Wireless Pricing Clues Us Into The Downfall Of Wintel And The Rise Of Google-tel?

Reggie Middleton's picture

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I received several letters in response to my Deadbeat Carrier Series. Here are a few, along with my responses to them.

Reggie, I found what I think are some flaws in your carrier monthly cost numbers in your "Deadbeat Carriers Compete" blog posting. First the biggest flaw is that the $70 T-Mobile plan does NOT include unlimited hot spot service. It only includes 500mb of hot spot service. You can read it on this link from T-Mobile.com. http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/individual-plans.aspx I couldn't find the cost of 10gb of data including hot spot service but obviously it's going to be more than $70/month.

This is only a problem if you do not embrace Android as your default OS, and Android 4.2.2 is quite capable of doing so for over 85% of computer users. See the video below...

Second, where are you getting the costs for AT&T? I went to their website and they don't have minute plans that go up to 6000 minutes. Their individual plans are 450 minutes for $40, 900 minutes for $60 and unlimited minutes for $70 then you can add $20 for unlimited messaging. The data plans on the individual plans only go up to $50 for 5gb which includes hot spot service. They also have AT&T Mobile Share with unlimited talk and text plans which reduces the cost greatly from what you listed. Their 10gb mobile share plan costs $120/month and a single smartphone with that plan costs $30/month and you can use the hot spot service at that plan for no additional cost (I confirmed this with AT&T) so the total is $150/month (not $200 as you indicated).

AT&T has modified their pricing since I created the model, but the pricing has changed, not necessarily gotten cheaper. They effectively charge $10 per gigabyte for data, $70 for unlimited voice and $20 for unlimited texts. So 10 GB of data would be $100, and voice and text would be $90 combined - adding up to $190 before taxes, surcharges and fees which would add another nearly 20% on the price or roughly $220 total - as compared with T-Mobile whose package would be about $76 - all in (only sales tax is added in with pre-paid plans)! If one were to compare T-Mobile to the Mobile Share plan, there's still a big discrepancy for the reader forgot to include surcharges, fees and taxes - again another nearly 20% tacked on, so we're talking $180 per month, and that's just with 10 gigs of data use. If one were to use 40 gigs like me, then you'd add another $36 per month on that - or roughly $216 which is pretty much where we started in the first place.

Lastly, where are you getting the costs for Verizon? Again, they appear to be way off. Verizon's share everything plan with 10gb of data costs $100/month and then you add $40/month for single smartphone (with unlimited voice minutes and messages) and you can use the hot spot service at that plan for no additional cost so the total cost is $140/month (not $240/month as you indicated). I'm looking forward to your response. Thanks.

Again, the author is comparing family share plans to the single plan that was used in the model. Even so, Verizon pricing is far from a bargain. Let's look closely at the numbers he provided. Verizon is charging the same as AT&T, $10 per gig, but charging more for the handset service @ $40. If one where to use 40 gigs per month, that would be $400 per month plus $40 for the handset plus the nearly 20% in taxes, fees and surcharges - all told over $500 per month, compared to the flat $76 from T-Mobile. Even if you used half the data, your looking at about $280.

My next gift is your ability to generate your own chart with your own wasted wireless carrier dollar expenditures. Check it out..

As I said, deadbeat carriers. Here's some more mails...

Reggie, Good postings. One of the reasons why I'm switching off from AT&T very shortly and going to T-Mobile. They just have the same offerings for a LOT less. Isn't that what things were all about in the beginning before AT&T and Verizon slowly increased their prices and plans? On top of that one of the T-Mobile MVNO's, Solavei, has been on the market for just under a year now I believe and Solavei offers things for $49 "ünlimited." They're main offering is working it into a MLM/referral-based program where a few referrals can chop the bill to 0 or make a few bucks. Worst case it's good for a while before that program crashes possibly, then just jump back to T-Mobile (or other pre-paid style plans that offer nearly the same data and specs for less) Keep up the good work.

And here's another one...

Reggie,

To point one in the direction of "future" in the US, it probably suffices to point one in the direction of some carriers in Europe. Particularly these from Estonia. Sample plans here: https://www.emt.ee/en/internet-telefonishttps://www.elisa.ee/et/Eraklient/mint-mobiilis/562/MiNT-mobiilipaketid (use google translate), https://pood.tele2.ee/et/serviceplans/572 (use google translate).
Or some examples: 
    1. 10€/month for unlimited data at 3.5 Mbps (Elisa)
    2. 5€/month for unlimited data at 1 Mbps (Elisa)
    3. 11.95€/month for 30 GB of data at 6 Mbps (Tele2)
    4. My current plan from EMT: €38/month for a family plan with 4 phones, 400 minutes (unlimited calling between the family phones), text, unlimited internet on 2 of the phones.
Additionally the country (Estonia) is pretty much 100% covered - you get high-speed internet in the thickest of forests from all of the carriers.
When comparing these plans with anything considered "normal" in the US ($300-$400 for a similar 4-person family plan from US Cellular with white areas in every valley between moderate hills), it's clear that there's a very, very long way for the US providers yet to go. It's simply amazing how much US customers are paying for the little amount of services they are actually getting!
All the best,

So, what does this all mean? Google's Android will become much more pervasive as Web access becomes cheaper. It also means that the Wintel duopoly is primed to potentially be toppled. Take note that Intel is now supporting Android and system makers are adopting it. Android is rich enough to replace windows for many, and believe it or not in this short period of it's exisitence I believe Android has surpassed Windows in active users. What happens when the power of Intel Core I7 chips are pushing Android? I'm sure Microsoft doesn't want to know!