T-Mobile Didn’t Work Either

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how I was switching from ATT to T-Mobile.  I didn’t want to go to Verizon because it was too expensive, and I don’t know anyone that likes their service.  Let’s be honest, no one loves their cell service in the US.


It’s because there is a total lack of competition.  The rules and regulations set up via the FCC have made it so they all are about the same.  In some places, one has an advantage and works.  In others, another carrier works.  In big metro areas everyone works.  In rural areas, many if not most don’t work.  Here I am driving through central Wisconsin and I am on the Edge network.  Web pages don’t load and music doesn’t stream consistently.

At my place up north, I had an important phone call.  When we drove up, we saw immediately that T-Mobile’s salespeople over promised and we were stuck with the same cruddy cell service we had previously with ATT.  My kids use Sprint and it doesn’t work there either.  Only Verizon works.

I had two very important calls.  Both dropped continuously on WiFi calling.  I had to borrow a neighbors Verizon phone for one, and drive to town to do another.

Brad Feld blogged about how he always gets dropped calls in his area of Colorado.  I have read about Project Fi, and it works great in urban areas but not in rural areas where there is NO wifi signal.

What we need is a rollback of anti-competitive regulations that were put in place by the FCC over the course of the last 80 years.  Many regulations are a relic of a time when there was one landline provider of telephony.  Ma Bell is long gone as are WATS lines, party lines and one size fits all service thank goodness.  Our government bureaucracy hasn’t caught up.

The only place they have caught up is on taxes.  In Chicago and the state of Illinois we just saw our cell taxes rise yet again.  We pay some of the highest rates in the nation, but our service doesn’t show it.

This is mission critical because in an information economy if you aren’t connected, you will be left behind.  We know the Telcos don’t pipe in fast internet service everywhere because it’s not economically feasible for them.

  • GinaDee

    Dropping calls on WiFi? That’s a routing issue not a T-Mobile calling issue regardless if you had LTE/4G service outside or not.

    I’ve used WiFi calling for years. I don’t drop calls.

    • That could be for sure! Or, it could be that we were doing conference calls and there was a problem with the service. Most of the time I had the Edge network if I had cell service at all.

  • oldgraymary

    Also from Chicago. Verizon never worked in the Delavan/Geneva area. Got tired of their bills and aggressive collecting after a week overdue bill while traveling. Love T-Mobile, and discovered also that the cheapie Tracfone flip phone I bought my electronically-challenged husband works great up there.

    • Ha. T-Mobile has no service where we are, Verizon is the only one that does. Otherwise I might do the flip phone. The problem is if you are out in the woods and run into trouble you have no way of connecting if you don’t have cell service.

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  • Dan Kunze

    I live in rural Wisconsin outside of Madison and have US Cellular. Outstanding service. Might be worth a look.

  • CliffElam

    I lived/worked in the UK back when early US cell phone bills could easily break $500/month and I was shocked at how much better it was “in old Blighty.”

    However, I no longer see much/any difference. Rural England and France still have crappy internet/phone service – and we have a lot more rural and it is more desolate, so hard to say where the winner is.

    Also, we pay more (but not a lot more) here in the US but we have better phones. If you are in a cafe in Hamburg you will see a lot of -1 and -2 model Samsung. Go to a Starbucks and you see iPhones and the latest Samsung models.

    I dunno about the structure of FCC billing, so I’m just going to agree with you on that 100%.

    But I do think it’s not an apples/apples comparison.


  • gospace

    The last time I had a landline set up in NY, I was asked if I wanted a party line. When I asked why they were asking, apparently NY state required that landline customers be offered the option of a party line. Probably still do. If you take up the option, you’ll likely be the only person on it… I live out in the boonies now. Moved here in 1997, and local phone company, a non Bell baby, promised DSL by 2000. Got it shortly after that in 2014. Now they’re promising fiber optic within the next two years. There are two 4G towers within 2 miles of my house that provide internet service on a contract basis to large companies. I’ve contacted the tower owners and they do not (meaning will not or can not) offer service to residential customers. 4G is much faster then my DSL.

  • conrad

    Yada, yada, yada; T-Mobile does indeed overpromise and under deliver.
    I experienced great grief for 2 years with signal strength and their phony “boosters” until I finally got rid of them. Sprint isn’t much better.

  • boxtor

    Project Fi works fine if the area has a passable combination of T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and WiFi. It automatically switches between the better signals.