But how much? T-Mobile 4G confusion

As I’m due for an upgrade on T-Mobile, I started taking a look at the new LTE phones. Once you get to the T-Mobile site, I drilled into the handset details to find what the differences are –  and even if there actually are any between the Samsung Galaxy SIII and its recently announced LTE brother.

Apart from the colour, it seemed there wasn’t. The LTE chip doesn’t change the talk time, the battery life, the size or thickness of the phone, nothing. This was nothing short of a miracle! I knew I’d be using more data with the new 4G service, so wanted to see how much more memory the phone had compared to the original one. That’s when things started to get interesting.

Maybe its just me, but I couldn’t find the memory for the SIII LTE variant posted on the T-Mobile site anywhere. Its plain to see on the normal SIII as the 16gb is mentioned in the heading. Not to be deterred, I selected the two phones and compared them. Still no information. I almost threw my hands up in annoyance when the online chat box popped up. “Now we’re getting somewhere” I thought. The online person let me know that both phones are 16gb variants, which isn’t a deal breaker.

“So how much am I paying for the LTE usage? What will the new tariffs be?” I asked.

“We can’t tell you until the end of next month.” The sales guy typed back.

“But how will I know if I can afford to use the 4G on the 4G phone?”

“I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to advise until the network is up.” Came the answer. So I can now buy a 4G phone, use it for 2 months on 3G only, and then upgrade afterwards. Only, if there are new 4G tarrifs, then does that mean I may lose my Full-Monty unlimited data? T-Mobile can’t tell me.

Is the service capped in some way? T-Mobile can’t tell me. Am I going to pay a lot more? T-Mobile are unable to comment.

It comes down to this. I understand that EE isn’t up and running yet, but they are selling the phones for use on EE. I have the option to trust a mobile phone network to see sense with the 2 year deal I’m about to buy, with the optimism that all these things will happen without some kind of cost implication, or at least one that I won’t mind, and that my unlimited data will remain intact. My other option is to realise that as an adult, buying something without complete information for a service that I don’t actually know anything about yet may not be the best option, lest I be stuck with a 4G phone that in itself will be stuck on 3G speeds. And I’m not at all certain that battery life and talktime information is 100% correct.

I’ve also just realised that sales guy has advised that I can’t move to the new plan until an entire month after Olaf Swantee has announced EE is going live. I’m not angry. I’m very very confused.