[olug] Next Time don't get into a contract if you can help it.

drag sidious minimus drag at bluddclot.com
Wed Mar 3 18:10:19 UTC 2010

On Wed, Mar 03, 2010 at 10:17:53AM -0600, T. J. Brumfield wrote:
> I really wanted an Android phone to play with, but when I was in the
> market, T-Mobile was the only providered offering an Android phone,
> and T-Mobile doesn't really haver coverage in Omaha. Now that Verizon
> has an Android phone, I'm considering moving over to them next time
> I'm out of contract, but that is over a year away.
> -- T. J.

May I suggest just purchasing a phone at full retail price in the

I know that it's more expensive up-front cost, but the advantage is that
you can avoid getting locked into one carrier while avoiding the custom
firmware and locked down phones.  You can purchase a phone online and be
able to use it with any carrier that that phone's network capabilities

I made that common mistake of getting locked into a phone when I
purchased my Sony Ericsson phone. I got into a 2-year contract with AT&T
and ended up with a decent-enough phone (but no Android phone!) with a
crippled custom version of AT&T's firmware. Just miserable; AT&T wanted
to charge me for every little thing from ring tones to playing music on
it. But I figured out how to hack it to drop the retail firmware on it,
which just opened up the functionality of the device massively.

With CDMA-style networks like Verizon you unfortunately get your phone
configured and registered by Verizon before you use it on their network.
However with GSM-based networks like AT&T and T-mobile your service is
tied to a 'SIM' card, which is just a little chip embedded in a small
piece of plastic that you slot into your phone. 

With the 'SIM card' any phone you plug it into will automatically be the
phone you can use to access your account.

Now keep in mind that some 'subsidized phones' (discounted phones you
purchase as part of a contract) are locked into a particular SIM, but
that is more of a function of the restricted firmware then anything to
do with the SIM card or GSM. In Europe and Asia it is very typical to
have racks of SIM cards sold at convenience stores and whatnot... only in
the USA is it very common to get locked into multi-year contracts and all
the fees and penalties associated with that.

For example...
I broke the LCD on my Sony phone and it took me a while to replace it.
So for a couple months I used just a cheap Nokia 'Go Phone' that I
purchased from best buy for like 20-25 bucks. When I bought it, told the
clerk not to activate the SIM card it came with. I threw that one away
and took the SIM card out of my Sony phone and put into the 'Go Phone'
and it worked fine. (And, of course, the part most likely to break on
the phone is not covered by anything)

So in the future I am going to buy a Nokia N900, Google Nexus, or some
other Android-based smart phone at full retail price and just get 1-3
month service contracts. And if AT&T pisses me off again, I'll just jump
ship to T-mobile or whatever. No fines, no early termination fees or any
such nonsense.

The only thing that serious sucks is that most Android phones in the USA
only support T-mobiles 3G network frequencies. AT&T uses a different set
of frequencies for 3G access.

BTW, never, ever, buy a Sony phone. As Java-enabled features phones go
the ones they make are pretty decent, but the damn proprietary
connectors on them are just utter crap.

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