MetroPCS San Francisco / San Jose Review

october 26, 2002

OK, I put about 15 hours of use on my MetroPCS phone now and I think that's enough for a quick review of the service so far. So, for the record: I'm using MetroPCS in the San Francisco Bay Area -- mostly in San Jose and the surrounding areas. My initial thought: The service is great. Read more for more details. So, it's been like 15 hours of talking on the phone. Some 100 plus phone calls later I think that unless MetroPCS over populates its service or does not expand its bandwidth with usage, this is and will be a great service.

First off, the coverage is good. I get good coverage inside my house -- something that my Verizon (work cell) and my old SprintPCS did not have. Though the SprintPCS coverage inside the house was not as hot as the MetroPCS, it was still quite usable. I've wandered with the MetroPCS phone as far south as the Gilroy Outlets. Technically the Gilroy Outlets is out of range for MetroPCS coverage, but amazingly if I used the phone outdoors I got a clear signal (I got no signal indoors though). I've used the phone as far north as Fremont and the coverage there was good. My boss' wife just got one too and she's using it in Palo Alto and though PA sits a bit off the coverage area she gets good reception indoors and outdoors. I think that the COVERAGE MAP is somewhat conservative.

The sound quality of the service is not as good as Verizon or SprintPCS. It's good, but not great. There is always a little hiss in the call, it's not annoying, but it's really noticeable. Other than that the sound quality is useable.

The Sony Ericsson T206 phone is a great phone. I like it a lot. The menus are easy to navigate. Things are easy to find. Operating the thing is so easy that the manual is just an after thought. Too bad MetroPCS does not have webbrowsing ability on the phone. Another feature that the phone has is SMS capabilities, but to my knowledge there is no way to send a SMS message to the phone other than from another phone. Other providers let you send SMS messages to phones via a webpage, but nothing like that from MetroPCS.

The long-distance works good, I made only one long-distance call so far, but it does work -- it's rather cheap too since it is only 5 cents a minute. I have a bucket of $10 worth right now for usage. The one feature that I discovered by accident is that I can make three-way calls with my phone and not incure any charges, now that is pretty cool.

So what am I using my phone for nowadays? Well, it's basically my "landline" because of the no limitation on minutes. Also, I use Yahoo! by Phone so that I can check my email and news (weather, stocks, etc) by phone. And 1-800-555-tell has all the sudden got more popular :) (I can look up movie times and all sorts of other information by calling).

I think that MetroPCS will be a hit if they can keep up the service that they have now. If the service gets bad it's really no big loss because there's no long term contract. Otherwise I think I will stick with MetroPCS. I hope that their model of cellular phone business will push other competitors into better deals or even the same type of service -- I know that AT&T is now offering a $99/mo all you can talk service. The AT&T service is nice for people who take their phone our of their metro area because it's all free long distance and roaming. Otherwise, since I'm in my metro area all the time with my MetroPCS phone, I think that $40 is more than well worth it for this service.