I decided to give the new T-Mobile plans a try, since my wife and I each use less than 200MB/month of data, and so we will easily fit in the 500MB/month base plan, even if we use the included hotspot data feature a bit. The T-Mobile folks are clearly still getting used to the new world order. I dropped by the local store yesterday to ask some questions (since the web site was giving many 404’s last weekend) and figured that today it would be a quick trip to pick up a pair of SIMs and test things out. Ended up taking over an hour, none of which was waiting for other customers.

The good news is that the only small print fee was $10/SIM. The usual $35/line “activation fee” does not apply. The 14 day return period does still apply.

I had to argue for a while about data not working on my phone yet (“it might take two hours”) before they called “customer care” and found out that somehow the data feature hadn’t been added to the account. Once that was fixed the data was provisioned in a few minutes.

They are not used to people bringing in never-locked nexus phones. They expected to see an HSPA+ noted as “4G” and didn’t know why my phone said “H” instead. (Cue short lecture on 3.5G vs 4G.) They didn’t know that the grey bars with the “H” meant that my phone could talk data but wasn’t provisioned for data. They kept insisting that wifi calling would just magically work when I connected to wifi.

The phone works fine in my basement (though it doesn’t show lots of signal there) so if it works OK in my office tomorrow I expect I’ll port my numbers over. If so, it will save me enough money in one year to almost exactly cover an off-contract phone for my wife (her current phone is on its last legs).

Arjan van de Ven March 26, 2013 22:54

wow you had a clueless store

the one I went to a few weeks ago (to pick up a sim) was way different. I expected to just pick up the sim, but within 10 minutes the guy had me all set up and tested.

Michael K Johnson March 27, 2013 06:03

+Arjan van de Ven well, they were missing a few clues that were important to me. But the only thing that was really annoying was the argument about data provisioning, and that was only a couple minutes. I should be clear that though I found two things to complain about, they were helpful and not pushy. Not pushy covers a multitude of sins.

Much of the wasted time was because T-Mobile coverage in the store was terrible. I’d slang them for that, but when I got my Verizon phone at the Verizon store, they had terrible Verizon coverage, and then when I went and got an AT&T phone at the AT&T store, they had terrible AT&T coverage, so it seems to be an equal-opportunity mistake to have stores where there is terrible coverage and then not to do anything about it. ☺

Michael K Johnson March 27, 2013 08:55

Wow, T-Mobile coverage in my office is even worse than AT&T. I’m not sure how much it matters; I have (minimal, flaky) AT&T coverage in my office only when the trees are bare. I’m not sure that having my phone ring a few months of the year is worth a ~$400 to stay with AT&T.

(If T-Mobile had an android app for wifi calling that I could install on my vanilla gnex, it would be a slam dunk. But they don’t.)

Michael K Johnson March 29, 2013 21:59

Ported my numbers today. Data seems a little faster than AT&T and my office at work is the only place with noticeably worse reception. Port completed in just a few hours. I remember my first experience porting this number about 9 years ago when AT&T sold me to suncom as part of their Cingular acquisition which took nearly a week to complete.

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