Being a tech journalist, Iâ€™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 wonâ€™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. Iâ€™ve been with O2 for a long time now, but Iâ€™m not so certain that Iâ€™ll be staying!
As with all good stories, itâ€™s best to start at the beginning and the beginning is September 2005. Thatâ€™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 Iâ€™d been waiting for and my local O2 store had one in stock â€“ 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 wasnâ€™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 â€“ I was told that it was â€œimpossibleâ€ 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 â€“ it was â€œimpossibleâ€ 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 â€“ contacting a companyâ€™s PR department to sort out a personal problem. I contacted O2â€™s Press office and filled them in on the situation. Miraculously, now it appeared that it wasnâ€™t â€œimpossibleâ€ 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 couldnâ€™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 â€“ 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 eveningâ€¦