AT&T Wireless will launch its third-generation or “3G” mobile phone service capable of transmitting e-mail, pictures, and video at high speed in four cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Detroit, the sources told Reuters.
The company will offer the data service at a fixed all-you-can-use rate of about $25 a month to consumers and $80 a month to corporate customers, one of the sources said.
“We’re on track to deliver the 3G services before the end of the year,” AT&T Wireless spokesman Ritch Blasi told Reuters, but he declined to address the specific timing.
As I wrote in May, I wanted to use my birthday $$ to buy a Palm Treo 600 but due to my current cell provider’s (AT&T Wireless) change in plans and service mid-April I was unable to do so. After a bit of a meltdown at the AT&T store, a lot of research, and a large meltdown on a AT&T outsourced customer service person, I discovered that the current AT&T plans would not work with how I wanted to use the Treo 600 PDA/Camera phone.
My service plan with my ancient Nokia (1998) is $29.95 a month for 200 mins., unlimited nights and weekends, and unlimited text messages (!!!). Yes, the phone is old and after its fall at SXSW the flip does not work, nor does the zero most of the time, but….
AT&T wants $39.95 a month for the phone part of the GSM/M-Mode service plan and in May the internet data tranfer started at $24.95 a month for 4 megs of data/internet (text messaging extra). I want to use the Treo 600 for mo-blogging and photoblogging and I would burn up 4 megs very fast. Now AT&T is offering 8 megs for $19.95.
But Sprint offers unlimited data/internet for $15 a month and the cell phone plan is 300 mins. for $35. Verizon offers a similar plan.
All of this is to say, that I have now asked everyone I know who has a cell phone who their provider is and what plan they have. By and large, most folks (30 plus) use AT&T, Sprint or Verizon with a splattering of T-Mobile and Cingular.
My informal survey has yielded folks are happy with Sprint’s cell service but HATE their store employees and customer service (the worst was said about Sprint as a company), Verizon folk are happy all around but their service is spotty in places, and AT&T are happy about coverage but a few meltdowns on the telephone folk (all the business folk I know use AT&T). While Sprint has the best prices their service, employees, and billing practices have made me reluctant to sign on.
The upswing is that I decided to wait out my AT&T contract with my old gimpy phone to see what AT&T will roll out before my contract expired, as they offer a perk that the others don’t in the bill paying department that fits my life as a freelancer even though their current plans don’t stand up to the competition. Now here they are offering a better set of plans in 4 markets. But when will it come to LA/OC? Hopefully, before my plan expires and I jump ship.