Here's a twist: Wal-Mart is joining forces with T-Mobile to offer phone plans for people who have phone-phobia. (Fear of talking on the phone.) The $30 no-contract phone plan caters to the data and text-hungry citizens of our fine country. (USA! USA! USA!) What do you get with the $30 Wal-Mart/T-Mobile plan? Unlimited Internet access, text messages, and 100 minutes for phone calls. (It's 10 cents a minute after you exceed the allotted voice minutes.)
The plan shows an interesting evolution of cell phone use: there's now a huge cross-section of society that no longer views their mobile device as an apparatus for making actual phone calls. Their means of communication: text messages, instant messaging services, and social networks. It makes sense that this is an appealing service. I've seen my phone-calling-frequency drastically spiral downward over the past year. Think about it; making an actual phone call to people has almost gone the way of sending someone an actual letter via snail mail. It's become almost creepy to get an unexpected phone call -- and hearing a live human being's voice on the other end of the line! It feels like an actual phone call is now reserved for dire emergencies or for bad news-and completely throws you of guard.
"Is this Harmon?"
(Panicked) "Yes! What the hell happened? Is everything okay!!? (Pause.) YOU'RE REALLY FREAKING ME OUT!"
The Wal-Mart/T-Mobile data/text-centric plan is perfect for our changing social climate. Nowadays, people would much rather voice their displeasure or breakup with someone via text messaging, rather than in person or through a phone call. In turn, this societal-shift is evolving America into a passive-aggressive society that avoids face-to-face confrontation. That's right; texting has essentially turned Americans into a bunch of... Canadians. (It's gotten that bad!)
The new data-centric plan will hit 2,200 Wal-Mart stores on October 16th. A few catches: customers will see their connection speed drop significantly once they hit the 5-gigabyte mark. While T-Mobile trumpets the merits of its 4G speeds, some in the industry call it a more dressed up version of a 3G network. T-Mobile, who has suffered from a massive loss of contract customers, is hoping to gain some momentum through these types of aggressive offers and a new willingness to forgo long-term service contracts.
Harmon Leon is editor of Know Your Cell
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more