Friday, October 16, 2009

T-Mobile Vs. Verizon Service On Long Island

I was a long time Verizon customer for almost eight years. I found their service to be very good on Long Island. I live in Smithtown and unfortunately, in my neighborhood, the service was not very good and I had zero service in my house. One day I was in Radio Shack and the T-Mobile rep was there and he saw that I was returning a Sprint Pre after several days of testing the service. (Sprint was terrible from the testing I did). Anyway, he asked if I had ever tried T-mobile which I replied, no. He convincingly informed me that T-mobile had installed 100's of towers on Long island over the last eighteen months and was as good as or better than Verizon. He went on to say that T-Mobile had spent its efforts in building up a great service in the boroughs of NYC but had neglected Long Island and this had left a sour taste in many subscribers mouth’s.. While T-Mobile was horrible the service has matured and performed better than expected.

The rep even offered to drive me around my neighborhood to test the service. The My Touch phone had just come out and I really wanted to try the Android operating system. The G1 has been out for a while now with great reviews. He sat me in his car. It was about 90 out that day and he went over every inch of the phone as the AC ran strong. He had stepped on the phone so it had a cracked screen but the phone was still operational. After checking out all the cool features I decided to give T-Mobile a try.

My wife and I were both very skeptical after having a bad experience testing Sprint next to our Verizon phones. I walked out of Radio Shack with the My Touch and was off to test my new phone out against Verizon. I had a pretty high end Verizon phone at the time but no data service. Verizon is quite a bit more expensive so I was hoping that T-Mobile would hold its own. I first drove back to my house from the Mall and both phones showed a strong signal until I got into my neighborhood and then the Verizon phone went to one bar while T-Mobile stayed strong. In my house I had 3 bars and excellent 3g service for fast downloads while Verizon had no service. This made me happy but the phone service would still have to be reliable in all parts of Long island before we could make a switch. I have a wired phone in my house and while cell service would be great it was not a top priority.

My wife commutes to the exit before Queens each day and on her way home we often talk the entire way. With Verizon there are a few dead zones because it's harder to get permits for towers on the North Shore. Anyway, we had excellent service on her ride home from Queens to exit 60 on the LIE. We did have a few spots where the service was spotty but this was no different than Verizon. On 99% of the trip she had a great signal which was usually stronger than Verizon. Our cars allow us to see the signal on the dash so it is easy to keep tabs on how strong or weak our service is. I also drove up and down the South Shore and my T-Mobile phone never went lower than 2 bars with 3-4 being the norm -it was often stronger than my Verizon phone. After two weeks and driving in just about every direction on Long Island my wife and myself were firm believers that T-Mobile had improved their service 10 fold and was a player. T-Mobile was as strong as Verizon just about everywhere we went and bested Verizon in several locations. We have now had the service for a few months and we are both very, very happy we made the switch. She even has service in her classroom which is a feat in itself. Unfortunately, I work in a metal building and while I have 5 bars outside my building I do lose service when I enter my building which was no different than what I had with Verizon. My mom had T-Mobile years ago in and around Manhattan and loved the service. This confirmed what the rep said about T-mobile having an almost 50% share in this area.

Apparently T-mobile is huge in Europe with 133 million customers worldwide including 33 million in the US so they have the cash to keep expanding their service. I also found their coverage map to be very accurate so far.

My wife and I both went with Google phones. Google put up the cash to develop an open source operating system and they did a fantastic job. To get programmers to create apps they offered 100 or thousands of dollars in best app contests. They also have a market that allows you to download right to your phone and you can even buy apps. The apps cost anywhere from 99 to 3.00 on average but there are many more free ones. Maybe 10 to 1. I went with the My Touch and my wife chose the G1 to get a physical keyboard. The My Touch and G1 are similar to the IPhone with 1000’s of free apps and is a fully customizable phone. You can create icons, folders, move icons, etc. What is really cool is that Google has developed speech to text recognition software that is amazing. Instead of typing a search you simply talk into the phone. It rarely makes a mistake. I tried to trip it up and it impressed me with its accuracy. My phone has the coolest apps. I can download 2 million free songs off I-music (fully legal), it’s an I-pod player, video player, search machine, and has so many great games to play. To stay organized I use the built in calendar to set alerts which is crazy easy. I love this phone. Do a search for my Touch and Android to see some of the apps that are out there. I'm more than happy and for a few dollars more a month my wife and I have data plans and a service that is equal to or rivals Verizon on Long Island. We just got back from Florida and had great service there too. Can't wait to see what happens when we go skiing in Utah this year. According to their coverage map, which has been very accurate to date, we should have excellent service there too.