Just As I Thought

First casualites of number portability

The revenge of the wireless companies!
After switching to AT&T last month, my ex Jann and I have received our first bills. Mine was exactly what I expected — his was hundreds more than expected. (One thing that he’s discovered is that the GSM phone, when roaming, doesn’t indicate that it’s roaming — it keeps the AT&T banner on the screen. AT&T seems to have trouble figuring out what roaming is and isn’t – when I bought my phone last month, their coverage map indicated that there were lots of roaming areas where I would only be charged regular minutes… a week after I signed up, the map changed to indicate that I’d pay 69¢ per minute.)
Among the various sneaky pricing catches that AT&T heaped on him was this interesting tidbit: he had been calling me using mobile-to-mobile minutes, but AT&T didn’t charge them as such. Their reason? They didn’t think that my mobile number was a mobile number… even though it was an AT&T phone and the number was assigned by them. So they charged it as a regular call.
I urged him to contact a media outlet to clue them in on this scam — they’re claiming that they can’t be sure a number is theirs or not because of portability, and thus are selling a premium Mobile-to-Mobile service, but not honoring it.
He called me back to let me know that KCBS — through their own experiences trying to deal with wireless companies — has discovered that all the major cellular companies are about to drop all plans and promotions that allow wireless users greater discounts for calling within their company’s system. This means the end of all mobile-to-mobile calling and, even more dismaying, the end of “family” plans.
One step forward, two steps back. Nothin’ new there.

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