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Old 03-18-2012, 04:25 PM
Location: Downtown Austin
5,798 posts, read 13,729,879 times
Reputation: 4577


Any T-Mobile users out there in Austin? I'm looking for feedback especially from any iPhone/ATT refugees and 4G hotspot users with Galaxy 10 tablets.

Currently, have 5 iPhone family users under my plan with ATT, which costs about $350-$400/mo. Was thinking about finally getting a iPad, but the data plans at $50/mo have motivated me to start a more rigorous assessment of all options.

Was in Costco South today and the kiosk guy seemed pretty knowledgeable about all the different ATT/Verizon/TMobile options. He was selling me on a migration to T-Mobile with an Android+Galaxy Tab combo instead of iPhone/iPad.

He says with a 4G Unlimited plan, I can use the phone as a hotspot with a Galaxy 10 Tab or Laptop (up to 5 devices at the same time), and that it's pretty darn fast. Is this true?

That means I could just have a WiFi tablet and since my phone is always with me, I'd always have connectivity with both, plus my laptop to boot.

My wife and I still have the old ATT Unlimited iPhone data plans for $30/mo. each, but those do not allow tethering or hotspot use. Our kids and my Mom are on the limited data plans, but get close to max each month. If I want tethering or hotspot, I'd have to switch to a limied data plan with hotspot, and I'd surely bust the data limits on that.

Anyone made this migration before or have any thoughts or feedback?

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Old 03-18-2012, 04:38 PM
Location: Austin, TX
294 posts, read 553,030 times
Reputation: 423
Make sure you take a look at these "Unlimited" data plans closely. All of the cell phone companies will throttle your speed way down when you hit the data cap. So while you may have unlimited data, after you go over 2gb, 5gb, 10gb, etc.. they're going to slow your data down to a crawl. This is information that any salesman will "forget" to mention.

This may be a non-issue if you're mostly using the tablet on WiFi but it sounds like you're somewhat concerned with data limits.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:17 PM
Location: Austin, TX
499 posts, read 976,280 times
Reputation: 354
Originally Posted by austin-steve View Post
He says with a 4G Unlimited plan, I can use the phone as a hotspot with a Galaxy 10 Tab or Laptop (up to 5 devices at the same time), and that it's pretty darn fast. Is this true?
I have a T-mobile phone with the prepaid Monthly4G "Walmart" plan-- $30/mo 100 min/unlimited text/"unlimited" data (5gig at 4G speeds, after that is painfully slow 2G speeds) and yes it allows tethering. Good if you use a lot of data but are not much of a talker. Make sure you get a phone that does tethering, of course.
I've been pretty happy with coverage around town. In my house (Convict Hill area) I get 6Mbps download speeds, so I can burn through that 5 gig real fast

There's really no other data-heavy phone service out there in that price range. The only caveat is it's prepaid, not a contract, so who knows how long they'll keep that rate going.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:48 PM
Location: Hutto
113 posts, read 176,815 times
Reputation: 54
Default FamilyMobile by Tmobile

You might want to consider FamilyMobile by Tmobile at Walmart same network as Tmobile but unlimted Talk/Text/Data for all users for one fee it's not the prepaid like others have mentioned but its a bargain. As far as hotspot accessability I've never looked into it, one other thing I believe this particular plan if for 3G data but I never have to worry about overages for anyone my fee for 4 users is $150.00 a month.

As far as the network data coverage, regardless of carrier all metro area's have ample connectivity: Sprint,T-Mobile,At&t, Verizon it's when you travel outside of a city that they most carriers data specifically is 2g and limited to interstate corridors.

Good Luck

Last edited by joedtx; 03-20-2012 at 12:49 PM.. Reason: forgot to mention store
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:07 PM
260 posts, read 476,547 times
Reputation: 225
check out clear for a data plan. you can get one their spot devices, which allows 8 devices to connect via wifi (at screaming fast speeds, real 4G, $50/month, and no contract). though if you travel a lot, it may not be the package for you.
go here to check out their nationwide coverage (zoom out on the map):
CLEAR | 4G Wimax Internet Coverage Map with Service Area.

it works great in Austin.
But any ways, I would buy the non-3G/4G version of the ipad and use this device instead (which then you could also use with laptops, etc).
just my $.02...
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:59 PM
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 20,081,430 times
Reputation: 10393
Here's a pertinent and eye-opening comment from an article in PC Mag about 4G speeds:

"Back in December, we calculated that you can blow through Verizon's 5GB data cap in 32 minutes."

I have 2 "unlimited" data plans from T-Mobile, one for smartphone, one for laptop stick. Once T-Mobile started throttling over 5G, maybe a year ago, I blew through the cap several times, and was in agony until it reset to full speed at the end of the monthly cycle. Since then I've learned I can just make it through the month with normal (for me, you might call it heavy) email and news and social media. But I check my current usage frequently, compare it to where I should be to make it all the way, and limit big downloads to times when I'm hard-wired or on WI-FI.

The key thing is to avoid video streaming as much as possible, like YouTube and Netflix, and limit large-file photos like you'll find on imgur.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:30 PM
Location: Downtown Austin
5,798 posts, read 13,729,879 times
Reputation: 4577
Thanks for all the comments. I've not made any decisions yet, thinking I may not need a tablet after all.

Turns having a ipad or Android tablet doesn't actually survive the "what business problem does it actually solve" scrutiny of the more frugal, pragmatic part of me.

That said, looks like a good combo for a mobile professional would in fact be an Ultrabook (PC version of Macbook Air) with either a LTE phone with tethering or the Clear device. I did check out that Clear device at Best Buy last week. Pretty nice. The rep there even told me if I buy one and get through the return period, then add a second, they have a backend way to make it $25/ea. But I really don't want to carry another device around if I don't have to.

But it sucks that it's so hard to find "truthful" accurate information, even when walking into an ATT or Verizon and asking. Seems like a lot of obfuscation and double-talk, especially when you ask about throttling. Turns out my Realtor wife and I average only 0.3G/mo data, probably because we work from home with WiFi, and there is free WiFi in so many places, and we don't watch videos or play games.

Oh well, I researched so much I feel paralyzed and need a break.

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:07 AM
1 posts, read 1,455 times
Reputation: 10
Nice one to hear from U̶̲̥̅̊ okay steve!
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