T-Moble Forces an iPhone User to go Legit

8 Sep

I’ve been a very happy customer with T-Mobile for over four years now. Ever since the beginning, I have been using various smartphones with their T-Zones service. T-Zones was originally intended to be a walled garden internet service where you pay $4.99 (when I signed up) each month for the privilege of being able to view T-Mobile’s WAP store. However, a salesperson clued me in that smartphones generally have the ability to change their network settings and with a couple of minor tweaks, you get full internet access at a much better rate than the $19.99 data plan they sell.

All this changed a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought it was just my phone, but after a while of not being able to access my maps and email, I called T-Mo up and found the real reason:

T-Mobile has disabled the hole that once allowed T-Zones users to access the full internet.

As an interesting aside, T-Mobile knows all about my hacked iPhone. In fact, they have people who are trained to deal with it on a limited basis. That means that they can also tell just how many hacked iPhone users there are out there with T-Zones. Perhaps some exec saw these very figures and assumed that at least one in four would stand to have their internet access prices quadrupled. However, I won’t be one of them.

I’m currently paying just under $60/mo all taxes and fees included for 1500 anytime minutes, 400 text messages, and (previously) unlimited internet access. If I bend to their new rules, that price will jump to nearly $80/mo. At that price, I might as well transfer over to AT&T and finally go legit.

By finally switching to AT&T, I get all of the following:

  • No more jailbreaking
  • Visual voicemail
  • A warranty for my expensive phone
  • Access to the latest hardware
  • A more legit tax write off since I have a business license to develop software for the iPhone

But at what cost?

  • Ending a four-year run with a carrier that I really like who generally respects long-term customers
  • Opening a two-year contract with a carrier who sees long-term customers as a threat, so they milk every dollar they can out of long-term contracts
  • Losing the warm fuzzy feeling of saying “screw you” to the man and using my phone on a different network

So what now?

Tomorrow is Apple’s press event. Due to the fact that Best Buy just started selling iPhones yesterday, I doubt there will be an iPhone update, but there is no sense in rushing out today to buy one. Also, I’m about to take a two week trip to Europe and I’ve found that aside from being generally more expensive domestically, AT&T is also $0.30 more per minute for international roaming calls where I will be.

So for now I sit tight. As soon as I return from my trip, I’ll be reluctantly terminating my account and shackling myself into a terrible contract with a terrible company–that is, if my beloved T-Mobile hasn’t changed their mind.

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7 Responses to “T-Moble Forces an iPhone User to go Legit”

  1. Dan September 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    If you do thinking about switching, make sure you will have decent coverage where you will be using the phone. I am a T-Mobile user and I don’t know how many times I have had a clear signal while friends and coworkers on AT&T couldn’t get any signal at all. I do know how many times the opposite situation has come up though: zero. More than any other factor, this is why I’ve stayed with T-Mobile.

  2. yd September 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    I finally decide I want to leave T-Mobile after a very extended run with them. I’ve been through three or four name changes/acquisitions/mergers/whatever up to the current T-Mobile.

    They just increased SMS fees again. I am currently paying for a bucket of SMS, so this isn’t costing me anything more, but it’s just infuriating – they are milking me. So much for loyal customer. The data rates are good, but no 3G and even when it does come my N95-3 won’t work on it. They are focusing more and more on becoming like the other carriers. It’s sad.

    Now AT&T is actually a better company for me. I would have better signal everywhere I am most of the time with AT&T (judging by friends). I would have 3G data. I was holding out on T-Mobile just for loyalty reasons; I really thought they were a better company. Now I’m not so sure.

    Disadvantages with AT&T still remain: higher prices, less favorable international roaming rates, contract lock in (I refuse to go 2 years if I’m bringing my own damn phone to the service).

    I really hate what we’ve got available to us now.

  3. Matt September 9, 2008 at 12:55 am #

    “contract lock in (I refuse to go 2 years if I’m bringing my own damn phone to the service).”

    I actually just made the same switch from t-mo to at&t, as I get no reception at work with t-mobile. I was able to get onto a plan with at&t without a contract by going into the store and explaining that I was bringing my own phone.. That was a nice surprise

  4. yd September 9, 2008 at 5:40 am #

    Matt, from one Matt to another, thank you! I spoke with them on the phone about it and received vague answers at best.

    Now if only I could make heads or tails of their 50 data plans so I can decide what I need.

  5. Chester October 15, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    I have been a T-Moble cuatomer for 10yrs. but I just can.t take anymore. They are not the same company they lie to you they don’t return phone calls and the reps. don’t have a clue as to their job. I have 5-lines but I have had all I can take.

  6. yd October 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    I went ahead and did the switch. It went fairly well, although AT&T lost my order the first time and shipped the sim card to the wrong address the second time. The upshot of all of the crap is I ended up getting transferred with absolutely no start-up fees (sim card OR setup fee). Check the account they set you up with, though – the third time I explained I wanted the unlimited data/text plan – and got signed up for the 5MB/month plan.

    My coverage has gone up substantially. I really put it to the test this weekend on a long trip where my travel companion’s T-Mobile phone was without signal most of the time and I was with signal most of the time – including a long stretch of 3G across WV.

    So far, so happy.

  7. yd October 19, 2008 at 8:01 pm #

    Oh, and no contract for me since I was bringing my own phone.

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