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Changing Mobile Carriers

T-Mobile logoI’ve had an iPhone since they originally were introduced seven years ago. I actually waited in line for several hours at the Apple store in Lenox mall, Atlanta, Georgia. I posted about that experience back in the day. I’m one of those few remaining users who got AT&T’s unlimited data plan.

But I’ve always hated AT&T1. To me, they have been one of the personifications of corporate evil. For example: the unlimited data plan is not really unlimited. If you use more than 5 GB in a month, they significantly slow your access to data. “Technically,” it’s unlimited data. But practically, it’s incredibly limited. I’ve been itching to change mobile carriers but reluctant to loose my access to “unlimited” data.

So when my friend Mark told me that they were changing from AT&T to T-Mobile, I decided to give T-Mobile a careful look. I was, unexpectedly, pleasantly surprised by the aggressive plan T-Mobile is offering to increase their customer market share (and get users to switch mobile carriers).

We have also used Verizon for our iPads and MiFi card. Recently, Verizon has done something to their network that has rendered the signal significantly less strong (sometimes non-existent) while at the same time slowing their network tremendously. Until a couple of months ago, their service was always vastly superior to AT&T’s in every place I’ve ever traveled. (Literally!)

So, we switched everything to T-Mobile2. Not only are we now saving about $200 a month, this is what our plan now includes:

  • Unlimited data access on the high-speed network3
  • Unlimited text messages4
  • Unlimited international calling while traveling in over 120 countries for only $.20 per minute5
  • Unlimited international data plan in 120 countries6
  • Unlimited international text messaging7
  • 5 GB of data per month for the iPad on the fast network8
  • Any overage of data per month for the iPad simply goes to the slower network and does not incur any fees
  • While other carriers will come online soon I’m sure, T-Mobile currently offers their customers the ability to begin a call on Wi-Fi that is automatically handed off to their cellular network and vice a versa
  • All of our devices can function as hotspots without any additional fees or complicated set up9

So, the bottom line for me is that I’m getting significantly more for less money. Since our devices are now unlocked10, I’m hoping that is the incentive T-Mobile needs to keep their rates this competitive.

At the present time, everyplace I’ve been in the bay area has had a very strong T-Mobile signal. Certainly, this has not been the case with AT&T and now for Verizon as well. Hopefully, T-Mobile will provide excellent coverage across the country11. I expect there to be a few issues, but only time will tell.


  1. The iPhone was originally being offered through Cingular, but Cingular was bought out by AT&T just before the iPhone came to market. I was a Cingular customer, not an AT&T customer. 

  2. 2 phone lines, an iPad, and a MiFi card 

  3. We both had a 5GB limit 

  4. I had no <a title="Short Message Service" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Message_Service" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia nofollow">SMS</a> at all. Steve was unlimited, I think.)</li> <li>Unlimited calling at any time without AT&T’s bizarre and confusing calling stipulations ((Another example of AT&T’s efforts to nickel and dime customers to death while confusing them 

  5. I didn’t have it, and Steve was paying $50 a month for 50MB of international data. 50 MB is <em>nothing!</em> 

  6. Neither of us had this. 

  7. I had no SMS, and Steve’s SMS counted against his 50MB data limit. 

  8. This was the same. 

  9. Steep fees are associated with this with AT&T. 

  10. Meaning, we can switch mobile carriers easily 

  11. I’ve seen their coverage map. It’s not all roses!