After years of service, I started really getting frusterated with Alltel. Because broadband isn’t available where I live, I have had to resort to a wifi card. Because I am on a budget, I decided to hold off on the phone contract and keep a prepaid phone. As a student, Internet was the priority afterall. Google Voice could catch my messages. Then one year, I got tired of dealing with it and added a contract phone. The result, $110 a month. Not so bad right? Then I started getting mysterious charges for texting services I never signed up for. Although Alltel continued for almost a year to allow this obvious fraud, I stuck with them and was patient until they stopped it finally. Eventually, I traded my phone for BOGO Blackberries for a special promotion. I was told that the bill would be no more than $190. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was really $230+.
Looking to cut costs, I didn’t renew my mobile broadband card contract and tethered my Blackberries reducing my bill to $145. Still, I wasn’t satisfied. One of the Blackberries wasn’t working well and they wanted to charge me over two hundred for a new one. I figured out I could get another on ebay, but by this time I was annoyed. It seemed to me that Alltel was getting pretty pompous, feeling that they were the only solution, so why satisfy the customer?
Then I discovered Virgin Mobile. I bought the wifi router for $150, and I can now connect 5 wireless devices for $40 a month for unlimited data. Not only that, but the quality is superior to Alltel’s. I then decided I didn’t want to have my face in a smartphone day in and day out, so I bought some simple prepaid phones. I now use my deactivated Blackberry to listen to music, play games, store data and read kindle books. I also discovered that Alltel had sold me the Blackberry without wifi so no play there.
However, I feel the joke is on them, because once people discover that they can get a Blackberry through Virgin Mobile for $25 a month and spend $40 for unlimited mobile broadband to connect 5 devices, they will be leaving in droves as soon as they are within the scope of the Sprint towers. Besides, contracts suck.
My next experiment: ditching the landline and using the magic jack with the mobile broadband. My communication costs have been lowered greatly! The winner: the consumer, for once!