Narrowing the cell phone field

by brian d foy

Earlier I set out my requirements for a cell phone. I thought my needs were minimal and I could get by with a low-end phone and plan.

I would really like BlueTooth, so I cannot go with Verizon, which really is not all that bad since my wife already has a T-Mobile account, and we should really get the family plan. Nobody ever told us about merging cell phone accounts when we checked out the wedding planning guides.

So, if I stick with T-Mobile, I have a very limited number of phones to choose from, and the intersection with the Apple iSync devices list seems to leave me only the Sony Ericsson T610, the lesser version of the T616 I have been considering.
It is an open-faced design, although I wanted a flip-phone.

Now I have to figure out how to buy the thing. Cellular plans, or, at least T-Mobile's, seems so complicated. The last time I did this sort of research was several years ago and the only difference in plans was the number of minutes (and they gave me the phone for free).

My wife called T-Mobile to see if we could add a phone to her account, and they gave her the medium pressure sales pitch that if she did not add it this week the price would go up and there would be less features.

Why does this have to be so painful?


2004-02-06 14:55:03
t610, tmobile, etc.
I've had that phone w/tmobile's $40/month plan for about 6 months. Overall it's been good. Works just fine with my powerbook. Also, the only differences from the t616 are the frequencies supported, and the t610 is better if you plan on using it overseas.

I just got a new phone for my wife, also w/tmobile, but with a non-family plan. Why two separate plans? Because she only needs a few mins/month, and it's actually cheaper this way. Tmobile's prices are great except for the family plans, which suck.

BTW, thanks for serving our country!

2004-02-07 03:43:26
t610, tmobile, etc.
I think the Family Plan might work for us though, because it includes free mobile-to-mobile minutes, which appear to be an add-on for the other plans. We both travel a lot, and most of our minutes are calling each other.

Still, the pricing has been really confusing. They sell you a lot of features that sound better than they are ("detailed billing"? You mean you will account for what you are charging me?), and some things that look they they are included are not really ($0.05 per text message, so it really is not included in the price). Everything is designed to make me pay for more than I will use.

I think, in the end, the family plan for us is $70/month where two separate phones (based on our use) would be $80/month.

2004-02-07 18:49:05
Get any Sony Ericsson phone you want
Don't limit yourself to what T-mobile sells in the stores.

Go find a good Sony Ericsson phone that does what you want and then take it into the T-mobile store and have get the SIM (aka Java chip) to load in the phone.

Simple as that.

As I pointed out previously, I got the Sony Ericsson P800 which is easier to purchase internationally than in the US. I simply took it to a T-Mobile store and the phone was in operation as soon as the SIM was stuck in.