User Experience: T-Mobile’s Continental Plans

TMobile-Phones-CoOmpositeEarlier this year T-Mobile altered their US Simple Choice Plans to include coverage in Canada and Mexico without roaming charges. The plans eliminate roaming while out of the country, but also eliminate international long distance when calling Canada and Mexico. Further, they include “4G LTE data in Canada & Mexico.” Since we go to Canada to visit family at least once a year the new plan sounded quite useful.

Change is hard…

Last month we made our annual trek to the Great White North. While making plans an associate, who is also a T-Mobile customer, recommended that I call T-Mobile and make sure that we had the correct plan. Failure to do so would result in us incurring the usual roaming charges for platinum-plated voice and data service while travelling.

On the very eve of our departure I remembered to call T-Mobile and make the change to the account. In fact, I called from the airport (IAH) while we were awaiting the departure of our initial flight to Toronto.

Of course, I called the from my mobile phone. The automated system advised that there would be some on-hold time, and I could opt to have them call me back, which I did. The callback took about ten minutes.

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T-Mobile: Houston We’ve Made Some Progress

Today I decided to try a little experiment with my G2, and put it back on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. For the past week it’s been using the 2G EDGE network in order to ensure a practical battery run time.

It seems that T-Mobile must be tinkering with the network, because today I’ve managed almost 11 hours of normal operation and only consumed 30% of the battery. A week ago it was draining the battery dry in under 5 hours.

I would guess that they’ve backed off on the channel bonded access for the moment. The Speedtest.Net app on my handset currently measures my connection to Comcast’s nearest server as 3100 kbps down and 328 kbps up. That’s not bad, but certainly less than their much trumpeted network upgrade should permit.

Given that they have few devices in the market that can actually take advantage of the faster network performance it makes perfect sense that they’d back off on the network changes in order to ensure that the bulk of their 4G customers have workable battery life, at least until HTC releases the firmware update that provides a more permanent solution.

T-Mobile Officially Acknowledges HSPA+ Issue With 4G HTC Handsets

Earlier today T-Mobile staff started a new thread in their support forum polling users for reports of unusually short battery life starting over the past week.

Hello everyone,
A small group of T-Mobile customers are noticing battery drain. As of around July 28, 2011, their phones haven’t been holding their charge as well as they used to.

We’re working aggressively to resolve this issue, but if a you find that the battery drains more quickly than it has in the recent past (starting around July 28th), or phone is not holding a charge like it was, please reply here with the following information:

Device Make & Model
Start date on the issue
Where are you located (Market, City, State)?
Are you in a 2G, 3G or 4G area?
When battery indicator shows ‘No Power’ does the device still work or is the power drained?
Does “3G only mode” improve the battery drain issue?

Thank you to everyone for helping us out with your examples!

As of this moment 80 people have responded, including myself.

It’s curious that they refer to “3G only mode” as the G2 at least doesn’t have such a mode. The related setting in my G2 is labeled as “Use only 2G networks.”

Sorry for the blurry photo. That’s what sometimes happens when I take a handheld shot and defeat the flash.

Like everyone else responding in the forum, we have found that enabling this setting drops the phone to the EDGE network, and restores battery life to an acceptable norm.

At least with this acknowledgement there can be the expectation of some action toward solving the issue. Maybe they can even inform their customer service staff, who have been handling the matter haphazardly for the past week.

T-Mobile Network HSPA+ Issue Plagues Users of HTC Handsets

T-Mobile-G2-Landscape-300 In the last week of July a number of T-Mobile subscribers began observing that the battery life of their HTC handsets had fallen away dramatically. Both my wife and I have the G2 (aka HTC Desire Z) and have found that typical battery life has dropped from 8-10 hours to less than 4 hours on a charge.

In fact, I noticed that the back cover of my G2 was warm to the touch even as the phone was sitting idle all morning. Even in a completely idle state the phone was drawing enough current to make the battery warm.

There’s a long thread about this issue in the T-Mobile support forums. Over the past few days others have noted the issue in various places, including; Phone Arena, T-MoNews & Phandroid.

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Advantage GSM Carriers: Simultaneous Voice & Data

Now that Verizon Wireless is getting traction with the iPhone 4 on their CDMA network AT&T is left trying to find ways of differentiating itself. While it’s too early to know how much of a bloodletting AT&T will suffer, it’s clear that in many parts of the country Verizon’s much touted network supremacy will win over a significant number of frustrated AT&T customers, even if it means buying a new CDMA capable iPhone4.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two carriers is the type of networks they operate. Networks based upon GSM standards, like AT&T and T-Mobile here in the US, allow the simultaneous use of voice and data. In marked contrast, CDMA networks like Verizon’s, simply don’t do this.

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Counterpath’s Bria For Android On A T-Mobile G2

A few weeks ago Counterpath released a version of their Bria SIP soft phone specifically for the Android platform. This was one of the factors that influenced my purchase of a T-Mobile G2. I’ve had the G2 for a few weeks and have been mostly very pleased with the device. My twitter stream has reflected various experiments using it during recent travels.

Counterpath was good enough to provide a licence for their Bria SIP soft phone which dovetails nicely with my employers OnSIP hosted PBX. As I have been travelling a bit these past few weeks I’ve not made much use of Bria until very recently.

For an in depth look at Bria on Android you should look at the OnSIP site as the staff over there have posted a nicely detailed review. They report some crashing of the application, which has not been my experience but I expect that the user experience varies with hardware platform.

Around my home office, and on my local Wifi, I find that Bria Android Edition is stable and reliable. It seems to handle calling extensions local and remote without any NAT issues.

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