Thursday, August 29, 2013

The switch to T-Mobile

Hello my friends, peers, audience.. stalkers.

I recently made the switch from AT&T to T-Mobile. I own an Apple iPhone 4s, and since my relationship on the family plan was soon coming to a bitter end, it was time to go network shopping.

I haven't had my own phone line since I was 17 and used Metro PCS back in Florida. Pre-smart phone era, it was the best, most affordable plan. Back when unlimited texting wasn't a thing, they offered it. Back when minutes had to rollover and anytime/whenever minutes were crucial. Back when the 'pseudo-internet' for phones was in its glory. Back when Lindsey Lohan had a career.

So needless to say, I was a little panicky about having to jump into the contracts-for-phones world. It's not that I'm non-committal. I just don't want to be forced to stick with something if I find something better come along. So I did my research (read: googled debates and articles) and settled on T-Mobile. Before I wouldn't have given them the time of day. So what made me change my mind?

Their new, contract free JUMP! plan. I'm not one to always have the latest shiny gadget, as we remember from this post and that one. But once I saw what it would cost to have unlimited everything and 2.5 gigs of data, I sealed the deal. A few days later the SIM card arrived in the mail and I was back on the grid, happily updating nonsensical facebook status and hashtaggin' away. So far here are a few things I've noticed:

  • Customer service for T-Mobile is great. Not sure if you've heard otherwise, but when I was contemplating carriers, I kept hearing TM was the worst. In all sincerity I have gotten quick, rapid, helpful and pleasant responses every time. 
  • My phone now displays 3G instead of 4. Okay, so ATNT takes this one. My phone was a little faster on the ATNT network and GPS signal loaded a few moments earlier. Reception as far as calls is about 55/45 with ATNT in the lead. However, talks are that TM is in the works to get their customers 4G LTE. I will continue waiting for it patiently. Update: Since Sunday, Sept 1st, my phone now displays the 4G banner at the top left. Not all the time, as it alternates in spotty areas, but for the most part it is 4G.
  • My plan comes with standard Tethering. That's a big one for me. I love my iPad and want to be able to netflix on the road sometimes or check something on a larger screen. No wifi? No problem. I can tether my iPad to my phone painlessly and quickly. 

There you have it. Want to know how switch over using your iPhone from ATNT to Tmobile? Read ahead to the steps I took. 
  1. Before the account is disconnected with your current carrier, log onto the TM site. Go through the web process of ordering the right SIM card and choosing a plan. You pay for the SIM cards and decide whether you want to keep your current number or not. Your phone must still be active with the former company for this.
  2. Unblock your iPhone. You can call ATNT to unblock it for you.. or if your nephew's best friend's brother can do it for you for a few bucks, go for it. In a matter of hours your phone should be unlocked. 
  3. When the SIM card arrives, turn on your computer and open iTunes. Make sure your phone is connected to WiFi. Insert the new SIM card, and then connect your iPhone to the computer. It should cycle power and when it returns you should be on the TMobile network. Sending photos may still not work for you, no big deal. Open your phone's settings and tweak them using these numbers:  
  4. Your phone should be up and running. Shut it on and off a few times if you don't get it right away. And that's that! 
Enjoy being back on the grid and having cash in your pocket.