want to see if a) T-Mobile will send me a second Cell Spot or B) if I can get another device they offer that rebroadcasts the outdoor signal to an indoor repeater, still only $25 and it's refundable. It’s worth a shot, right?

Binge On with Music Freedom, no overages, the ability to upgrade your device whenever you want and their vastly improved cellular coverage all make T-Mobile a decent competitor now. I am extremely happy with their improved service and will be sticking with them for a little while. I am hoping for great times from the company in the future. If you re part of the us-carrier revolution, let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts. I would also be curious to hear what you would like to see next from the company.

PS, you should follow the CEO on Twitter, he can be funny sometimes.