T-Mobile SIM

I recently reached the uneventful end to my two and a half year run with Verizon Wireless. After flirting with the possibility for a few weeks, I decided to take the jump, and port my phone numbers over permanently to T-Mobile. I guess you could say that I fell for a very effective marketing strategy, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that I will be saving a bunch of money each month by switching.

My current Verizon bill is approximately $165 every month; that’s with two iPhones, and an iPad. A comparable setup on T-Mobile should position me well within the $100 range, effectively saving me around the ballpark of $60 each month.

Granted, this isn’t a cookie cutter solution for everyone; there’s tons to consider before taking the plunge, but I think it will work out nicely for me. It could work out nicely for you too, as long as you take into consideration a few important points…

Ensure you have good coverage

First and foremost is coverage. T-Mobile is known for having subpar network coverage; they play second fiddle to Verizon and AT&T in this area. That’s something that you’re definitely going to want to investigate before making a move like this. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive the plan is if it doesn’t work.

To help, you can create a pre-paid T-Mobile account in order to test out the service for a few days before taking the next step. Pre-paid accounts are excellent ways to reveal the true nature of the T-Mobile’s network in your area. These accounts are easy to setup, easy to cancel, and they’ll tell you a lot about the health of the network in your area.

Counting the real cost

Chances are that T-Mobile will save you a sizable amount of money each month, but it isn’t a forgone conclusion. You need to do the math before you rush into making a decision.

T-Mobile Numbers

The very first thing you need to do is analyze your current situation. Do you have an existing contract with another carrier? If so, you’ll probably have to wait until that contract ends, or else pay an early Termination Fee (ETF). While these fees are generally looked at with severe apprehension, it may be less than you think, and you could still end up saving money by paying the ETF.

First of all, find out how much money you will actually save by switching to T-Mobile. If you find out you’ll save $50 a month, and your contract ends in 6 months, you can do some simple math to see what decision is the right decision.

$50 per month for 6 months = $300.

If your ETF is less than $300, then it may be advisable to go ahead and pay the ETF. Generally speaking, ETFs reduce in price by about $10 per every month fulfilled on your contract. That means that if you have a 2 year contract with an ETF of $350, your ETF will be $170 after a year ($350-(18*10)). Since $170 is substantially less than the $300 of savings you’d receive by switching to T-Mobile, it may be wise to go ahead and switch, regardless of the ETF. Of course, your specific case and mileage may vary. This is just a general synopsis of a typical situation.

Keep in mind, that you must accurately calculate your own net savings. I recommend throwing everything into a Numbers spreadsheet. I created the chart that lies below by throwing some basic data in Numbers. It shows the difference between a two year contract with Verizon and T-Mobile when canceling Verizon at the very beginning of a brand new contract. Even with paying the $350 ETF, you still come out way ahead when staying with T-Mobile for two years.

Verizon vs T-Mobile

Is switching worth the effort?

So what’s the catch? Why don’t we see more people flocking over to T-Mobile if the savings are so great? One word: subsidies. With T-Mobile’s latest “Uncarrier” initiative, you get no such subsidies. You need to pay full price for your new device, which comes close to the total amount of savings you gain from switching to T-Mobile.

In the above example, I saved approximately $799 by switching from Verizon to T-Mobile. Guess how much a brand new full price unsubsidized iPhone is? Not too far away from $799, depending on your configuration. Based on your usage, the savings, if any, could be negligible long term, especially when you consider taxes, fees, etc.

But, T-Mobile is without a doubt the best deal for you if you don’t plan on switching devices every couple of years. Let’s say you planned on keeping your iPhone 5s for the next 4 years. By doing that, you’d save a boatload of cash, and the savings would just add up every year you kept the same device.

Wrapping it all up

So remember — Consider these three things: Coverage, Contract, and Devices. If the coverage is good, and you plan to keep your device for a while, it doesn’t really matter if you have an ETF, you’d still be better off switching in most cases.

If the coverage is bad, then don’t switch at all.

T-Mobile iPad

If you plan to get a new device every couple of years, then it’s more of a toss up, but you’d still probably come a little bit ahead with T-Mobile, especially if you need unlimited data, have a family plan, or have a Tablet.

The absolute best thing you can do is to sit down, break out a spreadsheet and count the cost. You might be surprised by what you find. In some cases, switching could save you big, and in other cases, the savings aren’t as great, or don’t even exist at all. Do the math before you make the switch, and definitely get a pre-paid SIM to test out T-Mobile’s network before you even think about making a move.

What mobile provider do you use? Have you considered switching to T-Mobile due to the company’s “Uncarrier” initiative? Have you determined that you will save money by making the switch? Be sure to sound off with your thoughts, observations, comments, and suggestions below.

  • Josh

    I have been with tmobile over 10 yrs and I have been so satisfied with my coverage and my bill

    • Jack Wong

      I switched to AT&T because of the locked iPhone. When did US get unlocked iPhone? Since 4s?

      • Josh

        No since the 3gs

      • Jack Wong

        How much was that from US Apple store?

  • DanielMaciasJr

    Welcome to the dark side. Really though. I’ve had T-Mobile since 2004. It’s always had great, inexpensive plans compared to AT&T and Verizon. The customer service may very well be the best out there. Coverage is steadily improving. I opened an AT&T account just to have an iPhone. Once T-Mobile carried iPhones, it was a wrap. Left AT&T and won’t miss losing more time and money to them.

    • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

      AT&T & Verizon is a prime example of evil greedy corporations in America!

    • Steve Brea

      Best decision you could have made!

  • Andrew Roth

    You decided to “take the jump” (Pun intended?)

  • hocus86

    I cannot emphasize enough trying out the service via the prepaid route. I studied the maps and signed up for regular service after seeing I was in a good coverage area. However, I soon realized the coverage map was grossly inaccurate. And while I was still under their “buyer’s remorse” period when I wanted to cancel, it took 4 months to finally get my line cancelled and bill refunded. It really made me question the great CS comments people say about them. But, this was just my experience.

    • TonyVee73

      Were you using a T-Mobile phone or an unlocked phone from a different carrier?

      When I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T, I was using an unlocked AT&T iPhone 4S and the service was very spotty (NYC). on 4G but there was a lot of places I only had E. When the iP5 case out on T-Mobile’s network, it was like night and day. The service is much better. Mostly on LTE, occasionally on 4G and very rarely on E.

      • hocus86

        It was a new TM-unlocked 5, direct from Apple.

  • josher

    If you aren’t under contract you should switch to straighttalk. You can get a sim from them and use ATT lte and unlimited talk/text for only $45 per month w NO CONTRACT!!! I love it and best kept secret out there!!!!

    • CaffeinePizza

      It’s not a secret.

      • josher

        Well I and many others I ask had never heard of it!

      • Adrayven

        If all you need to worry about is just a phone, and little data, then okay I could see it. I can’t see it if you have multiple devices (phones, tablets and/or hotspot) to deal with.

        With Straighttalk you can’t tether and they threaten to kill service when you go over 2GB. Those 2 things make it not viable to me. Plus. When you add a tablet it’s a non- starter. On T-Mobile it’s Free for 200mb or $10/mo for 700mb (500+200) or $20/mo for 2.7GB. Not sure StraightTalk does tablets. Fairly sure if they do, anything over 2GB is a no.

        I use the free 200mb data/mo on my tablet, Love Tmo. Using way more data lately though so might bump it up. I used over 8GB last month on phone streaming Netflix, YouTube, etc.

        Straight Talk just doesn’t cut it

    • Hugh Jassol

      Have you been throttled yet? I tested the straight talk plan a little over a year ago. At first, I was using 5+ GB with no issues, then after a few months they started throttling the data down to nearly unusable (atleast for me). I cut ties.

    • omg sounds so legit! *checks out the website* “2G data speeds” NOPE.

    • PghMike4

      Does ST still let you use AT&T’s network? I thought they were only reselling T-mobile now.

      ST’s technical support is pretty crappy, and you’ll have to either jailbreak your iPhone or jump through some hoops to setup MMS (you have to put in a t-mobile SIM, navigate to a menu that only shows up then, pop out the SIM, put in your ST sim, and then save the settings). And once you’ve setup the ST settings, you can’t see them again, and they get reset sorta randomly. Overall, I just got tired of having to do this over and over again with my kids phones.

      I used ST for a while (about a year), and I’m not sorry to be done with them. AT&T’s coverage is a little better than T-mobile (with iPhone 4, perhaps not iPhone 5), but the hassle of suffering with the settings finally drove me away.

  • josher

    Tmoble had terrible coverage for me in Oregon and this is cheaper

  • m3nphls

    Now that you’ve made the switch. Try using your service outside any city… and let me know if you even get 3G lol. Savings are not worth if you travel outside cities.

  • I have an iphone 4s from 2011 with sprint. My contract is up in march and i’m probably going to get the “iphone 6” in sept or maybe a gold 5s to save money. There’s no point getting a new phone EVERY year. that’s just a waste of money. I pay $60 a month for unlimited everything besides minutes. But come on, who talks on the phone a whole lot besides business people? (and females)

  • Brandon Higgins

    Also to think about is many employers are elidgable for a discount with carriers such as tmobile and they have a $10 a month upgrade anytime deal. So with a discount that would pay for the anytime upgrade and some of your bill. With anytime upgrade you don’t have to pay the full amount.

  • Marvin

    T mobile service in my area sucks! I use airvoice wireless and get unlimited talk and text with 100mb of data for $30

  • Rick Hart

    I’m a grandfathered unlimited Verizon’s costumer I know they ain’t the cheapest out there but they are the most reliable by far! I live out in the country by Busch gardens Williamsburg and nothing works out but Verizon I’ll pay extra for the sevice

  • Sachin Patel

    I pay around $15 a month here in India for unlimited 3G data and 500 minutes of talktime !!

    • J. Rockwell

      That is a GREAT price. I guess the question would be is what does the average citizen in India make per year? Answer – The per capita income of India stood at $1,527 in 2011. In NY the per capita personal Income was $51,126 in 2011. So yeah it is VERY expensive for wireless in the states, but the reason they charge so much is because they can:/

  • PghMike4

    I switched over in March — our family has 4 iPhone 4s (not 4Ss) that were unlocked by AT&T once we had the phones for 2 years. With an iPhone 4, you only get 3G in their refarmed areas, but that includes nearly all decently sized cities now. I *think* you do better with the iPhone 5 family, since those phones have both 1700 MHZ and 1900 MHZ radios (iPhone 4 only gets 3G on the 1900 mhz band).

    Our bill went down by about $80/month compared with AT&T with much lower data limits, and we get tethering without jailbreaking. And free international roaming (even at 128Kbits) is pretty great — I’ve already used it in Canada.

    Also, if you go over your data limit, you don’t get cut off, and you don’t get charged more — you just get throttled to 128Kbits.

    A nice plus is that T-mobile actually has technically competent support and sales people.

    All in all, I love T-mobile. I’m very thankful that the DoJ didn’t let AT&T destroy them.

  • T S P K Sainath

    In India iPhone 5S 2 yr contract down payment is 0 usd then for the next 2 yrs pay 48 usd/month for truly unlimited ! unlimited 3G,calling n SMS !!

  • FrankensteinBlack

    Props to Genachowski, Holder and Obama for saving T-Mobile!

  • Tom

    Hi everyone, i’m french and i read this blog very often! I’m shocked about how your plans are expensive. Here, we’ve got very good coverage and the best unlimited plan (Unlimited calls, unlimited texts/MMS and 3Go of data, tethering allowed, calling and texts to Europe, free hotspot Wi-Fi all over the country) without any contract, you don’t need to buy a phone…only for 19,90E/Month (26,97USD). I know, we don’t have any 4G/LTE at the moment, but this is coming in a few months

  • iydomngz

    With just one year using the service Tmobile, I can tell you that after having walked nearly 5 years with at&t and 3 months Verizone in which pay almost 1600 for each year, I feel Good Paying just 70 with unlimited everything with 4G LTE , although there are actually at&t to say it has better coverage .. But Nothing Better Than Paying less than $ 100 a month for the use my iphone 5S 🙂

  • Rishi Chainani

    Sprint is a double dick

  • Steve Brea

    T-Mobile is the best and I am very happy with their prices, definitely the best and cheapest out right now

  • Bob roberts

    @JeffBenjam @TMobile id rather pay my 399 for my device than rather than leasing it and having 27.00 tacked on to my bill network is pure shit where im at nobody but people that have loads of money are going to pay 500+ for a device thats only a 16gb im with att and pay 180 for 3 lines all with unlimited data and texts at the end of the day you are paying more for tmobile than att taxes etc..yea ur in a comtract but if you buy a iphone 5s on att you have loads of equity in that phone therefore you can jus go and buy one without uppgrade at anytime plus its unlocked i jus hit 62mbps on my 5s youll never see those speeds with tmobile