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July 17, 2006


Sifu Jones

Ouch. Tough break, Jimmy.

I think the popular conception that all huge corporations are evil money-grubbers is, in the case of phone companies, true.

Sprint was charging us around $80 for phone service and DSL. When, after months of high payments I called to complain, an employee said to me in a very leading voice, "sir, are you threatening to dump your Sprint service? Because if you are, well, we'd have no choice but to give you the same service, but cheaper. Ahem." God bless that guy.

The fact that a company would reduce payment so easily if I threatened to leave tells me they know there's comparable cheaper service out there, that a dissatisfied customer could easily find.

Now sure, we all know the point of capitalism is competition driving the market, and if this were the only case of phone company sneakiness I knew, I'd let it go. But yours and mine are just two of many stories I'm sure we could all mention.


Ouch. I hate to mention this, but when my mobile carrier (who I have been with since 1999 and never signed a contract with beyond the initial one) has had to upgrade something they call me and tell me they are sending me a new phone. Like you, I don't use the phone a lot and don't want or need the fancy features. After my initial contract was up I told them I wanted to cancel because I could get what I needed for cheaper somewhere else. They begged me not to leave and offered me a "loyalty plan" that was a better deal than I could get elsewhere (50 minutes a month), so that's where I've been ever since.

I do sorta envy the camera phones, though.


If you're a Brit reading this and you're thinking about ditching your old 'mobile phone', consider donating it to Breast Cancer Care to assist them in raising funds so that they can continue to support breast cancer sufferers. They also accept used printer cartridges/toners and possibly other things I don't know about.

I can't do that fancy html link thing, so I'll just have to c& p the URL below



I greatly dislike cell phones.


Oh dear, Michelle. I've gotten the same letter. I thought I was going to get a free upgrade for my antique. Frankly, I'm not going anywhere till I get one-- I'm not paying for a new one when the old one works fine. They'll also probably want to get me off my cheapie plan that they probably don't offer any more.

I'll probably just bring ALL my kids with me to the mobile phone place... It's been known to prompt quicker and better customer service in the past. :-)


Michelle, e-mail me. I've never heard of a request to have SIM cards replaced in a phone, and even so, to have a phone replaced due to updated SIM cards. I'm curious to know your service provider and the circumstances. My original phone from almost 10 years ago should stil work with current SIM cards (back when they were credit card size).

I hope this was some sort of scam.

Ken Crawford

Michelle, don't throw away/recycle that old phone yet... there is still some value in it. All cell phone companies are required to take 911 calls, even from phones that are out of service. Can you think of a place you'd like to have a phone for calling 911 if it were necessary? This is particularly valuable if you don't take your cell phone with you everywhere, all of the time. If so, leave the phone (and ideally the charger) in that spot and you'll always have the piece of mind of knowing that it'll be there if you need it. I know people who have phones stashed all over the place: their 2nd car (I do that), their boat, their motorhome, their cabin, their motorcycle... where-ever they might find themselves in need of calling 911.

Dean Whinery

As one whose profession required him to be almost constantly accessible, I resisted cellphones as long as possible. Then a few years ago we got two. One was lost and subsequently returned damaged, but we had INSURANCE, it was a $50 deductible and the phone was only $49. Whoopee!
As the family grew, we added some more phones. Now we have found that two are no longer needed and the original phone that was lost last week is one of these. The company rep on the phone gladly cancelled one unneeded phone, but informed us that we must continue to pay more than $100 a month for at least two more years for service to the lost and no longer needed phone. Or they would gladly sell us a replacement for "only" $|49. The alternative would be to cancel all our phones and pay a $600 cancellation premium.

Michael Sullivan

Are we morally required to have charity for huge evil corporations? Because I hate them.



Most of the cell phone donations programs are to assist women who are victims of domestic violence. The cell phones are activated so that they can make 911 calls in case their partners try to come back and attack them or otherwise violate restraining orders and that kind of thing.

Those programs are awesome and I think people should make an effort to donate their old cell phones to such charities. It doesn't benefit the huge evil corporations.


Tim J.

I also passed up the chance to have a cell phone that took pictures and could check my e-mail.

I just want a phone, and sometimes I want to get away from my e-mail and I like having a certain level of plausible deniability.

Brian Day

My wife and I upgrade our phones every two to three years.

After a couple of years, the battery won't keep a charge. So rather than buy a new battery (~$60), we just get a new one for $20 or less. We needed to get a new phone for my wife last week. She ended up getting a camera phone for free (plus $14 sales tax) by renewing the two-year service contract.


Cingular pulled this garbage on us last year. It REALLY chapped my hide.

I don't want or need fancy features. I just want a plain 'ole vanilla stinkin' PHONE!!! ARGGHH!!!

Pull your heads out of your hineys, evil phone companies and start providing customer SERVICE, not customer RUNAROUNDS.

This is what I have to say to you evil phone companies.....I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!


Seriously, all flaming aside, wouldn't the company be obliged, if push came to shove, to ensure I left the store with a working phone? After all, it's not my fault they decided to "upgrade the network." From my point of view, if upgrading the network also having to upgrade a certain percentage of phones, then that's just a cost of doing business. Right??? I'll definitely have to fight them on this or else just take my business elsewhere.


Michael, corporations aren't people. People we are to have charity towards, not denying justice to either the poor - or the rich.


I'm still using two tin cups with a piece of string between them.


Rhys - didn't you get the letter from your provider saying it was time to upgrade your tin cans to aluminum cans?


Ahh...I was on a loyalty plan too. And then I foolishly cancelled it.

I think they probably have something written in their 20-page-written-in-fine-print "customer agreements" that negates any free phone upgrades. You know, "The Company reserves the right to upgrade its equipment and require customer to do same" clause.


Michelle, don't throw away/recycle that old phone yet... there is still some value in it. All cell phone companies are required to take 911 calls, even from phones that are out of service.

That's handy info to have. But I have doubts as to how far you can expect this to go if the SIM card, activated or not, is incompatible with a network. Seems that it's intended to work with compatible SIM cards where a person no longer pays to have an active account.


Puzzled and Michael.

you are sure right... corporations are not people but interestingly enough, they are having more laws writtten for their benefit, and more rights under the U.S. Constitution...funny how that happens.

and if anyone here says anything else about the big telecommunications companies, Pres. W. Bush will have an announcement to make shortly reminding us that "I'm talkin' 'bout Americun jobs! It's thu economy... can't touch that."

I work in the Mobile Phone industry. There are several "modes" used within the industry. PCS, TDMA, CDMA, GMS etc.. One of our clients is phasing out TDMA, which is an older standard, and this will eventually affect all cellular carriers. Also if you have an analog phone, (i.e. one that is older than 6 years, your services will also be phased out and you will also be required to upgrade your equipment. You can thank the FCC for that though.


I apologize for my comment wishing this was a scam. Hopefully it was obvious that I hope this WASN'T a scam. Again, I don't know why a service provider would require a SIM/PHONE update at customer's cost. Not a good provider in my opinion.

TDMA changes will not affect all carriers. My GSM carrier shouldn't be affected.

As for switching from analogue to digital, I think this is reasonable for a customer to upgrade to better technology. With current deals, however, I think a customer shouldn't be put out too much (other than a 1 or 2 year commitment). In the end, this benefits everyone and uses our resources better.


There are so many awesome cell phone cases and other cell phone accessories coming out right now, I don't know which to get first.

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