I decided that I have had it with Sprint. They just do not have any service despite their claims. I never get more than 1 bar of signal, and have never even gotten a 1 Mbps data transfer rate.
My girl friend (gf) built new house on the lake, and Comcast refused to provide Internet service. So she will have to rely upon cellular to do anything on the Internet. So Friday we both went to the T-Mobile store and signed up for their family plan—$50 a month for unlimited everything including tethering and data and voice overseas. We each got the new LG G4 phones with leather backs, and for $10 a month, we each got LG Gpad F 8.0 tablets.
So, at my house, I now get 4 bars of signal from T-Mobile which provides up to 30–40 Mbps download speeds, and 10–20 Mbps upload speeds. The upload speed is actually faster than I receive from Comcast! But then I went and ran a speed test at my gf's house on the lake. We get 4-5 bars of signal there, but speeds range from 12 Mbps to 0.5 Mbps, even with 5 bars. Clearly something was wrong, so I called T-Mobile. I am very impressed with their support. They have US representatives who are pleasant, helpful, and who seemed empowered. While I was on the phone, he assigned an engineer to go check the tower. She now gets 10 Mbps reliably.
I like everything my new LG G4 (compared to my old HTC M8) except for the sound, which is in monaural, and quite inferior to the M8. It is loud, however. I particularly like the fact that it has a replaceable battery and a microSD card slot. And LG will supply us each an extra battery and a 32 GB microSD card for free. Of course, I just moved my 128 GB card (with a lot of music) from the M8 to the G4. The screen is awesome, I love the leather back, and there is a lot less crapware installed by T-Mobile than by Sprint.
The G4 camera seems great, but I have not yet had time to really use it. It takes days to set up a phone. I will detail that in an update.
How I set up a new phone or tablet (your mileage may vary)
The first issue is to determine your launcher of choice. The launcher is the program that controls the pages you see on the phone. I have tried the launchers from HTC, Google, and now LG, but I MUCH prefer the Go Launcher EX, now replaced by the Go Launcher Z (which is not an improvement IMHO). You probably want to also pay to get GO Launcher Prime to eliminate ads and turn on other features. I like Go Launcher because it makes it easiest to organize my phone. Because I have hundreds of apps, it is necessary to organize them by subjects into folder, and put the folders on the home screen. I have folders for: streaming, network, music, reading, writing, system, games, travel, maps, Google, and shopping. Go also lets you change the icon sizes, and scrolls the row of icons in the bottom drawer.
In Go Launcher Z, you make a folder in the app drawer by flicking up on the bottom right of the screen. Then you can add appropriate apps to the folder, and change its title. When you are done, you can long press, and without letting go, drag it down to the bottom over the desired home screen, and when the screen pops up, you can move it to the desired location, and finally let go. The problem is that finding the folder you just made is a pain. In the older EX version, you could make the folder on the desired home screen, and click it to add items there. You can still make a folder on a home screen by dragging one app icon over another, but this assumes that you have two apps that belong in the same folder. Here are what my screens look like:
Notice that Almost all of my app icons are in folders except for apps that I use a lot. Also, I switched to Authy for my two-factor authentication (as opposed to the Google Authenticator). Authy has the huge advantage that it can sync all of my devices asynchronously, which is important because each device needs to display the same number at the same time. As a security nut, I recommend that you use two-factor authentication for important apps. You can also put a folder into the bottom app bar (my messaging apps), and in the Go Launcher, they scroll. On the rightmost screen, which is for entertainment things, I have two music widgets. The top one is for D-Sub, which accesses all 76,000 tracks on my home Subsonic music server. The bottom one is Player Pro, which access the 70 or so GB of music I loaded to the external 128 GB SD card. With Go Z, the 3 screens can scroll continuously. Notice all the networking apps I have in the Networking folder. They come in really handy! If I press the + sign, the app drawer appears and you can check off any additional apps you want to appear in this folder.
I definitely like the T-Mobile free tethering app. If you get speeds like I am getting at home, you could probably dump your ISP and just use T-Mobile. It is really easy to set up the hotspot, and once it is there, it works like any other WiFi connection so far as your computer is concerned.
One issue bothered my gf. She writes a newspaper column, and wanted a different phone number for responders to her column. Previously, she paid outrageous prices to get two numbers (on the same phone) from AT&T. We solved this problem by using Google Voice (GV) to get a new number which even had a desired word inside it. The only problem with this is that there is no way to get a separate ringtone for the Google number except by turning off its caller ID and replacing the caller ID with your own phone number. Then you can give your caller ID a different ring tone. But she needs the real caller ID. However, on the Google Voice number you get the phone number, but not the caller's name. Apparently this is due to the fact that Google does not subscribe to the GMAP database, which does this. The flip side is that they do not list your GV number in this database.