Still Totally Clueless About Cell Phones

Friday, October 22, 2010

I know I know. Here I am, a technology writer and computer geek, admitting to the world that I am TOTALLY CLUELESS about cell phones. Ugh! I spent yesterday morning with a few customer associates at various wireless venues in the area, to glean more information on the confusing plans... and I am happy to report that I am more educated now about the whole thing... but WHY is cell phone service SO SO confusing?! It's maddening. Like sifting through the haystack in search of a diet pill that works, finding the right cell phone and cell phone plan is so baffling. I'm not technologically illiterate, truly! But the plans are very confusing.

Besides the gadzillions of cell phones available, I found the (deep breath):
Nation Plan for individual basic phones in "Anytime," "Talk text and web," "talk and text," and "talk"
Nation Plan for Famililes for basic phones in "Anytime," "Talk text and web," "talk and text," and "talk"
QUick messaging, data unlimited, data "plus," data "pro," data "pro enterprise," data connect with various bandwidths, and plans for super-smart phones....

Then there's the Nationwide Single Line in Anytime, talk & text, talk, and Friends & Family (how does this work as a Single Line, I don't know), and per-minute rate... the Family Plans have the same but also have stuff like mobile hotspot charges, data allowance charges, addon charges "whenever" minutes, and web access plans... and mobile broadband...


No wonder people get so angry when they receive their cell phone bills. It's like the National Grid bill or the Verizon or Frontier phone bill-- what the heck is this foreign language they are spouting, and what does it all mean? And why is it so expensive?


I have been trying to choose a better cell phone for about 1 and a half years now. I keep defaulting to TracFone because it's so simple. But I really hate TracFone. 95% of my calls are wrong numbers or solicitors. In my suspicious mind I wonder if TracFone gives our number to solicitors who purposely call us in the hopes that we will answer and waste minutes (and thus have to buy more minutes from TracFone). I get well over a dozen calls a day on my TracFone, and none of them are ever from people I know. I keep getting calls and messages from "Unknown" and from 769-269, whatever that is. My kids have a TracFone and they are also getting blitzed with calls from "Unknown."

So anyway, I'm STILL hashing through cell phone plans all these years later. I'm not a heavy cell phone user. I don't need all the doodads and "anytime" and "whatever" minutes. The plans are too large and too expensive for me-- I don't need 450 minutes per month- I used that many minutes in a year! I don't want to pay $100 a month for minutes I never use...

... but I hate TracFone, and the other prepaid phones don't seem much better.

What do you do? Do you just close your eyes and pick a plan, hope for the best, and pay through the nose? Cuz that's what it seems you have to do!

Anyway. Feel free to leave your advice. I sure could use some.

OK, rant over. :D I feel so much better now. LOL

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