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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)


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February 2008
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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

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