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T-Mobile vs. The iPhone or Hurry Up, T-Mobile!

I don’t have a “smart” phone and am in the market. So what logically comes to mind? The iPhone, of course. But I’m a T-Mobile customer and most my extended family are as well, which means we can all talk to our hearts’ content without worrying about minutes. Thus, it’s hard for me to give up the plan my wife and I are on: 1,000 shared minutes for only $50.

But our contract with T-Mobile recently expired, so I thought I’d use that as leverage to see what T-Mobile could offer me to, you know, “retain” me. At the same time, though, I don’t want to admit that I’m mostly happy with their service. What followed was an interesting conversation with a T-Mobile “retention representative” I was transferred to.

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Google Testing Infrastructure In Case It Wants to Become a Wireless Carrier

Google CellphoneThe Wall Street Journal has the latest on Google’s cellphone plans via its usual mix of industry analysts and “people familiar with the matter.” Apparently, Google has already erected transmission towers all over its headquarters and is operating an advanced high-speed cellphone network under a test license from the FCC. Prototype cellphones with Android software (Google’s previously announced mobile platform) are currently running on it.

The idea is that Google is actually considering building and operating a wireless network that would provide consumers an option that is faster and cheaper than the AT&T’s and Verizon’s. But, of course, this news comes with all the standard disclaimers revolving around the fact that it’s too early to tell what the search giant will really do.

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Google Goes Mobile Even More, Now Wants to Sell You Stuff

Google MobileAccording to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), which cites its favorite source of “people familiar with the matter,” Google is working on a new search service for cellphones that will help consumers search for and buy ringtones, games, and other mobile content. Google has even considered including a “social-networking component” (whatever that means in this context). The new service sounds basically like Froogle, er, Google Product Search but for the cellphone.

Google already has cellphone versions for most of its popular services, including search, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. But Google will now effectively broker the sale of mobile content (likely via Google Checkout), which would divert consumers away from the likes of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. Those companies have their own storefronts for selling you stuff, of course. And they get a significant chunk of such transactions.

Considering global sales of music, video, ringtones, and other mobile content was $27.4 billion last year (and growing rapidly), it’s no wonder Google wants in on the action. But when will the search giant work on what we really need?

Bye Bye Cingular, AT&T Name Taking Over Monday: Cool Traded In for Stuffy

AT&T won’t say how much the rebranding will cost but claims it will benefit from having one name on all its services. But is it worth it? The company will have to change signs in around 2,000 stores. And let’s not forget the cost of letterhead and employee uniforms. Though perhaps the most difficult cost to calculate: young consumers who like the hip feel of Cingular over the stuffy AT&T brand of yesteryear.

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