Friday, July 22, 2011

FCC Looking to Approve AT&T Buyout of T-Mobile

The FCC has failed US consumers once again. They are on the road to approve the buyout deal that would allow AT&T to acquire of T-Mobiles towers to help expand their 4G coverage. AT&T is not concerned with the 33.73 million T-Mobile customers they are acquiring, instead they are concerned with how much more reach they can get with their towers. The ripples, current customers are going to feel from this deal being approved by the FCC, are going to be massive.


First of all, current T-Mobile 4G customers are going to have to purchase a new phone when the change occurs because they will not work on the new network. Watch out if you have purchased a new phone in the last few months, it is going to be obsolete next year and you will be out the money you just invested in the phone and being faced to purchase a new one and then getting stuck in another contract.


For those of you that are on prepaid plans, like the wonderfully inexpensive $30.00 monthly plan that gives you 1,500 minutes and/or text messages and 30MB of data each month, there is no option like this on AT&T that will allow you to use a smartphone, like an Android or Blackberry. AT&T breaks up their phones into four different segments.


The first is the basic phone, it is the standard flip, bar or slider phone that doesn't do anything fancy at all. And you aren't required to carry anything but a normal talk plan on it monthly.


Next, is their "Messaging Phones." These include phones that are specifically designed for text messaging. They include phones that have slide out QWERTY keyboards either from the side or bottom and a few touch screen phones that are not Androids. Since these phones are meant for messaging, AT&T requires that you have a $20.00 text messaging plan on your plan in order to get and use one of these phones.


Next, they have "Smart Phones," which include Android and the like touch phones. With these kinds of phones you are required to carry at least a $15.00 data package in order to even use the phone.


Last, is the "Blackberry and iPhone" section. These phones also require you to carry a data package, but they are specifically either Blackberry or iPhone data packages, which of course are much more than the regular data packages.


As for AT&T prepaid plans, they offer a monthly Unlimited plan, that includes unlimited talk, text and data, which T-Mobile also carries for the same price. However with AT&T's version of this plan they do not allow Smartphones, Blackberries or iPhones to carry this plan. You have to purchase data in MB & GBs. Also, like T-Mobile, they segment out the Blackberries. The only difference between the two is that with T-Mobile you can have an Android Smartphone on their prepaid plan and not have to pay any extra for data, whereas with AT&T they require you to get a separate data package with their so called unlimited plan.


Beyond all of the segmentation they do with their phones and how they figure ways to charge you more for the same service just on a different phone, they charge more for their monthly contracted plans and more for their phones. Compare for yourself.


Here is AT&T's individual Pricing Chart:



Here is T-Mobile's Individual Pricing Chart:

As you can see, if you selected just an unlimited talk and text plan from both, you would be looking at paying $89.99 with AT&T and for the same plan you would be only paying $59.99 with T-Mobile and with T-Mobile you can get an Android smartphone without being forced to get a data package. All of T-Mobiles Even More packages (except for the just talk and text package) you get unlimited data and you are only paying for higher speed data (4G) with the different packages. For instance, if you had an Android smartphone, you are going to have to get a data package with AT&T, they won't let you use the phone otherwise, and the phone does work without a data package because they are WiFi enabled devices, which means you can use Hotspots and your home, school or work WiFi to surf the internet. The cost of an unlimited talk, text and 2GB data package on your Android phone would cost you $114.99 a month, whereas it would only be $79.99 with T-Mobile, that is not a $35.00 savings by going with T-Mobile, it is a $35.00 overcharge by going with AT&T! 



The merger of these two companies is not making many current T-Mobile customers happy. There are message boards filled with complaints about how bad AT&T is and how customers don't want this merger to go through. It seems letters to the FCC didn't do a thing and they ignored customers requests for them to not approve this deal. It just goes to show you that there isn't anyone looking out for the consumer anymore and that big businesses are given full rein to do what they please.

Once the merger goes through, and the towers are switched to AT&T, old plans and phones that once worked on the T-Mobile network are going to have to be replaced for more expensive products and with less highly trained and friendly agents to help them through the change over process. T-Mobile customers are going to be in for a rude awakening when they realize that their favorite cell phone company has sold them out to an uncaring AT&T network.



Now you can see why so many T-Mobile customers are going to be outraged. T-Mobile customers have been treated like kinds and queens over the years with the exceptional customer service and have received wonderful service at a comfortable price that outbids all other servicer's in the industry. Now, they will be forced to purchase new phones that will work on the new network at reasonably higher prices not to mention how much more their monthly bill is going to spike. AT&T is becoming a monopoly in the cell phone service industry. Other options customers have are just as expensive or more, which is Verizon or Sprint. There isn't anything anyone can do now that T-Mobile has sold out, but just accept it and pay the higher prices. It is a shame for all of those loyal T-Mobile customers that would have preferred to stay, but many are now jumping ship and going with either of the two other networks around, and paying through the nose for it. 


Now the big question is, why does T-Mobile continue to bring out new phones and continues to sell new contracts when the contracts will be converted to higher costing ones in approximately a year? If you have T-Mobile service, are your plans to stick it out and see what goes down with AT&T or are you leaving T-Mobile before the switch over?

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