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MacRumors
Oct 22, 2007, 09:48 PM
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The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/17/AR2007101702315.html) reports that AT&T and Verizon made some pre-emptive changes to their contract restrictions last week to try to appease U.S. lawmakers looking to reform the cellphone industry.

Specifically, AT&T said it would replace its $175 cancellation fee with a prorated system allowing customers to pay less towards the end of their contract. AT&T also said that customers would be able to change calling plans without automatically extending their two-year contract.

This should affect all U.S. iPhone owners under AT&T contract.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2007/10/22/atandt-and-verizon-loosens-cell-contract-restricitons/)



samh004
Oct 22, 2007, 10:08 PM
Why would it affect iPhone owners, everything else they've introduced since the iPhone launch hasn't been compatible :p

theheadguy
Oct 22, 2007, 10:14 PM
in other words...

"cell phone companies loosen their grip around americans' necks"

kayle12
Oct 22, 2007, 10:21 PM
On Alltel, you can change you plan ANYTIME.

Even when you're in a contract.

Oh, you don't even have to have a contract.

Kayle

ross.32
Oct 22, 2007, 10:26 PM
On Alltel, you can change you plan ANYTIME.

Even when you're in a contract.

Oh, you don't even have to have a contract.

Kayle

On ATT, you can use an iPhone.

pmade
Oct 22, 2007, 10:28 PM
This is great news. Contract cancelation fines and automatic contract renewals seem so ridiculous to me.

Cell phone service providers are a perfect example of companies that can get away with silly things because everyone else in the industry is doing the same thing. When consumers can switch services freely, or at least with a reduced finical burden, I would hope that the industry as a whole will improve.

Maybe someone can speak to the negative aspects of reducing cancelation fees and the increased freedom of choice. I seem to be coming up empty handed.

artalliance
Oct 22, 2007, 10:32 PM
Quote: "Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the committee's top Republican, said he worries consumers "would be forced into less attractive wireless plans" if Congress intervenes on companies' policies. "If Congress acts too rashly, the end result could be that consumer prices would go up," he said."


The lobbying by the cell phone industry worked at least on one committee member.
:rolleyes:

miketcool
Oct 22, 2007, 10:48 PM
On ATT, you can use an iPhone.

On T-Mobile you can do both, although one is technically not supported...

artalliance
Oct 22, 2007, 10:54 PM
On T-Mobile you can do both, although one is technically not supported...

And you won't get Visual Voicemail.

CHROMEDOME
Oct 22, 2007, 11:37 PM
Does this apply to people just signing up or who are already on contract?

I have about 6 months left on my AT&T contract and I would break it if I could pay less with this new prorated system.

firsttube
Oct 22, 2007, 11:45 PM
On T-Mobile you can do both, although one is technically not supported...

I'm in fact doing just that. 8GB T-mobile iPhone, 1500 anytime mins, 400 texts and unlimited edge data aside from port for IMing, all for under 60.00 a month inlcuding taxes and b*llshit. Although I am using the 5.99 t-zones hack. Works like a charm! :D

hi at&t!

bigandtasty
Oct 23, 2007, 12:48 AM
'This should affect all U.S. iPhone owners under AT&T contract."



And Sell More iPhones!:):):):D

Analog Kid
Oct 23, 2007, 04:11 AM
I love these stories... Congress wakes up, listens to a story about what life is like outside the beltway, decides to ponder the situation and a whole industry sits up straight in their chairs and says "We'll be good, honest!"

The bummer is that Congress usually decides that this is evidence enough that the industry can self regulate and goes back to sleep.
Quote: "Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the committee's top Republican, said he worries consumers "would be forced into less attractive wireless plans" if Congress intervenes on companies' policies. "If Congress acts too rashly, the end result could be that consumer prices would go up," he said."


The lobbying by the cell phone industry worked at least on one committee member.
:rolleyes:
Ted Steven's was quoted as pleading with the committee, "C'mon guys, give these companies a break-- they helped build my house, fer cryin' out loud."

tkidBOSTON
Oct 23, 2007, 06:48 AM
Well its about time someone does something about these absurd restrictions. I don't know how the cell phone industry got away with this for so long.

marktesssing
Oct 23, 2007, 07:27 AM
Does this apply to people just signing up or who are already on contract?

I have about 6 months left on my AT&T contract and I would break it if I could pay less with this new prorated system.

cingular use to have a $240 cancel policy on a two year contract and every month that $240 is reduced by $24. so with six months left you would pay $24 x 6 month to cancel the contract.

now if the cancel fee started at $175 that might work for all

jsetliffe
Oct 23, 2007, 07:37 AM
The article quotes Verizon as saying 'Verizon Wireless has prorated cancellation fees for nearly a year'. I call BS! I have 30 days left on my Verizon contract and I just called to see what my cancellation fee would be - $175......which is my normal fee for early cancellation. I'm not a math major but I don't see any pro-ration here.

DeaconGraves
Oct 23, 2007, 07:40 AM
Quote: "Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the committee's top Republican, said he worries consumers "would be forced into less attractive wireless plans" if Congress intervenes on companies' policies. "If Congress acts too rashly, the end result could be that consumer prices would go up," he said."


The lobbying by the cell phone industry worked at least on one committee member.
:rolleyes:

Never trust a man who thinks the internet is a series of tubes.

BostonMJH
Oct 23, 2007, 08:33 AM
Quote: "Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the committee's top Republican, said he worries consumers "would be forced into less attractive wireless plans" if Congress intervenes on companies' policies. "If Congress acts too rashly, the end result could be that consumer prices would go up," he said."


The lobbying by the cell phone industry worked at least on one committee member.
:rolleyes:

Funny I remember the same type of guys saying when Ed Markley was going cable industry. I remember Ed saying how much cheaper cable was going to be while others said the cost would go up. Years later more poeple than ever have cable and we are paying 3X as much.:mad:

Jdot
Oct 23, 2007, 08:35 AM
On Alltel, you can change you plan ANYTIME.

Even when you're in a contract.

Oh, you don't even have to have a contract.

Kayle

...and thats why they are so desperate for customers and are being gobbled up by sprint/verizon next year. You can't give away profit and expect to make profit they charge more money for there phones then any other carrier and have terrible roaming agreements.

alexplore11
Oct 23, 2007, 08:40 AM
These fees and crap have hit me a million times. It's great to see that the government is taking action against these "robberies" as I consider them!
SWEET!

jayb2000
Oct 23, 2007, 09:11 AM
Does this apply to people just signing up or who are already on contract?

I have about 6 months left on my AT&T contract and I would break it if I could pay less with this new prorated system.

Since there are no subsidies with the iPhone contracts, I think you can just buy the iPhone and switch with no penalties.
The termination fee applies if you are canceling your service with AT&T, not switching phones.

Obviously, check with them first, but I have changed plans/phones many times with AT&T and never paid a fee.

nicholi
Oct 23, 2007, 09:16 AM
This addresses being released from AT&T's 2-year contract, but doesn't mention the fact that you're still locked down to AT&T and can't transfer to another service provider. Isn't that the whole issue in Congress right now?

Chupa Chupa
Oct 23, 2007, 10:22 AM
So do these new rules mean that when/if I get a 3G iPhone before my original 2 year contract expires I won't be forced to get a new 2yr contract?

majordude
Oct 23, 2007, 03:46 PM
I don't know how they get away with contracts. The airwaves are the property of Americans. The FCC is in charge of regulating those airwaves so that I can't buy a ham radio and blast everyone off the grid with Kid Charlemagne.

The cell phone companies are restricting trade by not allowing us to buy competitors products for two year cycles.

Illegal on two counts if you ask me.

bamerican
Oct 23, 2007, 04:29 PM
Quote: "Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the committee's top Republican, said he worries consumers "would be forced into less attractive wireless plans" if Congress intervenes on companies' policies. "If Congress acts too rashly, the end result could be that consumer prices would go up," he said."


The lobbying by the cell phone industry worked at least on one committee member.
:rolleyes:

Yeah...well, if lobbying is going to work on anyone, it's Ted Stevens.

He's not being investigated (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/30/AR2007073001427.html) for nothing...

ChrisA
Oct 23, 2007, 07:02 PM
Maybe someone can speak to the negative aspects of reducing cancelation fees and the increased freedom of choice. I seem to be coming up empty handed.

The root problem here is that the phone companies give you a phone for little money up front and then have you pay for it in installments hidden in the monthly service contract. If they would make you pay full price for the phone and then charge less for the service then they could let you out of the contract. They would not even have to change what you pay. Just fix the bill so that repayment of the loan for the phone is called out on a different line then air time. Then you could choose to cancel only the airtime or pay the loan off early.

marktesssing
Oct 24, 2007, 05:45 AM
The root problem here is that the phone companies give you a phone for little money up front and then have you pay for it in installments hidden in the monthly service contract. If they would make you pay full price for the phone and then charge less for the service then they could let you out of the contract. They would not even have to change what you pay. Just fix the bill so that repayment of the loan for the phone is called out on a different line then air time. Then you could choose to cancel only the airtime or pay the loan off early.

sounds like a good idea

skye12
Oct 24, 2007, 07:55 AM
They only get reasonable when the govt (soon to be "Democratic" in
nature) decides to step in.

So much for the marketplace policing itself.

GTiPhone
Oct 24, 2007, 02:56 PM
And you won't get Visual Voicemail.

Which is why I love the commercial that ypes visual voicemail. Its an appropriate kick in the crotch to all hacker unlockers.

GTiPhone
Oct 24, 2007, 02:57 PM
They only get reasonable when the govt (soon to be "Democratic" in
nature) decides to step in.

So much for the marketplace policing itself.

My god i wish you were right about that.

GTiPhone
Oct 24, 2007, 03:02 PM
I love these stories... Congress wakes up, listens to a story about what life is like outside the beltway, decides to ponder the situation and a whole industry sits up straight in their chairs and says "We'll be good, honest!"

The bummer is that Congress usually decides that this is evidence enough that the industry can self regulate and goes back to sleep.


Most congressmen do not hold office long enough to even know what life is like inside the belt way.

An analogous phrase for "Congress decides to ponder," is "Congressmen consult paymasters."

maestro55
Oct 24, 2007, 03:11 PM
I can understand contracts when you are getting a discount for a phone because the phone company is going to have to make up for the money they spent to give you the phone. On the other hand, I think that it is asinine to have to get a two-year control when you buy a phone out right. In my case though, I was already in a contract and I was happy that in order to get the iphone I didn't have to pay the fee to cancel my current contract, and since I plan to use this phone for atleast another year or so I am not worried about having the new two-year contract. The only thing that gets on my nerves is the way it is now I imagine that I would have to get yet another two-year contract if in another year I decided to go ahead and lay the cash down for whatever current iPhone is on the market at the time.

crackermac
Oct 24, 2007, 07:50 PM
I don't know how they get away with contracts. The airwaves are the property of Americans. The FCC is in charge of regulating those airwaves so that I can't buy a ham radio and blast everyone off the grid with Kid Charlemagne.

The cell phone companies are restricting trade by not allowing us to buy competitors products for two year cycles.

Illegal on two counts if you ask me.

But the companies buy the rights to those airwaves, thus in a way, taking ownership. Just look at what's going on with all that 700 MHz spectrum now. Companies are ready to put up billions just to have the rights to these airwaves.

btallada9870
Oct 25, 2007, 07:56 PM
With Cingular I've changed my rate plan many times without extending my contract or paying any fee. My rate plan also was not extended when I bought my iPhone.

japasneezemonk
Oct 28, 2007, 03:47 AM
I don't know how they get away with contracts. The airwaves are the property of Americans. The FCC is in charge of regulating those airwaves so that I can't buy a ham radio and blast everyone off the grid with Kid Charlemagne.

The cell phone companies are restricting trade by not allowing us to buy competitors products for two year cycles.

Illegal on two counts if you ask me.

The only illegal act is by us the consumer, we give away the $$$ that these corporations then funnel into Washington to Lobby the FCC.

brichardson
Nov 8, 2007, 12:38 PM
I don't know how they get away with contracts. The airwaves are the property of Americans. The FCC is in charge of regulating those airwaves so that I can't buy a ham radio and blast everyone off the grid with Kid Charlemagne.

The cell phone companies are restricting trade by not allowing us to buy competitors products for two year cycles.

Illegal on two counts if you ask me.

Close, but not quite. American's don't own the airwaves - the US Government does. You're right - the FCC is in charge of regulating the airwaves, and they have. They have licensed portions of the bands for various uses... hams have several bands, for example. The FCC controls who is licensed to use the ham bands. If you pass the tests, you can use the bands. You could buy a radio, but you couldn't blast out Kid Charlemagne (although, I wouldn't complain if you did - great tune). That's because the FCC has rules and regulations governing the ham bands. That particular rule says that you can't monopolize a frequency... and blasting out music is "monopolizing".

HOWEVER, the FCC also licenses the commercial radio bands... and that band doesn't have the monopolize rule... in fact, it's expected :)

The FCC also licenses the cell bands to cell service provider, and they have their own set of rules. BUT... the rules cover use of the bands, not business matters. The FCC isn't going to say you can't have a contract with your customers. In fact, even if you were on a month to month plan, or pay as you go, you have SOME sort of contract.

The issue here is how do they get away with such ridiculous contracts. And the answer? Because we, the consumer, LET THEM. If we refused to sign the contracts, they'd change them. It's going to take a significant legal challenge to get them to drop the 2 year contract nonsense. And of course, as others have said, they have a strong lobby in Washington!

Love
Nov 8, 2007, 06:05 PM
Here in Canada, we have a ridiculous system, on TELUS at least. I would be happy to pay $175 to get out of my contract. Let's say you were just out of your 14 day eval period. You hated the service but you were busy and it slipped your mind. Damn! Let's go in to the Calc and figure this out!

Holy. Crap. $720 to cancel. What? TELUS uses a money grabbing system to scare you in to staying with them. 20 dollars for each month left in your contract. Once it hits $100, it stays that way. 5 months or 1 left in your contract, you still have to pay $100. To make you want a 3 year contract, they put AWFUL prices on phones with 2 or 1 year contracts. Cheapo Samsung on a 2 year contract is like 100-150 dollars. Awful!

savanahrose
Nov 17, 2007, 08:57 AM
The article quotes Verizon as saying 'Verizon Wireless has prorated cancellation fees for nearly a year'. I call BS! I have 30 days left on my Verizon contract and I just called to see what my cancellation fee would be - $175......which is my normal fee for early cancellation. I'm not a math major but I don't see any pro-ration here.

That is the only thing keeping me at Verizon right now. I have 4 phones on my contract. Luckily it ends in April.

Deefuzz
Nov 20, 2007, 03:00 PM
The article quotes Verizon as saying 'Verizon Wireless has prorated cancellation fees for nearly a year'. I call BS! I have 30 days left on my Verizon contract and I just called to see what my cancellation fee would be - $175......which is my normal fee for early cancellation. I'm not a math major but I don't see any pro-ration here.

That's why I continue to play the waiting game. My contract is up Dec. 12th so I have to continue to suffer with a RAZR that barely works until then.

JPS
Nov 20, 2007, 04:06 PM
I had the same runaround from Verizon when I called and asked about their prorating policy. The woman said that it only applied to those who'd originally signed a contract after January 1 of the previous year. So that I had to wait till my contract was up before I switched for my iPhone.

Nicholas Mosher
Nov 27, 2007, 07:00 AM
Yeah, I've had enough with Verizon. I just canceled my home internet and phone account with them (planning on moving and getting a cable modem). My girlfriend and I are just going to use our cell phones.

Right now I have a Razor with Verizon, but I'm thinking of eating the $175 early termination fee next week and picking up an iPhone with AT&T.