why is t mobile service so bad
Author: Brian Barrett. Date of Publication: 02. 02. 16. 02. 02. 16
Time of Publication: 6:01 am. For years, T-Mobile has been known mostly for its relative affordability, and a CEO whoБs not afraid to wear leather. A new report on the state of US mobile carriers, though, shows itsб recent investments in infrastructure are finally paying off. Verizon and AT T officially have some real competition. The, from OpenSignal, drewб on data from millions of smartphones to gauge the speed of US carrier networks and how big an area they cover. T-Mobile has long excelled when it comes to speed; at over 12Mbps, its 4G speeds are on par with or, as of December, ahead of Verizon. (AT T hovers just above 8Mbps, while SprintБs 6. 38Mbps may sometimes feel closer to 3G. Zzzzzzzzz. ) Where T-Mobile has made big gains, though, is in the breadth of its coverage. After years of being somewhat reliable in cities and pretty much nonexistent in rural areas, the carrier has crossed a major threshold. T-Mobile customers saw an LTE signal 81 percent of the the time in the fourth quarter of last year, just a bit less than what AT T delivered. Yes, both still lag behind Verizon (87 percent), but itБs a level of saturation that lets them claim nationwide reliability. For T-Mobile customers, though, being a close third here makes a world of difference. Lightning-quick downloads are great when you can actually, you know, use them. ThatБs what makes coverage such an important metric. БIt doesnБt matter how fast the LTE connection is,Б says OpenSignal analyst Kevin Fitchard, Бif you only have access to it 50 percent of the time, itБs not going to be a very interesting network for you. T-MobileБs ascendency shouldnБt come as a huge surprise to those who have tracked its recent infrastructural gains. Specifically, in January of 2014 the company it would acquire $2. 365 billion worth of 700MHz spectrum (from, as it happens, Verizon). The 700MHz spectrum is significant because it has what T-Mobile had until then lacked: range, and penetration. БUnlike its old LTE network, which is built on a higher frequency, this allows it to go out farther in rural areas, and punch through walls in urban areas,Б says Fitchard. БWhat weБre seeing in the actual numbers is T-Mobile not just expanding out into more rural areas, but also improving its numbers inside cities. Б Having the fastest 4G network, combined with being available to 80 percent of the country, would be enough alone to place T-Mobile in the upper echelon that Verizon and AT T have occupied to date. The carrier also, though, offers several cost-saving initiatives to its customers, like Music Freedom, in which streaming music does not count against data limits, or BingeOn, which controversially (because of ) affords the same amnesty for streaming video on Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, and more. None of this is to say that you should run off and join T-Mobile today. Verizon remains the most reliable network, by a wide margin, and has recently become more cost competitive than you might remember. The same 6GB data plan that costs $65 per month on T-Mobile, for instance, costs $60 on Verizon. [ Update As a T-Mobile spokesperson points out, Verizon also tacks on a $20 monthly access fee per line, making it effectively $80 per month ].
AT T, too, offers good-enough speeds and plenty of coverage. More importantly, carriers donБt offer a uniform experience across the country, or even across a given city. The results of a national study doesnБt help a signal get into your office any more consistently. A stronger T-Mobile, though, makes the carrier market that much more competitive. In an age when the two-year mobile contract, and technology makes switching providers, having more choices to switch to should make all of them better, cheaper, or both. There s no doubt T-Mobile stands out from the crowd, but it has to its network is weaker than what or can offer. Rural coverage can always been a sore point for prospective T-Mobile customers and is the reason why, for many Americans, it isn t even a viable option. If you live in a city, though, it s tough to beat. T-Mobile s LTE speeds have the highest peaks in the nation, while its prices remain affordable. Were it not weak beyond the suburbs, we d readily place it even higher on our lineup. It s still one of the best cell phone providers in the nation, though, and rightfully earns our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award. T-Mobile's weakest attribute is network coverage. The company has put a lot of effort into rolling out a new 4G LTE network across the country, but that rollout isn't finished, and the company's rural coverage can be untenable. You re safe if you live in or around a major metropolitan area, but stray too far from their suburbs and you lose connectivity. Travelers looking for the best cell phone service from coast to coast are better off with a bigger carrier. That said, if you live and work under T-Mobile s umbrella, you can enjoy some of the fastest download speeds of any provider. Although Verizon and AT T have better speeds on average, those numbers take into account the entire country, much of which doesn't feature decent T-Mobile coverage. In those areas where the magenta carrier offers 4G LTE service, you can't beat it for sheer speed. For a smartphone plan with unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB of high-speed data, T-Mobile charges $50 a month. That s not as cheap as the cell phone plans offered by prepaid providers, but it gets you access to Music Freedom. If you want unlimited, unthrottled data something only offered by T-Mobile and Sprint it's $95. We recommend you split the difference, though, by getting the $65 plan. It s pricey, but it gets you a whopping 6GB of data and access to BingeOn. Music Freedom and BingeOn let you stream as much music or video as you want, so long as you use one of the participating apps the services support. That caveat would usually make us wary, but T-Mobile has a massive amount of buy-in from its numerous partners. At this point, every significant music or video streaming service is on board. Music Freedom is available to all Simple Choice customers, which basically means every regular plan, from the $50 2GB option on up. iTunes, Google Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Slacker, iHeartRadio, ESPN Radio, Bandcamp and so many more it s a surprise if your favorite music streaming app isn t compatible.
You can stream unlimited audio from any of these apps to your phone, over your LTE data connection, as much as you want it never counts against your monthly cap. BingeOn does for video what Music Freedom does for audio, and it has an equally impressive lineup of partners. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, ESPN, Fox and Showtime are all here, as are dozens more, but the real coup for T-Mobile is YouTube it s the world s favorite streaming platform, and you can watch as much as you want. You have to get at least the $65 plan, but between Music Freedom, BingeOn and the 6GB allocation, you ll probably never run out of data. It s worth noting that we don t know how long Music Freedom and BingeOn will continue to be available. T-Mobile doesn t have any plans to end the services, but there s some question as to how they fit with the FCC s continued rulings on net neutrality. For the moment there s no real downside to consumers, which is why the programs have been allowed to continue. From brand new iPhones to classic flip phones, T-Mobile's device selection offers something for everyone. There are plenty of Android phones to pick from, including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, while Apple fans can get a new iPhone 6s or iPhone SE. On the Windows and BlackBerry front there s only one option each, but that matches how popular Windows and BlackBerry phones are these days, so no harm, no foul. If new phones are too expensive for you, T-Mobile offers refurbished options that are easy on your wallet. You can even bring your own GSM-compatible phone to the carrier, transferring your existing number and taking advantage of T-Mobile's rates. You are only responsible for buying a new $20 SIM card so your phone can access the network. T-Mobile's support has long had a bad reputation, but it has seen tremendous improvements in the last couple of years. Its customer service representatives are quick to help solve issues, and transferring both into and away from the carrier is a joy. A few years ago, if you had a bizarre phone bill come in the mail or made a mistake and owed more than you expected, T-Mobile would hold you responsible for paying it off, whatever the amount. Today, the company works with you to fix such issues, something our own staff has happily taken advantage of on more than one occasion. It used to be the weakest of the top four nationwide cell phone companies, but T-Mobile keeps working its way up the ladder. It can't match the breadth of LTE coverage other carriers enjoy, but its speed blows them away. Its Music Freedom and BingeOn programs give you practically unlimited data for comparatively low prices your smartphone need never face throttled speeds again, no matter how much video you stream every day. With no contracts or termination fees and the ability to pay for your expensive new smartphone over time, T-Mobile has taken the best elements of the cell phone plans at both big carriers and prepaid phone companies and combined them. If you're looking for a new cell phone provider, it s worth checking whether T-Mobile offers 4G LTE in your area. So long as you re covered, its balance of price and performance is tough to beat.
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