Friday, January 24, 2014

What's that MetroPCS Store?

Welcome MetroPCS to your neighborhood, who, up until now, has only been in a few large markets.  Now they are opening new stores in cities across the country with little promotion.  MetroPCS is now owned by T-Mobile who has absorbed all of Metro’s wireless spectrum as well expanded the name across the country.

I’m not sure what value the name is outside of their old markets since most of us have never heard of them.  They might as well have named it Pete’s Wireless…it would have had the same recognition value.  You may soon see (or have already seen) the new signs and wonder what do they sell there?  In my brief interviews the top answer is, “Computers”,  as in PC’S.  T-Metro has a lot of work to do in publicizing their brand in these new markets and it needs to be a lot more than sponsoring the latest monster truck jam.

MetroPCS gives users an alternative to the mainstream carriers’ deals by offering a good amount of “Unlimited” data in some simple plans AND a store to back up what they sell, even if it’s just a SIM.  So, even though MetroPCS doesn’t really offer the BEST Smart phone deals, they DO offer a way for us to improve our wireless costs (and maybe our phones) and a place to hang out until the rest of the world figures out what these stores are selling.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The New Year Shuffle

One of the things we do at Mountain Wireless is Rate each cellular carrier based on how they perform compared to the others.  As some carriers slip to a lower position, others move up, even if they haven't made any improvements.  Lately, there has been a shakeup among the Top 5 carriers which has resulted in a shakeup in their Ratings at our site.  The actual Rating number isn't that important, but the changes might cause you to reconsider which of the top tier carriers you want to use:

  • AT&T has been raised 2 whole places in their ratings over the past 3 months after they have chosen to compete, mostly against the recent moves of T-Mobile, which has resulted in several consumer-friendly features and plans.  They changed the no-contract pricing so you really aren't charged for your phone after you pay it off.  Also, they have some new, lower-priced plans that  appeal to a more modest user.
  • Sprint has been dropped one rating point even though they have made significant improvements in their network coverage.  What has given them a lesser rank is their lack of really competitive plans and, for some reason, a whole bunch of consumer complaints.  We can't point to any one factor.  We're guessing they are either having a difficult time finding properly trained help, or  just not enough of them.
  • T-Mobile moved up 2 notches over the past 6 months for several reasons.  They made some significant technical changes, part of which was re-aligning their coverage bands to support the iPhone.  A year ago they were slacking off, now, under an aggressive CEO, they have become the wireless "disrupter". Not only do they offer a wide variety of competitive prices, they have made the huge move of allowing their customers to roam internationally, either Free or at a reasonable rate.  Remember when free nationwide roaming across the US was a big deal?
  • Verizon has lost one position in the Ratings mainly because they have chosen to the be "premium" carrier, and with their superior coverage across the US, especially at 4G, they have earned that higher value.  But the price-sensitive customer has much better places to go.
  • US Cellular keeps moving forward even though we reduced them from the lofty Top position in the Ratings earlier last year.  We were ready to drop them again but finally offering the iPhone brought them back into keeping their lofty position by giving something that keeps customers from escaping.
We expect these competitive positions to change over the next year as pricing becomes more important than coverage. What great times we live in!