The Myth Of Unlimited Cellular Service

october 4, 2003

The myth of unlimited cellular service for a set price is at best something of a dream. Maybe in the future when the radio spectrum is opened up for unlimited bandwidth or if some major breakthrough in technology happens then unlimited would truly be worth it. But, as it stands in the market today, unlimited cellular is not all that it seems. It was almost a year ago that I was still with [url=http://www.metropcs.com]MetroPCS[/url] and I experienced a total outage of service. Something of an annoyance, but at that point I was [url=http://www.ultramookie.com/comments/263_0_1_0_C/]still OK[/url] because the customer service at MetroPCS took care of me. MetroPCS is a Dallas, Texas based company that delivers all-you-can-eat style cellular service in four regions. The regions are: Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; San Francisco, CA; and Sacramento, CA. Their service is very easy to understand. One pays $35 per month for unlimited minutes on their cellular network, but only within the region that they are signed up in. So, for me when I had signed up for the San Francisco, CA (and San Jose, CA) region, that is the region that I could use my phone in. If I drove up to Sacramento, too bad, I could not use my phone there. The coverage in San Jose, CA was pretty good. I got good reception at the places where I needed it. The phone was basically a land line replacement. For a few extra bucks one can add unlimited [url=http://www.phonescoop.com/glossary/term.php?gid=86]SMS[/url] (text messaging) and voicemail. Long distance is not included, but can be obtained through a bucket of minutes which are paid for upfront. Pretty simple and very straight forward. There was no real roaming, although you could roam with the phone it would require that a credit card number be punched in up front and a very high per minute roaming fee be paid. All service payments were done up front. And there is no contract to sign up for, this is strictly a month-to-month service. All phones are sold at retail prices and there are no free phone deals. This means that you will end up paying at least $129 upfront for a phone. So, for a landline replacement and a local phone, an all-you-can-eat style cellular service does seem like an excellent deal. I even [url=http://www.ultramookie.com/comments/248_0_1_0_C/]praised[/url] the cost effectiveness of the service in a previous log entry. But, it was not so. I started the service early on when MetroPCS just started selling into the San Francisco market. Therefore the airwaves were wide open. I enjoyed calling without any problems with no dropped calls and no lack of service. And this bliss lasted for a few months until MetroPCS outsold their capacity. When the capacity was outsold and nothing was done to improve it, I got the brunt of the problems. My phone stopped working for days on end and I got lots of dropped calls. Because it was a [url=http://www.phonescoop.com/glossary/term.php?gid=8]CDMA[/url] network, the quality of my calls started to degrade seriously because of the flooding of capacity. See, the one thing that people do not realize about unlimited services is that there must be improvements made to the system when the subscriber base grows. Obviously, at that time MetroPCS did not grow with their demand and the problems stemmed from this. What