I love this time of the year for a number of reasons. For the last decade, Apple announced their new iPhone models the first week of September. They usually ship to the carriers two weeks later. In the old days of wireless, manufacturers would unveil new models at the CES, CTIA and Mobile Congress wireless industry shows. Well, Apple changed all that. Several manufacturers still launch at the Barcelona show but not Apple. It's no secret when Apple makes their announcements, so their competition loves to pre-empt their releases with their own new models. With the possible exception of the exploding Galaxy Note 7, this strategy has worked quite well. I was using a Samsung Galaxy S8+ for the last 6 months and felt it blew the doors of my daughter's iPhone 10. I didn't like having to lock it before putting in my pocket. With my iPhone, the worse case scenario was maybe butt dialing the last person I called. With the S8+, it would launch applications on it's own. I was worried it was going to buy something off e-bay without my knowledge.
That being said, if you lock the device before pocketing, problem solved. Once again, Samsung is going to steal Apple's thunder. I suspect it will be their new Samsung X model. Find out on August 9th, right here. There has been speculation from our main Apple inside analyst that prices will drop "bigly" on the new three X models. On the other hand, since these devices are all made in China and subject to new trade tariffs, this might offset any price cuts. Regardless, my experience has shown that it is a great time to buy a current model as they usually drop $100 overnight in September.
Would you make a one time payment to me of $100 if I could guarantee to save you over $500 per year or more, every year on your wireless plan? Of course you would! The reason we can do this is we have recently found that 95% of all personal and business plan users are getting ripped off with regular wireless plans. After spending 28 years activating thousands of phones for all of the major carrier, nobody knows them better.
How can we guarantee this? Discretionary credits, Off-sheet retention plans, military discounts, and non advertised non-commissioned plans combined with our wireless industry knowledge and carrier resources. Dr Wireless clients only pay $30 per line for Unlimited data. If you are paying more, why?
I've been in the wireless industry long before Smartphones. I saw IBM launch their "Watson" about 10 years too soon. Research in Motion developed a new messaging technology and device called the BlackBerry. NOKIA launched their E61 Smartphone which actually supported Blackberry and GOODLink Exchange server technologies. This model also offered SIP dialing, voice-to-text, wifi, wifi dialing and lots of features before their time. It was their confusing operating system amazing features, and confusing layout that doomed them. Cingular Wireless allegedly would not touch this model as it offered features built-in that they wanted to sell as bolt-ons. Palm clearly had the best calendar application. They also smartly grabbed the MLS real estate vertical by developing an application that would unlock the realtor lock boxes at open houses.
BlackBerry had business and government accounts because IT managers wanted devices and OS that were secure and easy for them to manage. RIM's legendary and proprietary 'QWERTY" keyboard made text entry a piece of cake and they licensed it to all the other device makers. For those who don't know how they got the name for that. Look down at your keyboard and read the first row of letters. Nobody did secure messaging like Blackberry.
My speculation is neither saw Apple's original iPhone as a threat. Research in Motion seemed content to keep making Qwerty keypad models as did PALM. Today Palm is out of business. For the most part, Research in Motion no longer makes Blackberry devices either. They still own hundreds of patents and remain relevant in the industry. That leaves Apple against Android. Apple clearly offers the better operating system. It's far more stable, policed, and less likely to allow users to download virus infected applications. Android OS though is often favored by application developers and IT experts as it is open source and easier for developers. The android hardware is certainly more advanced than APPLE's in most cases and a fraction of the cost. It's bad that China has $150 brands you never heard of that do more than a far more expensive iPhone will. After all, for every 1,000 phones sold in China, only 25 are iPhones. It's worse that Apple actually buys the majority of their AMOLED screens not just from China - but their largest rival, Samsung. This likely explains why you cannot buy an Apple iPhone with an AMOLED screen for under $1000. Did you know that Samsung has offered not just AMOLED, but SuperAmoled on their models since the S3, about 6 years ago? They are on the S9 now. For those who are unfamiliar with SmartPhone screen display technology, our friends at Samsung sum it up very well right here.
I had been using a Samsung Galaxy S8+ and an iPhone 6s+. There is no question that the S9 blows the doors of the iPhone 6s+ in processer speed, display quality and features. If only this device had Apple's iOS. I could go on for ever with comparisons but the reality is this for me. While the iPhone had a bad habit of but dialing the last person I taljeds to while in my pocket, the Samsung S8+ would launch applications on it's own. I was worried it was going to buy something on e-bay or Amazon without my knowledge. Therefore, I have decided to pick up a used iPhone X for now.
T-Mobile seems to take great pride in disrupting the wireless status quo and is at it again. This time, they will be introducing a new "budget" Unlimited family plan. I cannot divulge the details quite yet in writing but will say, I won't be moving from my current T-Mobile One plan for a number of reasons (Tax, fees, international, 4G hotspot etc).
I do think I can say that their T-Mobile One Plus buy-up is certainly much better than ever as their 4G LTE hotspot allocation just doubled to 20GB per month with their One Plus option. Anyone with a dedicated iPad or computer line might want to utilize their SmartPhone as a hotspot and save a few bucks.
I recently did a post that stated, according to Ming Chu Kuo, the dude who breaks all the Apple secrets before they do officially, Apple phones will experience a big price drop. There certainly seems to be good evidence that this would be a smart move. That may have been before the POTUS started the new trade war with China. After all, where do you think all those iPhones come from? What we can be sure of is that Apple will launch a new budget X model or two utilizing an improved LCD screen while the flagship models will sport the brighter and sharper Amoled screen technology.
It's safe to say that most of my analyst colleagues are in agreement that Apple will be unveiling three new models in September as is customary. There is speculation about the bezel size, screen types, and whether Apple will be killing off the current iPhone X as we know it. If Mr Kuo is accurate as usual, here is what we can expect to be unveiled next month...
"Apple to Launch 6.5" 'iPhone X Plus and lower priced OLED and LCD models"
Everyone knows that Apple always keeps a tight lid on their new products and getting info that is accurate on new products before the first week of September is next to impossible, (unless a new beta model prototype is left in a Tequila bar by an Apple iPhone designer). If there is a fly on the wall in the Apple factory, it probably reports to Ming Chu Kuo. This dude seems to be the guy who comes up with all the APPLE scoops before anyone else and he is usually pretty darn accurate. He recently moved from KGI Securities to TF International Securities but apparently still has his Apple factory connections. This time, we should all pray he is correct on his latest prediction. "Kuo states that the 6.5-inch OLED "iPhone X Plus" will be $900-$1,000, the second generation OLED iPhone X will be $800-$900, and the new 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will be $600-$700. Kuo reiterates that all 2018 iPhones will have a full-screen design and Face ID.
Ming states that these price drops are only on the new models. I'm predicting that this will cause the entire line of iPhones to be reduced in pricing. How could it not? What all this means is there has never been a better time to consider upgrading your iPhone. There has also never been a better time to upgrade your plan. Between T-Mobile and Verizon alone, there are 6 amazing Unlimited plans to choose from.
Well, after 28 years of activating phones for all of the major carriers, I am finally FREE! What that means is Dr Wireless no longer relies on activation commissions from the carriers as we once did. We even gave up all of our carrier Demo lines so there would be nothing they could dock, hold against me, or take away. Our revenue now comes from consulting and cloud services. We can still activate for T-Mobile and Verizon, but only do this now for our VIPs and Robin Hood Plan subscribers, upon request.
The reality is, they'll still pay us about $100 per activation when "going by the book" and activating their various advertised Unlimited rate plans. Well, after decades of working with each carriers retention departments, I'm aware of many ways to get a much better deal. The problem is they won't pay me "for beating the system", but you can. Several of the ways are through Off-sheet rate plans, discretionary credits, and loss leader plans they do not publicly offer (pay their sales people). Last year, we began offering our Robin Hood Program. For a one-time cost of $200, we guaranteed that Dr Wireless would reveal how to save $400+ per year on your wireless bill. If we couldn't deliver, we didn't charge the $200 fee. Today, we are dropping the Robin Hood Program fee to $100, that's half price. Dr Wireless will guarantee yearly savings, of $300+ or we won't charge you anything. Obviously, if you're on a single plan, this won't apply. If you're on a two line or more family or business plan paying over $150 per month though, I'd highly recommend getting our FREE Plan Analysis. We can immediately tell whether we can obtain big savings or not.
Aside from consulting, Dr Wireless now helps new and growing businesses with Unified Communication solutions, Information Technology support, and Social Media Marketing. We will no longer be sending out monthly NewsAlerts but still publishing current content this blog.
Finally, I'm still getting asked which are the best Unlimited plans. The answer is nothing from AT&T or Sprint and everything from T-Mobile or Verizon. T-Mobile just won the Open Wave, and OOKLA Best Carrier awards for fastest data speeds and best 4G LTE coverage. Verizon always offers solid, reliable speeds and coverage too. For global travelers, I'd go TM, otherwise, it's a toss up. What you need to know is there are now 3 types of Unlimited plans. To see the benefits of the newest T-Mobile One + International and Verizons "Beyond Unlimited" plans.
The problem: I recently moved from a Subaru Outback to Forester. My iPhone 6s+ worked flawlessly with the Outback. When I paired my Galaxy S8+ the Forester, it worked fine. When i paired my iPhone 6s+, each time i turned off the car, the device would need to be re-paired. To make matters worse, this can only be done while the car is stopped. I went through Subaru's manual and did not notice any solution.
When I bought the car used, I had to delete multiple iPhone profiles but when I paired my phone, it would only allow one phone at a time to be paired. This meant that every time I got into my car with my iPhone, I had to pair it. Well, here is the solution. Delete the profile and do not try to set this up from the menu on the radio. The best way to set everything up and get full functionality is doing it with the handsfree system on the steering wheel using the voice prompts. The only possible reason to use the limited BlueTooth setup through the radio would be if you have a passenger that wants to temporarily play music or use their phone through your car sound system one time..
If I'm an IT expert and struggled with this, I can only imagine how frustrated the general public must me. I struggled for weeks with this until stumbling across the solution. Now I have both phones paired and can easily toggle between them.
You'd think that an Unlimited plan would be just what it implies but that is no longer the case. Today, most carriers offer two or three different types of Unlimited plans. Usually, the basic plans are the ones that you will see advertised. These are the basic Unlimited no frills plans that feature 480p (DVD quality) resolution and anywhere from 22GB to 50GB of 4G LTE service, depending on which carrier you choose.
For those who like to use their SmartPhones as a 4G LTE Hotspot for their iPads or computers, the carriers have more deluxe plans that offer 1080p high resolution and some pre-designated amount of 4G LTE Hotspot usage. For those that also travel globally, there is a more deluxe version, usually about $25 per line more, that gives the kitchen sink. Below is T-Mobile's One + plan which is an additional $10/per line.
Stepping up to their International One + plan below is an extra $25 per line...
In Verizon's case, your Unlimited plan options are the following...
Verizon is now even allowing plan members to mix and match the above. Not surprisingly, their price points mirror those of T-Mobile. While activations are not something that we promote these days, we still do them for our VIP clients and can have everything handled and your devices hand delivered with direct carrier billing.
These days, all of the wireless carriers offer acceptable coverage. Obviously some (Sprint) have limitations like not being able to use data or text while on a phone call. This is because their CDMA network (older technology) does not support this as all the other carriers that are now 100% LTE (Long Term Evolution) would.
That being said, I am often asked which network I am personally with and who I would recommend. Domestically, Verizon and T-Mobile would both be great choices. Verizon because of their bullet proof reliability and coverage in the sticks. T-Mobile's perks are fastest data speeds, no fees or taxes, and in many cases, FREE Netflix.
For those who travel overseas regularly, T-Mobile is the only intelligent choice. With all other carriers, you must notify your carrier and usually select a "bolt-on" roaming plan that "reduces" the roaming costs from obscene to expensive. In some cases, if you don't add one of these packages, your phone may not work at all. This is where T-Mobile is the best. All of their Unlimited plans included FREE Global Texting and Data in over 140 countries. Voice calls are usually $0.20 per minute in these countries.
I just had a client with both a Verizon and T-Mobile line ask me which he should use on a trip to South Korea next month. Again, No Brainer as you can see below. With Verizon, he would pay $1.79 per minute and $0.50 per text. With T-Mobile, voice calls are $0.20 and all texting and data is totally FREE. Duh!
From 1990 until recently, the majority of my business was activating cellular phones. In the beginning, it was a great gig. We installed car phones and sold transportable devices as big as Samsonite suit cases. Back then, the phones only made calls. The toughest thing was finding the transceiver, then "burning" a Numerical Assignment Module (NAM) which had to be carefully inserted into the transceiver.
I had developed the first "corporate" cellular program for businesses in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Company recognized this and brought me in to manage many of their corporate heavyweight accounts including Capital Records, Virgin Records, Gannett Enterprises, Chemical Waste Management, Paramount Studios, Fox Studios, Hard Copy, CBS News, Price Waterhouse, Latham and Watkins, Caltech, UCLA among others.
Strangely, nearly 30 years later, wireless services have become a commodity like gasoline. The irony is now, the carriers pay their sales people next to nothing for new activations and upgrades, despite the fact that today's devices are more powerful and sophisticated than the top of the line desk top computers from just ten years ago. In the old days when the activation dollars where flowing, nobody minded spending an extra hour or two instructing clients how to use their new smartphone. Now you know why the kids in the carrier stores refuse to spend time "teaching" customers how to use their devices.
I took much c**p from all of the carriers for many years because I was reliant on getting paid by them each month. Last year, I decided that it was no longer economically viable to continue activating phones. I discovered that as a wireless consultant, I could now utilize my knowledge of each carrier to work them over for my clients. After working with their retention departments, I'm aware of discretionary credits and secret non commissionable plans the public will never hear about. I find it very satisfying to make them sweat for a change...
So here's the deal... Our Dr Wireless Robin Hood Program is the culmination of my efforts. With this program, we offer a FREE Wireless Evaluation to determine if we can save you at least $400 per year better than your current costs. If we could guarantee these savings, would you be willing to make a one time payment to me for $200 to make this happen? See what our clients are saying...
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.