Friday, January 10, 2014

Telecomm companies softening on contract fees, willing to pick up old tabs to lure new customers; travel industry should do more

Telecommunications carriers are showing some interest in eliminating or softening early contract termination penalties, and may be offering plans with no contract at all. T-Mobile, the fourth largest carrier, has announced it will cover the termination fees from other carriers for customers who switch in many cases.  Brian X. Chen has a story in the New York Times Business Day on January 9, link here

My own contract with Verizon switches in February, and the Droid phone does leave some things to be desired, when compared to newer phones.  For one thing, the battery depletes too quickly during surfing.
One question is whether a carrier offers reliable hot spot wireless Internet service for travel.  I use the iPad for that now (Verizon) and it’s pretty reliable, except in West Virginia, it seems.  Phones and hotspots are supposed to switch over to other carriers, and that works only sometimes. 

In the past, I’ve used the MiFi card, and even the Blackberry tethered to the laptop by USB. 

I think it would be helpful to travelers if hotels and places like FedEx Kinkos could offer more trustworthy secured connections on their own machines and networks. It could require additional fees for better security.  The reality is that it is safer to use your own hotspot and computers, which can break when traveling, especially by air, and especially overseas.  The travel industry should offer more customer service in this area.  On long flights, I do find a pay-for Wireless service useful. 

In London, some cafes are trying "pay by the minute".  All the food is free, but you pay for your space at a table and for your wireless (hopefully secured) connection by the minute.  

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