Cell Service: Like A Bad Marriage

We are getting set to firm up our cell service for another two years. In many way our relationship with the cell company is like a bad marriage, kept together for the sake of the kids.

This installment of the “Cell Phone Saga” comes about because of Steffie’s phone. It’s been dropped on its head enough that it should be bandaged, or have its antenna in a sling. Sometimes it spontaneously shuts itself off. On other occasions some of the keys don’t work.

Since I had some questions about this month’s bill, I gave Cingular a call. Is it possible they’re trying to obfuscate what the bill contains? I was always good at math… even on the math team… but their bill baffles me – all 24 pages of it!

There is no bill we receive which is more detailed or confusing… or voluminous.

After we straightened out my billing misunderstandings I asked about getting some new phones. It seems my line is eligible, but Helaine and Steffie’s are not – at least not until September.

How can that be? We all got our phones at the same time. I’m not going to complain because like Monopoly’s “Bank Error In Your Favor,” I think September probably is the correct time.

With a little “creative accounting” Steffie can get my new phone and I’ll wait until September to get her scheduled replacement. Helaine, who is ambivalent about the whole thing gets a new one too. She and I currently have tiny LG G4010’s.

I have written about this phone before.

The manual is so beautifully designed and printed that when I originally had trouble following what it was saying, I though the problem was mine. This seems like a manual that might have been written in Korean and then poorly translated into English. Whatever the story, it’s a puzzle. I’m surprised Cingular let this get by since it increases their support costs.

Steffie wants a Motorola RAZR phone – in black, thank you very much. She’s paying – it’s her choice. It’s a very stylish phone which gets good marks from most reviewers. Its camera isn’t quite up to state-of-the-art resolution and it plays back video though it can’t record it.

The RAZR is Bluetooth enabled and, looking at eBay, well supported with after market products including a data cable and software (eliminating the need to run up your phone bill to move photos to your PC).

We headed to the Cingular store to pick one up, but they are in demand and out of stock. There will be some next week, which is when Steffie will return. Then, I’ll watch Steffie’s experience and see if that’s the phone for me.

There are times I think I’d rather have a PDA type phone, like a Blackberry or Treo. I like the idea of email and IM from anywhere, but there is the geek factor. Those are hip holster phones you wear, not pocket phones.

Helaine says with one of those on my belt I will be as nerdy looking as is humanly possible. She does not mean that as a compliment!

Meanwhile I have time. No new phone for me until September.

It looks like getting a new phone might be as difficult as understanding the phone bill.

5 thoughts on “Cell Service: Like A Bad Marriage”

  1. My wife has cingular. I, thank the lord, don’t have a cell phone. She currently has a great deal with the rollover minutes AND no contract. Cancel any time we get angry with them. I like that.

    However, her cell phone is in the same condition as Steffie’s, and she needs a new one. Well, according to Cingular, if we get a new phone, we need a new contract, AND a new plan, with less minutes, for more money..

    I really need someone to explain to me how that can be.

    I mean, if my TV breaks – I don’t need a new cable bill. If my cordless phone at home breaks, I don’t need a new phone service. If my fridge breaks, maybe I need to get a new electric rate?

    Makes no sense to me – the real problem here – is that for some reason, it makes sense to other people, and nobody is complaining.

  2. Geoff,

    I received a RAZR when I was formerly employed at Cingular, and it is still a great phone. I would recommend though that she shops around as many phones coming out have so much more to offer. The RAZR is basically about 1 year old now. Feel free to email me when you get a minute, and I can fill you in on what I did with my RAZR.

  3. I’m running for Congress as an independent- single issue candidacy. Cell-phone reform.

    My first move will be to introduce the Cell Phone Bill Simplication Act of 2007, ramming it over the heads of the FCC.

    Can I count on your support?

  4. i have a kyocera 7135 , which gives me phone and data ( email and browser )so i do not have to carry my laptop around anymore. going on vacations i always felt as though i was bringing my bowling bowl with me. no my phone covers it all without the ” geek ” look. and they are very reasonable now , ebay has many . may not be cingular compatible .

  5. Hey there Geoff – I LOVE my Treo 650 Smartphone, LOVE LOVE LOVE it and don’t ever want to be without one again. I can’t believe I have one and you don’t – you were the one who taught me how to beam my business card from Palm to Palm back at Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah oh so many years ago.

    Love Melissa

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