As AT&T continues to tell customers they are nearing 5G, I am further looking at their LTE network. For a little background, I switched from Verizon to AT&T about 6 years ago. I grew tired of both the nickel and diming, as well as the dictatorship of the phones allowed on the network by Verizon. I was eying the Note 2 and figured that would be the right time to make the switch. AT&T’s LTE speeds were comparable to that of Verizon’s at the time, with service as reliable in my particular area of Mt. Juliet, TN. So all is good in AT&T land right?
Starting 3 years ago I noticed (in certain areas) that sites would struggle to load. At first I thought it may have been the phone, software, and even the sim card. I changed phones, software, and sim cards over the years, and yet I would still notice times where my data speeds were at a crawl. And when it happened the other day, I had my Google Fi phone right next to me. And so I decided to do a speed test.
Google Fi’s network was just dominating AT&T’s network
So I asked AT&T about this and was given everything from it being the tower, congestion, to even someone blaming my current plan (which was the grandfathered 30GB Mobile Share Value plan that doesn’t get throttled). Different reps, and different excuses on why they “think” I was having this issue. And not one solid solution offered, other than trying to remove me off of my grandfathered plan (which seemed to be their only focus).
This had me wanting to look a little closer at this (AT&T) network. A network, where their reps refer to T-Mobile as “not a carrier on their level”, that view their direct competition being Verizon. Despite this network continuing to find themselves losing numbers to T-Mobile, and it is easy to see why, their employees still see themselves as the #2 carrier in the US.
Lets look at the numbers
So if you look at the coverage maps, AT&T has more coverage than T-Mobile. But if we switch to look at the current plans, T-Mobile offers a plan that is more valuable versus AT&T. For example, we will look at their 1 line plans for comparison.
T-Mobile offers a $60 (480p quality streaming, “possible slower speeds” and throttle after 50 GB, and Unlimited 3G hotspot), $70 (480p quality streaming, no throttling until after 50GB, and Unlimited 3G hotspot), and $80 (1080p quality streaming, no throttling until after 50GB, and Unlimited LTE hotspot for the first 20GB and 3G speeds afterwards). AT&T’s 1 line plans are the $70 (480p quality streaming, may be throttled at any time, and no hotspot) and $80 (1080p quality streaming, throttled after 22GB, and 15GB of LTE hotspot with 128kbps, aka 2G speeds).
When we look at the overall data speeds, Verizon and T-Mobile bests AT&T according to tests done by PCMag. And in my area alone, T-Mobile was scoring over 50% faster speeds than AT&T in both download and upload speeds.
Google Fi feeds off of both T-Mobile and Sprints towers (T-mobile and Sprint now being one company), and to see Google’s network, which costs less, perform up to par with AT&T should leave customers asking questions. These same questions I brought before AT&T reps.
AT&T continues to lead the way over T-Mobile when it come to overall coverage. But I am no longer convinced that they have the better network or customer service. So as much as Google Fi is highlighted, the real winner and focus might as well be T-Mobile. They continue to improve their network and make gradual changes, while AT&T make excuses and fake 5G (aka 5Ge). To the reps saying their competition is not T-Mobile (but Verizon), I say they might want to start focusing on T-Mobile, because they have past you in every category except for coverage. And the coverage areas in which T-Mobile lags, are in the rural areas dominated by Verizon.
AT&T should spend less time duping their customers (“advertising their 5G network), and more time paying attention to what is happening around them. A few years ago I thought T-Mobile would pose a threat, but never felt they would beat out AT&T. But now, I see why customers have flocked to the Pink carrier. And I may soon be joining them.