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As I caught word this morning that AT&T was going to begin requiring customers to “swallow” $20 a month in data I am absolutely taken back. Look, I have come to accept data charges are now a requirement for most carriers for data devices and I don’t disagree with the policy. I am a member of the camp that subscribes to the notion that users who buy and use these devices should have a data plan, as is necessary to enjoy the full range of features. Wi-FI while useful and often plentiful in a big metropolitan area does not make up for the lack of a strong 3G connection when I walk 100 feet away from my local Starbucks. Trust me, I’m in Starbucks enough to single handedly support the employees and their families but even then, I don’t’ want to rely on them as my only connection to the internet for my device. Twitter alone mandates my need for constant connection. I’m not everyone, I’m a power user and a carriers dream customer, but in this instance, AT&T is going to be asking the people who simply don’t need it, to spend it regardless and it’s garbage.
So now, the moral of my story, T-Mobile should use this as another example of why they are a stellar company to use as a wireless provider. I saw yet another AT&T / Verizon commercial this morning and ignoring that the commercial is cringe-worthy, I ask why oh why T-Mobile, will you not go on the offensive? The time for polite talk and handholding is over, wireless is war and you need to show some teeth. The concept that I have to purchase at least $20 worth of data features is pardon my French, bullshit. This is ridiculous, insanity and a slap in the face to the customer. I accept data for Blackberry, iPhone and Android as you should have it but the 12 year old doesn’t need data on her Samsung Mythic. I bet AT&T salespeople are doing face-palms right now en masse. This is just utter crap and I am sure it won’t stop AT&T and their monstrous growth on the back of the iPhone but for the average customer who has no need for data yet wants a cool looking phone this is preposterous, ludicrous, absurd, and nonsensical and whatever other synonyms Microsoft word has to offer here.
So I beg of you T-Mobile, show some teeth. Run a commercial that points this out to the millions of customers who are going to be subjected to this crap and show them you have no desire to stick them with features they do not need and prices they can’t afford. Show them your new upgrade plans and how existing customers are still important, loyal and worth rewarding. Put Catherine Zeta Jones on screen trying to make a phone call on the iPhone and 12 dropped calls later walking into a T-Mobile store. Boom, instant awesome! In fact, if you do that, I expect some kickback.
The reality is the wireless market is all but saturated and instead of gaining millions of new customers, it’s now about trading customers and T-Mobile needs to show more reasons why they are worth a second look. This AT&T ridiculous data requirement is even more reason to go for the kneecaps and hit the other carriers where it hurts, their customer count. T-Mobile, you have nowhere to go but up and your faithful are behind you, will you finally flex some muscle?