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July 30th, 2000

Cellular Roulette

I bought my first cell phone in January of 1999 – it’s a Qualcomm QCP-1920 (very much obsolete), with service from PrimeCo. I figured the 100 minute plan would suit me fine and it did until I recently decided to go 100% cellular with my voice calls (no more landline!)

But did I like PrimeCo? No way. Here’s a list of problems I have with the phone and the service:

  • My first phone had volume problems – even on maximum, I could barely hear the other person. Happened in transit or even in my house. Got it replaced.
  • My second phone just stopped working one morning for the heck of it. Got it replaced, too.
  • Was automatically signed up for Roadside Assistance without giving any permission, as a three-month trial. I was then charged for it on the fourth month. Called customer service but gave up after being on hold for 20 minutes. Called again, held for 25 minutes. Called again at midnight, no hold. Was told that PrimeCo "never" signs people up for anything without permission, but they’d remove the charges and offer a refund. Wow.
  • Nice feature: you can set a monthly limit for yourself – and once you hit it, the service is canned till next month. It’s arbitrarily set at $350 when you sign up. On the aforementioned customer service call, I asked to change it to $50. "Sorry, sir, the lowest amount you can set that limit to is $350." Gee, thanks, that’s only 17 times my base rate!
  • Phone works only intermittently in my room.

After intense studying and research I opted to go with AT&T – the phone is better, the service looks stronger, they actually have customer service that – get this – answers the phone, and I get more minutes (along with text messaging – people can email my phone!) I originally chose Sprint, but due to some quality issues I went elsewhere. Verizon’s commercials annoyed me too much to even consider ’em.

Moral: shop around. -pm

Posted in Technology

FROM: Matt
DATE: Sunday July 30, 2000 -- 2:45:05AM
Moral: don't get a cell phone, no one deserves to listen in on your calls and give you brain tumors that easily

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday July 30, 2000 -- 9:45:41AM
Well, by that reasoning, I should never invite anyone into my house while I'm on the phone. A cellular phone for me is infinitely more convenient than a landline - but I call the shots. I don't use it while I'm driving, I turn it off at work, but if I need to make a call, I can.

At home, it's a cheaper substitute for a landline with the equivalent features, plus it's got the portability I desire.

As for the tumors, I'm quite sure the CRTs I've been staring at for almost 17 years have the potential to do a far better number on my brain. ;)

FROM: Tony
DATE: Sunday July 30, 2000 -- 10:28:37AM
I remeber Cellular One being very good, although did they become verizon?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday July 30, 2000 -- 11:37:50AM
Tony -- no, Bell Atlantic Mobile became Verizon...

FROM: liz
DATE: Tuesday August 1, 2000 -- 1:38:40AM
i have a nokia phone with service through voicestream. i don't know what i'd do without it.

FROM: Dave Hauss
DATE: Monday October 2, 2000 -- 10:09:22AM
I have a Samsung sch-8500 with Sprint PCS service and I love it!!

FROM: Marjorie Lundquist
DATE: Wednesday July 7, 2004 -- 9:08:47 pm
Regarding brain tumors, the best epidemiological study of cellular phone users (done in Sweden by L. Hardell et al.) has now (2003) shown a definite increased risk of brain tumors associated with use of both analog and digital cellular phones, while no such brain tumor risk has been shown for use of computers or CRT video displays. I agree that it is best to shop around for a good cellular phone, but if your primary interest is to carry on SAFE phone conversations--ones that don't elevate your risk of developing brain cancer--opt for a landline phone. -- Marjorie Lundquist, Ph.D. (in physics), Bioelectromagnetic Hygienist

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:39:05 pm

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