wireless

Walmart's New Cellphone Plans Are Great If You Skip The Data

Walmart's New Cellphone Plans Are Great If You Skip The Data

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.

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White House Backs FCC Plan For Wireless Broadband

White House Backs FCC Plan For Wireless Broadband

If you’re having trouble getting a signal on your smartphone, the White House feels your pain. The Obama administration has endorsed an FCC plan to nearly double the bandwidth available for wireless devices by freeing up additional wireless spectrum. But don’t expect blazing speeds or better signals overnight. The plan will take several years to implement, require congressional approval, and is tied to a bandwidth auction to get the carriers to pay for the right to use the spectrum.

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AT&T Capping Data On New iPhone, iPad Plans

AT&T Capping Data On New iPhone, iPad Plans

AT&T has officially delivered on the threats made by its consumer business director Ralph de la Vega last December: it’s switching to usage-based pricing on data plans for smartphones and the iPad. Starting Monday, all new AT&T customers who buy an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or other smartphone and purchase the necessary data plan will have two options: $25 for 2 gigabytes, or $15 for 200 megabytes.

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What iPhone Owners Complain About When They Complain To The FCC & FTC

What iPhone Owners Complain About When They Complain To The FCC & FTC

Lastmonth, InformationWeek filed a Freedom of Information request with the FCC and the FTC for complaints made about the iPhone in the past year. Although the breakdown of complaints is interesting, what I found most striking was that in a nation of over 11 million iPhone owners, less than 600 complaints were filed in the past 14 months*, and some of those were for other Apple products. If you have a legitimate grievance with a company, you might have a much better chance of being heard by the FCC or FTC than you think.

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Verizon Bill Collector Threatens To Blow Up Man's House

Verizon Bill Collector Threatens To Blow Up Man's House

A man in New Mexico is suing Verizon Wireless over a series of harassing phone calls made by Verizon bill collectors last year. The man, Al Burrows, says the calls were concerning a relative’s unpaid cellphone bill. When he hung up on one of them, the disconnected Verizon rep called back, said she knew where Burrows lived, and added, “I am gonna blow your mother fucking house up.”

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Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview.

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Woman Sues Cellphone Company For $600,000 For "Exposing" Her Adultery

Woman Sues Cellphone Company For $600,000 For "Exposing" Her Adultery

A woman has sued her wireless provider for $600,000 for outing her as a cheater to her husband. After the they added internet and TV services to the woman’s previously single-user cellphone bill, the wireless company began sending the husband a unified bill, which included several hours long conversations to an unknown number. The husband walked out, and the lawsuits began.

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Which Hotels Have Decent Wi-Fi?

Which Hotels Have Decent Wi-Fi?

If you want to pay out the nose for Wi-Fi, stay in a W hotel, says HotelChatter. The site has released its 6th annual report on Wi-Fi in U.S. hotels, and the W Hotel chain is named as the worst with no free lobby access and $15/day room rates. Other hotels that suck when it comes to wireless: DoubleTree, Four Seasons, Marriott, and Mandarin Oriental.

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Don't Call In To Complain About How You Can't Steal
Wi-Fi

Don't Call In To Complain About How You Can't Steal Wi-Fi

Someone named Jennifer called in to the Leo Laporte show a week ago and asked for help on how to get back online. She’d been able to access a Wi-Fi hotspot for over a year and a half from her apartment, but “that’s disappeared now for three weeks.” She bought a wireless extender and that didn’t solve the problem at all. Laporte gently tries to point out that she’s being a freeloader, but she’s not buying it.

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Virgin Mobile Isn't Quite Clear On The Meaning Of "Playlist"

Virgin Mobile Isn't Quite Clear On The Meaning Of "Playlist"

Jennifer writes that she bought a new phone, a Samsung Mantra, based on the features listed for the phone on Virgin Mobile’s web site. The problem is that the phone doesn’t actually seem to have the advertised features that led her to buy the phone in the first place.

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Fake Steve Jobs: "Go Protest At An AT&T Store Today"

Fake Steve Jobs: "Go Protest At An AT&T Store Today"

Now that Operation Chokehold–the plan to stress AT&T’s 3G network today–has taken root in the media, Fake Steve Jobs is trying to redirect the enthusiasm into something that’s more television friendly.

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T-Mobile Down Throughout Southern States, But Back Up Now!

T-Mobile Down Throughout Southern States, But Back Up Now!

What the heck, did you guys strike early, and target the wrong wireless carrier? The day before the possibly-ill-conceived “Operation Chokehold” is supposed to bring AT&T’s wireless network to a standstill, T-Mobile steals all the bad press by going out this evening across large parts of the Southeastern US and Puerto Rico.
 
Update: Immediately after posting this, T-Mobile announced the service was back up.

AT&T Network Blame Game Takes Weird "It's Apple's Fault" Twist

AT&T Network Blame Game Takes Weird "It's Apple's Fault" Twist

Last week AT&T, in yet another of a string of PR failures about the health of its network, made things even worse by publicly blaming its customers for, you know, being customers. Over the weekend, though, a new thread was introduced into the narrative: it’s the iPhone’s fault. Not because it’s too popular, which has been the old complaint, but because the hardware doesn’t work right, and AT&T can’t say anything about it for fear that Steve Jobs will reach down through the clouds and smite them.

That sounds pretty tragic and sad for AT&T, but the problem is nobody knows if it’s true, or if this is yet another strategy to shift the responsibility from AT&T.

AT&T Hints That It Might Introduce Usage-Based Pricing For Smartphone Customers

AT&T Hints That It Might Introduce Usage-Based Pricing For Smartphone Customers

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.

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AT&T Sends Monster After Verizon Subscribers In Threatening New Ad

AT&T Sends Monster After Verizon Subscribers In Threatening New Ad

Happy Halloween from AT&T! The maligned cellular carrier’s latest ad doesn’t seem to be as concerned with getting Verizon to stop picking on it. Instead, a headless Luke Wilson staggers around the screen, roaring silently and searching for someone to kill. Stick to AT&T or who knows what might happen to you.

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It's Official, Everybody Hates AT&T

It's Official, Everybody Hates AT&T

There’s a new Consumer Reports survey out that ranks cellphone companies by customer satisfaction, and to pretty much no one’s surprise, AT&T comes in last in all 19 cities surveyed. (Verizon came in first.) As AllThingsD notes, the survey “suggests that AT&T’s shortcomings are more widespread than the carrier would have us believe and not simply the product of a high concentration of iPhones in the country’s larger cities.”

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FCC Asked To Address Misleading And Confusing Billing

FCC Asked To Address Misleading And Confusing Billing

In August, we wrote about upcoming investigations and possible actions by the FCC on several different areas of the consumer telecommunications experience. Several consumer groups filed comments on the first issue, truth in billing, this week, and we wanted to share some of their concerns and suggestions.

Walmart Gets Into Cellular Business, Offers Unlimited Plan For $45

Walmart Gets Into Cellular Business, Offers Unlimited Plan For $45

Today Walmart announced that it’s launching its own wireless service, Straight Talk, on October 18th. The network will piggyback on use TracFone’s wireless network. At launch, two pre-paid plans will be offered: a $30 package that includes 1000 minutes, 1000 text messages, and 30MB of data; or a $45 plan that includes unlimited voice, text, and data. 411 calls are free.