Why We Are Leaving T-Mobile for AT&T
We switched from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile about a year ago. Verizon's pricing at the time was quite high and being the bad corporate citizen that they are, we felt it was time to move to a more customer-friendly carrier.
I chose T-Mobile's prepaid plan based on its affordability and generous data offering. The process was simple and everything went well. We never left our home area too often during this time so signal reception seemed good - not as good as Verizon's was, but acceptable.
When it came to switch my wife over as well we wanted a family plan, which was not offered in prepaid at the time. It took 5 phone calls and countless tweets to actually figure out how to move our prepaid account to postpaid. This was our first of many bad experiences with T-Mobile. They completely dropped the ball here and simply had no process for switching customers from prepaid to postpaid. Eventually we get it done, but it was a huge pain in the ass.
Once we switched to postpaid, I began to try out wi-fi calling. It's a joke. Not only does your phone fail to register on the network (leaving you without phone capability if you set wifi calling exclusively) but there is a noticeable lag time of about .5 to 1 second in conversations - it makes the feature useless. I gave it up and learned to deal with the mysterious 3 bars to 0 bars disappearing signal in my basement.
Because we were now on a metered (1GB/line) data plan, I wanted to login to My T-Mobile to check data usage. Their website was down the first time I tried, and the second, and the third - this over the course of two weeks. Here's a real actual wireless carrier whose customer information website never actually works. Proof that you can be clueless and still succeed in the US wireless carrier market. This is the same company that had a glitch a year prior that prevented you from using a "v" in your password. I'm not kidding. Anyway, after 6 weeks their My T-Mobile website finally began working. 6 weeks of downtime for a company that actually provides data service. Can't make this shit up.
Next, I noticed we were getting text messages twice a month telling us our bill was coming due and then when it was paid. I have no clue why some fool at T-Mobile thought this was a good idea, because it isn't. I don't need to be babysat by my wireless carrier. No other company I deal with texts me about my bill. I asked T-Mobile via tweet and phone call to stop doing this. They said they couldn't. But worse, they lied to me and said the FCC forced them to do this. Because I knew this to be categorically false, I pushed them on this. I tweeted their CEO John Legere. While he did not respond, the T-Force team did, continuing the lie that the FCC requires them to do this. Over and over they repeated the lie. I told them I would have the FCC clarify the issue with them, and filed a complaint with the FCC.
A week later, an incredibly condescending woman named Aida Alford from the "executive offices" of T-Mobile called me and continued the false line that the FCC makes T-Mobile text customers about their bill. This woman was a real jerk and I cannot imagine how she got the job of speaking with the most irritated customers. I asked Aida why if the FCC forces them to text me when my bill is due did they forward my complaint to T-Mobile rather than respond that this is required? She said the FCC doesn't review the complaints and just forwards them. Right.
I tweeted John Legere to let him know he's got a really awful advocate for the company in the "executive office" team and again explained that now even that team is selling customers the lie that the FCC makes them hound us via SMS. Finally another, much more qualified member of the "executive office" team called me. This guy must have actually received training. He was polite, explained what I already knew (that the FCC does not make them do this) and explained why they do it. While I wasn't thrilled with the explanation nor the inability to opt out of the text harassment, at least the gentleman knew his shit.
The icing on the cake is when we decided to take a series of road trips to NH and MA. To this point we never really knew how bad T-Mobile's coverage area was because we never had the time to take these trips.
Our first trip brought us to North Conway, NH. This might be the most popular tourist area in New Hampshire. Long story short, the signal quality ranges from non-existent to 0 bars throughout much of the area. Incredibly, T-Mobile has no coverage throughout the entire StoryLand theme park, the most popular attraction in North Conway. We were left without a signal for much of the trip including the majority of travel on the interstate.
Our second trip brought us to western MA. A similar story there, with no signal for much of the trip and throughout our excursions to populated areas. It made GPS navigation on our phone cut off a few times and caused quite an inconvenience.
With a GSM phone, one thing you are able to do is switch the signal it shows to AT&T (thought you can't actually use their network w/o being as customer) In all of the places T-Mobile had no coverage AT&T had coverage and in many cases 4 or 5 bars of it. I despise AT&T but they absolutely blow away T-Mobile in coverage on interstates, populated rural areas, and pretty much anywhere that isn't a major city.
The crazy thing is when we looked into AT&T, their pricing is quite competitive with T-Mobile, and arguably better.
With T-Mobile, we pay $96/mo for a 1GB/line family plan. After the 1GB there are no overages but the data speed is made so slow it's virtually useless for anything but email. There is no rollover.
With AT&T, we would pay $108/mo for 3GB/shared family plan. After the 3GB there are overages but we never would go over and can just set a cap in our phone to solve that issue. However, when we don't use all the data, it's added onto the next month's allotment. So in essence, we're getting 33% more data and rollover and much better coverage for $12 more a month.
NOTE: I used the actual bill for the above amounts. All carriers are permitted to misrepresent their pricing and all gladly do so, but the numbers above are legit. T-Mobile advertises theirs as an $80 plan and AT&T calls theirs a $90 plan.
I'll be walking into an AT&T store this week to switch our lines. It pains me to switch to a carrier I don't like but the incompetence at T-Mobile is breathtaking and something so consistent throughout every aspect of the organization that you would think it was done intentionally.