Saturday, August 06, 2011

[Tech] Phaone Frustration

Phone Frustration: T-Mobile has been the bane of my existence. I have always had a weak signal at my office. But over the last few months it has become non-existent, despite the fact that their coverage map indicates that I should have four bar reception. In fact, I get no reception in about a 1 mile radius around my office. Beyond that, it quickly reverts to normal. So essentially that means that unless I go out to lunch, I am incommunicado most of the day. I have delivery jockeys and repair grunts who need to contact me and I can't just give out my cell, because their messages won't reach me until I get home at night.

An online chat with a T-mobile rep over this problem was comically useless. I am not certain the rep actually understood what a cell phone was. I explained that I get no signal. He asked if I was able to make calls. I said no, you can't make calls without a signal. He asked if I have data access. I said no. He asked what happens when I try to go to the web. I said I don't have data access, just calls and text. He asked if I could do something using jargon I never heard of. I said no. I have no signal. I cannot make calls. I cannot send texts. I cannot do anything with my phone. He asked if was able to make any calls at all. At this point I asked whether he understood what I meant when I said I have no signal and whether he had any experience using a cell phone. I am not sure he wasn't just jerking me around. He asked me to read him the id number from the sim chip in my phone. I asked him if it was really necessary for me to do that, which of course it was, to him. So I pulled the sim chip out of my phone and read him the number. He then said I would be contacted within seven days with follow-up. Naturally I never heard from them again.

The more I think about it the more I think he was just yanking my chain for entertainment's sake, waiting for the pink slip to come after the AT&T merger gets approved. I am half-tempted to get back on line and jerk one of their reps around for good measure, but I doubt I'd get the same one.

Here's the problem. I'd go with AT&T or Verizon in a heartbeat, but I pay less than $200 per year in prepaid charges. That would go up significantly with either AT&T or Verizon since every day I use the phone would be another dollar. Sprint, Virgin, etc., all have poor or non-existent coverage in my area so I'd be back in the same boat with them.

I don't know what to do. If I go with and AT&T or Verizon prepaid plan, I'll be paying more than I am now for the same thing. Well, not really the same thing because there won't be a huge portion of the day where I have no signal. But still, if I am going to pay more, shouldn't I just go all the way and get a smartphone? But that'll run me about $80/month for the most basic service with data. Considering I am an extremely light phone user, and will likely be an equally light data user, it just seems outrageous. For a two year contract, plus whatever it costs for the phone itself, that'll be around two grand more than I'm paying now. And didn't I go most of my life without a cell phone? I should be dropping thousands of dollars for one now, when I have a big fat mortgage payment? Two grand would cover some furnishings.

You see the convoluted situation? I have no doubt that it's time to get smart; either a cheap, used iPhone or maybe an Android of some sort. It'll pain me to do it, though.