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The Great Escape – Leaving AT&T for Verizon Wireless

This is the kind of story you don’t hear very often.  AT&T Wireless sent me a letter recently which told me that they really weren’t that happy having me as a customer after almost nine years.  Confused?  So was I at first.

What happened was that I was on one of their nationwide plans and more than 50% of the minutes used were on another network than theirs.  Apparently having Cindy, Kyleigh, and Cindy’s mom on the plan in Utah was the source of this trouble.  I came to find in that letter that this is a situation which happens with less than 1% of AT&T’s customers, but which violates some of the terms of the plan.

In such cases, the letter continued, AT&T offers three different options to their customers.  Why is it that I find myself thinking of another Jimmy Buffett reference in which Monty Hall leads a room full of costumed contestants?

Let’s continue in the theme of that great game show from years ago and see what lies behind the three doors ahead of us.

Behind door number one is the option of staying with AT&T but without the ability to use any other wireless carrier’s network.  With no discounts.  I think I’ll pass on this one.  Cindy and her mother are not going anywhere anytime soon.  Kyleigh’s in Vegas for now, but she’s going back to Utah eventually.  I’m supporting their cellphones as they’re each only $10 per month or so and Kyleigh actually pays for her service.  After all they’ve done for me over the years, it’s the least I can do.  If I were to go with this option, Cindy and her mom may as well toss their phones in the trash – they’d never have service.

Behind door number lies the option of canceling my service with AT&T and saying goodbye without any early termination fees.  This one won’t work for many of the same reasons as the previous option, but also would result in the loss of my current cellphone number.  I don’t like this one, either.

Finally, we reach door number three we find the golden option.  I can port my numbers out from AT&T to anyone I want to.  This option also carries the waiver of any early termination fees as well.  I’ve examined my options and found that my family and Cindy’s family are all now on Verizon.  This means that all those calls we make all the time would be free.  No minutes used.

But door number three gets even better!  I went down to Best Buy to investigate my options for plans and phones and found some good stuff.  All the phones we’d be interested in are free (we’ll get back to that in a moment) and if I can pull off this switch between now and the close of business on 31 December, I’ll be able to have the activation fees waived!!!

Before I get to the actual phones, I must address the financial aspects to be considered.  The early termination fees which are being waived would amount to somewhere near $900 if I remember correctly which is twice what I spent for my AK-47.  I’ve had a couple of minor grievances with AT&T in the past and was thinking a change would be good.  This helps out greatly.  Each of the phones will be free of charge, but I’ll have to pay sales tax on the full retail price of the phone which is about $25 each.  I’ll also have to ship a couple of phones to Utah.  If you’re thinking I’d rather spend the $120 or so on another firearm, ammunition, or gas for a road trip, you’d be right.  Still, there are other priorities which must be addressed from time to time.  At least I’ll be able to get by without paying the activation fees which would be $35 for the first phone and $25 for each of the other three phones which will help greatly in the quest for a Kel-Tec PF-9 and the concealed carry permit which would complete a nice self defense package.

One other thing before the phones we’ll be using on the new network which must be addressed is the topic of service plans.  Thankfully, it’s pretty simple in that it’s going to cost about the same as it would otherwise.  AT&T has rollover minutes which Verizon does not, but this isn’t too much of a concern.  As previously noted, most everyone I’m going to call already has Verizon, but there’s something nice on the Verizon plan that’s not included with AT&T which is a choice of 10 numbers on any network or even landlines which you can change via a web based portal on a daily basis and which are also free.  I could get to like this new plan.

With the financial and service plan aspects considered, we must now choose some hardware with which to navigate the wireless communication routes which span multiple states.  There are only three models which are under serious consideration – the LG enV3 (yes, that’s how they print the name of the phone) the Motorola Rival, and the Samsung Intensity.

LG enV3 cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

LG enV3 cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

LG enV3 cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

LG enV3 cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

I know I’m going with the LG enV3 and I think Kyleigh will as well.  It’s optimized for texting which Kyleigh does somewhere close to 2,000 times per month and which I also do on occasion.  But that’s not all it does.  It also comes equipped with a three megapixel camera (with an LED “flash” that’s better than nothing), a headphone jack, and a slot for a micro SD card.  Mine will be free as it’s to be the primary phone on the account, but if Kyleigh wants one, it’ll cost $35 on top of the sales tax and she’ll pay me back.

I’m giving LG a third strike here.  My last two phones were LG products and both of them developed problems in a few months.  I’m going to keep insurance on this one so I’ll be covered if something happens.  Strangely, Cindy’s also had the same phones and hers haven’t had the same problems.

Motorola Rival cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Motorola Rival cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Motorola Rival cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Motorola Rival cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Both Cindy and her mom want nothing more out of their cellphones than to be able to talk on the phone.  I really did look for a decent bare bones phone for them, but there was a catch – the bare bones phones cost more than the Motorola Rival.  No, I don’t get it either, but Verizon wants $30 for a basic phone while they’ll give you one of these for free.

The Rival will do everything they want a cellphone to do and the price is right.  But the review on Cnet wasn’t so good which is why there’s one more phone under consideration.

Samsung Intensity cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Samsung Intensity cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Samsung Intensity cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

Samsung Intensity cellphone - Click this image to visit the Cnet review

The camera on the Samsung Intensity may not be the greatest ever installed in a cellphone and it can’t download music over the air, but the users this phone would be going to wouldn’t care about those things.  No, they’d be thrilled that it has a normal keypad on the front of the phone instead of a manually activated touchscreen.  The review on Cnet was much better than the Motorola Rival’s as well.  The dummy phone on display didn’t inspire me, but I didn’t know what I was really looking at features wise.  This may be just the ticket for two or three users I know.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last few days and especially the last few hours.  I’m sorry I missed out on today’s picture, but getting this settled, at least in my mind, was rather important as I needed the peace of mind to know that we’d be OK even with the curve ball that AT&T’s thrown our way.

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7 comments to The Great Escape – Leaving AT&T for Verizon Wireless

  • Kath

    It’s fun to get new phones, but it can definitely be WAY overwhelming. I totally think you’re on the right track tho.

    And before I had a phone that would take pictures I didn’t really think I’d use it — and now I do all the time. What I get caught on is not the texting or the calls, it’s sending a picture from my phone that can get a bit pricey.

    If you take a picture and then send it to your email so you can see it on your computer (or get around to posting it on here, which obviously, I am the biggest slacker about) then it tends to add up.

    The biggest thing I didn’t want on this last phone was the “open screen”, I wanted to close my phone, thought I would be protecting it. But now I’ve cracked the outside. Geez.

    It’s a Motorola that’s two years old, too. I think it’s the longest I’ve ever kept one!

    My phone is thru my company and altho they don’t pay the whole bill, I get a nice discount and I can pick my phone and the billing plan. Did I say I love my job?!? :)

  • kc

    Kath, the New Every Two plan from Verizon is just for such reasons as you mention, I think. Have had Verizon since 2001, maybe 2002. No reason to switch again. Will NEVER use AT&T because of the way they screwed over so many Sailors back when we were younger. When BellSouth became part of ‘em again, I went with computer-based house phone. There have been times the check I get if I’ll come back would come in handy, but I cannot use it and still consider that my integrity is intact.

    Never thought I would use a camera or texting. Then I had a granddaughter…and reconnected with My Favorite Cousin. Then SHE had a granddaughter. I had to get an unlimited plan because we text and send pix back & forth so much!

    Mine is Motorola Adventure – a Razr with rubber bumpers, is how I refer to it. Can get a new one in June – which I may do for a keyboard – but I’m very happy with this one. I don’t hate that I have to reboot after unlocking it, I just have to REMEMBER that.

    • Kath

      kc, That’s what may push me to a new one — to get the keyboard. That would be nice. But now, when you say you have to reboot after unlocking — I don’t understand.

      My phone is NEVER off bec. of work so I don’t know about start-up modes so much.

    • Kath

      Also — how do you like the computer based house phone? Does it work okay?

      • kc

        You can try to fool some, Buck, but I know you can’t be a Luddite because you’re using a computer to post on a PERSONAL BLOG! Luddites would have you in the stocks for such sacrilege. 8-)

        Kath, the phone is indistinguishable from Ma Bell, except when the power’s out…or AT&T (whose lines are leased by comcast, among others) is digging things up around the neighborhood. Going to read up on bundling & stuff in the new Consumer Reports tonight, will let you know if I see any major glitches for others…but I don’t have any now.

  • I’m a Luddite. I own the cheapest Samsung phone available and it’s served me well for about four years now… but that’s an approximate figure coz I don’t really know. I have yet to send my first text message but have received a few. If I want to text someone I do it from the computer… it’s called “e-mail.” I also have a digital camera and the computer sends pics from it to anyone who might want them just fine. ;)

    That said (and I’m certain all y’all really cared!)… I hear ya about AT&T. They suck. I was with them out in SFO but switched to Sprint when I moved to NM… I got the same sorta ultimatum about roaming from AT&T when I moved, as AT&T has NO network in this part o’ the world. I never did like AT&T and only used them coz my company did and the company provided me with my phone… later converted to personal use when I retired and left SFO.

    One good thing about being a Luddite: you tend to save a LOT of money. :)

    • Kath

      “it’s called email — ” smarty pants!! But there are times when I want to let someone know just one thing, I can send a text. It’s easy. Maybe TOO easy! And I can send a quick text to someone who is also not at their comp. — that’s the nice part. So it’s whatever you’re comfortable with.

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