Friday, October 28, 2011

Going Really Wireless

A few years ago when the number of households going totally wireless was approaching 20%, we started a web site catering to those who wanted to cut the cord, The Unwired Home. At that time we focused on cutting yourself off from the traditional wired phone company, but not necessarily from the wire. We included DSL and Cable TV as "Unwired" alternatives and only getting your Voice service from elsewhere.

Times have changed. Now, over 25% of us are going without a connection to the phone company, and almost that many are getting their broadband services without a wire as well. With 4G, and even most 3G coverage, many of the wireless companies provide adequate broadband service that is just as portable as our cellular phone has always been. With proper modems, we can connect multiple wired phones in our house to our wireless broadband connection. We have reflected this change at The Unwired Home, much to the disappointment of our wired broadband partners. Sorry guys, we just woke up and smelled the coffee...burning.

Even this move toward wireless is already yesterday's news as our tablets, computers and readers are already connecting to 3G and 4G wireless without any move on our part. Look for even more 'unwiring'...even the phone company may use wireless for the last few feet of your connection from their already widely-spread nodes. Yes, we do need more spectrum...use yours wisely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

T-Mobile Gives Us the Deals

It was just over a week ago when I said T-Mobile needs to give us some better deals to stick with them in these merging times. So they did. There are new pay-by-the day plans as well as a new monthly plan, and a prepaid deal with Wal-Mart. The new Wal-Mart prepaid plan, also available online, is a $30 no-contract plan with up to 5 GB of data on T-Mobile's HSPA+ (4G) network with unlimited texting and 100 voice minutes, with a charge of 10 cents per minute after that.

T-Mobile has been one our preferred prepaid services and if you're leery of what might happen to them next year, prepaid might reduce those fears. However, whichever way the AT&T/T-Mobile deals goes, T-Mobile customers should come out winners. You will either be able to become an AT&T customer with a more value-priced T-Mobile plan, or, if AT&T can't do the deal, T-Mobile will end up with some additional spectrum and more favorable roaming agreements.

It's also a good thing that T-Mobile's network is not overloaded...and we like lower prices. That's what I'm takin' about!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 Cellular One's Become ONE

Cellular One of East Texas has merged with Cellular One/MTPCS. We normally shed a tear when a cellular network gets gobbled up, but this one makes sense for consumers. We don't yet know if the East Texas name will remain but the two have combined plans and services and they are quite attractive. Along with their reasonable price plans they also offer a few really useful add-ons including economical broadband plans.

The Cellular One/MTPCS networks across the south have very good coverage as they were mostly part of Centennial Wireless who had really good coverage but really bad marketing. I'm going to guess Cellular One might come to the table if some larger carrier (hmmmm, like AT&T?) needs to spin off some conflicting spectrum sometime in the future, as long it's in Louisiana, Oklahoma or Texas.

Since most of the southern coverage of Cellular One was created from divested AT&T areas, there is little chance of them being gobbled up by AT&T in the near future. This is ONE ball that we'd like to keep rolling.

Monday, October 17, 2011

No iPhun

We spent much time last week trying to find something different to talk about than the Apple iPhone 4S, but there wasn't much. Apple enthusiasts wanted something more, but real wireless customers stood in line to grab the 4S. Unfortunately, iPhone madness is bypassing T-Mobile. Sprint had to sell their soul to add the iPhone to their lineup while T-Mobile is still trying to sell their soul to AT&T.

As the drama for the AT&T/T-Mobile linkup drags on, well into next year, T-Mobile slips behind the competition. Their head office is still acting like the deal is a foregone conclusion, but if they continue to not compete, 'foregone conclusion' moves toward 'self-fulfilling prophecy'. Even we wish we had more to recommend about T-Mobile, other than Prepaid.

AT&T may not be too concerned as their objective appears to be more of eliminating T-Mobile as a competitor than actually taking over their spectrum, but now they should be concerned about taking over fewer customers as well. T-Mobile users with expiring contracts now have no reason not to switch, maybe to Sprint. T-Mobile needs to help keep them home...they just may need those customers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Celllular South Gets In-Spired

Last week Cellular South re-branded themselves as "C Spire Wireless." Behind the scenes, Cellular South has been working hard to keep the larger carriers in check, even going as far as joining The Department of Justice and Sprint in suing AT&T to block the T-Mobile acquisition. They even appeared at the first Senate hearing on the transaction to express their disapproval. Cellular South has also made numerous complaints to the FCC on handset and roaming issues which has somewhat helped other small carriers.

C Spire is one of the Top 10 wireless carriers with almost a million customers but is limited to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee with no significant plans to expand beyond that. It's unfortunate because we need a spunky carrier like this making noise in a larger swath across America.

C Spire is 'talking the talk', and we hope they follow through with their consumer-centric behavior which has kept companies like US Cellular moving forward. C Spire's plans and deals are better than average and it's comforting to know that management told employees that the customer is king, and the king could leave tomorrow, so let's keep him happy. It's a move that should make us happy even if we don't live in the south.