T-Mobile still has some way to go with network coverage perception

data strong

It’s no secret that most U.S. consumers see T-Mobile as being a carrier which offers less reliable, and less expansive coverage than AT&T and Verizon. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen comments on this blog about coverage just disappearing outside metro areas. And a survey by research firm, NPD, shows that perception of T-Mo’s network is still not strong.

In a survey of 2,500 wireless subscribers, T-Mobile came out with a perception score of just 2%. Tying with Sprint in 3rd place, behind Verizon (30%) and AT&T (10%).

The survey itself isn’t the most scientific, but it’s still a good indication of how the average consumer views other networks. How it works is simple. Customers on each network are asked which carrier offers the best coverage. 24% of AT&T customers, 37% of Sprint customers and 29% of T-Mobile customers picked Verizon, giving Big Red an average score of 30%.

As reported by Fierce Wireless:

According to NPD’s findings, around 52 percent of T-Mobile’s own customers think that T-Mobile has the nation’s best network coverage. But just 3 percent of AT&T customers think that T-Mobile offers the best network coverage. Around 3 percent of Sprint customers think that T-Mobile offers the nation’s best network coverage, and just 2 percent of Verizon Wireless customers think that T-Mobile has the best network coverage.

And this is clearly one of the reasons T-Mobile recently launched its Test Drive program. It’s no secret that T-Mo has been expanding and improving its coverage. LTE speeds are on the increase, VoLTE is going live in multiple locations, and 2G areas are being converted to 4G. And while we know that the network is improving every week, the average consumer won’t. And giving them 7-days free use of T-Mobile’s network with an iPhone 5s is a great way to prove it.

Source: FW

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  • Me

    Just did a drive from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh along the busiest interstate in the state and didn’t even have edge signal the entire drive. I’d say they have a lot of work to do in these parts.

    • Andrew Finkenbinder

      The Turnpike is a barren wasteland for T-Mobile signal most of the way.

      • Me

        If you look on the map, it shows that they have 4G coverage for the entire route. Hmmmm.

        • itguy08

          Where? West of Mechanicsburg it’s all EDGE all the time till you get to around New Stanton. Then it picks up to Pittsburgh.

        • Andrew Finkenbinder

          Truth. I live in/around Harrisburg and take the Turnpike both directions semi-frequently. Hell, Carlisle is still on 2G and there’s a damn college and a law school there.

          When I’m on 3G/LTE, I’m very happy with T-Mobile. When I’m not, it’s miserable.

        • itguy08

          Carlisle is one area they really need to improve. Coverage is fine and EDGE is somewhat useable but it’s a darn shame they are not 3G/LTE here. The voice network in Carlisle is solid, its just the data that needs help.

          We’re a huge trucking spot with the warehouses that supply the East Coast, Dickinson Law school, County Seat, largest car shows in the USA, etc. Heck, even SPRINT saw fit to upgrade service here!

      • itguy08

        No it’s not. Been from Harrisburg to Philly. Yes, there are areas of no DATA but you can make a call. Been from Harrisburg to New Stanton. Same deal. Had a call for 20 minutes west of Breezewood. EDGE or No DATA but signal was there.

    • philyew

      If you’re talking about 76 that’s very strange because both RootMetrics and Sensorly show signal almost all the way.

    • x646x

      To add to that, literally 100 feet outside the DC metro area I66, 4th
      largest in the nation, and it’s a hard drop to 2G. The drive from DC to
      Pittsburgh fluctuations between useless 2G edge to No Service. The
      AT&T roaming they offer is also useless (data wise) in these areas. I
      am not expecting LTE but at least give me speeds that are the
      equivalent to that of the international roaming.

      How about the
      busiest interstate on the East coast (I95), where vast sections are 2G
      to no service. These are not rural areas as some claim, but busy metro

  • VG

    Sad, but true. Poor building penetration due to high frequency spectrum is also a problem. Here’s hoping T-Mobile continues its progress, and isn’t slowed down by the pending Sprint merger.

    • Cam Bunton

      Absolutely. And let’s hope that the 700MHz is being used (and compatible handsets launched) sooner rather than later.

      • maximus1901

        not gonna matter in ch 51 exclusion zones.

    • qpinto

      with tmobiles roll out of 20×20 and 10 mhz LTE, i have actually experienced better reception within buildings for signal. 700mhz will help that issue even more. to the future !

  • Jermaine Coakley Sr.

    T-Mobile coverage has improved in the metro Detroit area and other parts of Michigan that I visit BUT the biggest issue is with poor building penetration and the only way to fix that is with low-band spectrum. The VZW 700 acquisition was a good move but there needs to be more to keep progress moving forward.

    • Aaron Davis

      The only reason T-mobile was even able to buy that 700mhz spectrum was because the FCC forced Verizon to sell it, otherwise Verizon would still be hoarding that spectrum today.

    • maximus1901

      That’s not the only way; increased tower densification.
      Buildings don’t magically cause the signal to go all the way to zero; the signal is attenuated. So if you have 1-2 bars outside, you’re probably gonna have none inside but if you have 3-4 bars outside, then you’ll have signal inside.

      So putting up more towers in an area that already has them, but where you don’t get lte indoors, will result in you getting lte indoors.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    This is the only area where the Sprint merger would help since Sprint does have a very reliable coverage (3G) along the freeways and highways up and down California. I am sure it’s the same in most states.

    • Justin747

      I drove l from LA to SF, and back to LA last summer. I had next to nothing with my T-Mobile N4 and my Sprint S3.

      The only difference was when I got to both metro areas, I still had terrible speeds and inconsistent coverage with Sprint while my T-Mobile phone was doing pretty good in both areas.

      Also keep in mind it would likely take YEARS to see the coverage benefits of the combined company.

  • Brett Bendickson

    It’s not just a perception problem, it’s an actual problem. I recently took a 5000 mile road trip across the country, and was frankly astonished at how little coverage I had.

    • Tmo user

      With all due respect, how many people go on cross country road trips on a regular basis? Not many people, that’s for sure. It’s like Neville Ray said, they’re deploying spectrum in the areas where it has the biggest impact on the customer. Would you rather have a network like Sprint’s where they decide to put towers in the middle of NOWHERE first? Or would you rather have a network like T-Mobile’s where they deploy spectrum FIRST at where people live, work and play?

      • “where people live, work and play” gotta be an employee…. ;-)

      • BlackJu

        I occasionally travel for work, we take road trips on major highways. Service cannot suck along the major arteries of the country.

      • maximus1901

        I’d rather tmo upgrade their 2G towers with RRH’s, not just slapping a basestation down and calling it good.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        All I can say to the people that complain is buy shares of tmobile. lol

    • Willie D

      Across the country is not 5000 miles, it is 3500 give or take a few hundred.

      • Steve

        You can still cross the country and do so while traveling more than 5,000 miles. The most direct route is not always the route everyone takes when taking a scenic road trip. Plus, you still have to factor in a round trip. So if one did go across the country, and go back to where they started, 5,000 miles may be spot on for a direct travel depending on where that person started from, where they went, and what they consider to be across the country.

        It’s probably better to educate yourself before trying to correct others.

        • HothTron

          Not our fault you extended your trip for “scenic” bypasses.

          Don’t be a douche.

        • Steve

          “Don’t be a douche.”

          That’s what I said. LOL.

  • Aurizen

    I just want to see at least 4 bars of LTE in my home. I’m getting 1-2. I do look forward to them getting rid of Edge, and shutting down Metro PCS spectrum and deploying wideban LTE.

    • besweeet

      That’ll only happen if they make a tower closer to you or when they implement 700A, if you’re in a planned area.

      What phone do you have? Every phone that T-Mobile has, minus the stock Android phones and iPhones, shows LTE signal based on quality rather than raw signal strength. At home on my iPhone, I get 2 bars of LTE (35 down/8 up, though), but a Lumia 925, GS4 and Z1S all show 4 or 5 most of the time.

      • Aurizen

        I have an iphone 5, 2 bars of LTE 3 down 1up. I live in Philadelphia.

  • BlackJu

    They should have taken part of the metro pcs name to become “metro mobile”. Wish someone would pay T-mobiles ETF for me.

    • Willie D

      Tmobile doesn’t have ETFs

      • BlackJu

        It sure does if you’re still under a T mobile contract. Believe me, I tried to cancel our $10 voice line and was told it is still under contract until November and would cost $200 to terminate. Tmobile doesn’t start new contracts; it does bind you to old ones.

        • will

          You could try a different store. The store my girlfriend went to said that because her phone was so cheap ( prism ) they wouldn’t force her to stay. Of course living in Seattle she stayed and just got a better phone lol

  • Coolbeans

    TMobile hasnt added sites (besides 2G/LTE/3G upgrades) since 2008 when the economy went down. They may have had started of recent with some of the 700Mhz stuff but thats it. T-Mobile is all smoke and mirrors but the diehards dont see it. Leave town and go to a rural area on your test drive, you wi;; test drive right back to the metro area.

    • hellojello123

      Saw a post on howard forums that in I think Michigan they had added some new 3g only coverage with no 2g to be seen, so it’s possible they are adding sites now and in the future :)

  • Craig Phillips

    I have been with T-Mobile (including through prior companies) for over 14 years. The network coverage has been slowly getting better in some areas, however in Michigan certain areas I visit that were covered by a service partner with excellence service stopped being covered as of May 1, 2014. I was told that the service partner AT&T on that date ended their service partnership for some areas, which creates huge areas lacking any coverage. In addition, the majority of I-96, I-75 north of Flint and US131 north of Grand Rapids lack data coverage. More concerning, areas in metro Detroit (Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield) on my commute for the last 12 years, had low signal, but acceptable coverage, and rarely dropped the call. These areas now have no coverage and calls drop for about 5 miles of the commute. Very frustrating as I have not changed my commute or phone. I have tried other phones to no avail. While they say they are improving, I have only seen the network go backwards in areas that I use. In view of this, after 14 years I am seriously considering leaving T-Mobile.

    • That’s very contradictory to my own Experience @Craig Phillips:disqus in the same area, where I happen to also live. I have Phenomenal service with T-Mobile here in the Metro-Detroit area suburbs. Always a strong signal, never a dropped call, 35-45Mbps LTE regularly. I call bull on your experience sir. We have a multitude of Spectrum in this area, stop spreading misinformation. I have Also been with T-Mobile 14 years since 2000, and it’s never been as Fantastic as it is now.

      • kalel33

        T-mobile started in the U.S. in 2002. 12 years ago.

    • johnediii

      I live in Rockford, just North of Grand Rapids and my house is in a black hole for T-Mobile. TMo just refarmed Rockford from 2G to 4G and LTE which is great but I get 4G on my street until about 400 yards from my driveway. I get GPRS for the 400 yards around my house. That’s it. They need to get this moving.

      • chris

        I totally agree with you as a metro pcs/tmobile customer its very frustrating I live in big rapids North of grand rapids there no signal coverage from ceder springs the far north you go they better soon start getting coverage soon with new towers, since I do travel back and forth too grand rapids alot !!

        • Scott

          Hang in there. They just lit up LTE in Oxford, MI yesterday replacing useless GPRS. I mapped it on Sensorly on M24 north of Oxford. I turned around before I ran out of coverage (had to get to work!).

        • maximus1901

          I’m curious: when they went from GPRS to LTE, does that area also have HSPA+?

        • Scott

          I think so, but I’ll double check tonight.

        • maximus1901

          Thanks. I’ve read Neville’s comments about the PCS LTE refarming but he hasn’t mentioned whether they’re gonna dedicate at least 5x5MHz to HSPA+

          It’d be a mistake not to for all the iphone 4s owners like myself.

        • Scott

          I do know that it is 15MHz DL BW on band 4.

        • maximus1901

          Nice. In metro detroit, I confirmed we’re at 20×20 with my sister’s iphone 5s.
          But i’m really curious about whether there’s any PCS HSPA+.
          I know – for a “fact” – that TMO will leave at least 5x5MHz HSPA+ on 1700/2100 but not sure whether they care about the devices that only have HSPA+ on PCS.

        • Scott

          I’m just S of Oxford and it shows WCDMA and HSPA+ on band 2, which I think is PCS. I assume that carries on further north. No longer picking up GPRS when I force the phone to GSM only, just EDGE, which is giving me 200k down/100k up.

        • maximus1901

          Sweet thanks.

  • MistahMan

    T-Mobile’s coverage is improving weekly / monthly. But being an IT professional, its not realistic to expect an overnight improvement in anything. You have to look at the big picture, where they were 1 yr ago and where they are now.

    • kalel33

      Coverage isn’t improving. They are improving their existing network, without expanding coverage. Those are two different things.

  • Willie D

    Coverage is no longer the issue at hand, it is about the quality of the signal within the coverage areas depicted.

  • trife

    Yeah, forget streaming music on a long road trip. Drove from Huntsville, AL to Atlanta last week and the only time I had anything other than no service or EDGE was in and just outside actual cities.

    Hell, I can drive 5 miles down the road from my house and I don’t even have EDGE coverage, while at home I have LTE. Sucks.

    I’ve always maintained that if your job requires a lot of travel by car, don’t have T-Mobile. You’ll be stuck like chuck without a reliable high speed data connection probably 75% of the time. Thankfully I have a strong signal in most part of the city where I live, but it would be nice to not have to worry about slow data or no service whatsoever when traveling.

    • vrm

      What “city” do you live in that is less than 5 miles across ?

      • trife

        Huh? Where did I say that?

    • Chad Dalton

      Google play had some songs you can playfoff line….when there is no data

  • HothTron

    If you “REQUIRE” maximum cellular coverage, then you don’t get T-Mobile to begin with, you become another red V biatch.

    Choose your poison

    • Jarred Sutherland

      I require coverage that isn’t EDGE. How about that?

      • maximus1901

        Even 3G with non-upgraded backhaul makes a world of difference and is sufficient for rural areas.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          It’s coming just be patient. Not like you use your phone the whole time while traveling the country side. I surely dont. Just for music

      • HothTron

        Then stick with Verizon, simple as that

  • variousfires

    I usually hang out in metro areas, so I don’t usually see the effects of the drop off in coverage outside of cities. However, I recently took a couple of trips to less populated areas of the country (Vermont and Western NC/Eastern Tennessee), and I was shocked by how bad the coverage was.

    I remember joining T-mobile in the pre-smartphone era…coverage included major cities and most major highways. As such, it was pretty disappointing these last few weeks to find that there were large stretches of highway where I had no coverage. This really felt like a step backwards….It would be bad enough if the coverage was unchanged over a decade, but it seems as though it’s gotten even worse.

    I have always been a big supporter of T-mobile, and I have recommended T-mobile to many friends and relatives. It’s still fine for me and my usage patterns, but I don’t know if I can confidently give an unconditional recommendation for T-mobile anymore after these experiences.

  • Eric

    Once T-Mobile buys up more 700A MHz from smaller companies, T-Mobile could have about the same coverage as AT&T and Verizon (provided that T-Mobile builds more towers).

    I’ve seen AT&T/Verizon fanboys rave about how “T-Mobile sucks and AT&T/Verizon rocks”, but the reality is that the only reason their networks are better is because they use low-frequency spectrum.

    • Jarred Sutherland

      The technicalities of the reason means nothing to the average Joe, nor anyone who can’t get coverage in the multitude of areas T-Mobile lacks in, such as the outskirts of Cincinnati. I would have to travel 3-4 miles towards Cincinnati to get 3G, otherwise I get EDGE or nothing at all.

      Unlimited data doesn’t do me any good when I get about 2KB/sec on EDGE, or zero everything where I have no signal at all.

    • maximus1901

      Yes but remember the ch 51 exclusion zones. Those will remain in place until tv stations are re-packed and moved on down.

    • Aurizen

      When do you think T-Mobile will build more spectrum towers.

  • miss_t

    I live in Houston and worked for Tmobile for way too long and I must say that the coverage seems to have gotten worse to the point I felt bad activating people and telling them we have great coverage. I can’t even keep count of the amount of dropped calls I get a day, or people that call me and the calls never come thru.

    • krym73


      • miis_t

        Really? I was just giving my opinion on the matter. Nothing funner then working at a T-mobile location where the service sucks and have to deal with people yelling at me all day bc there is absolutely no coverage.

    • chewy007

      That’s my issue I like tmobile but I’ve been having a lot of issues with my service.

  • Jay Holm

    I’ve been with T-Mobile since 4/29/13, have been all through Hartford, New Haven, and Fairfield Counties in Connecticut, no complaints. My primary residence is Bridgeport, no complaints.

    • chewy007

      I live in Bristol and I travel a lot to Andover, Willimantic,Lebanon, norwich and Hebron and let me tell u t-mobile service is horrible 2g in all those town except for norwich. No roaming I called tmobile about that and they tell me that roaming isn’t available in all areas. Makes me regret leaving Verizon. They need to hurry up and get the networks improved asap. Can’t leave cuz I have a eip device that’s how they get u to stay.

      • Jay Holm

        Those are all “no where” towns.

        • chewy007

          Maybe to u their no where towns either way my point here is that the service isn’t up to par especially when tmobile is attacking Verizon trying to say that their network is as good as verizon’s

        • Austin

          It’s not anybody’s fault that you didn’t look at the coverage map before you switched.

          Also, they didn’t claim to be as good as Verizon, they claimed that they aren’t as bad as Verizon made them out to be.

        • chewy007

          Fold Up Your Old Map, Verizon! T Mobile TV Comm…: http://youtu.be/HCgqe7OVvtI

          So I guess this commercial isn’t misleading right??

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          Exactly. I even had service in Tolland the other day!

      • itguy08

        “Can’t leave cuz I have a eip device that’s how they get u to stay.”

        Put the balance on your Visa or pay it off. Get the unlock code and take to AT&T. Problem solved.

    • ericqa1

      If there’s at least ONE t-mo employee listening, please try just once to ride the Metro-North train from Stamford to Grand Central and count the number of times you have NO SIGNAL! This is an extremely well-travelled route so you really need a sustained (data) connection for a positive experience with T-Mo as far as network coverage perception goes…

  • Clifford Haight

    IME, this is true as well coverage seems almost non-existent out side metro area for example I have no service for large portions of trek down the I-5 corridor from Portland to Seattle.

    • I do that drive often…. I have coverage the whole way, just parts of it 2G, mainly that stretch from Olympia down to Vancouver. Using and HTC One (M7).

  • dm33

    Not just perception. Tmobile has no coverage outside of major metro areas, at least in the SE. Even in metro area, I have no coverage at my house. Once you leave the metro area its EDGE only which isn’t slow, its practically useless. Hope tmobile rolls out those upgrades soon.

  • Peter Blood

    Headline, fixed:

    T-Mobile still has some way to go with network coverage

    • maximus1901

      All they have to do is put an LTE box at the base of each tower; the tower antennas and customers’ phones already support the technology.


      and they have to stop doing things the cheap way.
      They need to replace their super old panels and use remote radio heads, just like they did for the first 37k towers.


      pg. 16

      • kalel33

        They have a lot more to do than that. Have you seen T-mobile’s native coverage vs Verizon? It’s a very very big difference.

        • maximus1901

          Carriers don’t organically expand their coverage; they only buy out carriers in order to justify the investment so don’t hope for any organic expansion.
          We should all be happy if and when tmo’s current footprint of 285million is all LTE>

        • ChrisKringle

          I agree with the part that carriers do not expand coverage especially when overlaying a market with LTE. I disagree with your first comment that upgrading to LTE is as simple as installing a LTE cabinet at the base of the tower. However, once T-Mo deploy their acquired 700mhz spectrum, that should expand the coverage a little more as lower frequencies travel further with less interference.

  • Ben

    Yes, it’s true that T-Mo has some coverage limitations, but the fact that only 2% of AT&T and Verizon customers said T-Mo has the better coverage does not surprise me. Apple loyalists don’t say Apple sucks and vice versa. I think they’re fanboys who want ways to justify the amount they pay for their service. I don’t complain much because I’m getting what I paid for. I live in a metro area and T-Mo works very well for me. It may not be the fastest, but it meets my needs. That’s why I’ve stuck with them since 2006 and I don’t intend to leave soon (pending the acquisition plans).

    • maximus1901

      I agree that there are many VZW and ATT customers who could do with TMO’s coverage 99.99999% of the time

  • Benny

    I live in southern California and had used Verizon, then AT&T and now T-Mobile. In my opinion, you got what you paid for. Because I usually stay in metro area, T-Mobile is my ideal choice.

  • Alex Zapata

    It’s not just a perception, it’s a reality for a lot of people.

  • maximus1901

    Case in point: anaheim, ca
    I was there first week of April this year and I was on edge most of the time inside buildings on my iPhone 4s (pcs Hspa+)
    Id have 1 bar of Hspa+ but it was really slow.

    Anyone from anaheim?

    • thepanttherlady

      I am and don’t have this problem. The only time I’ve hit edge is when I go to Walmart, not sure what it is about that place…….smh.

      I have read comments on previous threads where users have a problem at Disneyland or the 5 freeway passing right by there though.

      • Jo Rey

        I live in Downtown Anaheim and have never has a problem with coverage. The slowest speeds that i get are @ 5 Mbps and at my house i get 30 Mbps. The fastest speeds that i got was by Disneyland @ 70Mbps and in the 5 freeway i’ve never lost connection to lte on my htc one. The coverage in southern California is very strong and you must remember the population density. I have however noticed that the speeds have been improving (I started on 7 Mbps) and the Hspa network can be slow at times (1 Mbps) indoors but very usable. However, i never am reduced to edge and that network will get updated to lte soon. Plus the a block spectrum from Verizon and anyone can expect an exploratory network. In the Walmart by the 5 freeway, i’m always on lte. The only people that i’ve noticed who say their service is slow, is people who cant get lte

        • thepanttherlady

          I think your response was meant for the user above me? I don’t have a problem with speeds either. :)

      • maximus1901

        What phone do you have?
        Indoors are you on lte or Hspa?

        • thepanttherlady

          I’m switching between a Z2 and a OnePlus One. Both phones say 4G when indoors (home and most stores) with the rate H+. I’ll post speed tests for you either later tonight or tomorrow.

        • maximus1901

          It could’ve been because TMO is not that far along in converting their towers there to support pcs Hspa+

        • thepanttherlady

          I seriously think it’s just the way the wind blows. Lol It’s done this with any phone I’ve owned for the past 3 years I’ve been in this neighborhood. Only issue I truly have are the occasions I have to switch to airplane mode to get the data “unstuck”. I noticed I haven’t been having to do this as a often lately as I was so perhaps they are fixing things. ;)

      • maximus1901

        I’ll be in Anaheim in a month with my trusty iPhone 4S. Hopefully see some improvement. I’m not expecting 9mbps everywhere on hspa+14.4 (which I get often when i do my 10,000 speedtests per month). I’d be happy with 0.5-2mbps and SIGNAL everywhere.

        • thepanttherlady


          First 3 are Downtown Anaheim inside my house. Fourth is inside my work in Costa Mesa. Fifth is still in Costa Mesa but outside heading towards Santa Ana and the last one is in Fullerton.

        • maximus1901

          hspa, lte?

          I’m actually sad…….. since all this progress will be for nothing if Sonny boy is allowed to buy TMO :(

        • thepanttherlady

          OnePlus One
          Everything I’ve read about international phones is that if it says 4G then it’s LTE. All I know is, I’m not complaining about the speeds. :)

          ETA: Connected to LTE network according to network type in about phone.

    • Marcoshay

      I was in Anaheim in February of this year, I had very good signal inside of the Honda Center. Full LTE and date worked the entire time during a sold out Miley Cyrus concert. Although I was near the roof so that may have played a part. I was very happy with T-Mobile’s service throughout the entire Greater Los Angeles area.

      • RonTMO

        I clocked 70M down on my Note3 in Yucca Valley in May.

  • nic

    T-Mobile has very good coverage in metro areas. And it is fast.

  • nic

    I don’t have an LTE capable phone and consistently get download speeds of 15-20Mbps and up.

  • J

    I have been saying it would be smart for Tmobile to have an area that consumers can go to see the progress of the expanding network. Maybe a schedule or something that would establish more confidence in the subscribers. The coverage here in my town is less than great and I have been constantly asking them a timeframe for improvement and all they say is we will send an engineer to look at the problem. Haha

  • Andrew

    Verizon is the best if you really want the best coverage. I’m just not a fan of CDMA carriers because I want to be able to bring my phone to other carriers if I need or want to switch. Verizon is just WAY too expensive, though. I mean, it’s ridiculous how expensive they are.

    • kalel33

      They’ve been changing their plans. You can get a single line with unlimited, talk, text, and 2GB of data for $75, which you can get subsidized phones with. T-mobile’s Simple Choice plan is $50 for 1GB or $60 for 3GB and you have to buy the phone at full price, so if you buy a flagship phone then the Verizon deal costs the same as T-mobile or even a little bit cheaper(depends on the price of the phone). Now the catch is that with T-mobile you never have overages on data, because you’re just slowed down to 2G but if you never go over 2GB then the Verizon deal ends up being better, for someone buying a flagship phone. If were talking Nexus phone pricing or lower then the pendulum swings back to T-mobile.

  • Garblicks

    Don’t test drive tmobile in southern Mississippi it’s almost 90% 2g from lucedale to Pascagoula. I was very shocked especially when I’m looking to towers spreaded over the hwy and going west from mobile al, to Mississippi on any road not I 10 forget it 2 g all the way

    • maximus1901

      What’s the speed like on the 2g? This morning I used root metrics on iPhone in Detroit metro and did 30 tests on 2g and average download was 100 kilobits/sec
      This is very usable for ip messaging and email, maps, news articles.

      • qmc

        Prior to the 1900 MHz refarming, I had only 2G service. On EDGE, I would get between 130 to 250 kbps, as measured by the iPhone speedtest on dslreports.

    • Chad Dalton

      Yeah terrible data coverage I was traveling right through here going to Louisiana, spotty 4g, need a major overhaul on 65, and 10 west.

  • maximus1901

    One thing that I wish TMO had is “framily” i.e. Separate bills but group savings.

    There’s me, my mom, and brother on my plan, and someone else will be coming onto it soon but my mom wants to to get off it – she’ll go to crickets $25/month plan – cause she doesn’t want any “mixing of bills”.

    I know everyone can log in to pay their own bills but not the same thing.

    Group saving with separate liability a la framily would be nice.

    That should be the next uncarrier.

    • thepanttherlady

      I don’t know if it’s still offered but at one point even Verizon allowed “sub-accounts” and the bill could be sent in another person’s name and address. There were no discounts but at least the billing wasn’t sticky.

      • kalel33

        Verizon still has it

        • maximus1901

          Then TMO should get it too.
          They could have the same pricing as Sprint Framily and it’d be a good deal. With me, there’s seven people who’d be in my framily.

  • ianken

    LOL. It’s not “perception.” I’m a happy TMO customer, but I frequently end up with no signal while colleagues on other carriers do not. At work, downtown Seattle, all the TMO users get zero bars in the building. The other carriers, they generally work. Although, if I get real close to a window I can get a bar. Woo!

    • maximus1901

      Sounds like a job for Mr. Small Cell.

  • RLB63

    Drive this month June 2014 from Chicago area to Disney world in Florida. Down routes 65 and 75 and there was no data about 85,% of the drive. Some in same car using straight talk had coverage 98% of the trip. Strangely, coming back through Virginia and West Virginia even through the mountains had very good coverage.

    • Wally

      When I drive in Michigan on the highways to Ohio, 50% of the time I am on edge while my wife’s ATT is on 4G. When I drove to KY from MI, 70% of the time I was on 2G. I have friends that drove up north in Michigan and had no signal on the way there. When I drove from MI to IL (Chicago) over 70% of the trip I had 2G only. I am ok with T-Mobile, but I can’t brag about their coverage. I am not paying a lot of money for it and there is a reason for that. People need to just be realistic.

  • Verizonthunder

    I feel T-Mobile is doing a great job with network improvements. Just Sunday after a vacation returning to Maryland I called a family member on my LG g flex and guess what? VoLTE is in Maryland and my family was shocked how clear I sound on the phone. People need to stop pissing and moaning about coverage not being upgraded yet I feel some have already have their foot out the door. It’s not mid 2015 and yet people are impatient look at sprint they still cannot get their act together between spark and LTE you cannot take that carrier serious.

  • Tony Chen

    check out t mobile wideband network 20×20 in seattle wa.

    speedtest, it will blow your mind.


  • Tony Chen

    seattle wa wideband network t mobile 20×20 speed test.


    it will blow your mind. its in seatle WA.

  • mreveryphone

    While on a call here in Kansas City I checked my status bar and saw that I still had lte. We’re live here!

  • Sam1116

    I used to get around 30 mbps download speeds where I live. Now i only get around 12-15, which is not that bad. But it’s still a big decrease

  • JMF_mobile

    While I agree that overall coverage around the nation is improving TMO still has not shown any LTE love anywhere in Iowa. Note sure how they will be able to upgrade all the Edge to LTE within a year when they haven’t even done the HSPA to LTE yet. My guess is they won’t.

    • maximus1901

      There’s another company, Iowa Wireless, that actually owns the network in Iowa; they’re an affialiate of TMO but they own their infrastructure.

      • JMF_mobile

        Yeah, most of Iowa outside of Des Moines metro and interstate 35 corridor I roam on I-Wireless automatically and their voice signal is usually quite good but data is almost always Edge, on rare occasions it’ll be 3G briefly.

        • maximus1901

          Same problem SPrint has with nTelos, their affiliate. Affiliates just want to milk the incoming roaming but not upgrade their network. I think though TMO has bigger fish to fry than worry about I-wireless.

        • JMF_mobile

          Apparently so. Wish they’d buy out US Cellular… Maybe then we’d get LTE.

        • maximus1901

          TMO? No. the only reason why buying metro worked is because metro customers change their phones really often. I think the figure is 60% of metro customers change their phone every year.

          US Cellular is a traditional contract company. It’d be hell to transition everyone off CDMA.

        • Andrew Finkenbinder

          Many can do both CDMA and HSPA/EDGE (along with LTE, obviously). The transition wouldn’t be that rough, it would just take a little longer than desired. With VoLTE, the 2G/3G medium is basically moot if coverage is good enough.

  • DaveTexan

    It has been 7 years and I still have lots of drop calls at home on TMO network.
    Even Wifi-calling gets dropped quite often if I talk for more than 10 minutes.
    To me personally the lack of coverage is not a perception but a reality….

    • maximus1901

      I second that. Today I was on I-275, 3×3 freeway, around Livonia in metro Detroit and with 3 to 5 out of 5 bars, call dropped. Then, tried calling back immediately and “call failed”.
      I’ve also had instances where the call dropped and then it took 3 to 6 call retries before the call would go through.
      – on iPhone 4S

      • Wally

        I believe you. There are 2 areas in my city (Michigan Ave close to the City Hall and Gulley Road as you get close to Michigan Ave.) where my service drops every single time. I also noticed the Nexus 5 has worse reception than my Note 2. I have been with T-Mobile since 2004 and I am ok with the service because of how much I am paying. 5 lines for $120 unlimited minutes and text (which I barely text now with applications like What’s App, Viber, etc) and each line has 1.5 GB except one line with 2.5 or 3.0 GB…..that’s just a great deal I think. I don’t believe T-Mobile service is as reliable as ATT or Verizon. Yes, I usually beat ATT and Verizon phones when running the speed tests, but I know their service more reliable on highways and in smaller cities. That’s the truth.

    • PiCASSiMO

      I’ve actually never had a dropped call with T-Mobile… not at home, not while driving, and not at other locations. My issue has been with the spotty data coverage that can go quickly from LTE, to HSPA+, to 3G, to EGDE, to GPRS, and sometimes NO SERVICE all in the northern suburbs of Chicago (just a few miles north of O’Hare airport: Des Plaines, Prospect Heights, Northbrook, etc).

  • Aa1127

    Their coverage within cities is fairly decent but one way to get even better coverage within metro areas, aside from the 700mhz spectrum would be to deploy DAS systems. Most people on AT&T and VZW get good indoor reception but it is due to a combination of both low spectrum and indoor/outdoor DAS systems. At least here in Chicago, AT&T has coverage indoors almost everywhere deep in buildings but its only thanks to the DAS deployment. Otherwise, we would also be hearing about bad indoor reception with AT&T. If T-Mo focuses on that type of deployment, then indoor coverage will exponentially improve regardless if 700mhz spectrum is available or not. Would love to see this happen!

    • monkeybutts

      Hope they can end up buying some of that 700 MHz spectrum US Cellular is hogging especially in less populated areas would be really beneficial for T-mobile nationwide.

  • Dave

    Yeah, I’ve been looking at buying a house just outside of town (like, 1 mile outside the city limits) and t-mo coverage is non-existent.

    • SEBA

      So you not buying the house? :)

      • DavE

        Yeah house deal is off. I need coverage otherwise what’s the point of having a house? I might sue TMobile but I haven’t talked with my lawyer. What do you think?

  • Tmobster

    Absolutely no problems in Southern California.

    • JMF_mobile

      T-Mobile is smart enough to invest heavily in the state with 20% of the nations population. I’m OK with that strategy but they don’t follow it everywhere. Many smaller cities being lit up on LTE before bigger ones.

    • I could not say the same, large parts of the SFV had crap coverage as of last year when I finally ditched T-Mobile after almost 10 years as a customer.

    • GinaDee

      Not in the mountain communities.

      Also lots of developments in the SGV, SFV and IE where service is non-existent.

      You would never know this simply driving the major freeways where coverage is usually decent even on 2G.

  • Dean Smith

    horrible signal outside of major urban cities. Drove to michigan and lost signal for 2 hours in that state. Unbelievable! I have been tmo customer for 12 yrs now, since 2002 and really tired of their poor coverage. I have 5 lines with them.They should stop the nonsense uncarrier things and improve coverage! I will leave Tmobile in July.

    • Joe Hartley

      My In-Laws live in Michigan so believe me I know it’s bad there. But a couple of weeks ago I noticed while we were driving up to see them that along Lake Michigan coverage has improved drastically we had T-Mobile coverage further north than we had before and was also seeing 3G and HSPA coverage in areas that previously had 2G at best. Before once we would hit the north side of Muskegon we would start roaming on AT&T but now we got T-Mobile all the way till we hit the edge of Manistee National Forest almost to Whitehall. A couple years Ago AT&T didn’t even have service by the In-Laws house and we would roam on some local carrier but at least now we can get AT&T service which is still rather spotty at best. About 5 years ago when we had AT&T we couldn’t even roam with anyone up there.

      • B_Eng

        I’m about to rent a house with some neighbors in July. I hope they finally have coverage in Grand Haven as well! Not sure if I can survive on 50MB domestic roaming for a week.

        • Joe Hartley

          On 31 through Grand Haven I was getting 3G Service all the way though and looking at sensorly you should have service but only main roads were mapped so far.

    • PiCASSiMO

      If you are referring to the southwest side of Michigan from Chicago, that is one area that has been EDGE (E) or GPRS (G) for many years now. Sadly, it’s all still mainly on the main highways like I94 and I196.


  • TmobileFan1001001

    I’m confused. Are the areas currently on 2G being upgraded to LTE or 4G? Sometimes this site says LTE and sometimes (like in this article) it says 4G. Which is it?

    • aamir

      4g = hspa/+
      LTE = LTE
      I’m not sure if he’s mixing the 2 up but thats how I take it when I see the 2. Internationally tho LTE may be interchanged as 4g as LTE is the true 4g.

      • 21stNow

        “LTE is the true 4g”

        How so? The original definition of a 4G network required a throughput of 100Mbps; neither LTE nor HSPA+ meet that definition. The subsequent modification allowed anything faster than 3G to be classified as 4G; both LTE and HSPA+ meet that definition.

        • aamir

          VolLTE hits theoretical 150mbps. Hspa+ i think is maxed at 46. Theoretical numbers rarely = usage numbers

  • Dean Smith

    We know AT&T & Tmobile both are GSM carriers and their phones work in many countries. Which of the two is better GSM, Quadband? I love Tmobile phones, been customer for 12 yrs & I could always unlock the phones and use it in europe and asia. What about AT&T phones? If I switch to AT&T, I want to make sure most of their phones work outside the countries. Thanks for any information

    • 21stNow

      “Which of the two is better GSM, Quadband?”

      I’m not quite sure as to what you are asking here, as most GSM phones are at least quadband phones (some are pentaband phones). You can unlock an AT&T phone and use it in other countries that have GSM networks, provided you meet AT&T’s requirements for SIM unlocking.

  • This is a problem T-Mobile created for themselves. Starting in around 2010 when they started refarming their spectrum for the HSPA+ network (that they would later clumsily stick a “4G” label on) they started trading coverage for speeds.

    By the end of 2011 they had the fastest FauxG network hands down but their coverage had gone to hell in a handbasket.

    To make matters worse many customers, when they called customer care to complain about no longer getting service where they once did were told they needed to upgrade to a newer device and that would totally solve the problem. It didn’t and you have people stuck on a new 2 year contract not getting the coverage they signed up for.

    Nevermind rural areas even in suburban Los Angeles where I used to get reliable 3G I’d be lucky to get an EDGE connection.

    A lot of those AT&T and VZW customers are former T-Mobile customers who were counting down till the end of their contracts and couldn’t wait to pay more for the privilege of actually being able to use their phones where they want.

  • Michael Bujak

    It isnt really a perception when its true. Outside of the city on I70, Columbus OH to Denver, EDGE or nothing. I90 Wyoming to Minneapolis – EDGE or nothing. I was foolish to believe I would at least be able to keep a streaming signal.

  • RonJeezy

    Yeah I live in MD. Ten mins from both West Virginia and Pennsylvania and about 40 from VA and a hour and a half from DC. West V says I have 4G but below 2G speeds or lower. PA nothing above 2G but mostly G or nothing at all. VA good 4G because it’s close to the DC area and where I live it’s in and out says 4G and 30% of the time it’s 4G speeds the other percentage of the time it’s 4G with Edge speeds or just Edge altogether.

    • Chris Marrow

      i agree with you,I live in Germantown Md and with out WIFI my signal is pure crap. I like TM for there prices but they seriously need to work on there coverage, Even with WIFI though my calls are often not crystal clear and still drop from time to time. I know its not my internet or router because I do speed test all the time on all my electronics and they never give me a problem.Also with with WIFI my internet browsing is normal on the phone, but once I get off then problems start almost immediately.. As long as their coverage stays like this the perception of them will never change!!

  • MagentaHusker

    Lincoln, NE (big school, U of Nebraska)… I wanted to change to TMO for cost, but there’s barely 2G coverage there… no can do for a college person. Sadly I have to resort to Verizon. Like going to college in Nebraska isnt enough… hence my large beer budget to go with the verizonwireless bill. #CornHuskered

  • GinaDee

    It’s not just perception it’s often reality.

    T-Mobile works great in certain cities no doubt. I can attest to their speedy LTE network where I live. But I recently took a road trip to San Fran and had to travel through a lot of 2G only areas in the Central Valley away from the 5 FWY. It was a bit disappointing to see so much GPRS (yes GPRS) and EDGE along hundreds of miles of roadways. I even saw large pockets of no service going through small towns where Verizon and AT&T worked flawlessly.

    People who don’t frequent large buildings and who never leave urban areas would never know otherwise but those of us who travel everyday into areas less served do.

    That’s why perceptions between rural users, urban users, travelers, fanboys and/or T-Mobile employees can vary wildly.

    • Alex Zapata

      As much of a fanboy as I can be sometimes I have no shame in admitting that TMO’s rural situation is abysmal on a good day. Visited Ottawa IL this past weekend and everything outside of the Aurora area is either no service or voice-only EDGE. Quite sad when I was able to see that Verizon and AT&T both had LTE coverage for the entire trip.

  • Mike

    Super crappy in suburban Philadelphia. Typically only 1 bar, says LTE or 4g but get crappy reception and crappy data. Come in TMO you can do better…you said new towers are coming for years now…WHEN? I’m in zip 19380, not exactly a rural location -the seat of our County government and state university. Population 500k in the county.

    Missed emails, alerts. We live in a data world…when are you going to deliver in suburban Philadelphia? Here’s the speed test on the fastest 4g LTE network…using an IPhone 5c.

    Test Date: Jun 29, 2014 9:32 AM
    Download: 9.13 Mbps
    Upload: 0.27 Mbps
    Ping: 48 ms
    Connection Type: Cellular

  • Mike

    Super crappy in suburban Philadelphia. Typically only 1 bar, says LTE or 4g but get crappy reception and crappy data. Come in TMO you can do better…you said new towers are coming for years now…WHEN? I’m in zip 19380, not exactly a rural location -the seat of our County government and state university. Population 500k in the county.

    Missed emails, alerts. We live in a data world…when are you going to deliver in suburban Philadelphia? Here’s the speed test on the fastest 4g LTE network…using an IPhone 5c.

    Test Date: Jun 29, 2014 9:32 AM
    Download: 9.13 Mbps
    Upload: 0.27 Mbps
    Ping: 48 ms
    Connection Type: Cellular

  • matt

    I had good 4g (hspa) coverage at work for over 4 years but now out of the blue I get no coverage I barely get edge reception it’s not just me another guy I work with has t mobile and has same issue waiting what engineer’s say about it. If they don’t fix it quick I’m going to someone else I been with tmobile for 11 years

  • matt

    I had good 4g (hspa) coverage at work for over 4 years but now out of the blue I get no coverage I barely get edge reception it’s not just me another guy I work with has t mobile and has same issue waiting what engineer’s say about it. If they don’t fix it quick I’m going to someone else I been with tmobile for 11 years

    • matt

      Forgot to put it’s right outside of Cincinnati which I live in cincinnati and I’m getting tired of tmobile having no time frame for lte in Cincinnati

    • matt

      Forgot to put it’s right outside of Cincinnati which I live in cincinnati and I’m getting tired of tmobile having no time frame for lte in Cincinnati

  • Jesslyn Hendrix

    TMo is going to have to work a bit harder in Los Angeles. Network speed during the World Cup has be abysmal. I’m wondering if it even rates as 2G