After two months of testing a family plan for its streaming music service, Google announced that it would make the six-person program a permanent option for Google Play Music users. [More]
Three months after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company wasn’t planning to increase rates in the U.S. anytime soon, the company announced it was doing just that — by $1, at least for one plan. [More]
A fourth of 2011 has already whizzed by, so you’ve probably either abandoned any financial resolutions you made going into the year or adopted them permanently into your lifestyle.
Yesterday, Walmart announced that starting next week it will offer a new wireless plan under its own brand, but running on T-Mobile’s network. The rates are good compared to national carriers: $45 per month for unlimited texting and minutes, and $25 per month for each additional line. There’s also no contract, and you pay the bill at the end of each month instead of loading up a pre-pay account. It’s one of the better family-style deals available, except for one thing: the data plans are actually more expensive than AT&T or T-Mobile.
The FCC has released a scan (PDF) of the five-page executive summary of the National Broadband Plan that it will present to Congress in two days. Although the summary is packed with recommendations, here’s a couple that a lot of broadband customers might be interested in: the FCC wants to develop “disclosure requirements for broadband service providers” so that consumers can make the best choice for service, and it wants to map broadband services across the country to better identify “specific geographies or market segments” where there’s not enough competition.
Verizon is cutting its prices, and by cutting them is actually raising them. What? Yeah, let’s let Ars Technica explain it.
What do you say when everyone keeps complaining that you can’t handle traffic on your network? If you’re AT&T, you say “We just need to charge more money” and “Our customers who are actually using their phones as advertised are ruining things.” AT&T’s head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, told investors today that usage-based pricing is going to happen eventually, and that the company is planning on giving heavy users–who make up 3 percent of their customers–“incentives to reduce or modify their usage.” Somehow I’m guessing he doesn’t mean coupons or cash-back bonuses.
I don’t know how Corey ever managed to secure a monthly plan that only costs $2.50–oh wait, it looks like some old offer Sprint forgot about but some of their customers found. Well, now Sprint knows about it, and they’re not happy. On the bright side, hey, no ETF to worry about if you want to switch carriers, Corey. You can read Sprint’s take-it-or-leave-it offer below.
For a while now, there have been rumors and speculation that AT&T was considering reducing its data plan by $10 per month in an attempt to be more competitive with other carriers. Today AT&T officially put the kibosh on that scuttlebutt, which is how I write once the cocktail hour kicks in on Friday. Says an AT&T spokesman, “We’ve been very happy with our pricing.”
The iPhone blog says that AT&T is going to start contacting iPhone owners who aren’t using an official iPhone data plan and force them to sign up for one. The crackdown supposedly starts tomorrow in the Atlanta and Austin markets, and expands nationwide by the end of the month.
The rumor was true—T-Mobile has started offering cheaper unlimited voice plans to existing customers. Matthew wrote to us, “The TMO loyalty plans are showing up on the site as of today…we just moved to the Unlimited Loyalty Family Plan at $89.99, which is $10 cheaper than the 2000 minute Family Plan we’d been on.”
Rumor confirmed: AT&T has indeed dropped the price of its unlimited data and messaging plan by $5—the new cost is $30/mo, and $10/mo to add a second phone under their shared family plan. Unless you plan on texting more than 200 messages a month, however, it’s not worth it (you can get unlimited data + 200 messages for $20). [Engadget Mobile]
You’re fired! Now what? It’s the nightmare scenario, and you can prepare for it by conducting a financial drill. Take a moment and pretend you have no income. Ask how you would pay pay for rent and food, and what lifestyle changes you could make on two week’s notice. To guide your planning, the New York Times has a few unorthodox and downright scary suggestions that are worth considering in a worst case scenario.
William got an email from Vonage yesterday telling him they’re raising his bill starting in February.
The compassionate conservatives helming our government have an ingeniously simple new plan for homeowners facing foreclosure: take 30 days, pack your bags, and then get the !@#$ out.
Not to be outdone by the national players, regional cellphone company U.S. Cellular has announced a $99 unlimited calling plan “for a limited time.” $15 more adds unlimited text messaging, and $10 more adds unlimited data usage. [IntoMobile]