Switching to T-Mobile Unlimited: Quite a Limited Start


In May 2018, I switched my phone service from Verizon to T-Mobile. I had mixed feelings about leaving Verizon’s highly touted signal coverage that I relied on for almost 5 years. However, this premium service came with a premium price, and the costs were not predictable. Often, our family data usage would exceed our shared 10-Gb data limit, which meant an automatic $15/Gb charge for the overage. And during my 10-day trip to Trinidad & Tobago in February 2018, Verizon charged me for two different International plans – $10/day unlimited day pass & $40/month limited usage; basically $140 for spotty coverage. Verizon eventually refunded these amounts, although it took several calls across two months.

I was attracted to T-Mobile’s unlimited ONE plan for several reasons:

  • Unlimited calls, texts and data in the US, Canada and Mexico
  • Texting and data in 200+ countries (including Trinidad & Tobago)
  • Taxes and fees included
  • Netflix subscription
  • Discounts and freebies (T-Mobile Tuesdays)
  • Equipment buy-out for Verizon customers
  • Gogo wifi access on US flights
  • $120/month for 2 lines ($20/add’l line)

What a deal! Why did it take me so long to switch? My family brought over our Verizon smartphones (two Samsung S8, one Samsung S6, and one Iphone 6s) after these devices were verified to work on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile issued a prepaid virtual Mastercard within minutes of receiving my online claim (claim requires final Verizon bill with equipment balances), which I used to pay Verizon’s final balance.

Woohoo! It’s so exciting having unlimited data. And unlimited calls and texts… well, maybe not so exciting making and receiving phone calls, and sending and receiving texts. My son’s S8 and my daughter’s Iphone 6s performed flawlessly on the new network. Not so much for my S8 and my wife’s S6. We tried changing every setting, spent hours on the phone with T-Mobile, read numerous posts online, installed T-Mobile’s signal extender in our home — all to no avail. No phone calls and spotty texting from our home and my office.

My wife swapped her S6 with our friend who no longer needed his T-Mobile S6, and was soon enjoying all the features that T-Mobile advertised. But I was still unable to make or receive phone calls at home and work – two places where I spend most of my time. I finally resolved to upgrade to the new Samsung Note9 that is being released on August 24th, making sure I ordered the T-Mobile issued version of this device. The new Note9 would cost about $600 out-of-pocket, including trade-in credits for my Galaxy S8. I made one last effort to “fix” my phone, and found an obscure article about work profile preventing Samsung phones from installing T-Mobile software. Hmmmmm… I did have Google Work profile enabled on my smartphone – could it be that simple?

Once I got home, I disabled Google’s Work profile on my Galaxy S8, rebooted the device, and voila! Android started to install T-Mobile software. After the next reboot, I was greeted with the much-anticipated T-Mobile splash screen:

Long-awaited T-Mobile logo upon bootupAfter two T-Mobile firmware updates and reboots, I quickly tried to make a call, and sure enough, the call went through right away! WOOHOO!!! I even had an option for wifi calling, a feature that many folks online said was not possible on Verizon-branded smartphones ported to T-Mobile.  I tried to reinstall Google Work, but found a new version called Workspace was now available. Workspace installed with no issues after my profile was validated by my company’s administrators. I am able to access corporate Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, etc. in their secure workspace with no issues.

It’s been almost a week since I really started to enjoy all the features of my new T-Mobile service. Since May, I have enjoyed listening to podcasts and streaming videos without being tethered to wifi. I roamed freely during a recent trip to Toronto, Canada without additional costs. I still enjoy streaming movies and shows on Netflix, except now T-Mobile is picking up the $10.99 monthly tab. I stayed connected during several Delta flights recently. And now I am able to make and receive calls, and send and receive texts! I can’t wait to test out the reconfigured phone and new T-Mobile plan on my next trip to Trinidad.