[ale] Metropcs 4G LTE vs AT&T DSL (ot)

Greg Clifton gccfof5 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 5 09:38:33 EST 2012


I just spent the better part of a day researching various prepaid phone
services, not with an eye towards tethering, but what I learned may still
be helpful in your decision.

First, not all LTE is created equal, and Verizon's version is faster than
Metro's, they run at different frequencies and are NOT compatible as the
CDMA technology is. Be sure and check the coverage map for the area(s) you
will be using the phone and don't plan to use it while traveling (by
car/bus/train) except in a few large metropolitan centers (they have
zoomable maps of all the cities where they offer LTE on their web site).
Also note that Metro has no EVDO (3G) service, so if you don't have
functional LTE service, you'll be running at 1X data rate on the Metro
network. Roaming with Metro depends on Verizon (or perhaps Sprint) service
and if you are out of a home area for 3 months (even less if you are using
data heavily) Metro will "pull the plug," killing not only your phone but
also your phone number. In other words, if you are roaming and costing them
$ they cut you off forever. The technician at the company owned store on
Steve Reynolds Blvd told me this just a couple of weeks ago. So you loose
your phone # through Metro (not sure if you could get it back on a
different carrier, didn't have the presence of mind to ask) and they
essentially brick your phone. Since Verizon and Metro operate their LTE
networks at different frequencies (I haven't looked at AT&T) the phones
can't be taken to a different carrier. This question came up because I have
a daughter at GCSU in Milledgeville which is in the "Extended Home
Coverage" area and I was looking into getting the $5 off for each line on a
"family plan." When the tech told me that, it pretty well put the stake
through the heart of that idea.

Second, if you do much multimedia streaming you would have to go with their
$60/month plan and you can get DSL for less than that.

Third, I think all the mobile carriers that offer "unlimited" web will be
going to a throttled service sooner or later.TMobile was the first carrier
to reduce your speed until the next month once you hit their data limit,
IIRC. I am currently on the Virgin Mobile $25/month plan (300minutes +
unlimited everything else) and I received both an email and a snail mail
notification recently that they are going to a throttled unlimited service
effective next month.

Fourth, I assume you intend to use the phone as a phone when not in
tethered mode and are going without a land line. An alternative, but at the
cost of another plan, that might server you well if you do travel to any
large extent, you might consider one of the data only services. If you are
a Kroger shopper, you may have noticed their iWireless offerings (which is
Sprint service). My wife is on an iWireless LG Optimus S phone and gets 20
minutes added to her bucket for each $100 I spend at Kroger on top of the
minutes we pay for monthly, and the minutes roll over (which is rare for a
prepaid plan). Sprint is known to have a very good data network that covers
most of the USA (esp. along the interstates) and you can get the data only
service through iWireless for ~$40/mo IIRC. This would be EVDO data, so not
as fast as LTE, but WAY faster than 1X and you would have coverage in most
population centers as well as between, assuming you were travelling via
Interstate Hwy.

Fifth, another thing that carriers are doing is offloading to WIFI when you
have WIFI available. I know that TMobile is doing this and I saw a Clark
Howard clip saying that Metro is doing it too, but I haven't found any
mention of it on their website. There is also Rebublic Wireless which is in
Beta right now, but is developing a business model of providing "unlimited"
service for $19/month. The phone is set to prefer WIFI over the wireless
network (Sprint) so that you are using WIFI most of the time ["or else"].
As WIFI hot spots become more ubiquitous I think this sort of business
model will become common at least for voice traffic, but maybe also for
data traffic.


On Sun, Feb 5, 2012 at 3:57 AM, jesse james <yoshi_mush_room at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Does anyone know if one of the MetroPCS 4G LTE phones could be replacement
> for basic dsl. I was thinking of getting rid of my dsl and getting a
> Samsung Indulge($200) and just tethering my laptop to it.
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