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T-Mobile US page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 126 reviews (90 good) (12 bad)
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Review by ArizonaSteve See Profile

  • Location: Apache Junction,Pinal,AZ
  • Cost: $30 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "Phone Service Is Good With The Right Phone."
Bad "4G Not Available Everywhere But 3G Is."
Overall "Unlimited Data For $30/mo. Is A Great Deal!"
Pre Sales Information:
Install process:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
I recently "upgraded" and bought a new "4G" Samsung Exhibit II 4G Android phone on T-Mobile to replace my old Blackberry. I got it at Walmart for $180 where they have the 5G of "unlimited" data for $30/mo instead of the normal price of $50/mo. While this seems like a nice phone it's SLOW, SLOW, SLOW since it only gets Edge in my area. It doesn't have 3G and can't get 4G anywhere in the Phoenix, Mesa or Scottsdale area except near T-Mobile stores so it runs on Edge all the time and everything is too slow to use unless I'm on wi-fi. It's even slower than my old Blackberry that had 3G! . The coverage map shows coverage everywhere but they don't mention that it's just Edge with a speed of just 139Kb most places and nothing on the phone will work at that speed. I can't even use it to check my account balance unless I'm near a T-Mobile store. I got it at Walmart so I could get the $30/mo unlimited data plan but if you do that count on going back lots of times until they get it working right. You need lots of patience since nobody at Walmart knows anything about setting up a phone, can't actually do anything themselves and have to call T-Mobile everytime. I had to go back 3 times before they got it right. First time they set it up for the standard "1500 talk, text and 30mb of data" plan instead of what I wanted and the slow data service with Edge in the store makes it impossible to update the account info so you can't see what you are getting. After changing the plan I found the $30 card didn't take and I had no minutes and it said the plan was Unfunded. Went back again to get the credit problem corrected. It finally seems to be running OK except for no 3G or "4G" so everything is very slow unless it's on wi-fi. It's not actually possible to ever use the 5G of "unlimited" data at the slow Edge speed so I only used about 89Mb of data the first month.

You also want to setup automated payment with that plan because they will put you back on the standard "1500 talk, text and 30mb of data" plan if you miss a payment!

The phone also has the Carrier IQ spyware direct from T-Mobile but the Voodoo Carrier IQ detector said it probably wasn't active.

Also, T-Mobile doesn't offer any warranty on the phones, there's no Warranty from T-Mobile or Walmart unless you buy the extended warranty! Page 47 of the T-Mobile Warranty manual states the device is sold "AS-IS with no Warranty" and the Walmart web site lists no warranty info at all, there's just a link to go buy an extended warranty so if it breaks you are out of luck unless you purchased the extended warranty. I thought anything purchased these days had some kind of warranty but that doesn't seem to be the case with phones. Samsung says it has a 1 year warranty but you have to mail it in to them for service.

Another problem I've found is that you can't call Customer Care from it or check your account balance while on wi-fi. Several of the T-Mobile stores suggested I call 611 and ask for tech support to talk about the poor service but when I dial 611 or the 800 number all I get is that T-Mobile ring tone and it hangs up with a message on the screen saying to check the FAQ!. I guess they don't want to talk to anyone with one of their lousy "4G" phones that don't work!

The reviews for T-Mobile phones on Engadget and other places are generally favorable but don't seem to mention that if you can't get 4G they don't fall back to 3G so you can only get slow Edge service most places and nothing will work at that speed! The girl in pink on the motorcycle in the TV ad zipping past the AT&T guy looks cool on TV but since they don't even have 4G very many places how can they get away with this kind of advertising fraud?

Update: The reason I've talked so much about the Samsung phone in the T-Mobile review is because they are sold as a package by T-Mobile, you can't get the service with 5Gb of "unlimited" data for $30/mo without buying the phone that it comes with. The problem is they don't have any decent phones to go with the service. I bought the best model they had at the time and it's still a piece of rubbish. I don't know what they were thinking, providing a phone that doesn't work anywhere with the plan. Actually it would be a decent phone if it could get 3G or you are only going to use it on wi-fi. It would be a pretty good phone to buy for a student who has wi-fi in the dorm and can't afford a lot of minutes or someone who doesn't want to pay for wireless service and belongs to FON or some other wi-fi group intending to only use wi-fi everywhere.

To solve the problem I "upgraded" and replaced my Samsung Exhibit II "4G" phone with a new Samsung Galaxy S-II for $299 at Walmart that gets 4G and 3G also so it has coverage in most places and works well just about everywhere. Oddly 3G isn't available at the same locations that 4G is. 4G tends to be found at T-Mobile stores and they are mostly in shopping malls with a few out along major highways but not where most people live or work. 3G on the other hand is available at major population centers, near libraries, govt. buildings, etc. so by using one or the other I can get pretty good coverage just about anywhere I go. The fan boys on here and everyone working in T-Mobile stores who kept insisting that I needed to buy an expensive contract plan to get good coverage were lying, all I needed was a better phone! Don't believe anything they say until you try it yourself. Some also said I would need a different SIM to get 3G but that's also a lie, the SIM I already had works just fine for any kind of service as long as the phone is able to get it.

Also I found that installing the CM9 mod on the 4G only Exhibit II will give it 3G capability. It removes 4G though so it's not ideal but since the speeds are the same on this phone and there are a lot more 3G towers than there are 4G towers it still works pretty well.

member for 10.5 years, 1255 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 1.8 years ago

Comments:

buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service

Tmobile a hit or miss

I feel your pain steve might I suggest another carrier, it seems your area has not been upgraded to hspa+ which is the reason for your dilemma odd as most TMO areas are but then again you might be in a roaming partner area thats why you only get edge, in general with ATT and Tmobile 3G is "hspa" capable of up to 14mbps, "hspa+" or what TMO and ATT (until LTE) call 4G can do a max of 84mbps. If your blackberry uses TMO service in your area on 3G your new phone would as well however it would display 4G on the phone. Im using a G2x and in Orlando or Tampa I hit 12-14mpbs often. the problem is the darn throttle which after words drops you to less than 100kbps at times which I agree is useless. Some times you may have to force your phone to take the hspa+ tower by change the settings in the phone options to WCDMA mode only. there main issue is coverage Yes TMO does have the fastest network but if you cant get it everywhere then its pointless, hope it helps. Buddah
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

I remember about a year or two ago when 3G was 3Mb here in the Phoenix area there were rumors of getting faster speeds by upgrading to hsdpa+ but they must have never done the upgrade due to the impending AT&T buyout since the speed is still only 3Mb in downtown Phoenix. However since I'm on the East side I can't even get that, just Edge. I've tried setting it to force WCDMA mode but that doesn't work and it just defaults back to Edge so none of the Android apps will work unless I use wi-fi.
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

Provide proof of your allegations that TMO doesn't have 4G.

Sounds like you bought a prepaid phone. Go get a contract phone and report back.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

wirelessdog, trolling here too? You really need to get a life!
My proof that T-Mobile doesn't have 4G service is that my phone can't get it anywere around the Phoenix, Mesa or Scottsdale area!
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US
Actually they do have HSPA+ in the area and my old Blackberry still gets 3G on it but that's not an option for my new Samsung "4G" Android phone. It only has WCDMA for "4G" and GSM for Edge with nothing in between. As far as I can tell from looking at the Samsung phones in the store none of them can get 3G so if you don't have 4GB available they don't work at all except on Edge. The coverage map shows good coverage over the whole Phoenix area but it's just Edge and 3G.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

1 edit
After a lot of head scratching, checking specs and using a spectrum analyzer to check the frequencies I think I found the problem. Some on the forums say they can get 4G in the Phoenix area but they are using more expensive phones like the Samsung Galaxy S II that gets more bands. My new "4G" phone that can't get 4G only works on 1700, 1800 and 1900 Mhz while more expensive ones like the Samsung Galaxy S II can also get 2100 Mhz. I don't know what to do about it though, when I complained to Walmart they just gave me a blank stare cause they don't know anything about phones. I've been to 5 T-Mobile stores and they claim they have never heard of this problem and they want me to buy an expensive contract because they say that will cause me to get better service. I don't know how a different contract will cause the phone to get a new band it can't get now but if it's more expensive it must be better right? Does anyone have a solution to getting 4G if your "4G" phone doesn't cover the frequency band it needs to get that? No more comments from the trolls though, just helpful comments please.
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

You are the ultimate troll so keep your snide "troll" comments to yourself.

I've told you, FIVE TMO stores have told you, who else has to tell you? Go get a contract plan and you will have 4G. The fact you have endlessly tried to no avail to obtain 4G on a prepaid is testimony to the fact you need a contract phone.

Does TMO offer a 15 day trial of their service like other carriers?
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

wirelessdog Do you work for T-Mobile too? Sounds like you are a shill for them but you are too stupid to do anything useful. I have a "4G" phone and I'm paying for 4G service so I should be getting 4G at locations besides inside T-Mobil stores so keep your moronic comments to yourself if you don't have anything useful to add.
Even better, move out of your Mom's basement and get a job.
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

How much money and time will you waste before you do what so many have told you to do? The idiocy of your reviews always provides free entertainment.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

wirelessdog, I have proved that you are the idiot so get lost.
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

said by ArizonaSteve:

wirelessdog, I have proved that you are the idiot so get lost.

Did you finally get Broadband, Steve? Oh wait, seven negative reviews and you're still looking. Don't look now but the problem isn't with the providers.

toby
Troy Mcclure

join:2001-11-13
Seattle, WA
said by wirelessdog:

You are the ultimate troll so keep your snide "troll" comments to yourself.

I've told you, FIVE TMO stores have told you, who else has to tell you? Go get a contract plan and you will have 4G. The fact you have endlessly tried to no avail to obtain 4G on a prepaid is testimony to the fact you need a contract phone.

Does TMO offer a 15 day trial of their service like other carriers?

PrePaid or PostPaid provide the same data speeds while on the T-Mobile network.

It is possible that the SIM card being used needs to updated to a newer version to get the 4G connection.

Play nice.
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL

1 edit
Did you make sure Use packet data and data roaming are checked marked in the "mobile network settings" page?

Note: Network mode(same page) should be set to GSM/WCDMA(auto mode) as HSDPA+ is a subset of WCDMA ..
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

Re: Tmobile a hit or miss

Yes, packet data is checked and of course WCDMA is checked. I don't want to put it in Auto GSM/WCDMA mode or it will fall back to Edge too often. Data roaming doesn't seem to make any difference and I read somewhere that roaming on AT&T has been terminated so I guess that's out.
XIII

join:2010-06-16
Scottsdale, AZ

1 recommendation

Seriously?!?!?

You cant get passed the help that pops up when you dial 611? It tells you on screen what to do to call customer service.

Carrier IQ is deactivated until you activate it by default, and you can activate and deactivate it at will as well, you didnt need 'voodoo' to tell you that.

I have been to Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and all have 4G, possible faulty phone, exchange it.

Also the warranty is through the manufacture, minimum of 90 days per law (thats why apple only gives 90 days tech support), go to samsung and swap it if you cant exchange it.

Get on a contract, all carriers treat you like sh#t if you are a prepaid customer. Prepaid and contract customers are treated extremely differently.
--
»FreeDNS.afraid.org - Free DNS dynamic DNS subdomain and domain hosting
Expand your moderator at work
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

Re: Seriously?!?!?

XIII, you are a moron for paying $125/mo! You must have more money than sense. Also, why would anyone want to activate Carrier IQ? Like I said it doesn't call 611 but says to check the FAQ on the screen. That doesn't help you call though.
So you have been to Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and all had 4G? Were you shopping for new dress? Try driving anywhere there isn't a T-Mobile store at a mall and you won't find any 4G!
Expand your moderator at work
XIII

join:2010-06-16
Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Seriously?!?!?

I also get priority 24/7 support, unlimited data, free phones, multiple lines, a dedicated person for any problems/questions/etc I have (I have their personal number), among other things.

ArizonaSteve, if you use windows error reporting STOP, as its similar as CarrierIQ, a diagnostic tool, both can be used for nefarious purposes, wait... everything can be used for nefarious services.

Um I have the same 611 FAQ program, take 20 seconds and read the screen and realize that theres a button to call support.

Actually for work, school and personal

Also I see you have reviewed SPRINT broadband TWICE, get a clue that just because its labeled Virgin Mobile (Sprint Prepaid Division), Cricket (Sprint MVNO) or Boost (Sprint Prepaid Division) its all Sprint....

Beside stuff is worth only what others are willing to pay for it, your cell phone may be worth $100 to you but it may only be worth $50 to everyone else, supply and demand. The $125 I pay is worth it to me for what I get.

I tried Virgin Mobile for 8 months, Tier1 support is a joke, data services are constantly metered (this was when they said they didnt meter it), dropped calls, people saying they were having trouble hearing me, calls not going through, phones not ringing among others, so I went back to TMO and am getting better service than with Virgin Mobile, you get what you pay for.
--
»FreeDNS.afraid.org - Free DNS dynamic DNS subdomain and domain hosting
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Seriously?!?!?

Cricket is a Sprint MVNO? I thought they were their own company. Learn something new every day.
XIII

join:2010-06-16
Scottsdale, AZ

Re: Seriously?!?!?

They are actually owned by Leap Wireless, using that network and Sprints where Leap has no coverage.
--
»FreeDNS.afraid.org - Free DNS dynamic DNS subdomain and domain hosting
wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

Re: Seriously?!?!?

This review is now completely inaccurate as the OP has admitted in multiple other posts that he receives 4G speeds.
Expand your moderator at work
Doug5

join:2007-07-18
Saint Louis, MO
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Always frustrated...

I'm always frustrated when users give "high marks" for what sure sounds like a bad experience. This review describes a horrible experience but the statistics seem to indicate a good value. If you're stuck on edge connectivity, then please be upset with the provider. If you don't expect quality service then you will never get it. Please consider recalibrating your data to match your review. When I rank T-Mobile on 4G even, it still comes up an F.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ

Re: Always frustrated...

Well Doug5 it's got better so I updated the review. Like I said, using a better phone gets you better service. It's still only 66% though because I don't think they should even be selling phones that don't work for the service in the first place.