AT&T is charging users of its prepaid calling cards up to eight minutes per minute spent making an in-state call. The practice began in February and affects in-state calls made from every state except Illinois, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
The Chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin, has issued a stern rebuke to the telecoms that blocked their subscribers from accessing free Iowa-based conference call providers. Quoth the Chairman:
We actually contacted the companies that were listed in the press [reports] and said our rules prohibit you from blocking consumers’ access to any of the service providers… One had stopped blocking, but we heard complaints the next week that they were restricting access, sort of narrowing the pipe. We called them back and said, no, no, you can’t artificially degrade [service] either.
We think you should celebrate this reversal with your friends on a free Iowa-based conference call. If the service is blocked, or in any way degraded, don’t hesitate to fill out the FTC’s consumer complaint form. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
Cingular thinks it can determine who gets to link to their website, according to this snippet from their terms of service agreement. Somehow their lawyers operate under this misconception that they’re in a position of being to grant, or revoke, the “right” to create a hypertextual link to their site. The likely intent is to try to set the stage so that then they could basically sue someone for linking to their website.
Do you have an analog phone? No, not you. That guy over there with the Betamax. You do? Well, you should just accept that time and technology marches forward and upgrade your phone. The old analog system is going bye-bye next year, and Cingular is charging you $5 a month for no reason other than you still have an old crappy phone. Should they do this? Probably not. But they are.
Justin Callaway’s Cingular cellphone sent radio interference that destroyed one of his prized speakers, so he made an awesome music video about it.
Earlier this year, AT&T’s Cingular division and Travelocity both pledged not to advertise anymore via adware–programs that slip onto PCs and inject ads into a user’s browser. Verizon took a stance against computer invaders when it became a sponsor of an antispyware initiative. Yet, in March, ads from all three companies were being distributed through adware.
If you dig through all the fine print in your cell phone contract, you’ll most likely discover a statement that reads something like this: “Should your cell phone be lost or stolen you are responsible for any costs incurred for unauthorized calls made prior to reporting the cell phone missing.”
If you’re calling 911 from your house, use your land-line. If you don’t have one, be prepared to give your address or location to the 911 operator. Why? From USA Today:
Owing to limitations in Emergency-911 technology, the dispatcher probably won’t be able to pinpoint your location. Unless you can get to a pay phone — not an option in this case — you’ll probably have to give the dispatcher detailed information about your location so emergency personnel can find you.
If your beloved Blackberry runs on Cingular’s network, you may be entitled to a one day service credit. For power users, the refund might be worth up to $2.50. That is not as good as a new girlfriend, but it is something.
Using cell and data services overseas can be complicated and expensive as one Spokane financial planner recently discovered.
The inability of students and others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., to make cell phone calls during the April 16 shooting tragedy added to the chaos surrounding the events of the day, students and others have reported in media interviews.
According to the article, Verizon is the only wireless carrier admitting to call blocking during the emergency. Cingular claims to have experienced higher volumes but no service interruptions.
“Verizon became the new market leader in terms of total direct retail subscribers/customers, with a total of 56.8 million, against 56.3 million for Cingular,” said IDC’s Julien Blin in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sprint is losing customers due to its general ineptitude. —MEGHANN MARCO
The iPhone battery lasts for only 40 minutes of talk time, according to intel tech guru John Dvorak received from an inside Cingular source.
AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday it has taken a step toward the long-promised notion of phones replacing credit cards, checks and cash by signing agreements with Wachovia Corp. (WB.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and several other banks.
Product placement is annoying. You can’t TiVo through it, it’s distracting, and you can’t get rid of it. Neilsen has compiled a list of the top 10 shows with the most product placement advertising as well as the top 10 offending advertisers. Quite unsurprisingly, FOX’s American Idol comes in at the top spot with 4,086 occurrences of product placement. Yuck.
Cingular blocked access to free conference call providers; Sprint and Qwest found Cingular’s chutzpah inspiring, and followed suit. At issue is a charge Iowa-based companies pass along to national carriers.
The 712 area code used by these services allow the local carriers to charge a number of subsidies to those carrying the incoming calls due to the location of the tiny, rural exchange. These fees are split between the local exchange and the “free” conference call company, which allows them to make a pretty penny. The fees for these calls made into 712 are higher than those charged by other exchanges, and AT&T/Cingular has in fact filed a lawsuit against these Iowa-based telcos for what Cingular claims are violation of a number of laws and FCC decisions.
Reader Mike asked Cingular to explain their action. Their response, inside…
If you live in California and canceled Cingular (back in ’00-’02) due to trouble making or receiving calls, this might be of interest to you. From the AP:
Cingular Wireless will refund $18.5 million to thousands of former California customers who were penalized for canceling their mobile phone service because they had trouble making and receiving calls.
Today, Cingular texted Kevin that he needed to update his phone for daylight savings time. Thanks for the heads up! — BEN POPKEN