Archive for April, 2008

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April 25th, 2008

Wireless – Why am I paying to sign up? But they pay me to take the phone …

So, I tried to switch service providers the other day. I really wanted to switch, but I couldn’t figure out the math or get a deal that suited me.

I wanted to get a voice plan (ca. 900 minutes) and a data plan. I also wanted to be able to use at least two phones. (OK, yes, this story is about a GSM carrier.) Here are the problems I encountered:

1) The first thing I learned is that not all data plans (just data access) are equal. In my mind, a small screen phone with full browser vs. a medium-sized screen phone with limited browser (no email service) seemed comparable. Prices, however, were really different. Crazy.

2) They wanted me to pay them an activation fee for an account. I didn’t want a subsidized phone. I was just a walk-in customer off the street who wanted a plan. They wanted me to pay them to become a customer. I asked them to waive the fee, but they wouldn’t. I even waited around for a while (this works in the fruit markets in Morocco, and has been a successful tactic for me in the past at places such as Virgin Records, Best Buy, Good Guys, etc.) to see if they would change their minds. They didn’t. I walked out. I have about five phones with service, and I’m not on contract (which I told them) so I had time.

So, I went home and searched online. I looked at places like Amazon.com, WireFly, Wireless Toyz, etc. Did a Google search on “Free phones from [wireless service provider]” Got a lot of results. I even found a few cases on Amazon.com where they would pay ME money to sign up and be a customer.

Then my brain shifted into overdrive.

If I sign up on Amazon, they’ll give me the handset and $25 or so. I could apply the $25 towards the activation fee (if it isn’t already covered) Perhaps I could then sell the cell phone for another $10 at least to cover the remaining portion of the activation fee. I’m not sure if I’d qualify for SuperSaver shipping since they are paying me to take the phone, but I’m paying for service.

Wait, am I selling or buying a service plan?

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CATEGORIES: Wireless
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April 22nd, 2008

My Growing Addiction to Text Alerts

I admit, I’ve become addicted to text (SMS) alerts in a way comparable to my Outlook calendar. I no longer function without a 15 minute reminder that I have meeting approaching. The same is true of my reliance on SMS alerts to know what is happening in the Presidential campaign.

Yesterday, Barack’s campaign sent me an alert to let me know he’d be on The Daily Show. It was actually information I wanted. This evening, I received a text alert from Hillary’s campaign letting me know she’d won PA about 10-15 minutes after her victory speech began – fairly timely. I was overseas during the Ohio primaries and I nearly went crazy trying to get results until the SMS finally arrived.

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CATEGORIES: Wireless
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April 22nd, 2008

Mobile Marketing Well Done – Coke Zero & Euro2008

I came across one of my favorite examples of well-executed mobile marketing last week in Switzerland. Coke was running a sweepstakes to win tickets to UEFA Euro2008. Tickets were being given away every 90 minutes thereby encouraging more purchases of Coke products. (A Coke in Switzerland, by the way, costs more than a ticket to a soccer game in the US, but, hey the Euro 2008 is special – this is the best there is between World Cup’s). And my favorite part, they know at what time of the day their products are being consumed because the codes are under the caps. The frequency of give-away’s encourages consumers to text in immediately to enter. Well done on many fronts. Hard to see on the label, but it also explains the cost per message.

Promotion on Coke Zero bottle in Switzerland

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CATEGORIES: Wireless
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April 22nd, 2008

Anti-HotSpot Campaigns

I was down in Palo Alto a couple of months ago and saw this sign out on the sidewalk. The concept of ubiquitous broadband and how to convey the idea to consumers without tech-speak is a tough one. As consumers, how soon will we simply be connected without having to choose a technology?

Verizon Wireless Advertisement on University Ave. in Palo Alto

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CATEGORIES: Wireless