Sunday, September 30, 2012

My next smartphone and provider

Apple's iPhone 5
This is turning into a Weekend of Decision for me. First I'm wrestling with what kind of 35mm DSLR to move to, now it's a new smartphone and provider. I got on the new smartphone kick because I've just about had enough of the poor customer support and lousy service coming out of T-Mobile.

Saturday's latest shenanigans with T-Mobile were the last straw. In September 2011 I purchased a T-Mobile hotspot. I got this for my youngest daughter so that she could have internet connectivity at the house she'd moved into, as well as being able to carry it with her around Tallahassee. In spite of the glowing ads, service has been mediocre at best, but at least it gave her connectivity to check her email and Facebook. In late August she finally found a decent (read: affordable) wired connectivity solution in Tallahassee, so she didn't need the wireless hotspot anymore. I called T-Mobile to turn off the mobile hotspot feature only to discover that in spite of what we were told in September 2011, I couldn't turn it off without paying a $200 cancellation fee. Seems I didn't get a month-by-month contract but a two-year contract. I will, in the end, turn it off anyway. With a year still left on the contract, and with it costing me $40/month, I'll save $280 over riding out the rest of the contract run. Our other handset contracts come up for renewal next February and I don't need this outlier hanging over our heads. I tried to do this at the T-Mobile store at the Mall of Millenia, but we were told that while we could buy stuff from them, we had to call customer support to turn stuff off. This, of course, was the same store that sold me the mobile hotspot in the first place.

My current smartphone is the HTC myTouch running Android 2.3.4. Purchased in February 2011, it came with Android 2.2. Android wasn't upgraded to 2.3.4 until early this year, after Android 4 was released. Couple that with the lousy service in my own neighborhood (dropped calls, loss of connectivity outside of my house standing in my yard, etc, etc, etc) and my last two years with T-Mobile have been just short of abysmal. I've been a T-Mobile customer since 2000, when we switched to what was Voicestream Wireless at the time. That's twelve years. I have never wanted to drop T-Mobile until we made the fateful decision to switch to smartphones. If we'd stayed with simple feature phones, I'd be paying only half what we pay now in monthly fees and I'd probably still be reasonably happy. Own a smartphone through T-Mobile however is a royal pain in the ass.

We're tired of T-Mobile, and we're tired of Android. My wife wants an iPhone, and after watching the bumbling of Android across the various handsets and providers, I now want an iPhone as well. In spite of all the brouhaha surrounding the current iPhone 5 release, the phone sold five million its first weekend. The problems that critics want to fixate on are non-problems. iOS 6 may have its issues but I can match any problem in iOS with equivalents in Android. The only question is do I go with Verizon or Sprint? AT&T can rot in hell for all I care, along with T-Mobile. In the mean time I'll be investigating plans to match what we've currently got. But come February 2013 my wife and I will be getting iPhones and the family will be switching off of T-Mobile. We've had enough.

6 comments:

  1. We have had Verizon since the mid-90s, when they were known as Cellular One. We've had very few problems with them, and I don't think Sprint can match their coverage.

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  2. Make sure to read the fine print of your contract again, and very carefully. Could be that you have to quit *just in time* (which here means something like 3 months in advance), and could be that you have to do so with a letter which gets you back a confirmation that the recipient really got it. Otherwise it could be "ooops - missed it. You just prolonged that for another year (or two)".

    That's how they pretty much all behave here. Bloodsuckers, all of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bloodsuckers, all of them.

      Agreed.

      Delete
  3. Not that it helps your situation any, but I would guess that the location you have been dealing with at the mall is actually an agent or preferred provider, not a company owned T-Mobile store. I'd try calling T-Mobile directly and plead your case. You may be able to at least get your early term fee reduced. As far as the new carrier, Verizon will have better coverage, but Sprint will have cheaper rates. Either way, you'll probably end up paying more for your service than you are paying for T-Mo. Just my $0.00. (I've worked in the wireless industry since Voicestream existed)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We already tried talking to T-Mobile directly (611). In fact we had to as the store refused to help us. It was T-Mobile direct who told us in no uncertain terms that we would not reduce the cancellation fee. And I'm sure you're right about the higher fees. But spending less for poor service is poor logic.

      Delete
    2. Well, it was worth a try. And, you are right about paying less for bad service, just doesn't make too much sense.

      Delete

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