Thursday, November 1, 2018

Why I Left A T & T After 7 Years

My cell phone carrier experience goes back to the very first cell phones.  I'm that old.  The year was 2001.  I'd just graduated from the UCSB Graduate School of Education and decided to start my career as a teacher in the heart of East Side San Jose.  I got me a wireless Motorola or something and thought they were so cool.  When the smart phones came along I was not quick to change.  I kept my traditional text and call phone until the Blackberry went out of style.

I purchased my first smart phone, an iPhone 4, in 2011 I think, going with AT & T as my carrier.  After sometime, I even decided to "bundle" my Internet and cable with them.  I thought highly of their service, except their fees always irked me.  The Internet was slow, and to level up cost a lot of money.  I remained loyal for as long as possible, but like most people, I cut the cord.  That was my first severance experience with A T & T.  Sling TV was so much more affordable and it had all the channels I needed.

The Internet was next.  At 18 mbps, my Internet was too slow to stream HD content.  I hated how my shows, like Game of Thrones on HBO, would freeze right in the middle of a good part.  I'd purchased a streaming android box, and my brother-in-law loaded it with Kodi and other apps.  So I had managed to layer my Sling TV online content with streaming on the "Kodi Box," as I called it.

Image result for data overage meme

About two months ago, my wife, Jessica, took on the Internet situation.  After talking with A T and T, she decided we could do better.  She signed us up for Cox Internet 100 mbps.  Man is it fast!  The cost, after the activation fee of $75, was only $70 per month!  That was only a bit more than I was paying for the A T & T 18 mbps program.  The full power of my iPhone 6 was essentially released.  With faster Internet, I could now stream sports and shows live on my phone without hiccups.  My data plan with A T & T was 500 MB.  I always used less than this, mostly because I wasn't streaming sports AND I always used free WiFi.

Then something strange happened.  I was at McDonald's using their free WiFi.  When I left I noticed I had two text messages from A T & T Alerts.  One stated I had consumed 75% of my data and would be charged $20 automatically if I went over.  The second text, only a minute later, stated I had consumed 100% of my data and I would be charged $20 for another 500 MB.  First, I didn't like the fact that A T & T charged this fee assuming I'd want another 500 MB.  In all honesty, I'd prefer to go without data until the month renewed my plan's allocation.  Second, because they came so fast, I didn't have time to adjust my usage, meaning get off the Internet.

I thought for sure I'd simply used too much data for the month.  My bad, right?  The next day, I was at home, streaming an NBA game.  I was using my own home's WiFi so I figured I was safe from overusing my data.  I was wrong.  It happened again!  Somehow I'd managed to use 500 MB of data in one day!  What the heck, I thought.  I didn't like being charged another $20.  So I called A T & T and asked why this had happened.  That is when I learned a valuable lesson.


You are using carrier data anytime your phone has its "Cellular Data" button turned on.  On the iPhone, you have to go to Settings, Cellular, and Cellular Data, to manually turn it off.  Even while using someone else's WiFi!  All this time, I assumed...again because I'd hardly ever gone over, that anytime I connected to free WiFi, I wasn't using my own data.  Boy was I wrong.  Had I not called A T & T and got the full scoop, I'd never have known that you have to manually turn off "cellular data" every time you went online and were in a free (or your own) WiFi venue.  I talked with a friend who works an Internet business and is an iPhone 10 user, and he too wan't aware of this.  He said, "I thought that (WiFi taking the place of carrier data) was the default."

Image result for cellular data

I went back to old A T & T emails, those telling me of an overage fee, and noticed a link at the bottom.  The link when clicked, takes you to a page that, if you read it all, lets you know that cellular data is always being used unless you turn it off.  I imagine many people out there, maybe including you, friend, aren't aware of this.

There was no leeway when talking with the A T & T service rep.  She didn't have any sympathy for me, and frankly didn't care that I was technologically ignorant.  I was out.  See ya, A T & T!  I hate businesses that nickel and dime you.

I'm now with T-Mobile.  I only had 4 months left to pay for my iPhone 6 and T-Mobile has a deal right now where they'll pay your old phone for you (up to like $600) if you switch.  They also give you free Netflix!  I ordered the iPhone 8 over the phone with a very helpful service rep, and got under my wife's T-Mobile unlimited data plan.  The phone arrived in two days, and I was able to keep my phone number too.  We will be paying $180 total (this includes financing on the new iPhone 8).  I'm happy because I get to stream all my games worry free.  The numbers also made sense.  We were paying very close to this amount combined when I was with A T & T and Jessica with T-mobile.

Main Point:

If you are paying with a set amount of data with A T & T, turn off the "Cellular Data" function on your phone everywhere you have free WiFi!  Why use your own data?

Thanks for reading.  Until next time.       

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