T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

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bikechuck
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T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by bikechuck » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:15 pm

After 25 plus years the spousal unit and I are considering abandoning Verizon for cell phone coverage in favor of T-Mobile's $60.00 a month plan for folks over 55 years old. Our understanding is that this is for unlimited talk, text and data and includes all taxes and fees. It is less than half of what we are currently paying Verizon for a plan with data limits.

Our concern is that we retired last year and we plan to travel more in 2018 and coming years. We usually use Google Maps on our phones for travel and we are concerned that we will have spotty coverage whilst navigating. I do think that once your route is recognized on your phone you are OK but our concern is that getting that route initially recognized might be more problematic with T-Mobile.

Thanks in advance to any T-Mobile customers who would be willing to share your experiences.

HIinvestor
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:23 pm

We started with the $60 for 2 line plan shortly after it was announced and have been very pleased with it. When we are going to rural areas, you can download a map if you know you will be in areas with spotty cell coverage. We did that for Glacier National Park and other similar areas.

Yes the $60 for 2 lines includes EVERYTHING, even international texts and data! It is not a contract so if you’re unhappy, you can switch.

Katietsu
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Katietsu » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:29 pm

Make sure you realize that Tmobile has some plans that only give you service on the Tmobile network and others that also give you coverage on roaming partners. Also understand that some phones do not work with all roaming partners. So, given your travel plans, if you decide to use Tmobile, I would want to make sure you have a phone and a plan that will work on roaming partners.

I do not have Tmobile, but Verizon. I have found that I run into problems when I am in an area with good partner coverage and very poor Verizon coverage. I do not have good enough service to use Verizon data, but it also will not switch me over to the roaming partner. This has got me in trouble with navigation and is extremely frustrating. I will probably be leaving Verizon because of it. I do not find downloading maps and such a satisfactory alternative. What if I need to find food, hotel, bathroom or otherwise change my mind. I do not know if T mobile does a better job with this.
Last edited by Katietsu on Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

straws46
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by straws46 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:31 pm

We have the T-Mobile geezer plan and think it's great. We travel a lot overseas and we get a text welcoming us to each country and reminding us that we get free text messaging and internet and 20 cents a minute phone calls in almost every country we've been (only exception was Vietnam). The coverage in Europe is tremendous. Not experienced in rural domestic areas.

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MP123
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by MP123 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:47 pm

Not sure where you're planning to go but in the rural Western US Verizon has the best network by far. It's still spotty or even non-existent once you're away from towns or off major highways.

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.

Katietsu
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Katietsu » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:12 pm

When traveling in rural areas, I also still use my Garmin GPS whenever I remember to bring it.

bikechuck
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by bikechuck » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:14 pm

MP123 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:47 pm
Not sure where you're planning to go but in the rural Western US Verizon has the best network by far. It's still spotty or even non-existent once you're away from towns or off major highways.

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.
Thanks for your comments and for trying to be helpful,

I do think that Verizon likely has the best coverage in rural areas but in our case we would save over $700 a year, meaning $7,000 over ten years and $21,000 over 30 years (if we are fortunate to live that long) by switching to T-Mobile which is why I am VERY interested in the experiences of T-Mobile subscribers who have actually used their service.

Thank you to everyone who has responded to this thread and please keep the comments coming, I am particularly interested in hearing from people that are actually using or have recently used T-Mobile.

bikechuck
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by bikechuck » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:16 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:12 pm
When traveling in rural areas, I also still use my Garmin GPS whenever I remember to bring it.
That is my back-up plan as well and I needed to use it as a Verizon customer in West Va recently. I do prefer using Google Maps when I can because they have real time information regarding traffic accidents and road construction and they do a nice job of finding alternate routes in these situations.

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sperry8
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by sperry8 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:20 pm

bikechuck wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:15 pm
After 25 plus years the spousal unit and I are considering abandoning Verizon for cell phone coverage in favor of T-Mobile's $60.00 a month plan for folks over 55 years old. Our understanding is that this is for unlimited talk, text and data and includes all taxes and fees. It is less than half of what we are currently paying Verizon for a plan with data limits.

Our concern is that we retired last year and we plan to travel more in 2018 and coming years. We usually use Google Maps on our phones for travel and we are concerned that we will have spotty coverage whilst navigating. I do think that once your route is recognized on your phone you are OK but our concern is that getting that route initially recognized might be more problematic with T-Mobile.

Thanks in advance to any T-Mobile customers who would be willing to share your experiences.
I suggest Google Fi. It swaps between T-Mo and Sprint and could cost less depending on data usage.
Humbling BH contest results: 2017: #516 of 647 | 2016: #121 of 610 | 2015: #18 of 552 | 2014: #225 of 503 | 2013: #383 of 433 | 2012: #366 of 410 | 2011: #113 of 369 | 2010: #53 of 282

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AllieTB1323
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by AllieTB1323 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:24 pm

We went from AT&T to the T-Mobile geezer plan and are happy with it. T-Mobile's unlimited cellular data has been a money saver. We haven't noticed any difference in the coverage area.

DSInvestor
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by DSInvestor » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:24 pm

We did several cross country road trips through the US and Western Canada (BC and Yukon). Our trips were 3-6 months long I had a T-Mobile phone, T-Mobile iPad and my wife had Cricket (AT&T network) phone. T-Mobile worked well in cities. T-Mobile worked even better in Canada where I connected to many Canadian carriers with no roaming fees. My wife's cricket plan also allows use in Canada/Mexicto without roaming charges. On stretches with T-Mobile signal, my wife was able to stream entire baseball games on the iPad without concern about data usage (Binge-On feature). Cricket provided better reception outside of cities. If you're doing a road trip into remote areas, I'd suggest getting a Garmin auto GPS unit so you don't have to worry about reception on your phone. Our garmin device cost about $130 and includes North America maps (US, Canada, Mexico), lifetime map updates and traffic.
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THY4373
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by THY4373 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:28 pm

MP123 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:47 pm

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.
But no navigation if you are offline so you have maps but you'll need to navigate yourself.

bob60014
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by bob60014 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:38 pm

I've been a Tmobile customer for years and a 55+ customer for 6 months or so and am satisfied with the coverage. I look at like this, 95 percent of the time the coverage is excellent. The other 5 percent I can live with especially when saving $$$!

I'm currently in Australia and the coverage has been excellent, even in some remote areas out ofCanberra.

Cheyenne
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:40 pm

I live in a rural area and I've been back and forth between Verizon and T-Mobile (and others) for years. I like everything about T-Mobile except for its gaps in coverage and also that it doesn't penetrate walls well (doesn't work well in some buildings), and I dislike just about everything about Verizon except that it works everywhere.

We're giving T-MO another try and just signed up for the T-MO 55+ plan also. I'm not cancelling Verizon and porting out yet. T-MO works well at our house and a few hours ago I asked DW to call me from a place where she volunteers (in a building) and it rang but I couldn't hear anything. Not a good sign but not a surprise either. I've heard that T-MO is getting better and is expected to get a lot better in the next few years now that they have acquired 600 MHz band 71 (better penetration). They are rolling out the infrastructure in some markets but there are not many handsets available that support it yet. I wouldn't rely on T-MO for seamless coverage on a road trip yet. Another option would be the Verizon Prepaid $40 Plan with 4G of data available only at Walmart. Verizon Prepaid doen't include roaming but their native coverage is very good and I believe you can roam on it with a per minute surcharge if needed.
Last edited by Cheyenne on Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Will do good
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Will do good » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:43 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:28 pm
MP123 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:47 pm

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.
But no navigation if you are offline so you have maps but you'll need to navigate yourself.
That's not true, when we were up at Yosemite our offline maps still give us full navigation like any GPS.

Cheyenne
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:50 pm

MP123 wrote: ↑
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:47 pm

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.

But no navigation if you are offline so you have maps but you'll need to navigate yourself.
I'm not sure about all tablets and phones, but I know for a fact that iPads (with or without the cellular hardware) are equipped with GSP, and the GPS works regardless of cell service or lack there of. GSP is independent of wireless phone networks. It's satellite based. So you can download the maps when you have either wifi or cell service, and use them to navigate with active GSP where no cell service exists (provided you on the Earth's surface of course ;-)

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Flobes
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Flobes » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:56 pm

I live in the rural West. Anything that's not Verizon is mostly useless.

Here's a strategy: Switch your Verizon to two lines of "prepaid" services. $70/month buys two lines, each with unlimited US talk and text, 3gb data, carry-over data, mobile hotspots, some international texting, no contract.

That's $10/month more for workable cell service; $120/year, not $700. Prepaid plans with more date are available for more money, but the carry-forward data feature may obviate the need.

When T-Mobile announced its Boomer plan, I called Verizon to inquire if they were matching, and CSR suggested this plan. I switched.

I set auto-pay via a cash-back credit card that insures cell phones, so the pre-paid design is effortless.

Like you, I'm retired and roaming the country. The 3Gb is way more than needed when I'm home, so additional data accrues for when I'm on the road.

stevew7
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by stevew7 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:09 pm

Tmobile a few years ago acquired a lot of band 12 (700 mhz) lte spectrum. However, a lot of low end and older phones dont have support for this band, so if you are trying to reuse an older phone or cheap out and get an older phone, tmobile might actually have coverage but your phone won't pick up the signal and you won't be giving their network a fair shake.

In addition, tmobile also recently acquired a lot of band71 (600 mhz) spectrum, but very few phones support this frequency and tmobile hasn't deployed much of this band yet but will in the future. If you are going to buy a new phone, see if it has band71 support.

So I recommend you use a website like https://www.frequencycheck.com/carriers ... ted-states to check the bands your phone supports. Tmobile has a similar site but it only contains devices they sell directly.

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-phones-700

With tmobile buying so much spectrum lately, the theoretical difference between them and Verizon and AT&T has dropped considerably. A decade ago tmobile simply didn't have the spectrum to compete nationally but now they've largely closed the gap. So, now, the differences are local depending on where towers are deployed.

Cheyenne
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:19 pm

by Flobes » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:56 pm
I live in the rural West. Anything that's not Verizon is mostly useless.

Here's a strategy: Switch your Verizon to two lines of "prepaid" services.
I was wondering if you have encountered any areas where Verizon Prepaid doesn't work (due to the absence of roaming on prepaid), but Verizon Postpaid does work.

Thanks in advance

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Flobes
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Flobes » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:32 pm

Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:19 pm
I was wondering if you have encountered any areas where Verizon Prepaid doesn't work (due to the absence of roaming on prepaid), but Verizon Postpaid does work.
Not yet.

It's a good question...

bikechuck
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by bikechuck » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:40 pm

stevew7 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:09 pm
Tmobile a few years ago acquired a lot of band 12 (700 mhz) lte spectrum. However, a lot of low end and older phones dont have support for this band, so if you are trying to reuse an older phone or cheap out and get an older phone, tmobile might actually have coverage but your phone won't pick up the signal and you won't be giving their network a fair shake.

In addition, tmobile also recently acquired a lot of band71 (600 mhz) spectrum, but very few phones support this frequency and tmobile hasn't deployed much of this band yet but will in the future. If you are going to buy a new phone, see if it has band71 support.

So I recommend you use a website like https://www.frequencycheck.com/carriers ... ted-states to check the bands your phone supports. Tmobile has a similar site but it only contains devices they sell directly.

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/coverage-phones-700

With tmobile buying so much spectrum lately, the theoretical difference between them and Verizon and AT&T has dropped considerably. A decade ago tmobile simply didn't have the spectrum to compete nationally but now they've largely closed the gap. So, now, the differences are local depending on where towers are deployed.
My understanding is that there are only two phones that can currently take advantage of band 71. My wife does need a new phone but unfortunately she does not like the two options that are currently available. I have a newer phone and will not be ready for an upgrade for five years or so and unfortunately it does not handle band 71.

Decisions
Decisions

iamlucky13
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by iamlucky13 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:58 pm

My experience is T-Mobile coverage is fine along most stretches of interstate, so as long as you have your destination entered well in advance of getting onto the smaller roads where it might drop out, it works fine.

Their coverage maps are problematic, however, if you try to use those as a go-by. Our house is listed as having excellent coverage, but that is only for their newer band 12 LTE (700 Mhz) frequency. Phones more than about 2 years old aren't able to receive band 12, and I think even some of the lower end new phones do not.

I also had to replace a perfectly good 2G phone, because they apparently reduced 2G capacity in our area so much that 90% of my calls were failing with a "network busy" message even when I had 3 bars. Unfortunately, the 3G network in our area apparently has significantly worse range than the 2G did.
Flobes wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:56 pm
I live in the rural West. Anything that's not Verizon is mostly useless.
US Cellular was always the best alternative to Verizon in the rural NW according to my parents. They were never willing to pay Verizon's rates, but I will concede if you absolutely needed to be able to receive business calls while traveling, Verizon was known for having fewer gaps than US Cellular.

Cheyenne
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Cheyenne » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:20 pm

Their coverage maps are problematic...
Coverage maps are wishful thinking. Even sensorly.com maps, which are supposed to be reported by users, I wouldn't rely on. There is a small village less than 10 miles from my house that I occasionally pass through. It's situated in a small valley and it is a total dead zone for all wireless service. I always check it when I go through there. I've tested T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon with the lasted handsets. None of them have any service - including Verizon. But the sensorly.com maps show medium signal strength on all three of the carriers mentioned. I don't know how that's reported. What's more is there is a small hotel B&B right in the village on the corner, and if one searches for reviews from guests who have stayed there, one of the things they mention is that there in no cell service there. I wouldn't rely on any of the coverage maps. I think they're all fictional.

Helo80
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Helo80 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:30 pm

I subscribed to T-Mobile for 10+ years as they had the best bang for the buck for a long, long time. When I was in densely populated areas and lived 95% of my life in said areas, service was fine -- no issues with dropped calls or overloaded cell towers.

However, when I moved to a more rural area, (as well as traveling around all of the national parks in Utah, northern NM, arizona, etc) T-mo was not so great. Their roaming left much to be desired.

I'm not with T-mobile anymore, as I elected to go with Cricket (wholly owned AT&T prepaid subsidiary).

noco-hawkeye
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by noco-hawkeye » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:31 pm

We live in the western US. I've found T-Mo to work great in cities, and fair when you get out on the interstate in the boonies. When you get on a state highway away from the interstate, then T-Mo can struggle quite a bit - this is all pretty similar to what others have been saying.

It's not a problem for us, most of the time we are near an interstate and when we go really remote we have downloaded a map or already know where we are going. YMMV, but t-mobile has been fine with us overall. My suspicion is that t-mo is the best carrier if you do international travel, however. I've had good luck in Europe and the far east with t-mo, where friends have had to jump through hoops to get their phones to work.

Katietsu
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by Katietsu » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:36 pm

Flobes wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:32 pm
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:19 pm
I was wondering if you have encountered any areas where Verizon Prepaid doesn't work (due to the absence of roaming on prepaid), but Verizon Postpaid does work.
Not yet.

It's a good question...
Yes. Very much so. You can look at the coverage maps and see the difference. Really depends on where you are going to be. I know someone who never had a problem. But they stayed in cities or on major highways.

madbrain
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by madbrain » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:53 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:28 pm
MP123 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:47 pm

As mentioned above you can download a map section in Google Maps so you can use it offline if you don't have a connection. That helps considerably.
But no navigation if you are offline so you have maps but you'll need to navigate yourself.
There should always be a GPS signal even if there is no cell signal. Are you saying the Google maps app cannot provide directions with local maps ?
And if so, what is the point of having local maps ?

madbrain
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by madbrain » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:56 pm

I'm in a semi-rural area, in the hills at the very edge of a big city. We have deers and sheep as our neighbors, so I guess you could say it's rural (there are a few human beings, too).

T-mobile signal doesn't penetrate our house. It barely works outside - cuts off when I drive up or down the hill.

For indoor, T-mobile provided us with a cell phone booster, which didn't work very well because the strength of the signal even at the window varied widely. More recently, they gave us a booster that works off Internet. That has been much more reliable. But it requires having a separate internet connection (Comcast, in our case). And if Comcast goes down, so does the cell. And of course, being the last node on the Comcast network, it goes down a lot. After 7 tech visits over the last 6 months, they seem to have finally fixed it, though ...

madbrain
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by madbrain » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:57 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:36 pm
Flobes wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:32 pm
Cheyenne wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:19 pm
I was wondering if you have encountered any areas where Verizon Prepaid doesn't work (due to the absence of roaming on prepaid), but Verizon Postpaid does work.
Not yet.

It's a good question...
Yes. Very much so. You can look at the coverage maps and see the difference. Really depends on where you are going to be. I know someone who never had a problem. But they stayed in cities or on major highways.
Coverage maps are not very accurate in my experience. My home is within coverage area on the map, but does not really have coverage indoors, only outdoors. Take them with a grain of salt.

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MP123
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by MP123 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:05 pm

madbrain wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:56 pm
For indoor, T-mobile provided us with a cell phone booster, which didn't work very well because the strength of the signal even at the window varied widely. More recently, they gave us a booster that works off Internet. That has been much more reliable. But it requires having a separate internet connection (Comcast, in our case). And if Comcast goes down, so does the cell. And of course, being the last node on the Comcast network, it goes down a lot. After 7 tech visits over the last 6 months, they seem to have finally fixed it, though ...
Have you tried enabling WiFi calling on your droid or iPhone? It still uses the Comcast connection but skips the whole Network Extender box (which is just sort of a mini-cell phone tower). It works pretty well with Verizon but I haven't tried it on t-mobile.

madbrain
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by madbrain » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:48 pm

MP123 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:05 pm
madbrain wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:56 pm
For indoor, T-mobile provided us with a cell phone booster, which didn't work very well because the strength of the signal even at the window varied widely. More recently, they gave us a booster that works off Internet. That has been much more reliable. But it requires having a separate internet connection (Comcast, in our case). And if Comcast goes down, so does the cell. And of course, being the last node on the Comcast network, it goes down a lot. After 7 tech visits over the last 6 months, they seem to have finally fixed it, though ...
Have you tried enabling WiFi calling on your droid or iPhone? It still uses the Comcast connection but skips the whole Network Extender box (which is just sort of a mini-cell phone tower). It works pretty well with Verizon but I haven't tried it on t-mobile.
Wifi calling requires a very strong Wifi signal. I live in a very large house. There are some dead spots, and some with Wifi signal that's just not sufficient for Wifi calling. The mini-cell phone tower works throughout the house.

mchampse
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Re: T-Mobile Coverage in Rural Areas

Post by mchampse » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:35 am

I have T-Mobile. My better half has Verizon through her work. We find it useful being on two separate networks. Sometimes I get better coverage, sometimes she gets better coverage. It’s the best of both worlds, though if we had to pay for her service we may feel differently.

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