Need some Cell Phone ADVICE!! AT&T is not taking care of business!

Discussion in 'Smart Phones and Devices' started by bob4432, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. bob4432

    bob4432 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    I have been using AT&T cellular for years (probably 15+) and have a simple plan - 2 unlocked Galaxy S5s (SM-G900T) + 1 OldSkool Dumb phone w/ txting only (MIL who cannot control herself from gambling and doing anything to get rid of her $$ as fast as possible). This is on a paltry 1GB/Mo shared plane (bet you didn't think they came that low did you?) and I am paying $100/MO which I know is straight out ridiculous and know I am getting bent over by AT&T. For the last couple of years, to say that the servics has been abysmal would be an understatement on the 2 Galaxy S5s that are at the property I live at. I have had the same issue with either the stock T-Mobile ROM that came on the phone or the LineageOS (v14.1) that I am running now - basically no cell service probably 50% of the time I pickup the phone. The dumb phone works fine at the location it is at.

    Recently a friend was over and he had a T-Mobile phone and he had 75% signal strength for the day he was here, so I kind of feel this to be an AT&T issue. I have an old iPhone 4S that is unlocked w/ a T-Mobile sim that I plan on signing up to see what my results are, but again, this is an old iPhone so not sure how that would play into the equation. Figure I can give it a try since my current plan is bending me over pretty good.

    Here is the advice I am needing:
    I need 3 phones (2smart, 1dumb and locked down to just txting) that are at the very least comparable to the Galaxy S5 hardware wise and are rootable as the units I have I picked up off of SWAPPA some years ago. I picked up the S5s because you could get replacement batteries, but even when buying a 'new' battery, I do not get good battery life and I feel it is because of the horrible cell service (although my location shows up on the AT&T map as 'great' coverage, but I am thinking that they phone is needing to push the cell radios high and thus resulting in very little battery life - have to charge probably 2x/day) or these 'new' batteries are just so old and have been sitting in a warehouse or they are fake Samsung batteries - You pick what you feel is the correct answer.

    I miss calls and will get notifications of a VM when the phones never ring. Sometimes this takes a restart of the phone to get service or 'pickup' the VM notification necessatating at least 1x/day if not more restarting, and sure enough I will have missed calls. This is getting to a serious level as I am missing doctors calls and other important calls, not just missing a friends call here and there. I would say at the minimum 35-45% of the time I pick up my phone, it will say 'No Cellular Service' or 'Emergency Calling Only'. Same thing with TXTing - I do not receive them or they do not go out. I have complained to AT&T about this multiple times and their 'fix' was to keep me on this ridiculous plan and send me some bottom of the line 'special;' AT&T phones and a device to plug into my home network so the phones could (I assume) use the home network (100Mb/s down / 10Mb/s up) as VOIP setup as I have A/B/G/N/AC network capabilities on my home network. Not an ideal situation because I do not need another failure point, even though my entire network is on UPSs, sometimes my home internet connection will have a hiccup and I really do not see how AT&T using my home network fixes the problem as they are just using my home internet for their service issue.

    So, what are some recommendations for a pair of smart phones (prefer Android because iPhone keeps you so far away from doing anything deep, I want to peak under the hood and I just feel more comfortable w/ Android - not to say I couldn't get as comfortable with Apple, but some apps I use ALOT are not iOS ported) to replace the S5s? I have not kept up with the phones over the years, so like I said earlier, do not need the newest or fanciest. I would also like to have a plan w/ a bit more bandwidth allotment so I can stream Pandora, YouTube or tether my laptop when out when I want to and also I am just setting up FolderSync to be able to sync whichever folders on the phone to my home server via FTPS which would go onto a RAID1 Array on my Home Server which is then backed up to external HDDs. I would like to be able to root the phone and put on a stripped down Android install, do not want all the bloatware of a non-rooted phone and I am Not a FB user on the phone nor Instagram, Twitter, etc or really any social media. I do use the camera quite a bit using OpenCamera (not selfies, but pics for reference and instead of lugging around a seperate device as the cameras have come pretty far on even these S5s, they work good enough for me compared to a point and shoot digital I would pick up as I do not need a serious camera like a DSLR) and the calendar setup, this is imperative as my wife and I use the same GMail accout for our phones so our calendars are always sync'd up along w/ using GO Contact Sync Mod to sync it w/ Outlook for an additional backup/place to look up the calendar. GPS is important not only for directions but also for being able to keep track of the pics. Being able to tether is also important as I go to some places where it is the only network connection I have. Also, I do not want to get into a contract if possible, so either a decent used phone or ? I am thinking my price range for a used phone would be in the $200-$300 range, preferably less just because of the amount of use I get out it - my phones are not tied to my hip but when I want or need to use them, they need to work.

    T-Mobile people - please speak up as to your experiences not only about their coverage but also their customer support. Hopefully I will not have to use them, but AT&T is getting worse and worse and the last thing I need is some a$$hole CS agent when I am having an issue with their product.

    Please assist as this situation needs to get rectified and quick as the service is detiorating, and I am not sure if it is me, but even when I pay my AT&T bill, seems like many times the website is very slow and unresponsive giving me the impression that maybe AT&T maybe having other troubles than just what I am seeing - this is purely speculation, but when I do my bills, the AT&T site is always the slowest one to deal with, in fact I can do all my other monthly bills in the amount of time it takes the AT&T site to work and this is coming from my Laptop which a Thinkpad T440s w/ 8GB RAM & a 500GB SSD, connected either WIFI or even via ethernet.

    Last, I am not brand loyal - whatever does at the very least what the S5 does and has better battery life than what I am getting would be great. FWIW, when at home, obviously I am on the home network if I look stuff up so a phone w/ A/B/G/N/AC wifi would be great.

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to your recommendations,
    Bob
     
  2. CHANG3D

    CHANG3D [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,706
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    I had good customers support though TMO and even Sprint. Sprint's personal support for me is one of primary reasons why I stayed on Sprint for so long. But Sprint's lack of specials for existing customers is the primary reason why I jumped to TMo. While TMo doesn't have an engineer coming to my office, I haven't had too many issues with TMo. The only issue I had was jumping to another phone and TMo winded up charging me full for the older phone. Instead of refunding me the money, TMo gave me store credit instead as well as $20 credit off a month for the next 6 months.
     
  3. entropism

    entropism 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,594
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    I use T-Mobile, and I'm locked in for life, basically. 4 lines of unlimited everything, 2 tablet lines with 6gb each, for $120 after taxes. Customer service is good during business hours, when you reach US call centers. The Filipino call centers blow.

    All plans now are unlimited data, with speeds POSSIBLY getting slowed after 50GB. You also get Netflix for free.

    Put the account under your MIL, you can get a 3 line 55+ plan for $100, taxes included.

    The only knock on T-Mobile is that you may not get signal where you live, if you're outside a city. If you CAN get signal, you're golden. You do want a recent phone that gets Bands 12, 66 and 71, so you might want to look into a Galaxy S9/10, or a OnePlus 6T.
     
  4. Trimlock

    Trimlock [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    15,140
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    I was paying too much for ATT, I think my final bill from them was $220 and I was only getting 20gb between two lines and NO perks lol. International was a joke and expensive although not nearly as expensive as Verizon.

    I noticed TMO's lack of coverage almost immediately, which to be honest was never a deal breaker for me as long as I had coverage in the areas I was at the most. Customer Service was fine, I only ever used the ones at the store and over the phone once to get rid of some $20 monthly caller ID thingy. I now pay $80 for two lines. Their customer service can answer my calls with "What the FCK do you want?" every time and I'd still be cool with it.
     
  5. marshac

    marshac [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    One thing to keep in mind with TMo is they have excellent coverage, but if you’re using an old phone like a S5, the hardware radios simply can’t use it and you won’t see it. Only the very newest phones can use the 600MHz bands.
     
    bob4432 likes this.
  6. bob4432

    bob4432 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Thanks for this information, so look for phones that can use the 600MHz bands - will do. I guess the question is do I need to get a phone that is carrier centric to those 600MHz bands? Are TMobile phones going to work better with a TMobile ROM on the TMobile network vs a TMobile phone unlocked with a LineageOS ROM on the TMobile network?
     
  7. bob4432

    bob4432 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Can I ask how you were able to get that deal? I am in a very populated area (Scottsdale, AZ) but not MIL or 55+, but am Retired Federal Employee....guess I need to give them a call.
     
  8. marshac

    marshac [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    It doesn’t need to be carrier centric, just fairly new and check for the LTE bands noted above, especially 71.

    I haven’t felt the need to unlock and use different ROMs, but things always worked fine in the past. I don’t think TMo cares.
     
  9. entropism

    entropism 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,594
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    The only thing you need to worry about with T-Mobile (besides proper bands) is that it supports wifi calling and VoLTE compatibility. If you go with Samsung, you can get that with unlocked, carrier agnostic phones. I got my S10 unlocked from Best Buy, and everything works flawlessly. Moto phones should work well also.

    I used to be VERY reliant on root, and was a participating member on XDA since Android Cupcake back in... 2008? I haven't rooted a device in 2 years, and I simply don't feel the need to anymore. Eventually those desirable features ROMs offered went away, and the only thing I REALLY cared about was system-wide ad blocking, which can be done without root now.

    bob4432 I had the 4/$120 plan that gave 10GB data. They gave me 2 free tablets and lines 2 years ago for black friday. My wife has a grandfathered government discount of 14%. On 3/16, they gave me (and a bunch of other people) a bump from 10GB/line to Unlimited with 10GB hotspot/line.

    So yeah, all in I'm at around $120/month, give or take.
     
    bob4432 likes this.
  10. bob4432

    bob4432 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Thanks for the reply.

    How are the new phones coming from TMobile as far as bloat?

    Reason for my desire to root is because of the bloat. I will have to check all of my apps and see which ones need root and see where I stand. I would expect that if rooted I would lose any TMobile "Special Sauce" they have in their ROM though.... :(, possibly but not sure if WIFI calling or VoLTE would even be possible w/ rooting and I know WIFI calling would completely fix my issues, but am sure the newer would more than likely fix the issue too.

    I have looked around at phones and the LG V series looks promising on paper, even the LG V30. I had used HTC phones up until I picked up these 2 Samsungs which was a nice step up.

    I chatted w/ one of their sales reps but didn't get far so a call is in order.

    Can I ask what you paid for the S10? PM if you want, just curious.

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  11. entropism

    entropism 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,594
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    The bloat on the S10/Note9 -

    T-Mobile account app
    T-Mobile device unlock app (disappears when you SIM unlock your device)
    POSSIBLY the T-Mobile Tuesdays app, not sure if I added that myself.
    POSSIBLY the T-Mobile voicemail app, I don't use it so I might have deleted it.

    That's it.

    As for the S10, I got two. One I got because Samsung thinks I'm still an AT&T employee, and I got it for $50 and trading in my Note 9 (which I got for free from trading in the free S8 they gave me). The other I got from Best Buy unlocked, which I got for $900, minus $550 for trading in the free S9+ I got from Samsung.

    I also got $50 in free accessories from Samsung, 2 pairs of their wireless earbuds (which I hear work well), and $150 on ebay for the free "exclusive" Fortnite skin promotion they have.
     
    bob4432 likes this.