Cingular will soon a $5 monthly fee, in an effort to get them to upgrade to newer technology.
The fee, which will start appearing in September, will apply to consumers whose phones do not support GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) technology. Cingular said that per-customer costs to support analog and Time Division Multiple Access, or TDMA, access were rising considerably as the number of those users dwindled.
Cingular is required by the Federal Communications Commission to keep providing analog service until early 2008 so long as it still has customers with those phones. It has said it plans to continue to support TDMA until it makes the analog switchover.
Blog community response:
"So, ditch that old brick and upgrade to something new and exciting, whose battery lasts more than 90 minutes on standby, else you'll pay for it."
"Get with it folks. If you want these people to move to the more profitable portion of your network, give them free phones to do so and do it with a smile."
"I understand not wanting to support a network that may soon be obsolete. But you would think good business would be to reward loyal customers with these old phones. Give them free or nearly free phones, with no contract or something like 6 months. But instead of giving some of their oldest customers a break, they are going to charge them more money. Well, some of them anyway. For me thats the last straw. Now I have a month to figue out which of the other boys to go with."
--Mike Halm's Blog