TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cell Phone Shopping Frustrations

Cell Phone Shopping Frustrations
17 Apr 2007 09:51:50 -0700

I've been notified my carrier will no longer support my existing
wireless. (It's time to retire it anyway, the coffee can I use as the
sounder is rusting out*.)

It's down to Verizon or Cingular. Any thoughts on whose is better
today? Things are changing so fast that one carrier who was good
yesterday may be lousy today.

Shopping for a new phone is frustrating. First, my current plan,
perfect for my needs, is only $20/month and feasible new plans are
$40/ month. That bugs me. There are cheaper plans, but with so many
strings attached it's not worth it.

I learned that when you use the phone during peak times, your offpeak
"anytime" minutes still drops as well.

Secondly, I've had more honest treatment from shady used car salesmen.
>From the carrier's own stores, one told me I could pay $35 a month but
had to get a new number (why????). One said minimum of $20 for a new
phone, another said $10 for a new phone, and online it is free! They
want me to buy a fancy Blackberry. They tell me a phone has features
that it doesn't have.

I've talked to friends, but nobody knows what they actually pay or
anything about their phone. It seems they're happy to pay whatever
($50 or more) every month. Some have family plans.

Naturally I want reliability. The literature isn't up to date since
it points to analog as a backup when digital won't work. Analog is
gone so that's irrelevent. If the digital doesn't work, the phone is

Another issue is the "activation fee" ($35). I presume if you
pressure them they will waive it?

Another issue is accessories. I need a protective case, a charger for
home. Aren't these included with the phone?

BATTERY: With my original phone I bought an extra battery as a spare
and I'm glad I did. But with modern phones is an extra battery still
needed when the phone is rarely used? Do the batteries run down even
when the phone is off?

Likewise, I got a car charger which is critical to me since I can use
the phone in the car even when the batteries are low or dead. But
perhaps new batteries will last better and that won't be necessary.

Batteries seem to run: standby -- 240-336 hours, digital talk 4-6
hours. Any particular value to look for?

* For those unfamiliar with the reference, in the days of Morse Code
telegraphy, the faint clicks of the sounder were amplified by a metal
coffee can.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And I might add, in the days of party-
line phones, galvanized wash tubs served the same purpose: to amplify
the clicks of the bell clapper on the other-parties phones. Speaking
of idiotic television commercials pertaining to cell phones, I am
now seeing one from Cellular One. For a mere fifty dollars per month, they
will sell you a phone on their 'statewide plan'. For fifty dollars per
month, you are then allowed to make unlimited calls within your state.
Is that supposed to be a good deal, or what? Note I said 'Cellular One'
NOT 'Cingular Wireless.' PAT]

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