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Movin' On Up


Being a tech journalist, I’ve always got a fair few mobile phones and devices knocking around on my desk. I also have several SIM cards that various network operators have supplied me with for testing said devices. But despite having a constant stream of hardware and a collection of operator supplied, contract free SIM cards, I still have my own phone and my own monthly contract (and bill) to go with it.

There are several reasons why I keep a consumer contract going, but the most important is continuity. You see even though I have all those SIM cards that I use to review hardware, I still want one phone number that I can hand out to friends, family and colleagues, and even more importantly, one phone number that I can print on my business card safe in the knowledge that it won’t change. My personal phone and mobile contract is with O2, not for any particular reason other than the fact that it was offering the best deal many years ago when I first signed up. I’ve been with O2 for a long time now, but I’m not so certain that I’ll be staying!

As with all good stories, it’s best to start at the beginning and the beginning is September 2005. That’s when I decided to upgrade my woefully disappointing Sony Ericsson K700i with a shiny new Samsung D600. The upgrade was free, the handset was one that I’d been waiting for and my local O2 store had one in stock – everything seemed perfect. I was then informed that if I took out an 18 month contract I would get 50 per cent more bundled calls and texts for life. It sounded like a pretty good deal, so I signed up.

It wasn’t until I got my first bill that I realised there was something wrong. Despite signing the 18 month contract it seemed that I was getting fewer minutes and texts than before. Digging a little deeper it became apparent that although I had been given the 50 per cent extra, O2 had neglected to include my original minutes and texts! A call to O2 customer services proved fruitless – I was told that it was “impossible” for them to give me my minutes and texts back.

Heading back to the O2 store, the salesman who served me told me not to worry and made a phone call. After waiting a long time and watching him become more and more uncomfortable, he put the phone down and told me the same thing – it was “impossible” for them to give me back my minutes and texts. To be fair to the salesman, he tried very hard but was at a loss as to what steps to take next.

Unfortunately, the next step was to do something that I hate doing – contacting a company’s PR department to sort out a personal problem. I contacted O2’s Press office and filled them in on the situation. Miraculously, now it appeared that it wasn’t “impossible” to restore my minutes and texts, and the guy from the O2 Press office managed to get everything sorted for me in less than a day. Of course I couldn’t help wondering if I would have ever resolved this issue had I not been a journalist.

After a couple of months I forgot about all the hassle with my upgrade, with everything seeming to run smoothly. But yesterday all those memories came flooding back once more, because yesterday I tried to upgrade my phone once more. Once again everything seemed to go smoothly in the shop, I signed another 12 month contract and was given a new Nokia E65 – I quite fancied the idea of running Fring after Sandra wrote about it last week. Obviously I would need some kind of data package to use Fring, but I was told that I could just add a data Bolt On to my tariff anytime I wanted to, which sounded fair enough. All was well until I turned my new phone on yesterday evening…

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