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Consumer Reports: Cingular, Sprint Bad Performers 360

dcgirl20006 writes "It's that time again, Consumer Reports is out with the annual cell phone review. And Verizon has risen to the top. And, Cingular, with the most subscribers (post AT&T mega merger), claims it is the company with the "least dropped calls" but consumers say otherwise. What can be done? Provide risk-free 30 day trial period; realistic coverage maps, upfront price disclosure, and end early termination fees."
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Consumer Reports: Cingular, Sprint Bad Performers

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  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:56PM (#17196978) Homepage Journal

    In spite of their mathematically challenged service reps [], Verizon has always been a pretty good company for me. In Atlanta, the coverage is excellent and their prices and plans are fantastic.

    I originally switched primarily because Verizon was one of a very, very few companies that refused to participate in and spoke out against the cell phone directory [] telemarketer's dream scheme a while back. It was pretty heavily covered [] by our consumer rights media guru here, Clark Howard (second entry). It also helps that most of my family is on Verizon and I can now call them for free.

    And, for what it's worth, they did finally concede that $.002 is different from .002 []. :-)

    Unless things change pretty dramatically, I'll probably stick with them for a long time to come.

    • Bah, Slashdot stripped my cents mark off the end of the second .002. It should have said:

      And, for what it's worth, they did finally concede that $.002 is different from .002 cents []. :-)
    • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:02PM (#17197074) Homepage Journal
      I find Sprint customer service and Reach to be pretty good.
      Their email support actually works.
      And where i live, the Sprint gets me 4 bars, while Verizon would stop at 1 or 2 bars.
      Most importantly, my friends say Sprint is actually pretty good.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mswope ( 242988 )
        I've had Sprint for MANY years and found their voice quality to be quite good wherever I've traveled. I almost gave them up when my contract recently ended and my new boss gave me a Blackberry to use on Cingular.

        Then, I turned on the Blackberry and actually tried to use it for a phone call. What was I thinking??? It sounds like cr*p, it drops calls and does so in a slow, painful noisy way. And, what's up with that d*mned noise I hear whenever it's near anything with a speaker???

        I have to admit, 3 out of
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by tommyj1986 ( 1004101 )
          Your local Radioshack should deal in Sprint, I work at one and most single phone upgrades take 15 to 30 minutes, and we usually have good deals, on top of the Sprint rebates. That is if the people who work at your Radioshack aren't idiots. Unfortunately not every store is as smooth as the one I am at.
        • GSM phones have some sort of speaker interface issue. I'm not sure what it is, or why it is far less prevalent with CDMA, but I treat it as sort of a premonition that I'll be getting a phone call soon.
          • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:01PM (#17197940) Homepage
            The difference has to do with how multiplexing of multiple calls on a single channel is done.

            GSM uses a TDMA scheme, where each user is allocated a timeslot and transmits only in that timeslot. This "bursty" nature of the transmissions is why you often hear interference at the same frequency as the GSM frame repetition rate. (I forget the exact rate.)

            CDMA is a different scheme. It operates by assigning each user an orthogonal or semi-orthogonal code. (If I recall correctly, CDMA codes are not quite orthogonal, but are very close). As a result, instead of transmitting short bursts in their assigned timeslot, all users transmit continuously at the same time in a manner that allows the base station to seperate out their transmissions.

            Note that there are multiple CDMA-based implementations: cdmaOne aka IS-95 (2G) , CDMA2000 (2.5G/3G depending on which specific CDMA2000 variant), and UMTS, which is 3G GSM
            • Frame repitition frequency is 217 Hz (I googled it). Thanks for that explination. I assumed it wasn't in CDMA due to the coding vs TDMA based GSM, but couldn't figure out quite why it would create "extra" interference.
        • by twiddlingbits ( 707452 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:15PM (#17198128)
          Some perspective from a long time Sprint customer (6 yrs) in the DFW area of TX. 1. Service varies..some days I get lots of dropped calls, others none. They don't know why. 2. They lose payments and can't find them but then they refund them to my bank account. 3. #2 happens about every other month and when I call to complain they have no record of the prior incidents. 4. The CSRS barely speak English. When I asked to be sent to someone who spoke English well I was promptly disconnected. 5. When I told them I was moving my business they attempted to get me to stay. I said OK and listened to the pitch. The first thing out of the "retention consultant" was how my bad experience was all my fault. Not a damn word about how they would work to keep me. 6. Today I will be moving to another company. Maybe Cingular.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I've been happy with Sprint as well. When I first signed up via Amazon there was some confusion between Nextel(when I signed up It's Sprint now for the uninformed) and Amazon regarding who had the ball in their court to get my account up and running. After a little phone chatting between the two companies and talking with a very cheery rep at Nextel who was almost overly excited to talk to me about Holland because of my Dutch blood, I was able to get up and running. Customer service on both ends there were
      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )
        Something doesn't sound right there, as last time I checked, Verizon had a cross-roaming agreement with Sprint that let Verizon users use Sprint towers.

        Sprint users can also use Verizon towers, but it requires (or at least required) an extra fee of around $5/month and had a limitation of the percentage of non-Sprint usage.

        Perhaps your PRL on the Verizon phone was outdated. *228 option 2 is your friend. (Which reminds me, I haven't done a PRL update in a few months.)

        This is one of the reasons why minute-pe
    • Actually if you read George Vaccaro's blog you will see that Verizon didn't really concede anything. It sounds like they gave him a full refund because they didn't want to deal with him being an irate customer, but admitted no wrongdoing. He has posted comments hinting that he will refuse the full refund and demand to be charge the correct rate ($0.71) so they have to admit they really did get the math wrong.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Junta ( 36770 )

      they did finally concede that $.002 is different from .002

      No they didn't. If they did, they would have adjusted his bill to 72 cents. Instead they did a full refund (what I would expect), apologizing for the situation, but never ever admitting they said something patently false, just implying that he wasn't understanding them correctly, and a full refund for a show of good customer satisfaction on an isolated incident. Clearly the callers making several calls to different reps have shown that verbally Verizon reps are saying a very incorrect thing (.002 cents

    • by mitchell_pgh ( 536538 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:12PM (#17197244)
      As a somewhat happy Verizon user, I can't deny that their COVERAGE is simply fantastic.

      That being said, I feel that their disabling of their phones is ridiculous. The Motorola E815 that I purchased has numerous features that have either been disabled or crippled. Sure I can hack it, but that's not the point. It's one of the few reasons I have considered switching to someone with a more open policy regarding usage. Also, I pay significantly more than my friends/family that use Cingular/Sprint.
      • by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:48PM (#17197738) Journal
        Trust me, as a Cingular customer (not for much lover thank god), your friends/family are getting what they pay for. They are cheap and there is a good reason why. Bad reception, MANY dropped calls, bad customer service, etc. I've had cases where my phone has shown all bars, yet instead of ringing when my gf called, my phone didn't make a sound until I got the "new voicemail" message. My phone didn't even ring, even though on my gf's end it rang many times before going to voicemail. I'm switching to Verizon next month when my contract with Cingular is up. My gf is with them and gets crystal clear quality out in the sticks where the cows out number the people, while Cingular has crap reception three blocks from one of their big stores.
      • by TellarHK ( 159748 ) <tellarhk AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:59PM (#17197900) Homepage Journal
        My boyfriend and I were in exactly the same situation. We both had E815's through Verizon and loved the phones for the build quality, the hackability and the design just being a -solid- one. I hacked my phone to allow DUN, got my own photo upload server working so I didn't have to use Verizon's $.25 (twenty five cents, not twenty five hundredths of a cent for all you confused Verizon readers) method of uploading to the web, and in general made my phone run just a little bit better.

        However, I was pissed about the lack of real OBEX profiles, and then when my camera lens just shattered mysterously one day (No, I have no idea how) they wanted me to pay $100 for a far inferior phone if I was to replace it. So, we both said screw it, took the $350 hit on the early termination and went to T-Mobile. The coverage with T-Mobile is definitely not as good as Verizon's, but the plans are far better. We're paying more overall for our new phones, but now we've got the BlackBerry 8100 "Pearl" which is just an amazing piece of hardware. Nothing crippled, and at least I know it's lacking full OBEX support for a damn good reason - security as a corporate oriented device instead of a money grab. Unlike a lot of early BlackBerry devices the speaker and microphone actually work really well, and if it's any worse than the E815's excellent sound quality, it's not enough that I remember it from my first days with the Pearl.

        I won't do business with Verizon anymore, period. They might have the best service area, but at least I don't feel like I'm supporting a company that actively wants to screw me.

        And on a tangent, my workplace just got me a Sprint PPC-6700 Windows Mobile 5.0 brick. I hate this phone. It's a crappy PDA combined with a crappy phone in a form factor the size of a lumpy can of sardines. The only redeeming feature is Terminal Services Client, and let me just say that's no fun to use when you need to pan around a 1024x768 or 1280x1024 desktop at 320x240. No goddamn fun at all. Fuck Windows Mobile.
        • by 241comp ( 535228 )
          Interesting that you hate it. I have a PPC-6700 and absolutely love it. Remote desktop connection (granted, it's difficult but better than nothing in a pinch), SSH (PocketPutty), Full CSS & JS capable web browser (minimo), WiFi, Bluetooth DUN, contact management, streaming video/audio from my desktop, password manager (KeePass), Real Time Strategy for then I'm bored (Argentum)... it's like having a laptop that fits in the cell pocket in my jeans. It's not the best cell phone out there (though it doe
        • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:57PM (#17198716) Journal
          Am I paraphrasing you correctly here?

          > We both had E815's through Verizon and loved the phones for the build quality, the hackability and the design just being a -solid- one

          > However, I was pissed about the lack of real OBEX profiles

          > took the $350 hit on the early termination and went to T-Mobile
          IT COST US $350

          > The coverage with T-Mobile is definitely not as good as Verizon's

          > We're paying more overall

          > it's lacking full OBEX support for a damn good reason

          Ummmm.... congratulations on your wise move?

      • I'm in the same boat as you... I really don't like Verizon's limited access to phone features, nor their relatively higher pricing, but in my area (deep in the woods of the north east USA) I have fantastic coverage wherever I go. I tried a few other carriers but NONE of them even got coverage while I was in my house, and the last thing I want to do is stand out in the cold to make a call (not to mention I don't have a house phone so the CELL is my only method of calling in or out). Verzion gets 3 bars when
    • by RevMike ( 632002 )

      My experience has been the same. I live in the NYC metro area, and work primarily in that areas as well, though I do a fair amount of travel.

      I originally used the old AT&T TDMA service, pre-Cingular merger. The service was not great because AT&T had oversold their network, so lots of calls didn't get through due to congestion.

      I switched to T-Mobile for a few months. T-Mobile was a great deal as long as I was in cities. coverage was spotty in suburban areas and even worse in rural areas. Thi

      • I switched to T-Mobile for a few months. T-Mobile was a great deal as long as I was in cities. coverage was spotty in suburban areas and even worse in rural areas. This was 2.5 years ago and times might have changed.

        Doubtful. I was in Pigeon Forge, TN a couple of weeks ago, and *not once* did I register with T-Mobile the whole time I was there. Most of the time I had zero bars on the phone as well.
    • Verizon has always been a pretty good company for me. In Atlanta, the coverage is excellent and their prices and plans are fantastic.

      Same here. When I moved to Atlanta I noticed the heavy Cingular presence here, but decided to stay with Verizon for the time being. It turned out to be a good choice, as my Cingular-challenged friends get spotty coverage even in metro Atlanta. I already know of two big areas without coverage, one in Decatur and the other in Marietta, and one spot along the I-75 inside the

      • Amen! I work in a building in downtown, which you would think would have pretty good coverage. We're literally almost right on top of the Georgia Tech campus (as in, the Tech dorms are around two blocks away), which I would think should have very good coverage. My company has a deal with Cingular so that everyone gets discounts on their phones. I kept Verizon because I spend a lot more time on the phone with my family and friends (which is free) than with my coworkers (which I suck up in the "peak minut

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by j-turkey ( 187775 )

          Amen! I work in a building in downtown, which you would think would have pretty good coverage. We're literally almost right on top of the Georgia Tech campus (as in, the Tech dorms are around two blocks away), which I would think should have very good coverage.

          Amen to your amen. My company has an office in a large downtown office building on Peachtree St, and we use Cingular exclusively. Even on a high floor near a window, GSM devices don't work very well.

          That being said, there's a reason why we cho

    • And, for what it's worth, they did finally concede that $.002 is different from .002. :-)

      That's fantastic! I was going (and told Verizon as much) to outright change my service if they denied Mr. Vaccaro his refund (I was thinking VOIP since my main phone is my cell phone).

      Back on topic...

      I recently switched from Verizon to Cingular and I'm hurting for it. Cingular coverage is terrible in the New York Tri-State Area. Calls get dropped constantly.

    • by dave562 ( 969951 )
      I've been with Verizon for six years at this point and their service is some of the best in Los Angeles. I have noticed that their quality of service has gotten WORSE in the last couple of years tho. I swear that before they did those stupid, "Can you hear me now..?" commercials, their network was excellent. Starting a few months after those commercials, I found myself having to ask my friends, "Can you hear me now?" because the signal kept cutting in and out. It's almost like they came out with those
    • It annoys me that Verizon cripples Bluetooth on almost all the phones within my price range. Add to that, refusing to include a USB cable and forcing me to pay $$$ to download pictures from my phone. bah.

      Yes, I can order a USB cable (and did). Yes, I can find a tarball out there that will allow me to hack my phone to re-enable bluetooth. But in the end, I'm a consumer who just wants his damn phone to work without having to hack yet another item.

      When my friend's Cingular Bluetooth phone immediately
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:56PM (#17196982) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure about any reports that categorize what is basically a nation-wide business that really exists in terms of local regions, in this case, cell towers. I've used T-Mobile since Voicestream was the originator (actually, since day one of Voicestream) and I've been ecstatic about their coverage in the regions I travel in. For me, this is all that matters. I hear about horror stories with T-Mobile from others -- but their regions are different. For me to use a national consumer report for a company that exists for me mostly on a local level is really short-sighted.

    I do like Consumer Reports and I think they do carry weight in their expertise in terms of national products on a national level -- cars, consumer equipment, home equipment, etc. I won't buy a car or a washer or a TV without at least reviewing what CR has to say. But if CR was to try to shoehorn local service into a nation-wide review, I don't think I would consider it trustworthy. For that, I'd contact people in the region and see what they use.

    My father recently switched from T-Mobile to Cingular and he is actually happier -- better coverage in HIS region (objective), conversation quality seems better (subjective), and he hasn't had one dropped call versus T-Mobile dropping about 5% of the calls in HIS region. But in my area, Cingular is terrible.

    Sure, the report (for subscribers) offers some city-wide ratings, but again it is too generic to really understand or use as a relevant way to pick a carrier. Also, it is important to realize that while "nationwide" can be broken down in multiple ways, it is still an overall general region. The Chicago area that I live in totals about 30 regions from urban to suburban to exurban to rural -- and all of them are rarely used by the same user. For a cell phone user, talking to me (in the burbs) means little if they live in farmland, so why would they care what the overall national service quality is when what matters most is what others in their region use and are happy with?

    I am a fan of CR and other free market regulators (they offer opinions, you are free to choose based on that variety of opinion out there), but in this case I think they fall short of need. I do like them in terms of rating customer service, which is definitely NOT region-based or specific to one local market, but produces a reliable review of the company as a whole. I think that is where CR shines: in terms of letting us know about specific problems with their customer service center or with their contracts or with their pricing schemes. But in terms of overall reliability, I think this is more aggregation where aggregation is not appropriate or even considered valid.

    I won't ever switch to Cingular myself because of two reasons:

    1. I've had friends who have had terrible luck with their call center for help.
    2. Bad contracts as compared to other cell phone manufacturers.

    T-Mobile has the best customer retention department imaginable, and they seem to care because of the follow-up calls I've received. I also love their handset replacement plan as well as their optional insurance plan which I've used twice in 5 years. T-Mobile has made sure I am never without a working phone, and when I have had problems, they've worked to fix it. For me, that is still secondary to knowing what works in what markets/regions that I use, and CR just isn't appropriate for that purpose.


    Early termination fees are VERY important when you're getting a $200-$300 handset "for free." Just returning the handset does not cover the commission paid to the dealer.

    Upfront price disclosure is important, but it really should be up to the buyer-side of the transaction to understand what they're getting into. If you're not sure, ask a friend to help you.

    Realstic coverage maps: What is realistic? I've never seen a coverage map that is consistently right -- things change, and conditions can be effected by new construction or even weather conditions. They can al
    • This is huge deal. In the city all providers are about the same and which one is slightly better is for people who have nothing better to argue about. In the rural areas there's enormous differences. All of them will show you coverage maps but they mean different things. For example a T-mobile coverage map means, empricially, it's possible you might be able to make a call from this location some of time, but that will vary by the hour. Whereas Verizon's maps seem to mean you have a good expectation t
    • As part of the "Big City versus Rural" theme, if you aren't sure how good the coverage is going to be, ask where/how many towers are in the area and/or when they plan on putting up towers.

      You might be surprised how many times you'll hear "they have no plans to build towers in that area"
    • by terrymr ( 316118 )
      Nationwide ... is a bit of a joke really.

      I talked to sprint one day about the fact I was charged for roaming while in Helena, Montana. They're response was that they have no home network coverage anywhere in Montana. So I asked why it was described as a nationwide network, the said "well it works on both coasts".

    • You, the man of anarchism, are comfortable using T-Mobile, the cell phone branch of the German government's telephone monopoly, whose entire board of directors has ties to the Third Reich?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by dada21 ( 163177 ) *
        Actually, in the past 6 months I have been moving much of my phone service to Skype (I have a DID in every country that I have a residency in). I now use Skype from my PDA (fairly good, considering it is Beta software) and we have Skype hooked up to our MCE PC for our home phone. Is it perfect? No. Does it utilize government-regulated corporations? Yes. But I'd say within the next 12 months I think I can transfer entirely to Skype and dump the cell connection entirely.

        It is myth that T-Mobile is a Sta
      • DT was privatized in 1996, the German government only owns ~15% (of DT).
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      That is a big one, but Cingular will screw you even if you dont get your phones from them. I get only a sim card and they CANT get you a plan without a contract. I have to use cingular as all friends and family use them and the 100% free calls is pretty important.

      But they certianly have the worst coverage I have ever seen, Metro Detroit and I get 2 bars and dropped calls on 696?? What is that! Dropped calls almost everywhere... Their phone routing tables get messed up on a regular basis so that someime
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      I second the idea that local coverage depends on the carrier. In Dallas, AT&T sucked at tower hand off. That is, if I weren't on a call, my phone wouldn't properly un-register with my home tower and register at my work tower, or something to that effect. The result is that, unless I made an outgoing call, I would receive no incoming calls or texts for about 2-4 hours after moving. My phone was swapped with someone else from the company that didn't have that complaint, and I still had the same proble
  • Tagged "Pay2Read" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duerra ( 684053 ) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:56PM (#17196990) Homepage
    As much as I'd love to read the article, and as informative and helpful as I'm sure it is, I can't help but wonder if an article that requires that you pay for it (not even a free registration option) has any place on Slashdot.

    (Cue "Slashdotters don't RTFA" jokes now)
    • As everybody knows, information wants to be "Free". "Free" information that is unencumbered by things like "facts" or advertiser bias is bad. Slashdot should be posting blogs about people's personal cell phone experiences. Those are much more useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bbernard ( 930130 )
      So just because you can't see the whole article without paying it's not news-worthy? I think the synopsis provided by CR has some nice info in it, even without the rest of the article. And I trust the review I read from them just from what is provided free more than I trust reviews from sites that show up here all the time (Cnet, etc.) because guess what? They get their money from advertisers, and I can't help but be cynical enough to think that MAY influence their reviews.

      Besides, from the number of res
    • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

      As much as I'd love to read the article, and as informative and helpful as I'm sure it is, I can't help but wonder if an article that requires that you pay for it (not even a free registration option) has any place on Slashdot.

      I had much the same thought but the reason I respect ConsumerReports is that they don't accept money from anybody except the consumer. Would you take this report as seriously if Verizon/T-Mobile/Alltel had provided them with the service and knew they were doing the testing ahead o

  • Ask a trucker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:57PM (#17196998)
    What the best nation-wide wireless provider is. You might get different favorites, but most will say sprint sucks.

    • by RevMike ( 632002 )

      What the best nation-wide wireless provider is. You might get different favorites, but most will say sprint sucks.

      I used Sprint for about 2 years recently, and did not have any great complaints about them. Of course I had a plan with unlimited roaming, so I was using the Verizon network much of the time!

      • That's interesting. I never considered Sprint because they don't seem to have good coverage away from the major interstates.

        I'm about to switch from Cingular to Alltel, because Cingular's GSM network is pretty lame where I live. I considered Verizon and probably would have gone with them, but their family plans run US$10/month higher than the equivalent plans from other carriers.

        It's strange: I've been month-to-month with Cingular for probably about a year now. When I asked about a new contract, they off
    • Yes, they do.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hap76 ( 995519 )
      I had Sprint in 2000 in OH - when they had 500 min. for $50. I had a StarTac and was near the OSU campus - someplace you might figure would be covered by cell. At one point, nine out of ten calls I made (and well over half) were dropped - I could receive but couldn't call. Between being put on endless loops to try and get help and having a website that would only load if you enabled all cookies on (and wouldn't allow access otherwise), I was told that I was in a "medium-coverage" area and that some drops
      • Sadly, I really have to say that any review of a service from 6 years ago isn't really valid. Sprint may still suck, but it has nothing to do with them sucking back in 2000.
    • I live in the Buffalo area, and even in areas with strong reception the voice quality is terrible. However, it might just be my phone. Even so, I've been wanting to move to another carrier; Too bad that I have a Sprint family plan with two phones, and the early termination fee is $400 PER PHONE. I'm just going to suffer through the rest of the contract, I can't afford a lump sum that large.

      Some days I feel like the goatse man.
  • by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:58PM (#17197012) Journal
    You see, what happened was that Cingular advertised they had a dropped call rate of .10%. They ran the numbers, which were 5 dropped calls per 50, divided 5 by 50, came up with .10, and congratulated themselves on a job well done!
  • I use Cingular, and it's good enough for me. I've had it for six months and haven't had any dropped calls or low signals. The only thing I've experienced with them is during two severe thunderstorms in the area this past summer, I'd recieve calls from a number that couldn't be dialed back. Unless it was some clever prankster, I could only explain it as recieving weird signals or something from the towers because of the storm.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bigman2003 ( 671309 )
      I use Cingular- but I think they are a bunch of asshats, and I'm currently looking for a company to switch to.

      About 2 years ago they started telling me that I need to upgrade my SIM card. They kept sending me new ones in the mail- none of which worked.

      Finally I went into the store, and got the new card. I was assured that it would improve my reception. Okay, cool, nothing wrong with that. (it would switch me from their older system to the new one they bought from AT&T)

      Now I can't use my phone in my
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dknight ( 202308 ) *
        I went through a similar experience. I live in the DC Metro area, not exactly the middle of nowhere. And yet, ever since the ATT->Cingular switch, my cell phone hardly works ANYWHERE. People suggested trying a new phone, I tried it, it doesnt help. What is really fun is, apparently the new tower I use is so far away that my apartment is now on the very edge of the cell bubble, so I can watch as my phone (not moving) goes from some signal to none at all. Weee!
      • We have Cingular now. We started with SunCom, went to AT&T then to Cingular, all without ever changing anything on our end.

        They just let us know that they are going to raise our rates ahead of cancelling our plan and shutting off the TDMA network we've been using until now. I'm a bit annoyed- we actually get better reception than almost anyone in our neighborhood and I can't replace the plan. It was a "totally unlimited calls for $60/mo" deal that I've never seen anywhere since. TDMA phones are tan

  • by bestinshow ( 985111 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:04PM (#17197108)
    Provide risk-free 30 day trial period; realistic coverage maps, upfront price disclosure, and end early termination fees."

    Yes, yes, yes, and maybe not.

    Remember that the cost of the phone is included in a contract, and that's why you get the termination fee if you cancel early. Even if you explicitly banned early termination fees, they would introduce fees for paying off the phone if you cancel the contract early that would be eerily similar to the termination fee. I guess it would be more explicit to the user though. Worse could be they keep the contract fees the same, but you have to pay in addition for your phone.

    The 30-day trial period should be enough to find out about service issues that you wouldn't know about until you had the contact otherwise.

    Then again, I'm not in America, but a couple of the same issues occur in England.
    • Remember that the cost of the phone is included in a contract, and that's why you get the termination fee if you cancel early.

      I brought my own phone with me when I switched to Cingular recently. They still forced me to sign up for a 1-year contract. That's just wrong.
    • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

      Remember that the cost of the phone is included in a contract, and that's why you get the termination fee if you cancel early. Even if you explicitly banned early termination fees, they would introduce fees for paying off the phone if you cancel the contract early that would be eerily similar to the termination fee. I guess it would be more explicit to the user though. Worse could be they keep the contract fees the same, but you have to pay in addition for your phone.

      Bullshit! This is what they want you

    • Remember that the cost of the phone is included in a contract, and that's why you get the termination fee if you cancel early.

      So let's tie the termination fees to the cost of the phone. If you have a high-end smartphone or the latest shiny Motorola toy, fine, you'll get charged out the wazoo for early termination. However, if you have something like a low-end Nokia or brought your own phone to the plan, then there's absolutely no excuse for it.
    • You know the best solution (for the consumer, not the companies)? Make all cellular phones work with all network providers! *Gasp!* A solution that actually makes switching networks simple?? We must out law this! Why, if people can drop $200-$300 on a phone and then be able to select the service provider that provides the best reception in their area, then consumers would actually have choices!
  • I like having extra minutes when I need them. T-mobile and Sprint aren't an option because there is no service outside of the main town here in my county (i live in rural southern indiana). Cingular has blanket coverage which is pretty good considering how hilly it is here. Verizon is getting there but there is still a ton of dead spots.

    My normal travel route is west across the state and north to chicago. Not a single dead sport with Cingular. That can't be said of the other networks.
    • Verizon is still primarily a Northeast provider, and I have them in NYC. When I went to Las Vegas last year their coverage was pretty good as well as their coverage in Seattle. When we drove from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, though, the network dropped to nothing. I kind of expected that, however, as their maps pretty much showed that to be a roaming area.

      The one complaint I will have about Verizon (a bit of a tangent) is that their EVDO network coverage isn't fantastic yet. The problem is that on my phon
  • Same networks? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tommyj1986 ( 1004101 )
    Most CDMA providers, Alltel, Verizon, Sprint, and the like all have roaming agreements. I have sold all three of those services and reps from Alltel told me that they have agreements with Verizon and Sprint for cities, because Alltel is primarily rural. They all share towers and the networks are then pretty much the same. The biggest difference between the services is the location of their primary towers in respect to you. If an Alltel tower is closer to you than a Sprint tower, a Alltel user will have
  • by saleenS281 ( 859657 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:16PM (#17197292) Homepage
    I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather pay a one time 200$ fee for my cellphone, have it unlocked, and be able to take it with me to whichever carrier, than to have an early termination fee. Heck, I already do this anyways, WITH the early termination fee. The early termination fee is not to recoup costs on the phone, it's the wireless providers way of making you stick with them, and it's sad. Make me pay retail for the phone straight from the phone companies and provide me service as it should be. Can you imagine if we had to buy our televisions from Comcast and it only worked on their cable network!??? Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous the whole thing is?
    • by ranton ( 36917 )
      Can you imagine if we had to buy our televisions from Comcast and it only worked on their cable network!??? Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous the whole thing is?

      Actually, I would LOVE that idea. I would get a free TV (or at least at an EXTREME discount) out of the deal. I might get slightly worse service from Comcast than from a competitor, but I would be saving $200. And if I do my research correctly, I can get the best service and still save my $200.

      Even if I have to deal with some incompetent

      • Saving $200 on a TV for a few hours of hassle each year sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

        heh. You really think you're "saving" $200 for the TV? You're obviously going to pay for it through higher rates the company charges everyone to pay for the phones. The "free" phones also encourage people to upgrade phones all the time, which you also wind up paying for eventually.

        The only advantage I get through all this is that I can buy a phone that's only a couple years old on Ebay for $30, even though it sol
    • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:38PM (#17197614) Homepage
      Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous the whole thing is?

      No, the phone company thinks it's ridiculous too. They would much rather have you pay the $200 for the cell phone up-front than get the $200 from you over a period of 24 months or if you cancel. They would much rather have you pay a $50 or $100 activation fee than get that back over the course of 12-24 monthly payments. To a phone company, $360 now and $25/month is FAR better than $40/month with a termination fee.

      It's the same reason you get 'huge' discounts for registering a domain name for 10 years - that's money in the bank for the registrar, and they'll make more money from you getting you to pay early than 'charging you more' annually.

      The problem is, if I tell you that to get my cell phone plan, you have to pay me $240 for a phone and a $120 activation fee (to cover the costs of acquiring you as a customer) and I'll give you service for $25 month, you won't sign up with me. You'll go to the company that charges $40/month, with a 'free' phone and 'free' activation.

      Well, maybe YOU wouldn't, but most people will pay $40/month for cell service. Most people will not pay $360 for cell service. Most people don't HAVE $360 to pay up-front for cell service. The cell companies are only giving people what they want.
    • You've got three different nework types and some half a dozen different frequencies. Having an unlocked phone just means that you could jump between two or three of the eight or so carriers. What we really need is everyone on the same damned network and frequency.
      • Simple: the phone I want paired with the service I need. Right now, many phone models are only sold from one, maybe two different service provides and are locked to only those providers. So there may be a phone that I love (good quality, the features I will actually use, good looks, etc) but pairs with a service that is crap where I live and work (such as Cingular). I would happily drop $200-$400 on the cell phone I actually want if I knew I could use it with all the providers in my area. And who knows
    • by kwalker ( 1383 )
      I buy unlocked phones as well, but that's because 1) T-Mobile's phone selection sucks and 2) It's possible because T-Mo uses GSM. To my knowledge there isn't a way to get an unlocked CDMA (Sprint, Verizon) phone. Hell to my knowledge there's no easy way to buy a new CDMA phone and use it with an existing account.

      I think one of the reasons they don't make people pay for phones up-front is that it makes the deal more appealing to have the cost of the phone (plus finance charges, naturally) spread across the
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:19PM (#17197350)
    I hate cell phones. I won't belabor the pros and cons of having one, no one ever convinced me it was worth it, but I did end up getting one for me and one for my wife. Virgin Mobile pre-paid. Costs about $7/month, and no complaint with service.

    Beat that!
    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      You're not all alone on this. I'm not much of a cellphone fan either.
    • I can beat that. $19.99 will get you a tracphone with like 500 minutes. Rollover lasts six months per card up to a max of one year with smaller cards or two years with "lifetime" cards.
    • by Ucklak ( 755284 )

      I live in semi-rural and Cingular has a presence where I live right down to their ~$100,000 naturally disguised cell tower [].

      I pay $25 every 3 months for my prepaid service.
    • I posted a review of pre-paid service providers later down in this article. In short, I just switched from Cingular (who was cutting my phone off when they disabled their CDMA network) to Virgin Mobile. I'm happy so far.
  • by Retardican ( 1006101 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:24PM (#17197420) Homepage
    Ask your local real estate agent. Someone commented asking a trucker for coverage, but usually highways are very well covered, even by the worst providers because it is easier to towers very near highways. Your local real estate agent will have traveled all over your area, and probably would even be able to tell you which service doesn't work in what particular neighborhood.
  • by xyankee ( 693587 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:27PM (#17197446)
    I agree with the chap who said they have the best customer retention dept... One year ago, I was going to leave (I had no contract) and they convinced me to stay by giving me 1500 day minutes, ul night/weekend, nationwide roaming, etc. for $49 a month -- no contract! I was going to switch to Cingular anyway a few months later, but ended up staying because 1) T-Mobile significantly improved coverage around Dallas-Fort Worth and 2) switching to Cingular, for a plan with similar minutes and text messages, would cost me at least $20 more each month AND that would be with a 2 year contract! I recently called T-Mobile about upgrading to a Blackberry... not only were they willing to give me a good deal on the phone (I told them I wanted no contract -- not having a contract gives you a HUGE bargaining chip), but they said I could keep my sweet minutes deal and get the unlimited data plan for only $15 more a month -- again, way better than Cingular. If I wanted to be an ass, I imagine I could call T-Mobile every few months and threaten to cancel and they'd probably comp my account $50 each time for staying. They're really working hard to keep their subscribers happy. I have no plans to switch to anyone else now.
  • I've had Cingular for a while, and it has a tendency not to drop calls, but to stop transmitting audio in either direction and never recovering. But the little display says I'm still connected, and I'm sure I keep getting charged for minutes.

    When it does this I have to hang up and call back.

  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:37PM (#17197600)
    A lot of times I see people bemoan one cell phone company or another for coverage when the issue at least partially lies with the phone. It's a two-dimensional equation and far too often it's not being treated that way. I know my Cingular coverage used to stink until I switched phones and then all of a sudden the dropped calls and poor coverage I got magically went away. I'm now pretty happy with Cingular after I got rid of my old phone. I do realize that there are plenty of examples where the fault lies squarely on the provider's shoulders but it's important to at least keep in mind that the fault could lie in the phone. I don't know if this partiular study takes that into account (I won't pay for the article) but I've never seen one that does take that into consideration.
  • by saterdaies ( 842986 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:39PM (#17197630)
    Frankly, Consumer Reports really doesn't know what they're talking about here. Since all national carriers require contracts, they have an aproximately equal lock-in on their subscribers. So, subscribers have an equal chance to leave any of the carriers. Who are they leaving? Well, they're leaving Cingular at 1.5% (post-pay) per month. They're leaving Sprint at 2.4% (post-pay) per month. They're leaving T-Mobile at 2.3% (post-pay) per month. And they're leaving Verizon at 0.95% (direct retail post-pay) per month. Verizon's numbers are better because they're not including indirect customers who tend to churn at a higher rate - but they're still somewhere between 1% and 1.24% (their total churn). Suffice it to say, it's easy to see who customers stay with. Is Consumer Reports talking out of their butt? Absolutely Yes! If you get results that are inconsistant with churn numbers, you either have to come up with an argument why churn isn't a good indicator of customer satisfaction or there's something wrong with your methodology. Frankly, the percentage of customers that leave each month is a really great way to see how many are dissatisfied.

    Essentially, Consumer Reports methodology is inaccurate - almost to the point that random chance would have provided as good a result. For example, if I claim Cingular and Sprint are good and Verizon and T-Mobile are bad, I'm pretty much as accurate as their report saying that customers like Verizon and T-Mobile. Customers like Verizon, followed by Cingular, followed by T-Mobile, followed by Sprint. That's accurate and I have REAL data over a sample of MILLIONS to back that up.
  • I started out with Verizon about 8 years ago, and I'm still with them as I come to the end of my 4th contract. I'll stay with them. Their customer service and rates may not be the best, and they lock features of their phones (which is why I specifically bought a phone I can hack), but at least for me and in the areas I live (rural central Indiana) and travel in, their coverage is *by far* the best. At the end of the day, and especially since I'm one of those people that dropped my landline years ago and
  • The reason I'm dropping Verizon and switching to Cingular is phone features. I bought a Razr for the bluetooth functionality and neat little toys. However, Verizon cripples all of their phones, and of course, does not mention this in any adds or on any packaging. The $100 Motorola-to-PC software is useless because Verizon has crippled the phone so image/ringtone transfers are non-functional. Verizon also uses a hacked bluetooth protocol. Using my PDA, I can connect to a bluetooth phone and dial out using my
  • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @02:57PM (#17197874)
    Consumer Report's review (yes, I have a web subscription and read the entire thing) only covers the major contract-based cell phone providers. They don't discuss pre-pay or by-the-minute services of those providers, or discuss the pre-pay only providers at all.

    I'm sure there are others here that prefer to remain disconnected from the world when not at my work desk, and only carry a cell phone for wife/family/emergency use. I just changed providers this week and have my own (very brief) review of the pre-pay providers.

    I had been using Cingular's Pay-As-You-Go service, with by-the-minute pay rather than the monthly charge. (Actually, I had been using AT&T's pre-paid service until the merger.) I was on Cingular's CDMA network, which they are shutting down April 1. Cingular offered a choice of two new GSM phones for free for me to use to remain with them, but both phones were featureless and looked similar to the now-clunky Nokia phones of the early part of the decade. (That probably speaks more to Nokia's stagnant development, but Cingular still chose to buy and offer that product.)

    I chose not to stay with Cingular in part because I was offended at the offer they made me, and in part because of my past service.
    - While I have few to no problems with dropped calls, my wife says that she often has to dial 2-3 times before the call will go through. (The other times, it goes straight to voice mail without ringing.) This likely has to do in part with my phone (one of those ugly Nokia models) and part to do with the network (Cingular hasn't invested in their CDMA network in years, instead investing in GSM).
    - I was more concerned with the expiration dates for their pre-paid minutes. AT&T offered 635 minutes with a year of expiration for $100, which is about 15 cents a minute. Cingular's $100 offer was 400 minutes, with only 180 day expiration. Given that I talk about 30 minutes a month, the loss of minutes was not so bad, but the expiration made the product useless. Instead I bought $25 for 100 minutes @ 90 day expiration, and had to buy another one each quarter. (They also shorted me a day every time I refreshed.) I think Cingular just changed the $100 card back to a year expiration, but it was too little too late.

    Looking at other providers, I considered both major carriers that offer pre-paid plans, and the pre-paid only providers.
    - Verizon's pre-paid plans cost, at minimum, $1 a day for service. The Verizon salesman at a Dallas Circuit City, to his credit, recommended that I not go with them as it would be too expensive for my needs.
    - The Verizon rep instead pointed me to Amp'D mobile, which he said used the Verizon network. This would have allowed me to get a major-model phone (like a Motorola Razor). I didn't chose Amp'D because I don't want a phone with a camera (I attend 2-3 movie festivals each year, including one this past weekend, and I would have to surrender my phone if it had a camera), and I didn't really need a phone that still costs $200 or more for my pre-paid service. They also charge $0.25 cents a minute, and (from their brochures) would require quarterly fill-ups to avoid expiration.
    - Cricket wireless has been advertising their pre-paid service in my area. They offer service here in Austin, but don't serve Dallas/Fort Worth where my family lives and my wife and I travel each holiday.

    I chose Virgin Mobile, as they seemed like the best service for me:
    - They offered nice-looking phones at reasonable prices. I got a Vox 8610, a nice flip phone without a camera, for about $25 from their website. The reviews I read about this phone before I ordered it were generally positive.
    - They use Sprint's network. Despite the Consumer Reports publication, in 3-4 days of use I have yet to miss or drop a call. I am even able to receive calls and text messages while the phone's antenna is down, the phone is in my pocket, and I'm sitting down, which is an improvement. (Yes, the p
    • by orangepeel ( 114557 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @05:14PM (#17199816)
      - As a downside, the phone has a Virgin Mobile logo on the front. :( I don't think 30s engineer is their target demographic, so their company image doesn't exactly match what I'm trying to express all the time.

      I had to post a reply after reading that. :-) I'm not an engineer, but I am technically-minded and in my 30s. Virgin Mobile has continued to be an easy choice for me for a few reasons, including...

      1. Near-perfect anonymity. You don't even have to give Virgin Mobile a name when you activate your phone. Buy the phone with cash at a physical store, complete the activation of the new cell phone using another phone and their automated system (use a payphone and dial Virgin Mobile's 800 number to do that for a paranoia level of anonymity), and you're as close to being a completely anonymous cellphone owner as is possible today. Continue buying "top-up" cards with cash at physical stores, and you'll maintain that anonymity.

      2. Awesome service reps. Let's face it, few places are perfect, but I've had the best luck with VM's call centers amongst those I call with any regularity. The staff are typically a younger bunch, but they're the bright kind of younger, you know?

      3. They actually understand local number portability, and how to make it happen for their customers. I transferred my land line number (so long, Verizon bastards!) to a second VM cell phone. The transfer was completed in less than a week, and it worked flawlessly. The service rep (see above) I spoke with when arranging the transfer was absolutely on the ball.

      4. Some of their phones have an easy hack for blacklisting incoming callers. Here's the cool part: if your VM phone can download ringtones, you may be able to set up a blacklist...

      After I started receiving faxes from a pool of about 20 different phone numbers at all hours of the night, I phoned VM's customer service and asked if either the VM service itself or my phone supported blacklisting (i.e. block the fax machines that were calling me). The rep was apologetic and told me that no, unfortunately, neither the phone nor the service had that capability. So I asked him if my particular phone supported downloadable ringtones. A bit confused by the sudden change in topic, the rep said that yes, it indeed supported that. And so I asked if by any chance -- amongst the collection of thousands of ringtones VM outlines on their website -- if they happened to have one that played complete silence. The rep immediately got where I was going (see my comments above about bright service reps) ... that with my particular phone's ability to assign specific ringtones to specific incoming phone numbers (provided there is callerID information), I could store the phone numbers of the fax machines that were calling me under a special group, say, "SILENCED MORONS", and then assign the silent ringtone to each one of them. At that point, if they ever call me again, sure the phone will light up and display the incoming call and phone number, but the phone will play the special ringtone -- COMPLETE SILENCE! That's about as good a blacklist as anyone could ask for.

      Anyway, the representative immediately got what I was trying to do, thought it was a pretty damn cool approach, and then proceeded to take about 15 minutes hunting through VM's massive database of ringtones. And guess what? He found one -- a ringtone consisting of pure silence. The rep pointed out that the only downside was that, like all their basic ringtones, it would cost $2.00 to download. I told the guy that was the best deal for some silence I'd ever been offered! Now I have my blacklist. :-)

      Seriously. Virgin Mobile is awesome. I don't normally go out of my way to offer much praise for any corporation, but I've been so impressed by what I get for the money I spend with them, that even the occasional glitch I experience (rare) just
  • by James McP ( 3700 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:00PM (#17197930)
    I had AT&T because a) best coverage in my area if you had a GSM+analog phone b) best service plan for the money at my usage rate and c) inexpensive handsets. My coverage was excellent both in the city, country and along the interstates other than one particular area near my parents' house in a "shadow" of a ridge. I used that phone without fail across a big chunk of the eastern US with no troubles.

    Then came cingular. My service became irregular as they decommissioned the analog towers before new GSM towers were up and running. They kept pressing me to "upgrade" my phone and used vaguely worded scare tactics that old phones were the devil (I loved my multiband Siemens S46). They "lost" the ability to unlock AT&T phones, something AT&T would do if you planned on traveling internationally. They discontinued my plan in favor of a "better" one that had more mintues but a later "unlimited" period. They refused to apply my company's employee discount unless I renewed my contract. The last straw came when they started mucking with the billing system and I got overage charges despite being well within my monthly limits.

    I'd avoided Sprint b/c at the time I went with AT&T their phones were crap, IMO. The data service was new and the phones were high on glam features but with horrible battery life or form factors. This time I went with a Treo 650 with the unlimited data plan. Service is pretty good, though at times in the rural areas it doesn't match AT&T. Data speeds are surprisingly good, in the 128kbit range, which may be limited by the Treo's ability to process the data.

    My boss got a Cingular Treo 650 at the same time. His was a nightmare. Data connection to the towers was great for software updates (I saw close to 220kbit when I downloaded service patches for him) so the Treo GPRS was pretty good but Cingular's internet connection was crap. It took upwards of 5 minutes for his Treo to synch email from our corporate mail server; mine would do it on Sprint in ~15 seconds. The Cingular add-on software kept trying to take over his phone functionality and if the unit reset or the battery went dead it would re-default to the Cingular-specific apps instead of the standard (and much superior) Palm programs.

    Sprint CS is kinda spotty when it comes to the technical questions but nothing compared to Cingular, who were basically unable to comprehend that data != voice service and went to great pains to avoid transferring me to an engineer or data tech. When I did get to the Cingular engineering group for my boss it took several minutes to explain that "I can't get to a particular server using the domain name but I can using the IP" means their DNS is borked. Even then they never, ever, never called back when they said they would and "open" complaints would mysteriously becomes "closed" after 3 days.

    Nope, I hate Cingular. Sprint is okay once you accept that most of the "free" phones are crap but that goes for Cingular too.

  • I have Cingular because I'm on a family plan and I don't pay the bill. If I had to choose a provider though I would not go with them. My reception sucks in a lot of places. I live in Los Angeles in a densely populated area. I have problems with reception while on major freeways. I don't get reception in my condo but it drops the call every freakin' time! I live in a huge complex. The user base is large enough to necessitate a tower nearby but Cingular doesn't care. Worse then that though it their customer s
  • by Internet Ronin ( 919897 ) <> on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:46PM (#17198578)
    As a former wireless sales representative, I can pretty much tell you this:

    None of you really care all that much about the service. It's the phone you are interested in.

    First of all, according to market research, nearly all of you are in complete and total denial. The internal company documents that I saw pointed to "Handset Dissatisfaction" as the number one reason for churn (the % of subscirbers lost in a given quarter). People care about the phone they get. They care about it as a fashion accessory and as a social interaction machine.

    Here's my favorite part: no one ever admits it.

    In fact, if this get enough mod points for people to read it, I can almost guarantee that there's going to be a slew of "Well, that's not why I bought the phone..." posts behind it. No one was honest about it. Being a fan of psychology, I'd often see how much I could make the customers squirm with this issue. I'd show them the phones, we had a bricky Nokia and a black Motorola clamshell (it's a clamshell phone, not a flip; it doesn't flip. it doesn't even half-flip, it opens... like a clam). I would tell the customer that the Nokia had better reception (it does, proven by internal company memos I saw), was more durable (it was, we rarely had any in the return bins, and I had a whole folders' worth of anecdotes about Nokias surviving), and was the phone I recommended to anyone who cared about features and substance over style (it was and still is).

    Needless to say, everyone bought the Moto. It was notorious for breaking, had awful signal (a good 2-3 bars worse than the Nokia), a screen that cracked under the slightest pressure (it got SO bad and SO prevalent that the company actually had to begin covering cracked LCDs UNDER WARRANTY for this particular model, if that tells you anything). I couldn't give the Nokia away, and believe me, I WAS. Both phones were allowed to be sold for free (if it was required to close the deal, and it usually was), but I could poise the Nokia as a free phone, and the Moto as costing $50, because of the flip, and people would still pay for it. Even after I told them that I recommend the Nokia for reception and durability.

    People gots ta have that flip shorty!

    So my point is, while you try and tell us that what you want from your cellular service provider is good coverage, you don't. Not really. Bad wireless coverage is something we've all come to expect, we hardly even notice it anymore, or get bothered because it happens. What really drives customers into the store ISN'T the company, it ISN'T the service, and it damn sure isn't the cost. No, you, the customer, came to see me because I held the key to what you really wanted: a mobile phone that, like your Lexus, told everyone how big your penis really is.

    You'll apologize for my overly cynical attitude, but quite frankly if you're a wireless customer that has gone into a retail store, I'm certain you're one of the people I learned to despise so easily while working there. Oh yeah, one more thing while I'm here, hey NUMBNUTS, the phone's not REALLY free! We subsidize the cost. We don't walk out back and pick one off the tree. They cost money. So when you destroy yours within 2 weeks of purchase, maybe the question you ought to ask isn't "Why did I get this for free two weeks ago and have to pay a hundred bucks now?" but rather "Why do I persist in owning things when it's clear that I'm not going to exercise any responsiblity during the course of my ownership?"

    God I hate the wireless industry. Go ahead, feed the greed. Go get your RAZR or Chocolate or whatever schlock marketing scheme that you're busy NOT falling for. Trust me, the wireless companies have your number, and they are routinely screwing you in the ass and laughing about it, because you know what? You can't hear them. You're too busy talking on your Treo/RAZR/Chocolate/Blackberry/Sidekick/SLVR.

    Whatever. There's not point to this post. There's no way to fix the system, and there's no way to get people to
  • by quixote9 ( 999874 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @04:16PM (#17198982) Homepage
    Been with Verizon for over four years, and they have never, not once, resolved a problem without me having to complain to my state's Attorney General's Dept. of Consumer Affairs. The AG writes, and then, magically, somebody actually deals with the problem. The quickest I got anything resolved with them was six months, and multiple phone calls, letters, and harangues. The slowest was a year, with even more multiple calls, letters, yada, yada, yada. I've had three billing problems in four years, and the last time, when it took a year, they owed me $300. To say these bastards suck is being too kind. Obviously, once my indentured phonitude is up, that's the last they'll see of me. After that, it's voip all the way.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.