A Story of Two Cell Phones

I carry two cell phones—one for personal use and one for work. My personal phone is with T-Mobile. My work phone is with AT&T.

I’ve been with T-Mobile for 10 years. I signed up with them back in the day when they were called VoiceStream Wireless. Though coverage was a bit spotty with them 10 years ago, those problems were resolved within a year or two of becoming a customer. (Let’s be honest, 10 years ago most cell phone coverage was spotty.) Aside from this one issue when I first signed up with them I’ve never had a problem with their products or services.

Whenever I call their customer service team, wait times are short, the reps know what they’re doing, and my problem or issues always gets resolved. I also like the fact that I don’t have carry a one- or two-year contract with T-Mobile. Marathon Girl carries her T-Mobile service month to month. When my contract expires in a couple months, I’ll be doing the same thing. Though I’ve been on the same talk plan for about five years, it seems that whenever my contract comes up for renewal, price around at competing products and services. None of them seem to offer the same bang for the buck. And since I’ve been happy with T-Mobile, I keep resigning with them.

My work phone is a different story. The coverage and signal from AT&T isn’t as nearly good—especially if I try to get online. Their network always seems congested. The few times I’ve had to call AT&T for support, the wait times have been horrendous and the customer service even worse. I’d probably be more upset about the AT&T service but the company foots the bill for the phone and I can (usually) do what I need to do with it when it comes to email and other work-related tasks, I tolerate it.

With this in mind, I wasn’t happy to read that AT&T was buying T-Mobile. The following two paragraphs especially jumped off the page.

AT&T customers have been disgruntled about the quality of the company's network, especially for voice calls made over Apple Inc.'s iPhone. . . .

On Sunday, AT&T pitched the deal as a way to solve network congestion, by combining two operators using the same technology and alleviating a spectrum shortage that would keep T-Mobile from building a next-generation network.

Should this deal be approved, it sounds like AT&T is going to shove its customers on to T-Mobile’s network. If they end up combining that with their higher-priced plans and crappy customer service, it looks like I’ll be shopping for a new cell phone provider next year.

Sadly, it looks like my only other options will be Verizon and Sprint.