Tuesday, October 10, 2017

T-Mobile Finds a Way To Use New Spectrum

While other carriers and the FCC say using their new 600 MHz wireless spectrum will take years, T-Mobile is doing it in months.  In order for a carrier to begin using the new spectrum won in the 600 MHz FCC auction, several broadcast TV stations must move to another channel.  This involves channel re-assignments and the cost of modified antennas and equipment.  Most carriers are waiting for that step before investing in their newly-won spectrum.

T-Mobile analyzed the 600 MHz locations and channels and decided they could start operating immediately in areas where the TV channels are already vacant, and help broadcasters with the expenses of moving others.  They actually started using their new spectrum in Wyoming earlier this year, and are now helping free up the channels in the largest US market, New York City.  T-Mobile is also helping several PBS stations make their moves as well.


T-Mobile will help the local TV station in New York that will be moving, move sooner, to make room for T-Mobile to start operating on these new channels in NYC.  This is very pro-active on the part of T-Mobile on their path toward becoming a coverage leader in the US.  It also helps the TV stations involved get their move done faster and cheaper than would happen by pressing the FCC for their share of auction funds.  More coverage is better, but remember, those of us who view TV Over the Air need to 're-tune' our TV's from time to time. Hey, more coverage at the push of a button.

Monday, October 9, 2017

T-Mobile & Sprint Together? No!

We have been saying it for years since before the failed AT&T and T-Mobile merger.  The US will be a sad place with only 3 large wireless carriers if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge.  We agree that Sprint needs a partner, but it does not need to be T-Mobile.  We just need to look to Canada where wireless users decry the high prices of wireless.


Not only will there be problems with a T-Mobile and Sprint combination, we will also see changes in the wholesale market where most of our value-priced prepaid carriers live.  Other ramifications include a deterioration in customer service and a slower roll out of technological development.  We won't go into this dark subject we have dreaded for so long, we will only make sure everyone knows we think this is not a good thing for wireless users in the US.

We can hope that another investor will come forth and offer to take Sprint and make it the happy place it once was.  They have so much spectrum and value to offer, and most important, the will and the need to be aggressive on pricing.  Call our friends up north and ask what they think of having only 3 national carriers.  Thumbs down.

Friday, September 29, 2017

T-Mobile Takes Over iWireless in Iowa

This is pretty much a non-story since iWireless in Iowa has always looked, tasted, and smelled like a twin of T-Mobile. This will result in a few slight improvements for Iowa customers in the short term and eventually better coverage in rural Iowa.  Prepaid plans should get better and T-Mobile will start to upgrade the network to even more 4G - LTE using their newly-acquired 600 and 700 MHz spectrum.


The only downside we can find is that dealing with iWireless was a bit more personal as you were dealing with local people, but T-Mobile will also open more Iowa stores.  There's also the end of confusion of the iWireless name with Kroger.  The net result is better for the Hawkeye state.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

More Dirt Cheap Plans

At the beginning of the year we reported on the absolute, lowest-cost plans available in wireless.  Since then there have actually been improvements in these dirt cheap prices.  Most of the changes involve getting more for your money, but several of these providers have actually lowered some of their prices:

  • TWIGBY
    Here's a new player to us with a usable plan with UNLIMITED Text and 200 Minutes Talk for only $9.  Add small chunks of additional Talk or Data for correspondingly low prices.  Twigby mostly uses the Sprint network but also includes Talk and Text on Verizon Wireless when you're outside Sprint coverage.
  • T-MOBILE UNLIMITED FOR $30!
    This is a secret plan for special friends of the Noise:  Get ALL of T-Mobile's radical features for 2 people for only $60/month with No other fees attached!  Here's the catch: you need to be 55 or over to get the plan.  If you don't qualify, it's something to look forward to.
  • T-MOBILE FOR $3 
    They may not be the cheapest, but their $3/month plan is still one of the lowest-cost ways to keep in touch, although when you pay a small price, expect a small plan.  The upside is that "extras" won't break the bank, either.
  • TELLO
    Tello still lets you construct your plan to whittle it down to a minimum price, $9 for a plan with some Talk, Text and Data.  They normally offer incentives to get you to sign up such as a month of FREE Data or 15% of your initial purchase with the Coupon Code: 15OFFAFF.  Larger Tello plans have had their prices recently reduced big time, some over 28% less.  They also have doubled their 5GB of Data at the same rate. (Some of these promotions start in October)
  • FREEDOMPOP
    The leader in cheap wireless still has plans that start at FREE.  Freedompop also now offers a hefty 2GB package for only $10.

There are still some other low-cost options, but these are the ones that made some recent improvements.  We also need to tell you we have a marketing relationship with these carriers (as we do with almost all carriers) and that we didn't get paid for this post and never do.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Reviewing the Reviewers

We operate over a dozen web sites, each based on a specific wireless theme.  We recently moved our "front door" back to our first web site, MountainWireless.net.  While many of our pages provide a review of each cellular specialty, we never provided a review of these reviews...until now.  This page gives you a thumbnail report of what is available among our individual wireless web sites.  If you like one of our sites, you'll probably like one of the others.


On MountainWireless.net you'll also find a Search Tool to wade through our hundreds of pages as well as our Wireless News section.  As part of online evolution, we have gone through the birth and death of web sites based on material that was hot one day and cold the next.  So this review page is quite dynamic as the popularity of each subject rises and falls. Expect it to change weekly.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lost Carriers in Montana, North Dakota & Tennessee

Three more wireless carriers have exited the cellular business.  DTC Wireless, east of Nashville, has stopped offering cell phones and is now using their network for fixed wireless for broadband Internet access.  DTC has a good network and should be able to offer a quality wireless product.

In Montana, Big Sky Mobile has discontinued service.  We're not sure if the network was operational but they have agreed to sell their licenses to T-Mobile which is waiting FCC approval.  The phone number at Big Sky has been disconnected but they continue to post on Facebook.  With this acquisition, T-Mobile has the potential for a substantial presence in Montana along with their newly-acquired 600 and 700 MHz licenses.


Also, serving both sides of the border between Montana and North Dakota, SRT Wireless of Minot has discontinued offering wireless phones and has sold their cellular network to Verizon Wireless.  Verizon plans to upgrade the SRT sites to 4G-LTE. If you have an SRT iPhone, you'll need to get it unlocked at one of the SRT stores before you can switch it to Verizon.  Fortunately, SRT will stay in business providing their other communications products, but make sure you switch before the end of the year.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Better Wireless Coverage for the Eclipse

Here is a full list of the towns the four major carriers will be boosting coverage either through network upgrades or through adding mobile cell sites:
AT&T
Madras, Oregon
Mitchell, Oregon
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Glendo Reservoir, Wyoming
Carbondale, Illinois
Columbia, Missouri
Owensville, Missouri
Washington, Missouri
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Beatrice, Nebraska
Verizon
Madras, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Sprint
Rexburg, Idaho
Silverton, Oregon
Madras, Oregon
Brownsville, Oregon
T-Mobile (key markets)
Madras, Oregon
Snake River Valley, Idaho
Carbondale, Illinois
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Keep in mind, in the event of an emergency, Text Messaging is the most reliable form of communication.

Originally we were headed to Glendo, WY, but now that the word is out, we will be at an undisclosed location somewhere east of there...or west of there.  We will not be using any Interstate highways and instead of phones we will communicate by ham radio.  We're anticipating that the warnings about impassable roads, throngs of people and scarce supplies will cause everyone else to stay home and watch the eclipse on their phones (or TV?) instead.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

T-Mobile Toots Their Horn, But We Can't Hear It...Yet

T-Mobile has already started to use their newly-assigned 600 MHz spectrum:

"BELLEVUE, Wash.-- Damn that was fast. T-Mobile today announced it has begun lighting up its new 600 MHz LTE network — leveraging the massive haul of super-premium low-band spectrum won in the government broadcast incentive auction concluded earlier this year. The announcement comes only two months after the Un-carrier received its spectrum licenses from the FCC. T-Mobile’s first 600 MHz LTE network sites — the very first in the world — were just switched on in Cheyenne, Wyoming using Nokia equipment. Starting in rural America and other markets where the spectrum is clear of broadcasting today, T-Mobile plans to deploy the new super-spectrum at record-shattering pace — compressing what would normally be a two-year process from auction to consumer availability into a short six months.


"T-Mobile today also shared additional details of its 600 MHz LTE network rollout. This year alone, additional 600 MHz sites are slated for locations including Wyoming, Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia and Eastern Washington. Those deployments and other network upgrades will help the Un-carrier increase total LTE coverage from 315 million Americans today to 321 million by year’s end."

What's the catch?  There are no 600 MHz-capable handsets available...yet.  There will be, probably by the end of the year.  This is indeed an aggressive expansion and could be a game changer within a very short time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

T-Mobile Respects Their Elders

As we watched the numbers of our Cellular Seniors web site, our site that specializes in senior wireless plans and phones, decline, we noted that today's "senior" has already been using cell phones for years.  They don't need someone to cater to their 'special' wireless needs...unless the carriers show up with a usable deal.  T-Mobile has come up with that deal, one that seniors can actually use.

T-Mobile's latest press release pokes fun at the competition who offer, "dumbed-down ‘senior’ plans with exactly zero data and — get this — night and weekend minutes!"  We pretty much wrote off these plans years ago and instead put a focus on how to get the lowest-cost service that a senior could receive some benefit.  T-Mobile's new "ONE Unlimited 55+" plan does the same thing.  Give those of us who don't actually live on our cell phone a plan we can actually use.

Here's what you get with this plan, just for not being a millennial:


With T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+, it’s just $50 for the first line of T-Mobile ONE and $10 for your second line with unlimited everything after $5 per line Autopay discount. Taxes & fees included.


T-Mobile ONE 55+ includes these other benefits at no extra cost:

  • Simple Global: unlimited text and data roaming and low flat-rate calling in 140+ countries and destinations
  • Gogo Inflight: get unlimited texting all flight long and 1 free hour of smartphone Wi-Fi on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights
  • DIGITS: use your T-Mobile number on compatible phones, tablets and PCs, and use multiple numbers on one device
  • Mobile Hotspot: connect all your devices to the Internet with included tethering data
  • Un-Contract: only you have the power to change the price you pay
  • T-Mobile Tuesdays: get thanked with free stuff every week just for being a customer

55 is fairly young for a age-based discount.  We won't tell you to take the deal, but it's worth putting on our reading glasses and look at it!