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When Suppliers Start Milking You, Start Moving

I’ve reached this point with my local telephone service; it’s now at ~$28/month for unlimited local calling.  My cell phone bill is just a bit more, but is a much better value.

I could go cell phone only; however, my wife values the local phone number (she is the main user), and we both like having a phone number for people we don’t know, such as banks, schools, etc.  I could also change to metered local calling, but it doesn’t seem worth it to potentially get stuck with overages for a still substantial ~$22/month.

So, I’m moving to dump AT&T.  The big duaolopy (phone & cable) tries to make it hard by charging you a lot more for unbundled services, but it’s still a better deal than paying for unwanted bundling, such as voice & DSL or cable internet & TV.

I have a lot of choices for VoIP (voice over IP), such as Skype, magicJack, Ooma, iTalkBB, and Asterisk-based systems, but I’ve installed a refurbished Ooma Hub from Fry’s.  The cost is affordable (under $4/month for taxes gets me unlimited US calling), it’s simple to install (unlike Asterisk), works with our existing phone (which my wife likes), doesn’t require a computer (unlike magicJack), and it includes E911 services (unlike Skype).  So far it’s working great.

The final step is to switch my internet to non-AT&T/non-cable, for example, Dry Loop DSL.  The savings at first won’t be huge (about $10/month), especially considering I have to invest some money up front for Ooma ($100) and a new modem ($50-$100).  But there’s no chance the phone rates are going down, so the sooner I change, the sooner I’ll start saving.

The same logic applies to business.  Your CAD is asking too much in maintenance fees for too little value?  Seriously investigate changing (or use a mix); there are good alternatives, some of which are probably better than what you are using.  Your PLC vendor nickle and dime-ing you?.   At least start a pilot test using a brand that supports you better.

Changing might be painful, and may not make sense for a variety of reasons, but at least investigate the options, because the chances of these leopards changing their spots are pretty slim.  If you’re going to change eventually, you might as well start sooner than later.

1 comment

1 Vendor and Platform Choices » AutomationPrimer - An Industrial and Factory Automation Resource { 04.21.11 at 3:59 pm }

[…] technology or even simply being nickeled and dimed on software licences and support contracts. In Tony’s Software Blog “When Suppliers Start Milking You, Start Moving” he draws a comparison to commercial […]

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