Monday, October 31, 2005

Mobile Phones (or Cell phones, if you're a Yank)


I've been reading about mobile phones and plans on my friend N8's page.

He's just finally "bitten the bullet" a few weeks ago, and I actually appreciated reading about his tribulations regarding picking a good service provider.

It's funny... I was a bit concerned about the whole affair.

Now, I used to be with T-Mobile when I was previously living here in the States. I had originally joined a service called "Voice Stream" but they were bought out by T-mobile in the second year of my two year contract. Now... They didn't do anything "wrong," as the service I had signed up for, was continued through T-Mobile. No arguments. However, I wasn't about to go through them again. Why? Because I had finished my contract by almost an entire year... And when I moved to Britain, I cancelled my account. My phone wouldn't have worked in England, so... I thought, shit, I'll get a phone in England, and not keep a $50.00 bill for no reason.

It took eight months, and a lawyer to get T-Mobile to STOP CHARGING ME! (Funny enough, I was on a Pay-as-You-Go T-Mobile plan in Britain. It's a fine company in Europe... Just not the American-affiliate.)


So... I knew that when I came back... I'd never repeat that nightmare.

Anyhoo... I was down to just a few choices, then really. Sprint... Which I remember from five years ago as being a bit dodgy with the whole "coverage" of the Twin Cities. Not to mention that they're joining with Nextel (a walkie-talkie cell phone company, don't really get it myself), so Sprint was out.

Verizon is the biggest and most complete coverage-area sort of company in the United States. Their "coverage map" is DAMNED impressive... The whole country is red. (Which I think is a political comment by the company... Saying that the whole of the US is a Republican country. Just kidding... Well, only sort of kidding.) I was pretty happy with that amount of coverage. They have a "family plan" which meant that I could get a phone for both myself and my wife... And I was really pleased with that. But... When I brought up tri-band phones, and international calling... You should have seen the guy's face! It was priceless. He finally swallowed a rather large lump, and said that I would probably be served better elsewhere. I looked at him, and said, "why?" He answered basically, that Verizon has the best coverage in the US and that it's wonderful for most Americans, but if I'm going to be calling/going/using a phone anywhere outside of the States, Verizon wouldn't be able to cover it.

Typical Yank company.

So... Finally... I go down to the Cingular Wireless kiosk. I talk to the guy... Family Plan: Check. Long-distance in the US: Check. European coverage: Check. Tri-band phone: Check. $69.00 a month for two lines and all the bells and whistles: Check.

So... Yeah... Went through them. Got two camera-flip-phones for $80.00 TOTAL, after rebates too!

A bit of advice for any American companies out there... I realise that American's have the fewest passports issued to citizens in the free-world.

That doesn't mean that some of us don't actually get the FUCK OUT OF HERE OCCASIONALLY! 'K?


Yay for fun times. Now... Just have to find a friggin car. Saturn here I come.