In the old days, Sprint was the only carrier that regularly reacted to T-Mobile's promotions and antics. Rarely, AT&T would also jump in, but for the most part, both AT&T and Verizon treated Sprint and T-Mobile as second class carriers. Up until recently, Verizon rightly claimed to have the fastest and widest 4G LTE network in the US.
Times have changed. Even Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" pitch guy is now with Sprint. He claims that Sprint is now within one percentage point of Verizon's network. I'm not sure I'd go that far but the point is, all four networks are pretty darn good these days. Regardless of which carrier you utilize, you can thank T-Mobile for making things more affordable. You'd think that the two 800lb gorilla carriers would be the driving force for innovation and lower costs. You'd be wrong, T-Mobile has done far more for consumers than all carriers combined. After all, who do you think introduced the below first?
1) Dumping the 2 year contract model for month-to-month
2) Utilizing throttling to eliminate data cost overage
3) Introducing voIP wifi dialing for enhanced coverage and FREE voice roaming
4) Introducing FREE Canada and Mexico calling and Roaming
5) Introducing Carry Over Data
6) Binge On Video Streaming without using your 4G LTE Data allocation
7) Unlimited FREE Music Streaming without using your 4G LTE Data allocation
8) First carrier to Buy out other carriers contracts
9) Ditched global text and roaming fees in 140 countries
10) Only charges $0.20 per minute for voice roaming in 120 countries
Okay, so Verizon's promotions are not exactly the same, or even offered on every plan "gratis" as T-Mobile does it. It's all in the details, but the font is too small for anyone to read it. Both AT&T and Verizon copied T-Mobile's carry over data but there is one important distinction. T-Mobile's data rolls over for the entire year, until December 31. AT&T and Verizon roll data for only one month and then it gets deleted. Throttling is FREE on all TM plans but charged as an option on many Verizon plans until you reach the XL and XXL which are their best values. The Canada/Mexico calling and roaming is also an option, but included on the Verizon XL and above plans. T-Mobile started the zero subsidy, zero interest financing trend. All carriers now offer it but the terms are not the same. With Verizon, you either make a monthly payment for 24 months, or you buy out the entire device. With T-Mobile, you can accelerate the 24 month term by making a higher payment or doubling up on payments. No big deal but something very few people are aware of.
To sum it up, my previous beef with Verizon was not being able to guarantee my clients that their phone bill would look exactly the same each month, with no surprises. Well, Verizon stepped up and took care of that problem on their XL and XXL plans, for FREE. T-Mobile's John Legere calls Verizon's new "Safety Mode", Shake Down mode because they charge an extra $5 per month for this on their Small, Medium and Large Plans. Still, that is a small price to pay to eliminate the chance of month end surprises. There has never been a better time to be a Verizon Wireless subscriber, or a T-Mobile subscriber. Contact me to determine which will be the best fit...
Verizon has always been the leader in wireless coverage and reliability. In the past, the difference between them and AT&T, versus the "little guys" in terms of voice and 4G LTE data coverage was pretty substantial. These days, Verizon can no longer claim Sprint and T-Mobile are second class networks. Times have changed. Remember Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" dude? He works for Sprint these days. He claims there is only a 1% difference between Sprint and Verizon's network. I don't know that I would go quite that far, but I will say Sprint has recently made remarkable progress with their 4G network coverage and speeds.
Previously, my biggest problem with Verizon was the fact that I could not guarantee what my clients bills would look like each month. That's because if they exceeded their data allowance, it was $15 per GB to get more data. I am elated to announce that Verizon has just added several amazing features that solve this problem, at least on their new XL and XXL plans. All of the new plans will now get "Carry Over" data. While this is only for a month, not the entire year, the way T-Mobile does it, it still beats the heck out of nothing . Also new is Verizon's "Safety Mode". This is a cool new name for throttling. Instead of getting banged for extra data charges as in the past, Verizon will now simply slow down (Throttle) your speeds to 2G speeds. On plans under XL, this feature costs $5 per user, per month. Verizon just made Canada and Mexico local on the XL and XXL plans. For lessor plans, simply add $7 per month, per user and you too can have call Canada and Mexico and roam in both countries too. Verizon has never looked better and this is terrific news for current and new subscribers.
What this means is, for the first time since Unlimited Data plans, Verizon has just become a great option for big data users. Add $20 per SmartPhone to the above data plans and you'll get the ability to get zero-interest financing of a new iPhone or Android device. Dr WIreless can make arrangements for Verizon to send you a new device directly to your home or office. Ask me for details.
Which Wireless Network now offers FREE Calling and Roaming in Canada and Mexico, Throttling and Carry- over Data? Last week, the answer was T-Mobile. This week it is both T-Mobile and Verizon.
Granted, Verizon's version of these features is not FREE on every plan, just on Verizon's XL, XXL and higher plans. This is fantastic news for large data users. That's because this takes away the suspense and surprise to what your wireless bill might look like at the end of the month. One of the beautiful things about T-Mobile's billing is my business lines and personal lines are billed exactly the same amount each month regardless of my data usage or global travels. Verizon just took a page from T-Mobile and I am thrilled that we now have great plans for our heavy data users.
Got 13 or more lines? Bring your business to T-Mobile and save up to $100 on any Apple or Samsung handset (with a 2GB data plan), or save up to $200 on any Apple or Samsung handset (with a 6GB or higher data plan).
Starting July 6, customers can again get 2 lines with 6GB of 4G LTE data for just $100 with $20 for add-a-lines plus still enjoy the 4th line free! Or, they can get 4 lines with 10GB of 4G LTE data, that’s only $45/line, all on T-Mobile's Family Match plans. Plus, with Binge On™ and Music Freedom™, you can stream from your favorite services without using your high-speed data. That means No Overages Ever. One of the reasons that carrier comparisons are ludicrous is you cannot compare rates without factoring in data overages, roaming charges, special bolt-on roaming packages and throttling.
In 2002, Cingular Wireless introduced Rollover minutes. Instead of losing unused minutes, they simply rolled over to the next month. On December 31st, they vanished and you started all over. Today, rollover minutes are useless as all carriers now offer Unlimited voice calling plans. T-Mobile's approach of offering free Music Streaming, FREE Video Streaming and should you use all of your 4G data, throttling, makes it very difficult to use all of your 4G data.
By offering free texting and unlimited data in 140 countries, T-Mobile offers the best global footprint of all US carriers. If that wasn't awesome enough, unlike the other carriers, T-Mobile only charges $0.20 per minute global voice roaming fees while in these 140 countries.
Dr WIreless can seamlessly move your numbers over to T-Mobile. Whether you are under contract or not is irrelevant. T-Mobile, like all other carriers will pay up to $650 per line to buy out your contract. If you are ready to bust a move, contact Dr Wireless
Recently, there has been quite a bit of hype from the wireless carriers. Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" dude recently traded his red shirt for a yellow one. He states that times have changed with Sprint now within 1 percentage points of Verizon, but at half the cost. The problem that I have with these comparisons is they are not comparing Apples with Apples. There are dozens of independent studies comparing the wireless carriers. The results can vary dramatically. Obviously, carriers cherry pick the studies that hold them in a favorable light and ignore the negative studies.
The biggest problem with these claims are the intangibles. If we were just talking about voice calling, this would be an easy comparison. That's because voice plans are simple to figure out. It doesn't matter how many minutes you need. You will be paying and getting an Unlimited voice minute plan, whether you need it or not. There is no money in voice minute plans these days. It's all about data and that is where things get murky and comparisons must end. Here's why...
1) Throttling versus data overage fees Some carriers slow you down. Your e-mail and social networking still works, but watching video or using voIP becomes difficult until your next billing cycle. The alternative is to choose to pay for more 4G data until your next billing cycle. I'd prefer the choice, versus losing all data capabilities until my new billing cycle.
2) Data Rollover (Some carriers like AT&T roll it for a month. T-Mobile rolls it until the end of the year. Verizon is rumored to be talking about doing something similar to AT&T with the one month of carry over data. Ironically, it was Cingular (AT&T's new parent) that introduced voice minute rollover. They initially rolled minutes over yearly until December 31st. It appears they are not as generous with data as is T-Mobile. You cannot compare rollover data when some carriers only roll over one month and others rollover data for the whole year.
3) Global Texting and Data Costs. Some carriers, like T-Mobile, offer free text and data in over 140 countries. Others charge for it and/or offer "bolt-on" plans that discount the normal costs while roaming.
4) Streaming Data also cannot be compared. Costs and data speeds vary too dramatically between carriers. Example... T-Mobile offers free music and video streaming without even counting against its 4G allocation on many plans. T-Mobile does not charge extra to use your SmartPhone as a HotSpot as long as you have enough 4G data on your plan to support this feature.
5) T-Mobile only charges $0.20 per minute for voice roaming in over 140 countries. Anyone who travels regularly will find this to be an amazing value as other carriers charge as high as $5.99 per minute.
There are rumors that Verizon is going to increase the costs of their data plans and the amount of data they offer. There are also rumors that the biggest plans may get throttling and data carryover for a month. I will update this story when that happens...
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.