Older Cingular phones will cost you $5 per month

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Cingular logoCingular has announced that due to the rising network costs to continue to provide TDMA service for customers with older handsets they will be adding a $5 monthly surcharge for those customers starting in September.  The goal is to force those customers to upgrade their phones to more current handsets that use the Cingular GSM network to avoid the monthly charge.  Cingular is the first carrier in the US to use a surcharge to attempt to force upgrades on customers.

(via Yahoo News)


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The surcharge is also being applied to Analog customers. Which is perhaps one of the more intriguing parts of this story. There are some people, such as my Mother, whom are still using Analog because there is no good digital answer for them.

You can get 3W Analog cell phones but there are no 3W digital phones, period. Nor are there any 3W car kits for digital. So when you are out in the great nowhere the 3W gets you signal and the digital phone is saying “No Service, please get me back to civilization now!”

Cingular is also the network that took all its existing AT&T UMTS customers and upgraded them to HSPDA with out providing them with HSPDA equipment. One morning you woke up and you had an expensive paper weight that the previous evening had been a state-of-the-art high speed communications device. You called Cingular and “Sorry but we don’t have any HSPDA terminals right now, we can however upgrade you to a Cingular GSM phone right now! “.

Any CIngular TDMA or Analog customer that thinks they won’t throw the switch? I’m here to tell you from personal experience, the moment the FCC will let them, they’ll throw it.

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