T-Mobile Test Drive results from around the web: Great speeds, more consistency required

T-Mobile To Offer 7-Day iPhone Test Drives to Attract Skeptics

John Legere invited everyone to “cheat on their carrier” at the most recent Uncarrier event in Seattle last month. He proudly announced a new phase of its industry-changing movement which would allow anyone to take an iPhone 5s for 7 days, free of charge, to see how they get on with the carrier’s network.

Since then, thousands of people have signed up, and a handful of tech journalists have given it a spin too, and the results have generally been quite similar. In a lot of cases, the reviewer notes that indoor LTE coverage is weak. Something we already knew, and something T-Mo is addressing with the 700MHz spectrum roll-out at the end of this year. But many also noted the faster download speeds, and easy sign up process as major plus-points.

I read through a number of reports, and here are the take-aways and key points from those (headlines are links to the original articles).

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Walt Mossberg, Re/Code

Well-known tech pundit, Mossberg, tested the iPhone 5s on T-Mo in his “home base”, Washington DC and also in San Francisco. Two areas he was already scheduled to be in during that period. He used it alongside his Verizon iPhone 5s, and compared various functions: calls, streaming, texting, surfing and emailing. In those tests, the T-Mobile phone performed as well as the VZW model. He also performed speed tests in a couple of locations.

The result: T-Mobile beat Verizon overall, in each location. T-Mobile averaged just over 10 megabits per second downstream, versus 6.8 Mbps for Verizon. In D.C., T-Mobile averaged 11.4 Mbps down, much faster than Verizon’s 7.6 Mbps. In San Francisco, T-Mobile averaged 8.7 Mbps down, versus just about 6 Mbps for Verizon.”

Saying that, he did note that T-Mobile’s performance was uneven. Many times the results were under 1Mbps, and multiple over 20Mbps. His takeaway: T-Mo is good, but he’s not switching.

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Dave Rees, The Gadgeteer

Dave Rees’ journal over at the-gadgeteer.com was one of the more positive reports. In fact, it ended up with him switching his family over to T-Mobile from Verizon. He noted that over the past few months, Verizon’s quality of service has dropped and so he was keen to see just how well T-Mobile performed in his home area.

As we tested T-Mobile’s service throughout our world, it appeared to be significantly better than Verizon hands down, walking away. Many places where we had only a bar or two with Verizon were showing five bars of T-Mobile LTE. Call quality was also several quantum levels better than Verizon…crystal clear.

As for the Test Drive service itself, the box with the phone arrived incredibly quickly after signing up. Speed tests regularly showed speeds over 45Mbps, beating his home broadband connection from Comcast, and Verizon LTE.

After three days testing the phone, he took the device back to a T-Mobile store, and ended up signing up for himself, his child and his wife, plus iPads. All on T-Mo’s network. In this instance, the Test Drive did exactly what it was supposed to: Convinced someone to leave their old network without costing them a penny. Switching, incidentally, is saving Rees over $100 per month in plan fees.

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Melissa Holt, The Mac Observer

Melissa Holt noted in her review, also, that T-Mobile got the phone to her hands in speedy fashion. Two days after signing up, in fact. Sadly, her experience after that wasn’t so hot. Despite T-Mobile’s site indicating she should be getting good 4G coverage, she regularly got between 0-1 bar of signal. Also noting that calls regularly failed.

After driving around for a bit, I did notice that the speed of T-Mobile’s network seems very comparable to AT&T’s in my area, so when the coverage was good, everything clicked along just fine. The fact that the service won’t work in my house is a deal-breaker, but naturally, your mileage may vary. I do note that T-Mobile offers free signal boosters for customers who meet their qualifications, so if your coverage is poor, that’s one route to take

Saying that, her take-away was still pretty positive. Stating that the Test Drive is a really great, and easy way to see if T-Mobile’s network will work for you. She may not have the best coverage, but at least she’s been able to test it out for herself without having to sign up for any plan.

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Dwight Silverman, SeattlePi

Unlike some of the other reporters, Silverman’s signing up experience wasn’t the smoothest. But after an issue with his credit card was resolved in a “polite and enthusiastic” manner, the phone arrived pretty promptly. But signal, yet again, wasn’t fantastic. The phone would often drop to EDGE, and this was only a couple of miles from downtown Houston, which generally has incredible LTE coverage and was recently upgraded to wideband LTE.  And it was the same at work:

At work, I had a similar issue. Although I had four bars and a 4G icon on the phone – what you see with an HSPA+ connection – I couldn’t get any websites to load or apps to pull in data. Stepping outside on the newsroom balcony of the Houston Chronicle building helped, but the connection was still pokey. Earlier that morning, at an intersection a block away, I got 28 megabits down and a strong LTE signal. The next day, I was able to get a data connection at my desk, but it remained sluggish.

Still, when he got to an area with good signal, speed tests were phenomenal, pulling in speeds close to 70Mbps. But, the fact that T-Mo LTE was struggling to get through in to his home and work space were deal clinchers. His AT&T service in the same locations were massively better.

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Tricia Duryee, GeekWire

Like Silverman, Tricia Duryee struggled with the reception at her house as she was unable – on most occasions – to access T-Mobile’s LTE network. Duryee’s home is right near Seattle, T-Mo’s home city.

In response to my experience, T-Mobile acknowledged it can’t reach every house and building. (I live just off a major arterial in the City of Seattle, albeit on the west-facing slope of West Seattle.) A spokeswoman also offered me additional equipment that would boost the cell site’s range to my house, and pointed out that in circumstances like these, it’s possible to make phone calls over Wi-Fi.

But generally, nothing could be done. I’m better off using Verizon, and my husband is very satisfied with AT&T.

Yet another who recognizes the value of being able to test out the service, but won’t be switching because she gets better network service from her current carrier.

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Bottom Line

All of these experiences are personal, and only really apply to the people writing about them (and those who perhaps live and work in the same areas). But the truth is, you’re not going to know if T-Mobile works for you unless you try it for yourself.

If you’ve taken the Test Drive, be sure to let us know your experiences.

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  • nycplayboy78

    Cam these are EXCELLENT stories and accounts from people in the Tech Industry and they didn’t sugarcoat anything…I too have crappy indoor service with T-Mobile and I hope the 700MHz spectrum rollout will do some good…I live and work in DC and I travel home to NYC almost every weekend….

    • 21stNow

      Good to see you NYC!

      I am glad that Cam took the time to aggregate these reviews for us. It saves me some time in doing a Google search for reaction to this UnCarrier offering.

      • nycplayboy78

        21stNow it is good to see you again…I haven’t been posting as much due to it is SUMMER…YAY!!!! But I am always on the site reading these great articles :)

  • Alex Zapata

    This basically parrots exactly what I’ve been saying for a long time now. TMO has proven that they can provide the speeds, but not consistently. I’m still staying with them regardless.

    • Willie D

      Not exactly. They provide speed and consistently but in limited areas for now, remember their network is only a little over a year old, that’s quite the feat to build and fine tune quickly to this point, something Verizon has been working on for years, and something Sprint can’t figure out. Not too bad and only going to get better in the next year.

      • Alex Zapata

        I could argue the consistency depending on the area, but for such a late start they’re doing fantastic. Can’t wait to see how things go in the next few years :-)

  • Paul

    I appreciate the honesty of the reviewers. That not only lends credibility to speeds but shows the pros and cons and the test phones.
    Being that these are iPhones, I wonder if the results are different with Samsung phones; Samsung is offering a similar deal but I not sure the details.

    • Cam Bunton

      Yeah, Samsung is offering a longer trial period, but it’s only available from a handful of Samsung retail stores.

  • Adrayven

    Test Drive is doing what it is supposed to, get customers to see if it will work for them. For many it may not, but I think between Apple providing the phones and T-Mobile looking to change it’s image, it will in the long run be a great move for them.

  • CSNHOU

    Dwight is correct. I work on the corner of Travis & Rusk in Downtown Houston, just a couple of blocks from the Houston Chronicle building, if your phone on T-Mobile drops to 4G from LTE there is basically no data even though you have 3 or 4 bars. It has been this way for well over a year now. I am not sure how to actually report it as a network issue. Calling 611 does not get you to the correct engineers who need to be made aware of the issue (I have tried this route) There is defiantly an issue with the 4G tower in this area and has been for a long time.

    • John Graziano

      Dial #FIX

      • Spud

        #fix is only for T-Mobile employees to use. If you call a store and tell them they can enter a #fix request for you.

        • H Nathan Harper

          *811 used to work. Not sure anymore though.

    • Ordeith

      Crazy enough this is also true on most of the property of Disneyland. You get 4G bars, but no data and calls drop regularly. I figured the T-Mobile towers in the area were probably getting overloaded with density of cell usage with all those people. It has been this way for at least 3 years.
      You would think a high profile place like Disneyland would have caused someone at T-Mobile to notice and do something about it. Sadly, no.

      • Jose Hernandez

        I live in the area and finally got them to let the engineering department know about this issue. They said it should be corrected by this Thursday. I guess will find out then.

    • BeanSparrow

      had that same issue happen to me, but this was at Main Street square between mckinney and lamar. i would use my nexus 4 to browse the web and it would either load very slowly or not load at all. my phone shows full bars and hspa+, yet no luck. also when making a call, it would drop instantly.

  • Derrick

    I will be getting my test drive iPhone in the mail tomorrow which is good because I will be driving to Tennessee from Ohio this will give me a good idea of the network. I wonder once I drop to 2g if I am still able to stream pandora? But I will see tomorrow!

    • BlackJu

      Be ready for disappointment.

    • Paul

      We would be interested in your review of the network from varying locations.

      • Derrick

        I will once I reach Tennessee and a day of usage in the city. My little brother is also coming with me and he has sprint so this should be pretty cool to see which one wins. I have AT&T but I hope that I change my perception of T-Mobiles network.

        • Paul

          While the desolate areas will be hard on all of them, less on the AT&T I bet, be sure to factor in that most carriers have low performance in far urban areas. Knowing that there will be 3 phones going this WILL be a great review.
          I look forward to reading it.

        • stl user

          verizon and att rule tennessee south of nashville. t-mobile only gets edge in the Fayettevilla area.

    • TmoUser

      Like BlackJu said, be ready for disappointment. Data is not good at all. You will see E and GPRS pretty much the whole drive. When I drove from Tampa back up to KY in the recent weeks, I streamed Pandora off of Edge a few times during some buffering and loading, but it’s not a pleasant experience during a long drive.

    • TYLERDERK

      Pandora will never get you slowed down its one of the Apps that don’t count against your data plan ,,Pandora, Rhapsody ,ITunes, Spotify, Slacker, Iheart radio etc,,,,,

    • Ordeith

      While driving around California I can stream Pandora pretty much everywhere.. on Cricket. On T-Mobile? not so much. Really couldn’t do it MOST places with T-MO. If my T-MO phone didn’t have offline maps that would have been another issue. It’s quite bad.

      • izick

        Are you on New Cricket or old Cricket (pre-AT&T network)?

        • Ordeith

          I was on T-Mobile for 7 years, switched to AIO as soon as it was available in my area, ended up on New Cricket after the rebranding.

    • bullet7

      Derrick,
      Some 2G towers stream pandora fine and some don’t. fight it everytime I leave my town on the interstate.

    • izick

      If you’re taking 77 at all through West Virginia, good luck. You’re probably going to hate your service most of that trip. Either way, about anytime after you cross the OH state line until you make it to TN your service will be inconsistent and lackluster.

      • Derrick

        Nope I am taking 71 south to 65 south.

  • Bars are for drinking at.

    People need to get over the whole “bars” thing.

    Sitting here at my desk:

    Nexus 7 LTE on T-Mo – 1 bar: 19.46 mbit down, 3.42 up.
    HTC One (m8) on T-Mo (same desk): 3 bars and virtually the same data throughput.

    What this says to me: Bars either do not represent data strength or are utterly useless. (FWIW: call quality at my desk is excellent)

    In this day and age – any journalist using “bars” as something by which they judge mobile devices/services means we should take *nothing* they say about the device or service seriously.

    Honestly, people, we should know better by now.

    • monkeybutts

      except when it’s 0 bars, but yeah my phone normally fluctuates between 1-3 bars LTE in my house and 2-4 HSPA/E

      LTE coverage isn’t all that important indoors till more phones utilize VoLTE. Need to turn off LTE to get a true calling signal.

    • GinaDee

      True but with Verizon you can still make calls and surf data just fine with one bar on an iPhone. With T-Mobile if you have one bar calls get really choppy and/or won’t connect at all and data is slow as molasses.

      I say this even though I can’t stand Verizon.

      LTE inherently is a very fragile air interface so indoor reception is even more challenging causing users phones to fluctuate between LTE, HSPA and the dreaded 2G.

      Reality is that no matter how much Legere boasts about Ookla speeds not everyone will experience them, those crazy speeds are confined to really small geographic areas and likely do not extend to suburban neighborhoods.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        That’s the only thing I hate about the high frequency… building pentration sucks and it doesn’t cover a large area. Lucky I stay 4 blocks from a LTE tower so my home has all bars LTE. I only drop when I have a call. :-)

  • Pitahson

    Great article. Being a Solavei sharer, my biggest fear is telling someone hey switch to Solavei, save and the network is great then getting complaints that signal and data sucks. This article brings me comfort and confidence to keep sharing Solavei with those that are just paying too much on att or vz where service with T-Mobile is comparable or better. Great article again

    • donnybee

      Too bad Solavei just went bankrupt.. http://www.fiercewireless [.com] /story/mvno-solavei-files-bankruptcy-protection/2014-06-18

      • Pitahson

        I’ve read the article. I’m aware. It’s a strategy to get our stuff together. Like the article states, paying 82 cents to the dollar to all sharers was a lesson learned. Also having 500MB and people still managing 4GB on 2G costs money. We’re reorganizing heavily. As for me personally. I’ve helped 18 ditch the expensive carriers. Results in free talk, text, and 4GB of HSPA+ and an extra $110 a month. Enough to get a new phone every 6 months cash. Great paying hobby dont you think? :). nevertheless I do take some heat because of coverage and it looks bad on both companies.

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    Dwight Silverman works for the Houston Chronicle…

  • Curtis Frazier

    I did the test drive in Peoria, IL. If I never left Peoria, I would have switched from VZW. These issue is as soon as you leave the city, GPRS! Not even EDGE most of the time. I couldn’t even use my phone for POI lookups or directions. While in town, call quality and data speed blew VZW away. (Verizon’s data speed were the same in the new AWS “XLTE” area, but I’ve only seen that downtown, and it’s very limited.)

    I was also worried about T-Mo’s “partner areas.” My family lives in the Quad Cities IA/IL. T-Mobile couldn’t tell me if I would have LTE there and IF I did, I would only have 50MB of ANY data. Are you kidding me?!? Do you know how fast that would go if I was there just 2-3 days.

    Overall I was impressed, but I can’t switch.

    • JMF_mobile

      Partner service in Quad Cities is Iowa Wireless. They will not cap your data. Tmo reps wrong about that. Often roam in Eastern Iowa on their network and never been limited on data there. Quad Cities is 3g

      • Curtis Frazier

        Wow…that was a huge deal breaker on NOT moving. Maybe once the service is upgraded from GPRS to LTE between the QC and Peoria I can switch!

        • JMF_mobile

          Totally understand. If I was in remote areas more often the slow data speeds of GPRS and even Edge would make me consider leaving TMO. However where I work and live and spend 99% of my time it works great for me and it’s much cheaper than when I was on Verizon. I pay $176 per month total for 5 smart phone voice lines and an iPad with data. Granted I do get a 15% corporate discount but still. In addition in downtown Des Moines, where I work, TMO’s HSPA+ 4G (we have no LTE yet – a sore point for me at this late stage) is still 3 times faster than Verizon LTE between 8:00 and 4:30 because their Network is so congested. Everybody’s situation is different and I’d be first to acknowledge TMO doesn’t work for everybody but I guess the cool thing about the test drive promo is it gave people a chance to assess that.

  • Mooch

    I turned in my iphone three days into the test drive. I had no service at home and barely Edge at work so there was no need to continue. I told the reps at the store and explained why I felt it was premature of T-Mobile to offer this test drive when they haven’t really upgraded their service in most places. He said not only did he find that odd but the fact that T-Mobile used their prepaid service for the test drive which isn’t as strong as their post paid service. Not sure why one should be stronger than the other.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      As a prepaid customer, I can say that there is no difference in signal strength or speed compared to friends with service plans.

      • Mooch

        That’s what I figured.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        I would beg to differ because tmobile has two completely different coverage maps for post paid and pre paid. And of course post paid get priority network. That’s why I have a contract

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          I’ll agree when I see such distinct coverage maps.

        • bdbman

          T-Mobile give priority to postpaid customers on towers. The cause for the different coverage maps is due to the lack of roaming on prepaid. Regular coverage maps show the partner coverage as well.

    • Mike

      I agree that service is crappy in Phila. I’m in the SE burbs (19380) and have crappy service even with a signal booster. Phone has 4 bars, says let but speed test is below 3.0 mgps with a Ping speed of 649 ms. Guess I’m not one if the chosen 200 mil pop that has lte coverage.

    • Aaron Davis

      Hopefully they took notes of the places where the service doesn’t work, and forwarded those notes to someone who can actually fix it.

      With something like cell coverage, you can get random dead spots (signal shadows and such) that the cell company doesn’t know about.

      It’s possible that this was the intention all along, by turn the test-drivers into deadspot-finders. This means that the program wasn’t premature at all, since even bad experiences like yours can still be of significant value to the company.

  • Ashton3002

    Hey guys I need help.
    I’m with sprint and I get decent service for what i pay. ($76 including device payment) unlimited everything. And I use about 5 GB per month. About 3.5 on LTE. Sprint doesn’t have the best coverage but they are working on it..however the places I visit the most switch between 4G and 3G frequently and I don’t get the best service at my home. However I have a signal booster so it helps I get 2.5 down average. But I find myself using wifi most of the time because I download and watch a lot of videos and movies. Tmobile says it has strong coverage in my home area and all the other frequent places I visit where sprint struggles with 4G if any..I really want to make the switch but I’m going to wait until November when I can get a iphone 6. I wanted to know if the switch was worth it or just stay with sprint? I do travel fairly often. I live in oklahoma and I travel all over texas, colorado, kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia and rely on my phone for everything. And other states throughout the year. Sprint has 3G all over the interstates and LTE here and there..I can’t do a test drive because I work and my roommate works and when the package is delivered Noone would be there to get it. Soo..I’m stuck can I have some help?

    • Mooch

      Have it shipped to your (or your roommate’s) work. I do it all the time.

      • Ashton3002

        Tmobile said the shipping address has to match credit card billing address.

        • Mooch

          Not sure if you live in a safe area or not but if it helps, Fed Ex didn’t ask for a signature when they delivered mine. They were gonna leave it at the door if my g/f didn’t see them.

    • Paul

      Well, it’s a stipulation that sucks. It’s easy to figure out why they do that.

      The iPhone is supposed to get a WiFi calling option so that will help when you’re in an area with little to no reception. I find it beneficial with my Android phone. I can tell you that we have good reception and data in DFW and Austin Texas. I’d say check the coverage map for the areas/cities you visit the most. That will give you an idea of how good the reception should be.

      No harm in test driving, but you will need to find a way to have it arrive to you. Sorry I don’t have an answer for that.

    • TMoRetailStorePhoneTech

      Why don’t you ship it to your house then create a UPS account and as soon as you get a tracking number request to pick up the package at a UPS Mailbox or HUB.

    • bkin94

      honestly, right now, T-Mobile doesn’t have very god “in between city” coverage at all. It might be best for you to wait a bit if you can hold on anyway

    • JMF_mobile

      Agree with the between city coverage on data – a lot of Edge / 2G coverage, so if having at least 3G in remote areas is important to you I would wait until TMO has finished their 2G to LTE upgrade – at least a year . Voice coverage and texting is almost always available in my experience wherever I’ve been.

  • Guest

    This is great that T-mobile is using iPhones for their test drive program because every year, when the next gen iPhone comes out, people might be signing up again to see how they like the iPhone 6, 6s, 7…etc. and see how much T-mobile’s network has improved, especially when T-mobile starts rolling out 700mhz LTE coverage at the end of this year. That is if T-mobile will let people sign up again after a certain amount of time has passed since their last trial. Maybe one year’s time?

    • bkin94

      at the announcement they did say once per year. I cannot find confirmation on their website

  • Matt

    I would like to know in which cities that 700mhz spectrum will be available. Also, will there be some sort of carrier update allowing the iPhone 5S to take advantage of it?

    • Jay J. Blanco

      California. .. Denver. Atl… eastern Texas. Florida. NYC.. Boston. & Michigan. You will need a new device. No tmobile phone supports the band.

      • fp

        HTC one M8 is the only one.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          It doesn’t support band 12, does it?

      • H Nathan Harper

        Kansas City also.

      • Willie D

        California will not support 700Mhz A Block to start as many areas still have Channel 51 live here.

        • MastarPete

          Last I looked all channel 51 stations have a hard cut-off date around the end of October, no more extensions. At that point T-Mobile’s 700mhz licence takes priority and they will be allowed to deploy and activate without penalty. Any ch.51 station still broadcasting past the cut-off date would face fines or have their other licenses revoked for non-compliance.

      • Stone Cold

        Facebook catalogs my Z1S as LTE-. When I log in on mobile web.

      • MastarPete

        Unofficially the Galaxy S5 and any other phone that uses a Qualcomm WTR1625L or its successor the WTR3925, is capable of supporting band 12. Those chips are release 10 and 11 compliant (respectively) meaning they are capable of operating on ALL announced LTE bands for their respective categories not just those bands which are currently in use. (borrowed from a post on XDA)

        Whether T-Mobile pushes out a firmware update to enable it is still unknown.
        It sounds simple enough but network engineers would still have to do QA testing. Plus there is the possibility the manufacturers could charge too much for the update.

        Supposing T-mobile doesn’t make an announcement closer to the start of 700mhz roll-out, It’ll be worth keeping an eye on FCC filings to see if any previously released phones get re-submitted for 700mhz RF compliance testing.

  • mobileguy

    Its tough because I live in a suburb south of Denver, Colorado. Where I live and in Denver I never have any issues. When I travel up to Nebraska there are a few places were I completely lose service or am only on Edge. We have had t-mobile now for 3 years and it works great for us! I know coverage isn’t the best but the price is perfect. Having good coverage around your home and work is an essential, which I have. I can compromise on other areas. They would have such a stronger chance if they just changed over their entire 2g network to LTE.

    • Stone Cold

      I am in Denver, I know recently they were updating here my signal kept dropping but haven’t had issues since.

  • hanfeedback

    Not sure about the review from the guy from the Houston Chronicle. Tmobile is awesome here in Houston.

  • Mike

    We have very poor service in the suburbs of Philadelphia (exton and Devon). Recent trip to Lewes De had zero service outside of Wilmington. Daughter was in Ocean City Md at the same time. She also I phone user. Got her texts only when I got close to Wilimington. Went on TMO web site shows Exton as having excellent 4g LTE coverage. IPhone says 4 bars and LTE but here’s the problem: speed test results WITH a Cell booster are as follows: download 2.97; upload 2.40; ping 649ms.

    TMO says there are 2 LTE towers within less than 1/4 mile of my home and place of work. Maybe it’s my iPhone or perhaps it the TMO network. TMO and air going to a little experiment. They’ll send a fresh iPhone for me. From this we should be able to rule out if it’s the phone or if it’s a network problem.

    This is the only phone I have (no home phone) so I have to have reliability.

    • SEBA

      I travel in your area, exton is the only town that has bad service, chester sprigs and downigtown are having amazing speeds. It’s really spotty there.

  • Willie D

    Looks like two good experiences, one switch and three bad experiences out of 5… Not good stats for TMo, but let’s subtract Walt from the picture cause that guy is old, hardset in his ways and unlikely to adopt anything different unless its got Apples name on it. If TMo was sold to Apple, he would switch in a heart beat I guarantee it.. With that said, 1 good review of 4 is not good.

    • Matt

      1 new customer out of 4 potential is better than not doing the test drive at all. Increased customer base and revenue is all part of the game. Even if they only get 1 out of 10 to switch it is still a success.

  • rosedawg

    I’m wondering if this is “iphone” problems. The reason I say this, is because Tricia Duryee of GeekWire supposedly lives in Seattle. Yet I live 20 min. north of her and every time I’m in Seattle I get LTE service, all the time. Especially in downtown Seattle. I also get LTE at home too. I’m on T-Mobile, the difference is that I have a Galaxy Note 3 as my daily driver. Maybe they’re just holding the phone wrong! (That line never gets old, thanks Steve Jobs).

    Personally I’d like to see T-Mobile open the trial to other devices too.

    • Nick

      I agree very much. My dad decided to take one for a spin and while my android would get 3 or so bars of LTE inside, his iphone could only pull in 1 or 2 bars of HSPA+.

    • HangmanSwingset

      20 minutes north? You mean like… Everett area? I got a speed test of 93.01 Mbps down in the Everett mall parking lot today. But there’s also an area between Madison and 41st along Evergreen where I get 4G, three to four bars, but data doesn’t work. I mean like latency test fails level of not working.

      • rosedawg

        Yeah the Everett / Lynnwood area. I work in downtown Everett and get LTE all day long now consistently, even around 41st. Take staples for example, I used to get edge inside the building and 4g in the parking lot, now it’s 4g inside and LTE outside. Now when I check in with my staples app inside I don’t have to switch to wifi. Along the marina blazing with LTE.

    • Jeremy Turnley

      Gauging distance in Seattle by travel time isn’t very useful. 20 minutes north of her on most afternoons is about three blocks :P

  • Clarkkent113

    This has been pretty much T-Mo’s MO for years. GREAT service when you can actually get bars; unmatched speeds really. It’s just spotty coverage and signals don’t seem to penetrate homes as well as the other carriers. I’ve been with T-Mobile since the Voicestream days and this has been my experience for all this time more or less. I can’t really use my cell at home (0 bars, and Wi-Fi calling doesn’t seem to work for me) but as soon as I leave I’m getting speeds ranging from 10-35mbps everywhere I go.

    I stay with T-Mo because I still have a home phone so don’t need signal at my house + they’re less expensive than the other carriers.

    • Dan

      “… + they’re less expensive than the other carriers.”

      Not if you require a home phone to compensate for lack of cell coverage. Who has home phone lines anymore?

      • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

        Perhaps. But home phone lines can be as cheap as $15 a month, so then it might still be cheaper than S or VZW.

        • Clarkkent113

          Yep, we pay $25/month for home phone. Our monthly cell bill for 5 phones is $150 – all with 1 gig, or more, of data). Total = $175.

          I bet I’d be paying close to $250 for 5 cellphones w/data on Verizon or ATT.

        • Hunter

          No Where near close…. AT&T for 4 lines is $160.

        • Demdi

          I have VOIP with 2 home lines and pay $30 a year for each. Still refuse to give them up.

      • Stone Cold

        I keep a home phone. But it is my personal choice to do so.

      • 21stNow

        I have a home phone. I still have a car phone though! ; )

  • James Cook

    Use sensory app to determine which service is best you. That’s why I changed from sprint to tmobile, because the area I’m in, tmobile is much better for me

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    I think that this move was premature. It’s likely going to reinforce the reputation of spotty coverage. Rather, TMUS should wait a few months after it makes advances towards upgrading equipment from 2G to 4G (why, why does a major carrier still run such arcane technology?). I’m afraid that this was a Hail Mary pass to get more subscribers in order to make it more appetizing to buyers or improve its position at the negotiation table. IOW, it may just be a ploy to fatten the executive bonus. If so, then it’d be so un-uncarrier of TMUS…

  • Jason Crumbley

    I have the same problems as Mr. Silverman, in North Las Vegas, and around the Las Vegas valley. I’ve also noticed the problem in Los Angeles (Specifically Garden Grove.).
    It shows that I have 4-5 bars of LTE or HSPA+, but nothing will load. I have to turn airplane mode on and off to get it to work properly again.

    • Willie D

      Are you using a Nexus 5.. That’s a known issue with me and Nexus 5 on TMo

      • Ordeith

        He’s on T-Mobile. It’s a common issue with TMo.

    • vrm

      I find similar issues with at&t nowadays- HSPA signal looks good but acts more like its on EDGE – extremely slow data.

      • randian

        I’m seeing the same with TMO in Phoenix. If my phone drops from LTE to HSPA the network grinds to a halt. I didn’t try toggling airplane mode, I just rebooted to fix it.

  • Brandon

    First time on the website– Been really looking hard at Tmobile and signed up for the test drive immediately. Very impressed! Equal to (sometimes) better than my VZW iPhone 5s and easily convinced to switch. Been with VZW for 10 years, but my wife and I pay 150+ WITH a 20% corporate discount on VZW. Wife and I could get 3GB of data a piece, WIFI calling with iOS 8, free music streaming, and UNLIMITED call/text for $50 less a month! Thats $1200 in two years of a VZW contract… No brainer really. Excited to switch!

  • sinnerofa10shun

    Service is great in Houston. My iPhone 5s reception is hit or miss indoors though. But all in all, I’m happy.

    • Jeremy

      what type of building are you in? i have not had trouble in doors in about 2 years. I get anywhere from 40 to 70 indoor on LTE always. This downtown or heights.

      i don’t get Dwight Silverman issue downtown as I drive past that location everyday. Its rare to drop LTE but in a few sports I drop maybe for a block at most.

      • superg05

        what kind of phone do you have i know iPhones have always had signal issues so i was just asking?

      • sinnerofa10shun

        I’m in an office building in La Porte and then my home in Webster. The people that have Verizon and AT&T have great reception though. I’m not complaining because I’m always on wifi at these places though. When I’m out and about, everything is beyond great.

  • Blake

    I think the Samsung devices would have been nice simply because test rivers would have been able to use WiFi calling to give some sort of alternative got the indoor coverage

  • vette98

    Looks like Tmobile network is not up to par with Verizon or ATT
    Looser Tmobile

    • NotCaptainObvious

      It’s not on par? Thank you Captain Obvious. You got any more insight that everyone knows about? Which is why you test out whatever carrier you want to use and return it if you aren’t happy. In my urban area, I don’t have any issues at all even in buildings with almost always LTE signals so I don’t need the broader coverage of Verizon. I don’t know why but you sound like a jilted lover, what did tmobile do to you? You should see a shrink about that problem.

    • http://www.twitter.com/joshpowersshow jp

      Looser? Looser than your grasp of how to spell “loser” perhaps. Seems like they’re winning to me.

      • Spanky

        I am a grammar nazi myself, but it seems like we’re reading a different article. T-Mobile has a long way to go until they are on equal footing with AT&T and Verizon, let alone winning.

      • Spanky

        I am a member of the grammar police myself, but it seems like we’re reading a different article. T-Mobile has a long way to go until they are on equal footing with AT&T and Verizon, let alone winning.

  • Hiro

    Well, not so much a test-drive… but having switched 3 months ago from AT&T to Tmo in Seattle, I’m beyond thrilled with my experience. In-home, usually full or close to full bars on my iPhone 5s, 30-50 Mbps almost always inside or outside. Throughout Seattle, if I get less than 20 Mbps, it’s slow to me.

    In addition, when on standard “4G” I usually find I am getting 15-25 Mbps, and dropping below 10 is a shocker because it so rarely happens. (Uplinks are similarly fantastic and beat out my mom’s AT&T iPhone 5 in same exact location at same time – LTE is usually 15-25 Mbps up, 4G is usually 3-10 Mbps up.)

    For comparison, my “40 Mbps” centuryLink DSL usually sits around 20 Mbps so I’m never on wifi, as my LTE is typically double the speed.

    It’s always faster than my AT&T experience with better reception on the Eastside – Bellevue/Kirkland/Redmond area, with as good or better indoor experience (What? Really?) and one of my roommates who switched from Verizon to T-Mobile gets better reception and speed in our basement with Tmo than Verizon.

    My friend has am almost identical experience coming from Verizon to Tmo. And better yet – we’re all saving between $10-$40 month INCLUDING the cost of the monthly JUMP phones (ranging from $22-$29.50 a month) compared to what we were paying on our old plans.

  • Derrick

    I got my test drive iPhone this morning and I got it all set up and them I got on the road to go to Tennessee from ohio. I currently have att for my service and my little brother was with me and he has sprint. Well before we left I did a speed test and I got 67mbps down and like 20mbps up which is crazy. But once I got out of city limits I hit 2g and shockingly my pandora was still streaming. Now through the whole drive it may have stopped a few times but overall I was highly impressed. The 2g was usable for what I needed it to do. There was a few spots on the highway that had lte and hspa+ it’s really making me question why I pay what I do with att. I think I will end up switching. And with tmo adding lte along the highways and stuff will make it even better. But shoot the 2g is ok in my book from what I saw on my 6 hour drive.

    • 21stNow

      It’s probably good for streaming music as long as you start in a high-speed data area. I started streaming music in a high-speed data area and was able to stream into Charlestown, WV. Once I got there, I stopped streaming the music. When I tried to resume streaming, I couldn’t. I was on Edge when I was in Charlestown and gave up trying to resume streaming.

  • ThomasBDX

    Now if Apple would just get IOS 8 out the door with working WiFi calling…

  • Timmy

    I live in a kinda rural area(small town on interstate 5) and I signed up for the test drive. The phone came pretty quickly and the t mobile coverage map also said that I have 4g/lte in town. I had 1-5 bars wherever I went(service fluctuated A LOT) and calls were pretty good. 4g on t mobile is atrocious! I did speed tests and the maximum I got was .8 megabytes up on 4g! Other times the test would completely fail because ookla couldn’t detect a signal. Call quality was excellent but the near complete lack of data coverage was a deal breaker. I also had a the problem of indoor coverage but I could deal with that through wifi. I have at&t now and I’m going to stay there until the 4g situation improves to the point where I can actually open a website. With AT&T I get LTE nearly everywhere and occasionally I drop to 4g but not very often. When the LTE for t mobile does work it blows at&t away but it hardly ever gets LTE. Also does t mobile not have 3G? I didn’t see a 3G signal once on my test drive.

    • Jeremy Turnley

      T-Mo uses HSPA+ for their 3G network, but calls it 4G. AT&T did the same thing until they began rolling out LTE en masse, causing a lot of confusion when they were calling one 4G and one 4G LTE.

      • izick

        AT&T still calls it 4G/4G LTE though. Even though T-Mobile H+ comes in at around the speed of AT&T’s LTE. My T-Mobile H+ speeds are always 2x-5x faster than my AT&T H+ speeds.

    • Hiro

      I’m surprised you got so slow on 4G. I often test out in 15-25 Mbps on 4G non-LTE.

  • Joe

    With TMo now providing special treatment for certain data connections, I wonder if they put the Speed Test connections on a “fast lane” while other connections are placed on a lower priority. That would definitely skew speed test results vs regular world usage.

    • Hiro

      From what I know, their ‘special treatment’ is strictly data usage, not speed related like Comcast, Verizon, etc when a company such as Netflix pays them. It’s strictly counts vs. doesn’t count against your data cap.