Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Hate Phone Companies, Every Last One of Them

For the last four and a half years, I've been wandering around with two cell phones.

One is a now-six-year-old Sanyo Katana, which was a nice dumb phone back when I got it. On this phone is the eight-year-old Credo mobile number that lots of people and organizations have for me.

The other has been a series of Android smartphones, all of them given to me by my employer, which during that time has also provided me with a T-Mobile SIM, essentially in exchange for the phone acting as a test-and-data-collection device for the company. The current phone is a Galaxy Nexus, which is an especially nice phone. Google has now decided to cancel all the SIMs in that test program.

I make very few phone calls these days, but I use the smartphone heavily for email, Google Reader, internet browsing, and so on, including some work-related functions. My dojo's Google Voice number currently forward to the smartphone.

I would like to stop carrying two phones.

I could get an Android phone on Credo, but this has two drawbacks. One, I'd have to pay for a new phone; two, it would have a bunch of carrier-added junk on it. The Galaxy Nexus has what's called the pure Android experience on it; just the OS, no crap added by a carrier. I would like to continue using it, so I'm currently planning to port my Credo number to T-Mobile. (The Galaxy Nexus is a GSM phone but I cannot for the life of me remember whether it is unlocked or locked to T-Mobile.)

Picking a cell phone plan is pure hell. For one thing, it's difficult to pay for just what you want (smallish number of talk minutes, at least 2GB of data/month). For another, T-Mobile does things like set up two or three different pages of plans, while giving you no way to directly compare them. (See this page, this page, and this page, for example.) You're stuck making your own spreadsheet.

I only found one of the pages above because a T-Mobile rep sent it to me on a chat window. I asked whether T-Mobile provides any way to provide the various plans, and the rep apologetically said no. I replied that I'd either make up my own spreadsheet or stick with Credo - not that I can easily compare Credo's plans with T-Mobiles, of course.


Anonymous said...

Fearing that this will just be the beginning of a lot of "here's what I do" replies, and that you won't find them as useful as hoped:

I have an AT&T GoPhone. The phones they sell for this service are small and pretty dumb, and while they have a web browser, it's not very useful. What I don't know is whether you can transfer your GoPhone's SIM to another phone.

What I do know is that the finances are perfect for a low-quantity user. There is no plan; you have to put in at least $25 every three months to keep it active, and both voice and data uses draw on that bank. That turns out to be just about what I need, so I'm happy.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks! That sounds like a great plan for a low-quantity user. I use my smartphone for various work purposes and it's a particularly nice phone. An AT&T SIM won't work in it, as far as I know. (Curses on the US cell phone system.....)