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It had to happen sometime

Due to some communication difficulties over the last couple days (as can happen when you don't have a business phone because you work in a private home, and your work hours overlap with your agent's), I am finally giving in. I am getting a cell phone.

Yes, it is true--I have gone my entire life until this point cell-less. So has Chris. We also have an antenna instead of cable. On the other hand, we do have super high speed cable internet. So we're not completely behind the times. Although our antenna-ed state was so bewildering to one phone survey guy that he refused to believe that we did not have cable (Him: "So who is your cable provider?" Me: "I told you, we don't have cable TV. We just use an antenna." Him: "No, no, your cable provider. You know, there's a cable that goes from your TV to the wall, and you get a bill every month." Me: "Our TV is not hooked up to the cable outlet. No one bills us. We. Do. Not. Have. Cable.") to the point that after about five minutes of this, he hung up on me. :D

Anyway, I spent a couple hours last night researching plans and phones, because hey, if I'm doing it, I'm doing it right. Prepaid seems to be the way to go because there's no way I can justify the cost of a monthly plan, given how little I'm likely to be using the phone. But then there's all the other issues to consider, like long distance charges and roaming and, most importantly, the phones themselves. Why is it that every phone on the planet seems to have only middling reviews? I cannot find a phone with any of the providers I've looked into that everyone at least mostly likes. Is it really that hard to make a decent phone? All I really care about is that it doesn't fall apart, the sound quality's clear and consistent, and the battery life's pretty good (because, inevitably, I will forget to charge it). Oh, and it has to be a flip phone. I've used the little tiny phones before and it drives me crazy to be talking into something that's nowhere near my mouth.

I think I've settled on one, but before I dive in--any of you experienced cell phone users out there have tips or warnings I should heed?

Edit: I assumed you all knew that I'm a Canuck! I live in Canada, so I have different service providers to chose from than all you Americans. :)


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
I have prepaid, Virgin Mobile, and I like it. I bought the phone at Target and have it automatically top-up when it gets low or every 3 (?) months. I spend less than $10 a month for sure.

I do not recommend flip phones because the reception is terrible, imho. If you are getting a super-expensive one maybe it's okay but my like $30 non-flip phone vs. the $50 or $60 flip phone I had before has way, way better reception.
Jan. 10th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
It's Virgin I'm thinking of going with (though I think it's a separate company in the States--right now they don't allow roaming with the Canadian service in the US). What was the flip phone you had that wasn't great? And which phone do you have now?

Thanks for the help! :)
Jan. 10th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
We just broke down and got a pre-paid cell phone a couple of months ago. We got the Virgin one too and it's been fine. Although I still have yet to actually use it. Dade is always the one who carries it around. We asked his friend who used to sell cells at Wal-Mart which was the pre-paid plan that didn't rip you off and had a decent phone and he recommended that one. Of course, if it's different in Canada and has no roaming that's kinda lame.
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, the company seems pretty cool, but I'd really like to have the option of using it if I was in the US for a conference or something and needed to get in touch with someone quickly. :P I finally (theoretically--haven't bought it yet) settled on another company that does a similar thing, but has lower per minute rates and does have roaming.
Jan. 10th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
No tips. Just wanted to say you're not the only one to go this long without a cell phone. We still don't have one. I keep talking about getting one so I can keep track of my husband because he has a bad habit of calling me to say he's coming home and then three hours later he's still not home and I'm wondering when the cops are gonna show up at my door to tell me he's been in a wreck. Although, after all this time I've since learned that when it's hours after he's supposed to be home it's mostly likely because a certain coworker just _had_ to talk to him about something _very_ important _right at that minute_ that couldn't be talked about during core hours. But we've yet to actually follow through on that. And what's sad is my parents (my brother, actually, but they use it sometimes too) have a cell phone. And they're _always_ behind us on technology!
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, we've considered getting one for a while, just for those rare occasions when delays make us late for work and we need to contact someone else to pick up the kids at school, or a session is cancelled and the parents need to tell us, that sort of thing. But it was never enough of a problem to get one. And most of the time I'd rather not be immediately accessible to everyone. ;) I'll probably only give the number to my employers and Kristin.
Jan. 10th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
I've had Sprint, Nokia, Cingular and Verizon. By far, I have the best coverage with Verizon (here in Southern CA). In terms of phones, I like those flip ones with a screen on the outside so that you don't actually have to flip your phone open to see the time or to see who's calling. Welcome to the World of Cells! You might consider posting your cell number here. We'll all call you and you'll get lots of practice. :) Kidding!
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
Heh. Unfortunately I can't take your advice on providers because Verizon doesn't exist in Canada. :( I'm definitely going to get a flip phone that has an external display--it would be a hassle otherwise!
Jan. 11th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
I didn't realize you were in Canada. I'm from Toronto, but live in So Cal now. Good luck as you enter this new cell-phone phase of your life! :)
Jan. 10th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
If you're going to be travelling then you'll need a national carrier. Most companies nowadays, with the exception of a few that are for those who don't travel, have National plans where you can make and receive calls anywhere in the US for a flat rate, with rates depending on how many minutes you intend to use. Personally I've only had experience with two carriers, Verizon and ATT/Cingular. Despite the fact that ATT/Cingular has one of the most awesome phones on the market right now (iPhone, exclusive to ATT), Verizon gives me a much clearer signal and I have yet to go anywhere where I don't get service. ATT/Cingular has much grainier service, where voices can be muffled; it's weird and I thought it was just my phone but my parents have ATT and their phones are the same way.

So I'd recommend Verizon highly, but am curious what others think. :)
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I'm in Canada, so different service providers, and roaming in the US is a bigger issue (they pretty much all allow roaming within Canada). Sounds like Verizon's a good company, since you're the second person to recommend them! I think we only actually have two networks up here and all the other companies just piggy-back on one or the other.

And man, I wish I could have an iPhone (they don't even sell them in Canada--there's no provider for them yet :P ). They look amazing.
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
P.S. I love that icon. :D
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
i love that all the advice is for US phones :)

the cheapest prepaid in canada are the MVNO's, who re-sell Rogers's service. pick up a phone at any esso, and get the $100 minutes card - it lasts for a year, whereas other cards expire after a month or two.

and yes, there's a reason most cell reviews are middling. most cell phones are in fact crap :)
Jan. 11th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was starting to suspect that (about the phones being crap). :P Thanks for the suggestion--I hadn't heard of MVNO. Now I'll have to check that out.
Jan. 11th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
it was petro-canada, not esso, who are running their own mvno :)

have a look here: http://howardforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=326

howard forums are the centre of the cell geek universe :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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