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[OT] cell phone providers -- who do you have?

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#1 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:15 AM

Sorry to start a new thread for this, but didn't want to derail an existing one.  I've had Sprint for a long time and they're okay, but I'm seriously considering a switch to T-mobile with their new no-contract plans.  Does anyone use them now, and if so, how has the coverage been in your experience?  I can see the coverage maps for myself online, but we all know that's not always accurate and sometimes depends on inside vs. outside structures, etc.  The major cities and places like Buffalo and Harrisburg seem to be in good shape, but the Corning area doesn't look so hot.  Thoughts?

FWIW, I've had AT&T in the past and liked their service, but they're probably more expensive than I'm willing to go since I'd need a data plan.

#2 weave

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:31 AM

Find out whose network T-mobile is on.  Most of the smaller companies are using larger companies cell networks.

We are cheapskates when it comes to cell service.  I wanted a data plan and smart phone but I was not interested in paying the going rate.  I ended up with Virgin Mobile.  I am grandfathered in a 3 yr old plan that gives me full voice and data use at $30/mo.  I think today that plan is closer to $50 or 60 though.  I stay at $30/mo until my Blackberry dies.  then I'm stuck buying a new phone and signing up at a higher rate.  The downside is, I had to buy the phone at something close to full value.  Virgin Mobile uses Sprints network so I get coverage everywhere Sprint has coverage.  It's not as good as Verizon but for the $$ I am more than pleased.

#3 LGR4GM

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:38 AM

I have a smart phone with verizon. Unlimited talk and text plus 2gb of data per month and it is a whopping 105$ I have coverage everywhere but it is expensive.

#4 weave

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:42 AM

View Postweave, on 25 April 2013 - 11:31 AM, said:

Find out whose network T-mobile is on.  Most of the smaller companies are using larger companies cell networks.



apparently T-mobile has their own network and roaming agreements with several other companies.

#5 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:49 AM

I saw that T-mobile and AT&T use the same spectrum, which would suggest the coverage is good... just not sure if the poor coverage rumors are outdated or current.

Yeah Liger I currently pay $70/month (less with an employer discount) for unlimited data, text, etc with Sprint, which is really good.  Only downside is I'm currently grandfathered into this price, so as soon as I upgrade my phone and renew my contract it goes up $10/month.  I'd pay about the same with T-mobile initially, but after 2 years it'd drop $20/month when the phone is paid off.

#6 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:12 PM

I think you're going to find that coverages are going to be pretty similar, even more so as time goes on. I just went through looking at all the carriers this week because I was thinking about switching, only because my Motorola died and Sprint had to order me a replacement which took a week to get here. I'm a month away from an upgrade and they wouldn't give me an early upgrade to make things easier so I don't have to go through the same BS next month. Anyways, I found them all to be pretty similar. The difference in T-mobile is their no contract deals are with only a select few phones; also with their regular contracts they charge less for plans but they charge you per month for the price of the phone. So you'll end up paying the $500-$600 for the price of the latest phones over the course of two years if you fo that route. Whereas AT&T and Sprint knock off a ton of money for the price of the phone up front if you sign a two year contract.

#7 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:16 PM

BellAliant Mobility.  It sucks, but so does EastLink .........


Being in Atlantic Canada, this probably is of no interest, but I just wanted to post in a thread started by bio ... :wub:

:P

#8 ChileanSeaBass

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:22 PM

I had Verizon for 10 years and just switched to TMobile two months ago.  I've been real happy with the service, and it's a good deal if you add additional lines.  I pay $104 a month for my fiancee and I, and we have unlimited text/talk plus 500 MB data, and that includes the monthly charges for phones.  We were paying $150 for similar with Verizon.  Will soon be adding my Dad and stepmom as well, as they'll be switching from Sprint.  The 3rd-5th lines only cost $20/mo each (plus phone charges).  I've been real happy.

#9 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:27 PM

That's kind of what I'm hoping, JJ... I'm not under contract now, so if I tried T-mobile and they suck, I think I can cancel within 30 days.  Heck, I'd probably get an even better deal going back to Sprint as a new customer, lol... they have all kinds of offers for the new folks but show their existing customers no love.  The Galaxy GS III is $99.99 + $36 activation fee up front and then $75-80/month, and with T-mobile it'd be $69.99 up front (no activation fee) and $70-ish/month for two years, then less after.  I typically keep my phones a long time unless they go bad, so right now Sprint has made back far more than the original phone subsidy on my service.

SFINS :wub:

And thanks for the info, CSB!  Good to hear.

#10 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:39 PM

View Postbiodork, on 25 April 2013 - 12:27 PM, said:

That's kind of what I'm hoping, JJ... I'm not under contract now, so if I tried T-mobile and they suck, I think I can cancel within 30 days.  Heck, I'd probably get an even better deal going back to Sprint as a new customer, lol... they have all kinds of offers for the new folks but show their existing customers no love.  The Galaxy GS III is $99.99 + $36 activation fee up front and then $75-80/month, and with T-mobile it'd be $69.99 up front (no activation fee) and $70-ish/month for two years, then less after.  I typically keep my phones a long time unless they go bad, so right now Sprint has made back far more than the original phone subsidy on my service.

SFINS :wub:

And thanks for the info, CSB!  Good to hear.

Just be careful. Like I said, with the no contract deals they charge you per month for your phone over two years so if you only have them for 3 months they will charge you the remaining balance of your phone which could end up being $450-500. They also have a bring your own phone plan without a contract, but the compatible phones are limited.

#11 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:45 PM

I have ATT now, our data isn't too expensive I think I pay $150 for 2 lines with unlimited text and data and protection plans on both.

#12 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

View PostJJFIVEOH, on 25 April 2013 - 12:39 PM, said:

Just be careful. Like I said, with the no contract deals they charge you per month for your phone over two years so if you only have them for 3 months they will charge you the remaining balance of your phone which could end up being $450-500. They also have a bring your own phone plan without a contract, but the compatible phones are limited.

I did see that, but my current phone is incompatible.  Part of why I'm even looking is because I really need a new phone... mine was good for a while, but the processor is crazy slow compared to the newer models and I'm really short on internal phone storage.  But again, I think as long as I cancelled inside 30 days I could return the phone with no charge... it's only if Ieft between months 1 and 24 that I'd have to pony up for the difference.

#13 MattPie

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:36 PM

View Postbiodork, on 25 April 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:

I did see that, but my current phone is incompatible.  Part of why I'm even looking is because I really need a new phone... mine was good for a while, but the processor is crazy slow compared to the newer models and I'm really short on internal phone storage.  But again, I think as long as I cancelled inside 30 days I could return the phone with no charge... it's only if Ieft between months 1 and 24 that I'd have to pony up for the difference.

Many moons ago, I did exactly that with an AT&T phone. Got it, tried to make it work for awhile, but in the end returned it within 30 days (I didn't get service in my house or at my desk, where Verizon was fine). Fairly painless process.

I only remember one that had T-mobile that I knew of. He moved on due to issues with signal in Philly. He was also a big blackberry guy, not sure if that applies to you. I'm using Verizon, two lines, two phones, 4GB data, $153/mo..

#14 Claude_Verret

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:38 PM

I have Verizon for myself and my wife and pay ~ $150 / month, but I've recently been researching other options when my contract is up.  I'm strongly considering the Google Nexus 4 phone and going with T- mobile on a no contract plan.  

http://blogs.compute...carrier-options

#15 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:47 PM

I saw the Nexus 4 and have read some good things about it, but I was leery of the no-LTE part... it sounds like it's a non-issue (with T-mobile, anyhow) for now, but I wonder if I plan to keep the phone a long time, will I regret that decision in the long run?

http://news.cnet.com...-really-matter/

The phone is cheaper than the GS 3, though.

#16 MattPie

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

View Postbiodork, on 25 April 2013 - 01:47 PM, said:

I saw the Nexus 4 and have read some good things about it, but I was leery of the no-LTE part... it sounds like it's a non-issue (with T-mobile, anyhow) for now, but I wonder if I plan to keep the phone a long time, will I regret that decision in the long run?

http://news.cnet.com...-really-matter/

The phone is cheaper than the GS 3, though.

I think Maggie is overstating a bit. 4G is noticeably faster than 3G, but it's not as big a jump as she's making it out to be.

#17 Claude_Verret

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:52 PM

View Postbiodork, on 25 April 2013 - 01:47 PM, said:

I saw the Nexus 4 and have read some good things about it, but I was leery of the no-LTE part... it sounds like it's a non-issue (with T-mobile, anyhow) for now, but I wonder if I plan to keep the phone a long time, will I regret that decision in the long run?

http://news.cnet.com...-really-matter/

The phone is cheaper than the GS 3, though.

I've read some rumors that Google will be releasing an LTE version of the Nexus 4 soon.

Edited by Claude_Verret, 25 April 2013 - 01:53 PM.


#18 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:54 PM

True, and even though 4G sounds nice, Sprint's 4G availability is so limited right now it wouldn't matter if my phone were 4G capable.

View PostClaude_Verret, on 25 April 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

I've read some rumors that Google will be releasing an LTE version of the Nexus 4 soon.

Good call; I think I saw something about a Google conference in mid-May where they might reveal a new phone, the next OS (Key Lime Pie), or both.  Ugh that means waiting another 3 weeks, lol.

#19 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:56 PM

I think most places are going to be pretty limited in 4G (or similar) coverages unless you're downtown in any city. All carriers really push how much coverage there is, but when it comes down to it it's not that widespread.

#20 Sabre Dance

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:41 PM

Obviously, the locales you use the phone most frequently will have a big impact on your choice.  I'm in the Buffalo Metro area and I had Sprint for years.  But, their lack of 4G service locally finally forced my hand last summer. (I need 4G for work stuff). I went with AT&T as they had an online deal; I got a Galaxy IIIS for $99, no activation fee (I activated it myself over the web). I did go with a contract, as I get a discount through work.  450 minutes/months (and it rolls over), 300MB data + insurance for about $65/month.  (If I need more data, I can go to 3GB/month for another ten bucks - so far 300MB has been enough, but just barely). I thought Verizon was way too expensive.  I get great coverage, calls are nice and clear and the phone is great. I don't make many calls and I send even fewer text messages, so that's no big deal to me.  So far, I have been very pleased. I did not check out T-Mobile or any of the smaller carriers; there may be better deals out there.  I will say that I went from Sprint's 3G service to AT&T's 4G and my monthy bill went DOWN about $5/month.

#21 skaught

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

I just switched from T-Mobile to Verizon. The last time I was in Buffalo, I thought the T-Mobile coverage was pretty good, but that was a few years ago and was mostly around the Tonawanda area. Ended up switching to Verizon because I get a discount from work and decided to do a family plan, paying about $220 for 4 people. Before my parents and sister were all on separate carriers.

Edited by skaught, 25 April 2013 - 03:52 PM.


#22 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:49 PM

If it means anything, I was at the Sprint store yesterday and was looking at the new HTC One, I am really impressed. $100 with a 2 year contract. Aluminum case, stereo speakers and 1080p. I think the camera is low res though. Gonna have to compare it to the 4S coming out.

#23 Jeanbe

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:27 PM

A lady I work with has t-mobile and changed her plan to the no-contract (4 phones)w/unlimited.  She is now pissed because she didn't realize that they slow down the data, per phone, after 500M.   I believe she said she is paying $100 a month for all four.

#24 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:34 PM

$100/month for all 4? :o She should be happy she's got any data at all for that much.

#25 biodork

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:00 PM

View PostJeanbe, on 25 April 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

A lady I work with has t-mobile and changed her plan to the no-contract (4 phones)w/unlimited.  She is now pissed because she didn't realize that they slow down the data, per phone, after 500M.   I believe she said she is paying $100 a month for all four.

Yeah that's bad on her for not reading... it says right on the front page that 500M is included and you add $10/month to go up to 2G or $20/month for unlimited:

http://www.t-mobile....ell-phone-plans

Edit: besides, I'd much rather they drop my data speeds than automatically charge me for more!

Edited by biodork, 25 April 2013 - 06:37 PM.


#26 Jeanbe

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:36 PM

View PostJJFIVEOH, on 25 April 2013 - 05:34 PM, said:

$100/month for all 4? :o She should be happy she's got any data at all for that much.

I know....just relaying what she told me....I pay $85 with 1gb with Verizon for one phone.

#27 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:41 PM

View PostJeanbe, on 25 April 2013 - 06:36 PM, said:

I know....just relaying what she told me....I pay $85 with 1gb with Verizon for one phone.

You like Verizon?

#28 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:47 AM

AT&T is the best, and you get what you pay for.

Love my LTE.

I am on a plan with some friends, costs $50 a month, with unlimited data.

Sprint doesn't have LTE in Rochester, and their customer service is atrocious. The new T-Mo plans are a gimmick. Verizon's CDMA spectrum tends to not work well inside buildings, whereas the GSM wavelengths are more penetrable.

#29 ChileanSeaBass

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:18 AM

View Postbiodork, on 25 April 2013 - 06:00 PM, said:

Yeah that's bad on her for not reading... it says right on the front page that 500M is included and you add $10/month to go up to 2G or $20/month for unlimited:

http://www.t-mobile....ell-phone-plans

Edit: besides, I'd much rather they drop my data speeds than automatically charge me for more!

That's where I'm at too.  I don't pay extra for more than 500 MB, and I went over pretty quick this month, but to be honest I haven't noticed a huge drop in speed, even though it is downgraded to 2G.  Then again, pretty much everywhere I go I use wi-fi (home, work, family's house, etc).

#30 Miller30

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:30 AM

I've had T-Mobile for the last 11 years. For me the important factors were the technology behind the carrier and coverage globally. I’ve been mostly happy with T-Mobile. I pay $200 a month for 4 phones with unlimited data and SMS and share 1,000 minutes between the phones.

My family prefers not to talk to each other, we text. We also take advantage of being able to connect our devices to Wi-Fi for voice, SMS and data. So for example while I’m sitting in my seat at the FNC with my wife Muffy sipping wine and eating cheese, we connect to the free Wi-Fi at the arena so that we can talk on the phone all game.

Your Sprint device wouldn’t work on T-Mobile even if it were newer. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA for their cellular radio protocol. T-Mobile, AT&T and pretty much the rest of the world use GSM for their cellular radio protocol. Sprint has decided to switch from WiMax to LTE for its 4G service next year or the year after so it will in line with the global standard.

Regarding devices and contract vs. no contract it really comes down to personal preference. You have two choices
1. Buy the device from the carrier. Do you want to pay the carrier now or later? Either way they are going to get paid if you get the device from them.

2. Bring your own device. Buy your device from the open market and go with the BYOD no contract plan.

You can save some money on the device by buying it on the open market, but it does take some work and time. I personally prefer to pay myself vs. paying the carrier for the leg work. All you need to do is identify the device you want and make sure it supports 850 MHz and 1900 MHz for GSM and 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz for HSPA+ and LTE Band 4. If you decide to buy an unlocked LTE phone you will need to manually add the T-Mobile APN to the phone for LTE service.

T-Mobile is also converting some of its 1900 MHz to HSPA+ for compatibility with AT&T 4G devices.

When shopping for “4G” devices you should know that there is a huge difference between HSPA+ 21 and HSPA+ 42. HSPA+ 42 is closer in download speeds to LTE and in some markets outperforms LTE.

Andrew Amerk – Just as an FYI GSM and CDMA are radio protocols, CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) traditionally operates at a lower frequency that GSM (AT&T/T-Mobile). So if all things were equal (cell tower location etc.) CDMA operating at 850 MHz vs. GSM operating at 850 MHz would have the same penetration into structures. But CDMA operating at 850 MHz (Sprint) and GSM at 1900 MHz (T-Mobile) the CDMA would outperform the GSM for penetration into structures. The same would hold true in rural areas. CDMA at 850 MHz would provide better coverage that GSM at 1900 MHz - lower frequency has better pentration no matter the protocol.

#31 biodork

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:38 AM

View PostAndrew Amerk, on 26 April 2013 - 12:47 AM, said:

AT&T is the best, and you get what you pay for.

Love my LTE.

I am on a plan with some friends, costs $50 a month, with unlimited data.

Sprint doesn't have LTE in Rochester, and their customer service is atrocious. The new T-Mo plans are a gimmick. Verizon's CDMA spectrum tends to not work well inside buildings, whereas the GSM wavelengths are more penetrable.

I've been happy with AT&T's coverage in the past, but that was before I had a smartphone.  I really don't need a ton of minutes or data, but I text a LOT and it irks me that unlimited texting isn't included in their plans.  That alone would make them more expensive than Sprint for me.

And thanks, Miller30, for the detailed post!  I do have wifi at home so I don't expect to have problems here with calling and data... more concerned about work and other areas.  I don't expect any carrier will have a strong signal in the mountains going up 15 through NY, but as long as they have voice coverage in places not directly in a city or near the highway, I think it'd be fine for me.