13. May 2008 · Comments Off on Confessions of a Wireless Customer Service Rep, 080513 · Categories: Technology

Okay, so summer is right around the corner and if you’re shopping for new cell phones, now is the time to start looking for that new phone that you’ve had your eyes on for the past few months. Prices are coming down on a LOT of phones from all of the cell phone companies.

But…wait…if the prices are coming down on all of last year’s hot models, doesn’t that mean that new models are getting ready to be introduced?


So, before you drop $19.95 on last year’s newest and best thing, keep in mind that this year’s newest and best phones are getting ready to be introduced. And no…after a certain amount of time, you won’t be able to return that cool phone from last year to get the newest and shiniest new toy that’s just come out.

Patience. Do some research. Check out the plethora of cell phone blogs and see what your carrier is getting ready to introduce before you jump on all of those inexpensive phones that the cellular companies are trying to unload before the new ones come out.

I know that iPhone has been burning a hole in your brain since it was introduced, but keep in mind that some of the companies that aren’t AT&Cingular are looking to introduce their Google Android Phones in the upcoming year. You all know that I’m an Mac-head. I wouldn’t give up my MacBook Pro for any other laptop out there. However, while I lust after an iPhone as much as any Mac Fanboy, I also know that the Androids are going to be the most customizable communications devices that we’ve ever seen. Third party applications will be the norm on these “phones.”

Remember, most companies give you discounted pricing on phones after you’ve had a phone for one year and then huge discounts at the two year mark. (Coincidently when your contract is about to expire.) If you’ve got a phone that you’ve had for two years and have that huge discount available, do you want to use it for a very cheap phone that’s going to be outdated by the end of the summer, or do you want to use it to bring down the price on a full blown communications device?

Me? I want my phone to be my phone, my iPod to be my iPod, and my laptop to be my laptop. I don’t think any of the comm devices out there or that are getting ready to come out take care of all of those tasks as well as the individual devices do…yet.

Of course, none of these new “all in one” devices are good without the features to support them. Check with your provider to see what the price is on the features that you want/need on your device. Some features are bundled. You can get internet/email/text messaging all for 19.95 with some devices, while others only have internet and email for 19.95 and you have to add an additional texting package. Some devices are less expensive (coughBLACKBERRYcough) but their features are going to cost you more. The sleek “grownup” device may be what fits your look, but the device targeted at the younger crowd, often have less expensive bundles that take care of all your needs.

What do I think of the Sprint “everything for 99.99” plan? I think that’s the last ditch effort of a telecom to increase it’s customer base before they sell to another company. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited internet and email all for 99.99 simply isn’t fiscally maintainable for very long.

Having said all that, don’t look for the cheap or free or cool phones, look at what you need and then check with the wireless telecoms to find out what the total cost of ownership over a year is going to be. A couple hours worth of research can save you hundreds of dollars in you personal comm budget. And just a warning, if you’re going to start texting anytime soon, or give your teenager the ability to text, make sure you give yourself and them enough messages to last the month. The thing about text messaging is that the more you do it, the more you do it.

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