Archive for: carrier

3rd Party Resellers Dropping AT&T Services And Hardware.

Fancy a good deal from (and perhaps in the future Amazon’s wireless storefront)? Better get on that train while it’s still in town. According to a recent letter sent out by Wirefly CEO, Andy Zeinfeld, giving customers choices and cheap prices will no longer be possible with AT&T. Further adding to the pot is online retailer LetsTalk’s email to affiliates:

Effective March 8th, 2011, LetsTalk as well as other web indirect agents [...], will no longer be able to offer AT&T Wireless as a carrier option to our customers. The primary reasons given for this change in AT&T’s business strategy were centered around AT&T cost savings and retrenchment.

For now, Amazon hasn’t announced any discontinuation of AT&T services and hardware, though things could certainly change. On that note, it would certainly be sad to see all of the 3rd party resellers dry up. There have been some awesome deals over the last few years, netting AT&T two-years worth of montly payments. Apparently greedy company is greedy and needs and endless supply of more. We’ll see how that goes…
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Virgin Mobile Nixing Unlimited Plan With Data Cap And Throttling.

The trend away from unlimited data is both disturbing and unfortunate. How are new and innovative products and services supposed to thrive in such a cramped environment where no one truly “uses” their phone for fear of being assaulted by cellular bills? But I digress.

Customers of Virgin’s $40 unlimited plan however, will want to make note that some big changes are coming your “unlimited plans” are now going to be capped and thorttled. Go over the new 5GB ceiling and your speeds are slashed down to a maximum of 256Kbps. Finally, if you switch to a different plan and then come crawling back for your measly 5GB later, don’t expect to ever see them again. We’re being told that once you drop the $40 plan, it’s gone for good. Look for the highlighted changes to go into effect on February 15th.

It’s again sad to see Virgin falling into the same lows of the bigger carriers instead of standing out with their own great features and consumer friendliness. In closing, we’ll leave you with the dumbest sentence known to mankind, compliments of Virgin’s own ToS: “$40.00 per month for unlimited mobile Internet (but not unlimited downloaded content)”
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Vodafone Revamps Data Traveler Roaming Plan. #vodafone

Vodafone users do a lot of traveling will be pleased to know that their carrier of choice recently revamped the popular “Vodafone Day Traveler” data plan. Instead of the laughingly low 5MB allotment of roaming data, EU users can now make use of up to 25MB of data whilst abroad. Granted, it’s still ridiculously low considering the scope of mobile technologies today. Though an increase of 5MB to 25MB is certainly appreciated nonetheless. According to the company, 25MB is good for roughly 250 emails, 25 minutes of SD YouTube video, or viewing 65 different maps.

Pricing is set at £2/day or £10/month. Look for the new plans to go live on December 1st.

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Survey Says: British Customers Loyal to Phones, Not Carriers.

I would consider myself not loyal to any one carrier. In the last 4 years I’ve done business with three different ones. I prefer going where the latest and greatest phone is. Though I’m but one man out of billions. How do people in other regions of the planet feel?

According to a study conducted by Art Technology Group (ATG), British users in particular share the same general consensus as I — they aren’t all that loyal. Specifically, 45% of respondents said they would leave their current mobile carrier if a more intriguing device came to a competing carrier. Furthermore, 31% of respondents said that they have had 2 different carriers in the past 2 years. Finally, 10% of respondents cited doing business with 3 or more wireless carriers over the last 5 years.

The survey also sought information for things regarding perception to network quality — 72% rated it “poor” or “very poor” — as well as features and services customers would like to see from their mobile carriers. On that last note, the two biggest features customers quoted were better customer service (33%) and better personalized search results on the carriers’ home pages (21%).

Being that a large percentage of the GS reader base lives in the U.S., does anyone feel this British study kind of mimics the general public here as well?

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New Promotional “Even More” Plans Unveiled by T-Mobile.

T-Mobile’s current Even More plans are a pretty sweet deal. But even they aren’t as good as they could be. Luckily, T-Mobile isn’t holding back as they’ve just announced two new Even More plans:

  • Even More Individual: 1500 Minutes/Unlimited Text/Unlimited Data — $79.00 per month.
  • Even More Family: 3000 Minutes/Unlimited Text/Unlimited Data — $149.99 per month.

Sounds like a good deal to me considering current Even More plans cost $79 and $139, yet only offer 500 minutes and 750 minutes respectively. If the price sounds right, you might want to jump on it now. T-Mobile has stated that these are promotional (read: NOT permanent). Any takers?

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Carriers Can Block Windows Phone 7 Software Updates, Force You to Upgrade Hardware? #wp7

The inner workings of Windows Phone 7 and its upgrade process have been detailed many times over during the last few months leading up to the Windows Phone 7 launch. During that time it seemed like all was ready and good to go. Windows Phone 7 had an open-esque nature yet a tight control by Microsoft that allowed them to keep the experience fairly consistent. And best of all, carriers wouldn’t have as much control as they do with Android.

But the song of happiness is now trotting along to a different tune. There are two big changes to Windows Phone 7 now that it’s officially out. First, OTA updates are caput. During development, smaller updates were handled over the air while larger updates required a USB cable and computer. But the real kicker (sad, sad kicker) is that carriers can (and you all know they will) block updates.
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Apple to succeed where Google failed: reshuffling power in the U.S. cellular market?

The Nexus One joint project between Google and HTC was a start of better things to come. While our mobile-loving friends overseas enjoy healthy competition in the mobile market, we here in the states don’t have much to go with. Yeah, four large carriers is at face value, competition. But the sad state of affairs is that differences in cellular technologies more or less render *easy* carrier switching all but impossible. But Apple is rumored to be working with SIM card maker, Gemalto on a new implanted (read: non user-replaceable) SIM card.

While it sounds odd to us Americans, a competitive cellular market does actually exist in some corners of the earth — Europe in particular. And with Apple’s new built-in SIM cards, a new era in mobile phone usage could be born…
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T-Mobile signs exclusive search deal with Google.

For better or worse, “exclusive” business deals with between wireless carriers and 3rd party businesses are a fact of life. In some cases, they work out pretty well. In others, not so much. Much like the Verizon-Bing deal, T-Mobile has a newfound friend itself, in Google.

Parent company Deutsche Telekom has gone ahead with releasing the stipulations of the new deal, save for any details involving monetary exchange. Specifically, all T-Mobile Europe phones will default to Google Search. Furthermore, the T-Mobile “home web” will also feature a Google Search icon.

The deal is much further reaching than just Europe, however. It appears all of the companies/regions under Deutsche Telekom control will be getting this change — T-Mobile US will see the effects too. Though it’s worth noting that T-Mobile US moved over to Google Search as the default search provider early in the year when the Yahoo! contract expired.

How’s this sitting with everyone? Anyone out there prefer another search engine over Google?

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Another one bites the dust: New Zealand closin’ up CDMA shop.

Inhabitants of New Zealand will want to prick their ears up this morning, as some rather interesting wireless news has come to light. Apparently, so many people have chosen Telecom New Zealands’s WCDMA hardware and services that the country has decided the old CDMA network isn’t even worth it any more. The result: they’re shutting it down.

Customers are being told that as early as this October, CDMA roaming will be nixed, with the rest of the 3G network going offline by this November. Talk about speed! If it were here in the US, it would take another half a decade or more. (Remember the ridiculous delays behind digital TV here in the States?) The 2G CDMA network will stick around a bit longer however, continuing operations into 2012.

Either way you slice it, looks like GSM just scored another victory. Another nail in the coffin of CDMA…