Donald MacInnes: I'm so close to release from my mountain of mobile woes
In The Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Saturday 23 February 2013
As I write this, the good news is that I appear to be mere hours away from liberation from my contract with one of the country's largest mobile phone networks.
Last week I mentioned that I was too much of a gentleman to name the culprit, although my one concession to whistleblowing was to say that its name rhymed with certain other words. Like "pee". For a further clue, I shall add that the name of this network is a number which is more than two but fewer than four. In truth, I have been of a mind to divorce myself from this operation for the past nine months or so, but was fool enough to sign with them on a two-year contract in March 2011. Idiot!
So what was it about the service that made me so disenchanted?
Firstly, the cost. Being a sullen, uncommunicative Scottish man – and not 15 years old – I would probably struggle to exceed my monthly text allowance even if stranded alone up a snow-blighted mountain for 16 days. Once I had alerted the local St Bernard dog to come and douse me in Courvoisier, I would just sit and enjoy the view. I wouldn't begin to describe my plight to my 2,300 friends. "Stck up mtn. LOL. Freezin! N e 1 got n e sox?????"
I also don't use my phone as a phone that often. Maybe two calls a day? Maybe.
And what about internet use? Well, the handset I was given by the network could certainly find some websites but, given that it would be the next day when it finally connected and your reason for wanting to look at the BBC Sport website would have been long forgotten, the desire to try to get online was never overwhelming.
So, I was effectively using my phone to send maybe five texts and day and make a couple of calls. That's it.
Then there was the actual network connection. I used to have to go to the front door at home to get enough of a connection to make or receive calls. As far as texts go, I could send them fine. As long as I held my handset upside down while I was doing it.
In spite of this, my average monthly bill was about £42. This is quite a lot of money for a service that could only be worse if someone in T-shirt branded with the network's logo came round to your home every Tuesday and kicked you in the whatnots.
So, be careful who you sign up for. I'm just hoping my new network doesn't eventually make me want to stop breathing oxygen…
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