Tuesday, September 17, 2013

AT&T Hopes to Put Element Out of Its Misery

AT&T has agreed to take control of Element Mobile.  Credit goes to Fierce Wireless who reports that Element will become Lake Mobility which will be mostly owned by AT&T.  This means yet another exchange of handsets for customers in the central Wisconsin area but this time the switchover should be much more friendly.

Element Mobile was created by the owners of the spectrum in this Wisconsin area who refused to sell their license to Verizon as part of its acquisition of Alltel Wireless.  The conversion was a nightmare for former Alltel customers and our Ratings for the network has been among the lowest of all wireless carriers in the US based on how badly they treated their old Alltel customers.

In the meantime, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been encroaching into the Element area and their days seemed to be numbered.  This should mean better days for Wisconsin wireless customers and enables us to say this is one small carrier that will be better put to sleep.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

US Cellular Drops Customer-Friendly Policies

US Cellular has become less customer-friendly, especially with the quiet end of their "Belief Project".  Credit goes to Engadget for noticing the changes.  US Cellular has long sat at the top of Our Reviews and achieved a perfect "10" in the Mountain Wireless Ratings.  The end of the Belief Project and things like free battery exchanges makes US Cellular more like the major carriers, maybe even a step below until they begin to sell the iPhone.

We thought long and hard about dropping US Cellular's perfect "10" in our Ratings but there are still 2 carriers in that spot.  Being at "9" isn't too shabby and US Cellular could slide back up to a 10 if they make some improvements...or if the other "10's" get worse.  We also looked to see if any of the #9 carriers deserve to move up.  C Spire comes close but their plans are just a little expensive and limited.

We still believe US Cellular provides a great wireless service and selling the iPhone will reduce one of their few negatives. US Cellular also has a cloudy future, especially as they focus more on the bottom line. Even a sale may be difficult now. Their best course of survival would be to become a buyer of other small carriers but that seems unlikely after selling their network and customers in the Chicago to St. Louis areas to Sprint.

Our other remaining "10" rated carriers still offer a superior product but their operations are increasingly affected by outside sources.  Let's hope they can defend the castle for at least a few more years.