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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Competition

I'm pretty sure that everyone in America with a data plan on their cell phone is getting ripped off.  I know I am.  I'm paying more for phone and data on my cell phone than I've ever paid for similar (and superior!) landlined services, even back in the day when a DSL was cutting edge.

And I don't exactly get to vote with my feet since I'm locked into their two-year minimum contract.

Matt Yglesias, perceptive man that he is, notices as well:

Mobile phones have changed enormously over the past six years, but the mobile phone business model has not. You buy a magical device for practically nothing, then find yourself locked into a two-year contract with a baffling, shockingly expensive monthly bill. Not coincidentally, the companies that have led the smartphone revolution—Apple and Google—are consistently among the most admired in America while everybody hates Verizon and AT&T, the leading cellphone operators. The gadgets are great, the billing process is a nightmare.

He mentions this by way of noting that T-Mobile is going the other way:  no cheap or free devices with a lower monthly bill.

Having just re-signed my two-year contract with Sprint a few months ago, and thoroughly regretting the "free" phone I selected, I welcome this move.  I could have gotten a iPhone for a couple hundred bucks, but no....I went for free. 

And got a phone that is five years out of date and doesn't hold a charge for more than 12 hours. 

My choice is to pay out the nose for a new one, only to still be locked into Sprint's anti-competitive contract...or I can take the hit, pay the early cancellation fee, and sign up with the promotional plan for some other carrier.

Either way, I'm going to be out a couple hundred of bucks, even more so if I joined up with T-Mobile.  Short term....looks like I'm stuck with no good options.

But if T-Mobile's plan catches on, it could be good for everyone with a cell phone:

That’s why last week’s announcement is such a game-changer. By dropping the subsidy model entirely, T-Mobile is committing itself to marketing the virtues of honest billing practices. And by securing official Apple support for its network, T-Mobile will be able to compete head-to-head with the other players in terms of handset functionality. If high-end consumers realize what a better deal you can get with the nonsubsidized model, then ultimately AT&T and Verizon will have to start offering that option to compete.

Cell phone companies actually competing? Inconceivable!

1 comment:

KickinAssTakingNames said...

I'm dealing with this same situation right now. I hate dealing with this kind of thing, so much so that I'm still using the same non-smart phone that I've been using for years. But now the phone is starting to die altogether so I've been forced to look into my options. Unlike the masses, I really don't feel the need to have a smartphone, but that seems to be the way of the world now and having the option to google something at the drop of a hat might come in handy once in a while. But the prices are honestly still more than I want to pay. Because I don't need it, would not use it like others do, and therefore would not get my money's worth so it seems a waste. But to get a non-smart phone? I still get ripped off! The one company I skipped was T-Mobile, because I've always heard they suck, but perhaps I should look into it.