T-Mobile Network Quality

As you’ve noticed, I bought an iPhone. When you’re living in the Netherlands, you’ve got two options to get an iPhone. The first one is walk to an Apple reseller, buy an iPhone and sell your soul to T-Mobile. The second option is to drive to Belgium, convince a reseller to sell you a simlock-free iPhone, and get a Vodafone iPhone “Super Sim Only” contract. I went for the first option, and to be honest I kind of regret it. The iPhone is brilliant, but the T-Mobile network in the Netherlands sucks. Bigtime.

If your life depends on somebodies availabilty, please make sure to check they’re not using the T-Mobile or Orange network (the companies merged). Don’t let T-Mobile fool you with the “iPhone has bad reception hype”. I can make screenshots like you see here each day. I have “No service” but I can see the Vodafone and KPN networks just fine.

Although the GSM coverage maps for T-Mobile indicate that the gsm1800 coverage very good, a lot of customers, including me, will tell you otherwise from personal experience. I think the 3G coverage on the map is also unrealistic to say the least.

Here’s a short list of locations I went to the last couple of weeks. Please note that in all of these locations, I could reliably see the Vodafone network, inside and outside.


Location Inside buildings Outside
Amsterdam, VU hospital
(Parking Central Station)


Terrible right? In Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Haaksbergen and Leusden I actually had to walk outside to make calls, or to see if I had missed any.

I really hope that this will improve significantly, otherwise I have to try to unlock my iPone and buy a Vodafone simcard. T-Mobile will then probably hold my phonenumber hostage until the end of my contract just because they can. I’ve had the same phonenumber for the past 15 odd years.

If you’ve got a choice, try to get an iPhone from Belgium, and avoid T-Mobile because you will be frustrated by the lack of connectivity. The only thing you’ll miss is the Visual Voicemail, but if your network is good, you don’t need voicemail all that much.

For now, I’m going to check if my hart surgeon uses the T-Mobile network. If so, I need to switch to a smarter surgeon 😉


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