According to a report filed by Bloomberg, Windows Phone maker Microsoft will pay Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia more than $1 billion as part of the two companies “smartphone software agreement.” The publication cites “two people with knowledge of the terms,” and goes on to note that Nokia will be responsible for paying Microsoft a “fee for each copy of Windows [Phone] used.” It’s widely assumed that the purported agreement, and fee, were part of Microsoft’s campaign to keep Android off of Nokia hardware. The duration of the deal is being reported as “over five years.” Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has publicly stated that he wants Nokia branded hardware running Windows Phone software in market before the close of 2011. More →
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.
While we sincerely hope this most recent change to AT&T’s ToC wouldn’t hold up in any court of law, AT&T’s latest addition to its terms and conditions is yet another example of the terrible joke that US carriers are becoming. Last week we covered the new paper billing fee T-Mobile has confirmed it will be implementing soon and now we have this — a newly discovered clause that prevents AT&T Mobility customer from entering into a class action lawsuit against the company. Beyond that, the section this snippet was pulled from is intended to limit dispute escalation to binding arbitration or small claims court as opposed to “courts of general jurisdiction”. Seriously.
Any arbitration under this Agreement will take place on an individual basis; class arbitrations and class actions are not permitted.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go chat with our lawyers to discuss the possibility of filing a class action suit against AT&T for trying to stop us from being able to file class action suits. Not really, but we should.