Service Charge

Wireless carriers are fighting over you--and that's a good thing

"This industry blows," T-Mobile ceo John Legere announced on Jan. 8 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). That might seem like an odd statement from the leader of the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., but it's also--from a consumer standpoint--an accurate one.

For a decade, the U.S. wireless business has used the same basic model: carriers entice customers with heavily discounted phones, then hook them with two-year service contracts and sky-high termination fees (as much as $350 for a new iPhone with Verizon) so they can't easily switch if a better deal appears elsewhere. And although carriers battled...

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