Tag Archives: cell phone service

Pre-Paid Cell Providers Offering More Data

More and cheaper data is coming your way. Pre-paid cell phone providers are boosting the amount of data you can get but not boosting the price. Right now the cellular phone service market is a brutal, cut throat game. New customers are hard to come by and new technologies, small providers and competition makes it hard to increase prices. Its just a tough business to be in right now.

U.S. Cellular is a regional provider of pre-paid cell phone service but even so, it is the fifth largest cell provider in the country. The company’s Simple Connect Prepaid $45 monthly plan boosts the available data from 1GB to to 3GB.  Their $60 monthly plan also gets a boost from 5GB to 6GB. The companyis also offering a new plan that is $75  a month that includes 12GB of high-speed data.

U.S. Cellular also offers the Ready Connect Prepaid plan. Only Walmart and Dollar General store sell these plans. Customers can pay $45 for 4GB, $55 for 8GB and a $75 plan than offers 12GB of high-speed data.  If you enroll for auto-pay you take off another $5 off the $45 and $55 monthly plans, or $10 off the $75 plan.

Cricket Wireless is also at the data boosting party. On January 27th Cricket boosted high-speed data allowances for several of its plans. The new plans offer customers with the basic $40 a month plan and the $60 a month plan data boosts to 3GB and 12GB. Thats only a half a gig for the $40 plan but 2 GB for the $60 plan.

Cricket is also going to retain an existing promotion that upped the data limit from 5GB to 8GB for its $50 a month. From now on 8GB will be Crickets’s standard at that price level. Like U.S. Cellular if you enroll in auto pay you save $5 a month.

For the record its not a concidence that two pre-paid phone companies are offering data increases at the same time. Its actually about timing. According to U.S. Cellular Vice President of Brand Management, “February and March are popular months for prepaid wireless purchases, so our updated plans provide an even better experience to our current customers as well as any consumers looking for a better prepaid deal.”

Cell phone service does not have to be expensive. But you have to shop around, know your needs and your budget. A smart consumer can get the phone and the service plan for the price they are looking for if they just do a little homework.

The website Android Police did a little leg work for you. They found that MetroPCS is the cheapest cell  carrier offering a $30 a month plan that comes with 1GB of data. The cheapest prepaid providers are T-Mobile and Boost. The carriers tied for the cheapest with $30/month plans. But here is the catch, T-Mobile doesn’t advertise the plan it some of the compnaies reps don’t even know it exists. Android Police also warns against buying any kind of family plan. Apparently you can save money by just getting the  individual planes with more data. Check out “The Cheapest Cell Phone Plans in America”

We know in this country there are the truly needy. And no one should be isolated from the world because they can’t pay a phone bill. SafeLink Wireless offers free cell phone service for those less fortunate.  User can get a phone and 500 minutes absolutely free and free text messaging.

Now you know.

Two Year Cellphone Are Contracts are Dead, Maybe

canstockphoto26388971It is with great glee and little regret that we report that the two year cellphone contract has died; sort of. Are we finally rid of this painful financial burden? Maybe. In the past cellphone providers have charged you for long distance calls long after technology eliminated it, forced you to buy a new phone if you switched carriers and locked you into two year contracts to keep you hooked like an addict to a drug dealer. 

All this has changed. President Obama signed into law an end to being forced to buy a new phone if you switch carriers.  And now the two year contract is dying. Thats the good news. The bad news is you gonna have to pay full price for smartphones.

The AACR has repeatedly reported that the state of the cellphone industry is an all out bloodbath for customers. Except for school children getting their first phone there are few new customers. 

So why is this important for African-Ameicans? Black people use their cellphones more than any other group.  A report last year by the Federal Reserve Board revealed that blacks and Latinos make up a “disproportionately high rate” of mobile-banking users. A study by Pew Internet research showed that 41 percent of non-whites say they use their smartphones to check their balances, pay bills and perform other transactions, including 39 percent of blacks. Now throw in text messages, email, online shopping and of course phone calls. So the question really is, do you have a cellphone contract? Are you paying for text, talk and data? All that is changing.

T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have all announced the move to no contract phone plans.

T-Mobile started the trend of killing off the two year contract with its un-carrier movement. T-Mobile is offering customers the ability upgrade three times a year with its Jump! On Demand offering. In addition to approved credit Jump! On Demand still has a monthly fee associated with the phone. It’s stretched out over 18 months and that’s close enough to a two year contract. If you don’t switch phones with Jump! On Demand, you’ll owe a final lump sum at the end of that 18 month period. T-Mobile has also eliminated  roaming charges in Canada and Mexico. Aggressive moves like this have pushed T-Mobile pass Sprint in total connections.

AT&T is the only company still offering a two year contract.  But the company is slowly closing out this option for third-party retailers.  AT&T plans to offer its contract-free Next program.

Emily Edmonds, spokesperson for AT&T said, “Our customers increasingly choose AT&T Next, so we’re responding by featuring Next as the most prominent way to get a new smartphone at our national retailers and local dealers. Customers who would rather have a two-year contract still have that option.” Two-year contracts will still be available but only at AT&T stores online or brick and mortar. 

Verizon announced its dumping its two year contract plan earlier this month. By the end of 2015 Verizon expects 50 percent of new smartphone sales to be sold without contracts as part of its “Edge” program. Verizon is dropping the subsidy for new smartphones and encouraging customers to buy their own devices. This is the trend in the industry.

But if you wish to get a new phone Verizon is still willing to accommodate you. They simply tack the price of the phone on your bill in montly installments. Yeah, that’s a contract. Verizon’s Edge program allows custmers to upgrade to a new phone anytime they wish as long as the old phone is paid off.

Verizon’s new plans took effect Aug. 13. Prices for voice, text and data services will be reduced by an estimated $20 per month compared with plans where the company subsidized the price of a new phone. Verizon is dropping its phone subsidies along with its two year contract. 

Verizon’s introduced its new plans based around shared data packages. There’s no more single line or family plan. Instead Verizon customers will pay for a specific amount of data and a pay a per-device enrollment fee for the plan. The plans was launched on August 13th. Current Verizon subscribers can keep their existing plans, and the perks that go with it, or switch over to the new plans but some restrictions will apply.

Sprint announced the termination of its two year plan and will offer plans where customers lease their smartphones. For customers it means buying a new phone out right at full retail price or choosing the lease option. According to Sprint, in the last quarter, 51 percent of customers used the lease option to purchase a new phone.

Sprint knows that customers are not looking forward to buying a new phone that sometimes retail for as much as $700. So they have sweetened the pot a little. The company has introduced the iPhone Forever plan. For $22 a month more on their monthly bill customers can upgrade to the newest iPhone annually as soon as it becomes available. This option will be very popular among techno-geeks and gadget hounds who can’t be seen without the latest smartphone. But yeah, that’s a contract.

Breaking It Down

Cellphone carriers are fighting for their lives. The market is saturated and finding new customers is like trying to find diamonds on the street. Right now if you are a cellphone customer, and who isn’t, the game is all yours. This switch to no contracts means the market will open up and go crazy for a short while. Many people who are in a contract can jump ship anytime they want because a competitor will pay their early termination fee. That is about to end because there will be no more contracts. With the cellphone carriers in an all out war there will be winners. First, cellphone makers will see an increase in sales as all the carriers offer anytime upgrades. So cellphone makers will crank up the factory and marketing to get more, newer and better phones on the market. Cellphone re-sellers are going to make a few bucks and so keep an eye out for the explosion of used cellphones about to hit the market. Some will be nearly brand new. And customers, with their new phones can pick any carrier, anytime they want.

So now what? Now the game gets really bloody. Cellphone carriers, the big ones, will soon die off or merge. You’ll see more and more small and regional cell carriers. Remember the break up of Ma Bell? These smaller companies will offer more options, more deals and more services. Thats the sweet spot for black people. The competitive market is just too tough a game and its not going to change. Now the game is to buy the best cellphone you can afford and hold on to it. Switch to the carrier with the best deal and dump them when you find a better deal.  The next blood letting will come from the data plans. Unlimited text, talk and data is the next next and final battle for survival. One or more of the big carriers will finally die off.

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama to Unlock Cell Phones

Obama Returns To Washington After Primary NightA bill making  it legal to unlock cell phones so they can be used on any service provider’s network has arrived at the White House. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

The House passed the legislation after the bill passed the Senate last week.  The bill reverses a decision by the Library of Congress that made cell phone unlocking illegal. Unlocking a cell phone was actually legal until a decision by the Library of Congress in 2012 declared that such unlocking was a copyright infringement.

A petition on the White House website demanding the action collected 114,000 signatures thus prompting action.

When it comes to technology legislation or any legislation, it is rare to get action of any kind. But it seems that the both Republicans and Democrats saw a common ground and common sense on this issue and the bill was passed.

Led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his counterpart in the House Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) the two men took action on the petition.  Both men believed that the issue was a basic consumer demand that made sense in the marketplace. Although there were several versions of the bill with some lawmakers attempting to use the bill to instigate broader copyright reform the bill finally passed.  

The White House has not said when the president will sign the bill.

Public Knowledge Staff Attorney Laura Moy said in a statement. The bill will “make it easier for consumers to switch from one provider to another, improving competition in the wireless market. It will improve the availability of free and low-cost secondhand phones for consumers who cannot afford to purchase new devices, and it will keep millions of devices out of landfills.”

Breaking It Down

Imagine buying a car and the car company puts a lock on the gas cap so that you can only buy gas from them. Well that’s what the cell phone companies have been doing! This was a rip off and the corporations know it. The deal worked pretty well in the beginning. You get a free cellphone if you sign up for their service. OK. But you can’t use that cell phone if you move to a different carrier.OK. But did anyone notice how the cell phone market changed? The first thing that happened was that cell phones got better and smarter. They could do more. And the carriers stop giving away the best cell phone for free. They instead gave you discounts on the best phones. You got the phone and they added a little to your bill each month until it was paid for. You signed up for their service, you paid for the phone but you still could not take it to another carrier. Wait; discount or no discount, didn’t you pay for that phone? Its yours! Why can’t you use it on another service? Because the cell phone companies were forcing you to buy another phone! Now guess what? You got a phone sitting in your closet, in the glove compartment of your car or in your desk drawer (that’s where mine is)  that is perfectly fine but it won’t work. Why? Because the cell phone companies forced you to buy another phone! Well it looks like the president is putting an end to that and justly so. How many phones are the corporations going to force the American consumer to buy? Its gone on for too long! We have a right to use the cell phone we paid for on any service we choose. After the cell phone companies have bled us for two years we have a right to move to a pre-paid or no contract service if we choose. Yeah, now its our choice.