Friday, December 20, 2013

Revol Wireless Pulls the Plug

Another small wireless carrier, Revol Wireless has thrown in the towel. Based in Cleveland. their own network served several cities around the Great Lakes (but not Chicago).  Sprint has come in to grab a few customers (or all of them?) by converting several of the Revol stores into Boost Wireless outlets.  Boost has extended an offer of a free phone and a free month of service to Revol users, but they need to move fast.  The deadline for switching to Boost is Christmas Eve.  Long lines are forming at the Boost stores...just what we need in the busy holiday season.

Even if you can't wait in line or if you miss the deadline, you have until January 16th to switch to any carrier and keep your current number.  After that, it's all gone.  We're betting every carrier in town will welcome Revol users but they won't have the prices Revol users were enjoying.  Don't expect to be able to use your old phone, so get ready to start with a new phone and a new carrier.  Call it it a forced Christmas present to yourself.

"Revol" was supposed to introduce a "Revolution" in the wireless industry, but other carriers revolved as well. The loss of another carrier is a sad thing but what's even sadder is that when a company like Revol goes away it usually means users will be absorbed into one of the major carriers.  At least you can keep away from the contracts with the low-priced carriers listed at Mountain Unlimited.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How Much Data Do You Need?

It wasn't long ago that most wireless carriers offered Unlimited Data plans.  Then they found out just how much we would use if given free access to the Data buffet.  Since then there have been caps put on Data usage which should give us reason to at least think about how much Data we need.  It was during the Unlimited Data revolution we created the Mountain Unlimited web site to capitalize on what was then the novelty of Unlimited data plans.

Now with almost every carrier offering some kind of "Unlimited" Data, we decided instead to help you find the cheapest Data plans.  We arranged them by price.  Yes, you can get Unlimited Data for $25 (or less!) as long as you're willing to make some tradeoffs.  We searched for the best plan at each price point.  For example, at $40 per month MetroPCS offers 500 Mb of Data before getting "throttled" down to 2G speeds.  But we link to SIMple Mobile who offers 2.5GB before getting the throttle.  None of these plans don't require a contract.

The average wireless smart phone user gobbles up just less than 2GB of data per month and, of course, we expect that to increase, especially with the wider availability of 4G service. The bigger the plate and the bigger the buffet table, the more we can consume.  We'll help you find the best buffet price.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AT&T Plans Better Value

Like T-Mobile and some Prepaid services, AT&T has introduced plans that separates the subsidy for your phone and the price of your plan. AT&T calls them "Mobile Share Value Plans" plans, but they mean better prices, especially for those of us who don't adhere to a 2-year phone replacement schedule.  Whether you want a non-contract plan or a bring-your-own-device offer, you can save a noticeable amount of money compared to the old way of pricing phones.  Unless you replace your phone ever 24 months, you either got a penalty for upgrading early, or keep paying for a phone long after it was paid off.

This puts more pressure on Sprint and even more on Verizon who still tie their plans to the phone purchase.  I will admit, this may mean the end of free or $100 to $200 phones, but most carriers let you pay these off in a more transparent way: when the phone is paid for, your payment drops.

AT&T, who, in our opinion, still needs to make more technical upgrades in their network (and they are making them), moves up one step in the Mountain Wireless Carrier Ratings.  Offering better value helps make up for some of their other shortcomings.  At the same time, Verizon Wireless leaps ahead in their network quality and I'm sure they're thinking if we want the better network, we'll pay for it.  Hey, the other wireless networks are getting better, too. It just may be good enough when it's priced better as well.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Westlink Wireless Gives Up

Instead of complaining about the passing of another wireless operator, we note whether an ownership change is good or bad for the wireless user.  In the case of Westlink Wireless of southeast Kansas, wireless service is about improve significantly.  United Wireless of Dodge City, KS has acquired all of the assets of Westlink.  Westlink was owned by Pioneer Communications and United is operated by the United Telephone Association.  Westlink and United serve approximately the same area with cellular coverage, but the United network is far more advanced.

According to Jeff Renner, Wireless Manger, United Wireless offers 3G and 4G-LTE coverage.  When Westlink customers get a new CDMA phone to replace their old GSM phone, service will improve dramatically.  Westlink decided not to upgrade their wireless network and when all their customers switch over to United phones, they will just turn off the old GSM network.  This could cause a big hole in GSM coverage across the southwest Kansas area which could cause some trouble for GSM roamers caught unaware.  We believe there is, or will be, new GSM coverage in the area, so all should not be lost.

We're happy to hear that United has built such a sophisticated network and hope that local customers will support a homegrown business.  They'll get great local coverage and still be able to roam away from home.  As a result, we also upgraded United's Rating on our Mountain Wireless Ratings.