Old Phone? Cingular Charges You $5 More

Cingular plans to start charging customers with older model cellphones five extra bucks in order to poke them towards upgrading.

On Monday, Cingular said that with of analog and TDMA use falling, “the per-customer cost of using that network is increasing considerably. That’s why we made a decision to impose this charge.”

With 57.3 million customers, Cingular can afford to slough off the unprofitable ones.

Reportedly, the surcharge only affects 8% of their customer base, the lallygags still using phones with TDMA technology or moth-balled “analog” signal.

Cingular will also stop selling replacement hand cranks for these devices.

(Thanks to Kevin!)

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  1. Falconfire says:

    I’m amazed Cingular still HAD people who used TDMA and analog. Verizon dumped everyone over 4-5 years ago, you either upgraded or you lost service. I dont understand why they HAVE to charge 5 bucks though, just say we are not supporting it past Feb 2007 so you will need to upgrade your phone. I highly doubt if salespeople are honest with the customers that people would WANT to use those services, especially since they suck.

  2. thrillhouse says:

    1. my dad’s gonna be pissed. tho not sure he’s on Cingular.

    2. killer graphic

  3. John Stracke says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Cingular (well, AT&T Wireless) already kicked me off of TDMA. When they launched their GSM network in 2004, their TDMA coverage dropped significantly; I presume this was because they had to cannibalize bandwidth and/or rack space to make room for the GSM network. After years of good coverage, I just was not inclined to sit still.

    (Mind you, it helped that I dropped and broke my TDMA phone about the same time…)

  4. Papa K says:

    So they’re forcing you to upgrade so it’s easier for them (and, playing DA, easier on the consumer in the “eventual” run, supposedly).

    They’re forcing you to either get with the times, or pay more, so I can’t really complain, but at the same time they should say “here’s our lowest, cheapest, easiest phone for free to make it even easier on you.”

  5. Paula says:

    That’s really horrible of them. Here in Brazil, one of the cell companies is going all-GSM, but they are calling up all of the TDMA customers and giving them a free GSM phone even if they don’t get a “new” minute plan. I guess eventually they will kill TDMA coverage, but they’re transferring people gradually. Meanwhile, customers think the company is so nice for “upgrading” them, while Cingular comes off as horrible.

  6. xplnlife says:

    att