Here's the latest update with my trial switch to T-Mobile. We still have our AT&T lines, and I actually haven't had enough fully functional experimental time to get a good impression. While a little bit of this might be blamed on customer support incompetence, it's also partly my fault for trying the wrong things in the wrong order. As far as the coverage goes, it seems to be just about equal with AT&T. All of the signal strengths virtually match on both phones no matter where I am. I am still doing most of my calls on my AT&T line out of either habit or necessity, so I still can't comment on the network stability. I get 3G on both phones in all of the same places. However, my issues are all with the data plan (which is critical to me). Here is what I've learned so far:
1. If you want unlimited web and you have a smart phone, get a Talk/Text/Web plan. Don't get a Talk/Text plan and try to add web services. It's just a headache (plus extra money).
2. If you have a smart phone (G1 or otherwise), don't try to get any kind of data except for the full Smartphone or Android plan. Anything else will not work, at least not without a TOS violation and clever hack, which I was unable to find and, had I found it, probably unwilling to try.
3. Swapping SIM cards in and out of multiple phones on newly activated T-Mobile lines can trigger some kind of limitation on your line. This was told to me by a very competent-sounding rep from the T-Mobile's G1 Support Department.
4. T-Mobile's first-tier support is outsourced, probably to India. The accents pretty much give it away even though they have Americanized names. The people are generally pretty good with following a quick protocol to get you where you want to be, or to transfer you to someone who knows what's going on. They are also not in an obvious hurry to get you off the phone, which is nice.
5. It is not difficult at all to get a real person from the support department. Tell them you need help with your G1 if you want someone in the US. (Obviously, it's good to have a G1 if this is your approach.)
Here's the really strange situation that I'm dealing with now: the T-Mobile SIM won't work on the web when it's in the G1, but it will when it's in an unlocked AT&T phone. The AT&T SIM will work on the web in either phone. How weird is that?! After a very long phone support conversation, my next step is to go get a new SIM for both lines and hope it works right in the G1, now that the plan is setup the way it's supposed to be. We'll have to see how that goes. Hopefully it will be working simply enough not to be able to fill a whole post with notes and back story by next week.
Disclaimer: I am not trying to advertise for T-Mobile. My last post totally sounded like that though, which I realized after I re-read it a day after I posted it. I am in no way affiliated with them, in case anyone was wondering.
One more brief aside: although I started trying to write each Friday (mostly because January 1st was a Friday), I think Saturday is really a much more realistic day to do this. Except for the first day, every Friday I've written something has been really busy, and I felt like the post quality suffered just a bit. We're usually doing something on Friday evenings, and although we're also usually doing something on Saturday, there's a lot more time to play with since there's no regular business day work going on. So, I think I'm going to switch my day to Saturday. Just letting you all know.