Tag Archives: T-Mobile

Breach Brief – T-Mobile

Mobile phone service provider T-Mobile has announced a data breach of its customer information.

According to a post on  the carrier’s website  the hack was discovered on August 20 by its cybersecurity team. The team shut down unauthorized access to certain information and T-Mobile quickly reported the incident to authorities. T-Mobile reported that the attackers did not get access to financial information, social security numbers, or passwords. However  the company did admit that some personal information may have been compromised including name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number and account type.

In a statement T-Mobile said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we wanted to let you know about an incident that we recently handled that may have impacted some of your personal information. We take the security of your information very seriously and have a number of safeguards in place to protect your personal information from unauthorized access. We truly regret that this incident occurred and are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.”

T-Mobile did not report any exact number of customers affected by the breach.  But a spokesperson for the company told Motherboard that it impacted roughly  “3 percent” of its 77 million customers amounting to around two million people. “Fortunately not many,” the spokesperson said in a text message, adding she could not say the exact number, reported Motherboard.

T-Mobile is the third largest cell service provider in the U.S. with 77 million customers. The company has about half the customers of Verizon and AT&T  with 152 million and 147 million customers respectively.

Facebook and Intel Report Diversity Improvement

Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief

Facebook’s surprising diversity report showed marked improvement in hiring of women and minorities. While the report shows that Facebook is still overwhelmingly white and male the improvements show that Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief, is having an effect on the company.   Facebook’s report revealed 35 percent of its staff  are women, up from 33 percent a year ago. The number of number of women in leadership positions is up a percent to 28 percent.

Even with these improvements retention of female employees in the tech sector is a another challenge. Women are leaving the industry after hire in the face or sexism and other bias. So these numbers for Facebook can only be considered an improvement if women stay on with the company.

The report shows an increase of Hispanic employees of 4 to 5 percent and African-Americans by 2 to 3 percent. However the guys at the top are still white men making up 71 percent of the company leadership. No change there.  The rest of the company leadership is held by Asians at 21 percent with other groups holding only 2 to 3 percent.

How is Williams making change happen? Along side the diversity report Williams blogged about initiatives she believes are improving Facebook’s hiring and workplace culture. She pointed out the  “Diverse Slate Approach,” which encourages consideration of applicants who don’t look like the hiring managers.  According to Williams Facebook has discovered that “the more people you interview who don’t look or think like you, the more likely you are to hire someone from a diverse background.”  Facebook’s “Managing Inclusion,” training program teaches managers to consider what issues affect under-represented groups.  Facebook believes that this training helps to build an understanding of how these employees or applicants arrived in tech the industry and what obstacles remain.

Williams believes Facebook is moving in the right direction but said, “We aren’t where we’d like to be.”

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

Another major tech company is also touting its diversity improvements.  Intel has reported that its diversity program is actually two years ahead of schedule.  In a recent blog post Intel CEO Brian Krzanich claims Intel is two years ahead of its original diversity plan. “We set out to achieve by 2020 an inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity we see every day in the world around us,” he wrote. “Doing this would bring the number of female, Hispanic, African-American and Native American employees in Intel’s 50,000-strong U.S. workforce to full representation.” According to Krzanich the goal is now moved up to 2018.

Krzanich, in a stand against racism, resigned from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after comments the president made about the events in Charlottesville that one left one woman dead. According to Krzanich he wants to “…call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues…”

Intel’s mid-year report shows the company’s five-year plan is on track to bring full representation of  women, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans in both technical and non-technical jobs. According to Intel full representation is defined as the “full market availability of women and underrepresented minorities.”

“In December of 2014, our gap to full representation was 2,300 employees. Today that gap has narrowed to 801 people, a 65 percent improvement, said Krzanich.

But like Facebook and other tech companies white and Asian men still represent  almost all top management positions. More than 90 percent of Intel’s mid to senior-level technical roles are white and Asian men.  Intel is also dealing with a retention problem with women and minorities. The company says it has added “diversity playbooks” and other programs to help managers hire and retain under-represented groups.

Although diversity in the tech sector is a real issue, and progress is epically slow, there is progress. According to workplace culture and company review platform Comparably  companies are doing better.

Comparably has come out with a list of the top ten companies that are doing better than most in the area of workplace diversity. The scores of these companies are on a 0-100 scale and based how female employees rate their experience at the company. The diversity score is based on how employees of color rate their experience at a company. Here is Comparably’s list for women.

For diversity

 

 

 

Pre-Paid Cell Providers Offering More Data

More and cheaper data is coming your way. Pre-paid cell phone providers are boosting the amount of data you can get but not boosting the price. Right now the cellular phone service market is a brutal, cut throat game. New customers are hard to come by and new technologies, small providers and competition makes it hard to increase prices. Its just a tough business to be in right now.

U.S. Cellular is a regional provider of pre-paid cell phone service but even so, it is the fifth largest cell provider in the country. The company’s Simple Connect Prepaid $45 monthly plan boosts the available data from 1GB to to 3GB.  Their $60 monthly plan also gets a boost from 5GB to 6GB. The companyis also offering a new plan that is $75  a month that includes 12GB of high-speed data.

U.S. Cellular also offers the Ready Connect Prepaid plan. Only Walmart and Dollar General store sell these plans. Customers can pay $45 for 4GB, $55 for 8GB and a $75 plan than offers 12GB of high-speed data.  If you enroll for auto-pay you take off another $5 off the $45 and $55 monthly plans, or $10 off the $75 plan.

Cricket Wireless is also at the data boosting party. On January 27th Cricket boosted high-speed data allowances for several of its plans. The new plans offer customers with the basic $40 a month plan and the $60 a month plan data boosts to 3GB and 12GB. Thats only a half a gig for the $40 plan but 2 GB for the $60 plan.

Cricket is also going to retain an existing promotion that upped the data limit from 5GB to 8GB for its $50 a month. From now on 8GB will be Crickets’s standard at that price level. Like U.S. Cellular if you enroll in auto pay you save $5 a month.

For the record its not a concidence that two pre-paid phone companies are offering data increases at the same time. Its actually about timing. According to U.S. Cellular Vice President of Brand Management, “February and March are popular months for prepaid wireless purchases, so our updated plans provide an even better experience to our current customers as well as any consumers looking for a better prepaid deal.”

Cell phone service does not have to be expensive. But you have to shop around, know your needs and your budget. A smart consumer can get the phone and the service plan for the price they are looking for if they just do a little homework.

The website Android Police did a little leg work for you. They found that MetroPCS is the cheapest cell  carrier offering a $30 a month plan that comes with 1GB of data. The cheapest prepaid providers are T-Mobile and Boost. The carriers tied for the cheapest with $30/month plans. But here is the catch, T-Mobile doesn’t advertise the plan it some of the compnaies reps don’t even know it exists. Android Police also warns against buying any kind of family plan. Apparently you can save money by just getting the  individual planes with more data. Check out “The Cheapest Cell Phone Plans in America”

We know in this country there are the truly needy. And no one should be isolated from the world because they can’t pay a phone bill. SafeLink Wireless offers free cell phone service for those less fortunate.  User can get a phone and 500 minutes absolutely free and free text messaging.

Now you know.

T-Mobile to Pay for Misleading Customers

t-mobile-logoThe FCC has dropped the hammer on cell provider T-Mobile. T-Mobile USA Inc. agreed to cough up at least $48 million for making customers believe it offered a truly unlimited data plan. It was never true.

An FCC investigation that began last year  looked into whether the company properly disclosed that it was slowing down data speeds for heavy users. In the cell phone industry this is a common practice known as throttling.

As part of the agreement T-Mobile will pay a $7.5 million fine and offer $35.5 million in customer benefits that includes data upgrades and discounts on accessories. The giant cell provider will also spend another $5 million to improve mobile high-speed Internet access for as many as 80,000 low-income public school students.

Travis LeBlanc, head of the FCC Enforcement Bureau said, “Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called unlimited data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps and other material limitations.When broadband providers are accurate, honest and upfront in their ads and disclosures, consumers aren’t surprised and they get what they’ve paid for.”

The FCC enforced settlement applies to T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans but not its Binge On service.

According to the FCC it began investigating in March 2015 after T-Mobile and pre-paid service provider MetroPCS customers complained. T-mobile customers complained about being mislead by the so-called unlimited data plan. According to the FCC the plan throttled customer data speeds after a certain data threshold is used each month.

T-Mobile “de-prioritized” heavy users data speeds during times of network congestion. Unlimited plan subscribers who consumed more than 17 gigabytes of data in a given month, typically about  3% of its users, were subject to slower speeds than advertised.

The FCC found that T-Mobile failed to properly notify its customers of the restriction from August 2014 to June 12, 2015.  T-mobile has agreed to better inform its customers of the restrictions and notify customers when their data usage approaches the monthly limit at which it could be slowed.

For T-Mobile  customers they could get 20% off the regular price for any accessories up to $20 and an automatic upgrade of 4 gigabytes of data for one month, valued at $15 that can be used over the course of a year under its “data stash” program. MetroPCS customers automatically get the 4GB of data to use over two months. The company must also notify eligible customers of the benefits by Dec. 15.

In an effort to help bridge the digital divide T-Mobile has also agreed to spend an additional $5 million providing free tablets and other mobile devices to low-income public school districts. Beginning in October 2017 eligible schools will receive reduced-cost mobile broadband services for the devices. Students and their families will get the service at no cost. The program will enroll 20,000 students annually over four years.

Cellphone Plans; Which One is the Right One?


cinchIts the holiday season and someone is going to get a new cellphone. Most people already have a cellphone. Make that 96 percent of the U.S. population has a cellphone. African-Americans are more likely to have a smartphone than a computer. Among all Americans we do more business and shopping using mobile devices than all other groups.  You have no doubt seen all the commercials from all the cellphone companies with all the incredible promises of great services, plentiful data and great prices. The ads can be confusing. The question black people want answered is; which cellphone plan is right for you?

Cinch is a new online tool that allows you to answer a set of questions that guides you to the right phone plan. The phone plan search is the latest product from Cinch Financial, a company that helps consumers you find the right banks, credit cards and other financial products that best meets their needs.

The cellphone market is a vicious place that has cellphone companies at each other throats for customers. Why? Because everyone has a cell phone and few new customer can be found. So companies have to steal customers from each other. Not only are the big companies fighting for customers but they have to compete with smaller cell service providers that are nibbling away at specialized market segments. For example, Defense Mobile is specializing in serving current and former military members.  Consumer Cellular has targeted the market of older people with cell phones and has the backing of the AARP.

Cinch’s new tool assesses your needs and then suggests a cellphone plan from the many major and smaller carrier services competing for your business. According to Cinch the tool is designed to consider all the cell phone plans on the market including the fine print. Then, after you answer the questions, it customizes recommendations based on your specific situation. For people who do not wish to answer the questions they can send their bill to Cinch using the ‘BillSnap‘ feature of the website and they will do the comparison for you. Cinch clams to be totally unbiased and companies cannot pay to have their plan featured.

Cinch claims the tool uses the data collected from the various plans. The company said people tend to buy plans with too much data.  Cinch believes the easiest way to save money on phone plans is to reduce the monthly data customers pay for.

Now you know.

See also:

Big Four Wireless Carriers Get Poor Scores in Consumer Reports Rankings

T-Mobile is now America’s best wireless carrier (of the big four, at least)

What to Expect When You Switch Cell Carriers

Two Year Cellphone Are Contracts are Dead, Maybe

canstockphoto26388971It is with great glee and little regret that we report that the two year cellphone contract has died; sort of. Are we finally rid of this painful financial burden? Maybe. In the past cellphone providers have charged you for long distance calls long after technology eliminated it, forced you to buy a new phone if you switched carriers and locked you into two year contracts to keep you hooked like an addict to a drug dealer. 

All this has changed. President Obama signed into law an end to being forced to buy a new phone if you switch carriers.  And now the two year contract is dying. Thats the good news. The bad news is you gonna have to pay full price for smartphones.

The AACR has repeatedly reported that the state of the cellphone industry is an all out bloodbath for customers. Except for school children getting their first phone there are few new customers. 

So why is this important for African-Ameicans? Black people use their cellphones more than any other group.  A report last year by the Federal Reserve Board revealed that blacks and Latinos make up a “disproportionately high rate” of mobile-banking users. A study by Pew Internet research showed that 41 percent of non-whites say they use their smartphones to check their balances, pay bills and perform other transactions, including 39 percent of blacks. Now throw in text messages, email, online shopping and of course phone calls. So the question really is, do you have a cellphone contract? Are you paying for text, talk and data? All that is changing.

T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have all announced the move to no contract phone plans.

T-Mobile started the trend of killing off the two year contract with its un-carrier movement. T-Mobile is offering customers the ability upgrade three times a year with its Jump! On Demand offering. In addition to approved credit Jump! On Demand still has a monthly fee associated with the phone. It’s stretched out over 18 months and that’s close enough to a two year contract. If you don’t switch phones with Jump! On Demand, you’ll owe a final lump sum at the end of that 18 month period. T-Mobile has also eliminated  roaming charges in Canada and Mexico. Aggressive moves like this have pushed T-Mobile pass Sprint in total connections.

AT&T is the only company still offering a two year contract.  But the company is slowly closing out this option for third-party retailers.  AT&T plans to offer its contract-free Next program.

Emily Edmonds, spokesperson for AT&T said, “Our customers increasingly choose AT&T Next, so we’re responding by featuring Next as the most prominent way to get a new smartphone at our national retailers and local dealers. Customers who would rather have a two-year contract still have that option.” Two-year contracts will still be available but only at AT&T stores online or brick and mortar. 

Verizon announced its dumping its two year contract plan earlier this month. By the end of 2015 Verizon expects 50 percent of new smartphone sales to be sold without contracts as part of its “Edge” program. Verizon is dropping the subsidy for new smartphones and encouraging customers to buy their own devices. This is the trend in the industry.

But if you wish to get a new phone Verizon is still willing to accommodate you. They simply tack the price of the phone on your bill in montly installments. Yeah, that’s a contract. Verizon’s Edge program allows custmers to upgrade to a new phone anytime they wish as long as the old phone is paid off.

Verizon’s new plans took effect Aug. 13. Prices for voice, text and data services will be reduced by an estimated $20 per month compared with plans where the company subsidized the price of a new phone. Verizon is dropping its phone subsidies along with its two year contract. 

Verizon’s introduced its new plans based around shared data packages. There’s no more single line or family plan. Instead Verizon customers will pay for a specific amount of data and a pay a per-device enrollment fee for the plan. The plans was launched on August 13th. Current Verizon subscribers can keep their existing plans, and the perks that go with it, or switch over to the new plans but some restrictions will apply.

Sprint announced the termination of its two year plan and will offer plans where customers lease their smartphones. For customers it means buying a new phone out right at full retail price or choosing the lease option. According to Sprint, in the last quarter, 51 percent of customers used the lease option to purchase a new phone.

Sprint knows that customers are not looking forward to buying a new phone that sometimes retail for as much as $700. So they have sweetened the pot a little. The company has introduced the iPhone Forever plan. For $22 a month more on their monthly bill customers can upgrade to the newest iPhone annually as soon as it becomes available. This option will be very popular among techno-geeks and gadget hounds who can’t be seen without the latest smartphone. But yeah, that’s a contract.

Breaking It Down

Cellphone carriers are fighting for their lives. The market is saturated and finding new customers is like trying to find diamonds on the street. Right now if you are a cellphone customer, and who isn’t, the game is all yours. This switch to no contracts means the market will open up and go crazy for a short while. Many people who are in a contract can jump ship anytime they want because a competitor will pay their early termination fee. That is about to end because there will be no more contracts. With the cellphone carriers in an all out war there will be winners. First, cellphone makers will see an increase in sales as all the carriers offer anytime upgrades. So cellphone makers will crank up the factory and marketing to get more, newer and better phones on the market. Cellphone re-sellers are going to make a few bucks and so keep an eye out for the explosion of used cellphones about to hit the market. Some will be nearly brand new. And customers, with their new phones can pick any carrier, anytime they want.

So now what? Now the game gets really bloody. Cellphone carriers, the big ones, will soon die off or merge. You’ll see more and more small and regional cell carriers. Remember the break up of Ma Bell? These smaller companies will offer more options, more deals and more services. Thats the sweet spot for black people. The competitive market is just too tough a game and its not going to change. Now the game is to buy the best cellphone you can afford and hold on to it. Switch to the carrier with the best deal and dump them when you find a better deal.  The next blood letting will come from the data plans. Unlimited text, talk and data is the next next and final battle for survival. One or more of the big carriers will finally die off.

 

 

 

 

 

AT&T Hit With Historic $100M Fine

AT&TThe FCC has body slammed AT&T with a $100 million dollar fine for misleading customers and throttling their data. It is the largest fine in FCC history.

AT&T offered customers unlimited data plans starting in 2007 but discontinued the practice in 2010 according to the FCC. However there were millions of AT&T customers with unlimited data plans still in effect. AT&T decided to throttle, or restrict the data flow, to those customers once they hit a certain threshold each month. This was a clear contract violation and the FCC was obviously not happy.

According to the FCC AT&T  “capped speeds were much slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised and significantly impaired the ability of AT&T customers to access the Internet or use data applications for the remainder of the billing cycle.”

AT&T isn’t the only carrier to throttle. Verizon and T-Mobile have been accused of the practice.  Supposedly Verizon has ceased the practice. T-Mobile is known to slow down data of its top users when the network is congested.  According to T-Mobile the customer most likely to be throttled are those who perform peer-to-peer file sharing or download torrents. T-Mobile smartly made this practice clear to its customers. AT&T failed to do the same. The company never definitively stated in any of its marketing materials or billing statements what it was doing. Thousands of customer complaints resulted in an FCC investigation.

Sprint, the other major carrier, has announced that it is ceasing its throttling practice as a result of the new FCC Net Netrality ruling. Sprint had been restricting data speeds for a certain percentage of users who consumed what the company believed was execesive amounts of data. But Sprint put the brakes on that policy.

Breaking It Down

This news is significant for black people for one simple reason. Black people are more likely to use a mobile device for Internet access than other people. That means we are consuming more data on our phones and tablets than others. Consequently we are more likely to be labeled a data hog than others. Now how many black people were affected because of throttling? Who knows? But the practice was deceptive and violated the contract that AT&T had with its customers. The FCC has delivered the message loud and clear to AT&T; honor your contract. We all know exactly how the cell carriers act when we fail to make a payment or break the contract. Now they know how we feel.

Cramming Costs Verizon and Sprint $158M

verizon-sprintVerizon and Sprint are paying a dear price for the mystery charges to their customer’s phone bills. The two cell carriers will cough up a combined $158 million to settle investigations into the unauthorized charges or cramming. With this announcement the Federal Communications Commission has settled cramming charges with all four major wireless carriers. AT&T settled in October for $105 million, and T-Mobile settled in December for $90 million. Of the $158 million, Verizon will pay $90 million and Sprint $68 million.

Most of the money from the settlement will go to setting up refund programs for customers victimized by the practice. The cramming charges came from premium text messaging services like horoscopes or celebrity gossip sent directly to the customers phone and costing about $9.99 per month. Verizon kept 30 percent of the fees, and Sprint pocketed 35 percent. Victims of the practice often didn’t sign up for the services and carriers wouldn’t always offer refunds. When asked for proof that customers had signed up for the service Sprint and Verizon “were unable to prove that these services were ever requested.”

As part of the settlement neither company is permitted to charge consumers for premium text messages. They must also implement systems to ensure they obtain a customer’s informed consent before allowing third-party charges. Both Verizon and Sprint have already begun ending these charges.

In a bizarre statement emailed to  The Verge.com Verizon stated “Today’s settlement reflects Verizon’s continued focus on putting customers first.” Verizon claims that it “rigorously protected” customers from these authorized charges. Verizon also says that it had a “broad policy” of allowing refunds on premium text message charges.

Sprint was equally in denial by saying “Sprint was an industry leader in enacting rigorous safeguards to protect customers against unauthorized billing by premium SMS merchants,” The statement went on to say  “Sprint always puts its customers’ interests first,” and that it returned “tens of millions of dollars” in refunds long before this investigation began.

Both Verizon’s refund program and Sprint’s refund program are now accepting claims.

 

Cellphone Wars – It’s On!

The cellphone market is one of the most competitive technology service industries on earth. African-American customers need to be aware and take advantage of the cellphone wars.  You can get paid to switch from one service provider to another. Early cancellation fees be damned. You can get substantially reduced monthly bills, new phones for you and your family and get better deals on data, voice and text packages. You can even go no contract and be totally free of obligations. The war between phone companies is on and the customer is the prize.

sprint-logo-black_11699935Right now Sprint is going after competitor’s customer’s with a vengeance. Their latest move promises to cut new customer’s cellphone bills in half. In a recent press release Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said “It’s as simple as this: Bring Sprint your Verizon or AT&T bill along with your phone and we’ll cut your rate plan in half. That’s a 50% savings on your rate plan every month.”  And you don’t have to pay early cancellation fees either. Sprint will pay you $350 per line to switch services. The deal does not apply to T-Mobile customers.

Cellphone service providers have brought in customers before with some really cheap introductory rates that expire after a period of time. But Sprint’s offer is permanent making it that much more impressive. This is a valiant effort from Claure who has his work cut out for him as Sprint has lost customers for 11 straight quarters. Claure, a native Bolivian, is also reaching out to the Hispanic market for customers. And why not? Latinos are America’s fastest growing demographic.

t-mobile-logoT-Mobile is in the war for customers too and is offering its Contract Freedom plan that pays as much as $350 per line termination fees for customer to switch to their service.  On the data front T-Mobile is battling with its new Data Stash program. With this new data plan the customer can save the data they have paid for each month for up to a year and use it when they need it. Data Stash is included at no extra charge for every new and existing T-Mobile customer on an eligible Simple Choice plan with extra high-speed data for their smartphone or tablet.  The plan is a good idea for someone but no competition for the Sprint Unlimited Plan that includes unlimited voice, text and data.

verizon_logo1

Verizon is not looking real aggressive either but they do have a dog in the fight. Verizon’s big selling point is its network. The company claims to have the only 4G network that is 100% LTE that covers more than 95% of Americans. The company is also dangling $150 to switch carriers but for a limited time only. Verizon is also offering unlimited text and talk time but only a sharable data plan with no rollover. The company’s family plan offers four phones and 10G of shareable data for $140. They also offer phones that act as Wi-Fi hotspots at no extra charge but you pay for the data you use.

My advice to anyone who is shopping for a data plan is to ask questions. The first question is; will my data be throttled? That is the practice of slowing down data transfer for people who use a lot of data or data hogs as the companies may call them. Some cell phone companies throttle customers they consider data hogs regardless of the plan they purchase. But if you really want to shop for unlimited cell phone plans there is a website that is built just for that purpose. Visit ConsumerReports.org  for a full unbiased comparison of all the available plans to choose from.

Sprint’s Claure maybe fighting for customers at the right time as T-Mobile was recently slammed by the FTC for billing customer’s cellphone bill for unauthorized services. A practice known as cramming. The charges amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. This news is sure to cause some defections for the Sprint deal. But T-Mobile reported a net gain of 2.1 million customers in the final quarter of 2014.

As part of the settlement T-Mobile will pay $90 million punishment for “mobile cramming.” That is, if the agreement is approved by a U.S. District Court. If so it would resolve an FTC lawsuit filed in July.

Most of the settlement  money, $67.5 million, will be refunds to consumers fraudulently charged after Jan. 1, 2010. T-Mobile will have to either provide direct payments to the customer or forgive an equal amount on their bills. T-Mobile has agreed, as part of the settlement, to get consumers’ “express informed consent” before placing third-party charges on their bills in the future, the FTC said.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said a statement, “Consumers should be able to trust that their mobile phone bills reflect the charges they authorized and nothing more.”

The T-Mobile settlement is just the most recent cell carrier to get hit for cramming. In an industry wide crackdown on wireless carriers for cramming AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle cramming charges. As a result of these settlements both companies could owe consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. In December Sprint was also hit with lawsuits filed by the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allowing similar charges.

AT&T, the second largest carrier in this war,  is fighting for customers, both its own and new ones. In February the company announced new price cuts for family plans and offered additional discounts for new customers. To retain its current customers AT&T is extending a one time $100 credit to customers who renew and on each new line they sign up for. Other weapons deployed by AT&T include its AT&T Next phone upgrade program that lets you pay for your new phone over time.  That is probably a good deal for the gadget hounds who need the latest phone on the market. AT&T also offers a base plan  that provides unlimited text and talk with 10GB of data service. AT&T  also jumped into the roll over data battle by introducing their own data rollover plan.

Everywhere you turn you can find ads for cell carriers describing what they can do and how much better they are than the other guy. And the pre-paid services are in the fight as well.

Cricket+Logo+-+Black+Green+font+(JPG)

Cricket pre-paid brand is arming up to aggressively fight for customers. The company offers up to $100 for switching although the offer is slightly deceptive. The fine print limits it to customers of other pre-paid service providers.

Cricket is ready to make quick adjustments to its rate plans to respond to competitive pressures. Cricket President Jennifer Van Buskirk was interviewed by FierceWireless.com and said that the company has opened hundreds of new stores in the three and a half months since offering new price plans, a new tagline and and a new store design. The company has also announced it will start selling its services, smartphones and accessories exclusively in more than 2,800 GameStop stores nationwide starting this past October. There’s just one problem with all that bluster from Cricket Wireless, the company is owned by AT&T. AT&T also offers GO Phone another no contract service provider.

consumer-cellular1Other pre-paid service providers are positioning themselves to attack particular market segments. For example Consumer Cellular is fighting for position in the market for senior cellphone users with an aggressive advertising campaign. Great Call is counter punching in the senior market with its Jitterbug cell phones designed for seniors with services such as health and safety experts with its 5-Star service plan.

greatcall

Fighting for customers means no one is going to be without a phone including low income and credit challenged customers. The combatants know that every market is worth fighting for.  AT&T owns two prepaid cellphone companies and Sprint owns VirginMobile and BoostMobile prepaid service. Tracfone  is throwing punches of its own and offering to let the new customer bring their own phone saving the expense of buying a new phone. But remember this is a war so AT&T and Verizon lets you bring your own device as well.

You can walk into any Wal-mart store and see the numerous prepaid cell offering from TracFone, Cricket, VirginMobile, MetroPCS, Straight Talk,  NET10 Wireless. But you can also check out Amazon.com and Walgreen’s stores. All these services are fighting for customers because the market has reached a saturation point. Everyone already has a cell phone. These companies have to answer the question; now what?