9.24.2012 | Goodbye AT&T, hello T-Mobile

All right, so it's been 5 years since I last tried a different cell phone provider. AT&T had its problems, but it had a technologically superior implementation of GSM and zippy 3G speeds. But I got really tired of paying $100 a month just for a phone. When I saw that T-Mobile was offering iPhone users unlimited voice, text and data for $50 a month, I had to jump on it.

My area doesn't have 1900 MHz HSPA+ yet, which would let me use my iPhone at 3G speeds, so I'm operating at 2G speeds on EDGE. That's 0.3 Mbps down and 0.1 Mbps up. For old schoolers, that's about twice the speed of ISDN. Not the fastest internet connection around, but I have to say, despite the slower speeds, much more responsive than AT&T's. Slow and steady wins the race —this thing chugs along, and with a little patience, it can do everything a 3G connection can do (except streaming media … which I had been saving for Wi-Fi anyway under AT&T's onerous data caps).

So that is one thing I can thank AT&T for: by capping data and encouraging people to off-load data-intensive tasks to Wi-Fi, it made the transition to T-Mobile's slower network that much easier! And apparently iPhone-compatible 3G will be available if not next month by the end of the year.

E-mail, Google, and news sites load just fine. Facebook is a bit of a pain due to image loading delays, but I just look out the window while mobile … the view is sometimes more interesting than what's on my phone anyway! Maps was surprisingly responsive, especially after a few main images get loaded. Much less of a pain than I anticipated due to performance problems I had experienced on AT&T's EDGE network.

I'm going to give it a week to see if any glaring coverage problems crop up—AT&T's network is more extensive. But so far, saving $50/mo. on my phone bill is a pretty appealing opportunity.

Update (2/9/13): I'm sticking with AT&T for now for visual voicemail, but word on the street is TMo is getting the iPhone officially at the end of March or early April. Switching is a very tempting proposition to say the least, especially since I've found out AT&T does not let Wireless subscribers use their Wi-Fi networks without paying an additional fee. TMo lets you roam on AT&T WiFi for $10/mo.

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