Nextel or T-Mobile?

After an afternoon of looking at new cell phones (what a confusing, mind-boggling experience!) we have narrowed it down to one of these two. Anyone have experience with either company? Good or bad?

We have had cell phones through Sprint for the last six years, and after a bunch of calls dropped we have decided to change carriers.

Shopping for a new phone and plan is about as much fun as going to the dentist IMHO.

I had T-Mobile at one time and the only complaint I had was their coverage area. For instance, when driving from Chicago to St. Louis I would have no coverage from Joliet to Springfield. Aside from that I loved their service. Plenty of minutes for a good price and I never had a dropped call. Sound quality was also very good compared to other providers. T-Mobile was the only one to offer GSM technology when I signed up, while other providers were still on CMDA (this has changed–most providers are moving to GSM or 3G).

I have friends who use Nextel, and they have no complaints about their service. Nextel’s biggest advantage is the walkie-talkie feature, but that may soon change. Verizon Wireless has announced plans to offer that feature later this year, and I believe Verizon’s network is larger than Nextel’s and has better technology.

When I worked in the telecommunications field I heard heard that both T-Mobile and Nextel were in bit of trouble. T-Mobile was having trouble expanding their network and customer base, to the point they were discussing a merger with Cingular Wireless. Nextel’s problem was with technology. Nextel’s network is built with a technology that only allows coverage in a metropolitan area. They have plans to upgrade their network, but are far behind when it comes to offering wide ranging roaming like other wireless providers.

Here’s a cite regarding Nextel and Verizon:

I don’t know about the US specifically, but T-Mobile are one of the world’s largest mobile operators. As well as being a huge player in mainland Europe they own one of the UK’s four dominant players. I would expect them to bail out any struggling localised operations.

First of all, thanks for your comments.

Personally, this could be viewed as a disadvantage, too. I carried a Nextel phone at my last job, and it got annoying to beeped all the time. It was part of my job to be available all the time, but after having it beep when I was in the toilet or in a conversation with another person - let’s just say I would have gladly thrown the phone to the ground and stomped it more than once. I don’t need to be that available anymore, and for a personal phone I’d rather not have that feature. I can see how some people might like it, but I’m not one of them.

I noticed when we were shopping, most stores were pushing T-Mobile. Our problem is we like T-Mobile’s plan better, but prefer Nextel’s phones.

Thanks for your input!

I’ve done exactly that before. Nextel (or Motorola, I suppose) makes heavy-duty phones for the construction industry, and they’re just about impossible to destroy. In five years, the only ones that I remember having to be replaced were either run over by a bulldozer or dropped (possibly thrown) into a pond.

As Boscibo mentioned, that walkie-talkie feature can be a disadvantage. I left that job over a year ago, but I’m still so conditioned that I flinch every time I hear the “bee-beep.”

I have a T-Mobile phone right now, and I’ve never had any problems with either company. The only difference I really notice is that T-Mobile seems to have more representatives around than Nextel does.

Then go with T-Mobile, is my advice. Honestly, though some are built sturdier than others, in the end a phone is a phone. Although the features are a major selling point these days, the main reason you’re buying it is to have something to talk into.

I have T-Mobile, and I love it. Now that they finally have Unlimited Nights, I’d say it’s the best bang for the buck. In my research (and in my area) I’ve found that T-Mobile and Verizon are best for coverage. For me, it’s just like having a normal phone, only smaller.

I’ll say this: Nextel offers some great features for the money, and I eliminated them in my research first because I simply didn’t have the money. So I don’t know too much about Nextel, but I’m still impressed by them. You should be fine with either one. But if money’s an issue, you’ll be more than happy under T-Mobile.

Interesting timing, I just walked in the door from a trip to Best Buy to buy a cell phone. I liked the fee lfo the samsung phone and the price was right.
I talked to the T-Mobile salesperson (NOT a Best Buy salesperson) and he was fairly helpful but since he worked for TMobiel he was less than forthcoming about TMobiles features in relation to the other providers.

I was all set to buy it, I know my credit is sucky so I expected a deposit of some kind. THe guy says “no deposit but there is a $35 application fee” No biggie, I can spend that.

TWENTY fucking minutes later the guy has the paperwork done, I swear it was like watching paint dry. He askss if I want it on my credit card, I say no, he pauses as he is about to tell me the grand total and says “oh, the app fee is $75” :dubious:

Huh? I specifically confirmed 35 bucks when he was on the phone with the authorization person and now he just up and tacks on 40 bucks?

I walked out.

I’ll head over to the BB near my house tomorrow and talk to the BB employee and see what they have to say about the app fee .

I’ve been a Verizon customer for a number of years and just switched to Nextel. Although Nextel does not have seamless coverage, they are good when traveling along major roads and have very good density of coverage in metropolitan areas. Since most of the people that I need to talk to on a daily basis have Nextel, the direct connect feature helps cut down on my land line bill. Free incoming calls, free night and weekend use added up to my cell bill saving what I was spending on local and long distance land line. I’m told that the direct connect is supposed to go nationwide later this year.

Overall, I’d look at what you’re presently spending to yak, and what mobile plan can offer you the greatest convenience.

You can get real good prices on T-Mobile phones online at places like And the T-Mobile stores will match the prices, so you can print out the details from Amazon, take it into a T-Mobile store, and get the phone then and there for the same price. I was able to get a nice Samsung phone that was supposed to cost $299 for free this way ($50 less a $50 rebate). This was a much better phone than they generally give away for free.

Mike G I’m sorry to say it, but I think you’re going to be stuck paying that $75 application fee for a T-Mobile phone. A buddy of mine worked at the T-Mobile store and set me up with my phone. He was able to get me the best possible deal there, but he wasn’t able to waive that fee for me (my credit is bad too). But, maybe you can save that money back by doing that Amazon trick.

Thanks for the info Blunt! I was really hoping he wasn’t trying to screw me, I’ll head over to Amazon and see what’s up.

I can understand wanting to dump Sprint if coverage is not good in your area and you’re getting frequent dropped calls but I’ll toss this in for shits and giggles:

I called Sprint and told them I wanted to leave after a year of their service because of dropped calls, etc. I went to the forums at and read some posts. Turns out that there are Retention plans to keep customers. You call *2 and tell Claire “retention.” Based upon what people said in their posts, I knew to ask for a specific plan:

1300 anytime minutes
3000 evening and weekend, starting at 8 p.m.

Price? $50.

That made me stay. Also, with the 3G being out now, there are far, far less dropped calls for me - that does, however, involve an upgrade to a 3G phone. For me, I wanted the A500. I called customer service again, about 6 months ago, and told them that I thought it sucked that current customers didn’t get price deals on phones. The A500 is a $300 phone. So the representative told me that she’d give me $100 credit on my bill so I could put it toward a new phone and she’d give me a month free. Turns out Costco sold the phone for $200 and my local Circuit City price matched with a 10% difference discount. I paid $190 for the phone and had a $160 credit on my Sprint account.

Total price paid for $300 phone? $30.

I use my phone a ton and I’m fortunate that in my area, I probably get about one dropped call a month.

If it isn’t too bad in your area, I’d seriously consider calling customer service and telling them your plans to go with another carrier and see what they offer you. You can even mention the retention plans - when I did, they knew exactly what I was talking about.


Wow. We had looked at Best Buy, but we are going to do the actual purchase at a local store that specializes in cell phones. I went to the T-Mobile website, and according to this the fee (if application fee and activation fee are the same thing) should only be $35. Good thing you walked, Mike.

Thank you for all the input, and ** Enginerd ** - I still flinch too when I hear that Nextel beep. Ugh.

Tiburon - it isn’t just the dropped calls, billing has screwed us over, double billing and then proving very hard to deal with when we tried to clear it up. MY SO rides his bike to work about 7 miles away from home. More than once he has tried to call me for a ride when he has had bike problems, and those very important calls were dropped and I never got them. So, we would prefer to get away from Sprint.

Ack, that’s a pain, Boscibo - I can understand the switch.

Exactly, Boscibo! I’m buying the Samsung S105 on Monday for $30, $270 CHEAPER than Best Buy, plus I don’t get reamed on the activation fee!

Blunt, I owe you a beer or three, buddy:)

Both my wife and I have had T-Mobile (formerly Voicestream) accounts for two years now. We have been really pleased. The pricing is excellent, especially with all minutes being anytime minutes and free weekend long distance–even for cheaper contracts. Sound quality is fine, considering that all cell phones are inferior. The coverage has been OK, it seems like some friends with Verizon can call places that we cannot and vice-versa about the same amount of situations. All I know is that Hawaii, Philadelphia and New York all come in great from around Seattle. GSM is more secure than the other cell formats as well.

See if Costco still offers T-Mobile deals–ours had zero up front fees and about $120 in rebates.

To me, most of the phones are pretty similar–it is the service you are purchasing and living with. Good luck.

I used to have t-mobile for about a year and a half. The reason that I stopped using it was because of the bad service. It was because it is a GSM network, and it just isn’t very widespread yet. I would definately look at the coverage area, if it covers everything you need, go for it.

The AT&T guy said that a GSM signal isn’t as strong as a digital signal (they sell both), and that a digital signal will work through concrete/in a basement, while a GSM signal won’t. I found that to be true when I had my t-mobile phone.

They have good plans, but it wasn’t worth it to me because I didn’t have a signal a lot of the time.

BluMoon, are you in the Twin Cities Metro area? That’s where we are too.

I looked on Amazon, and the $149 phones we are thinking about getting are on sale for 1 cent and an $80 rebate. BUT, the shared plan we want isn’t available through Amazon. I wonder if our local store would honor that Amazon price (and we need 2 phones, I couldn’t figure out how to do that on Amazon, the order form would only let me choose to buy one phone) so maybe that is the catch?

I would love to get away with paying 2 cents for the 2 phones we want plus get a rebate, but the plans Amazon offers are different that the plans we were shown at the cell phone store.

I should add that an international phone is needed at this point, that is why Nextel and T-Mobile were our two choices.

Yes I am in the twin cities. The phone worked great for the most part up here. In my apartment I usually only had 2 or 3 bars (out of 4) of service. I go to the U of M and in a lot of the buildings I had no service.

When not in the cities, (Rochester, surrounding areas, in the country) the service was very spotty, although improving, especially in Rochester.

After reading that last post, it looks like I am giving t-mobile a totally bad rap. The service was generally very good up here, and recently, very good all the way down to Rochester.

Only when in concrete buildings does the phone not have a good signal. Plus, the text messaging is a great feature.

Nah, it doesn’t sound like a bad rap, it sounds like the truth. I’m actually in Western Wisconsin, and I am concerned about signal strength. Very much so. With my Sprint PCS phone, my SO in Bayport was getting a lot of dropped calls. I could get a signal sometimes (not all the time) at the barn when I board my horse. At the State Park a few miles farther out than my barn - nothing. At my brother’s house a few miles past the State Park, it was spotty.