I just got off the phone with a rep at Clearwire. If I cancel my service, which has always been adequate with the exception of their upload speeds, it is going to cost me $180.
This brings me to my point. Why are we all so willing to accept a contract on services for technology that will outlast the usefulness of the technology? Since signing up with Clearwire their service has remained unchanged. My requirements of that service have changed immensely. But because of the inane promotional gimicks I was presented with, I signed away any rights I may have to demand that the service keep up with my demands.
Specifically, Clearwire has always claimed a 256kb/s upload speed. Not bad if all of your upstream traffic is related to requesting a web page or sending an email. But when you start using Flickr, Picasa, or, god forbid, YouTube, that trickle is woefully inadequate. But Clearwire doesn’t care. They got you to sign up for two years, idiot.
A quick search of the web gives me all kinds of blog posts where people realized only too late (Clearwire Sucks, Clearwire Over-billing, Clearwire contracts, Clearwire rip-off reports, Clearwire complaints, Clearwire contract oddities, Clearwire no-out contracts, transferring your Clearwire contract, cancelling Clearwire, Clearwire complaints, and of course Clearwire early termination. Those links should help their page ranking. Ha!) that they would have been better off signing up for month to month service at a higher cost. At least then they’d have a little leverage when they call up and ask for better service. Like, have you ever noticed that when you’re month to month with Comcast and you call up to cancel your service the month the intial promotional rate is about to expire, they’ll extend your promotional rate for another six months? And they’ll do this indefinitely because they don’t want to lose you as a customer.
Jerks like Clearwire and AT&T know that if they threaten you with a sizeable termination fee, you’ll just suffer through their ridiculously bad service due to the perceived cost. Even if the cost of the termination fee is less than what you will pay over the remainder of your contract.
I would love to get a new iPhone, but the idea of agreeing to stay with AT&T for two years, no matter what changes over time just to save the initial $200 cost of entry is really making me rethink. And I’ll bet you that’s what they’re trying to avoid. If they give me a no-brainer free phone, no activation fees, special introductory rate, I can turn off the little nagger in my brain that wants me to think about the full cost of the service. No brain, no pain, as they say.