I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile — and it’s been a total disaster so far

T-Mobile and Verizon logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

So I’m leaving the hospital after checking on a family member, and I’m trying to call my wife at home to give her an update on what’s going on. 

At first I can’t get through at all. I try redialing three times. No dice. I thought there was something wrong with my iPhone 14 Pro Max at first. Then I finally get through to my wife, but she says I’m going in and out as I’m talking. Then I get a Call Failed message seconds later. 

I call back once more and quickly say we’ll just talk when I get home. I didn’t want to get cut off again.

Welcome to T-Mobile, where you’ll likely pay less, but you’ll really make up the difference in frustration. I recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile and so far it’s been a very frustrating experience.

Not so hotspot 

No connection message on Slack on MacBook Pro due to poor T-Mobile signal

(Image credit: Future)

To be fair, I’m just reporting about usage in a couple of states in specific locations, but one of them is one of the most crowded and densely populated corridors in the Northeast U.S.

Three days a week. I get on the bus, open my laptop and connect to my iPhone to use as a hotspot. This starts in Freehold, NJ, and goes all the way up to Manhattan. It’s about a 1.5-hour commute, and I travel through several towns on Route 9, then the Garden State Parkway followed by the New Jersey Turnpike.

Yes, it’s a long haul in both directions, but the time goes fast normally because I’m generally connected the whole way on Verizon. Not so with T-Mobile. During my morning commute one day this week, I got disconnected a few times and several other times, the connection was just too slow to load web pages fast enough.

At one point, I couldn’t even send and receive messages in Slack. This does not take much bandwidth. A few times, I took my iPhone out of my pocket just to see the signal strength, and it either showed one bar or that my phone was switching between 5G and 4G LTE.

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve experienced failed calls over the last few years on Verizon. I had more of them on one day on T-Mobile.

Granted, Verizon wasn’t perfect during my time with the network. There were times when I had a slow connection for a few seconds while passing through a dead zone, but it always bounced back to normal quickly. More significantly, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve experienced failed calls over the last few years on Verizon. I had more of them on one day on T-Mobile.

I also experienced situations where my iPhone simply won’t make calls while on the road home from the hospital. I kept trying to call my son only for the call not to connect. So I waited a couple of minutes, and then it went through. Not exactly a confidence boost.

On the plus side, T-Mobile’s network was pretty reliable to and from Virginia Beach. I had my iPhone connected to CarPlay and used it with Waze for navigation, and I didn’t experience many hiccups. I stopped for gas halfway through and it took a little bit for Waze to reconnect.

I also listened to a bunch of episodes of SmartLess on Spotify during my drive and those played without a hitch. Only a couple times while listening to music was my iPhone a bit slow to skip to the next track on T-Mobile. Not terrible.

Bottom line 

Overall, I’ve not been satisfied with T-Mobile’s network based on my experience so far. It has simply not been reliable enough for calls. Even while writing this story and talking to my wife on the way home, she cut out every few sentences or so, and I kept having to ask her to repeat herself. That's not sustainable. 

Usually after landing at Newark I can connect to Verizon's network within 30 seconds. It took several minutes to get a signal on T-Mobile under similar circumstances.

And while I can get work done on this T-Mobile 5G connection, it’s simply not as consistent as what I’ve experienced on Verizon on the same route.

Even on the way home from my recent trip from Apple's WWDC event I noticed a very stark difference between T-Mobile and Verizon. Usually after landing at Newark I can connect to Verizon's network within 30 seconds. It took several minutes to get a signal on T-Mobile under similar circumstances.

The bottom line is that I’m willing to give T-Mobile a bit more time before I switch back. But I may be heading back to Verizon. 

Tell us what you think: Have you switched from Verizon to T-Mobile or do you use T-Mobile and want to share your experience? Please leave your feedback in the comments. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

  • charliep67
    I have actually had the opposite experience. Let me first say I had Verizon in NY and I loved it. I even had the pixel 6 pro with its dreaded modem and had great service al.ost everywhere. But about a year ago I got a transfer to Florida. Now at my job I could not even send a text message with Verizon. I did have 5g home internet here in Florida and it worked very good but my cell service was very very spotty. I just switched to Metro by T-Mobile and with the pixel 6 pro which was Verizon branded sim unlocked I got decent service at work. 40- 50 mbps download speed. Now my wife's pixel 6 unlocked from the google.store actually got 150-200 download speed in the same spot. So I got rid of the 6 pro and got the 8 pro now I have full service 200-250 download speeds at work. And I have service everywhere consistently. There are a few spots where I fall back to lte but that's the worst I have seen and it was a strong LTE connection. And that's just with metro not even the full T-Mobile network. I just wish T-Mobile would up their fixed wireless game. My Verizon home.internet got 300 mbps download consistently almost all the time. From what I read T-Mobiles max is 150. That's really not impressive considering what T-Mobile is actually capable of. But I'm sure they will get there. I remember a few years ago I had metro in NY and it was decent enough I only switched to Verizon because I loved FiOS so I figured I might as well switch and get all the discounts Verizon offered and it did serve me well in NY. Unfortunately there is no FiOS in the Daytona Beach area I live in so my choices are spectrum which is cable or some type of fixed wireless. I liked my Verizon 5g home but when I got rid of my two phone lines I lost the discount so the home internet went up to 80 a month and to me it wasn't worth it for just 300 mbps so I switched to spectrum and got gig speed for the same price. Anyway maybe it's your iPhone that is not getting good reception. Is your iPhone Verizon branded? Because I can tell you Verizon branded phones will work on other networks but not very well. Like I said my Verizon 6pro got 20 -50 download when my wife's unlocked pixel 6 got 200 download. Same phone same modem only difference was the Verizon branding.if you can get the iPhone from Apple directly or get rid of the iPhone altogether and get Android.
  • Phyllostachys
    Sorry for your experience! Especially since you were at hospital! Switched to T-Mobile. I was already a 5G Gateway customer. Unlike T-Mobile, Verizon only offers DSL in my area about 50 miles from DC. Been that way ever since I've owned my home here and that's been decades. Cell phone coverage is as good as Verizon at my home. Took a road trip down to Atlanta. Used Google down and back for driving directions and signal only dropped for a few seconds on the way back.
  • Conard
    Nevermind all the advertisements, 5G is not ready for primetime everywhere. When a 5G tower is not available your phone will then search for the nearest 4G/LTE tower in doing so you lose a connection and get excessive battery drain in the process. I've found what works best for me is just to switch the phone to 4G/LTE as the primary until your area has better 5G coverage sometimes in the future. 4G is expected to be around for at least 5 more years due to the reason noted above.
  • mike24611
    admin said:
    I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile as my phone carrier, and I've experienced too many drop calls and slow internet connections since making the move.

    I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile — and it’s been a total disaster so far : Read more
    I've had both as well and live basically in the same area but I've found both carriers to be about the same, years ago Verizon was definitely the better option but T-Mobile has caught up. The price of T-Mobile keeps me a customer but they are raising there's so this might a reason to switch
  • dietpixel
    I've had the complete opposite experience in central NC. Verizon is is fine, but is not nearly as fast as tmobile. When streaming on the go I have to use 480p or 720p and not HD like I can with tmobile. I've literally never had an issue placing a call over the tmobile network in recent memory. Even in edge cell cases in some rural areas tmobile still places the call. From a 4th place network a few years ago with terrible coverage to today it has been a vast improvement and I'm happy I switched back to them.
  • LQJones
    I live in rural Oregon and have had Tmobile for years. Works well and maybe 2 dropped calls a year. I have been pleased with the performance and the 35.00 a month unlimited plan. Verizon plan starts at 70.00 a month. No thanks.
  • citypoint

    Mod Edit - Keep it civil
  • LS_MC
    I have a very different experience! After being with ATT for over 20 years, I switched to T-Mobile and it couldn't be better. ATT constantly had dropped calls, no signal and constant issues. ATT has the worst customer service. I don't think I've had one dropped call since switching to TMobile back in November, 2023. Signal strength is far and away better and places where I had virtually no signal with ATT, I have good signal strength with TMobile. We have 6 phones on our account and everyone has had a similar experience. I live in the midwest and realize where you're at dictates signal strength. I couldn't be happier with TMobile!
  • jamesdrissel
    Former Sprint customer here. Ever since T-Mobile took over the network performance has been terrible. The only thing that works well is speed tests. WeHe shows that they are deliberately degrading performance. I frequently do not get text messages until several minutes later, often 30 or more. Actual network throughput is often down to 4 bytes per minute, just enough to fool the phone into not showing you as disconnected.
  • ramiy
    I had Sprint for many years and never had problems. With T-Mobile, it's very common for my wife and I to be unable to call or to text each other. Neither will go through. Texts pop up hours after they've been sent while calls don't even show up at all. It's beginning to become an issue. Despite the price savings we may need to look for an alternative. Network speed, 5G, none of that matters if calls and texts simply don't go through.