Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Phone alone

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We travel most of the year in a motorhome. We have used an Alltel air card stick, hooked to a wireless router, as our Internet connection. Alltel was taken over by Verizon but we were grandfathered into our unlimited data plan for $59.95. We recently received a letter stamped "Action Required" offering us free new equipment, fees waived, and a new data plan for ten dollars less. Now, I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. They were trying to get me to bite on saving $9.95 to give up unlimited data for 5g. I called and debated my options. Almost immediately they offered me the new 4G equipment and 20g per month. This I gladly accepted. My wife thinks I should have refused and kept the unlimited plan. I explained to her that they are doing away with the Alltel network and that we would need to do something in the next few months. They already throttle our speed because we use an average of 12g per month, and the new "Hot Spot" equipment is much newer and faster. She is still mad that I didn't discuss the options with her first. Can you help me convince her I did the right thing.
 --Disconnected in Schenectady

 Dear Disco:
I think you need to spend a little while in "time out." You've heard the old saying, "Put yourself in the other man's moccasins." Think how you would feel if your wife changed the plan without consulting with you. Not to throw too many sayings at you, but "Two heads are better than one." I think your on board communications system is a must discuss issue. I do applaud you for not rolling over and taking the first pitch. It was obviously low and outside. When you deal with service providers in this day and age you are "prey." Act accordingly. Verizon says they have 70 million subscribers. I find discrepancies on my bill almost every month. Sometimes for as little as fifty cents, and sometimes for as much as a couple bucks. I call and they immediately reverse the erroneous charges with no argument. I can guarantee you they make multi-millions of dollars every month from the subscribers who don't check their bills or do not want to waste valuable time to save a couple bucks. So think about that while you are getting the hot tongue and cold shoulder. Maybe you two can sit down every month and go over your bill. Decide together what contracts to engage in and create better communications all the way around the RV.
 --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Dick said...

The business decision seems sound from the details you provided. The 'social' side - spousal communication - depends on how you and your spouse have developed your communication relationship over the years. If you are 'allowed' to make independent business decisions, that is one thing. But if your communication 'style' normally is to involve your spouse, then you are in the dog house for awhile.

Anonymous said...

You didn't answer his question.

Anonymous said...

I think you should have kept your old equipment and 3g unlimited data. Just how many places have 4g, unless you are doing a lot of downloading you may not see much of a difference. Yes 4G is fast. You will love 4g when you can get it. 20g of data a month is a lot of data. Just do not go over your limit your you will pay BIG $

Anonymous said...

I thought he was asking for feedback on his data plan decision and not marital advice. Oh yea, what is your response to his data plan question?

Jeffrey said...

I'll give you the skinny on VZW, because I used to work on the landline side, before they dumped us to another telecom company. Ivan Seidenburg, the CEO of VZ, has never done ANYTHING that wouldn't make him or his company a buck. No, I'm not attacking him or VZ, I'm just pointing out that they put profits over everything else.

In the wireless industry, the 'average' customer uses under 300 minutes of cell time, under 250 texts and under 2Gb of mobile data. The problem they have is those of us who use over 10Gb of data - I personally use over 25Gb a month! The powers that be constantly complain about how 'smartphone' users are overloading their network - while cutting prices on said smartphones. They wouldn't do that unless they were still making a fat profit on their plans.

In your situation, you can rest assured that you did come out ahead - AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT MAKE ANY FURTHER CHANGES TO YOUR ACCOUNT. Verizon doesn't 'throttle' their speeds (nor does Sprint - they both use CDMA technology and roam on each other) but their network can get bogged down, especially in rural areas. I have wireless data cards (from work) from both VZW & ATTW, and in some state parks here in Washington State, I get better service from ATTW (because of the tower location) or Sprint (my personal smart phone) than on VZW.

Now, regarding your upgrade, I'll tell you VZW is 'compensating' their employees to get existing, out-of-contract customers OFF their old unlimited packages by any means available. Their call center teams have daily contests that give away iPads, BBQ grills and even raffle drawings for AMEX gift cards for every customer they up-sell. So, honestly, you never really had a chance.

I won't comment on the state of communications in your marriage, but with a new WiFi AirCard and keeping an eye on your data usage, your electronic comms should be just fine.