I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for years, generally am happy with their rate plans, devices, and customer service. The instore service is good; I’ve had several issues with billing and device issues and everything was taken care of in the store without hassle.
I can remember one customer service issue a few years back when I was trying to connect an unlocked phone I bought in Hong Kong to their data network and a level 2 tech spent 2 hours on the phone with me trying different configurations until it worked. He didn’t have to do that considering this wasn’t a handset they were offering, but he did and I appreciated the effort.
In short, T-Mobile isn’t perfect but I have had good experience with them and that counts for something. I like their wifi hotspot coverage, which can be a real lifesaver at times, and even though I think $20 a month is a bit steep I am unable to complain given the lack of truly competitive options.
Last week they launched HotSpot@Home amid all the iPhone frenzy, which as David Pogue points out probably wasn’t a great PR strategy.
Like the iPhone, this service allows wifi capable phones to alternate between cellular and wifi networks. If you are at home and get crappy reception in one part of your house (in my case, the part I work from), this service will resolve that by using the wifi network for cell calls. If you are in a Starbucks you will voice call on their wifi network and not consume any of your plan minutes. Pretty cool.
There are a couple of downsides, the first being they are offering only 2 handsets and neither is a Blackberry. The second is an open question, which is the how "special" is the Linksys router they are supplying with the service? I have 2 Apple Airport routers chained together at my house, and share printers over them, so anything that requires me to turn these off is going to be a showstopper for me.
Assuming I could get past the router issues, I would take a look at a bundle with a cheap Hotspot@Home phone and a downgraded Blackberry plan which could result in saving money while at the same time simplifying my billing. I’d like to see a BB option and a dirt cheap rate plan, as well as a couple of better handsets but even absent of that this is a great service option.
Tags: Hotspot@Home, T-Mobile, wifi