I'm about to enter the 21st century with an Android phone. T-Mobile has a plan that's cheaper than my AT&T dumb phone. My only concern is that the coverage map has a lot of holes out West. I do get free roaming and the phone supports basic GSM, 3G and 4G. Will I have trouble getting connected in many places? T-Mobile says "100% GSM coverage in our Service Territory." That sounds like smoke and mirrors to me.
100% GSM means voice, and Edge (2G) data.
Will I have trouble getting connected in many places?
Most urban or highly populated suburban areas have great 3G (or 4G) coverage. However, if you are talking about in the middle of no where, Voice and 2G is what you will get. It is pretty similar to what you would get from other bigger name carriers.
What do you mean when you say connected? If you are talking about making a voice call, no problems as long as either T-Mobile or at&t have signal in the area. Data connections are another story. Ask if the T-Mobile plan includes data roaming. If it does then you will be able to get a data connection on either network. If it doesn't include data roaming, connections are only available on the T-Mobile network without having to pay a hefty premium.
As to available data speeds, EDGE is the oldest technology and the slowest. It's equivalent to Verizon's 1xRTT. HSDPA is really 2.5G and about as fast as EVDO-Rev.A on Verizon and Sprint. HSDPA+ is 3.5G but actually has higher data rates than Verizon's LTE network. T-M and at&t are both capable of speeds up to 48 Mbps on HSDPA+ in many areas. They are also rolling out even higher speeds in select markets. HSDPA96 is in just a few.
Good info. I'm riding my motorcycle across country a few times a year and want to have a working voice phone in case of breakdowns, etc. So as long as roaming gets me a voice connection, I'm OK.
As well, remember as long as you have service (bars showing), you'll have 911 services as well. Even if you're not on that network.
No provider cuts off any device from emerg calls, AFAIK.
.....I'm riding my motorcycle across country a few times a year and want to have a working voice phone in case of breakdowns, etc. So as long as roaming gets me a voice connection, I'm OK.....
I have T-Mobile and I am happy with it. Like any RF device, you can always find places that the signal doesn't penetrate. Since you are making some big trips, I would encourage you to supplement the T-Mobile GSM phone with a CDMA phone, as well. I really don't think it matters if it is an old Verizon or Sprint phone, just get one from Craigslist, Ebay, wherever, just to have with in case you would need to make a wireless 911 call and you would happen to be in an area with no GSM coverage. Some people don't know this, but the wireless companies have to pass 911 calls even if the phone is no longer subscribed for service. Now if you want, you could even get a small amount of minutes from Page Plus Cellular, or a similar MVNO, just as a back up. The other key thing, and I know it sounds like I am pointing out the obvious, make sure you have a 12 volt car cord for BOTH the T-Mobile AND whatever CDMA phone you might get. I guess the bottom line is there are places with no GSM coverage and there are places with no CDMA coverage. There is a smaller area still that has no cell coverage. And if there isn't any, there isn't much you can do short of amateur radio, satellite phone, etc.
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