7 Replies Latest reply: Oct 18, 2011 2:58 PM by nokiany RSS

Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

I live in Harvard, Illinois a fringe area supposedly for T-Mobile and ATT.   My 2 Nokia phones have better reception than my Samsung Galaxy. One Nokia is on T-Mobile the other on ATT.  My Samsung is on ATT and drops calls constantly or cannot connect or.............this is a paid plan also. 


My T-Mobile service never drops a call and I have no contract.  By the way what is this ATT takeover of T-Mobile.  ATT took over Cingular and was supposed to improve service.  I HAVE NOT seen any improvement.  I tried Verizon and it did not work well either. Same phones! 


Why is my T-Mobile service better?  Same towers?  Same antennaes on the tower?  Do I change to T-Mobile completely and dump ATT?

  • 1. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    As far as your service goes, it can be two things... phone or carrier.

    Each phone has a different receiver for getting its signal.

    So it is going to be based on how good of a signal t-mobile/att has in your area, and how good of a receiver is placed into the phone.


    as far as signal goes there are different factors.

    Are you in a building? What is the building made of? What kind of structures or landscaping is surrounding the building? How far are you from the towers? In which direction are the towers pointed?


    I would say if you are in a contract with AT&T stay until the contract date... or possibly wait until the deal is finalized with the AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition, if it is finalized.


    If AT&T does acquire T-Mobile then by my understanding the T-Mobile towers will then be used by AT&T... wouldn't that be great?!

  • 2. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    FYI, AT&T didn't take over Cingular.  Cingular changed their name to AT&T after SBC bought AT&T.  AT&T Mobility is the same company that Cingular was, under a different name.


    As far as your phones, Nokia is known for great signal reception in their handsets.  I've always said that Nokia's phones could "make a dollar out of fifteen cents" when it comes to cell signal.  Samsung phones are above average to good when it comes to cellular signal reception.  But putting a Nokia up against a Samsung (and any other manufacturer's phone) in the exact same location with the same carrier, I expect Nokia to win every time.


    You asked about the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile.  AT&T has an offer to buy T-Mobile in a deal worth $39 billion.  The DOJ has filed suit to block the deal, but AT&T is appealing.  So for right now, the buyout is pending.  AT&T and T-Mobile will probably remain separate companies at least until March 2012.

  • 3. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    NO, YES and NO!


    AT&T Wireless did not take over Cingular. Cingular was a collection of about 100 orphan cell companies that were left to them selves when Cellco Partnership (owned by merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE into Verizon, and British Vodaphone) swooped in formed Verizon Wireless practically everywhere. They had to spin off companies that were competing in the same area. These companies became Cingular under the partial ownership of Southwestern Bell and Bell South. They all became SBC Communications which went on to buy up most of the weaker Baby Bells. But SBC didn't have any long distance facilities so they bought AT&T (which was only the old long-distance part of original AT&T) and got the name with it. In the meantime AT&T Wireless was absorbed into Cingular and took on the Cingular name.


    When SBC bought the AT&T name, they rebranded Cingular to AT&T Mobility. So Cingular is still Cingular but singularly called AT&T.


    AT&T Mobility wants T-Mobile because T-Mo has a new GSM band - the 1700 AWS band and is implementing 3.5/4G faster than anyone else. T-Mobile also has the best backbone between towers and Cingular towers fail from overloaded traffic.


    The merger would be a disaster for consumers since is would create one giant monopoly in our GSM market. Don't forget you can't use Verizon or Sprint phones overseas! Only T-Mobile and ATT phones work everywhere.


    As for Nokia, I know from living in Western WA with foothills and volcanos and valleys, etc, that all Nokia phones grab a signal and don't let go better than any other phone. That's why I use a Nokia N-8 for reliabiliy and HTC (barf) Android G-2 for apps in good signal areas.


    Pray that AT&T doesn't get its hands on T-Mobile!



    Nokia N-8

    Android G-2

    VoiceStream since 1998 (aka Western Wireless) - The Jamie Lee Curtis days!

  • 4. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    Good on the history, but a couple of other details seem a little off:


    1) I'm not sure how you classify AWS as "new". TM acquired their spectrum in 2007 as part of their preparation to deploy 3G. Since then, they chose not to participate in the FCC auction for the 700 mhz range which is what is being used by Verizon for their LTE deployment and what AT&T acquired for their deployment before they decided that they could re-purpose TM spectrum much more quickly to catch up with Verizon, who already have LTE in over 150 cities.


    2) TM were certainly the fastest deploying 3.5G and their roll-out of HSPA+ has outstripped all others.


    No one is currently deploying true 4G which requires 100mbps mobile download, but everyone (including TM owners, Deutsche Telekom, in their other regions) agrees that LTE is the path to true 4G. TM USA is the only major carrier here unable to make the transition to LTE because of a lack of available spectrum.


    3) Both Verizon and Sprint sell multi-band phones with GSM that can be used in other parts of the world.


    4) The significance of a GSM "monopoly" lasts only until LTE becomes the dominant technology in 2-3 years' time. LTE will provide voice-over-LTE capabilities which will essentially have all carriers operating the same standard, though still on un-matched frequencies.


    5) While the idea of AT&T owning TM is not appealing, the idea of them NOT owning TM isn't much more palatable.


    DT are running TM USA as a "discontinued operation" and are headed out of the US market as an independent operator. They have been preparing for this exit for several years, at least since they chose not to provision the company for the transition to LTE.


    They have been bleeding post-paid subscribers for over 18 months (despite "the largest 4G network", four time repeat JD Power awards and what the DoJ describe as "disruptive pricing") and have lost over a million in the last year.


    The combined pressure of that failure and, very likely, the need to maintain a certain value in the business in order to trigger AT&T's compensation package, if the deal is blocked, have turned TM into just another carrier with lousy customer service and BS fee and billing policies.


    Bottom line, the TM we used to know is dead, and the prospects for what remains are not good if the sale doesn't go through. Any compensation for the deal failing goes directly to DT, not the TM USA operation.


    Unless some white knight purchaser steps up, who has yet to declare an interest and who is not only willing to pay DT but also invest in the spectrum required to continue as a tier one competitor, the downward spiral for TM customers will continue and - hard as it may be to believe - we could end up in a much worse place than being an AT&T customer.

  • 5. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    Thanks for the information and corrections - and so fast and knowledgeable. I was aware of the 4G standards and the Long Term Evolution strategy but did not know that TM was not participating in future development. But for the present GSM is still the standard - used the 850 band in Koper with Orange Slovenia (TM?) 2 years ago and wandered onto some Cingular 900 band in SFO area last year. Not impressed with CDMA carriers "world phones"


    I am somewhat appalled by additional information and will seriously regret any (further) decline in Western Wireless VoiceStream. I has been a long haul. Especially since I was with McCaw Communications "beeper" service before that.


    The Machiavellian twists of near monopoly and global business is frightening. Shouldn't there be room for everybody?


    And now Nokia seems to be headed down the same road as everyone else - hiring an ex-Microsoft CEO and completely changing course in midstream. Instead of using R&D to build upon their Symbian system, they are switching to some upgrade of Win CE, a decent PDA OS but lousy -so far - cellphone OS.


    Thanks for clarifying the points!




    (Still want Jamie Lee Curtis back - CZJ and the new valley doll don't cut it!)

  • 6. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    The theoretical economic principles should provide room for everyone, but the reality is that the possession of infrastructure is what determines who the top-tier players are, and it is impossible for any company now to develop a nationwide infrastructure based on current technology. The market had reached saturation point with more mobile subscriptions than the total population of the country. When there is nowhere to grow your customer base, the revenue to find infrastructure is not available.


    That's why, in my view, the decision by the FCC earlier in the year to require the majors to accommodate affordable roaming for regional operators was absolutely crucial to the future health of the industry. If that is properly enforced, competition can be encouraged without carriers having to all own their own nationwide infrastructure. The regionals can grow based on their core price/offerings, rather than whether you lose service if you stray outside a narrow geographical area.


    Jamie Lee, huh....I remember those days ;-)



  • 7. Re: Is the difference in the phone or the carrier?

    It depends on both.The reason you get better service with your nokia is because

    most nokias have superior reception/anttenas. Samsung, Motorola and Apple are the worst when it comes to reception.

    In the Croton area of NY, (Westchester County), my Nokia C6-01 and 6030 beat my friends Cliq2, Galaxy and iphone4, all 5 phones on T-Mobile. This area in NY is not so great on T-mobile, but I never had dropped calls with my Nokias here.YMWV


    (6030 is 6 yrs old with original battery)

    (C6-01 is my 2011)