Mandatory fixed fee data plans – we can do better

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Data Fairness, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Data Fairness macrumors newbie

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    #1
    All carriers – except T-Mobile – charge a monthly fixed fee for using a smartphone on their networks, even just to make a phone call and use no data. There are at least a dozen internet- and e-mail-capable phones which do not fit this definition and are not charged these mandatory minimum fees.

    Smartphones are the ultimate convenience. But we use them differently. Some of us would prefer to use only the phone capabilities while on a telephone network, and save our web-surfing for wi-fi.

    Is there anyone out there who feels these mandatory charges are unfair? If we had enough people interested, I am sure we could do something.
     
  2. ap3604 macrumors 68000

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    #2
    AT&T has more than 90 million customers... how many do you think you need to organize before AT&T actually cares? A million? Your not gonna get that on macrumors...
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    If you think it's unfair go with T-mobile, or use an iPod touch on WiFi as your phone.
     
  4. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #4
    While I agree that the wireless providers abuse customers, it really is a question whether their policies are legal or not. I view mandatory data policies akin to a cable company charging for HD service if you have a HD capable TV... whether or not you choose to subscribe to HD services. Whether or not your phone is capable of using data, it should be entirely up to the owner whether to subscribe to a data plan or not.

    Similarly it irritates me to no end that tethering is an extra fee. If the phone is capable of acting as a router, why should it matter to the wireless provider how you use that data. Tethering fees are completely unjustified.

    ----------

    That's nonsense. There is nothing wrong with wanting a mobile phone that is also an iPod. Forcing people to pay for data subscriptions just because they have a phone that is capable of using data should be illegal. It should be entirely up to the user to decide whether or not they want to buy a data block or not.
     
  5. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #5
    There's many prepaid options available that you can use an iphone and just purchase minutes and texts.
    You dont have to be on a post paid accounts and be stuck with the mandatory iphone data plan.
     
  6. Jordan921 macrumors 68040

    Jordan921

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    #6
    Go on a prepaid plan and you have nothing to worry about.
     
  7. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #7
    I don't think that is an option in all areas.
     
  8. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #8
    Why not?
    All these prepaid companies run of AT&T's network and you can purchase a sim and open an account online and get your microsim in the mail.
     
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #9
    Why should it be illegal? What law is being broken? Nobody is forced to buy a smart phone, and it is made crystal clear that if you do buy a smart phone you are also required to buy a data plan. It's in the Terms of Service that you sign when you purchase the phone/plan indicating you agree to the terms. There are plenty of phones you can put music on that don't require a data plan, people just choose not to buy them.

    So, who is talking nonsense here?
     
  10. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #10

    I agree, I wouldnt say illegal but its not "fair" to some consumers that dont want, need or use carrier data to pay it wether they like it or not. Choice is good, options are good for the consumer. Not so good for the big corps.
    So they keep pushing to see with how much they can get away with till people get outraged and cause a big fuss.
    See what happened with the fee that Verizon wanted to charge and now with AT&T raising the throttling speed from 2GB to 3GB. If noone questions or says anything they will do whatever they want and keep charging is us more for less.
    Just wish the goverment here in the US would do a little more to protect our rights.
    They should be forcing AT&T to unlock our iphones that once we paid for and fullfilled our contracts are still locked to AT&T. That doesnt make any sense but yet they still do it and get away with it.
     
  11. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #11
    Still have to subscribe to a 2 year contract when you buy the iphone and that contract forces customers to buy services they don't always want. I cannot imagine the sense in doing that AND then using PAYG. Even if you buy an unsubsidized/ unlocked phone as soon as AT&T sees it is an iPhone they will charge you for data service... even on PAYG.

    ----------

    It isn't illegal but it should be. As I said before, just because the phone is data capable does not mean I should have to buy a data plan. This is like forcing people to buy a cable subscription every time they purchase a new tv. It doesn't matter that they say you will have to up front, it strikes me as an unfair practice.
     
  12. e²Studios, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #12
    The government has their hands in too many parts of our everyday life as it is, we don't need them to protect us from something that just takes a little common sense to get past.

    No one is forcing you to buy a smartphone, you are choosing to. A data plan is required for a smartphone device, its clearly stated and if you don't like it you're under no duress or obligation to purchase it.

    The law has nothing to do with this nor should it. Practice some common sense folks, read the TOS and if you don't like it or can't afford it don't sign the contract. Simple as that.
     
  13. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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  14. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #14
    Nonsense. Would you agree with a cable company dictating that if you subscribe to their TV service you must also buy their Internet service? I'd be willing to accept such an arrangement if the end-user device is subsidized by the service provider, but in the US, even unsubsidized smart phone owners are forced to buy services that may not be desired (applies to Pre-paid or PAYG). I'd even go so far as to say it is an anti-competitive practice not too dissimilar from a cable company forcing TV subscribers to buy Internet service. It is bad enough that US wireless providers are bilking users for text messaging and double dipping on minutes (in other countries you only get charged for calls you initiate and not those that you receive). Why do you tolerate it much less act as an apologist for such absurd policies?

    ----------

    Tell me about it. US telecomms treat customers relatively poorly. But as you can see, people not only accept it, but even defend such policies.
     
  15. nastebu macrumors 6502

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    #15
    eStudio's point was firstly about the idea of getting the government involved. Why would we want the government mucking around telling us (or a company) what kind of cell phone contract we are allowed to have or not have? This is a very silly, trivial, intrusive kind of law.

    With contracts that we sign completely at our discretion, our options are to sign, to not sign, or to look for alternatives. If there is a viable market for an alternative, the basic assumption of capitalism is that someone will make a product to fit that need. You don't like your options, complain loudly to the company. But to ask the government to make a business practice illegal because you want a better deal ... Bad idea.
     
  16. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #16
    I hear you but I am just not getting it. So essentially what you are saying is that it is ok for a telephone company to have a policy that says if you subscribe to a landline, you must also buy their Internet and television package as well? I don't understand why that is not considered anticompetitive.
     
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #17
    It's not anticompetitive unless a) the telephone company in question is the only service provider available and b) said telephone company adjusts its prices to take advantage of that fact in a way that gets the attention of the regulatory authority. (a) happens all the time. (b) does not.
     
  18. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #18
    (a) There is more than one telephone operator. But while their policy would be entirely unacceptable for other businesses (i.e. landlines, cable, etc), they have managed to convince people that wireless should be the exception.
    (b) They force you to buy all non-interdependent services regardless of whether the customer wants them or not. I should have a choice in the matter if it is a phone I bought and paid for. Voice service works just fine without a data plan (maybe I have my own hotspot service already).
     
  19. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #19
    A) lets take DirecTV for instance, if you sign up on a Free HD Season Ticket promotion you are obligated to stay at a certain programming level to maintain the free HD as well as auto bill pay. If you lower the plan or drop auto bill pay you lose the offer.

    Whether you see it or not price tiers happens in one way or another for just about every industry. Cars have option packages, want Nav? You need a premium package with more than just the Nav you originally requested.

    Most internet data Cable/fiber/DSL comes in data speed tiers, some have data caps similar to AT&T's wireless plans.

    B) They aren't forcing you to do anything, if you don't like it you simply speak with your wallet and walk away. Buy a iPad or other tablet/iPod touch and use your mobile hotspot, it would basically be the same thing. Then you can get a non smartphone and carry a voice only plan.

    Wireless isn't the exception to this, its all around in every industry. How you fail to see it is beyond me, but your sense of entitlement has amazed me in this thread.

    If you don't like it you aren't being forced to use it, simple as that.
     
  20. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #20
    A) Again, I am not talking about different tiers of service. I am talking about non-interdependent services being forced on a customer because they own one type of device. An iPhone works very well without a data plan. Data is an entirely different service, akin to a cable company forcing you to buy a data service when you only want television. In the US, if you want an iPhone, you MUST have a data plan tied to that iPhone even if you don't want or need a data plan. Again, I am not talking about tiers of data plans but a policy that requires a data plan simply because you have a particular type of phone.

    B) I have spoken with my wallet. But this isn't about "me". It is about apologists clouding the issue of having a choice in subscribed services. As far as I am aware, the telecoms are the only industry able to get away with it and your post failed to provide contrary examples. If you can explain why ownership of a device compels subscription to services I think that would be a start. From my point of view you continue to say that "if you own a Seagate HD, you MUST also purchase their cloud-based backup service".
     
  21. gaanee macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Then what's the point in buying an iPhone at full price, just because you don't have to sign a contract? If a customer is buying the iPhone at full price then he/she should have an option to decide whether to subscribe to data plan or not..
     
  22. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #22
    I am glad you agree that unsubsidized smartphone owners should not be compelled to buy non-interdependent services. Choice in services is a customer's right. Maybe I already have a hotspot service. Maybe I like the iPhone and the built-in features (i.e. camera, apps, music, etc) but am satisfied with wi-fi only. Though apparently lost on some people, the iPhone is firstly a phone. Personal reasons are not the issue. What is the issue is that customers are forced to pay for a data service that they may not want or need on a device that does not require data to fulfill its core function - a telephone.
     
  23. nastebu macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Said person has bought the phone, but the network still belongs to the carrier. So owning the phone doesn't give me the right to tell the carrier on what terms they have to sell me service.

    Look, it would be wonderful if the carriers could see the light and offer iphone service without a data plan. My contract with Verizon has long expired, and I would love to drop my data plan. But the idea that they *should* is quite different from they *should have to.* Particularly if you want to drag in the law. I agree they *should,* but I absolutely don't agree they *should have to.*
     
  24. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #24
    That doesn't make any sense to me. Cable companies, telephone companies all "own" their respective "networks" but they are not permitted to force you to buy non-interdependent services. Sure, they can offer bundles of services but they cannot force you to buy things you don't want. It is no greater burden or draw on different resources if I make a call on my iPhone or flip-phone.

    I suppose it is also acceptable that the mobile wireless providers make you buy blocks of data AND pay extra if you wish to have tethering? Why is such blatant double dipping acceptable? Actually, it is worse than that, if you want tethering, you have to buy the MOST expensive data plan AND pay an additional tethering fee in top of that. All of these policies stink of collusion by near monopolies (AT&T/Verizon).
     
  25. nastebu macrumors 6502

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    #25
    The cable company forces me to buy plenty of channels I never watch. I really only watch TV Japan, which costs $20 a month on top of basic cable. I would love to just buy that one channel, but it isn't offered that way. Should I really ask the government to intervene because I don't think this is fair? I want to buy a box of garbage bags, but I only need five and the smallest box has ten. This should be illegal?
     

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