Category Archives: Carriers
In a move that is nothing short of unprecedented, unbelievable, and shocking, a large wireless carrier is purchasing a smaller wireless carrier. Said Gandalf the Grey on the issue: “Something is about to happen that has not happened in an age.” Whispers and legends have been told of such mergers of the gods, but none have ever been seen by the likes of man.
We talked to a Verizon CEO who had this to say:
“We’ve just never seen something like this happen before. It changes everything, really. We need to discuss it with the board of directors, but we may simply close up shop and let all of our customers know they should just head to AT&T. Unless we can find a strategy to fight this, we won’t have much choice. And, though I hate to be premature, I don’t think we will.”
AllTel, who was also on the phone, seconded Verizon’s feelings on the matter.
Meanwhile, Sprint was a little more optimistic:
We’re excited about the possibilities of this upcoming acquisition. Up until this point, we were able to tell our customers that, while we may not be as big as Verizon or AT&T, we’re still the third best and head and shoulders above T-Mobile, the only other national carrier worth mentioning. Now we don’t have that. We are the bottom rung. We’re excited to see how this is going to light a fire under our feet. We look forward to pushing forward with all the forward momentum we can move forward.
Nextel merely stood in the corner and shook its head.
One thing is clear, though. This move will change the industry forever. In what is surely a never-before-experienced-phenomenon, AT&T will become the largest telecom in a particular field. The implications of this alone are so far reaching that the U.S. market may never be the same. Said one
Cingular AT&T executive on the subject:
It’s a little overwhelming, going from being the underdog to being the top of your field. It’s like “Whoa, just last year, no one listened to anything I say, and now everyone wants to know what we’re gonna do next. We’re the center of attention, and not only that, for the first time we actually have money to do all the cool and exciting things that you don’t get to do when you’re building cell phone towers in your garage. It’s a really exciting time and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.
For our parts, we at AD were surprised when the executive used the words “like” and “whoa”, though we probably shouldn’t be. It seems to be a trend of all the hip, up-and-coming, boy-wonder CEOs to continue to speak in the layman, even in official statements.
And, of course, the question on everyone’s mind is how will this affect the iPhone. Will future versions of the iPhone be available to what are currently T-Mobile customers? We reached out to Steve Jobs for comment. He punched us in the stomach and charged us $300 for the privilege. We happily paid, as it was the most intuitive, user-friendly beating we’d ever received.
In 2010, AT&T killed off their unlimited data plans, capped usage, and charged specifically for tethering. This has made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad move. They made it slightly better by adding a 2GB bonus for tethering, which means you at least have some reason to add the plan, assuming you don’t have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and don’t mind paying through the nose for data. But there was always an option: jailbreak for free tethering. Well, not no more!
AT&T has unleashed their tethering Santa Claus brigade on freeloading customers. They see you when you’re tethering, they know when you’re ripping them off. And they’re sending emails to all freeloaders with a clear message: pay up or else. The “or else” referring to a horrifying $20 additional monthly charge on your device.
Of course, AT&T’s move makes perfect sense. Because, you see, when someone uses tethering on their device, they inevitably use more data, which is a bigger drain on their networks. The more data you use, the more you should pay, right? Right! Except that without a tethering plan, your data is capped at 2GB. And if you go over that, you are charged overage fees to the tune of $10 per GB. So, if you were to use 3.5 GB of data in a month, you’d be charged $20 more for a total of $45/month. Compare this to the much simpler, customer-friendly tethering plan which gives you a generous extra 2 GB of data for $20/month more. So, if you use tethering and, inevitably, use more than 2GB of data, you’re covered! And all it costs you is $45/month! And anything more than this would result in the same $10/GB overage fee. See? Isn’t paying $45/month with a tethering plan so much better than paying $45/month without a tethering plan?
Sarcasm aside, AT&T’s tethering plan is the most needless “feature” of anything they offer. Before the increased data cap, it was a charge for how you use your data. Now, with the increased data cap, the net effect is that it’s making the first two overage fee increments mandatory. The idea is that if you tether your laptop, you’ll probably end up using more data. In practice, if they made tethering free and merely counted on the overages to do their dirty work, they’d get the same amount of money. That is, unless a user didn’t happen to go over that 2GB limit even with tethering. In which case they’d be paying appropriately for the amount of data they used, rather than needlessly paying more. And we can’t have that.
Truthfully, this campaign to force users to get a tethering plan if they’re tethering through a less-than-official means really only gets extra money from one group of people: users who grandfathered in their unlimited data plans and use more than 2GB a month, who would otherwise not use that much data if they did not tether, which is a mighty specific group.
If you had an unlimited data plan on AT&T prior to summer of 2010, you were allowed to keep your data plan so long as you never change it. This gets you unlimited data for $30/month. And if you tether to your laptop and end up using even more data, you don’t get charged anything extra because, hey! You’ve got unlimited data! This is obviously a problem for AT&T who wants to nickel and dime everyone, not just new customers. Those loyal users who have been with AT&T for a while need to start paying up!
While other carriers have different plans that make a little more logical sense, if still kind of a ripoff (Sprint has unlimited data plans, but charges for tethering since it likely uses more data), AT&T’s system is set up such that tethering could easily be free and the only downside is their customers would only be paying for the data they use. In other words, it would only suck for AT&T because it’s fair.
Way to go AT&T. I really didn’t think it was possible to be such a dick in such a complete way.
There’s a little over 300 million people in the United States, and roughly 200 million of them are either subscribed to AT&T or Verizon. That leaves the remaining third of the country as scraps for Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and all of the other wireless carriers in the country to munch on under the table. Sprint and T-Mo make up the Abed and Troy of the big four: important enough to get their own storylines, but they’re still not the stars of this show.
However, even the Joey of this carrier drama might be able to get its own spinoff if rumors are to be believed. While it’s not clear yet whether T-Mobile USA will be moving to Hollywood, or just buying up spectrum from Central Perk*, but whatever the case, both companies are looking at various ideas for a joint venture.
The news is exciting to say the least. As exciting as when the Power Rangers teamed up with the Ninja Turtles. Or when Leonard and Penny got together for a while. Which is to say that it has the potential to get our hopes up before ultimately bringing them crashing down in a fiery plane wreck into a children’s hospital.
Or it could be cool. I mean, who knows.
*- I’m bad at analogies.
It can be tough being the little guy. Of the four major carriers, T-Mo is the littlest. But don’t let their rank fool you. In real life, T-Mobile is very big. Super big, you might say. Or at least, big enough. Certainly big enough to satisfy your 4G data needs.
Ok, fine, we’ll admit it. T-Mobile may not have the size or girth of some other networks, it’s true. But, is the size of the network really what’s important? T-Mobile believes it’s more important how you use that network. And T-Mobile knows exactly how to use their network so your phone walks away pleased after a long night of savage data-munching.
Also, please don’t confuse the speedy rabbit symbolism on their charts. Sure, rabbits are fast, but they’re also full of stamina. T-Mobile’s 4G network won’t get tired or pass out on you after the first three minutes of a heavy YouTube streaming session. T-Mobile’s network is way more virile than that. Go ahead and plan for an all-night-long Netflix tethering session. T-Mobile can handle it all.
Anyways, T-Mobile has a big penis.