For news tips, pitches, speaking engagements or media inquiries: Contact

New phone maddness!

Some people might think that signing a 2-year agreement to save a mere $50 is stupid -- but I've been with this company for SEVEN years, through two name changes. What can I say, I stay with a service I like...

W00t! I just got off the phone with T-Mobile and ordered a new phone. My cur­rent phone, the magenta Razr, is like truly on its last legs. I came this­close to dis­as­sem­bling it just to get the screen to come back on, but was saved when the damn thing finally came to its senses. I’ve had the phone since Christ­mas of 2005, when T-Mobile got the Razr (and the magenta Razr at that), so it was time for a new phone.


p> I’ve wanted a new Black­berry for a long time, but I had to wait for my old con­tract to run out (or at least get to the point that I can get all the upgrade deals — that hap­pened in Novem­ber, but I was less set on a Black­berry then (this was pre-Twitter mad­ness) and I was also hold­ing out for either a bet­ter price (and to save up more money on my own). I ended up get­ting the Black­berry Curve 8320. It should be here on the 21st (President’s Day and all that), which is con­ve­niently when my new billing cycle starts, so my new plan will start then too.


p> I ended up get­ting a pretty nice deal on the phone — the equiv­a­lent of what a new cus­tomer going through T-Mobile would get (going through a dealer you could get a bet­ter deal): $250 (after $50 mail-in-rebate) for a two-year con­tract. I could have only extended my con­tract for a year for an addi­tional $50, but I just went for two. Some peo­ple might think that sign­ing a 2-year agree­ment to save a mere $50 is stu­pid — but I’ve been with this com­pany for SEVEN years, through two name changes (from Pow­er­tel to Voic­eS­tream and from Voic­eS­tream to T-Mobile). What can I say, I stay with a ser­vice I like, and I like T-Mobile. They are always incred­i­bly help­ful and NICE if I have to call them, they’ve given me a dis­counted rate plan for the last three years that is only now being offered to reg­u­lar customers.


p> The bet­ter deal, how­ever, is on the rate plan. Even though T-Mobile charges more for their vari­a­tion of the Curve than AT&T Wire­less does (a new con­tract with AT&T would net me a refurb phone for $120, less than that if I went through a re-seller), T-Mobile is the bet­ter com­pany when it comes to the ser­vice plan. For $60 a month (basi­cally $10 more than what I pay now), I’ll get 1000 any­time min­utes (the same as I have now, less the unlim­ited nights/weekends that I never come close to using any­way), unlim­ited data (and the Curve is EDGE and has built-in Wi-fi), unlim­ited text, unlim­ited e-mail. I haven’t used Twit­ter on my Razr because I hate the SMS sys­tem, but I’ll use it all the time on the BB. Plus hav­ing e-mail on my phone will be SO nice. AT&T’s clos­est plan would be $50 more a month. $50 more a month!! I’m sorry, but fuck that. I’ll pay $100 more for a phone (or even $200 more if you get one of the AT&T bun­dles) for the monthly savings.


p> So you ask, “Christina, you write for TUAW, you were in on the iPod rev­o­lu­tion from the VERY begin­ning1, why do you not have an iPhone?”


p> The answer is sim­ple: I loathe AT&T/Cingular/BellSouth Mobility/Whatever-name-they-have-now. The peo­ple are ass­holes. The con­tracts are over­priced. And I’m still mad about the billing fiasco from 2001. Yes, I hold grudges. But seri­ously, I also remem­ber work­ing in Wire­less and granted, this was years ago, but I dealt with both halves of what is now AT&T and the peo­ple could always be counted on to be ter­ri­ble. I deal with enough ass­holes, I don’t need to have my cell phone provider treat me like crap and over­charge me just so I can have an iPhone.

I mean, I think the iPhone is sexy as all get out, but the iPod Touch is a much more likely gad­get for me at this point. I mean, I can get it in a 32 GB capac­ity. Reminds me, I need to make sure I can still trade-in my old-ass 3G iPod, I think I have until late March — gotta check and see if I can just get a Touch for it.

Here’s the thing, I would have an iPhone if using it with another provider didn’t require me to keep up with the hacking/dev com­mu­nity, leav­ing me unsure if my actual phone will work or not. Like, I don’t have a land­line, I’m not will­ing to risk no access to a human voice (aside from Skype which is so not the same thing) just because some pim­ply faced vir­gin found an exploit in a base­band and got it to accept out­side SIMs. And I’ll be hon­est, I’m all about hack­ing the shit out of my phone/toys/gadgets (I’ve been down­load­ing updated firmware and cus­tomized stuff for my phones for years), but there is some­thing innately trou­bling to me about the way these unlock hacks are devel­oped. Like, I get want­ing to pro­gram for the device — I think the SDK should already be avail­able — but if I have to mod­ify the boot­loader and base­band of my com­mu­ni­ca­tions device, a device which is a full func­tion­ing com­puter for many intents and pur­poses, I don’t really like hav­ing to do that. At least with the tra­di­tional unlocks it’s just peo­ple find­ing ways to access a legit­i­mate sys­tem with­out being a dealer. Cre­at­ing your own sys­tem is just not my bag, not for a cell phone — sorry.

/Rant (this is why I don’t ever post any­thing about the iPhone on TUAW; I have noth­ing of value to add and I have seri­ous secu­rity qualms about the “hack­ers” (Erica excluded, of course).

Any­hoo, I’m very excited that I’ll be fully plugged into Twit­ter for SXSWi! Grant and I will be there (as will our trust producer/boss man/Yoda, Vic­tor) doing video cov­er­age for The Squad­cast and Down­load Squad and I’m really look­ing for­ward to meet­ing some of my Twit­ter peeps in person.


  1. Again, please keep in mind that that jour­nal entry is 5 and a half years old — now I feel old — wow. []


Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)


Follow me on


February 2008
« Jan   Mar »

15 people have left comments

Jason Rakowski - Gravatar

Jason Rakowski said:

I found your site on tech­no­rati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Look­ing for­ward to read­ing more from you.

Jason Rakowski

Posted on: February 16, 2008 at 5:08 pmQuote this Comment
Gra­ham - Gravatar

Gra­ham said:

Hav­ing email on your phone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As soon as work finds out you’re always attached to your email, you’re expected to reply right away 😐

But that seems to be the only down­side to my lovely iPhone (in the UK at least where we were lucky enough to get a good net­work for the thing).

Posted on: February 16, 2008 at 5:17 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Yeah, that’s a down­side, but as it stands so much of my free­lanc­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion requires me to be near my e-mail at any given moment that not feel­ing teth­ered to the lap­top will be nice.

Don’t get me wrong, if the peo­ple unlock­ing iPhones weren’t often­times peo­ple who aren’t of legal age to VOTE, I’d have one :-)

Posted on: February 16, 2008 at 5:22 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

And thank you Jason! I appre­ci­ate it!

Posted on: February 16, 2008 at 5:40 pmQuote this Comment
Jay - Gravatar

Jay said:

You’re going to love being on Crackleberry!

Some apps you will want if you use Google Apps and ser­vices are:

Google Sync for Black­berry (for seam­less Google Cal­en­dar sync) Gmail for Black­berry (for a native Black­berry client for Gmail)

I’ve also done beta test­ing on Iotum tools which you might like if you can con­vince enough peo­ple around you on Black­berry to use it too:

iotum Talk-Now for Blackberry

For my co-workers I typ­i­cally set my Black­berry Mes­sen­ger Sta­tus as well for non-iotum users.

Let us know if Black­berry Mes­sen­ger voice notes work with­out an ini­tial delay for you on T-Mobile. I’m using the Ver­i­zon soft­ware load so for the World Edi­tion and some­times there is a 1 sec­ond delay before it catches my audio.

Posted on: February 16, 2008 at 6:22 pmQuote this Comment
Jared - Gravatar

Jared said:

Great choice. The feel­ing of being unteth­ered is really worth it to me. T-Mo’s not here in Charleston yet; they’re com­ing in a few months thanks to their buy­ing Sun­Com. I’ll be count­ing down the days on my ATT plan when they arrive — unlim­ited Black­berry and more min­utes than I will ever use for $25 less than I’m pay­ing now — and I get a cor­po­rate dis­count — is really appeal­ing to me. Only down­side to T-Mo’s ser­vice is that they don’t have any­thing resem­bling a 3G net­work, but they do a nice job with their hotspots.

For tweet­ing on the BB, I’ve been giv­ing Twit­ter­berry a whirl. I used TinyTwit­ter for a while, but kept for­get­ting to turn it off — thus I hit the 70 request ceil­ing a lot and won­dered why. Twitterberry’s upside is that it doesn’t update auto­mat­i­cally — but that’s also its down­side if you’re sit­ting in a sub shop at mid­night wait­ing on a sand­wich, as con­stant refresh­ing is required. The Black­Berry browser isn’t the great­est, either — Opera Mini runs well on it, though.

You will also get addicted to Brick­Breaker, but that’s another story :)

Posted on: February 17, 2008 at 8:13 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Thank you so much Jared! That helps me out so much, I was going to ask about Twit­ter clients for BBery. Awe­some! And yes, the T-Mobile plan owns the AT&T plan, 3G or not — and with EDGE, does 3G mat­ter all that much? Plus, they usu­ally have agree­ments w/AT&T where cus­tomers can bounce off of either network.

Posted on: February 18, 2008 at 1:32 amQuote this Comment
jen­ny­decki - Gravatar

jen­ny­decki said:

This is a fan­tas­tic post! I’ve had AT&T for years and can’t stand them. Unfor­tu­nately, I am telephony-tarded and while I’d be the first on the block to try a new web app or tweak some php…phones? Can’t hack it. Fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally. I need a phone coach to set up all my phone sys­tems and inte­grate them into my cell and all that happy horsepucky.

Con­grats on find­ing a solu­tion that works for you. If I found a decent cell com­pany I would stick with them forever-and-a-day too. Maybe when my AT&T con­tract is up I’ll check out T-Mobile. Can’t hurt. Thanks again for the great post.

Posted on: February 19, 2008 at 10:44 amQuote this Comment
Sean - Gravatar

Sean said:

I must agree — t-mobile rocks. I’ve had lit­er­ally ten (I mean, lit­er­ally, ten. really.) cell phone providers and have enjoyed my stay with t-mobile for the last 3 years. When I call, some­one answers, chit chats if nec­es­sary while solv­ing the prob­lem (i.e., not read­ing from a script some­where in India) and fixes it to my sat­is­fac­tion. No 3 hour hold times (cin­gu­lar), no arro­gant jack­ass pos­tur­ing (sprint), nor inep­ti­tude of any kind. I plan on stick­ing with them for a while!


Posted on: February 20, 2008 at 7:35 pmQuote this Comment
Maslow For­got about Beer ™ - Gravatar

Maslow For­got about Beer ™ said:

T-Mobile vs. other carriers…

I just read Christina’s post about her new phone with T-Mobile and must agree. As my com­ment states there: I must agree — t-mobile rocks. I’ve had lit­er­ally ten (I mean, lit­er­ally, ten. Really.) cell phone providers and have enjoyed my stay wit…

Posted on: February 20, 2008 at 7:41 pmQuote this Comment
GoOr­ange - Gravatar

GoOr­ange said:

I’ve been hold­ing off on get­ting a crack­berry for so long. After hav­ing been forced to wear a beeper for many years, I’ve shied away from con­stant cell phone use and have been slow to adopt other things like SMS, Twit­ter, and email on my cell. Still, as time goes on I can’t help but think that damn, those black­ber­ries look sexy.

I was never impressed with cingular/AT&T. I’ve read hor­ror sto­ries of some of their unsa­vory busi­ness prac­tices and defin­i­tively switched when it became appar­ent that Ver­i­zon offered bet­ter cov­er­age in my area. Lately though, Verizon’s cus­tomer ser­vice has been let­ting me down. (I could write a book on some of their lame attempts at decep­tion). Sigh.

Posted on: February 21, 2008 at 12:12 pmQuote this Comment
Christina - Gravatar

Christina said:

Jenny — thank you so much for you com­ment! When your con­tract comes up for renewal, check T-Mobile’s online map for your area, in my expe­ri­ence, it’s extremely accu­rate of the kind of cov­er­age you’ll get. T-Mobile’s one down­side is that they don’t have as much cov­er­age in non-urban areas as Ver­i­zon and AT&T, because they are exclu­sively GSM (and AT&T/Cingular con­verted from CDMA to GSM and Ver­i­zon is CDMA), but if there is a GSM cell tower in the area, you can almost always leech onto it for free.

Sean — yup, T-Mobile totally rocks. I had some issues set­ting up my Black­berry today (I couldn’t con­nect to the Black­berry Inter­net ser­vice, though I could make calls and go online via wi-fi — the phone just needed to be pro­vi­sioned by the sys­tem) and the T-Mobile Black­berry rep couldn’t have been nicer. I only have one phone and I had to take out the bat­tery to let the net­work reini­tial­ize my phone, so I had to dis­con­nect, and not only was the prob­lem instantly fixed, she called me back within 10 min­utes as she promised to make sure every­thing was work­ing. Great, great cus­tomer service.

Jeff — I can under­stand being averse to the crack­berry, espe­cially since like you said, you’ve had to deal with pagers for years for your job; that said — the Curve (and even the more busi­ness focussed 8800, which is slightly larger and has no cam­era) is so sleek and com­pact, like, I’m in love. That was the one thing I always hated about my old BB — the size was a total turn off (that and I was totally using someone’s ser­vice paid for by their com­pany cos they didn’t know how to use the phone — thus I was uber-paranoid about using didn’t make it my main phone), but I put my Curve and my Razr side by side (and stacked them on top of each other) and when closed, they are iden­ti­cal in depth, and the Curve is only mar­gin­ally taller and a few cen­time­ters wider. Amazing!

Posted on: February 21, 2008 at 2:21 pmQuote this Comment
Sprint’s Cus­tomer Ser­vice Night­mare | Maslow For­got about Beer ™ - Gravatar

Sprint’s Cus­tomer Ser­vice Night­mare | Maslow For­got about Beer ™ said:

[…] After going through 3 other providers, includ­ing Cin­gu­lar (another cus­tomer ser­vice night­mare), I landed with T-Mobile and have never looked back. The mobile phone ser­vice providers really need to use T-Mobile as a case study on how to run a […]

Posted on: February 22, 2008 at 3:24 pmQuote this Comment
Black­berry 8320: Week One | - Gravatar

Black­berry 8320: Week One | said:

[…] Now if only native Mac sup­port would become available…So about two weeks ago, I ordered a new phone, the Black­Berry 8320. I got it last Tues­day (two days early), but had to wait until Thurs­day of […]

Posted on: March 1, 2008 at 5:51 pmQuote this Comment
jafraldo - Gravatar

jafraldo said:

Next time go through your company’s web­site and get a refurb. You get another dis­count in addi­tion to your renewal fee.

Posted on: November 3, 2008 at 3:19 amQuote this Comment