"Freebie" phones

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (501 Words)

My wife was in need of a new mobile phone recently due to hers starting to become unreliable so we took a trip into town yesterday to sort one out. We’re both on contract (rather than pay-as-you-go) but they’d expired so we figured we might as well just arrange extended contracts and get new phones at the same time. Mine was getting a bit crusty too - I bought the cheapest tri-band phone there was in a hurry 3 years ago so I could use it on a short-notice trip to the US and haven’t changed it since - so I thought I’d take a look too. Although I use my phone less these days (since I’m working from home), I’ve stayed on the ‘roamer’ contract since when I have to travel it’s convenient for the phone just to work without any hassle wherever I am. It was a godsend when I was at Siggraph for sure - in fact my connection often seemed to be more reliable than some of the locals 😉

We don’t use our mobiles for anything except making calls (funny that) so we didn’t need anything particularly fancy. Whilst on a gadget-factor level I admire the more expensive phones such as the one a friend of mine bought recently, I would never shell out major cash on something I know I’ll only use the basic functionality of day-to-day. I’ve always used Nokias before, but I didn’t like any of their newer models so in the end I went for a Samsung D800, a solid-feeling slider phone (albeit a little chunkier than the newer D900) and a snip at £9. Marie went for the Sony Ericsson K510i, which is a nice small unit and is familiar to her since she had a Sony Ericsson before, plus is was free in their xmas deal. Much fun was had by all tinkering with them when we got home, although once I’d uploaded my OGRE wallpaper and Super Mario World ringtones I was pretty much done 😀

Competition in the mobile phone industry has only relatively recently been introduced into our small island (not that long ago the sole telecoms company was state owned), but you can definitely get better deals these days than you could a few years back. We now have Cable & Wireless, Wave Telecom and very soon Bharti which is definitely improving prices, even though we still get taken to the cleaners in relative terms on most things - as borne out by the fact that paltry 1Mb (unlimited) broadband still sets us back a shameful £25 per month - even in rural areas of the UK like where my parents live you can get significantly better unlimited deals than that (UK Broadband Checker). Hopefully the continued pressure of competition will improve the situation here, especially now Wave are investing in their own undersea cable links so C&W can’t always play the ‘we own the infrastructure’ card like BT did in the UK for so long.