What’s the best/cheapest way to ‘try’ a new carrier?

Posted Apr 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm in Threads > Opinions

I was on Verizon until I switched 9 months ago to Page Plus Cellular. I am very happy with the service and really don’t have any complaints. I am interested in trying out a new prepaid service using the T-Mobile network. I’m very familiar with all the big ones and the only thing holding me back is the quality of service where I live.

I live in Orange County, CA and have friends that use TMO no problem, and others that have nothing but problems. Some of the time its hard to tell if someone is just using a messed up phone, or if the service for them is really bad.

My question is: What is the best/cheapest way for me to try out a decent Android phone using some TMobile MVNO to see if the service works for me? I don’t really have $200 to throw at a phone in hopes it might work well for me on that service.

I’m currently using my 3 year old Droid X, and I REALLY need to get a newer phone soon, hence the reason I’m now considering switching to a GSM prepaid service.

  • SGB101

    If anything like the uk, you can get sim cards free online, top up the nominal amount for a test run.

    Or if you have companies that piggy back on carriers, usually get free or very cheep some (£3) that come with the credit installed.

    One I use is samba, if you watch a few adds a day, it gives me free data. It isn’t a lot, but i use it to IM music and navigation, whilst cycling and running. (it lives in my spare device).

  • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

    Pick up a T-Mobile pre-paid phone from Walmart for $19 bucks. You can use that phone to test coverage, or pop the SIM into any unlocked phone and try that out. The cheapest T-Mobile pre-paid plans start at $30 per month.

    http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans

    You can also order SIM cards from T-Mobile for $10:

    http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/phone-sim-card

  • http://www.facebook.com/williamhester William Hester

    I *think* that most carriers have a 30-day return policy where you can return the SIM and phone and get your money back. That could only be for the phone, though.

    I recently tested T-Mobile around where I live by buying a SIM and 3 days of coverage at $3/day for like $22 with tax.

  • Deborah DB

    The best way to see what service will be like is to look at the coverage map. Solavei offers some additional roaming coverage and runs on TMO. If you use a cheap phone to test it realize you are only testing voice and not data as that phone would not be compatible with the same data a better quality phone would have. Make sure when you look at the map you zoom in. It will show you in detail where the coverage is. Go to the top of the page and click on mobile then choose check coverage. http://www.solavei.com/DeborahDeBoer The best thing is if you love your service and share it with other people,maybe those having problems, you can take your bill from $49 for unlimited everything to $20 a month for every 3 people that switch. Make sure you buy a TMO phone that is or can be unlocked for best service.

  • MC_Android

    Check the coverage map and to test the quality of service, I think the best way is to just ask your friends and family if they have a spare phone that will operate on Tmobile to borrow for x time period. When my friend’s blackberry crapped out, I luckily have a couple spare phones around the house and let him choose one to use until his contract expired. He took my Nexus One :P

  • Thomas Biard

    Thanks for the inputs everyone. Coverage maps are okay, in that they show if a service technically exists in that area, but they don’t show quality of service. I might have to try it out soon and see what happens.
    One thing I might try is getting a cheapish phone on Craigslist and try it out for a month and go back and sell it when i’m done testing out.