Our mobile contract was up in July, 2009. I didn’t want to sign up for another two years with Sprint and I had been scouting around for something better for a month or so. I had spreadsheets and notes everywhere comparing plans, rates, you name it.
My goal was to add a smart phone for me, which meant an additional cost for a data plan, (Blackberry) and good phones for the rest of the family and not pay any more per month than we did with Sprint.
I didn’t look at T-Mobile very closely until an ad on their website caught my eye. It was for their @Home service that would replace my landline for $9.99/month.I pulled out our bundled Cox bill and saw we were paying about $38/month for a line, caller ID & unlimited long distance per month.Cox ‘digital’ phone service is essentially VOIP. If our cable went out with a storm or whatever, so did the phone. The call quality was never that great and when we had two lines, we could hear cross-talk – ugh!
Reading the information on the site hooked me and we went for it and have been using it for a couple weeks now. Here’s what you get:
- Yes, you can port your existing home number over (just let them handle everything for you).
- Yes, you can still use your regular phones. T-Mobile does have phones for sale, but our phones (both cordless and different brands), work just fine. We didn’t have to relocate the units and they remain plugged into the phone jacks.
- We still use the vmx service that came with our phone, but the T-mobile router also has voicemail capabilities built into it and the ability to call a number to retrieve messages.
- Other features include call forwarding, call waiting, hold, 3-way conferencing, caller ID and unlimited nation-wide calling.
- 911 service – yes you have it. T-Mobile requires a street address and verifies it when signing up for the service. If you have to dial 911, it goes through their network and your address is sent to 911
- You will lose the ability to fax. Right now, it’s not supported—maybe later. This has been the only downside so far.
The router is from Linksys and is $50 with a 2-year agreement. You must have the appropriate cell phone service with them (check the FAQ).
You can keep your current router and daisy chain the two together. They suggest this if you don’t want the hassle of configuring security on the @Home router.
There are slots for up to 2 SIM cards (or 2 lines).
My Blackberry uses the router’s wi-fi when at home, which is very nice and surfing is probably a little faster.
It took about 10 days for our number to port over – guess Cox wanted to take their time!
Quality of Service
This was a concern of ours—we wondered if voice quality would be like bad cell phone reception. We wondered if the vmx and caller ID would work as stated.
So far, the voice quality has been just fine. There was one dropped call, but it was during a thunderstorm. Our phone would go out plenty of times while on Cox. We have no shortage of volatile weather in Oklahoma. We’ve gained voicemail, conferencing, call forwarding and call waiting for no extra fee.
The T-Mobile digital phone service is really a flavor of VOIP- it’s not a true landline, so we thought we’d give it a try and we haven’t been disappointed.
We also had a very satisfying customer service experience with everyone we interacted with at the Edmond, Oklahoma T-Mobile store. I’ve been in a few times since our initial purchase to ask how-to questions and I’ve called to straighten out a service that got left off and have been very pleased. So thanks to David, the manager and Kevin, who helped us do all the porting and paperwork.
So, could I do all of this for the same price? It’s pretty close.We’ll be paying $5-10 more per month, but that’s acceptable as we’re getting more services for just a little bit more.