I’ve been an AT&T customer since the early days of the iPhone. I had a grandfathered unlimited data plan until I decided to buy the iPhone 6 with one of AT&T’s newer Next plans last September.
After moving to New York City earlier this year, I began to seriously consider switching to T-Mobile. I’d been drawn to the attractive pricing and no-contract policy for some time, and I’d also been increasingly fed up with AT&T’s customer service.
I decided to bite the bullet and switch to T-Mobile about a month ago, and I’ve been absolutely loving it so far.
The plans are cheap and you don’t have to sign a contract
The main draw to T-Mobile for me is how cheap the plans are. I use a lot of data, and I was constantly going over my 10GB data plan limit on AT&T.
For $US80 on T-Mobile I get unlimited talk, text, and data while in the US, Mexico, and Canada. I can also use up to 7GB per month for tethering my data connection to another computer, which is great for when I want to work from any of the many coffee shops in New York without free WiFi.
T-Mobile doesn’t do contracts, so I can leave whenever I want as long as I pay off the cost of my phone. I signed up for T-Mobile’s new “Jump” program, which is an additional $US10 per month and includes phone insurance and the ability to upgrade for free three times a year — a number of upgrades even this early adopter tech reporter does not need.
For comparison’s sake, AT&T’s largest data plan (30GB) costs $US225 per month — and that’s not including monthly device and service fees.
The icing on the cake is that T-Mobile will pay your early termination fee if you switch over from AT&T and Verizon along with the value of the device you’re trading in. So I ended up getting paid a couple hundred dollars to switch to T-Mobile.
Coverage is surprisingly good
The first hesitation I had about T-Mobile was obviously the coverage. It’s no secret that T-Mobile is way behind AT&T and Verizon with its coverage, but in New York City I can’t really tell the difference.
T-Mobile has done a good job of prioritising coverage in metropolitan areas, and in large cities like New York it can actually be faster than AT&T and Verizon. I still have some issues with service dropping while going in and out of buildings, but it hasn’t drastically effected my iPhone use.
I recently travelled to Kentucky with my iPhone on T-Mobile, and service was very spotty. I would strongly recommend seeing if T-Mobile has service fully rolled out in your area if you’re considering a switch.
There’s no reason to not give T-Mobile a try if you’re on the fence
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if they should switch to T-Mobile or not. It’s become obvious that many are frustrated with the way the two big carriers do business. AT&T, for example, just quietly upped its activation fees across the board.
T-Mobile, on the other hand, feels like a breath of fresh air in an industry that would unfortunately prefer to wring every penny it can out of customers instead of prioritise around their interests.
If you’re on the fence about switching, T-Mobile will let you test drive an iPhone 5s on its network in your area for seven days. It costs absolutely nothing to try, and will give you a good idea if the coverage is good enough.
I’m fully aware that the tables may turn when T-Mobile isn’t in a position of weakness. The nation’s third largest carrier is growing, but it’s still way behind AT&T and Verizon’s combined 255 million subscribers. For now, it’s way smaller than the two biggest carriers, so it will likely stay as aggressive as it can to keep luring people like me from AT&T and Verizon.
Unfortunately, T-Mobile’s current business model isn’t sustainable. The carrier is losing money keeping up with competition and attract new subscribers. But as long as T-Mobile keeps putting customers first, I won’t be switching any time soon.
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