Sunday, February 17, 2013

Phone Carrier Freedom

Two weeks ago today, I decided to do what many think of as the unthinkable. I canceled my contract with my phone carrier of seven years, Verizon Wireless, without signing any new agreements with another carrier. (contract or non-contract) Many of you are probably wondering how could you live without a phone? Well, at first I wasn't sure how it was really going to work out.

My main concern was the model of the phone that I currently own, the Motorola Droid X, a CDMA phone. This phone was a nightmare to own since day one. When I renewed my two year contract, two years ago, I actually choose the HTC Incredible. Loved the phone! Until Cinco De Mayo and a really bad drop in a gas station toilet, which put an end to that thrill with only three months of ownership. After filing a claim with Asurion, and paying a $99 deductible, I was told that the HTC wasn't available for a replacement and I had to take a Droid X. Well since I didn't have a choice, that's what I ended up with. When I received it, I ended up having to send it right back. It just had so many issues with it. One month later, I sent it back again for another replacement phone. The last year and half after that, I've had countless customer service conversations with VZW and Asurion and neither will admit the phone was a consumer nightmare! I've read all the forums, everyone was complaining about similar issues and lack of acknowledgment from the carrier.  Even rooting this specific model is a nightmare. In addition to that, VZW just doesn't know how to provide tech support for smart phones. Hence why when you call, they direct you to call Asurion. Those guys want to fix your phone for another deductible charge of $99. Anyways, I was feed up! Done! My contract end date was Feb 3rd and that day couldn't come any faster.

As a new week begins, I can report that phone actually works great now as a WIFI only device. It's amazing! Why wasn't this the case the last two years??!! I'm mind boggled! If I could get the firmware changed then I'm sure the phone would be even better. I've been using free text and call apps such as Pinger and Voxer. Also, there's Google products like, Hangouts and Gtalk. As long as I'm in a WIFI zone, life is good.

When you think about it, why are we paying to stay in carrier contracts? WIFI is available in many downtown cities, around universities, restaurants, cafe's, airports, friends and families homes. If you live in a major city area such as NYC, Chicago, Philly, you really could make do with an iPod (or similar type of mobile device, like a tablet). If you're traveling, grab a pre-paid phone if your concerned about breaking down and need the security. Other than that, just stop at the million of McDonald locations all over the country for WIFI use and get back on the road. When it comes down to it, there is a McDs on every block and at least that you can count on.

To wrap things up, I feel great to not be tied to a carrier. I feel like it was the best thing I've ever done. I'll continue to chronicle my experience to keep you all updated on how things go.

Til the next blog, cheers my friends and remember to Pay it Forward!