Best & Worst Wireless Carriers: Grading the Support

T-Mobile Customer Service

In Store

We visited the first T-Mobile location at 4 p.m. on a weekday, and several free associates sat at computers in the back. Darlene was kind and provided accurate answers to all of our questions in about three minutes. She even added a few suggestions that weren’t official. For instance, she told us that although T-Mobile didn’t have any phones with tethering (this was prior to the launch of the myTouch 4G), we could hack or root our phone. Darlene said she couldn’t help us with that. She also had many battery life suggestions, including downloading Task Killer, turning down the brightness, and changing the phone’s data from 3G to 2G.

Later that day, at another location, Andrew answered our questions correctly in a fast three minutes. He said we would need Android 2.2 to get tethering on our Cliq and informed us that while our phone would be getting Android 2.1 soon, no further updates would be offered. He provided two simple and correct answers to our transferring photos question: Use a USB connection or e-mail them. For our battery query, Andrew also suggested a task killer app, and recommended turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Web Support

T-Mobile customers can browse web forums or talk to a rep via live chat. After clicking on the Contact Us portion of the main Support page, users can chat with a representative from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. (PST), seven days a week. At 11 a.m. on a weekday, we were connected with Marion. On the tethering question, she correctly noted that this feature was not supported. For photo transfers, she copied and pasted an accurate eight-step guide. Marion paused for a couple of minutes to find the answer to our battery life question. She returned with a massive list of battery suggestions, including turning down the brightness, turning off Wi-Fi, and switching to 2G mode when in a spotty 3G area.

Our Cliq has a unique T-Mobile MyDevice Android app that initiated a customer support text chat, but the app was buggy, and we were only able to ask about tethering and battery life before the service disconnected. During our brief connection, LaToya told us T-Mobile did not offer tethering at this time. On the question of battery life, she wanted to know what software we were running. After an error message popped up, LaToya told us versions 1.0.11, 1.1.4, and 1.1.31 of the Blur software had a battery indicator with inaccurate information. Three more error messages popped up on our device, and then we saw the following: “Chat Server is experience on-going errors.” While buggy, no other carrier offers this type of service from the phone itself.

Phone Support

We navigated a laborious phone tree to reach T-Mobile customer service at 1:40 p.m. on a weekday. An energetic and chatty Amanda was on the line in about two minutes. She indicated that her computer was running unusually slow. She incorrectly told us that the Cliq can be used as a modem, but that we would need to be forwarded to technical support. Amanda correctly said we could use the USB cable to transfer photos from our phone’s memory card.

Amanda then accurately described a nine-step process to upload the Cliq’s photos into a photo album. To help us save battery life, Amanda recommended that we “power cycle” regularly, meaning we should turn the phone off for 30 seconds before turning it back on. She also recommended setting the screen to turn off quickly and shutting off vibrate.

Amanda then transferred us to Crystal to answer the tethering question. She told us that T-Mobile doesn’t support it, but that there might be apps in the market that could help. However, she said not to root or unlock the phone because it would void the warranty. The call took a lengthy 25 minutes.

Our second call, with the friendly Michelle, took 16 minutes on a weekday afternoon. She said T-Mobile doesn’t officially support tethering, but suggested we go to This link led us to a forum full of tethering-related posts from T-Mobile users with various smart phones. Michelle added: “There is no extra charge for that—I think that’s why we’re not supposed to promote it.” She then recommended that we change our plan to one with unlimited minutes and text messages. On the photos question, Michelle recommended using a USB cable or an adapter for our memory card. To increase battery life, Michelle repeated three of the helpful and easy suggestions we’d heard from previous reps.


In general, T-Mobile reps were accurate, friendly, and fast at getting us answers.

T-Mobile Customer Service Final Grade

In Store A-
Web B+
Phone B
Overall Grade B+

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Submit Comments

  1. DJ Smith Says:

    I tethered my Droid using the PDANet app but ended up leaving Verizon for T-Mobile and a G2 which I like much better.

  2. cm Says:

    One correction, tethering IS support on the BB Tour with Sprint. I have 200 devices using it.

  3. K De Says:

    I think you are biased in your grading of T-Mobile phone support experience. This carrier shoud have received a C or a C- grade for Phone support instead of the generous B. You said the phone tree was laborious, you got transferred to another rep for the answer to one of your three questions, one of them incorrectly told you the Cliq can be used as a modem, one of them told you to power cycle the phone regularly to conserve battery (wow!), one call took 25 minutes and the other took 16 minutes (and you said T-Mo reps were fast?), and one of them even told you to root the phone in order to tether, which would void your warranty. Are you being objective about this?

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