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Comment: Re: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Score 1) 237

by Powercntrl (#49103195) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

Oh, oops. Looks like they now have a family plan that includes 2 lines and unlimited LTE data for $100/mo now. That's $20/mo less than I've been paying, so I just switched to it.

Damn. Sorry about that, Cricket looked like it may have been a viable option for some people, but... well. Just... sorry. And thanks for prompting me to look into that; it's new since I looked last week.

T-Mobile has actually been running the two unlimited lines for $100 promotion, for a few months now. It's a good deal if it suits your needs and depending on what your state's wireless taxes cost, since taxes and fees are extra. T-Mobile should tell their customers when switching to a newly-released promotional plan would save them a few bucks, but that'd be akin to AT&T lowering your monthly rate if you didn't use your upgrade eligibility. In both cases, the carriers are just hoping a customer's ignorance will continue to fill the coffers.

Again, if you need truly unlimited, Cricket isn't an option. That's still no reason for people who use more modest amounts of data to pay extra for a higher data tier or unlimited plan that they don't actually need. Heck, a big part of the popularity of Ting (a Sprint MVNO run by Tucows) is that it can be extremely inexpensive for very light users.

Comment: Re: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Score 1) 237

by Powercntrl (#49103047) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

Now that both phones are paid for, the bill is an additional $50/mo lower; mind you, we paid $650 apiece for the phones, but there were cheaper options if we wanted them; that's not relevant here, though, since you have to buy your phone on Cricket, as well.

I think you're getting the current Cricket, a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T, confused with the old Cricket (a regional CDMA carrier). They allow you to use any AT&T locked or unlocked GSM phone. The coverage is the same as AT&T's native (non-roaming) network. I use a iPhone 5S originally from Verizon, on Cricket; I certainly didn't have to buy one of their phones.

According to their rates chart, they don't offer unlimited.

T-Mobile and Sprint are the only games in town if you really need truly unlimited data. Once that becomes part of your selection criteria, you know what your options are.

I say nearly because Cricket will cut you off after 5GB, while T-Mobile will throttle, and Cricket no longer offers tethering, so really. No. they're just not a viable option.

Cricket throttles at 128Kbps, the same throttle speed as T-Mobile and Sprint. It's just as unusable on all carriers. You are correct, however, that Cricket does not offer any form of wireless hotspot/tethering add-on. They also don't do anything to stop you from tethering if your phone natively supports it, or if you've enabled it by way of rooting/jailbreaking.

More-or-less, MetroPCS (which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of T-Mobile) offers exactly what you're getting now on the same network, for $120/mo. That's two lines at the base price of $60/mo each, a $5 family plan discount on each line for having two lines, then a $5 fee on each line for adding mobile hotspot functionality to both lines.

What you'd lose is the ability to roam in the few places T-Mobile still has roaming agreements (looking at their map, I can't imagine where) and the ability to finance your next handsets. Is that worth $30/mo?

Comment: Re: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Score 1) 237

by Powercntrl (#49102689) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

It goes beyond that, even. With a traditional cell phone contract, your bill doesn't change once you pay off the phone, because you never actually pay off the phone, because you aren't financing it; instead, the plan price is increased to subsidize the phone price, so you actually keep paying for the phone, even after it's been paid for several times over. With the finance agreement, once you pay off the phone, you stop paying for the phone.

The crux of the issue is, T-Mobile used to offer both options. You could choose a traditional 2 year contract and subsidized handset, which was priced competitively against offerings from the other "big 3" carriers. It actually worked out to your advantage if you wanted a shiny new flagship handset every two years.

They also offered a less expensive month-to-month option, with no handset subsidies. This existed before T-Mobile started calling themselves an "un-carrier" and removed the contract plans.

As I pointed out in my original post (now modded into oblivion, likely by T-Mobile shills), if you already own your phone outright, there are cheaper places to bring it to. As an example, I pay $35/mo with absolutely no bullshit fees or taxes, for unlimited talk, unlimited text and 2.5GB of high-speed data (with the typical unusably slow throttled "unlimited data", thereafter). On T-Mobile, their nearest comparable plan (3GB) would cost $60/mo and they'd tack on all the fees and taxes, too.

Let's ignore the taxes and assume a flat $25/mo price difference. With the money I'm saving by being on Cricket instead of T-Mobile, in 2 years, I've saved a total of $600. Using the iPhone as an example ($650 full retail price), the typical contract subsidy is $450. There's more than enough profit in T-Mobile's pricing to give you a handset upgrade every two years and still keep $150 more profit than Cricket. T-Mobile just uses clever marketing to trick you into thinking you're already getting the best deal possible!

You're an un-customer to the un-carrier.

Comment: Re: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Score 2) 237

by Powercntrl (#49101863) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

No it's not the same as the traditional cell phone contract. With the traditional cell phone contract, whether I buy an $800 iPhone or a $100 cheap Android phone, I would still owe the same termination fee. With t-mobile, I pay the cost of the phone and I'm done.

Then you fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Here's T-Mobile's old terms:

$200 if termination occurs with more than 180 days remaining on your term; $100 if termination occurs with 91 to 180 days remaining on your term; $50 if termination occurs with 31 to 90 days remaining on your term; and the lesser of $50 or your monthly recurring charges (including any applicable taxes and fees) if termination occurs in the last 30 days of your term.

Unless you were signing a contract for a dumbphone or an entry-level low-end smartphone, you generally came out financially ahead over paying full retail price for a flagship handset, even if you left the carrier immediately after signing up.

What if you actually wanted a cheap phone? Well, here's the kicker - T-Mobile always allowed you to establish month-to-month service if you brought your own phone (or purchased one outright). All they've done as the "un-carrier", is put a positive marketing spin on eliminating discounted handsets. In other words, providing less consumer choice.

Comment: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Score 0) 237

by Powercntrl (#49101063) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

Congratulations, you fell for T-Mobile's newspeak. Their "un-carrier" initiative basically meant taking everything people hate about wireless service, making it slightly worse and giving it a new name. They don't do contracts with those evil pro-rated early termination fees, no sir-ree! Now it's a finance agreement, which is totally not the same thing as a contract! Of course, they did get a slap on the wrist for being a bit misleading in that regard. However, they're still getting away with advertising "unlimited data" on all of their plans, when it's abundantly clear that the throttled data speed is completely unusable, once you've used up your high speed allotment.

Here's a few suggestions:

Check your data usage settings on your iPhone. Don't allow app updates over cellular data. Apps can also individually have their background data turned off. If you use Facebook, set it to not auto-load videos over cellular data.

Complain to the FTC. They recently went after Straight Talk for offering "unlimited" plans that aren't, and T-Mobile's throttle speed is so slow, it's essentially no different than being cut off completely.

Consider switching to Cricket (now owned by AT&T). You can get a 5GB plan for what you're paying T-Mobile and it runs on AT&T's far superior network.

Lastly, do the math and see if it's just worth the extra few bucks a month to upgrade to the real unlimited plan. If your time is valuable, it might simply make more sense to cough up the dough, rather than hunting open WiFi hotspots and carefully monitoring your cellular data usage every month.

Comment: Get a newer iPhone (Score 1) 223

by Powercntrl (#48982403) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Gaining Control of My Mobile Browser?

It sounds like you're describing what it's like to browse the Internet on the older iDevices which have 512MB of RAM. If you're dead-set on sticking to iOS, it's time to open your wallet up and make a generous donation to Apple. Or, as suggested by the rest of the peanut gallery, switch to Android.

Comment: It wasn't all about data (Score 1) 458

by Powercntrl (#48947391) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

For me, opening cell companies to reasonably priced data (by jumping in at the right time and locking in with AT&T) is what Apple did to open the market.

At the time, Sprint actually offered unlimited EVDO data (they called it "Power Vision", back then) as a $10/mo add-on. They even had a 500 minute plan as part of their "SERO" offering for $30/mo which even included unlimited data. I had Sprint back then, and while EVDO speeds are a sad joke today, they absolutely smoked the EDGE speeds the iPhone got on AT&T's GSM network. Also, no one was using it back then to post pictures of their lunch and watch Justin Bieber videos, so the data speeds were relatively consistent. Sprint's phones, on the other hand, were fucking awful.

What Apple bought to the market was a smartphone that people actually enjoyed using. But, by popularizing smartphones among the masses, they've opened a Pandora's box of data usage that has truly made $10 unlimited, unthrottled data, a relic of the past.

Comment: Cable company still doesn't get it (Score 1) 43

by Powercntrl (#48903485) Attached to: For New Yorkers, Cablevision Introduces a Wi-Fi-Centric VoiP Network

If you don't mind all the caveats of having phone service that only works when you're in range of a WiFi hotspot, Freedompop offers exactly the same thing, nationwide, for $5/mo.

And as others have said, if you don't mind hotspot hunting when you want data, you can easily find unlimited talk & text plans on real cellular networks for under $30/mo. Heck, pony up the extra $5/mo for the $35/mo plan and Cricket (which is now a national carrier owned by AT&T) will throw in 1GB of data.

Leave it to cable companies to be even more clueless than Ma Bell...

Comment: Re:Nothing new here (Score 4, Interesting) 101

by Powercntrl (#48872705) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

Ting's à la carte pricing is fine for light users, but the average smartphone addicted millennial, it's a certified ripoff. But yeah, Google is entering a crowded marketplace. Just by themselves, Sprint and T-Mobile have quite a few of their own virtual carriers. Sprint has Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. T-Mobile has MetroPCS, GoSmart Mobile, and they've also partnered with Walmart for Family Mobile and Target for BrightSpot Mobile.

Then you've got the big daddy of MVNOs, América Móvil. They already resell competitively priced wireless service from all 4 national carriers. You might be more familiar with them as Tracfone, Safelink, Net10, Simple Mobile, Page Plus Cellular, Telcel América and Straight Talk.

Until Google actually starts building their own network, don't expect a huge industry shake-up. In the cellular industry, the networks are gold and you know the golden rule...

Comment: Why stop with rides? (Score 5, Insightful) 160

by Powercntrl (#48762845) Attached to: Over 30 Uber Cars Impounded In Cape Town

There's all kinds of services people can offer without pesky government interference! Meal sharing could be the next killer app. Why pay restaurant prices when you can just search for a family with an extra chair at their dinner table?

It's like when your furnace goes out and you find some self-proclaimed handyman on Craigslist to fix it. Licensed, bonded, insured? Hah, those are just extra costs that would be passed on to you. You're saving a bundle and carbon monoxide poisoning is probably just some B.S. made up by those government brown nosing "legit" guys who charge higher prices!

Comment: The real geek gift guide (Score 1) 113

by Powercntrl (#48588307) Attached to: 2014 Geek Gift Guide

For most people, gift buying breaks down into three categories:

1. People you're willing to splurge for. Close family, offspring, significant other, etc. Since these are the people you interact with the most, not being clued in to what they wanted for a gift is an epic fail. No gift guide is going to help you here.

2. Good friends, extended family. These people are the reason gift cards were invented. Sure, some people may argue that it's not personal enough, but screw that. Everybody loves a free meal at a restaurant or a few free app downloads.

3. Cow-orkers, that guy you added on Facebook and can't remember why, your kid's teachers and anyone else you're giving gifts to as a matter of obligatory holiday procedure. These people get shit from the bargain bins at your local drug store (while you're there buying gift cards).

You could also always change your faith to one that doesn't celebrate holidays involving gift giving. That's probably cheaper, too.

Comment: Dad needs to get off his high horse (Score 1) 584

by Powercntrl (#48521157) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

When she grows up, she might be an artist, a counselor, or an HR professional. She almost certainly won't be a princess, though, so don't worry about that.

Or she might get knocked up in highschool and drop out. Kids don't always turn out the way you plan and being a good parent means encouraging your kids to succeed and still loving them even when they fall flat on their ass.

It's also a bit hypocritical when geeky/nerdy parents act all shocked and shaken when their offspring would rather go out and interact with other kids than stay at home and play with a chemistry set. Hint: it's just as bad being the stereotypical jock father who smashes in his son's door because the kid prefers reading over sports.

Comment: I was born too early (Score 1) 523

by Powercntrl (#48489319) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

I've hated cursive with a passion, ever since I was forced to learn it in public school. I could never manage legibility at anything remotely resembling a decent writing speed, so half the time I couldn't even decipher my own notes. I had absolutely no trouble picking up typing and at 12 years old, I could easily type faster than any of my classmates could write. The only problem was, this was still the dark ages and the school staff felt that allowing me to use a portable word processor would be an unfair advantage over other students and that I deserved bad grades due to my inferior handwriting ability.

We don't teach kids to chisel on stone tablets or write on slates, so I see absolutely no reason why cursive can't also be relegated to the past. Good riddance.

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas