Friday, January 10, 2014
T-Mobile is offering $650 to customers who switch to their service, but is it worth it?
Pegasus News' resident T-Mobile customer weighs in.
Wednesday at CES technology conference in Las Vegas, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced that his company would offer up to $650 in credit to customers who switched to T-Mobile from another wireless provider.
The prospect of free money has, no doubt, turned some heads. A few days earlier, AT&T offered a similar deal, offering T-Mobile customers up to $450 in credit to switch.
AT&T is currently the No. 2 wireless carrier and T-Mobile is No. 4, according to The New York Times.
Now that we have our competitors in their respective corners, is T-Mobile worth the switch? Or, conversely, is T-Mobile worth switching away from?
I am a T-Mobile customer and have been since my first cell phone back in the eighth grade. My mother, father, brother, sister and I have been grandfathered in on a plan my parents are “beyond pleased” with, according to my dad. Roughly $200 a month affords us five lines with unlimited talk, text and data -- but no upgrades on mobile devices. If we need a new phone, we pay full price.
Let's set aside the comparative “no contract” plans and pricing and talk strictly about the T-Mobile experience. Mine, specifically.
I bought my most recent phone, a first generation Galaxy S, on March 2, 2012. I remember this because the first video I took on that shiny new device was of The Frankenstein Brothers at Granada Theater that very day. The sound was atrocious, but the picture was revolutionary compared to my previous phone, a BlackBerry.
Fast-forward about a year, 700 pictures and 10 apps later, and it was a different story. My external apps like Facebook and Yelp froze repeatedly and in some cases refused to load. My internal apps like text messaging and maps closed before I finished typing a sentence or address. My phone interface often froze and the device randomly shut off.
To be fair, these malfunctions could be attributed to the maker of my Android or the apps. But not this next problem: I don't get service in my own home. I live in the middle of Dallas, in a highly populated neighborhood.
My phone regularly sits on the dining room windowsill, one of three places I can usually receive a signal (though I can't surf the web). It'll also sometimes pick up service bedside nightstand and in my living room on top of a specific lamp. Not the arm of the couch. Not by the TV. Don’t even get me started about taking this thing on a road trip; I always print directions as a back up resource, and I usually end up using them.
Come October 2013, I was fed up, P.O.'ed. Ticked. This is the one piece of technology that, as a journalist, I depended on. So I enlisted the help of 611's T-Mobile customer care unit, whereby a wonderful woman whose name I can’t recall talked me down and calmly instructed me to reset the factory settings and get a new SIM card (which T-Mobile provided free of charge). Restoring the factory setting would supposedly help the functionality of the phone, while updating the SIM card would increase service areas.
Did it work? Nope.
The frequency of app crashes has improved slightly, but I still encounter the same glitchy problems -- and almost always when I need information from my phone the most. Back to the dining room windowsill.
Thankfully, I'm usually with friends with iPhones, who seem to have quick service and faster Google response times than I’ve ever experienced. My Android Galaxy S turns 2 years old in March. Perhaps for our anniversary, I'll switch to AT&T.