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Oh, good grief - Peter Hentges

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July 25th, 2005


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04:54 pm - Oh, good grief
Last week sometime I dropped my cell phone. It still performs all the basic functions, but it's screen was damaged and I can't see it very well to use the phonebook or other features. So I want a new phone. I've also figured it was about time to get a new Palm. This, of course, leads me to the Treo phones.

At this point, however, I run smack into one of the stupidest things I've encountered in the competitive realm of telecommunications. It seems that I, the consumer, cannot independently decide which phone and which carrier I want to use. If I stick with my current provider (Qwest), I'm stuck with a choice of 10 phones, none of which particularly appeal to me and certainly aren't a Treo. If I pick the Treo, I have to find a new carrier.

A new carrier means breaking my current contract. So I get to add a cancellation fee to the cost of a new phone and who know how much more a new plan will cost me per month. Not to mention the hassle of another bill to keep track of.

The way this should work is that I should pick a phone based on the features I want. I should then approach a carrier and sign up for a plan that fits my needs. The carrier initializes my phone for their network and we're in business.

Grr.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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(6 comments | Leave a comment)

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(Deleted comment)
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From:jbru
Date:July 26th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
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My current carrier is Qwest. I would suspect that, all other things being equal, Qwest will be more difficult than most to deal with.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:July 26th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
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Qwest, unfortunately, includes only one Samsung phone (the A680) in their offerings.
[User Picture]
From:erickavan
Date:July 26th, 2005 05:05 am (UTC)
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how would we find out if this phone could be fixed?
[User Picture]
From:jtidball
Date:July 26th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)

US Carriers Blow Goats

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This aspect of US mobile telecommunications persecutes us daily at Tomo. The US carriers (I once read a quote in which Steve Jobs referred to them as "the four orifices," discussing the reasons there would be no Apple-designed mobile phone) are trying to avoid becoming utilities by feverishly protecting the walled gardens where they control the content (games, ringtones, wallpaper) and hardware (handsets), even though this makes overall service to US consumers worse. Not only can you not choose your hardware independently of your service, the phones you can choose from are actually worse, since the hardware manufacturers are forced, in many cases, to cripple or change their functionality based on the carriers' whims. Don't even get me started on the variety of stupidities surrounding SMS service.

All of this will continue until consumers will not take it anymore, but consumers will continue to take it because it's becoming increasingly impractical to get along without a cell phone.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:July 27th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)

Re: US Carriers Blow Goats

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Oh, great. Knowing that it's a U.S. thing (versus an overall cell phone thing) just makes it worse. Grr! Arrgh!
[User Picture]
From:jtidball
Date:July 27th, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)

Re: US Carriers Blow Goats

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So, all that said, I believe that there is some way — for some combinations of carriers and "unsupported" phones — get get the phone you want "unlocked" in order to work on the carrier network that you want. From the very little I know about this, it is either discouraged or explicitly prohibited by the carriers, neither of which necessarily stops users from doing it. One images the GoogOracle contains much information on this subject. It almost certainly involves buying the phone from a third party (rather than the carrier, and therefore paying the full retail price of the phone), finding some ninja-style phone guru to do the unlocking, and perhaps contorting in other ways.

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