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Smartphone Madness

Posted by on May 17, 2011

Last weekend I went with my wife to the local AT&T store to upgrade our phones. Our anniversary is today, but last Sunday was Mother’s Day and there was a special on phones across the board. We went in with no expectations except to exchange the phone that AT&T sent her as a replacement when we had problems with them late last year.

We got lucky as we walked into the store because there was only one person working there and no one else was in the store at the time. The guy spent a lot of time talking to us, and eventually we decided on getting a HTC Inspire 4G, which would be the first “new” phone we’ve ever bought. Every other phone we’ve bought had already been discontinued but had a great price. In this case because of the holiday they were offering the phones at $49.99 each. Sure, we had to go through that long process of setting it all up, but at the end of the day we went home with our first ever smartphones.

The problem? No bars in the house, and very few elsewhere most of the time. For all that AT&T touts themselves to be, over the course of the 11 years we’ve been in this house we’ve rarely had much access to service. With the previous phone I had, the Motorola Razr, at least I rarely had any of my text messages bouncing back. With the new phone, which I thought was supposed to be a major improvement, I couldn’t get a text message to leave the house half the time I tried; same with my wife. But we’ve had people come to the house using Verizon and being able to have total access and use their phones in any way possible.

Over the course of the first week I called AT&T customer service twice. The first time they supposedly sent out a signal booster to both of our phones; nothing happened. The second time the guy said I had to do a full system wipe of my phone, which would cause me to lose everything on it, but that it should work; it didn’t.

If you know nothing else about me know this; I’m kind of a loyal guy. I got my first cell phone in 1995 when the company was called Cellular One. They went through a couple of takeovers until AT&T got them a few years ago, and overall I never thought much about leaving them; it’s just not my style. However, this was the final straw, and it followed my wife not having any bars anywhere she went last Saturday when I was out of town, which left us unable to contact each other.

Last night we went back to the mall knowing we were going to switch from AT&T to Verizon. The picture you see above is the phone I have now. Actually, it’s almost the same phone I had before. This is an odd thing but both phones are from the same company, HTC, and when you look them up on Google they’ll appear as the same thing. But AT&T calls it the Inspire; Verizon calls it the Thunderbolt. And there are a few other changes as well. There was a $200 price difference for each phone, which was kind of irksome, but that’s because the Thunderbolt comes with a 32G SD card; sweet! It also comes with unlimited internet access, whereas the Inspire came with only 2GB; how does one measure how many GBs they’re using online anyway?

The Thunderbolt is slightly smaller, so all the accessories except for the carrying case are too big, and thus we have to get new stuff. The off/on buttons are on opposite sides of each other, as are the volume control buttons. But almost everything else is the exact same. I’m not sure why they do that but so be it. Oh yeah, the Thunderbolt also allows you to take pictures on both sides of the phone; yeah, I won’t be taking many pictures of myself, and y’all probably need to be happy about that.

As far as canceling the deal with AT&T? You get 30 days once you sign a new contract to cancel, and that’s a great thing. And for once, even though it was in the contract, this guy didn’t charge us for the restocking fee, which I think he just forgot about because he didn’t even ask why we wanted to cancel out. If we’d had the same guy we bought the phones from I think it would have been different.

As to the new people? Well, because of all the traffic, strange for a Monday night at this particular mall, we were actually there past closing time, but the two people there showed us a few things we could do with our phone that we hadn’t figured out over the week we’d had them. And some strange anomalies that had occurred previously with the other phones seemed to solve themselves as well.

But the most important thing… we have bars in the house! I don’t have all 4 bars, but I have 2 bars, more than I had most of the time with my other phones over the course of years. I should have done this years ago, but it’s that loyalty thing again. Loyalty needs to be earned from all corners; I need to start holding companies as accountable as I do people.

But I’m happy today, and my wife is happy, and at 14 years together it’s a nice thing. 🙂

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32 Comments »

Happy Anniversary, Mitch! 14 years is quite the accomplishment, and I’m very glad to hear that you’re happy together after all this time. 🙂

As for loyal customers, I’m the same way you are. I’ll endure quite a lot of grief from a brand or company if they’ve previously earned my loyalty. On the other hand, if that grief isn’t fixed, I’m pretty happy to go find someone else to give my loyalty to. Back when Washington Mutual was still around, I had loved them as a bank so much that I referred no less than a dozen people to my branch, and I’m a terrible salesperson, lol.

Good for you, making a switch! You’re absolutely right; we should hold our brands and companies as accountable as we do people, or ourselves. Otherwise, we as their customers give them permission to be treated as little more than ATM’s.

Delena

May 17th, 2011 | 2:27 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for the congrats Delena, and of course the agreement on making companies be accountable. Sometimes I think we just fall into lazy patterns and aren’t paying attention to when they’re taking advantage of us, and that’s a shame.

May 17th, 2011 | 2:29 PM
Jessica Burciaga:

I have had very bad luck with AT&T as well but have been too lazy to do anything about it though. When my contract is up, I will be switching to Verizon and getting and Android. Congrats on the Anniversary. You and your wife look very happy together.

May 17th, 2011 | 8:19 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Jessica. I think I was lazy as well, but now that I’ve taken care of it I feel empowered.

May 17th, 2011 | 11:13 PM

I’m with T-Mobile. And from what I’ve read about its upcoming merger with AT&T – which will probably be completed some time next year – the total network coverage by the merged companies should be better since their 2 networks would be combining. So that’s a little bit of good news for current and future AT&T subscribers…

May 17th, 2011 | 10:13 PM

Congratulations, Mitch! Me and my girlfriend (probably future wife), have anniversary next month. Only 5 years, but may be the most happiest in my life. About HTC, I think this is one of the best brands for mobile phones. I have HTC Kayser II which I am using for more than 2 years. Generally, I always keep 2 sim cards from different providers. Many times I have problems with coverage, especially when I travel.

May 18th, 2011 | 3:10 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Congrats early to you Carl. The HTC seems to be working great after changing over, though my friend Scott still wishes I’d gotten the iPhone. lol I’m hoping for great things from this sucker, especially after going to the class tomorrow night to learn more about it.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:43 PM

Thank you very much, Mitch. The brand is really good, the battery doesn’t hold much if WIFI is on, but phone definitely is a hard worker. I am not sure, what I will do for our anniversary, probably a small holiday on one of the closest island, I must admit that since my son was born, we haven’t go anywhere together.

May 19th, 2011 | 6:07 AM

I’m not ready to give up my feature phone for a smartphone. If it’s broke why fix it/replace it?

I don’t have many needs when it comes to phone: calls and SMSs, and that’s it. So I don’t see the point of bring fashionable and buy myself a smartphone.

Anyway, that’s me! However, if I were to choose between iPhone and a HTC phone, i would definitely choose the latter. 🙂 + Android OS

May 18th, 2011 | 4:25 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Mia, I had no real idea I was going to buy the smartphone, but with the prices it seemed to make sense in the long run. I was happy the way I was as well.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:43 PM

Welcome to the world of smartphones. Watch it when downloading apps, it gets addicting. BTW, the camera on this phone is probably much better than the camera you own. LOL

Congratulations to Robyn for putting up with you for another year. The women is a saint!

May 18th, 2011 | 9:36 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

The woman is a saint; you’re so mean! lol Actually, with the other phone I only downloaded 3 apps and I’ve yet to download any with the one, although the people at Verizon and this guy at the mall last night have downloaded some. I need to figure out the best one to use for Twitter, as TweetDeck, which I love, doesn’t allow me to add the columns that I have on my regular accounts on my computer, which is irksome.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:45 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

You will love your smartphone! I’ve had an iPhone (you’re shocked, right?) through AT&T for many years now and I wouldn’t even consider another phone. I think the service from each company is just dependent on where you are at the moment. I have no beef at all here with AT&T, I seem to have a strong signal wherever I go. I switched from Verizon years ago because I was having signal issues. One of my daughters still has Verizon and sometimes she has no signal when I have 4 full bars. It has to be area related to service. Once you discover all you can do with these phones, you’ll wonder how you survived without one 😉

May 18th, 2011 | 9:56 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Jessica. It has to be service area for sure, but our regular phone lines are Verizon and they’re going to be debuting the 4G network in July here, so that should prove to be even more beneficial When I travel, I guess we’ll see, but we definitely needed a signal in the house and around the area and Verizon so far has been remarkable… at least for us.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:46 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

By the way Jess, I can’t read your captcha! I’ve just tried 4 times to get it right and I can’t do it, so I think my comment may be lost. 🙁

May 19th, 2011 | 1:02 AM
grace @ wedding favors:

Wow, happy anniversary to you and your wife, Mitch! I, too had my Motorola phone for three years and just decided to buy a new one when it was of no use already. 😀 It’s always good to have new gadgets and especially high bars for signal! 😀

May 18th, 2011 | 12:15 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Grace. Truthfully, if my wife’s replacement phone had been better I’d have never thought about changing. But that’s how technology goes, right?

May 18th, 2011 | 7:47 PM

My AT & T contract is up this summer and I’m thinking of going back with Verizon.

Our At & T phones don’t work inside the trailer at camp, which is NOT good since Ron is on call 24/7….

His boss got him a Verizon phone AND a Verizon Internet card and both work fine inside.

I can stay at camp all summer if I want!

How cool is that?

May 18th, 2011 | 12:28 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s cool enough, Carolee, and like me, it seems that Verizon is the carrier of choice for our area. It was an interesting break for me, but I’m happy I did it now.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:48 PM

@Mitch,
First of all, (belated) anniversary wishes.

As for any digital equipments/electronics/gadgets/mobile, I am a very conservative person. Basically, I am not that type who storm the stores on the launch week of a product and buy it at 5 times its original cost (or fair price). I used each of my mobile phones for at least 4 years.

Though, I did not have the exact same signal problem that you had, I have had my bad experience certain phone models such as the erstwhile Motorolla StarTRAC. Since then I have made a point to buy those models which have been in the market for quite some time and had good reviews since. In your case (i.e. US) I think you have to worry about both the service provider and handset combo together. Here we usually buy the handsets separately and pick the service provider then or vice versa.

Anyhow, I am glad that you both made some ‘smart’ choice on your wedding anniversary.

May 18th, 2011 | 1:27 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Ajith. Yeah, it does work differently over here for the most part, and I think that holds us hostage, which I hate, but sometimes ends up giving us a better deal in some fashion as well.

May 18th, 2011 | 7:49 PM
Local Honcho:

Congrats Mitch! Now you have to download all the amazing apps to make the most of the new phone. I was actually excited just reading your post, I’m happy for you.

May 19th, 2011 | 9:16 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks. Course I have no idea what apps to download, which is why my wife and I will be going to a training class tonight to learn how to use these things.

May 19th, 2011 | 1:49 PM

Hi, Mitch. I also use T-Mobile. And I read about it that they will merger with AT&T. I think with the merger, they will have better coverage network. So it is a bit of good news for At&T subscribers.

May 21st, 2011 | 11:21 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Maybe for some Andrew, but it wasn’t working for me in my house so they just had to go. I think maybe they work best in areas where they’re also the local phone provider, and no one is allowed to have AT&T regular phone service where I live.

May 23rd, 2011 | 11:14 PM

I don’t remember the last time I actually bought a phone as I usually go for whatever is on offer when purchasing a plan. Sure, I know you’re paying for a phone via the plan itself but I figure I’m using it anyway so I may as well go for the one that offers the phone I want.

The kids on the other hand have to go for the latest out so they both have iPhones. I advise them against it but it’s their money right?

Happy anniversary Mitch.

May 23rd, 2011 | 7:33 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Sire. Well, the phone thing is what it is and we have the fancy phones that we have little idea of how to use and that brings us into the 21st century kicking and screaming and feeling kind of old at times. I might have to find some kid to teach us how to use it; that’s a shame.

May 23rd, 2011 | 11:38 PM

I worked at Sprint few years back as customer service agent. I really do understand customers feeling getting a service like that from the company that you’re into for a long. It’s really frustrating. But it’s good to know that you and your wife happy with your new smartphones. I just so love smartphones! I got an iphone and I always get 4 bars..^_^

Happy Anniversary Mitch!

May 23rd, 2011 | 10:26 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks April, and I’m glad you understand how hard it can be to switch services after such a long period of time. I’m out of town right now and I’ve actually had the 4G working a couple of times. That’s pretty neat, but it runs the phone battery down quicker as well; I mean, what’s up with that? lol

May 23rd, 2011 | 11:42 PM

Hello there Mitch,

Congrats! Happy anniversary, Mitch! I have two smartphones right now, iPhone and Blackberry. The problem of those two smartphones are the same: battery. The question is why all of these smartphones have dull batteries? This is very frustrating, seriously.

May 25th, 2011 | 3:49 AM

The only problem with me is that I never stick to one phone. I keep on changing whenever there is a new one that beats my gadget at hand. But I love doing it. I guess I need a psychiatrist. 🙂

September 27th, 2011 | 8:55 AM

Either that or more money Ernest. lol

September 27th, 2011 | 10:41 AM