Made it to München. Munich. It’s kinda fun to dust off what little Deutch remains, forty years after I finished taking three years of it in high school, including the first year twice, then gave most of it back when I was done.

Beautiful airport, München. Wish it was clear enough to see the Alps, but a wispy mist lays across the landscape, so there’s not much to see beyond parking garages and triangular plane tails slicing through the fog.

I’m getting by wi-fi, “roaming” with T-Mobile, an international company to which I pay $20-something per month for unlimited usage. Here I’m paying an extra 18¢/minute.

Yet this is the effing Internet, no? It’s not like I’m dialing “long distance”. There is no distance any more, except in physical space, and the space being charged for here isn’t physical.

Anyway, paying on top of paying too much for something for which the first cost rounds to free is a bit of a pisser.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not really free. And I don’t begrudge T-Mobile making money charging for wi-fi. I just think it sucks to have to “roam” when there are no additional real costs to providing the service, other than the billing system itself.

Here’s what T-Mobile needs to know: This kinda shit makes customers hate you.

Okay, gotta get on the next plane and fly to London. I’m just hubbing through here.

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11 Responses to F-Mobile

  1. Jim says:

    I hate t-mobes wifi. Thank god for aircards. Although internationally not sure what the cost is for that. I love my cingular 3G goodness here in the States.

  2. Dale says:

    Roaming charges don’t go to your mobile telephone company, they go to the company to which your service has roamed. In other words, the additional cost comes from T-Mobile having to pay to use someone else’s network because you’ve “roamed” outside of their coverage.

  3. Eric Norman says:

    If T-mobile needs to know that, then perhaps the only way to get the message through is to speak the only language they understand. In a lot of cases that means this:

    Don’t buy what they’re selling.

    As the song goes, “I got along without ya before I met ya; I’ll get along without ya now”.

    Part of the deployment of VRM is going to need to be real hard line, methinks.

  4. Doc Searls says:

    Dale, I’m not talking about mobile telephony. I’m talking about a wi-fi service provided by T-Mobile which, far as I know, has nothing to do with T-Mobile’s mobile phone service.

    I don’t have a T-Mobile phone account. I have a T-Mobile wi-fi account, which I use to get on the Net at Starbucks and other places (e.g. airports). From what I gather, the connection on the back-end of T-Mobile wi-fi is with local network providers.

    T-Mobile has an identical-looking service in Europe. When I am using it I am not “roaming” on somebody else’s “network”, mobilie or otherwise. I am using a T-Mobile wi-fi access point that has no essential additional costs associated with it, besides billing.

    That’s what pisses me off. T-Mobile calls it “roaming” because it’s a familiar term borrowed from telephony, and people might be more likely to pay it. But it’s bullshit. There is no “roaming” in the telephony sense, where you’re using somebody else’s network. it’s T-Mobile in both cases. They’re charging their own customers for using the same service in a different country.

    And if somebody can prove otherwise, I’ll eat everything I just said.

  5. Doc Searls says:

    Eric, I normally wouldn’t pay T-Mobile for service like that. But I wanted to buy enough time to gripe about what they’re doing.

  6. Larry says:

    I bought a GSM phone at the Munich airport when I was there last summer, and found the orignal plan that it came with outrageous rates. Then, after going down to the pedestrian zone in the center city, I found a Vodaphone store, and swapped out the old SIM card for a new one with rates 1/10th of what the old one had. The fact that I could even do this at all was slightly mind-boggling considering how brain dead the whole US CDSM cell phone system is.

  7. rjh says:

    The problem is one of names and holding companies. The German T-mobile company is related to the US T-mobile company only through their name and common stockholders. This is a problem. They do not share revenues, management, etc. They only share a trademark and stockholders. So it is actually similar to cell phone roaming. You actually are using a different company.

    They are doing a very bad job of managing their shared trademark. The trademark owners and joint shareholders need to take action. The old old assumption that US and Germany are different markets is no longer true. They must coordinate the actions of their trademark licensees and subsidiaries to get these different companies to work much more closely in terms of revenue and cost sharing.

    This will be harder given the general market differences. The monthly fee, unlimited usage styles that is common in the US is not the norm for mobile use in Germany. T-mobile trademark owner needs to fix their problem and overcome these country specific problems.

  8. Doc Searls says:

    rjh, thanks for feeding the the words I need to go off and eat my own. Very helpful. Also very depressing. And you’re right. The T-Mobile trademark situation is very screwed up.

    The easy answer would be to sub-brand the service: T-Mobile/US, T-Mobile/Deutchland, T-Mobile/UK, whatever.

    The wrong impression it gives is absolute and avoidable.

  9. Diana Wilson says:


    To Robert Dotson…..(CEO of TMobile/Canada and US)

    As a psychologist, I have figured out what your company is doing. It is called extortion….and use of psychological manipulation in order to get me to pay and pay and pay and pay…for a phone I didn’t order, and for service that doesn’t work, and for charges that I do not owe…and keep on the line, wasting my time, until I do pay. I know what you are doing.

    Just look at the history of this phone number: 786-521-9005….and tell me why I should remain a customer?

    To sign a contract is a two-way street. A contract means, I pay, and you provide a service. If you do not provide a service, then you either reimburse me, or do not charge me.

    Originally, about two years ago, I bought and paid an Internet card to get Internet service. It did not work. I spent about 40 hours on the phone with your CS people, I went to the TMobile Stores and they could not make it work. I tried the Internet card on three different laptops and it did not work. I paid $300 for tekkies to try and make it work, and it did not work. I went to Best Buy and their tekkies could not make it work.

    I was told by your CS people that I should “buy” a new card, because well, even if that one did not work, so what. I was finally sent a new CD, which was for the wrong card…and did not work.

    I spent literally days and days on the phone with your technical service people…to try to get it to work, and it would not. I am continually amazed at the lack of concern and real world solutions that your company is incapable of….and I think I know why.

    Finally, after 6 months, the Internet Card was replaced after about another 20 hours on the phone, in which your CS people finally figured out…using some dumb decision tree, that there was something wrong with the Internet Card. Finally, I get a replacement card, and it does not work.

    As a result, I changed the Internet service to a regular phone service. I received a new phone number. I could not get the phone I wanted from any of your TMobile Stores. The stores advertised something like a Blackberry “Pearl,” but guess what? It was not in stock. Doesn’t anyone ever tell your people to stop displaying phones for sale if they do not have them? Duh! I know…people are desperate to get phone, so they buy what they don’t want, so later they can buy something they do want, or buy it online, which then enables you to acquire more money from the customer. I’ve just about figured out all of your marketing tricks. However, its not really marketing now is it…it’s a SCAM and we both know it.

    I ordered a phone online. It did not work. Subsequently, and this is important, I PAID TMobile for 1 1/2 years of service…and never made a single phone call and did not use your cellular phone service. I paid, and paid, and paid…for nothing.

    Finally, I called and complained, and only after about 15 hours on the phone, did I threatened to cancel the service, which was when I was offered a DASH for the cost of $107. The problem is that your idiots then sent me two DASH phones, and set me up with a new second phone line…meaning I now had two phone lines….all costing money of course, which I did not order.

    When I realized a mistake was made, your CS idiots said that they could not cancel the order and went ahead and sent me the phone anyway and kept the second phone line intact.

    As instructed, I sent the unopened second Dash back to your company. I have proof that your company received it, I called, and emailed the UPS tracking number to your company numerous times. However, it took a dozen phone calls and hours and hours on the phone with CS in order to get your people to recognize that a) the phone had been sent back, and received in your warehouse, b) and to cancel the second phone line, which had never been activated. Each time, I had to explain the problem over and over again, as if I was talking to some mentally retarded person.

    I found the person who received and signed for the second phone back in your company…by the name of “Burk.” In clarifying this situation, I called and emailed TMobile at least 13 times. I have spent hours on the phone regarding this matter. Each time, it was as if your CS idiots had never heard of the information before….

    All of this did not matter. Everyday I received a phone call or a text message telling me that my phone service was going to be canceled if I did not pay TMobile the entire bill although each CS operator I talked to said: “Yes, we are going to put your account on “hold,” And, “no” you will not be charged or your phone service turned off. None of this CS blabbering meant anything, as the phone service was restricted today… meaning I could not return phone calls or use the Internet.

    Therefore, I have been lied to by many people in your company over and over again, and I seriously wonder how you expect to stay in business, because some attorney, is going to file a class action suit against TMobile for lying to customers, and forcing customers to pay for things they did not order or use. In fact, I am so pissed off, I am going to find an attorney and see if there is a class action suit against you. I am also going to start issuing press releases about your CS and your intentional methods you training your CS to use in order to extort money from customers.

    I am also going to file a complaint with every governing agency I can find in the US and Canada. I am going to put up a Web site called http://WWW.TMOBILE-SUCKS.COM…..AND CUT AND PASTE A COPY OF THIS LETTER INTO THIS WEB SITE, WITH THE WARNING, “DO NOT SIGN UP FOR TMOBILE SERVICE” AND THIS IS WHY (READ BELOW): .

    I am also going to find out who the stockholders and board of directors are of TMobile and make sure that everyone of them gets this letter. I just bet that if anyone of them do a little investigation, they will find that I am just one of thousands who are being manipulated and extorted…for added income.

    Each time I talked with one of your idiots in CS, they claimed my bill was being adjusted. Wrong again, more lies. The bill went from $212 to $344…instead of being reduced according to your people in customer service, who would read the notes, and then state that “yes, I was due a reimbursement.”

    There is no other conclusion but to state that I was simply lied to by you and your company consciously, and on purpose to create inflated and increased phone bills, so that customers like me finally just pay your company….to be able to get to use a cellular phone. I have two other phone services by the way, Sprint and MetroPCS, and not one of them has put me through the grinder like TMobile. The most I have ever talked to at Sprint or MetroPCS was 1 or 2 operators, who “fixed” any problem I had immediately and with finality, so that no other problem kept repeating itself like TMobile.

    Therefore, it is a fact, that it is the policy of your CS people, based on your “marketing schemes” that you can extort people by telling them a line of crapola, and then doing just the opposite of what your CS people say they are going to do…so that in frustration, customers just pay the god damn bill. I know what kind of psychology you are using, and I bet, that you excel in extorting little old ladies, and senior citizens, and the naive people who fall for it, and thus you generate millions in out right theft. The only other equivalent group of swindlers who engage in this kind of psychological manipulation and extortion are the Nigerians and their mail fraud schemes. By the way, are you a Nigerian? That would explain a lot wouldn’t it.

    Finally, I was extorted today out of $77.00 to keep the phone turned on. After I paid the $77.00 (including a $5.00 service charge to be able to pay by credit card over the phone)…. I then received another phone call about an hour later by an operator stating that I owed $212.00 and if I didn’t pay it, the phone would be turned off. I called your idiots in CS again, and they “ass-ured” me that everything was OK and the phone service would not be restricted…which was just another lie.

    Subsequently, the phone was “restricted” in that a) I lost the ability to call out, and b) I could not get Internet service for which I pay for also…although I had paid the $77.00…which was stated as the final, adjusted bill.

    I have just called and finally, after 1.5 hours on the phone, talking to six operators tonight, finally got the Internet re-established. I was talking to some idiot in Toronto, who could not either hear as he was deaf, or did not speak English, and therefore could not understand numbers nor was he able to repeat them back correctly. It just goes on and on doesn’t it.

    As my time is worth about $125 for each billable hour I work, TMobile now owes me $8,750.00 for approximately the 70 hours I have spent in the last 1 1/2 years trying to get TMobile to just get my a) Internet card working, b) getting a phone that worked, c) disputing unjust charges and extortion to pay money that I don’t owe, and d) after I paid, getting the Internet services re-established.

    I have keep a tally of how many times your silly, lying, customer service people have said “I’m sorry…you must be frustrated, blah, blah, blah (wasting my time)” which is a psychological metaphor for…we are going to F___k you some more, until you pay more money, and hahahaha, there is no guarantee, little you is going to get either your phone or Internet service a) re-established, even though it should not have been stopped in the first place, and b) we are going to screw with you until you pay us more money….even though you don’t owe TMobile a god damn dime…we don’t care…

    Did I get this right? Your silly customer service people, who don’t know me from Tarzan, who have gone through your stupid, insulting, ridiculous training programs…have said “I’m sorry” over 287 times. If I hear “I’m sorry,” one more time…I am going to fly to Canada, find your office and parade up and down in front of your building with a sign stating what a lousy, disgusting, insulting rip-off TMobile is….

    Now, after all the bloody hell, Tom Foolery you (because YOU are the one who sets policy)…I’ve been through, the incredible number of hours I’ve spent on the phone with CS, and in your TMobile stores just trying to get decent service and an Internet card, and a phone , and service that works….tell me exactly:


    I expect to hear from either you or another one of your silly CS people..Also, instruct them to not say the word “I’m sorry” one more time, as it is a lie, it is disingenuous, and psychologically meant to screw me some more.

    Diana Wilson PhD
    4302 Hollywood Blvd. #183
    Hollywood, FL 33021

  10. Roy McLaurin says:

    Dear Ms.Williams. I agree with every thing you have said. I could say so much. But all I can say what a living hell it as been with this company. So much money lost. Just a shame of a company.

  11. I broke down and purchased the T-mobile wi-fi as well. Starbucks right across the street an no other coffee shops in walking distance that have free wi-fi. Not only does it piss me off that T-mobile can charge so much, but that places like Starbucks and airports that use their wi-fi networks don’t offer free wi-fi themselves for their customers and visitors!

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