As John Legere rolled out of his magenta covered bed this morning, adjusted his magenta pajamas, slipped on his magenta slippers and stepped out on his balcony sipping his coffee out of a magenta colored mug, a smile crept along his face. The man bleeds a vibrant mix of red and blue, having worked hard to make his brand a powerhouse in the mobile industry. Days, like this must feel good. As he prepares his daily, energized assault on Twitter, Legere will have the backing of a review released today by Tom’s Guide, ranking T-Mobile as the number one carrier in the US. No small feat considering the respected website put it not only against the other 3 big carrier but also threw in the top five discount carriers, also known as MVNOs, popular for their discount price-models, into the mix.
So how did Tom and the gang reach their conclusion? Pretty simple actually. All nine carriers were compared across five categories: Performance, Plans, Customer Support, Phone Selection and Special Features. So, they went to a few cities and tried out each network. Then they compared the plans; individual and family. Customer service, phone selection and any extra features were then calculated into the overall score as well. In the end T-Mobile squeaked by the second place Verizon to claim the podium. T-Mobile’s balance and constituency are seen throughout the ranking as the carrier took 1st and 2nd place in every category.
On the MVNO side, Boost Mobile tied with Metro PCS with poor Cricket bringing up the rear. The last place for the green carrier was surprising since most of the points were lost in the performance category. Cricket is running on a “throttled” AT&T network, and yet placed below carriers relying on Sprint’s towers, ranked as the worst of the big four.
You can read the whole report at Tom’s Guide for specific strengths and weaknesses of each carrier, but meanwhile, congrats to T-Mobile on this victory. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on Twitter watching how Legere rubbing this in the face of the competition.
Bonus Op-Ed: I would hate to take anything away from T-Mobile on this day but I would be dishonest if I didn’t mention that this test and the results don’t sit well with me personally. My opinions are mostly anecdotal in nature but suffice it to say I found the method of testing fairly flawed.
First of, the performance test was done across only six cities. This is not remotely indicative of national coverage. The test also skirts the issue of T-Mobile’s performance outside the major cities. As someone that has taken most of these networks on motorcycle trips across a dozen states in the last few years, my results were very different.
Secondly, the plan rankings made little sense. Although the big four definitely have more choices and in some cases do save you a little money when you factor in family plans, the ranking in this category seemed almost arbitrary. Most of the MVNOs still come out on top or at least remain competitive, while completely dominating in individual plans (albeit with certain restrictions) something the points contradicted. In the end, I don’t think this issue is as clear-cut as Tom’s Guide demonstrated and is fairly misleading.
Finally, the phone selection. If you were to purchase phones directly from the carriers, the MVNOs definitely come in at the bottom. However, with subsidies pretty much dead, carrier branded phones are no longer the only or even the best options. The MVNOs that allow you to bring your device, present customers with more freedom of device selection. This is not taken at all into account, wrongfully hurting the scores of some carriers in this list.
In the end, the best thing you can do is try out each one and choose for yourself. Most of the carriers either offer test drives or have 14 -30 day no hassle return policies. Its your money and you owe to yourself to spend it on what works best for you. As someone that uses the bottom ranked Cricket, I have had a better experience with them than the other 8 options after putting them through some tests of my own.
So what do you guys think? Did T-Mobile deserve the win? Are you a happy T-Mobile customer or planning on switching? Let us know in the comments or track us down on social media.Source: Tom’s Guide