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Thread: Switched to Consumer Cellular

  1. #1
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    Switched to Consumer Cellular

    So, it was time to leave Tmobile as having the 4 unlimited for $150, plus an 'on them' line was turning into junk. I lost the government 15% discount because my wife got 1 text about renewing it, probably forgot or didn't realize, and they wouldn't let me back on it. Then their 'uncarrier' moves became part of only new customers - doing exactly what old carriers do. The taxes weren't included. Netflix wasn't included. The Jump or whatever handset upgrade and protection options got progressively more expensive with no increase in value.

    I'll say the one nice improvement was the specialist team. I think all but once I got them and even had some repeat folks. One guy was actually incredibly well versed in the roaming partners and coverage and technologies in the southwest here (I'm in Phoenix and they're mostly in Albuquerque). I'm always happy to have even better customer service - but I never felt they were lacking in this. Still a positive.

    Anyway, their network was once much better in Phoenix. It had it's quirky areas as all networks do. But there were a couple areas that just kept growing to the point I could go to restaurants, drive, or walk in this square mile with service gone. It shows LTE, but nothing happens. Calls won't go through, data hangs forever, etc. My in-laws and myself have noted it to Tmobile and given service declined steadily showed no intention to fix this. Mind you - heart of Phoenix AZ. A very big and dense city. Given it is such a large area though that includes my son's school, near my in-laws house, and many places we go to eat or shop it was just horrible. At home it works incredibly well, but wifi is better so no need.

    Also, now that we have a place up north and I travel more again, Tmobile has also not expanded in northern AZ. They have their 600MHz up there ready to go and they've only deployed it in areas they already had LTE for the most part. No meaningful expansion in northern AZ. The other issue is Tmo's network just literally hanging onto a crappy LTE signal on band 2 or 4 without going to 12 for better in-building coverage. It would sit at 118-120 dBm and be worthless. Also, it won't drop down to UMTS when that would be sensible. And even if it did, because they've turned band 4 off and just left band 2 with no fine-tuning, you get odd areas where signal drops and comes right back.

    Anyway, Consumer Cellular has their SIM cards for $10 at Target and I got one to try out. ATT's service was always good and I'd used GoPhone in the past without much issue. It's still rock solid in Phoenix and per the LTE application, it will switch bands a lot more frequently to be on the best one. I then scooped up a few SIMs, got the iPhones unlocked by Tmobile and threw my in-laws on their own two person plan with the small 2GB plan. I got me and the wife on our own with the 20GB which is about the amount she and I used combined with Tmobile anyway. I was pretty lax on making sure to use wifi and would often forget it was off. I just have to remember to flick it on now and I set updates to wifi only.

    Their little phone app isn't half bad either. It seems to update every 6 or maybe 12 hours with usage so close enough for me to track. The wife's phone does actually drop down to UMTS if she's at work, unlike Tmobile just hanging LTE until absolutely no signal.

  2. #2
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    I thought Consumer Cellular was a T-Mobile MVNO??
    Hear me on Twitter: @alexkidd1 / Fun connection:

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexKidd1977 View Post
    I thought Consumer Cellular was a T-Mobile MVNO??
    It's historically been primarily AT&T, but does also offer T-Mobile.

  4. #4
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    Yes. The sim only at target clearly has a pink or blue dot and says T-Mobile it AT&T respectively.

    It’s also the full network including voice roaming if I saw the map correctly.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morphling27 View Post
    Yes. The sim only at target clearly has a pink or blue dot and says T-Mobile it AT&T respectively.

    It’s also the full network including voice roaming if I saw the map correctly.
    Okay - got it. A lot of the MVNOs are now doing multiple networks. It's pretty good. I'd say within the last 3 years, right?

    --Kidd

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexKidd1977 View Post
    Okay - got it. A lot of the MVNOs are now doing multiple networks. It's pretty good. I'd say within the last 3 years, right?

    --Kidd
    Yes, many are using multiple networks. Obviously it gets more people who can use the network (either through different coverage or locked phone they may have). I'd say you see a lot of the MVNO offering the 2 GSMs, or some go and offer all 4 as an option. Red Pocket is a good example - they even offer different plans depending on the network your choose reflecting their wholesale prices and profit margins I imagine.

    Then you have Google Fi, which combines the Sprint, Tmobile, and US Cellular into '1' network. I get nobody else offers switching like this, but I don't get honestly why it's so novel. My unlocked iPhone XS can easily use any network in the country so why other companies don't offer the switching to the best network is beyond me.

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