Well it’s been a good year on o2. They did Harri and myself rather well last year by offering us a 35 contract but giving us 10 off each month. The tariff gives us 500 anytime minutes and 500 texts.
This year is a completely different story. Tariffs are getting worse, not better, with all providers. Shopping around now gives you the choice between a crap contract and a shit one. Awesome! But seriously. It is impossible to get even nearly what I have now for the same price. To compound issues, o2 are no longer willing to give the 10 discount to stay with them.
To spice up the pot even more, the phone I’m after is the much acclaimed Nokia N95 (pictured on the right). An all-round super-phone. It can use Wi-Fi, Skype and email and between those, I would be using fewer networked minutes and texts. Buuut the phone is expensive.
I can get it for free with o2 for 25 a month and get 400 minutes, 1000 texts and 1 meg of data (yeah, I know) but the contract period is 24 months. Phones just aren’t supposed to live for 2 years — not the way I use them anyway. The battery dies off, the screens scuff and scratch and I’m petrified that 6 months into this contract my new n95 might meet with a sticky accident that means I have to fall back on my current phone — the worst phone in all mobile telecommunication history: the LG Chocolate.
You might say “That never happens to anybody” but that’s exactly what happened this year. I used to be on a Samsung z400 but that met with an unfortunate accident and now the screen no longer works.
The fix for this problem could be insurance. For 54 in the first year, I could be fully insured so if anything does happen to it, I can get it replaced or fixed or whatever. But 5 a month almost makes it worth buying a 12 month contract at a higher rate.
I’m totally confused and other providers aren’t making things easier. I spoke (via an online chat session) with a 3 sales person to try and clarify what their 60 back-credit system was all about. The offer was plastered all over their n95 plans page so I thought it must apply… Just how much do they give you back?
Me: Looking at Nokia N95 on 28 Talker. I saw that there’s a credit after 60 days… but I can’t see any details on that.
3: Hello Mr.Warner. Yes the credit after 60 days is on selected handsets
Me: But what is the credit?
3: There isn’t any credit and that’s on selected handsets
Me: But it says there is credit
Me: You just said there was credit…
The sales rep eventually told me (some minutes later) that the n95 was not part of this offer. I was on the n95 page. Why would there be an offer that doesn’t apply to the n95 on the n95 page? It’s madness! I wonder why they even bother some times. They might as well have shown me a picture of a badger being poked in the eye with a spoon and told me to find out myself.
Anyway. They’re no cheaper and their phones are locked down TIGHT. The do have the bonus of unlimited (AUP applies) internet usage which really craps all over o2’s 1meg limit.
The T-Mobile flex packages are worse value than investing in year-old loaves of bread. Vodafone are impossible to work out because they have so many crazy “talk for 60 minutes, pay for 3”-style deals on.
The companies, between themselves have figured out that they don’t have to compete any more. Since last year the prices have sky-rocketed and the feature-competition has been annihilated. They’re all about locking you into long contracts where you will never use your allocation. How the hell am I going to use 1000 texts if I can’t use half of my current 500?!
I’m pissed off with them all. They’re grasping at the final straws before Wi-Fi and VOIP (Voice Over IP. eg: Skype) destroy their business models. You’ve made billions off us over the years so, please, for the sake of your customers, just die with dignity. You’ll only speed up the changeover to alternative services if you keep this squeeze on.
If anybody knows of any better tariffs please let me know. I’m looking for about 400 minutes and 300 texts. My budget is 25 a month but I can squeeze a very little more if needed. If the plan has higher data allowances that allows me to use Skype wherever, I’m happy with just 100 minutes.