AT&T's Fastest Speed 3Mbps Maximum Speed
10GB Mobile Hotspot No Hotspot Included
One Line for $90/Mo Two Lines for $145/Mo (with AutoPay) One Line for $60/Mo Two lines for $115/Mo (with AutoPay)
You should be because above I am showing all four carriers are advertising that they offer Unlimited 4G plans.
The truth is there is no such thing as an Unlimited 4G Plan. The reality is your "Unlimited" 4G plan is quite "Limited". Depending on the carrier you chose, that limit is between 22GB and 28GB per month. Once you reach that level of data usage, your speeds are likely to be throttled (slowed) to where watching video is no longer possible. If that wasn't confusing enough, all 4G LTE data plans were not created equally, or are speeds and coverage the same. Furthermore, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all offer Standard Definition 480p resolution, whereas Verizon exclusively offers High Definition 1080p resolution plus 10GB of Mobile Hotspot per line. Fran Shammo, Verizon's former CEO, had previously stated that Unlimited 4G data is unsustainable and would never return. After T-Mobile added 2.2 million new subscribers last quarter smoking AT&T and Verizon, Unlimited Data came, and Fran Shammo went.
480p vs 1080p and what does it all mean?
It means very little if you have a 4" screen on your device. It means a little more if you have a larger high resolution device screen. It can be a real deal breaker for those of you that hook your SmartPhones up to big Flat screens with an HDMI cable to watch Netflix or other video content. SD will get very grainy when blowing up the images. Up until this point, both Sprint and T-Mobile offered buy-ups that would increase their plans Standard Definition (480p) resolution to High Definition (1080p). These $15-$20 per line, per month buy-ups also included Unlimited Hotspot. AT&T offers 480p resolution by default using their "StreamSaver" feature. What they don't tell anybody though is that they can go to their web portal and simply turn off this ridiculous feature and get FREE HD instead of SD definition.
As soon as Verizon announced their new Unlimited 4G Data plan, Sprint and T-Mobile met the competition. They both immediately offered HD instead of SD and offered 10GB of FREE Mobile Hotspot. Unfortunately, this was for new subscribers only. Current subscribers could have the same deal, but not automatically. That meant, that you had to ask for it and you could not do that, unless you knew about it. "Grandfathering" is the way wireless plans are offered in the wireless business. T-Mobile is notorious for offering crazy deals, if for just a week, or even weekend. If you are lucky enough to get one of these deals, you can usually keep it forever, or until a better deal emerges. Here is an example of that...
To go back on the offensive, after Verizon's rather shocking Unlimited Plan announcement, T-Mobile even offered to pay all of the fees and taxes each month for their Unlimited Plan . They even threw more kerosene on the fire by offering a special Two Line Unlimited 4G LTE HD Plan with 10GB each of mobile HotSpot for $100, Out-the-Door, no taxes or other annoying fees. For the first week of March, they offered a third line of totally Unlimited service for FREE. That meant UNLIMITED service for three for only $100, period!
This week, the third line offer is gone. In it's place are FREE Samsung S7 SmartPhones when going on the zero interest finance plan. That means, do your time (24 months) and these $700 devices are totally FREE. Since all of the competition is in retail plans, most Business and Enterprise deals pale in comparison to these retail plans.
Doing What is Best For Our Clients Has Never Been More Difficult
As you can see, securing a great deal is only half the battle, it's also knowing when a better deal comes along that doesn't have any surprises or limitations in the fine print. I recently had an enterprise client of mine with Sprint asking me what I would recommend for his two lines. I told him of the above T-Mobile offer and he said, "Do it"! About an hour later, my T-Mobile National Business Channel Manager informed me that she had some "bad news" for me. The $100 Unlimited Two Line deal was not available to T-Mobile Business users. Furthermore, she also mentioned that business users had to pay all the fees and taxes as this promotion was also not available for business accounts. The "Good News" however was T-Mobile had just introduced a new "Business" version of this plan that was $130 per month for two lines and included 1GB of Hotspot per line.
I explained to my TM Business manager that the reason that I have such a loyal following is that I have always tried to do what was in the best interests of my clients. After doing the math, putting this client on this new T-Mobile business plan was clearly not in his best interests. It would have cost him an extra $720 over two years plus all the taxes and fees which would have added up to another $350 +. It's bad enough that the retail version of this plan offers 10GB to only 1GB of mobile Hotspot on the business version. It's a total crime that the business version of this retail plan costs nearly $1100 more over the same two year period. When I incredulously asked how T-Mobile could expect me to recommend this plan after doing the math, I was told, "It is what it is", and we do not offer retail channel rates.
I quickly realized that this presented an interesting opportunity. Because of the huge savings available and the fact that plans are changing for the better, almost monthly, why not turn a lemon situation into lemonade? I told the above client the truth and explained how he could get the best deal, working directly with the retail division. He wanted this deal but was not willing to lose my representation and support. He told me he would gladly pay me $200 to represent him in negotiations with T-Mobile's retail division. To make a long story short, I not only got him the $100 Unlimited deal for two without tax and fees, I got him an extra $300 in discretionary credits. By switching his account from enterprise to retail and playing hardball, I saved him $1100, after my $200 FEE. He also knows that should a better deal come out in the next 24 months, he will be notified. Since then, I have done this for a handful of clients. One even told me that I reminded him of Robin Hood, Stealing from the Rich (Carriers) and Giving to the Poor (subscribers). I kind of liked that analogy and proudly present...
...The Dr's Robin Hood Program
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.