It’s been a while, huh? Do you wanna hear a story with a happy ending? Read on then.
I’d had my current mobile phone for a while now. It’s a HTC Desire S and it’s been a good, trusty tool for me. The spec is ok and I’ve never really had any problems with it.
Recently though I’d been thinking about rooting it. I don’t know why, just plain old curiosity probably. I’m not sure what I’d do with it after rooting it, but I’ve never quite been able to bring myself to do it. I’ve read a couple of forums and so on about it and it seems easy enough but there’s always the fear of bricking it that has stopped me.
Then yesterday my phone locked up. It stopped. Bugger. I tried rebooting it, taking the battery out for a while and restarting it, and eventually the only thing I could do start the bootloader and factory reset it. That worked for a little while, half an hour or so and then nothing again.
It’s now sat on the mantlepiece, the only thing it will do is start up in bootloader and shutdown.
Until now, I’d never really thought about how long I’d had the phone. Every reasonably priced contract is 24 months long with available at at 21 months. I logged into the Orange website to look at my account to see when I was due an upgrade. I was expecting to see I had another month or two to go, but now the little box said “Upgrade available anytime”. Excellent. That’s a bit of a result. In a subsequent conversation with the upgrade department it turns out I got my Desire S 35 months ago! I suppose that’s a testament to how well happy I am with it. In nearly two and half years it never occurred to me to change my phone, it never lacked anything enough to make me think about getting another.
Because I’m a skinflint and the latest high-end mobile phone isn’t that important to me I don’t want to be paying hundreds of pounds for a new phone. Taking this into consideration, my options for upgrading looked like a Nokia Lumina 820 LTE, a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini or an iPhone 5 16GB for nothing or a 32GB iPhone for £50.
The Nokia is Windows Phone 8 OS, and even though its spec is quite good (I’m no expert on phones btw) I really don’t want Windows. I use Windows everyday for eight hours at work, I really don’t want it on my phone as well. So that one is out. The Samsung looked ok. Every review I read said it was ok, but it was no full sized Galaxy S3 which, although the reviews were good, left me a little disappointed that it wasn’t a phone that would cost me £199 to upgrade to.
This left the iPhone. I know the iPhone. Everyone knows the iPhone. Loads of apps, good screen blah blah blah and it wouldn’t be used in a way that would mean changing loads of accessories (because of the change of connector). It doesn’t have an SD card slot so it’d have to be the 32GB version. I clicked the upgrade button and a pop up box appeared I’d have to either pay a fuck load more for it (I can’t remember how much) or change my contract to a 4G plan. I didn’t progress any further because either way, it’d cost me an arm and a leg.
In hindsight, I think I would’ve got fucked off with having to do everything through sodding iTunes very quickly.
That left the Galaxy Mini. Fair enough. On its own it looks a capable phone, and it’d cost me bugger all.
Whilst buggering about on the Orange site I thought I’d have a look at some bills and check exactly how much I’m currently paying a month when I noticed I was being charged £3.33 a month for the last fuck knows how long for something called TrafficTV. A little stupidly, I don’t always check my bills. Ok, I never check my bills. I know I should but the amount always varies a little because of 0845, 0870 and all those non-geographic numbers that organisations have started using over the last couple of years. Sometimes SayNoTo0870.com doesn’t have an alternative number and you just have to suck it up and pay a little.
It turns out TrafficTV is an app Orange bundles with their phones. It tells you about the state of traffic on your route and stuff like that. I now remember opening it once to have a look and never opened it again. That, apparently, is enough to trigger a subscription to it. I can’t moan about it being sneaky or false as it’s that long ago I can’t remember the warnings, if any, I was given about any subscription. I was still bloody angry about it and was prepared to give whoever answered the phone a load of shit about it when I called. Remember kids, always check you bill, I will now.
So, I ring Orange and eventually get through to someone to speak about this TrafficTV thing and with out hesitation the chap said he’d cancel the subscription and will refund up to £50, which is handy as I want a £40-ish refund. That completely took the wind out of my sails as I don’t have any way to prove I haven’t been using it and was expecting at least a little resistance to it. After a little bit of Googling, I think they’ve had a lot a calls like that and it’s pointless ranting to the customer service chap about it, so I got passed through to the upgrade department to order my new slightly disappointing phone.
Again, what happened I wasn’t quite expecting. When I upgraded to the HTC, I can’t remember all the details but I kept my call plan which is now getting on for 10 years old, got a discount on it, and had to pay £50 for the phone, whereas it was listed at £75 or £100. The phone was despatched to the wrong address and so arrived a day late and without even being asked, Orange refunded the £50 I had to pay.
This time, I was asked what phone I was looking at and told the Nick, for that was her name, that I was looking at the Galaxy Mini as I couldn’t justify paying nearly £200 for the big Galaxy…. and off she went. “Just give me a minute” she said and 20 seconds later, she’s offering me the Galaxy S3 LTE for nothing, on basically my plan, but twice as much data for one pound more a month. Oh and then she re-applies my 10% discount.
So now, I’ve got a phone that should’ve cost me £200, twice as much data allowance, and a monthly bill not too far shy of £5 less. 35 months ago I had to threaten to go with another phone company. I know the people on the phone have a certain amount they can do, but wtf? I was expecting to at least have to haggle/beg a bit to just got the Galaxy Mini for free.
For now though, it’s off to the forums to get work out how to fix the trusty HTC.