Is it my phone or T-Mobile?

Is there a way to determine if my connectivity issues are being caused by my phone or by my carrier? I have a Moto G6 running Android 9 on the My Choice plan. The carrier is T-Mobile US. My connectivity has nose-dived in the last couple of months. I am disabled and spend 99% of my time at home (which is why losing RW’s wifi hurt so much). At this point, I can’t make any calls from home. Texts are sent sporadically, but only if they are very, very short texts. The cell coverage symbol shows only one tiny bar and no LTE. I don’t want to buy a new phone from RW and still have cell coverage issues. If cell coverage is the problem, which carrier should I consider? I used to be pretty tech-savvy, but I’ve gotten older and technology has become more complex. Someone please have mercy on this poor ole soul!

Hi @AuntTC,

First, no phone currently sold by RW works with your My Choice plan. Any of the three phones currently sold at RW’s online store would require moving to an RW 5.0 plan (AT&T network coverage). Do you know if AT&T’s coverage is good in your area?

Second, your issue as described sounds more like a coverage issue than a phone issue per se. It’s possible a newer phone would improve the experience with your current coverage. Your Moto G6 is 5 years old. It lacks Band 71 (important for T-Mobile coverage particularly if one is in a rural area). It also lacks 5G coverage. 5G is hyped more than it deserves to be but the one thing 5G does in many areas is improve coverage.

When you experience the one bar coverage and don’t see LTE; do you see any letters (for example an H or an E) next to the cell signal strength indicator?

Are you comfortable sharing a zip code (nothing more specific), so we might check coverage for the various cellular networks in your area?

Meanwhile, if you still have the old RW app still active on the phone, I suggest disabling it. It’s known to sometimes interfere now that RW’s former proprietary technology is no longer used.

Roland - you are a saint and you explained everything perfectly. My zip code is 28166, we are in a rural area and kind of live in a valley. I see no other letters next to the signal indicator. I removed the RW app several months ago. We were so happy with RW for a long time and we were one of the early subscribers. It kills me to consider leaving RW. Thank you for offering to check cell coverage for my area!

Hi @AuntTC,

I hate saying it but the RW we originally signed up with is no more. It’s best to think of RW by DISH as something different. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad but I no longer see a reason to remain loyal to the RW brand if there’s a better option.

On balance, it looks like AT&T offers the best coverage in your area. T-Mobile is, however, a reasonably close second. Surprisingly, to me, Verizon is not good at all. Coverage maps aren’t perfect, so if you know which one of these three offers the best coverage in your area, please let us know.

Before offering suggestions regarding a new plan and/or phone, I’d like to confirm some details regarding your current My Choice plan. Specifically, do you know how much cell data is attached to your current My Choice plan? Is it 1 GB or more than that?

I can’t promise to answer further tonight but will do my best to follow up tomorrow. Of course, others may chime in with their suggestions as well.

It’s no rush, Roland - I just appreciate your help. We have 2 lines with 1 GB each. My husband will push up against his 1 GB every month, but he‚Äôs only gone over one time in the last couple of years. I never use all my data. We no longer travel, so that’s not an issue. I have some hearing loss, so good quality call volume is extremely important. We don’t use our phones for gaming. Top-of-the-line camera isn’t necessary. We’ve always had Motorola phones; although we do have some exposure to Apple products with our iPads.

Since you use iPads the iPhone SE 2022 might be a good fit when you’re ready to upgrade. One benefit is that calls and texts would ring on your iPad.

For low cost low data use plans I like T-Mobile’s prepaid Connect plans and also Tello.

Hello @AuntTC,

I’m going to amend something I said in a previous post:

@rolandh said:
On balance, it looks like AT&T offers the best coverage in your area. T-Mobile is, however, a reasonably close second. Surprisingly, to me, Verizon is not good at all.

Another source suggests Verizon may have the best coverage in your area.

Therefore, I’ll also reiterate something I previously posted.

@rolandh said:
Coverage maps aren’t perfect, so if you know which one of these three offers the best coverage in your area, please let us know.

I’d also like to revisit your initial question.

@AuntTC said:
Is it my phone or T-Mobile?

One way to test would be to obtain an alternative T-Mobile network SIM and test it in your Moto G6. For this purpose, I second @davenc’s suggestion of Tello. Many providers require one to transfer their phone number during activation. Tello, like the old RW, does not require one transfer their number when activating. You could acquire a Tello SIM with a new phone number and test Tello’s service in your Moto G6. If you find the service to be good, it would be possible to transfer your RW number to Tello after the fact. Testing would mean swapping the Tello SIM into the G6 (and swapping the RW My Choice SIM out). Your RW My Choice service would remain undisturbed until and unless you decided to transfer your number. You would be able to continue using RW service on the G6 by reversing the SIM swap.

Otherwise, regardless of whom you choose as a provider going forward, it may be time to consider a new phone. Mobile networks have evolved considerably in the 5 years since you’ve had your Moto G6. A newer phone is likely to provide a better experience regardless of which provider you ultimately decide upon.

Since you mention iPad, I’ll mention if you’re comfortable navigating your iPad, navigating an iPhone is essentially the same. An additional benefit of iPhone as opposed to Androids is things like the flavor of WiFi calling provided by the carrier network are more likely to work. @davenc’s suggestion of the 2022 iPhone SE is about as cost conscious as one can get when shopping for an iPhone, however, the screen size would be considerably smaller than your Moto G6 (if that matters).

Beyond the above, here are some options broken down by phone network:

AT&T Network

Since it appears AT&T has good coverage in your area, you could move to RW 5.0. You would need new phones since the Moto G6 is not compatible with AT&T’s network. Whether the new phones were Androids or iPhones is your choice, however, I’ll mention iPhones work quite well on RW 5.0. iPhones are not compatible with My Choice. RW 5.0 would be the same $20 (plus taxes and telecom fees) for unlimited talk & text plus 1 GB of data as your current My Choice plans.

T-Mobile Network

For T-Mobile network coverage I very much like Tello. I have lines of service with Tello in my household and (if you haven’t seen it) have reviewed Tello here: There’s a chance Tello (including WiFi calling) would work with your Moto G6, so this is an option that might not require new phones.

Verizon Network

For folks with modest cell data needs I like either Mobi or MobileX. Both currently use Verizon’s network for coverage though Mobi is soon launching T-Mobile coverage.

It’s unclear if once Mobi launches T-Mobile coverage one would still be able to sign up for Mobi’s Verizon coverage. Anyone already using Mobi’s Verizon coverage will not be obliged to move to T-Mobile coverage. Mobi has one plan cleverly called the Mobi plan. The Mobi plan is $10 (plus taxes and telecom fees) for unlimited talk & text plus 1 GB of data. Additional data, if needed, may be purchased for $4.00 per GB. Mobi’s plan is essentially My Choice with better pricing.

MobileX offers a plan that breaks down as follows:

MobileX Platform Fee - $1.99
Unlimited Talk $ Text - $4.50
1 GB of Cell Data - $2.10
Total - $8.59

Additional cell data is available at $2.10 per GB. Additionally, MobileX (like the old RW 2.0 refund plans) credits the cost of any unused cell data against the following month’s bill. Taxes and telecom fees are not included in the above referenced pricing.

I do not know how well (if at all) your Moto G6 would perform with either Mobi or MobileX. I suspect you would want/need new phones.


I fear I may have provided more than you bargained for. I would be better able to narrow suggestions if I knew which of the three national networks (AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon) provided the best coverage in your area. Unfortunately, coverage maps only get one so far. If possible, I suggest asking family, friends and acquaintances in the area for their experience with AT&T’s, T-Mobile’s and/or Verizon’s networks.

Our next door neighbors use Verizon and they are content with it. They are in the same valley, so that’s encouraging. MobileX sound intriguing. I’m a little concerned about Mobi, due to the upcoming addition of T-Mobile. That’s what happened to us with RW. We’ve also talked about Consumer Cellular - I like the fact that we can talk to U.S-based customer service. But it seems they use several networks and supposedly assign them according to our location.

US Mobile has decent pricing for low data usage. Their pooled plan on Verizon is around $12 per month with 1gb of data. I’ve used their service only briefly so I can’t provide a thorough review but their customer service seems to be highly regarded. They’re currently offering a 100 day free trial when bringing a number to them.

Davenc - that sounds like a great option, too! Thanks!

RolandH and Davenc - to ensure that I can use wifi from home, do I need to be careful about which phone I select or is this a question for the carrier?

Wifi for general data usage or wifi calling? For data usage any smartphone can connect to wifi even without a carrier service plan.

The information provided by @rolandh is probably the best you will see here.

Here is what ChatGPT has to say when asked the following: “Without knowing which carrier or mvno, what should a user look for to determine if WiFi calling is available”
To determine if Wi-Fi calling is available on a particular carrier or mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), here are some general steps you can follow:

Check the device compatibility: Ensure that your mobile device supports Wi-Fi calling. Most modern smartphones, including both iOS and Android devices, offer Wi-Fi calling functionality. You can typically find this information in your device’s settings or by searching online for your device model’s specifications.

Research carrier or MVNO support: Look for information about Wi-Fi calling support on the carrier’s or MVNO’s website. Navigate to their support pages or search for “Wi-Fi calling” on their site. Check if they explicitly mention Wi-Fi calling as a feature they offer.

Contact customer support: If you can’t find clear information on the website, it’s a good idea to contact the carrier or MVNO’s customer support directly. Reach out to their customer service via phone, email, or online chat, and inquire about Wi-Fi calling support. They should be able to provide you with accurate information regarding Wi-Fi calling availability on their network.

Online forums and communities: Engage in online forums or communities related to your carrier or MVNO. Look for discussions where users share their experiences with Wi-Fi calling. Other customers might have already asked similar questions or provided insights into Wi-Fi calling support on that network.

Search for reviews: Search for reviews or articles about the carrier or MVNO that you’re interested in. Tech websites or publications often cover carrier features, including Wi-Fi calling. Reading these reviews can provide you with additional information and user experiences.

Remember, Wi-Fi calling availability can vary depending on the carrier or MVNO, their partnerships, and the specific device you’re using. Therefore, it’s essential to consult the official sources, contact customer support, and rely on user experiences to determine if Wi-Fi calling is supported by a particular carrier or MVNO.

With all due respect to ChatGPT, if I were shopping for a factory unlocked phone with the greatest likelihood of being supported for carrier WiFi calling across networks, I would shop in the following order:

  1. Apple iPhone
  2. Google Pixel
  3. Samsung
  4. Motorola

Apple’s iron fisted control of the iPhone experience has its advantages. Broad carrier WiFi calling support across networks is one of those advantages.

Google’s control of the Pixel experience is the closest one will come on Android.

Carrier WiFi calling is generally broadly supported across networks on Samsung phones. Samsung has occasionally broken carrier WiFi calling with firmware updates but usually fixes it.

Carrier WiFi calling support across networks with Motorola phones is hit or miss as RW members using My Choice plans unfortunately discovered once RW’s proprietary technology was removed.

I’m still weighing all the pros and cons. I really want to go with US Mobile - but they only sell used iPhones and with no warranty. They have other new phones available that I’ve never heard of. MobileX doesn’t sell phones yet. So, that leaves RW, Consumer Cellular and Tello. My husband is going to try Tello’s SIM card on his old Moto G6. I want to try an iPhone. I’m afraid of RW, simply because customer support is sketchy (except for you guys, of course). Consumer Cellular sells iPhone 11 and iPhone SE 3rd Generation - and their customer service is good. Both RW and Consumer Cellular use T-Mobile and Verizon - and I really don’t want to risk getting stuck with T-Mobile again. Any other tips before I make my final decision?

I would recommend buying an iphone from apple directly so you will be able to easily change carriers in case the one you move to doesn’t meet your needs. Any new iphone you buy will be compatible with AT&T, Verizon, TMobile and their respective MVNOs

@AuntTC said:
I really want to go with US Mobile - but they only sell used iPhones and with no warranty.

As @davenc points out, it isn’t required to purchase the phone from the service provider with which one intends to do business. Depending upon the service provider in question, a phone purchased from them may be locked to their service meaning if things don’t work out you wouldn’t necessarily be able to take the phone to another provider. Particularly for iPhone or Google Pixels, I suggest purchasing from Apple or Google directly. Factory unlocked phones including iPhones and Google Pixels are also readily available at retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, etc.

@AuntTC said:
So, that leaves RW, Consumer Cellular and Tello.

RW’s phones are locked to RW 5.0 plans. I believe phones sold at Consumer Cellular’s store are locked to their service as well. As far as I know, phones sold at Tello’s store are factory unlocked.

@AuntTC said:
My husband is going to try Tello’s SIM card on his old Moto G6.

I’m interested in hearing how this works out. I have tried multiple Motorola phones with Tello’s SIM. When they were running Android 11, carrier WiFi calling worked. After they updated to Android 12, carrier WiFi calling stopped working. Since the Moto G6 is still running an Android version older than Android 11 (Android 9), it would be an interesting (to me) data point whether carrier WiFi calling works or not.

@AuntTC said:
Both RW and Consumer Cellular use T-Mobile and Verizon - and I really don’t want to risk getting stuck with T-Mobile again.

Neither RW or Consumer Cellular use Verizon’s network. RW 5.0 uses AT&T. Consumer Cellular offers a choice of AT&T or T-Mobile. If you want to be on Verizon’s network, go with US Mobile or, if willing to try something new, MobileX.