Wednesday, April 29, 2015

T-Mobile, the UNcable Company?

AT&T has both a Wireless company arm and a cable company arm.  Verizon has both wireless and cable.  Could the fallout of botched, cancelled Time Warner's acquision by Comcast give way to a new "marriage" between cable operator Time Warner and T-Mobile?  If so, T-Mobile could very well be positioning itself for a total make-over; one that could take the CABLE industry.  IF T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere can convince his investors that purchasing Time Warner Cable can solidify and grow its position from #3 to #2, to #1, this could be B I G!  Customers should, too, be very excited for possibilities this would create for them.

What TOP cable customer pain points would you like addressed?  You never know.  I know John Legere reads CellPhonius from time to time.  I guarantee that if he reads the responsese to this article, he WILL be taking notes, UNlike (pardon me, I could not help myself) the other guys.  Either way, you can be sure we will be paying close attention and sharing what we know with you.

Remember you can follow me also, by subscribing to my YouTube Channel - CellPhonius.

Monday, April 27, 2015

T-Mobile CEO expresses his Solidarity, Offering FREE calls/texts to Nepal

Heartbreaking news for over 3,000 poeple's families both here and abroad due to a massive earthquake that hit Nepal this weekend.  T-Mobile CEO, John Legere quickly resonded to relieve US Families from the burden of high-cost calls and text messages to Nepal by offering to cover the charges from April 25 to May 16th.

True leadership and philantrophy.Thank you T-Mobile for your UNcarrier spirit.  That is how you earn customer loyalty: by being loyal to your customers.  It's not really that easy, yet the others don't get it.  When they do, they follow the leader: Magenta.

Here is T-Mobile's official message:

Calling and Texting Nepal is Now Free for T-Mobile Customers

For Release: Sunday, April 26, 2015
7:30 p.m. Pacific

In the wake of the devastating Nepalese earthquake, many T-Mobile customers are trying to stay in touch with their family and friends in Nepal. T-Mobile is making this easier by waiving and crediting fees for all calls and text messages to and from Nepal from Saturday, April 25 through Saturday, May 16. Calling and texting to and from Nepal without charges applies to all postpaid and prepaid customers of T-Mobile, MetroPCS, GoSmart Mobile and Walmart Family Mobile with international calling.

For those interested in helping immediately, T-Mobile customers can simply text-to-donate in support of the following charities’ Nepalese disaster relief efforts:
  • Save the Children – Text NEPAL to 20222 to donate $10 to Save the Children
  • UNICEF – Text NEPAL to 864233 to donate $10 to UNICEF
  • World Vision – Text NEPAL to 777444 to donate $10 to World Vision
Your donation will be charged to your T-Mobile phone bill, and 100% of this donation goes directly to the charity.

Our sympathies go out to those affected by this tragedy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Get Paid to use your Smartphone, less?

Suppose I told you that a wireless provider has thought of a way to monetarily compensate customers for the data they do not use out of their monthly data allotment?  Do you think that would move you to consider switching to this provider?

Well that is exactly what Republic Wireless just pulled out of their bag of tricks to entice new customers to join their throng of subscribers.


Here are the details directly from their press release, published early this morning.

"Raleigh, North Carolina (PRWEB) April 20, 2015
Republic Wireless, the WiFi calling service provider recognized as PC Magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice for mobile carriers, today announced a new initiative designed to help customers purchase just the amount of cellular data they truly need. In an industry first, Republic is launching beta plans that repay Republic Labs participants for all unused cellular data.
Having pioneered seamless WiFi-to-cellular handoff, Republic is now "completing the circle" by rolling out reverse handover of calls from cellular to WiFi without interruption. Republic is launching customer betas for next generation smartphones, seamless communications across multiple devices and support for multiple cellular carrier partners in the coming months. The company will roll these programs out to all customers after working with its Republic Labs test groups.
“One of the coolest things here at Republic is collaborating together with our Customers to solve the biggest industry pain points in Republic Labs. It helps us keep one step ahead. Customers told us they wanted control over how much cellular data they buy - with today’s announcement, we are delivering,” Bandwidth and Republic Wireless CEO, David Morken said. “Over eighty percent of our customers use less than a gigabyte of cellular data a month. It’s been estimated that current industry plans cause consumers to waste an average of $200 per year in unused cellular data. We think that’s ridiculous. So we’ve devised a way to pay customers back penny for penny for unused cellular data every month.”
“Four years ago Republic became the first US carrier to build a business model based on WiFi calling, with cellular as a backup network. The market and the industry has reacted to our moves, but not enough, so we decided it was time to up the ante once again,” Morken adds.
Along with paying customers back for their unused cellular data, Republic is also working with customers to tee up several other industry-changing products. Over the next 9 months, Republic will begin customer-driven beta tests of new features and products including:
  • Cellular-to-WiFi handover - Republic has refined seamless WiFi to Cell handover over the last couple years so calls don’t drop. In the reverse, the company has begun real-world trials with customers on seamless cellular to WiFi handover.
  • Next-gen mobile phones - Customers will test which phone Republic launches next.
  • Seamless multi-device communications - Republic will begin testing the ability for customers to access calls and messages from any device including tablets as well as laptops and desktops.
  • Multiple carrier cellular networks - Republic will also be adding a second cellular carrier partner joining later this year.

“This story is about more than technology and cost savings - it’s really about a company wholly dedicated to improving the entire consumer wireless experience - leveraging all of things that consumers have wanted from a wireless company, while changing the things that aren’t customer friendly. Contracts and early termination fees are dinosaurs from the past. As of today, cellular-first approaches and overpaying for data will be as well,” Morken adds.
About Republic Wireless
Recognized as the winner of PC Magazine’s Annual Reader’s Choice Award, the top pre-paid service provider by Consumer Reports and named ‘Disruptor of the Year’ by Entrepreneur Magazine, Republic Wireless is on a mission to create smartphone service as it should be.
Republic Wireless, a division of Bandwidth, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, is spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to members by leveraging the power of both WiFi and cellular networks. Our Hybrid Calling uses WiFi in the home, office or anywhere else as the primary network for calls, texts and data. When outside of WiFi coverage, the smartphone works just like a typical smartphone on the cellular networks of national CDMA carriers. Visit for more information."
Well, do you think this is a move more wireless carriers should take as a means to better managing network traffic?  Would you be more likely to connect to local WiFi spots more often rather than use your device using your wireless provider's data connection?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.  If you have not yet subscribed to my YouTube Channel, CellPhonius, now is a good time.  Just head over to and hit the subscribe button for more wireless news and views that you can use.

Friday, April 10, 2015

What EXACTLY do you get w/T-Mobile's $100 2/Line Unlimited Plan?

T-Mobile has a fantastic promotion that started in December 2014.  Get two lines with unlimited everything, including unlimited 4G LTE data for just $100!  That is exciting and really made many people very happy.

First, let's begin with the definition of the term, unlimited:

  1. not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.
    "the range of possible adaptations was unlimited"
So, with that definition in mind, if you have an unlimited plan with T-Mobile, what are the constraints?  Sounds like an oxy-moron, doesn't it? How can something be unlimited, limitless, unconstrained, yet have constraints.  What am I talking about? Well, my wife and I are on T-Mobile's amazing offer of 2 lines with "unlimited" data for $100/month.  Unfortunately, my wife and I just found out that unlimited is a bit far fetched.  Why?

Well, last billing cycle my wife and I breached the unpublished 20GB (gigabyte) threshold whereby T-Mobile "de-prioritizes" your connection on the local tower.  What does that mean, you ask?  Well, that means that your connection is reset once you breach the threshold of 20GB of data.  The result?:  Well, my case, my connection averaged 0.22 Mbps for downloads and 1.5 Mbps for uploads.  What this means is that it is virtually impossible to load almost any page at this speed as it times out constantly.  So much for unlimited data.  To add to the aggravation, the top speeds at our new place prior to the throttling are typically 3Mbps for downloads and 1-2 Mbps for uploads, which is bearly 3G speeds as shown in the table below:

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G -- 384Kbps to 2Mbps
HSPA (software upgrade to UMTS, theoretical 42Mbps) 3.5G -- 600Kbps to 10Mbps, averages 1-3Mbps
WiMAX/LTE "4G" (theoretical 100Mbps) -- 3Mbps to 10Mbps average, 20Mbps+ peak download speeds

I called T-Mobile Customer Support and they informed me that given that I had unusually high data usage, they had de-prioritized my connection to allow others the opportunity to have a fair chance to have a good data experience.  The last time I checked, putting a customer on 0.22 Mbps data will not give that particular customer the warm and fuzzy.  

Stream all of the music you want, the company said, watch all of the movies you want, T-Mobile says on their commercials.  This also contradicts what T-Mobile CEO, John Legere said on an interview with David Pogue of YahooTech. On this video at 19:11 minutes regarding their capability to cover anyone.  "We have twice as much capability or capacity on our network per subscriber than they do (regarding AT&T and Verizon)"

Noteworthy is the fact that you are only slowed down at the tower nearest your home location (or the one that you use the most).  On all other T-Mobile towers, my phone worked as fast as expected. Frequently giving me between 10 Mbps to 30+ Mbps., which is still a better offering than the competition, who charges you overages when you reach your data cap, which at $50-$60 you are looking at 300 MB (megabytes) per month.  

I see the value proposition of T-Mobile, but unlimited should be UNLIMITED based on the definition above.

Here is my conversation about what UNLIMITED means on Twitter with the official T-Mobile Customer Care team: 

So, when a mobile company advertises unlimited anything, what do you expect?  Is it right to de-prioritize your data, which can result in slowing you down to where you may not be able to send a MMS? Or it takes several minutes to download the front page of Craigslist, if it does not time-out first?