I was a miserable Verizon customer for almost 12 years. This January I switched to T-Mobile, and clinical studies show that I am now a better person.
I do not work for either carrier nor am I in any way affiliated with T-Mobile, in case you were wondering. There will be a lot of Verizon/T-Mobile comparisons made. If you live in the US, and you are either looking to A. purchase the OnePlus One or B. already have the damn thing, you will probably want to activate the phone on some kind of carrier. If you are already on T-Mobile, congrats, doesn’t mean you should stop reading, but congrats on choosing the “best” carrier in the country.
If you are on AT&T, you are good to go, not like you need to switch to T-mobile, but I may sway you towards the dark side by the end of this review. If you are Verizon, Sprint, or any of the other miscellaneous US carriers. May god have mercy on your poor soul. But there is a way out, just requires a little creativity.
As always, if you don’t like my language, fuck off….spelling…..grammar….run on sentences…fuck off, yada yada yada. Ok, clench your cheeks its time to roll!
Coverage: In the City 10/10, Out of the City (rural areas) 3/10
We will just go ahead and get this shit out of the way. The rest of this review will make up for it. If anyone has ever had a sound complaint concerning T-Mobiles service, it is this. This is really the only thing they get to bitch about, and boy do they ever. When you compare T-Mobile’s coverage vs Verizon’s coverage. Yeah, there is basically no comparison. VZW currently wipes its ass with T-Mo’s network size and coverage. This is a major benefit for those who travel often, and for those who live and work outside of a large city or in rural areas. Nine times out of 10, VZW will destroy T-Mobile. That being said. If you live near or inside of a mid sized city, you owe it to yourself to check out T-Mobile. Their network is equal too, if not better in many of the important categories I will be discussing below.
Speed and Network Quality (9/10)
One of the biggest issues with larger networks is congestion. Too many people on the network at one fucking time. I had used Verizon’s LTE network since its inception. In the beginning, it was great. It boasted unlimited data at speeds that usually exceeded that of your homes wired connection. Times were good back in the old days, no one was on the network. But it aint the good ol days any longer. It seemed like every other day Verizon’s LTE network was down or virtually unavailable. It was a pain right in the ass. Not the reason why I switched exactly, but certainly a consideration. T-Mobile’s LTE speeds are just as fast, if not faster, almost all of the time. I wont get into any specific numbers. But T-Mobile’s LTE speeds are right on par with what you would expect. Consistently fast and reliable. Remember we’re still in and/or around the city right now. Download/upload speeds are probably the last thing you will be complaining about. I find the signal strength is better on T-Mobile, most of the time. I go to a gym that is in a big ass old building. I could never get a VZW LTE signal inside of that building, or make a call. With T-Mobile, my LTE signal is perfectly stable and I have full reception to make calls if I need to.
Same goes for where I work. While at my desk, I would miss most calls that came through Verizon, T-Mobile, not so much. Both areas are in “excellent coverage” regions according to Verizon and T-Mobile’s coverage map. Verizon coverage is just not as good in those particular areas. That is just the way it is. T-Mobiles HSPA+ network isn’t too shabby. When you cannot get LTE, HSPA speeds are still very usable and do a fine job with most of your daily trips to pronhub the OnePlus Forums.
T-Mobile Coverage Map (Indianapolis, IN)
Get outside the city and you start to feel the pain.
Verizon Coverage Map (Indianapolis, IN)
Coverage is directly proportional to service cost.
Phone Selection 10/10
Lets say you want to activate the OnePlus One, or a Nexus 5, on Verizon’s network. This is about as possible as getting a OnePlus One without a yellow screen or getting OPO customer service to issue you an RMA (I kid, I kid, kinda). But seriously, its fucking impossible. T-mobile and AT&T are the only networks that OnePlus will claim the OPO will work with. It may work on other US networks, but I have no experience. The Oneplus One does not support Verizon’s CDMA network. Even if the OPO supported the entire VZW spectrum, you still wouldn’t be able to activate it. Only Verizon approved devices can be activated on Verizon’s precious network. I wont go into specifics, because I don’t really know them all. But in short Verizon does not support choice. In the case of T-Mobile, they support almost anything that can support their GSM spectrum. This is the reason you can use the OnePlus One on T-Mobile’s network. OnePlus didn’t need to strike a deal with T-Mobile in order to allow its phone to grace their network. No, they just designed the phone with the capabilities of supporting such a network.
T-Mobiles phone selection easily tops the other big asshole carriers. AT&T’s phone selection is just about equal. Verizon, can only activate Verizon devices. GSM is the largest used spectrum throughout the world. So most of todays great phones are designed to use GSM. With T-Mobile there are very few restrictions on the type of device you can use. T-Mo has their own selection of high, mid and low end phones. But the beautiful part is this. You don’t have to use any of them. They are content to have you are a subscriber. All you need to do is pick up a $10 sim card and you can activate the OnePlus One or any number of phones.
Verizon has the most expensive and constricting plans in the US. T-Mobile’s prices are much lower and they do not have contracts. This is where T-Mobile takes a big ass step forward in my opinion.
Unless you have a grandfathered unlimited data plan from Verizon, you cannot get unlimited data, by any conventional means. T-Mobile offers unlimited data as one of their standard data packages, its their most expensive plan, but what do you expect it is literally “unlimited” calling, text and data with no overages. They have other capped data plans, that are technically unlimited, more on that later. But T-Mobile does not have overage costs in any way shape or form. If you are on a capped data plan and go over your 2GB allowance for the month, your speed is throttled. You are not charged $10 per GB like the assholes at Verizon. Feel free to Goolge for some fun horror stories.
I have unlimited data my wife only has a 1 GB plan (which is free with T-Mo). Back when we both had a Nexus 5, together were were paying (warning math ahead) $147, that was while financing 2 Nexus 5 phones. Which accounted for $33 of that bill. Our bill each month from Verizon was upwards of $180+/month with each of us having a 2 GB plan, the rest was all unlimited bullshit. Even while financing 2 phones, T-Mobile was still $33 cheaper, now that we have one less Nexus to finance, the bill it is $50 cheaper. Once her N5 is paid off it will be a $67 difference. ($114 T-Mo vs $180 VZW) T-Mobile = 63% of what Verizon charges. That is a big fucking difference!
T-Mobile’s unlimited data is a little more expensive now ($30 instead of $20), which would skew the numbers a bit, but T-Mo still comes out on top. TWSS
There are probably many ways in which you could use your unlimited data for unlimited tethering (hotspot), but by default T-Mobile offers 5GB per month and is included with your $30 unlimited plan. Not too fuckin bad if you ask me. Plus you can stream an unlimited amount of music without any impact to your data plan if you stream from popular services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Slacker, and Spotify. Streaming these services does not count towards your data.
How to switch
If you just want to straight up switch carriers. T-Mobile makes it very easy. Most people that are stuck on another carrier are stuck there because they are being held hostage. They are trapped by a big ol contract and ETF (Early Termination Fuckery). You break your contract, you better get ready to pay the man. Because unless your contract is up, you are going to owe somebody something. It may only be $100 it could be $350, it all depends on a lot of factors, so call your carrier and find out before attempting anything.
For those willing to make the switch, T-Mobile is willing to buy your ass out of slavery and make you a free man. Check out all of the details on T-Mobile official site here. I went through this entire process myself. It requires a little bit of cash upfront ($500 to pay off my ETF’s), but you will get it refunded within 1 to 2 months, in the form of an debit MasterCard, who the fuck still uses MasterCard? My ETF reimbursement was $500, I applied the entire amount, back into my T-mobile account. So I didn’t need to pay a bill for several months. The only caveat is this. You are required to trade in your current smartphone and purchase a new smartphone directly from T-Mobile’s selection when signing up. You could not bring a OPO to T-Mobile and still get the ETF deal. That being said, If you want the OnePlus One. This is probably not the best route for you. Sure you could get a new GS5 and just turn around and sell it to pay off the phone. But that is a little complicated.
If you are still under contract, that probably means you have a decent phone. Like a GS4, GS5, LG G2, etc. You could also have a piece of shit, that is basically worthless. You can pay off your own ETF. Lets say you have a used G2 that is in great condition, you can probably get about $200+ on somewhere like Swappa. If you bought the G2 when it was new you will probably have enough to cover your ETF (check with your fucking provider). VZW’s ETF is usually $350 per smart phone. Subtract $10 for each month you have owned the phone and that should give you your ballpark ETF. BE CAREFUL DONT GET FUCKED If you purchased your phone from Amazon, Wirefly or some shit, you may be subject to another ETF. Do your own research. Usually they require a minimum term of ownership, because you got the phone at a discount. If you just purchased a new G2 in May you are pretty fucked. It would be best to go with option 1. Do your homework and don’t be a moron.