Weblog:   Mobile providers -- Wake Up!
Subject:   AT&T vs. T-Mobile
Date:   2003-11-10 14:31:46
From:   bjepson
Response to: I already complained...

Although I'm not the same person who said that AT&T was better than T-Mobile, I have service from both companies, and here's what I've found:


It looks like AT&T Wireless will have higher data speeds by the end of the year, based on postings I've found on HowardForums. I know for a fact that they've turned on these higher speeds in some markets. To the best of my knowledge, T-Mobile doesn't have any plans to support these higher speeds anytime soon.


Every now and then, I have a problem making a connection to T-Mobile's GPRS service. It usually clears up when I retry the connection, and I've only had to call them once to gripe. AT&T Wireless has generally been more reliable, but not by much (and I had to call them once to gripe about a GPRS outage, too). It's entirely possible that some of these connection problems are between my computer and my phone (which I'm using as a modem), because sometimes rebooting both phone and computer fixes everything.


AT&T Wireless had (or is having) some serious customer service problems in late fall 2003. I tried to call and switch from the 4MB mMode plan to the 8MB mMode plan, and the customer service rep said that their system was down, changing the plan was impossible, and no one knew when the system would be back up. More info on the customer service system outage can be found here, but as of this writing, it looks like the outage had gone from about November 4th, 2003 to November 10th. MobileTracker has also reported on this outage.


The few times that I've needed to talk to people at T-Mobile, I haven't had any problems.


I think AT&T's customer service issues and occasional service glitches with both carriers are forgivable. But because of the pricing ($20/month vs. $80/month), I'm using T-Mobile for my GPRS data. If AT&T Wireless offered unlimited high-speed (EDGE @ 70+kbps) data for under $50 a month, I'd switch. However, if T-Mobile offered the same, it would be a toss-up. Right now, it's down to the price for me.

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  • Rael Dornfest photo AT&T vs. T-Mobile
    2003-11-10 20:40:08  Rael Dornfest | O'Reilly Author [View]

    Well put, Brian. Precisely what I'd have said and why I use T-Mobile. Also, some of the number portability shenanigans [http://www.gizmodo.com/archives/009961.php#009961] has T-Mobile feeling a little better than the others.
    • Thanks, and a few more?
      2003-11-11 06:22:48  anonymous2 [View]

      Thanks both of you for the info. Just a few more then?

      >>It's entirely possible that some of these connection problems are between my computer and my phone (which I'm using as a modem)

      You mean you're using the phone continuously as a modem, and have dispensed with the cable modem? That's great, if it's true. No wonder you're looking at the unlimited data price. :)

      >>I'm using T-Mobile for my GPRS data

      You mean you're accessing GPRS data, or you're developing and using it to test? Can you guys speak to whether you're into developing any and what you might be doing?

      Last, can you say anything about the phones themselves? I'm looking at the Nokia 3650 because of it's video and Java capabilities, cause I'd like to get into developing with some Java MIDP and/or SVG. I know I've seen SVG running on the 3650, and from what I understand only the new Nokia 6600 supports MIDP 2 so far. Also, I see that the 3650 has "4" MB of memory, and a 16MB memory card. Is this upgradeable? Is it possible to run applications from the memory card? These and any and all other questions would much appreciate an answer. :)
      Dan
      • Thanks, and a few more?
        2003-11-11 06:26:14  anonymous2 [View]

        Oh, and to answer my own post, basically am I missing any other phones that have video and/or Java capability, then? Thanks again, Dan.
        • Thanks, and a few more? AT&T vs t-mobile
          2009-06-03 10:08:03  Snow53 [View]

          Some comparisons AT&T vs t-mobile. Clearly, if you are looking for simple mobile voice solutions and you are "in footprint" t-mobile is a good solution. Here are 4 ways AT&T may be a better choice for some users...

          1) Better coverage if you travel. This is especially true if you have a "smartphone/pda" like device. t-mobile has decent 3G coverage in the major cities, but move beyond them, and you quickly find yourself in UTMS territory so the service slows way down.

          2) Many of the 3G AT&T phones have integrated wifi capability. This can be very handy if you are inside of a building where the gsm signal has trouble penetrating. Since AT&T supplies most of the wifi access for the most widespread locations (think Starbucks), this can give you access to data where you could not get the phone to work.

          3) AT&T is in the process of upgrading it's 3G network. This is not only a software upgrade that boosts the ideal speed over the air to nearly 7mb, but according to Randall Stephenson, also has increased the capacity at the cell sites themselves. So, when the signal gets to the cell site, the site will not be overwhelmed and less likely to slow down.

          4) AT&T continues to invest in upgrading its network and offerings. Integration with TV on the phone continues to progress.

          If all you need is to make a phone call, t-mobile is a good choice, it is cheap. But more and more, people are looking to add data applications to their devices. As this wireless mobilization of the web continues, the network with the capacity to support these applications will have an increasing edge.

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