I’m looking for advice on getting a new cell phone plan.
We have Cingular right now. It is, without a doubt, the very worst call quality I have ever experienced. The majority of our calls are dropped or so choppy as to be incomprehensible. We’ve gone back to using the landline for calls that matter, because the cell phones are close to useless. It doesn’t seem to matter much where we are, either.
However, it may be the phones, rather than the company. I got the cheapest phones they would give me, and I have at least one friend in the area with Cingular service, who has not experienced the same problems with call quality.
Here’s what I want in cell service:
- 2+ lines. One for me, one for Stacey, and the option to add more for the kids as they get older, without adding too much expense.
- A smartphone for myself. It needs these features:
- A QWERTY keyboard that can be used one-handed.
- The ability to access the mobile versions of various web applications like GMail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, and RememberTheMilk.com easily.
- The ability to browse arbitrary websites.
- Bluetooth dial-up networking functionality, so I can use it as a wireless modem for my laptop in a pinch. Doesn’t have to be super fast.
- The ability to read books and PDFs.
- Nice to have: MP3 player, voice recorder, voice dialing
- Things I don’t care at all about: camera, touch-screen.
- Good reception in the Baltimore/Southern PA area.
Unfortunately, it appears that the cell phone companies simply can’t conceive of someone who wants both a multi-line family plan and a data plan. It’s always either/or. Does anyone know of any exceptions?
Notes on service providers:
- Cingular: I’m up for a phone upgrade with them, so if I could upgrade to phones that did what I want and actually worked, I’d be willing to stay with them. Also, they have the Nokia E62, which basically fits my smartphone needs to a T. However, a) I can’t see any way to add a PDA plan to my existing service; it seems from what I’ve read that I’d have to buy another $50-a-month plan just to use the smartphone’s features; and b) also from what I’ve read, they have hobbled the E62 so that it is basically useless for anything other than the pre-installed apps.
- Verizon: I get a discount from the company I work for if I go with Verizon. So if I could find what I wanted there, I might be able to get it cheaper than anywhere else.
- T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.: I don’t know anything about the others… are they any good?
I looked at the service reviews on LetsTalk, but for any given service provider the reviews were all either “I want to have it’s babies” or “it killed my dog”, with an equal distribution of each. Not very helpful. I wonder if the cell companies amuse themselves by posting reviews of each other?
So, any thoughts?