T-Mobile intends to offer cellular signal boosters to customers looking to switch carriers due to poor reception at home, according to T-Mobile watcher TmoNews. The move appears to be part of a new program intended to slow service quality-related cancellations, which are apparently a significant problem for the nation’s No. 4 carrier. Beginning on September 7th, T-Mobile will seemingly begin offering in-home signal boosters “when a customer triggers for cancellation of service due to poor in-home coverage,” according to a purported leaked internal memo to T-Mobile staff. The memo also warns that signal boosters should never be offered to customers as an incentive when closing a sale. In order to take the signal booster, which will be free of charge, customers will need to sign a new 2-year service contract and it is unclear if they will be permitted to test the level of improvement afforded by the booster before signing. More →
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed earlier rumors that Nokia’s upcoming X7 smartphone for AT&T has been cancelled. The Nokia X7, which has not yet been announced in any official capacity, would have been a unique option for AT&T subscribers. It features the latest version of Nokia’s Symbian operating system and four speakers that create a surround sound experience. According to The Journal’s sources, Nokia cancelled the U.S. launch of the device, which was scheduled to be announced ahead of Mobile World Congress next month, because AT&T was not going to provide the subsidies or marketing support the phone needed in order to succeed. Nokia still plans to launch the X7 in other markets and will likely unveil the smartphone next month. More →
A California appeals court has ruled that Verizon Wireless is to pay some 175,000 customers current and former customers $21 million as a settlement in a class action lawsuit over early termination fees. The class action suit was filed in California on the behalf of customers who were upset that Verizon asked they pay a flat ETF of $175 regardless of how many months were left on their contract. Each customer is expected to receive $87.50 as a result of the ruling. Too bad history is bound to repeat itself now that Verizon’s ETF for “advanced devices” (i.e. smartphones) is set at $350. More →
Guess this is Sprint’s big announcement. Effective tomorrow, Sprint will offer a”Sprint Free Guarantee” on all contracts. Anyone who inks a deal with the Now Network will be able to walk away from it within 30 days and not have to pay any sort of fine. All you have to do is hit them up and let ’em know you don’t want to continue the relationship and return your handset. For being such an upstanding person, Sprint will do so much more than just give you your money back for the phone. They’ll give you back your activation fee, axe the restocking fee, kill off the ETF and, this is a biggie… refund your entire month’s service including surcharges and taxes. We’d say this has a more than good chance of quickly being copied by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, but clearly they’re not desperate enough to risk implementing a policy that looks to be painfully easy to exploit.
A day we thought would never come is upon us as the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, whose members include all of the major Canadian telcos and their subsidiaries (including all new entrants other than DAVE Wireless), have agreed to a code of conduct that benefits not themselves but their customers. Just like in the US, Canadians will now be able to walk away from their contracts penalty free if a carrier makes material changes to the terms of the contract. If the customer doesn’t wish to leave their carrier, he or she will have the option of staying on board at a grandfathered rate. Other new rules state that charges and contracts must be more clearly explained, privacy must be more fiercely protected (remember a few years ago when hundreds of pages of Rogers subscribers’ personal information were found in a dumpster?) and customer service must, well, be of service. All in all the new rules sound amazing, but only time will tell whether or not they actually have an impact on the Canadian wireless market.
They say when the cell phone gods close a door, they open a window. Such is the case this morning for T-Mobile subscribers who aren’t enjoying their time with the carrier. As of today, T-Mobile is raising its overage rates to 45¢ per minute on individual plans under $59.99 and family plans under $89.99, and 40¢ per minute for plans above those price points. Since this rate increase is carrier-invoked and it constitutes a “materially adverse change of contract,” subscribers will be able to flee without the need to pay a hefty Early Termination Fee (ETF) — just as many did with Sprint earlier this year. What do you do if you want out of your contract? Get ready for battle, that’s what. As always with carriers, odds are good the some (or even most) customer service reps won’t even know about this option. When you call, be patient while the CS rep gathers info. Make sure that when you explain why you want to cancel your contract, you specifically cite these overage rate increases as your motive. If your rep starts giving you a hard time or doesn’t sound like he/she is going to put the pieces together, ask to speak to a manager or simply call back and start over with another rep. Oh, and hit the jump for a section of the T-Mobile contract that you may want to familiarize yourself with.
Sprint just refuses to shut that door… Customers still looking for a way out of their contracts without having to drop some serious cash on an Early Termination Fee (ETF) have been given yet another opportunity to do so. Last month we told you about an extension through the end of January due to another increase the company made to its administrative fee (increase from $0.75 to $0.99). We’re not sure what the reasoning behind this latest extension is, but we have indeed confirmed with Sprint that the ETF-free cancellation period has been extended yet again, this time through March 15. We also confirmed that the administrative fee has not been readjusted – it still sits at $0.99 – so this extension pertains to the initial fee increase we reported. If you’re enjoying your time with Sprint and the extremely competitive rates the carrier is offering right now, you should definitely sit tight as it prepares to release the Treo Pro and more importantly, the Pre. If you’re having issues that Sprint just can’t seem to resolve however, the door is still open.
As always, we recommend contacting Sprint customer care via chat as opposed to calling them:
In the sidebar on the right, click “Got questions? Click to chat.”
If you’re a Sprint customer right now without any major service issues, leaving the carrier so close to Pre-Day seems crazy. The most anticipated handset in recent history is on its way to your carrier, as an exclusive for the time being, and it’s coming along with an exciting new OS that will be embraced by developers around the globe. At the same time, there are a variety of reasons for wanting to part ways with your mobile service provider and if the Pre isn’t enough to keep you on board we have good news for you. It looks like Sprint has once again made a change to its Terms and Conditions, opening yet another door to escape from the carrier without having to pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF). Last month we learned that Sprint was increasing its administrative fee to $0.75, giving customers until January 1 of this year to back out without a penalty. It seems that $0.75 wasn’t going to cut it as Sprint has raised its fee yet again, this time to $0.99. Customers now have through January 31 to sever ties sans-ETF, so if you missed the boat last month you’re in luck. Though some customer care reps apparently aren’t yet aware of the change, we did confirm it with Sprint so keep trying and as always, contacting them via chat seems to go a bit more smoothly than calling them up. Do you plan to take advantage of this newly opened door? Hit us in the comments section and let us know why.
UPDATE: We posted a link to connect to Sprint customer care via chat in the comments but it is apparently buried well enough that people are missing it. Here are the details:
In the sidebar on the right, click “Got questions? Click to chat.”