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AT&T are evil geniuses

Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:58 pm

I just saw this and needed to rant for a bit.

When AT&T first introduced their rollover minutes plan I thought it would be something new and useful. For anyone that doesn't know AT&T's "rollover minutes" are subscribers unused minutes that transfer over from one month to the next. As an AT&T customer at the time I thought "I get to keep what I pay for? That's awesome!" and left it at that. About a year after this plan was introduced I decided to switch over to a different carrier that didn't offer rollover minutes. When I was first considering switching I thought that I would somehow be losing something by giving up my rollover minutes. So I sat down and thought about the pro's and con's of both plans (one being cheaper, the other having rollover minutes). Until it hit me.

AT&T are evil geniuses.

Think about what a rollover minute actually is. It's a minute that given an entire month to use, you didn't. The idea is to eventually build up a bankroll of minutes that given some catastrophic series of events would allow you to spend 3 straight weeks on your cellphone. But here's the problem. If over the course of 30 days the subscriber doesn't use their total minutes there's a pretty good chance that the subscriber won't use their total minutes the next month, too. This means AT&T is charging people a premium to use something they didn't even use. It's a sales tactic so absurd it's hard to even wrap your mind around it. Imagine if a marketer outside the cellphone industry tried to pull this off. Imagine your ISP adding on 5 additional dollars a month to every price tier, and putting monthly data caps on all their plans. The 5 meg connection gives you 150 gigs of downloads a month. The average user uses considerably less than that, and probably will always do so (at least for a reasonable amount of time into the future). This would allow regular users to bankroll serious download potential, increase their opinion of their ISP ( "hey, at least I get to keep what I pay for!" ) but is actually ripping everybody off.

So beware. Anytime a company gives you something for free there is probably a reason for it. Anyone that's read this probably knows why I think AT&T does this.

They are evil geniuses. =D
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Re: AT&T are evil geniuses

Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:11 pm

I don't think it is *quite* as evil as you're claiming, but yeah it is mostly marketing hype.

I hope the AT&T/T-Mobile merger dies. Killing T-Mobile (which is what the deal effectively amounts to) is a recipe for the consumer getting screwed.
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Re: AT&T are evil geniuses

Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:05 pm

....I've personally loved my rollover minutes over the years, I have 4 lines, a couple times a year someone will have something going on in their life and burn through a ton of minutes(think like 2k extra in a month) my options would have been to either go from my 1400 minute plan to something massive just in case, or pay massive overages without the rollover option. It's pretty much a non issue now with the introduction of a-list and free mobile to mobile minutes, but for a number of years it saved me a lot of money and hassle.
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Re: AT&T are evil geniuses

Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:12 pm

t-mo has for 50 bucks a month an unlimited minutes that is use all the time. granted i dont use that much minutes on my phone. but is nice to know that i will not be charged for overages.
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Re: AT&T are evil geniuses

Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:57 pm

Same concept as buying insurance. You may never need to use it, but you're paying for the ability to use it if you need it.
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Re: AT&T are evil geniuses

Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:03 am

Mobile networks aren't really about talking anymore. When I was in getting my new phone, I was told that AT&T plans now had unlimited mobile to mobile calling for any mobile network, not just AT&T's. I didn't think much of it at the time, but it dawned on me later that what that really means is that voice traffic is so light on their network that they now longer consider it worth billing. Data is where it is at.

It would not surprise me to see someone go to a base plan that was data only with an optional voice add on.


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