If you are a subscriber to T-Mobile’s cell phone service, you may or may not know for the past year T-mobile was offering free T-zone access to their phone subscriber’s with $19.99 plans and up, to enable downloading of ringtones, logos,themes, etc. This access also allowed basic GSM/GPRS data access to websites and email on your phone and if you can use your phone as a modem via a cable, IR or bluetooth this was also a boon for laptop and PDA users. A co-worker just informed me that the service just stopped this week. He said he used it everyday with either his laptop, PDA, or just with his phone. He further went on to say that he had become addicted to wireless access and didn’t know if he could go without it.
Well, to ease his data addiction he broke down this Monday and signed up for the basic $4.99 T-Zones access. He said he was like a “crack addict” that needed to get his latest fix of wireless access and was checking his phone every 2 or 3 minutes to see if the ports to the internet had been opened to him. The several hours promised to him to set up the service seemed like an eternity and when it finally became available all the scales of reality seem to fall back into balance and eased his fix for being ubiquitously connected.
All is now right in his world. I am wondering if this was just a marketing ploy to get users like my co-worker “addicted” to being connected to the internet where ever he went or was just “perk” that T-Mobile gave their customers as they rolled out their services and tightened access to these data ports. Either way they are probably going to gain an increase in ARPU(Average Revenue Per Unit), which measures the average monthly revenue generated for each customer unit, such as a cellular phone or pager, that a carrier has in operation. Seeing how this pans out, it makes one wonder further if there will be “free trials” of data service available on other wireless carriers as well. A “try before you buy” plan would hook in a lot of potential customers and give people a taste of what can be possible with an always on wireless connection especially with devices that can take full advantage of this like Treos, MS Smartphones, and Pocket PC Phone Editions. If they do, they may have to put warning labels on it like “try it you may like it”.