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Posted Jun 30, 2011
11:13:40 AM
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Prepaid "catch"

In my first post about the new $50 Monthly unlimited plan hme83 commented the corresponding post paid plan would cost twice that. And I was reading something on one of the Sprint boards that someone was commenting on why do prepaid customers get unlimited plans when post paid have to pay much more, and that got me thinking if there is something behind the scenes that is maybe unknown. The only disadvantages that I can think of is that prepaid provides less roaming coverage and from what I hear data rates are throttled. Just curious as to what anyone else thinks about this?

In my first post about the new $50 Monthly unlimited plan hme83 commented the corresponding post paid plan would cost twice that. And I was reading something on one of the Sprint boards that someone was commenting on why do prepaid customers get unlimited plans when post paid have to pay much more, and that got me thinking if there is something behind the scenes that is maybe unknown. The only disadvantages that I can think of is that prepaid provides less roaming coverage and from what I hear data rates are throttled. Just curious as to what anyone else thinks about this?

Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 4:37:10 AM
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ACE - Master
Edited by hme83 on Jul 1, 2011 at 4:44:30 AM

I can't really think of any other "catches" to prepaid service beyond the reduced availability of customer support, a reduced coverage footprint, and potentially throttled data speeds (although I don't see any difference between my prepaid service and my post paid service - it's just that with neither service type is my 3G phone any faster in side by side comparisons to a same make 2G phone - even though I'm in a 3G area and using the 3G network).

 

Post paid service is probably going to be more economical than prepaid for someone who can/wants to be a member of a family plan.  But for individuals - and especially if you don't have a smartphone and high cellular data usage needs - prepaid service is certainly worth looking at; plus, it offers some unique benefits such as feature balance rollover.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

I can't really think of any other "catches" to prepaid service beyond the reduced availability of customer support, a reduced coverage footprint, and potentially throttled data speeds (although I don't see any difference between my prepaid service and my post paid service - it's just that with neither service type is my 3G phone any faster in side by side comparisons to a same make 2G phone - even though I'm in a 3G area and using the 3G network).

 

Post paid service is probably going to be more economical than prepaid for someone who can/wants to be a member of a family plan.  But for individuals - and especially if you don't have a smartphone and high cellular data usage needs - prepaid service is certainly worth looking at; plus, it offers some unique benefits such as feature balance rollover.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 7:18:36 AM
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ACE - Master
It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 9:10:35 AM
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Guru

That's an interesting point about the side by side comparison WildBanchi. As a matter of fact I was with a friend the other day and he had his iphone and I noticed that I consistently had five bars while his fluctuated, in fact he had to go the window to get a better signal. I pretty much have five bars of service no matter if I am indoors or outdoors. Hme83, I hadn't thought about how a post paid family plan could be more economical, but you are right. Also isn't  there a better selection of phones for post paid customers?

That's an interesting point about the side by side comparison WildBanchi. As a matter of fact I was with a friend the other day and he had his iphone and I noticed that I consistently had five bars while his fluctuated, in fact he had to go the window to get a better signal. I pretty much have five bars of service no matter if I am indoors or outdoors. Hme83, I hadn't thought about how a post paid family plan could be more economical, but you are right. Also isn't  there a better selection of phones for post paid customers?

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 11:45:05 AM
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ACE - Master
I'm guessing that your friend was a postpaid iPhone user, though. Smiley Wink Still, different branded and even different model phones have different signal strengths.

Yes, there is a MUCH better selection of phones for postpaid customers, most of which are smartphones. However, you can use ANY AT&T phone (some exclude the iPhone, although it has been proven that, indeed, you can use it) on prepaid service. I'm using a "high-dollar" smartphone with my prepaid GoPhone plan. Smiley Happy

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



I'm guessing that your friend was a postpaid iPhone user, though. Smiley Wink Still, different branded and even different model phones have different signal strengths.

Yes, there is a MUCH better selection of phones for postpaid customers, most of which are smartphones. However, you can use ANY AT&T phone (some exclude the iPhone, although it has been proven that, indeed, you can use it) on prepaid service. I'm using a "high-dollar" smartphone with my prepaid GoPhone plan. Smiley Happy

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 1:15:37 PM
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Yep, he was a post paid iphone user, still I would have liked to have compared similiar phones to get accurate feedback. Either way I get solid call quality with my phone no matter where I am. WildBanchi, you seem to be just as pleased as I am with your phone and plan pairingSmiley Wink If I wasn't so happy with my V9x I'd give the Atrix a run on prepaid.

Yep, he was a post paid iphone user, still I would have liked to have compared similiar phones to get accurate feedback. Either way I get solid call quality with my phone no matter where I am. WildBanchi, you seem to be just as pleased as I am with your phone and plan pairingSmiley Wink If I wasn't so happy with my V9x I'd give the Atrix a run on prepaid.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 7:32:34 PM
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ACE - Master
Yep, my service works well for me, for a mere $25 a month. My service (messaging package) ran out on Tuesday and I haven't renewed it since. I guess this DOES prove that I CAN live without my phone. Smiley Tongue

You seem to be a fan of Motorola. Smiley Wink The Atrix is very nice.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Yep, my service works well for me, for a mere $25 a month. My service (messaging package) ran out on Tuesday and I haven't renewed it since. I guess this DOES prove that I CAN live without my phone. Smiley Tongue

You seem to be a fan of Motorola. Smiley Wink The Atrix is very nice.

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 7:49:54 PM
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The $25 you pay for service is that for Virgin Mobil? If so with a phone like yours and a plan that low priced your doing pretty well for yourself, plus Virgin Mobil uses Sprint's network so you must get decent coverage.smileywink: And yeah, I have had  good luck with Motorola, my daughter's grandmother had the original RAZR and I had Motorola's Bali before I got the V9x and they were all solid feeling phones with good call quality.

The $25 you pay for service is that for Virgin Mobil? If so with a phone like yours and a plan that low priced your doing pretty well for yourself, plus Virgin Mobil uses Sprint's network so you must get decent coverage.smileywink: And yeah, I have had  good luck with Motorola, my daughter's grandmother had the original RAZR and I had Motorola's Bali before I got the V9x and they were all solid feeling phones with good call quality.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 8:02:12 PM
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ACE - Master
Nope, I'm happily with AT&T, although I used to use Virgin Mobile. I wouldn't be here otherwise! Smiley Very Happy I wish that AT&T would have VM's $25 unlimited everything plan, but for $25, I get what I need - unlimited messaging and money left over for voice minutes or the occasional phone call/chit chat.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Nope, I'm happily with AT&T, although I used to use Virgin Mobile. I wouldn't be here otherwise! Smiley Very Happy I wish that AT&T would have VM's $25 unlimited everything plan, but for $25, I get what I need - unlimited messaging and money left over for voice minutes or the occasional phone call/chit chat.

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 8:32:38 PM
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Not too shabby a setup at all Smiley Very Happy You said you are happily with AT&T, I gotta say that the service for me has been great as well. I did some research on AT&T before I got my phone and I remember reading stories about dropped calls, poor coverage and spotty customer service, but I have not encountered any of that.

Not too shabby a setup at all Smiley Very Happy You said you are happily with AT&T, I gotta say that the service for me has been great as well. I did some research on AT&T before I got my phone and I remember reading stories about dropped calls, poor coverage and spotty customer service, but I have not encountered any of that.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 8:52:46 PM
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ACE - Master
So far... Smiley Very Happy Just kidding. That is most definitely a good thing, as no one wants to experience any of those "subpar" issues.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



So far... Smiley Very Happy Just kidding. That is most definitely a good thing, as no one wants to experience any of those "subpar" issues.

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 1, 2011 9:08:42 PM
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The reason I went with AT&T is because the V9x is only available from them, but thank goodness it's all working out well. It's funny, but i wonder if people with a setup like yours become more common place I have to think that'll make some of the wireless carriers rethink their pricing strategy a bit by lowering prices and or giving customers more flexibility and options. Well one can hope anywayMan Very Happy

The reason I went with AT&T is because the V9x is only available from them, but thank goodness it's all working out well. It's funny, but i wonder if people with a setup like yours become more common place I have to think that'll make some of the wireless carriers rethink their pricing strategy a bit by lowering prices and or giving customers more flexibility and options. Well one can hope anywayMan Very Happy

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 2, 2011 9:33:07 AM
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ACE - Master
Edited by hme83 on Jul 2, 2011 at 9:37:25 AM

Wild Banchi wrote:
It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink


Believe me - it's not just a "saying" if you are in one of the areas impacted by it - such as much of the western to central half of the United States.  Pick Your Plan did/does provide the same roaming partner coverage of a post paid plan - and it was about as expensive as being on a post paid plan. Smiley Wink  Just take a look at the coverage map for GoPhone service (now it's only PayGo for new customers) vs. post paid in the western half of the US and you'll see that there are pretty large coverage differences.  I didn't realize how significant it was until a couple of years ago when traveling in rather "off the beaten path" areas of this part of the country while on vaca.  At the time I was considering dropping my post paid plan and had phones along on the trip with both a post paid plan and my prepaid service so that I could really see what the practical implications of doing so would be.  Needless to say, I haven't dropped my post paid plan yet and I still have both service types.  lol.

 

That said - as I've said previously, I don't note any difference in the RF (i.e. "signal strength") between my post paid vs. prepaid services.  It's either that I have coverage or I don't on the prepaid service.  If I have coverage, there doesn't seem to be any difference between performance in my area; but I'm also not receiving 3G data speeds while using a 3G at&t branded device on the 3G network on either the prepaid service or the post paid service.  (Side by side comparisons of data speeds on an at&t branded 2G SE W580i are consistently slightly faster than they are on the at&t branded 3G SE W518a - whether the prepaid or the post paid SIM is in either phone.)  I have heard that in some areas at&t may throttle the data speeds with prepaid service (even though I'm not seeing that); and I've also been told that in some areas at&t may throttle data speeds with feature phones - both the W580i and the W518a are feature phones.

 

iPhones are well known to not have very good cellular radios - so they will likely fluctuate in terms of holding a signal more than devices by some of the other manufacturers may.  (Nokia and Moto are typically considered to be the best in terms of RF.)  Also, you can't really gauge anything by the "number of bars" as each manufacturer uses a different scale in their indication of RF strength.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson


Wild Banchi wrote:
It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink


Believe me - it's not just a "saying" if you are in one of the areas impacted by it - such as much of the western to central half of the United States.  Pick Your Plan did/does provide the same roaming partner coverage of a post paid plan - and it was about as expensive as being on a post paid plan. Smiley Wink  Just take a look at the coverage map for GoPhone service (now it's only PayGo for new customers) vs. post paid in the western half of the US and you'll see that there are pretty large coverage differences.  I didn't realize how significant it was until a couple of years ago when traveling in rather "off the beaten path" areas of this part of the country while on vaca.  At the time I was considering dropping my post paid plan and had phones along on the trip with both a post paid plan and my prepaid service so that I could really see what the practical implications of doing so would be.  Needless to say, I haven't dropped my post paid plan yet and I still have both service types.  lol.

 

That said - as I've said previously, I don't note any difference in the RF (i.e. "signal strength") between my post paid vs. prepaid services.  It's either that I have coverage or I don't on the prepaid service.  If I have coverage, there doesn't seem to be any difference between performance in my area; but I'm also not receiving 3G data speeds while using a 3G at&t branded device on the 3G network on either the prepaid service or the post paid service.  (Side by side comparisons of data speeds on an at&t branded 2G SE W580i are consistently slightly faster than they are on the at&t branded 3G SE W518a - whether the prepaid or the post paid SIM is in either phone.)  I have heard that in some areas at&t may throttle the data speeds with prepaid service (even though I'm not seeing that); and I've also been told that in some areas at&t may throttle data speeds with feature phones - both the W580i and the W518a are feature phones.

 

iPhones are well known to not have very good cellular radios - so they will likely fluctuate in terms of holding a signal more than devices by some of the other manufacturers may.  (Nokia and Moto are typically considered to be the best in terms of RF.)  Also, you can't really gauge anything by the "number of bars" as each manufacturer uses a different scale in their indication of RF strength.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 2, 2011 10:28:03 AM
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ACE - Master
With that being said, I'm glad I'm not out in Montana or somewhere else way out in the boonies. GoPhone service is covered well in parts here of Michigan. When you head up north, though, that's when you may have some trouble getting service. Overall, my GoPhone service works exceptionally well and the only thing that could be better is a discounted price on my plan every month. Smiley Wink

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



With that being said, I'm glad I'm not out in Montana or somewhere else way out in the boonies. GoPhone service is covered well in parts here of Michigan. When you head up north, though, that's when you may have some trouble getting service. Overall, my GoPhone service works exceptionally well and the only thing that could be better is a discounted price on my plan every month. Smiley Wink

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 2, 2011 11:40:35 AM
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Guru

Hme83, there is something about what you said about the number of bars, the times when I had 1-2 bars showing I had no problems as far as  call performance. According to the coverage map here in Massachusetts it's pretty well covered so I should encounter no problems.

Hme83, there is something about what you said about the number of bars, the times when I had 1-2 bars showing I had no problems as far as  call performance. According to the coverage map here in Massachusetts it's pretty well covered so I should encounter no problems.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 2, 2011 11:55:38 AM
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When I initially started this post I was just thinking that with my phone and my plan that it's almost too good to be true, although a lower price wouldn't hurt eitherSmiley Wink  But from the responses from both Hme83 and Wild Banchi  I guess the only real drawback to prepaid service is less coverage. But all that is pretty much negated if you live in an area with good service. I'd be really interested to see how much better the coverage is gonna be if the whole AT&T and TMobile merger goes down.

When I initially started this post I was just thinking that with my phone and my plan that it's almost too good to be true, although a lower price wouldn't hurt eitherSmiley Wink  But from the responses from both Hme83 and Wild Banchi  I guess the only real drawback to prepaid service is less coverage. But all that is pretty much negated if you live in an area with good service. I'd be really interested to see how much better the coverage is gonna be if the whole AT&T and TMobile merger goes down.

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Jul 2, 2011 4:10:42 PM
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ACE - Master
Yep, continental coverage seems to be not quite as good as post paid users. I would also have to agree with the merger - although, not much would probably change all that much. Maybe AT&T would "take over" T-Mobile's service towers and we'll see what goes from there. Smiley Tongue

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Yep, continental coverage seems to be not quite as good as post paid users. I would also have to agree with the merger - although, not much would probably change all that much. Maybe AT&T would "take over" T-Mobile's service towers and we'll see what goes from there. Smiley Tongue

:cathappy: Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 :cathappy:



Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 2, 2011 4:56:07 PM
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Going by official statements from AT&T they are saying that they are going to integrate TMobiles towers with theirs, but from what I  understand although TMobile uses GSM they run on a different frequency or something like that. So it'd take some reworking to get it all flowing together.

Going by official statements from AT&T they are saying that they are going to integrate TMobiles towers with theirs, but from what I  understand although TMobile uses GSM they run on a different frequency or something like that. So it'd take some reworking to get it all flowing together.

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Jul 4, 2011 11:46:11 AM
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ACE - Master

Razr8 wrote:

Going by official statements from AT&T they are saying that they are going to integrate TMobiles towers with theirs, but from what I  understand although TMobile uses GSM they run on a different frequency or something like that. So it'd take some reworking to get it all flowing together.


T-Mobile uses the same GSM frequencies as at&t does - it's their 3G service that uses different frequencies.  I'd expect that if the merger goes through it probably will improve coverage in some areas of the country - for ex., Northern CA coverage suffered when at&t customers lost their ability to roam on the T-Mo network as it was providing much of the at&t coverage in that area.  While in other areas of the country, not much will change - in Oklahoma, for ex. T-Mo doesn't provide coverage even at the same level at&t does; so I wouldn't expect to see a coverage improvement, although hopefully network capacity could improve somewhat.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson


Razr8 wrote:

Going by official statements from AT&T they are saying that they are going to integrate TMobiles towers with theirs, but from what I  understand although TMobile uses GSM they run on a different frequency or something like that. So it'd take some reworking to get it all flowing together.


T-Mobile uses the same GSM frequencies as at&t does - it's their 3G service that uses different frequencies.  I'd expect that if the merger goes through it probably will improve coverage in some areas of the country - for ex., Northern CA coverage suffered when at&t customers lost their ability to roam on the T-Mo network as it was providing much of the at&t coverage in that area.  While in other areas of the country, not much will change - in Oklahoma, for ex. T-Mo doesn't provide coverage even at the same level at&t does; so I wouldn't expect to see a coverage improvement, although hopefully network capacity could improve somewhat.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Prepaid "catch"

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Jul 4, 2011 3:27:27 PM
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Guru

I see, the differences are in their 3G service, thanks for the correction. Like I said before I'd like to see how the whole merger plays out. What I'm really eager to see is what change, if any, it's going to have on the price of their plans.

I see, the differences are in their 3G service, thanks for the correction. Like I said before I'd like to see how the whole merger plays out. What I'm really eager to see is what change, if any, it's going to have on the price of their plans.

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Jul 7, 2011 11:50:01 AM
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I have looked over all the plans and gophone plans seem to be the better way to go, I find it curious how at&t and others seem to feel a need to lock you into a 2yr deal and if you want a 1yr plan you cant do it in store its online only and that same phone thats free or $39 etc jumps up to over $200. They dont seem to get it that some cant or wont sign a 2yr deal and there missing out because then some switch to other companys and they lose business. I have looked at other companys like verizon and there high and i wont even go there and some of my friends have switched to metro pcs. Also best part about a prepaid is your not locked in and if you dont like it you can change. Next you would figure that plan prices would have come down more by now and until they do i'm not signing a 2yr deal because life changes alot in 2yrs and if you want to break a 2yr contract is going to cost you...alot.

I have looked over all the plans and gophone plans seem to be the better way to go, I find it curious how at&t and others seem to feel a need to lock you into a 2yr deal and if you want a 1yr plan you cant do it in store its online only and that same phone thats free or $39 etc jumps up to over $200. They dont seem to get it that some cant or wont sign a 2yr deal and there missing out because then some switch to other companys and they lose business. I have looked at other companys like verizon and there high and i wont even go there and some of my friends have switched to metro pcs. Also best part about a prepaid is your not locked in and if you dont like it you can change. Next you would figure that plan prices would have come down more by now and until they do i'm not signing a 2yr deal because life changes alot in 2yrs and if you want to break a 2yr contract is going to cost you...alot.

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