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Old 06-13-2006, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why is Cingular's data plan pricing so confusing?

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I apologize in advance if this is a rehash of another thread somewhere, but I'm considering switching to Cingular (or TMO) and am quite confused about their data plans. Perhaps a Cingular rep can chime in on this one. Here is the information under "Optional Plan Features" from Cingular's website:

Blackberry Connect 4MB*** (***means it's for Nokia 9300): $34.99
Blackberry Connect Unlimited***: $44.99
Blackberry 4MB: $34.99
Blackberry Unlimited: $44.99
Blackberry Internet Service Plan: $29.99
- The list continues with a multitude of other data plans which I won't list here as I'm only interested in the BB plans.

My questions:
1. Do the "Blackberry Connect" plans for the Nokia 9300 include text messaging, e-mail, and web access?

2. How much does 4MB really get you? I've never had a web-enabled service plan so have no basis for comparison. So assuming no heavy graphics, streaming video, etc, approximately how many e-mails, time on the web, etc will 4MB get me?

3. There's been lots of talk up here regarding the new BIS 2.0 (this is "Blackberry Internet Service", I assume) and price change to $29.99 unlimited. With this in mind, what is the difference between "Blackberry Unlimited" for $44.99 and "Blackberry Internet Service Plan" for $29.99?

4. Why can't Cingular simplify their data plan pricing structures?! My gut says to go with Cingular over TMO, but the TMO pricing structures are so much simpler (not to mention cheaper).
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It is confusing, I will try my best:
Blackberry Connect 4MB*** (***means it's for Nokia 9300): $34.99
For non BBs with 4MB limit (simple)

Blackberry Connect Unlimited***: $44.99
For non BBs with no limit

Blackberry 4MB: $34.99
For BBs with 4MB limit

Blackberry Unlimited: $44.99
For BBs on BES with unlimited Data

Blackberry Internet Service Plan: $29.99
For BBs on BIS with unlimited Data

I hope that is clear and I hope I am correct.


3. There's been lots of talk up here regarding the new BIS 2.0 (this is "Blackberry Internet Service", I assume) and price change to $29.99 unlimited. With this in mind, what is the difference between "Blackberry Unlimited" for $44.99 and "Blackberry Internet Service Plan" for $29.99?

The difference is one is for BES and one is for BIS. You do not need to upgrade to 2.0 to get the $29.99 plan but you do have to be on BIS.
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Last edited by johnfromphilly : 06-13-2006 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h-town8
Why can't Cingular simplify their data plan pricing structures?! My gut says to go with Cingular over TMO, but the TMO pricing structures are so much simpler (not to mention cheaper).
Yes, they do make it a bit confusing, mainly because the plans are not named very well, in my opinion. First of all, I'd remove both of the 4M plans from any consideration at all. Most everyone with a BB goes well over the 4M limit monthly, and its a huge trap for potential astronomical additional charges.

OK, having eliminated those two, you're left with three "unlimited" plans. The first is for service on non-BlackBerries (and no text messaging is included on any of these plans.) Of the remaining two plans for BlackBerry devices, the more expensive one is required if you'll be using BES (a BlackBerry Enterprise Server for email, either at your company, or through a service you pay monthly for.) If you'll not be using BES, then go with the cheaper plan. That's it in a nutshell.
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, they do make it a bit confusing, mainly because the plans are not named very well, in my opinion. First of all, I'd remove both of the 4M plans from any consideration at all. Most everyone with a BB goes well over the 4M limit monthly, and its a huge trap for potential astronomical additional charges.

OK, having eliminated those two, you're left with three "unlimited" plans. The first is for service on non-BlackBerries (and no text messaging is included on any of these plans.) Of the remaining two plans for BlackBerry devices, the more expensive one is required if you'll be using BES (a BlackBerry Enterprise Server for email, either at your company, or through a service you pay monthly for.) If you'll not be using BES, then go with the cheaper plan. That's it in a nutshell.That clears it up perfectly, thanks!

It's robbery that for $44.99 (for a non-BB) you don't get text messaging.
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That clears it up perfectly, thanks!

It's robbery that for $44.99 (for a non-BB) you don't get text messaging.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h-town8
That clears it up perfectly, thanks!

It's robbery that for $44.99 (for a non-BB) you don't get text messaging.
And this is why I decided to go with TMO. Internet is cheaper .. $19.99 and they include text messaging!
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuopus
And this is why I decided to go with TMO. Internet is cheaper .. $19.99 and they include text messaging!
Yeah, I just went to the Cingular store at lunch to clarify the data pricing. Turns out that you CAN get unlimited BB data (for the Nokia 9300 OR BB phones) for $29.99 WITH a voice plan. However, this $29.99 does not include text messaging.

All signs so far say that Cingular is very much like Sprint, my current provider, in that they nickel and dime you to death to a three-digit cell phone bill.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h-town8
All signs so far say that Cingular is very much like Sprint, my current provider, in that they nickel and dime you to death to a three-digit cell phone bill.
Cingular is very different from Sprint, dont even go there. Better coverage, voice quality, data speeds i could go on and on...yes our prices are a little higher, but you get what you pay for *shrug* and we dont extend your contract every time you do so much as ask us a question.

Dont want anybody getting butthurt so ill apologise in advance. There is a reason T-Mo is cheaper than us and verizon, and its not that they are just nice guys. They just dont compare, period. Not in coverage, not in dropped calls, definitely not in data speed. I hear they have good customer care tho =)

And yes i think its a crock you dont get unlimited txt msg with a BB Unl plan...ANY plan. Im with you brother!

Hoiwever we are rolling out our new messaging/data plans this month! you are going to be getting alot more for you hard earned $$$ i think everyone will be impressed!
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjleo
Cingular is very different from Sprint, dont even go there. Better coverage, voice quality, data speeds i could go on and on...yes our prices are a little higher, but you get what you pay for *shrug* and we dont extend your contract every time you do so much as ask us a question.

Dont want anybody getting butthurt so ill apologise in advance. There is a reason T-Mo is cheaper than us and verizon, and its not that they are just nice guys. They just dont compare, period. Not in coverage, not in dropped calls, definitely not in data speed. I hear they have good customer care tho =)

And yes i think its a crock you dont get unlimited txt msg with a BB Unl plan...ANY plan. Im with you brother!

Hoiwever we are rolling out our new messaging/data plans this month! you are going to be getting alot more for you hard earned $$$ i think everyone will be impressed!
jdjleo,
I want to take a second and thank you for your help in giving us the heads up this was coming. I was able to use the SOC code you provided and got the upgrade, without it the CS guy was stumped. I gave him the code and , Bang, done deal.

I wrote all of this further in the other thread but it is so long now the comments were lost.

Thanks again jdjleo,

John
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfromphilly
jdjleo,
I want to take a second and thank you for your help in giving us the heads up this was coming. I was able to use the SOC code you provided and got the upgrade, without it the CS guy was stumped. I gave him the code and , Bang, done deal.

I wrote all of this further in the other thread but it is so long now the comments were lost.

Thanks again jdjleo,

John
Hey no problem bud!

Always glad to give my friends here a heads up! i have gotten alot from this community and try to give back what i can!
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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4MB is probably fine if you only get 20-50 emails a day, almost never fetch attachments, don't use the web, and don't sync PIM data over-the-air. Otherwise get the unlimited service. So if you are a super light user, it's worthwhile to save the $10/mo. Most people need the unlimited service though. You get a whole lot more value for only $10 more (and no threats of overages).

BIS-only ($30/mo) is a new offering. Get it if you don't use a BES server. Otherwise get the $45/mo service.

Yeah it sucks about the text messaging thing. Supposedly the current thinking is that it doesn't cost the carriers much to implement it, but they sure do charge for it. As for sending messages, you could always use the SMS->email gateways if you know what carrier the person is on. That way you could send (At least) messages for free. Tell all of your friends to get blackberries. sheesh. ;) (I'm kidding)

Also one downside on cingular is it would be nice if the SMS messages rolled over each month like the voice minutes do. Maybe some day.
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjleo
Cingular is very different from Sprint, dont even go there. Better coverage, voice quality, data speeds i could go on and on...yes our prices are a little higher, but you get what you pay for *shrug* and we dont extend your contract every time you do so much as ask us a question.

Dont want anybody getting butthurt so ill apologise in advance. There is a reason T-Mo is cheaper than us and verizon, and its not that they are just nice guys. They just dont compare, period. Not in coverage, not in dropped calls, definitely not in data speed. I hear they have good customer care tho =)

And yes i think its a crock you dont get unlimited txt msg with a BB Unl plan...ANY plan. Im with you brother!

Hoiwever we are rolling out our new messaging/data plans this month! you are going to be getting alot more for you hard earned $$$ i think everyone will be impressed!
jdjleo: Thanks for the reply. I completely agree with you that you get what you pay for. And you hit the nail on the head as to why I'm leaving Sprint (if you sneeze they re-up you for two years). My apologies, as I was not trying to make a direct comparison of Cingular vs. Sprint, but just highlighting a similarity in the billing methodology.

I've been flip-flopping between TMO and Cingular, but after surveying a lot of friends/family here in Houston who travel, access e-mail, etc etc I've pretty much decided on Cingular, for all the reasons you've outlined.

That being said, the fact is that TMO and Verizon are ranked #1 in customer satisfaction (by both JD Power and Consumer Reports) for years running, and I think a major reason for this has to do with the pricing structure.

I'm very encouraged by what you're saying about the new data pricing structures that Cingular will be rolling out (and just in time as I'll be switching to them on June 29, the day after my Sprint contract expires!).

The coverage, # of dropped calls, network speed, and all that stuff may be stellar with Cingular, but when the average working stiff like me gets their phone bill and sees a list of $2.99 for this, another $1.99 for that, on top of the standard phone and data rates, well, that's when people start asking themselves if they can get a better deal elsewhere.

Again though, I'm happy that Cingular seems to be making some positive changes on this front, and I'm excited about soon being one of their customers (or at least, about NOT being one of Sprint's).

Thanks again!
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h-town8
That being said, the fact is that TMO and Verizon are ranked #1 in customer satisfaction (by both JD Power and Consumer Reports) for years running, and I think a major reason for this has to do with the pricing structure.
I wouldn't say that's the primary reason in my experience. Check around here for comments of the consistency (actually, the lack of) when calling Cingular customer service...
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeshi
I wouldn't say that's the primary reason in my experience. Check around here for comments of the consistency (actually, the lack of) when calling Cingular customer service...
Yah thats the #1 complaint about Cingular Customer Care. I have experienced it myself plenty as an employee. The waters get especially murky if you ask them about data plans lol.

Thing is we outsource our Customer Care to call centers all aroundthe country. Thats the main problem. They arent Cingular employees, they are employees of their privately owned call center. You know what kind of people populate those jobs...
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h-town8
The coverage, # of dropped calls, network speed, and all that stuff may be stellar with Cingular, but when the average working stiff like me gets their phone bill and sees a list of $2.99 for this, another $1.99 for that, on top of the standard phone and data rates, well, that's when people start asking themselves if they can get a better deal elsewhere.
I hear ya brother! And i couldnt agree more! Im a working stiff too, and where those hard earned pennies goes makes a difference to me as well! Noone likes to feel nickel and dimed! And with the way features, data, roaming, overage, taxes and every other damn thing stack up on a cell phone bill its hard NOT to feel like you got pick-pocketed somewhere along the way!
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:18 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Yeah, don't even get me started on the taxes! I know that's not the carrier's fault, but it's a joke.

BTW I went ahead and signed up with Cingular yesterday. Actually purchased the Nokia 9300, but I'm taking it back this morning to exchange for the 8700.
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Cingular billing sucks. I went from blue to orange and they never billed me again on the blue side. My orange balance is 0.00. I get a letter from a collection agency telling me I owe AT&T 129.00 and 33 1/3 percent collection charge. I told them to goto hell on the collection charge, and paid the 129. Why cant cingular get these accounts right!
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