4 Reasons Why I Switched from AT&T to T-Mobile

Let me preface this post by saying that AT&T and my family go way, way back (although I joined the family plan around 2003). I have been loyal through the Cingular hump around 2005, and then back to AT&T a couple years later. When AT&T started charging an arm an a leg for data, I felt relieved to be grandfathered in to the old unlimited plan.

As I travel more and more for work, both domestically and internationally, I needed a service that could keep up with me and offer something more inciting.

I compared a couple of different plans like Google’s Project Fi, and ultimately decided on T-Mobile because of a promotion to get 2 T-Mobile One lines free in November 2016.

Here are my top 4 reasons why I decided to make the switch from AT&T to T-Mobile.

1. Free Unlimited International Data Roaming

With AT&T, traveling internationally leads to spending countless hours on a hunt for a local SIM card at an airport or convenience store, or fearing that I had accidentally taken my phone out of Airplane mode which could result in a gargantuan phone bill. The alternative is to add an AT&T international plan package for the month at an absurd rate. I typically travel for short periods of time and use a TON of data.

Fear no more! With T-Mobile, I touch down in any of these 140+ countries, take my phone out of Airplane mode, and I’m ready to go. It can take up to 30 minutes to find and register on the local network, so patience is a small price to pay. You may experience slow speeds, such as EDGE or 3G, but I’ll still take that over AT&T. Even the cost to call internationally at $0.20 / min is super low.

2. Hotspot Action

With AT&T’s grandfathered unlimited plan, in order to tether your phone and create a mobile hotspot, one would need to root or jailbreak your device, resulting in invalidating the manufacturer’s warranty or receiving throttled speeds for the rest of the month.

T-Mobile allows me to turn my phone into a hotspot at anytime, anywhere. My data is my data, however I decide to use it. With a throttle at 28GB, even as a heavy data user, I’ve never come close to using that amount.

This really comes in handy when I’m trying to work at an airport and need WiFi to check email or take a VoIP call with Skype for Business.

3. Gogo In-Flight WiFi

While we all know Gogo’s service hasn’t been the greatest, the choice I’m given is that or nothing. I have been subscribing to Gogo’s Monthly Subscription plan of $49.95 since I often travel more than once a month on multiple segments. One of the many T-Mobile perks is to get a free hour of Gogo on each flight, plus in flight text and other WiFi messaging services.

This has been working splendidly for me, not only because I can recoup my $49.95 a month, but because I’ve found that sometimes more than just the messaging works. For example, after my hour of connectivity, I can still use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Text Messages, and sometimes apps like Instagram will still happen to refresh.

4. T-Mobile Will Buy You Out

My entire family is either under contract with AT&T or paying off an AT&T phone. T-Mobile was able to give us money back for our breach of contract and they will pay off your phone if you decide to purchase a new phone from T-Mobile. In our situation we had 3 different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1 (My mom’s line and mine): We are both out of a 2 year contract using an old phone. It was easy to make the switch to T-Mobile, and we had the option of buying a T-Mobile phone, or an independent one like the Nexus 5x I ended up getting on Amazon for less than $300.
  • Scenario 2 (Dad’s line): My dad had gotten his Samsung Galaxy S6 from AT&T not too long ago. Since we signed up for T-Mobile right before black Friday, our sales rep gave him a brand new Galaxy S6 temp phone to use for the week until it was Black Friday. Then he was able to trade that in for a free Samsung Galaxy S7. He did have to pay off the S6 out of pocket, but since he had already paid more than half of it, this was the better deal.
  • Scenario 3 (Sister’s line): My sister had JUST gotten her new Galaxy S7, and was about 3 months into her payments. T-Mobile paid off the rest of what she owed to AT&T and she purchased a new Samsung Galaxy S7 from T-Mobile.

Bottom Line

If you travel internationally, use lots of data, need a hotspot, want WiFi on your domestic flight, or just want to cut your phone bill costs, it’s well worth your time to consider the switch to T-Mobile.

Review of business class AA Boeing 777 LAX to Hong Kong AA193 & AA192


After  my recent obsession with traveling to Asia and seeing many posts about the cheap fares to Hong Kong, my boyfriend and I decided to take the journey to the far east. I needed miles on American to lock in Executive Platinum for the following year, so we opted for the SJC > LAX > HKG route rather than SFO > HKG on Cathay Pacific (CX). Instead of doing a quick mileage run like last year, I decided to take advantage of my Hilton hotel points (5th night free) and we stayed for 5 days.

Timeline up to the trip:

July 21, 2016: Purchased 2 tickets for $502 round trip from SJC to HKG with a stop in LAX 12/6/16-12/12/16 in Booking Class O. I immediately called American Airlines and asked to be placed on the waitlist for a System Wide Upgrade.

—– For months I constantly checked AA.com for upgrade clearance and expert flyer to see if seats were still available —–

December 4, 2016: Two days prior to our trip, after months of seeing plenty of business class seat availability, I noticed our SWU had cleared. There was no notification or email, so being proactive and looking is a must. I then checked seatguru for the best seats.

December 6, 2016: During the two weeks prior to departure, I had been checking flight stats to see what the on time rates were, which helps calm down my OCD nature of excitement. I had noticed the flights were delayed often, and sometimes significantly. Thankfully, our flight was on time and we had no problems.

Flight Review:

With Executive Platinum, I am able to access the First Class international lounge with a guest. Of course being LA, a celeb sighting is always in order, although I’m not naming any names here. We crafted some cocktails, drank way too much coffee, and ate plenty at the full buffet.

We boarded the plane, which didn’t seem to have any dedicated area for premium passengers. That was okay since we had just spent the maximum time in the lounge for ultimate relaxation.

Upon entering the plane, we were greeted with the usual friendly flight attendants, and I was happy to see the welcoming business class section.

I took an inventory of all the amenities:

  • Mattress pad
  • Blanket
  • Pillow
  • Cole Hahn toiletry bag
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Bigelow lip balm and lotion
    • Mouthwash
    • Eye mask
    • Socks
  • Slippers

We also received a business class menu and glasses of champagne (water and juice were also options). I was happy that the menu on the return flight (AA192) was not the same as the outbound menu (AA193).

      


Snapchat prior to takeoff 🙂

 

Service

Service was just okay. As I mentioned earlier, the FAs were extremely

Boeing 777-300ER Image Courtesy of SeatGuru

nice, but inconsistent. I was in seat 12 D and my boyfriend was in 12 G. He was offered a newspaper prior to takeoff, but I was not. Upon landing, I was offered a smoothie and he was not. Our dinner choices were fully available, however somehow they ran out of eggs for breakfast by the time the service cart reached our seats.

 

I have to admit, the pajamas were a nice touch, and I felt really cool rocking them.

Return Flight

We had basically the same experience on the return flight except that the service was much better. Of course the pre-flight lounge experience cannot compare. The Cathay Pacific Pier First Class Lounge  outshines the LAX lounge exponentially. Although when we arrived in LAX, I was happy to take a shower before our final connection back to San Jose.

All in all, using 4 system wide upgrades (Round trip for 2 people) was totally worth it. We basically flew a top quality flight for 13-15 hours with lie flat seats for $500 each. I would definitely recommend using an upgrade if possible on this flight.

Stay tuned for my review of the Conrad Hong Kong Hilton hotel next.

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