According to the AP – Verizon Wireless could pay out up to $90 million in refunds to cell phone customers who were improperly charged for inadvertent Web access or data usage over the past several years.
The FCC had asked Verizon Wireless last year about $1.99 a megabyte data access fees that appeared on the bills of customers who didn’t have data plans but who accidentally initiated data or Web access by pressing a button on their phones.
In a statement on its website Sunday, Verizon Wireless said most of the 15 million customers affected will receive credits of $2 to $6 on their October or November bills. Some will receive larger sums. Customers no longer with the New York-based carrier will get refund checks.
Verizon has said that it stopped charging such fees when a customer started using a data service but then quickly shut it off.
Everyone might be happy to hear that all the large cell phone companies are lower the prices of their unlimited voice plans to about $60 a month but that is not what you need to worry about. Although your voice plan might be going down, cell phone providers are secretly higher your data plans.
It began with Verizon Wireless. Last month, that company began requiring certain non-smartphone customers to subscribe to a data plan that costs at least $10 per month. Verizon’s move marks the first step in a larger trend to make up for carriers’ lost revenue from voice.
Accordingly to CNN, Smartphone owners are used to paying for an unlimited data plan with T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T customers doling out the most: roughly $30 per month. Sprint offers a slightly different service, but also requires smartphone users to subscribe to an unlimited plan.
But non-smartphone customers aren’t used to high-priced data plans. Less expensive, limited data plans have been largely available but not widely adopted. Verizon said it began to require new customers who purchase so-called “3G multimedia” phones to subscribe to a data plan in part so that they could get the full functionality out of their phones.
Previously, Verizon offered non-smartphone customers two data plans: $10 for up to 25 megabytes or $20 for up to 75 megabytes. In January, Verizon eliminated the $20 plan and replaced it with a $30 unlimited plan that was previously available only to smartphone users.
3G multimedia phones include a wide array of phones, ranging from the LG enV Touch, which has a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, to the Motorola Entice, essentially a standard flip phone that can access the mobile Web.
Other carrier will follow suit. So watch your cell phone bills carefully because those data plan cost could bit you in the rear end.
AT&T announced that it will invest $19 billion to build out its mobile network in 2010 to keep up with growing demand for its Iphone and other 3g devices and phones.
Specifically, AT&T will add 2,000 new cell sites and upgrade existing cell sites with three times more fiber links than it had in 2009. This will increase capacity for the network that connects the cell towers to AT&T’s main network. The backbone portion of the network is a critical component to AT&T’s network; with these upgrades in place – it will help AT&T to easily upgrade in the future to 4G wireless technology.
Text messaging is allowing cell phone carriers to mark up their bills by 6,500%.
Consumer are gradually learning that sending these small and short messages are causing their cell phone bill to dramatically increased. Here is why?
On a typical pay per text plan, it usually cost you $0.20 to send outgoing and $0.10 to receiving a 160 character text.
Even if you sign up for a unlimited texting plan for $10 a month, they are still profiting because texting causes them next to nothing to maintain.
AT&T announced that it has release an new application called “Mark The Spot” which will let iPhone user submit complaints about dropped calls, poor service coverage, and less-than-perfect voice quality.
The application is free and available in iTunes. The “Mark the Spot” application can be downloaded onto all iPhones running version 3.0 or later of Apple’s operating system or it can be access using iTunes and synchronized to the iPhone via a PC or Mac.
AT&T said that they plan to use the data collected to identify trends and prioritize the company’s network investment.
iPhone owners have been complaining about AT&T’s network since the Apple iPhone went on sale in the summer of 2007. Complaints mounted after the 3G version of the phone was released a year later in 2008.
And as more iPhone users come onto the network, more people, particularly in densely populated urban areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, have experienced problems with dropped calls and congested data networks.
AT&T has been upgrading its network to keep up with demand. But problems persist. And AT&T’s network recently got a poor ranking in terms of customer satisfaction in a Consumer Reports survey.
Verizon Wireless was the big winner of the annual wireless consumer survey. The big loser was AT&T. AT&T got hammered in just about every category, from voice services to the frequency of dropped calls. That is not a good thing for exclusive iPhone carrier.
The survey covered 26 cities. The results are as follows:
AT&T’s worst marks in the Consumer Reports came in such categories as “service availability,” “circuit capacity,” “dropped-call frequency,” and “voice service.”
Telephone companies are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC). So if you have a telephone bill or a cell phone bill that you can’t get resolved with your carrier, consider filing a complaint with the FCC.
It may not seem like a big deal but filing a complaint with the FCC can have a huge impact. It onlys the FCC to spot company wide problems and help you resolve your issue. Telephone companies hate seeing unresolved complaints filed with the FCC. The FCC will contact them and make them explain what happened and why the matter was not resolved.
As more and more people join in this practice, the power in numbers takes over. Believe it or not the system can work for you.
Cell phone customer are frequently shocked when their first bill arrives and it is hundreds of dollars more than expected. It is usually the parents who are have their kids on their plans that are the most surprised.
The standard cell phone plan has a few hundred “anytime minutes” and free night and weekend minutes for $30 to $50. These plans do not usually include text messaging or internet access. Chances are they don’t push you to buy these additional luxuries because you get them anyways.
For example, if you didn’t add the text message option to your plan, you will still be charge for each text message that you sent and received – even if you didn’t read the message. That also includes text messages from your carrier. You usually get charged for that as well.
Or what about when your son browses the Internet and download a ringtone to their cell phone. You get charge for that as well.
And its all in the fine print of those nice agreements that they ask you to sign while you are too busy checking out your new phone. So if you don’t want to get these nice surprise make sure you call the cell phone company and tell them to turn off all text messaging and Internet access on your Cell phones. This will help you avoid getting some nasty unexpected phone bills.
Accordingly to the CTIA, an organziation that represents the wireless industry, based on data compiled in the last 6 months:
- The average cell phone bill in June 2009 was $49.57, up more than a buck from June 2008;
- The average length of a voice call was just 2.03 minutes, shorter than any other year since the CTIA started keeping records in 1988;
- There are about 276,610,580 wireless subscribers in the U.S., up about 14 million from last year, and more than double the number in 2002;
- The various wireless carriers (or at least the ones who reported figures to the CTIA) raked in $151.2 billion in revenue from June 2009 to June 2008