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This just got interesting.  Supposedly this takes effect one week before I can drop my current provider.  I might be a T-Mobile customer instead of a Simple Mobile customer.  We'll see.
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David Mueller's profile photoJohn Mayson's profile photoKarl Martin's profile photo
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Too bad this is on the one major with a network that's not compatible with the iPhone. 
 
Also I realized this is for the data plan only, it doesn't include talk and text.  So I'll probably end up with Simple Mobile after all.  Still cheaper than my current provider.
 
Straight Talk is tempting. For the iPhone 4S I can still get the HSPA+ performance with their AT&T SIM that the CDMA 3G networks can't match. Virtually every other GSM MVNO in the USA uses T-Mobile's network. But Straight Talk can't do visual voicemail. 
 
Watch the wording. 4g is unlimited. If you look at sprint it said the same thing but in the small print you only get 5g of 3g
 
Karl, right, they throttle you.  You could argue this is better than getting a bill 2x what you were expecting because your carrier let you sail right past your limit and started charging extra without informing you.  Some would argue it's worse.  But yeah, read the fine print.
 
I guess right now they're trying to push people to using the 4G network. But something tells me that once there are more people on it, they'll flip people around and initiate quotas on 4G, then throttle people back to 3G speeds once they go over. Though I am in the camp that would prefer being throttled to overage charges. But I still feel that it's all false advertising. I have a legacy "unlimited" data plan for my AT&T iPhone. I refuse to change plans on principle.
 
I think the mobile phone industry is in serious need of disruption.  We made a huge mistake not mandating a single technology, namely GSM.  It was great for the phone companies, lousy for consumers.  We're mostly trapped in two year contracts due to technological differences and cost.  For that reason I think the wireless industry is a quasi monopoly and the FCC should insist on neutrality (think the iPhone Facetime vs. AT&T issue).  With data plans, I do realize wireless spectrum is a limited resource.  The wireless companies need to be more transparent about their pricing and policies and not ask us to interpret 47 pages of legalize to figure out what happens if/when we hit 2 GB or what "unlimited" really means.

I think companies like Ting are a good start.  And prepaid plans have gotten competitive with their data plans and give, at least GSM phone owners, some flexibility.  

Here's a thought I had.  There was a suggestion that Apple use its billions to buy Sprint.  If that were to happen (I seriously doubt it would) then Google should buy T-Mobile.  What would AT&T and Verizon do?  Stop selling iPhones and Androids in retaliation?  Good luck with that.  I think if anyone can disrupt this industry it's those two.  I would much rather see something like this than overly restrictive regulation.
 
On the unlimited part. I was really expecting a class action lawsuit against the carriers for using the word unlimited as false advertising. I'm really surprised a lawyer hasn't pushed to start a class action lawsuit for this.

When l t e was announced the technical savvy people began to like the idea of having l t e because you would be able to move your phone to any carrier. now come to find out you cannot move it to just any LTE carrier.

It's so aggravating to hear these carriers complaining that they're not making much money do to upgrades but they're one of the highest grossing companies in america.
 
Let me pull out my soapbox again.

I travel internationally as part of my job.  I visit GSM only countries.  I'll admit the grass isn't always greener.  They usually have to buy their phone outright and it's usually laden with steep tariffs.  There's no such thing as free mobile-to-mobile.  A call from landlines to mobiles is a toll call.  Yet they spend less on mobile phones than we do.  Why is this?

The handset makers like dealing with a single standard and a limited set of frequencies.  It makes their phones less expensive because they don't have to come up with four (or more) custom handsets for the different providers.

Same with the tower infrastructure.  In fact it's common practice for wireless companies either to share infrastructure or lease usage from a third-party.  Because all companies use the same technology they can share a single tower.  Think of a remote town somewhere in the US.  AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint would all have to have towers and would probably never recoup the cost given the small population.  If everyone used GSM the Billy Bob's Newfangled Phone Company could put in a set of towers and offer service for all four companies.  They'd be sharing the cost.

Three countries have incompatible providers as a general rule and those are the US, Canada, and South Korea.  The most expensive cell phone service can be found in the US, Canada, and South Korea.  It's not a coincidence.  None of those countries have true competition.  If you don't like provider "A" you can't just take your phone to "B" and have it work.  And if you could you'd have to pay a steep ETF.  Yes, countries like India and China also have a mix of CDMA and GSM, but they have more providers and more options.

What would life had been like had back in the early days of television instead of mandating a single TV standard, we let each network choose their own?  You would have needed one TV for NBC, one for ABC, one for CBS, and one for PBS.  That would have been a lousy policy.  It was this thinking that killed AM stereo in the US.  Rather than define a standard (which a PRIVATE entity like IEEE could have done) we had four, each receiver supported one, it was too confusing and people discovered their radio didn't work with their favorite station.  So it died.

It's too late to get everyone on GSM.  Perhaps a future standard will emerge and we can try again, the carriers would slowly migrate into the new one.  But they couldn't be allowed to hamstring us.  They need to compete by offering good service, not trapping us into a long-term contract.

Something else I've found.  When I go into a phone store in the US I'm in there for at least 30 minutes, sometimes longer.  They act as if I'm the first person they have ever dealt with who wanted a phone.  I took an unlocked phone I owned to my provider asking for a SIM card and I just got blank stares.  He had no idea how to do it and told me it wouldn't work.  I spent about 90 minutes first arguing with the guy and then having him muddle through how to do it.  I have bought SIM cards in Malaysia, Singapore, and Cambodia.  In each case it took at most 5 to 7 minutes and I was on my way.

Something is seriously broken with our wireless industry.
 
What you have just explained is exactly true and it should have happened at the beginning. If there was going to be any change towards that kind of system then LTE would be it. Sadly I don't see that happening.
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