Here we go with the mobile phone beat-down again: Cingular Wireless, in a move boiling over with distasteful corporate hubris, has had the unmitigated effrontery to announce that they are going to charge folks with "older phones" an additional five bucks a month (OK, $4.99, but who's splitting hairs here?) Now, it's not really the older phones they are targeting, but rather those based on the old, analog TDMA technology.

Their reasoning for this is that they want to phase out their older, analog network, which isn't a problem in and of itself, but why beat down the customer in the process? They have said the are willing to "risk an increase in customer cancellations" over this, but what they don't say is that they don't want you to apply any thought to this at all. Well, sorry Cingular, I did. According to their own numbers, this is going to affect about 4.7 million customers, which means they stand to earn up to $23,453,000 (that's right, over 23 million) each MONTH, for what? For nothing at all. No additional service, no additional features, but what amounts to a punishment for not paying $200 for one of those phones with everything but a mini turntable in it, and which of course will probably require you to add an additional 2 years to your already beat-down-enabled service plan. So what's the risk? The chance to rake up $23 million free dollars doesn't sound like much of a "risk" to me (if it is, maybe I should gamble more). I bet they have already calculated the likely number of cancellations and have come up with this number to mitigate the loss somewhat. Otherwise, why couldn't they just tell customers that they are turning of the TDMA network on such-and-such date, and just tell them that their TDMA phones will simply stop working after that date? That's exactly what's going to happen anyway, so why add to that by charging them too?

I guess this is the kind of thing you can shamelessly do if you're the biggest wireless carrier in the country. They claim they will create savings by converting to a single network, which I don't doubt, but in the mean time they are creating profit without providing a single minute of additional...anything.

I say that all Cingular customers should help them out...out of the market, by joining together and dropping them like hot lead at the earliest convenience! They dont' have the best plans, they don't really have the best network and you will do fine without them, I am sure. Any corporate rat that would do something like this to their customers deserves to do nothing more than drive business to their competitors. Unless there are about 4.7 million people out there who actually enjoy getting beat down, they should lose at least that many customers. I mean, what's going to happen if they change their logo? Are they going to force you to buy a phone with the new logo or have to pay an additional fee every month? What if they decide that orange is a punk color (which it is, by the way) and change it to, say, chartreuse? You're going to have to pay up, Jack, until you get with the new color. Silly you say? You're right, but so is this.

I gotta tell you Mr. Customer, if you will stand by and take this, you'll take anything. This, in my opinion, is little more than a strongarm robbery. The next, and last, thing you should do with your mobile phone if it's on a Cingular plan, is place a call to T-Mobile, or Nextel or some other provider. Hang up on Cingular forever! The only thing they have going for them now is a slick-sounding name. Pshhhhhhhh...

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My sister works for nextel, and gets us free cellphones. If they weren't digital I would definately move over to a diff company.

They give people a choice, either change to a GSM subscription or pay for the privilege.

That's more than the networks here did when they stopped their oldfashioned (even then) analog networks in 1999 or so.
Subscribers were told to either change over to GSM or no longer have a mobile phone at all.
Of course the analog network had always been several times more expensive than GSM here anyway so there weren't that many left (mainly old carphones).

I wonder how many of those 4.7 million customers were given free phones to initiate thier subscription? Maybe this falls under "bait and switch" legislation. Hmmmmm....

I am sure many of them got free phones, sure. What they should do is inform those 4.7 million that as of a certain date, if they are using a non-GSM phone, it will no longer work. It's not as if they are saying, "we'll keep TDMA if you want it and are willing to pay for it". They are going to shut down the TDMA network anyway, period. But in the mean time, they are going to charge more for those who are using it? It's not a whole lot different from any merchant that decides for whatever reason, it's not going to sell a particular product or service any longer. It's just not right to charge extra between now and the time they shut down the other network.
It's probably not illegal, but it sure isn't right.

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