T-Mobile has been rapidly improving their network over the past couple of years and in that time they’ve more than doubled LTE coverage, improved the strength of their network, and implemented several unique and consumer-friendly initiatives, however they’ve always struggled in one area, rural regions.
While you can go to any “big” city in the country and pick up solid coverage with #TeamMagenta, go a few miles out and you might not be so lucky. However late last year the company responded to their biggest competitor, Verizon, in a big way. While Verizon was claiming in commercials that they still had the best network, T-Mobile disagreed. To prove it, they cleverly released some hysterical ads, during the Super Bowl even, but they went a step further. The company issued a challenge to members of the press, use the network for up to three months and compare it to Verizon, and then publish their findings. Here we are now, a month after T-Mobile got me set up on their network, and I’m shocked at how good it has been so far.
Let’s take a quick step back and establish the conditions of my tests on T-Mobile’s network. Unlike the majority of others who praise T-Mobile day and night, I’m not one of them. I respect the company and love what they’ve been doing over the past couple of years, but I am by no means a T-Mobile fanboy. Second, let’s talk about the region I’m testing in. Over the first few days of my test I used the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge between Winston-Salem, NC and Mount Airy, NC, but primarily in the Pilot Mountain region. Let’s just make this clear, this is rural territory folks. In this area I’d estimate about 85% of customers are using Verizon simply because they have no other option, or so they think.
On day one I set up the phone, charged it up and turned off my WiFi to see how things went at home. From my house located about 5 miles off of a main highway I grabbed about two bars of 4G coverage with around a 4mbps download speed and .50 mbps upload. Verizon gives me about the same coverage here, but at times I do get slightly faster service.
After that I gave the network some tests in both rural and downtown areas of Mount Airy, NC. In rural areas I pulled steady coverage for voice, but data was mostly Edge. However in downtown, T-Mobile offered full 4G LTE with awesome speeds. Verizon also offered full LTE in this area but at what seemed like slightly slower speeds. In the rural areas however I had between 1-2 bars of LTE which, while not fast, was stable and more than acceptable.
Of course once I did some testing in a larger city such as Winston Salem, things were solid on both networks. Both offered full LTE connectivity and great speeds, but T-Mobile offered speeds at least 30% faster than Verizon did. This of course is normal for cities however.
As the course of a month passed, I continued to be suprised at just how good T-Mobile has gotten. Even a year ago, T-Mo wasn’t even in the running to be a viable network choice in this area and many other like it, however now, it’s in the running with the big guns (Verizon & AT&T).
Over the next two months, give or take, I’ll be using T-Mobile’s network in my area and also on a trip to a far more rural area to see how things go. If you’re interested in following my experiences with the network, stayed tuned here on iTechTriad for my final thoughts on T-Mobile VS Verizon soon.