The two leading wireless carriers in the United States built up huge smartphone user bases while luring customers in with unlimited data plans. The writing was on the wall years ago, however, and as mobile data usage exploded, Verizon Wireless and AT&T both dumped their unlimited plans in favor of tiered data offerings that slam users with overage charges if they use too much data in a billing period. Sprint and T-Mobile continue to use unlimited data plans as a point of differentiation with their larger rivals but as one analysis pointed out this week, the days of unlimited data at Sprint and T-Mobile are numbered. More →
AT&T and T-Mobile’s mutual contempt for one another is producing better deals for many wireless customers. AT&T this weekend announced that it’s cut the price of its 2GB Mobile Share Value to $65, or $15 less than the original price. Although the plan only offers 2GB of data, it does give you unlimited voice and text, “as well as unlimited international messaging from the U.S. to select countries,” so it could definitely be a sweet deal for anyone who doesn’t gorge themselves on LTE data every month. More →
After announcing LTE roaming agreements for various international markets on Monday, AT&T on Tuesday revealed that it will soon offer free international text messaging to its customers, including support for video messaging, in a move that should help it counter mobile apps that offer almost free chatting features. More →
Pay TV, Internet and wireless service providers aren’t exactly America’s most beloved business categories. In fact, customers seem to love complaining about them constantly, and T-Mobile has found tremendous success by separating its practices from those of its rivals and portraying itself as the “Uncarrier.” Part of the reason people dislike wireless carriers and ISPs so much may be the difficulties they often experience when dealing with their customer care departments, and now AT&T and Time Warner Cable have been ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in a questionnaire asking subscribers which companies have the worst customer service in the country. More →
The die has been cast and now every single ISP in the United States will want a payout from Netflix in exchange for ensuring that its video streaming services are delivered efficiently to its subscribers. Once Netflix struck a deal to pay Comcast an unspecified amount of money as part of a new peering arrangement, that set the precedent for every other ISP in the country to strike similar bargains. And sure enough, Multichannel reports that both AT&T and Verizon have said that they’re now working with Netflix on their own peering arrangements to ensure that Netflix users aren’t subjected to laggy videos. While this is good short-term news for Netflix subscribers it remains to be seen how these deals cumulatively affect Netflix’s bottom line, especially if ISPs decide they want to jack up the rates in the coming years.
Who runs the Internet? Is it Google, the global search leader that trades fantastic free services for borderline frightening insights into user behavior? Is it Apple, whose iPhones and iPads are reportedly used to connect people to the Internet more than any other mobile devices on the planet by a massive margin? Is it the Illuminati? According to a new feature from the team that taught us how to disappear online, there are actually six organizations that secretly run the Internet and you might not have considered any of them. More →
No two companies love one another more right now than AT&T and T-Mobile, which is why T-Mobile CEO John Legere has taken the extra step this year to send AT&T a Valentine’s Day greeting of his own. On his Twitter feed, Legere posted a picture of a couple passionately kissing along with the tagline “Let’s kiss and break up… with AT&T.” Legere’s latest attempt at starting a meme ties into T-Mobile’s “breakup letter” campaign where customers who switch to T-Mobile can send readymade breakup letters informing their old carriers they’ve been dumped. T-Mobile, which added a very impressive 869,000 postpaid subscribers last quarter, said last month that more than 80,000 switchers have sent breakup letters to their old carriers and we imagine that number has grown quite a bit since then. Legere’s valentine to AT&T follows below. More →
After four years at the top, Verizon was forced to relinquish its title to AT&T as the leader in wireless customer service last August. Six months later, J.D. Power has announced that AT&T will retain the top spot in customer care, outscoring every other carrier for the second time in a row. Based on the rankings, both Verizon and T-Mobile were within 15 points on a 1,000 point scale, but it wasn’t enough to take the crown back from AT&T. Outside of the full-service providers, MetroPCS also remained at the top, beating out Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. More →
Some of the biggest names in tech have come together this week for the sake of schoolchildren all around the country. The Associated Press reports that Obama has made considerable progress on his mission to connect more American schools to the internet as Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and others have committed to pledging $750 million to his ConnectED plan. Their pledges will be in the form of cash donations, electronic devices and network services. More →
Because data cap overage fees, early termination fees and administrative fees apparently aren’t enough, AT&T has patented yet another creative way to squeeze more money from its customers every month. TorrentFreak has found a recently published AT&T patent that details a system aimed at the “prevention of bandwidth abuse of a communications system” that singles out certain types of traffic as potentially “abusive” bandwidth-intensive activities. More →
In a clear response to T-Mobile’s recent ‘Uncarrier’ moves that may convince many families to ditch their current carriers, AT&T on Saturday announced a new family plan that’s ready to offer “incredible savings for families.” For $130 per month, AT&T will offer families unlimited voice and text messages for two lines as well as 10GB of shared data. Families can then add more lines for $15/line per month, with a maximum cap at 10 lines per plan – however, these are monthly charges available for off-contract smartphones, while on-contract devices will cost $40/line per month. More →
Back in 2009, public relations professional Alan Weinkrantz made an important realization: when it comes to the cost of home television, Internet and phone services offered by cable companies, prices are never set in stone. Quite to the contrary, a simple phone call to customer care threatening to switch service providers often prompts these companies to immediately offer a discount in order to retain business. In Mr. Weinkrantz’s case, AT&T offered to trim nearly 50% off of the cost of his home U-verse service when he called to complain that the company’s rates were too high.