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T-Mobile is Great – But Not Lilly White

by in Telecom

T-Mobile announced that you can use your Simple Choice plan phone in Canada and Mexico the same as if you were in the US. All of North America is now free to roam and call.

Not quite true.

T-Mobile does one thing which is super ultra sneaky. They show that you have data coverage throughout the United States on their maps. Those maps look good.

But they limit you to 50 megabytes of data in any “roaming” area. Yes, 50 megabytes. That’s about 10 photos. After you use up your monthly allowance of 50 megabytes you are completely cut off from roaming.

Now, clearly, you can’t do much with 50 megabytes. It’s half an hour of music. It’s a dozen photos. So why is this even a feature of your line?

Sneaky business.

T-Mobile wants to show you a big map of the United States and have the entire map be painted magenta. They want you to believe that you have glorious nationwide coverage.

But this is all fraud. You only get 50 megabytes in any roaming territory and then you get cut off. Magenta painted states like Montana and Wyoming are really black colored. You really don’t get service there. It just looks like you do. But you only get 50 megabytes and then the areas go dark.

T-Mobile won’t disclose what states are entirely blacked out. You can’t find out and they won’t tell you. Just just need to travel there and then find that you have no data.

So I think it is pretty sneaky that they talk about how you get all of North America including Canada but you don’t even get Montana or Wyoming.

The cellular business is just full of tricks and games and deceit.


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  • mjgraves


    I am a long time T-Mobile customer, and what you describe has not been my experience. In fact, I recently took a trip to visit family in a rural part of Canada near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. I called T-Mobile in advance of the trip and changed my family plan to the new one that includes Canada & Mexico. This cost use nothing more than our existing plan. That existing plan would have cost use 20 cents/minute for voice calls, dramatically more for data by the megabyte.

    When we arrived in Canada our phones grabbed hold of Bell’s network. We enjoyed the same HSPA & LTE service that we have in the US. The service was reasonably fast given the location. In fact, we downloaded an episode of The Walking Dead to share with a nephew who doesn’t have access. I was able to VPN connect to my home network, access a few files and check our security cameras, watching a real-time stream for a short while.

    It is worth noting that our phones did not seem to work on the Rogers network while in Canada. While in places where Rogers was the only coverage the phones (One+ One & Nexus5) would only make voice calls. No data. They were fully function on the Bell network.

    Upon our return I checked our usage stats online. We had used about 3 GB of data while in Canada, but that was not reflected in the billing. There was no roaming or overage of any kind charged to our account.

    While I cannot speak to issues regarding Montana or Wyoming, the new continental plan served us well in Canada.

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About this Post


Colin Berkshire is a highly technical HR executive in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Colin has an engineering and voice background, and is currently on assignment in Asia. NOTE: Colin does not respond to comments, and does not Tweet.