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Old 03-23-2011, 10:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by RetiredGypsy View Post
So what's the alternative to T-Mobile now? Virgin?
And the WalMart entry Straight Talk. It can be quite cheap for unlimited service- as in to serve as your only phone. I think $45/mo, or $540/yr. Phones are cheap and there is no contract. You can also get 1000 minutes/mo for $30. I believe TracPhone is the underlying brand, with other limited usage plans available.

http://www.straighttalk.com/ServicePlans

Ha
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:36 AM   #22
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That Wal-Mart Straight Talk plan looks good - certainly competitive vs Verizon contract. I was not aware no-contract options had improved so much. Mr. Ha, thanks for the tip.

Consumer Reports says network service levels for for both Consumer Cellular and TracFone are slightly better than T-Mobile.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
... I've had bad experiences with AT&T in the past, and I fear they will screw up my good thing with T Mobile. Time will tell. Good to hear one previous poster had good things to say about AT&T. Perhaps there is hope.
Don't get too optimistic - they said they "didn't have problems", that's different from "good things to say". When I did have some small problems with ATT, I was flabergasted at how amazingly incompetent their customer srevice was. I swore that my call must have been intercepted by Verizon, and they had actors trying to make a laughably bad customer experience as a scam on ATT customers. After about 20 transfers, each time needing to restate all my info and the whole story, the 21st CR told me they had no record that I was an ATT customer!

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The fact that so many people hate AT&T and don't want them to screw up T-Mobile makes me think that "free enterprise" and "competition" would prevent such a customer-unfriendly thing from happening. I suppose we need to hope that the antitrust laws prevent it.
We can hope. I've read that ATT has a strong union, so there may be some politics at play here. Let's hope not. Can we hope for no change? Yes, we can.

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DW/me have had T-Mobile for many years and are quite satisfied with their service, especially since they are on the GSM network and use them quite often while we travel.

....

I know that we could get by with prepaid, but to us it's a hassle if we're traveling outside the US and need to purchase airtime.
What's the hassle? Just make sure your phone is unlocked, and buy a local SIM card over seas, right?

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31AUG2011 Update
Old 08-31-2011, 01:12 PM   #24
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31AUG2011 Update

AT&T to fight Justice Dept. attempt to block T-Mobile merger - The Washington Post

Hopefully, this isn't just posturing before an approval. IMO, AT&T needs competition. If it were up to me, I'd turn this around and force AT&T to sell off some of their infrastructure to T-mobile at an attractive price, in order to spur more competition.

If that sounds like it is against my general 'keep government out of the way' stance, it is, but in this case there is not enough competition to be a true free market. I think some govt action could help level the field, restore a degree of 'freeness' to the market and that would be good for consumers.

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Old 08-31-2011, 01:34 PM   #25
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Hopefully, this isn't just posturing before an approval. IMO, AT&T needs competition. If it were up to me, I'd turn this around and force AT&T to sell off some of their infrastructure to T-mobile at an attractive price, in order to spur more competition.

If that sounds like it is against my general 'keep government out of the way' stance, it is, but in this case there is not enough competition to be a true free market. I think some govt action could help level the field, restore a degree of 'freeness' to the market and that would be good for consumers.
I think it's important to remember that a free market can really only be "free" if we don't have behemoths in the space who can crush or buy all their competition. It sounds a little paradoxical, but sometimes you have to put limits on what large corporations can do if you want to make sure viable competition can exist. It's not really a good economic policy when the "big boys" can regularly eliminate competition (and jobs) by buying their competition.

And it's not just that it's anti-consumer when this happens. My first thought when I heard the merger proposal was the thousands of layoffs that would occur as "redundancies" were eliminated.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:44 PM   #26
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What's the hassle? Just make sure your phone is unlocked, and buy a local SIM card over seas, right?

-ERD50
No.

Have you ever gone through the exercise in buying a local SIM card in a foreign country? Depending on your travel, it can be a bit of a pain (been there, attempted to do that; DW's trip to Egypt last September - before the "troubles" again was an example of not being able to do things, easily).

I don't need to go through the hassle. I would rather just turn on my phone, have it connect to the local provider, and dial (regardless of country, time of day, and location) as soon as I deplane...

As an example, DW/me landed in Heathrow at 11PM, had a private shuttle P/U and most services were closed. Took us an hour to get to our hotel (away from most business areas, which were closed anyway). Needed to call back to the US to ensure our son we had safely landed.

We had no desire to try to get another taxi to get to a tobacco shop (that was open, at that hour) to get a local card.

We don't need to "go cheap" at our age. What we want is a service that is available 7x24 (we're paying for it) at a decent price (which T-Mobile provides) regardless of where we are.

I hope the merger fails - for whatever reason...
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:25 PM   #27
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I've been off AT+T for about 5 months now. I went to T-mobile pre-paid, my wife to straight talk. We've not had any problems with these providers either. AT+T's service was no better and far more expensive.

My reasons for switching came down entirely to cost. After getting dinged by an early termination fee from ATT, I am also pleased to no longer have contract based cell phone service. I'm not signing another term based contract with a telcom provider, whether it's cell, phone, cable, or internet. Screw any company that tries to force that on me, I'll find another solution or do without service.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:34 PM   #28
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I used to have them when they were Cingular. No problems with the customer service or coverage. But didn't like having a monthly plan so switched to prepaid Tracfone.

To save on prepaid minutes, I use MagicJack with a Netbook so the minutes last awhile. My cell I use mainly when I'm on the road. Haven't found the need yet to have a phone not just being a phone.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:42 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud

I would not go with Virgin..... and I am a customer...

Got Virgin for my wife... who likes to travel to state parks... the coverage is ZERO outside of any the major cities or highways... so it was worthless to her...

We got Tracfone and it works great... cost about $100 per year, but I think you can get it cheaper (we have only had it for a few months, so have not had to look yet for the new minutes)...

I am thinking about cutting off Virgin and losing the $50 I have prepaid...
I'm a virgin mobile prepaid and love it. 1500 min. 1500 texts, and Internet usage for $30. You are absolutely correct in the coverage areas. Virgin uses sprint which is basically the major cities, access points, and highways in US. For people who are not bound to the comforts of the latest phone model or need of latest technology , prepaid can save a lot of money. Make sure you inspect the coverage map of the provider you are interested in before buying. I was purging some old papers and came across a landline phone bill in the mid 90's before I had a cell and it was about a $100. I'm spending way less on phone costs than I was 15 years ago and have portability with it! Now if i could only say the same thing about my cable bill.....
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:44 PM   #30
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U.S. sues to block ATT buying T-Mobile

U.S. sues to block AT&T buying T-Mobile - MarketWatch
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:56 AM   #31
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Interesting, there is a 'break up' fee due to T-Mobile if the deal falls through.

T-Mobile could see boost if AT&T deal fails - latimes.com

Quote:
If the $39-billion deal disintegrates, AT&T would have to pay more than $3 billion in cash to T-Mobile's German parent, Deutsche Telekom, along with airwaves and a roaming agreement worth billions more.

The situation is ironic: AT&T's attempt to become the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. could ultimately help strengthen its rival. T-Mobile, the nation's fourth-largest carrier, is known as a scrappy, price-oriented telecom player. A major payout could turn it into a much larger threat.

...

The breakup fee is one of the largest in recent memory, experts said. Google Inc., which earlier this month said it would buy Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion, offered a $2.5-billion breakup fee. That's 20% of the deal value, compared to not quite 8% for AT&T for the cash portion of the payout.
What concerns me is that it sounds like T-Mobile is rather weak, and my die out anyhow. That's why I like the idea of forcing AT&T to sell off a % to T-Mobile to level the field and keep some competition. This break up fee is at least a small step in that direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29
I think it's important to remember that a free market can really only be "free" if we don't have behemoths in the space who can crush or buy all their competition. It sounds a little paradoxical, but sometimes you have to put limits on what large corporations can do if you want to make sure viable competition can exist. It's not really a good economic policy when the "big boys" can regularly eliminate competition (and jobs) by buying their competition.
Agreed. There are a few issues here, one being the high cost to get started (a natural economic barrier to entry), and also, IIRC, when cellular first started, the FCC limited each major area to just two providers. I think this was done to preserve spectrum, but it also had the effect of creating a small number of giants.

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Update: Deal falls thru, ATT&T to pay $4B
Old 12-19-2011, 08:22 PM   #32
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Update: Deal falls thru, ATT&T to pay $4B

AT&T ends T-Mobile bid, plans $4B charge


Quote:
AT&T will instead take a $4 billion accounting charge in its fourth quarter. That's the breakup fee it agreed to pay Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent, if the bid fell through.
I'll quote myself, as I still see it as the way to go:

Quote:
If it were up to me, I'd turn this around and force AT&T to sell off some of their infrastructure to T-mobile at an attractive price, in order to spur more competition.

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Old 12-19-2011, 08:40 PM   #33
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So, ATT just lost $4B for nothing! Divided that into 6B shares, that's 67c per share. Not much, but as a share holder, I'd rather have that money in my pocket than not.

Cellular infrastructure is very expensive. Each of those towers costs several hundred grands, and due to height limitations in some places, the radius that each serves is not that great.

Competition is good, but when the market is spread too thin, the small players cannot reach critical mass, and just go belly up.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:44 AM   #34
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So, ATT just lost $4B for nothing! Divided that into 6B shares, that's 67c per share. Not much, but as a share holder, I'd rather have that money in my pocket than not.
I read somewhere it's more like 1.5 after taxes.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:39 AM   #35
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:47 AM   #36
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:18 PM   #37
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So, ATT just lost $4B for nothing! Divided that into 6B shares, that's 67c per share. Not much, but as a share holder, I'd rather have that money in my pocket than not.
Nothing a few layoffs won't eventually cure, I'm betting. Whether they are needed or not, I suspect they may want to stick to "the opposition" for blocking the deal. "You want to mess with us -- here, enjoy more pink slips!"

Never mind that the merger would have produced layoffs in "redundant functions." One way or another many large corporations throw a tantrum when they don't get their way with regulators. We'll see.

Yes, I have become that cynical about corporate behavior.
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