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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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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. []




February 2008

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