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Thread: Complex Story - Need Advice

  1. #1
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    Complex Story - Need Advice

    I have a Legacy Gold Rewards Pay As You Go account for an elderly family member who only uses it on rare occasions.
    The phone is an old feature phone that only connects on Edge.
    The call quality in my area is awful at this point. It sounds like you are under water and the calls drop frequently.
    Texting is a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome inducing nightmare.

    I had an old Galaxy S5 from Verizon (who claims it is unlocked) and I thought that I could use LTE Band 4 from it to get better call quality for the T-Mobile account. So I had the account transferred from a full size SIM to a micro SIM and put it into the S5.

    Much to my chagrin, the S5 only connects on Edge and with just as crappy call quality as the feature phone.
    No up or down arrows under the 4G LTE symbol on the S5.
    Cannot get T-Mobile account app to run and connect when connected to WiFi.
    Voice mail works okay and Texting works great.

    The rep at the local T-Mobile store says that LTE Band 4 in my area now only carries data and no longer carries voice calls. I have no way to verify what he is telling me.

    He recommends either getting an old used T-Mobile phone from someone, or an unlocked I-Phone from someone.
    Alternatively, he claims he can sell me a new Artisto 4 Plus or a new Moto E6, either one for $80.

    I was not looking to spend significant money on this since the phone is used so casually.
    Rather than spend money on an old phone, it seems more prudent to get a new one.
    The specs on the Aristo 4 Plus are lesser than those of the E6.
    So I am leaning that way.

    One more wrench to throw into this.
    I can get a Moto G7 Power unlocked for $200.
    Is is a bigger, heavier and more expensive phone, but with many more LTE bands and I could transition it over to Verizon/Tracfone in the future if the need arises.

    This is all headache inducing.

    Any advice is welcome.

    TIA

  2. #2
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    But would the elderly family member be more comfortable with a flip phone, such as the Alcatel Go Flip 3?

    Sent from my moto e5 play using HoFo mobile app

  3. #3
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    The old Galaxy S5 probably doesn’t support T-Mobile VoLTE since it’s Verizon branded. It is unlocked but that doesn’t mean it’ll work 100% on every carrier, just that it isn’t locked to reject other carriers SIM cards.

    Possibly if it was flashed with T-Mobile firmware it may work, but it isn’t worth the trouble since it only has Band 4 and is pretty old at this point.

    Your best bet is to buy any recent compatible T-Mobile phone since it will use LTE for voice calls, or find a Verizon prepaid or MVNO to activate the old phone on.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo

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    Quote Originally Posted by millept View Post
    But would the elderly family member be more comfortable with a flip phone, such as the Alcatel Go Flip 3?
    She travels from one kid's home to the next and each of us have a phone for her to use. That way she does not have to carry the phone and charger from city to city on the plane. She has used both flip and smartphones and she does equally well with both surprisingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clonehappy View Post
    The old Galaxy S5 probably doesn’t support T-Mobile VoLTE since it’s Verizon branded. It is unlocked but that doesn’t mean it’ll work 100% on every carrier, just that it isn’t locked to reject other carriers SIM cards.

    Possibly if it was flashed with T-Mobile firmware it may work, but it isn’t worth the trouble since it only has Band 4 and is pretty old at this point.

    Your best bet is to buy any recent compatible T-Mobile phone since it will use LTE for voice calls, or find a Verizon prepaid or MVNO to activate the old phone on.
    At this time, I would like to stick with her existing T-Mobile account. With the "Gold Rewards" I only have to refill it once a year for her and that keeps the cost to $30 / year.

    The reason I mentioned Verizon / Tracfone is that even though it is more expensive, I do not know how much longer T-Mobile will continue to have the prepaid service. The rep at the store said they will still service existing accounts, but they have sub-contracted out any new PayGo accounts to MVNO's. I have always gotten the impression that T-Mobile was very disorganized. But I could not pass up the low cost of the service for this low utilization account.
    Even the current PayGo is only about $36/year at $3/month.

    The only reason I would consider the G7 Power is I figured that if T-Mobile discontinues the prepaid services, I could switch the unlocked G7 Power to Tracfone.

  6. #6
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    Oblong

    Am I elderly? I don't know, but I'm 75 and 1/2, and as a Fi customer I have a Moto X4 which in my home zip code generally connects to T-mobile on LTE band 4. I must live elsewhere from the OP if that doesn't work in his area. I have a friend who is 8 weeks less elderly than I, to whom I have cautiously suggested that he might buy the Moto G7 power while it's on sale. It would have more bands than my X4.

    A distinguishing feature is the 19:9 aspect ratio of the G7 power's display, which leads to it being about a centimeter longer than the X4. A casual user might prefer a less oblong shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TMobileUser0 View Post
    I have a Legacy Gold Rewards Pay As You Go account for an elderly family member who only uses it on rare occasions.
    The phone is an old feature phone that only connects on Edge.
    The call quality in my area is awful at this point. It sounds like you are under water and the calls drop frequently.
    Texting is a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome inducing nightmare.

    I had an old Galaxy S5 from Verizon (who claims it is unlocked) and I thought that I could use LTE Band 4 from it to get better call quality for the T-Mobile account. So I had the account transferred from a full size SIM to a micro SIM and put it into the S5.

    Much to my chagrin, the S5 only connects on Edge and with just as crappy call quality as the feature phone.
    No up or down arrows under the 4G LTE symbol on the S5.
    Cannot get T-Mobile account app to run and connect when connected to WiFi.
    Voice mail works okay and Texting works great.

    The rep at the local T-Mobile store says that LTE Band 4 in my area now only carries data and no longer carries voice calls. I have no way to verify what he is telling me.

    He recommends either getting an old used T-Mobile phone from someone, or an unlocked I-Phone from someone.
    Alternatively, he claims he can sell me a new Artisto 4 Plus or a new Moto E6, either one for $80.

    I was not looking to spend significant money on this since the phone is used so casually.
    Rather than spend money on an old phone, it seems more prudent to get a new one.
    The specs on the Aristo 4 Plus are lesser than those of the E6.
    So I am leaning that way.

    One more wrench to throw into this.
    I can get a Moto G7 Power unlocked for $200.
    Is is a bigger, heavier and more expensive phone, but with many more LTE bands and I could transition it over to Verizon/Tracfone in the future if the need arises.

    This is all headache inducing.

    Any advice is welcome.
    Verizon phones of this era were unlocked from the factory, but only for the capabilities included in the phone. They did not include much that would be compatible with other carriers.

    Cell voice and text does not use LTE bands unless they are using VoLTE. T-Mobile compatible VoLTE is very unlikely on this phone.

    The Samsung specs for the phone show 2G GSM and 3G UMTS for voice and text. That should work with T-Mo cell voice and text. T-Mo does not provide much 2G GSM anymore. HSPA/+ should work for data.

    The specs show GSM and UMTS on 850 MHz. Does T-Mo use 800 rather than 850 MHz for GSM and UMTS? That may be the problem.

    Network Frequencies and Data Type
    LTE: Bands 4/13
    CDMA 1x/EVDO Rev.A: 800/1900MHz
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    HSPA+/UMTS: 850/900/1900/2100MHz

    https://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/ph...vzkavzw/#specs

    You could try flashing T-Mo firmware from sammobile on the phone with Odin. That could brick the phone if the phone is just not compatible with the T-Mo firmware.

  8. #8
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    You can also get the LG K40 via their free phone with $80 refill purchase promo. I'm happy with the LG Aristo 4+.
    It looks like the PAYGO plan is now handled by Ultra Mobile (owns Mint Mobile);
    you can port to Ultra if you like, they have $3/mo. PAYGO plan that offers CC auto-recharge.

    https://support.t-mobile.com/thread/152734
    https://www.ultramobile.com/paygo/
    Your, you're, yore; there, their, they're; to, too, two; by, buy; add, ad; for, four, fore.
    a) better to light a candle, or b) curse the darkness?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Verizon phones of this era were unlocked from the factory, but only for the capabilities included in the phone. They did not include much that would be compatible with other carriers.

    Cell voice and text does not use LTE bands unless they are using VoLTE. T-Mobile compatible VoLTE is very unlikely on this phone.

    The Samsung specs for the phone show 2G GSM and 3G UMTS for voice and text. That should work with T-Mo cell voice and text. T-Mo does not provide much 2G GSM anymore. HSPA/+ should work for data.

    The specs show GSM and UMTS on 850 MHz. Does T-Mo use 800 rather than 850 MHz for GSM and UMTS? That may be the problem.

    Network Frequencies and Data Type
    LTE: Bands 4/13
    CDMA 1x/EVDO Rev.A: 800/1900MHz
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    HSPA+/UMTS: 850/900/1900/2100MHz

    https://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/ph...vzkavzw/#specs

    You could try flashing T-Mo firmware from sammobile on the phone with Odin. That could brick the phone if the phone is just not compatible with the T-Mo firmware.
    With the factory firmware and the Mobile Networks set to Global:
    When I try to make a voice call, the phone shows a grayed out 4G LTE indicator and also shows "Dialing..." and the 3 dots strobe to the right over and over till finally it says "Call Ended" without ever connecting.
    Or
    The signal will switch to G or E with 3 or 4 bars and then the call will connect.
    Call sound quality is mediocre at best. Often distorted and gappy.

  10. #10
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    The E6 is a good phone for T-Mobile. For a $80 refill you can get the phone for free. It has a removable battery which is becoming more rare these days. It was made for T-Mobile so it has all their current bands and features including WiFi calling. I would keep the Gold Rewards and get the E6. I wish I still had a Gold Rewards because it's great for a very light phone useage.

  11. #11
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    Watch out for the deals on Moto products. A bunch are claiming compatibility but are "international" models which do not work on North American LTE bands. I tried 2 G7 and finally returned them and got a proper G7 single sim for North America and it was the one that worked LTE.

    I like the above E6 post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingstu View Post
    The E6 is a good phone for T-Mobile. For a $80 refill you can get the phone for free. It has a removable battery which is becoming more rare these days. It was made for T-Mobile so it has all their current bands and features including WiFi calling. I would keep the Gold Rewards and get the E6. I wish I still had a Gold Rewards because it's great for a very light phone useage.
    I agree with you about the Gold Rewards Legacy accounts.
    They really are great for very low usage.

    I have two Gold Rewards Legacy accounts that I am willing to part with but the balance on one of them is just ridiculously high.

    The second one has a lower balance.

    Sent from my Luscious LG Fiesta 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowyWhite View Post
    I agree with you about the Gold Rewards Legacy accounts.
    They really are great for very low usage.

    I have two Gold Rewards Legacy accounts that I am willing to part with but the balance on one of them is just ridiculously high.

    The second one has a lower balance.

    Sent from my Luscious LG Fiesta 2
    How much is the lower balance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by themanhimself View Post
    How much is the lower balance?
    $149 and change

    Sent from my Luscious LG Fiesta 2

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    I ended up buying a Motorola Moto Z3 Play Unlocked US Variant from B & H.
    It was on sale for $149 and listed all the T Mobile LTE bands as well as all the Verizon LTE bands.

    I have tried it with my Verizon / Tracfone SIM and my T-Mobile SIM.
    It works with both.

    The signal strength is good for Verizon.
    The signal strength is lower for T-Mobile than with my Samsung J3 Star in the same location.
    I am guessing it has to do with antennas tuned for multiple bands ???

    Odd thing is that LTE Discovery App shows the direction of the nearest cell tower to be in a different direction than the J3 Star. That I find very strange.

    Overall the Z3 Play works well, but it is not as loud in the earpiece and speakerphone as my Samsung phones.

    For the price it is okay, but if I was able to find a Samsung with a good reputation for around the same price, I think I would have been better off.

    As I said earlier, I was not wanting to spend a lot on a low utilization phone, but since it is usuable on either of my two carriers, the extra expense still is less than if I had to buy a phone for each carrier and this way I have an emergency spare if the verizon / tracfone phone drops dead.

    Hope this helps someone else.

    Cheers!

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