25 May 2006

Why the TelCos are so rich…

Ever wondered why the Telephone Companies are so darn big and profitable?
Because they’ve been gouging their customers for years!
OK there… I’ve thrown my hat into the ring…
Some of the more famous and outspoken columnists in the business, like John C. Dvorak, have been talking about how the big telcos have been abusing their customers for years.
The U.S. is the land of opportunity, the land where monopolies are busted up… remember Standard Oil… Bell Labs…  It’s to the point where monopolies are just about illegal… that is unless you’re a Cable Company or a Telephone Company that is…
I’ve never had more than one option for a cable carrier not to even mention local phone service.  Cable has always been Comcast and local phone has always been SBC.  At least we had options when it came to long distance right?  There was AT&T, MCI and Sprint.  Well now that SBC has swallowed up AT&T, the options become even less.
I talked about how we’re going to save a bundle of $$$ with Skype by dropping our long distance from our phone bill in my previous post.  So I called SBC/AT&T today to drop long distance from my account.  The conversation went something like this…
"I’d like to remove the long distance options from my account please."
"Certainly sir.  Do you wish to change your carrier for long distance?"
"No, I want to DROP my carrier."
"Certainly sir.  Do you wish to designate a local toll* carrier?"
"NO!  I want to DROP ALL long distance carriers from my account.  I just want Local phone service."
"Certainly sir.  Be advised there is a $4.81 charge for setting your long distance carrier to None."
"WHAT?  Are you telling me that you’re going to charge me just to stop using your service!?"
"There is no charge for changing your long distance carrier."
"If there’s no charge for changing my long distance carrier, why are you charging me $4.81?"
"There is not charge for changing your long distance carrier from one carrier to another, but changing it to None incurs a charge of $4.81."
"You’ve got to be kidding me!  Fine!  Whatever!  Just do it!"
"Bla…bla…bla…and some other legal dribble…"
Amazing!  Can you believe they’re charging us to DROP their service!?
OK, so instead of saving $273.91 between now and the end of the year, we’ll only save $269.10…  I hope Skype puts SBC/AT&T out of business!  (Wishful thinking I know, but a man can dream right?)
It’s not that I want free service, even though the TelCos’ infrastructure has long since been paid for by consumers.  Instead, I believe it should work like it does with Revol.  Revol is a new wireless carrier that simply charge a flat $47 per month and gives their subscribers unlimited local calls, unlimited long distance calls, unlimited txt and unlimited pix!  Now THAT is how it is done!  Check them out at http://www.revol.us.
*Local Toll is just another way the TelCos gouge their customers.  Even if you have Local as well as Long Distance carriers on your account and you call from one side of town to the other side they get to charge you outrageous rates.  Of course, it also provides them with yet another item they can charge you extra for on your phone bill.

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