Dear T-Mobile, I Want to Switch but Your Coverage Sucks

T-Mobile has been attempting to shake things up in the mobile market in the last year or so, introducing no-frills service plans and enticing deals to get people to switch from a competing carrier. Its biggest thing is offering no contracts on any of its plans, meaning that customers will have to pony up the full cost of a smartphone, but they won’t be tied into a contract and the monthly bill is cheaper than a typical on-contract plan.

More recently, T-Mobile announced that it would give customers up to $650 to switch from a competing carrier, with some of that money even going towards paying for the early termination fees that you’ll inevitably receive. That’s quite a deal, and I’m all for the Uncarrier’s off-contract service plans, but there’s only one thing that’s keeping me from switching: Coverage.

T-Mobile

When I’m picking a carrier, the most important feature to me is coverage. I need to be able to get LTE in all of the places that I spend the most time at. Naturally, Verizon fills this need. It has LTE plastered in Fort Wayne, IN, which is my current residency, and it also has ample coverage up near the Goshen, IN area where all of my immediate family live. Plus, Verizon even has super-fast LTE in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania where my wife’s family lives, which is quite impressive.

I’m currently paying $160 per month for two smartphone lines that have unlimited talk and text with 2GB of shared data. It’s certainly not the best deal around — I can get a similar plan on T-Mobile for a lot cheaper. For example, with the current plan I have on Verizon, I’ll be paying $3,840 over a two-year period just for the service, whereas I’d only be paying $2,160 for two years of T-Mobile service. Granted, I’d be paying full price for the smartphones, but that still puts me ahead.

However, while T-Mobile has LTE coverage in Fort Wayne, it’s pretty spotty, and going anywhere outside the city takes you farther away from decent coverage. Furthermore, good T-Mobile coverage where my family lives is pretty much non-existent. Granted, I don’t actually live in that area, but when I’m away from home, I’m usually with my family up in northern Indiana.

T-Mobile coverage vs. Verizon coverage

(T-Mobile coverage on the top, Verizon coverage on the bottom)

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While T-Mobile does have excellent LTE coverage in almost all of the major cities, I rarely travel to such places. Indianapolis is the closest big city to me, and the last time I was there was over a year ago, so if there’s a place where I need coverage, it’s not in the bigger cities, but rather in rural areas outside of Fort Wayne, usually.

I really like how T-Mobile is shaking things up in the mobile industry, and I admire its tenacity, but until its coverage matches Verizon’s coverage, they won’t get me to switch. Yes, I’m paying a lot more per month with Verizon, but I feel that I’m paying the extra premium for better coverage and more areas that have LTE available. Heck, even out in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania Verizon has super-fast LTE at my disposal, and that’s terrific.

Comments

  1. Richard Yarrell says

    Tmobile HAS BEEN SHAKING THINGS up period. I KICKED BOTH Verizon and AT&T to the curb for Tmobile.

    Sounds like you need to move to a real location not in some silly boondock location.

    • Craig Lloyd says

      Move my entire family and life, and force my wife to find a new job in a new city, just to get better T-Mobile coverage? Sounds like a solid plan.

    • Bobby (@H2oBoyBoucher) says

      Richard explain to me how Tmobile is “Shaking things up” by making you pay full price for a new phone and raising their unlimited data plan rate to $80 per month. To me that’s lipstick on a pig- oh hey guys were taking the words contract out of the agreement, and the discount we would normally give you and let you pay FULL retail for the phone over 2years because its easier to screw you by telling you there is not contract and you can leave at any time. Oh wait if you do leave just be aware you will have to pay the rest of the phone off in full which would probably end up being more than the ETF we used to charge. Richard I’m not here to insult your or anyone’s intelligence but it really doesn’t take a Masters or PhD to realize TMobile found a smoother way to bend us over and tell us we should be thanking them for “Shaking Things UP” Its more like a “Shakedown”

      • Brian Burton says

        Tmobile is the biggest joke out there!! They told me that the tower that is 2 blocks away was getting a update from 2g to 4G so I updated my phone and paid for it full price, than to find out that there was no update and not sure when it was going to be done…

    • sean says

      I’ve been traveling extensively since switching to t-immobile last month. Coverage is horrendous everywhere I go. I can’t even make calls via wi-fi. I’m going in getting my phone unlocked on Monday so I can go back to AT&T, where I can count on the coverage.

  2. Bob says

    My thoughts exactly. I’d love to switch, even activated an old iPhone 4S I had laying around to see if coverage was better then their maps made it out to be. It was ok where I live, but nonexistent where family is only 30 miles up the road. Verizon has LTE everywhere I need to go. Verizon is too costly, but with their coverage, they know they have a strangle hold on those who don’t live in big cities.

  3. k says

    Im with you as far as tmobile coverage. But I chose to move from Verizon anyway. In my view, Verizon has a couple problems 1) their phones are preloaded with their crap and the devices aren’t able to be updated easily except from Verizon themselves. 2) While their coverage is great, their pricing model sucks. Particularly when adding new lines. and 3) I do enjoy getting new hardware frequently, but hated the idea of having to only be able to change it every couple years (given that’s their discounting model).

    I figure Tmobile is where Verizon was when Verizon first got LTE. Tmobiles strategic plan appears to be heading in the right direction as far as deployment. Also, the CTO recently said that they are moving to VoLTE, and also attempting to move their 2G folks off of their lower bandwidth and free it up for LTE

    So, it think its worth the risk for now. Besides, Big Red so far appears to be looking like it will stay around for awhile.

  4. Shari wymer says

    I have the send some galaxy 3 I can’t get reception anywhere in the house with it I’ve only had it for 5 months and they’re telling me just wait until they can get towers where I live I don’t think this is fair I’m in a2 year contract and they tell me just to deal with it I’ve never been with tmobile but people are saying that they’re pretty good company can anybody give me any input on what kind of company T Mobile is and are they a dependable company you can trusta little gun shy right now with phone companies

  5. Patrick says

    So if Tmobile coverage don’t work for you then Duh! It works for me. I get great service in Charlotte NC
    This article is Stupid.

    • sean says

      Glad for you Patrick. I live in Raleigh and the coverage is non-existent. That includes trying to place calls via wi-fi. I have traveled extensively since switching to t-Immobile last month, and I am going on Monday to get my phone unlocked so I can switch back to AT&T.

  6. Pk says

    Exactly.. It’s up to the consumer. If it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for others.. Hence why you have other carriers to choose from. Why don’t people get this?

  7. psoft says

    My thought exactly. I would love to switch but the coverage is no where near the same here in Phoenix. Always working in large buildings, and mobile in the metro area. I hate paying the premium but for business it’s a requirement.

  8. TheTruthSquad says

    I live in a suburb of Phoenix 18 miles west of Phoenix and -mobile sucks. In the old days, it would be like having a phone in your out-house but not your house.

  9. blaze says

    Sounds like you need to move, what a whiney article, it boils down to where you live and what carrier. I have no problems w tmobile, glad I made the switch, screw you at&t! 👎 Verizon, sprint, at&t will eat y O u r pockets up in money and w there crappy data plans will will nickel and dime you. Tmoble is the best thing going now.

  10. April says

    This is the first time that I have ever been onto a site and complained about anything. Frankly, Tmobile has horrible customer service. I was with them for 10 years and recently moved due to jobs. Their coverage was bad in the new area so I had to switch to AT&T. I was told Tmobile no longer does contracts last time I tried to upgrade, but low and behold I am somehow still under a contract. After 10 years they will not let me out of contract so i have to continue with them until contract runs out in a couple of months. They even researched the coverage in my new location and admitted they have bad coverage. I will never use them again. The worst part is my family owns 3 companies in which I will be running and could have had a whole company contract with better coverage and customer service. AT&T hooked me up with great phones and enough money to cover the rest of the owed bills. This is a matter of you get what you pay for.

  11. Bobby (@H2oBoyBoucher) says

    How is anyone fooled into thinking they would be saving any money at all with Tmobile’s no contracts idea. The only way you would legitimately save is if they were reducing the calling plan&data price by an equal amount that you are paying monthly for the new phone. I have two lines on Sprint with Unlimited Data my monthly is $150 for two smartphones plus taxes, two lines on Tmobile comes out to $190 per month plus taxes and thats including waived activation on two lines. Thank you tmobile for foregoing contracts and forcing me to subsidize an iPhone or Galaxy S5 myself. LOL! This is a joke people, you don’t save any money with Tmobile unless your not using data. I, like most power users can gobble up 2Gb in a week. These no contract marketing ideas are pure gimmick if you leave early you pay the penalty. Why not let the carrier pay for half the device and in exchange you sign on for two years. To me tis a no brainer. All of this and I didn’t even get into the coverage issues. Sprint is far from perfect but to think somehow your coming out ahead switching to Tmo is absurd.

  12. Bobby (@H2oBoyBoucher) says

    Hi Craig,
    I should have clarified if you take Sprints Current Unlimited Data package with two lines of service compared to Tmobile 2lines of service w Unlimited Data, you will not save any money and in fact you will be paying a lot more money on a monthly basis for at least the next two years assuming you dont upgrade your phone in that time or bring your own phone in which case the ETF reimbursement would not apply as you must purchase a new phone from TMO to get any type of credit. I am basing this on configuring two new phones with two plans on Tmobiles website as of today 04/15/2014 with Unlimited Data option. Now if you are a user that only uses less than 2GB a month then both Sprint and TMO would be cheaper than Verizon or ATT I believe. But as far as Unlimted Data goes not including Sprints Framily option there really is no comparison TMO will cost you more over two years than Sprint will and its not chump change its a lot of money.

  13. Brian Burton says

    Tmobile is the biggest joke out there!! They told me that the tower that is 2 blocks away was getting a update from 2g to 4G so I updated my phone and paid for it full price, than to find out that there was no update and not sure when it was going to be done… And when I confronted them about it all they said was that sorry I was told that information.
    I have 4 phones under contract plus a phone I’m still paying off, I’m almost ready to tell them to stick it and take my business to Verizon!!!

  14. Elizabeth Mundy says

    I have to agree with anyone denouncing T-Mobile’s “no contract” gimmick. I have been with T-Mobile for 14 years and will be switching as soon as I have finished the fraudulent contract they tricked me into 2 years ago (another story for another forum).

  15. newgene says

    Coverage really sucks in alabama.! All I get is a emergency calls only and i haveto wait two minutes before i can make any calls.I don’t get emails or pictures.my phone is paid for but I. Feel like throwing it under the tires of my car and burning rubber on it.really disappointed with it. I’m. Not pleased at all.I am also in a small town in bama

  16. john says

    I have been with TMO for about 12 years. I can tell that starting about 1.5 years ago coverage has been crappy. I used to have solid 3g at my house now its just a mediocre EDGE signal. same with driving i cant even use my phone anymore due to constantly being dropped during a call. TMO used to be great for rural coverage now they just plain suck. I travel a lot and am out of big cities so its important that I have reliable and updated coverage. I have a S4 but all that horse power and 4G goodness does me no good when i have no signal or some crappy EDGE connection…

  17. Kellen says

    Im happy with tmobile. They are cheap, have good 4g coverage where I live (near Portland Oregon) and OK coverage where most of my family lives in Michigan. (But my phone is not LTE) they are also very interesting to see what thy will do with the whole uncarrer thing. And its gsm, so many phones are supported. For now, I’m happy with T-Mobile.

  18. Jed Purdy says

    T mobile’s coverage bites! I pass through New York’s JFK airport regularly- I can barely get a signal in terminal 4 (Delta). Come on T mobile, a hub for international passengers and I can’t even call home?? I have also experienced LOUSY signal strength just north of Orlando, Florida much of the time. Verizon was much better in both places.

  19. Johan says

    A year ago I moved to Dallas TX. I am not far from Downtown and the zipcode area I am in is 75225 and also 75206. According to the Tmobile coverage map and “tech support” the coverage is of the best one can get. Our experience is 180 degrees out line with what they say, profess and promise. I have a line of sight connection to the tower. My signal deflection shows 5-bars but the T-mobile name on my phone disappear and the word searching comes up. It drops calls and there are a lot of noise on the phone. If I go north and driving on the US 75 or to other areas or fly to other cities, I do not experience this problem, Obvious as mentioned in these posts, you speak to idiots on the line-and they always want to blaim your phone. The Tmobile store could not find anything wrong with the phone- even replaced the simm card. Tmobile say there is nothing wrong with their tower in this area–We have the same problem on two -1-year old Tmobile phones. I offered to meet their Tech at the base of the tower but Tmobile does not want to do it. See they lie to their users and they DO NOT WANT TO FIX their BS network! After 12 years and their excuses I also want to move to a more world class service like Verizon. I have so many outstanding ticket with them regarding problems in this particular area. Really, they are incompetent and so also their techs that work in the 75225 and 75206 zipcode area!!!!!!!! Tmobile USA is really useless comparred to their German parent company. I wish Tmobile will go under due yo their lack of propper service!!!!!!!!

  20. Jack Nabs says

    I had T-Mobile back when the “Sidekick” phone was the latest and greatest thing. I had phone bills over $700/mo lol. Come to find out years later there was a suit against them for charging BS to people, guess I got jacked without getting compensated but oh-well. So being with AT&T and getting phones for free or $1 is nice when there’s service, but even here in bumphuk Arkansas, the service gets sketchy at best… I did some research for those T-Mobile plans and not only do you need a great credit score to get deals on their phones, the coverage is butt, and even if I got a phone included into the per /mo, it works out the same or more expensive than the AT&T plan I currently have. If they want to really “Shake things up” they’re going to have to offer exceptional coverage like the 2 main players, Verizon and AT&T, and drastically cut those prices along with offering phone deals to people with < perfect credit. Nobody is going to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone these days.

  21. Mark S says

    I have an unlocked Att htc one m8, and recently got a tmobile prepaid sim w unlimited text talk and web to test their coverage in the San Fran Bay Area. everything worked well when I phoned, texted and used wifi. HOWEVER, no internet access at home on their network!! put my att sim back and no problem!! wtf???

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