Ntelos – State of the Company

by Mrsethprice

It’s been awhile since I wrote about tech but that time has come to pass, I have a grievance.

We switched to Ntelos about a year ago and for the most part life has passed along as usual. Recently, however, my wife’s phone has been giving her issues. I’ve been able to fix it off and on and get rid of the error messages and allow her to still use the thing but it’s coming to a stop-gap soon. Here is the dilemma of a rural carrier…options, let me explain.

We switched for a few reasons from Sprint, mostly because her phone was crapping out and she needed a new one and the fact that they are about 4 gallons of milk cheaper per month than Sprint (while using the same network) so there was minimal interruption. We got new phones and went on our way. About a year later though her phone is having issues like horrible speaker quality, inability to actually use apps (memory), limited software updates, etc. That in and of itself isn’t really a new issue as with any technology eventually they get full/used/worn out and must be replaced.

The problem is that 1 year later the phone options are actually the exact same as they were a year ago, our carrier has only added one new phone option in 1 year and that is just ridiculous. Granted the one phone that they brought on is the iPhone 4/4S and it’s a great option but what do you do when you want a new phone but don’t want to be forced to get an iPhone. Here is the state of affairs for Ntelos’ phone lineup:

iPhone 4 – released June 2010 / February 2011
iPhone 4S – released October 14, 2011
Blackberry Bold 9930 – released August, 2011
Blackberry Curve 9350 – released October 2011
Blackberry Curve 9930 – released August 2011
Blackberry Bold 9650 – released May 2010
Samsung Repp – released November 2011
Samsung Admire – released August 2011
Samsung Showcase – released December 2010
Htc Merge – released May/June 2011
Sony Experia Play – released May 2011
Motorola Milestone Plus – released November 2010

Wow just wow! Look at that. All of those Android phones are using software that is 2 to 3 years old and mildly unsecure on web standards and a failing Blackberry stable. The only thing missing from last year is a Windows Phone and a HTC unibody phone the Desire. This is disheartening for these reasons:

  1. Web/App standards require new software for continued support and you’re limited on all devices above except for iPhone
  2. Blackberry is dying and the bulk of their lineup is looking to continue a platform without much support
  3. All phones except for maybe the Showcase are low-end phones (these phones have their place) and that’s sad when arguably your 2nd best phone is almost 2 years old

You shouldn’t be relegated to have to get an iPhone to get continued support from the manufacturer. Ntelos is part of the Associated Carrier Group for the exact reasons of being able to band together to get better support and phones for customers, apparently to no avail. The other concern is that back in August Ntelos alluded to the fact that they are considering a shift to LTE, which really is the only way to stay relevant as the market is going there, but none of the phones above have a chance to work on that frequency or speed.

When it comes down to it they need to focus on upgrading their Android lineup (largest market share in world), continue to support a few mid range devices (not the bulk that they do now), stay in the game with iPhone, and possibly add a few Windows Phone devices as they are up and coming and it would be unwise to avoid them and continue to support Blackberry (currently in a tailspin).