Review by ArizonaSteve
Good "Phone Service Is Good With The Right Phone."
- Location: Apache Junction,Pinal,AZ
- Cost: $30 per month (month by month)
- Install: about 5 days
Bad "4G Not Available Everywhere But 3G Is."
Overall "Unlimited Data For $30/mo. Is A Great Deal!"
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
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 10.8 years, 1321 visits, last login: 32 days ago
updated 2.1 years ago
Re: Tmobile a hit or miss
said by ArizonaSteve: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.
wirelessdog, I have proved that you are the idiot so get lost.
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.
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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.
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