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What comes first in your decision: Carrier or cell phone?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 20, 2004 5:29 AM PST

Do you shop for a carrier before you even consider what phone to get dreamy about? Or is it vice-versa?

Tell us how you decide right here and why?

-Lee Koo
CNET Community

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by jefs / December 20, 2004 5:35 AM PST

If the phone doesn't work, it doesn't matter how great the device is without any service. However, I'm running into a snag as I really don't like the phones that Verizon has but their service is the best here.

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Phones, then carrier, then phones...
by jbroshear / March 1, 2006 12:39 AM PST
In reply to: Carrier!!!!!

1st - Basic phone features wanted (size, bluetooth, etc.). That may eliminate 1 or 2 carriers

2nd - Carrier all the way (coverage, rate plan)

3rd - Back to phones to narrow choices if there are any

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by PudgyOne / December 20, 2004 7:18 AM PST

It all depends on how much you use your cell phone.

If you do not use it alot, Then you want a plan that you pay as you go.

If you use your phone alot then you need to look for a plan that suits you as well as when you are on the go.

You need to ask yourself if you want FREE roaming or want to pay for it.

FREE long distance or pay for it.

FREE Text messaging or pay for a fee or pay for each.

Lots of questions that only the individual person can answer.

Myself, I do not use a cell phone much. I am using a pay as you go service.

Do the math.

Check the price of a phone card from Cingular. Divide it by the number of minutes you get. Price is (if I'm correct) approximately $.34 a minute. Add roaming and it equals 2 units or $.68 a minute. Check out another carrier and it charges $.25 a minute for the first 10 minutes everyday and $.10 cent a minute after that. FREE roaming (FREE is nice) and receive text messages for Free, $.10 each to send.

I have decided on a carrier that I think will suit my needs.

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Choosing Carrier or Phone
by sking / December 20, 2004 8:34 AM PST

I have been a cell phone user for quite some time. I use it for both personal and business and I think you should discuss with area customers the signal strength, number and location of towers, and if calls are dropped. I have been with Alltel here in Montgomery, Alabama and the signal strength and coverage area meet my needs. It doesn't matter how cool the phone is if the carrier can not support your needs.

My business is switching to Nextel in this area and my initial experience is they are not as customer oriented (responsiveness)as Alltel. Some people are complaining of dropped calls. We are going with them for the Direct Connect Walkie Talkie feature to save money.

I think you should choose a reliable carrier with good area coverage and strong customer support. Go to their office and see how responsive they are to your visit - that will give you a pretty good indicator.

The weaker the signal, or the harder the phone has to work to maintain a signal, ultimately drains the battery faster.

Ask them to provide you with a demo or a three day trial. Travel around the area and see how well the demo functions.

Choose the Carrier first and be patient regarding the selection of phones.

Watch out for contract length. Now that you are allowed to transfer your phone number ("portability" or "porting"), carriers are trying to lock you in to two and three year contracts with cool and expensive phones. The prepay or trial/demo might be something you want to consider.


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cell phone or carrier
by rebel 2435 / December 20, 2004 7:21 PM PST

Carrier first then cell phone

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Carrier or cell phone?
by mingsen / December 20, 2004 7:23 PM PST

I go for carrier first.

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"it's not the machine, it's the man"
by PatrickM / December 20, 2004 7:39 PM PST

Hi All!

This quote is from Chuck Yeager, first man to fly over the sound barrier.

What definitely counts for me, it is what the user expects from the combo service/material (operator vs material).

In short: here in Portugal, as in other countries i guess, services have pros and cons, but are all-in-all about the same.

Remains the equipments, the phones themselves. As the operators usually provide them with exclusivity to their network, a huge market of all-operators phones (read: unlocked) has rised.

They are legal, anyway, as you buy the phone without contracting a service to a particular operator.

Thus, people can have the phone that suits best their needs, THEN chosing an operator.

And why not, lots of people have more SIM cards (from other operators) to use whenever it is judicious (ie. less expensive, as the coverage is about equal).

Likewise, the important is how people feel with a particular phone model.

As far as I know, in France there is a jurisprudence, not being 100% sure, that even contractual phones may be legally unlocked after 6 months.

It is somehow one of the questions of the open-source: why when you buy something should you be stuck?

It is a hot subject here in Europe.

Great Holidays and a Happy 2005 to you Lee, to all the staff at CNET, to all the readers, and why not, to all of the world.

Patrick M.

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by jwerner / December 20, 2004 8:03 PM PST

Years ago had originaly picked equipment but then found out what roaming charges were all about--then made sure that coverage and service areas were the priority--then would pick the right equipment--although after reading info and reviews on Treo 650 i'm sorry i'm with a different company right now--waiting patiently....

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Carrier or phone
by jstrotman / December 20, 2004 8:33 PM PST

I shopped for a carrier. Wireless coverage, so I can use my laptop anywhere in greater Atlanta area.

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Which came first the carrier or the cell phone?
by j_reid69 / December 20, 2004 8:35 PM PST

You mean there are people in the US who choose their phone and then go with that carrier?

We have been using cell phones since before the "bag" unit - and they weren't too mobile at that time either.

We have used many companies simultaneously in an attempt to improve our coverage area or cost of use. These are the companies we have used through the years in the order we used them (as service declined we moved on).

Verizon - this is the back-up to the Nextel phone
and experienced a friend's T-Mobile

My husband is an over-the-road truck driver and the ability to make a phone call from anywhere directly effects our income. We are very interested in the most minutes for the money and at this time Nextel wins the prize - unlimited usage for $299.99 a month. Hopefully Sprint won't screw that up. Nextel appears to have the most durable phones at this time which is also a priority in a truck. We use their military edition i305 - it fits a man's hand well. Their sound quality has very much impressed us and their coverage area just keeps expanding - and obviously just underwent another expansion with the Sprint merger. Hopefully Sprint will let Nextel handle customer service. Verizon appears to have the best coverage area, but has not matched that with the best rate plans overall. Every carrier we have used has had a range of phones to choose from, so the phone has definitely been secondary in our house.

We also use data cards - currently we use Sprint's unlimited usage for $79.99 a month and it has served us well. I was very intereted in Verizon's recent offering of a high speed card, but once again they dropped the ball on the rate plan for it, so for now we are sticking with the Sprint card.

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$299.99 a month for a cell phone?
by mooseketer / December 20, 2004 10:26 PM PST

$299.99 a month for a cell phone? WOW!! My Cingular bill is only $59.99 a month for 2 phones and share minutes. I can talk to any other Cingular customer in the U.S. for FREE and there is FREE roaming. ET uses Cingular to phone home because home is also a Cingular customer.

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$299.99 a month for a cell phone?
by j_reid69 / February 28, 2006 11:11 PM PST

That is unlimited usage to speak to anyone including ET - it a business phone not a talk to my brother and sister who have the same carrier phone. We use at the very least 6000 minutes a month.

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I guess it's true... there's a sucker born every minute.

If you are in fact paying $299.99 a month you are being ripped off. You whine about Sprint for some reason, but if you had Sprint you could have two phones for about $60 and have unlimited nights, weekends, and Sprint to Sprint calls.

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I guess it's true... there's a sucker born every minute.
by j_reid69 / February 28, 2006 11:14 PM PST

I love these responses from people who only carry a cell phone so that they can contact their best bud to meet them for eats and treats - this is a business phone - we do business 7 days a week 24 hours a day - we use at least 6000 minutes a month. Do the math - unlimited minutes for $300 - now see what you are paying - you are right - there is a sucker born every minute.

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Carrier features first
by dar4jc2000 / December 20, 2004 8:35 PM PST

I came reluctantly into the cellphone world... and I have only owned two phones.

My experience is limited to AT&T and Cingular, but I learn each time I am ready to switch!

A carrier's ability to provide good and consistent reception in as much of the areas I travel in, with little or no service disruptions or busy signals is VERY important.

Having a phone/carrier that ALERTS me to the fact that the phone conversation has been terminated when either party loses its signal is also important.

What I have discovered is EQUALLY important is customer service, ESPECIALLY when it comes to billing issues! Cingular fails on this count, presently. Although we got the issue resolved, it took nearly 6 months of aggravating conversations with a whole string of customer service representatives to get it fixed.

If I had my "druthers," I would like to have e-mail and telephone contact with Customer Service supervisors, and all the way up the chain of command to get problems resolved quickly and efficiently!

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Carrier or Cell Phone
by the_kcar / December 20, 2004 8:40 PM PST

I have a model of cell phone which is 90's package...text screen and lcd and all ... you get idea.

Friend has clamshell photo phone, pictures, layout looks like WIN CE, latest model, slow boot-up, full works, state of the art, you get idea....

We're both on same carrier. We're both in his driveway. We both have our phones on. I call his cell phone, and leave a voice mail message.

He doesn't believe this, but he then glares at me as his phone rings out the latest rock tune to let him know he has a message as I drive off...the message he just heard me give while there in his driveway...

He calls me on my cellphone, which gives off the irritating digital beep, and says a few unprintable expletives...

Our earlier discussion before this demonstration was this same topic: carrier or cell phone. I stated I refuse to upgrade my cell phone, can get used parts, it works better for receptivity, and unless I can recieve cell signal indoors in a building made of breeze block I won't switch carriers, either.

I think I've said enough ;).

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Re:What comes first in your decision: Carrier or cell phone?
by TVCCS / December 20, 2004 8:53 PM PST I want it to do certain things. A Treo 650 is my new object of mini-lust. I currently use Sprint, if another carrier came along with equivalent or better coverage and comparable rates, I'd look at them.

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Mini Lust
by jeffwander / December 27, 2004 8:49 AM PST

Have you heard anything about the Audiovox PPC-6600 due out next month compared to the Treo 650?

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cell phone priorities
by doubledee49441 / December 20, 2004 9:12 PM PST

I work in retail and we have both contract and prepaid phones. It has been my experience that more people look for the phone they like over the carrier or type of service.

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Carrier or Cell Phone
by toowoomba / December 20, 2004 9:19 PM PST

My first choice is carrier and I research their plans. I want the cheapest with the best coverage. Then I look for a phone that doesn't have a camera on it because every business I work with does not allow them in their buildings or on their property. From there, I look for the smallest one listed with good ratings from the CNET website. I must admit, I've gotten hooked on wireless surfing and messaging, so multimedia capabilities is now a must.

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Cell selection
by pacarm / December 20, 2004 9:23 PM PST

Everyone forget the hearing-impaired? No surprise there. Everyone take their hearing for granted. Us, deaf persons choose the T-Mobile Sidekick a.k.a. Danger Hiptop. Has virtually EVERYTHING in it. AOL IM. Yahoo IM, Sprint and MCI Wireless Relay. For a fee of approx. $9.00 a month, includes TDD to TDD communication (TDD = Telephone Device for Deaf) Comes with Cellular Service as well, not needed or, signed for but, still can be used in emergency situation or, if needed at any time. Normal relatives/family members can also use it. Surf the web, take pictures, keep directory. Play games! Even send text messages to standard cellular phones! All with a great querty keyboard, no less!

High time for that device to finally appear! Three cheers for Danger and, their creators!

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What comes first in your decision: Carrier or cell phone?
by TWK / December 20, 2004 9:34 PM PST

Carrier first, and expect them to give out a free
phone, I want a full size hand set with a big brick
phone so I can put it under the of the car seat.

The old bag phone was perfect for older adults.
Can not use the new little phones so I am planning
on not using cell phones until they come out with
a more common sense cell phone.

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Carrier or phone
by Lrothfl / December 21, 2004 12:51 AM PST

I have been a cell phone user since I purchased my first "brick" way back in the dark ages. I have been with AT&T for years on their TDMA system. We, also, now have a T-Mobile tri-band, international GSM phone so that we have phone communications when we travel outside of the United States. In the United States - give me my TDMA phone and service. It never fails me except in the worst of mountain roads. The GSM still shows no service in too many areas in the United States. For the rest of the world - it's GSM and - so far - T-Mobile has the best world "roaming" rates.

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WOW!! have you tried...
by robert56h / December 21, 2004 5:23 AM PST

Have you tried TracFone?? They still have the Nokia 918's and they are not so small. Have to go to walmart or Radio shack for them unless you can find a Pilot truck stop in your area.

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cell phones or system
by 13336984 / December 20, 2004 9:35 PM PST

I have always thought selecting the right wireless vendor the place to begin. For most I suspect, including me, most of the bells available on the phone I use are not used. I like a phone with which I can easily create a phone number list and after that I have little need for more.

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If $'s matter, Cell Carrier Plan is 1st over phone
by gmasters / December 20, 2004 9:36 PM PST

Razor or razor blades? they give the razor away to get you hooked on the monthly cost of blades- same with mobile... Over time (even just the initial 2 years) the monthly cost of the plan will exceed the cost of the phone. I am a PDA phone user and prefer PocketPC Phone vs Palm, but I bought a Palm Treo600 because it was available on a great Plan w AT&T wireless (1000 minutes for $39) vs my prefered phone, the Samsung i700 that was only available on Verizon at 400 minutes for the same monthly fee. I still miss the PocketPC interface, but the Palm has some redeming values and eventually AT&T will offer a decent PocketPC phone I can trade up to.....(MPX220 now looks nice, but is only a Win-Mobile phone, not full PPC- so still waiting- hint-hint)

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What comes first in your decision: Carrier or cell phone?
by Jim Creek / December 20, 2004 10:13 PM PST

Definately carrier. The wiz-bang of the cell phone fades, yet the bill comes every month for the two years or so that you commit.

Happy Holidays!

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Carrier or Cell Phone
by mooseketer / December 20, 2004 10:14 PM PST

Hey, I bought one of those 'bricks' when they first came out. Paid $250+ for it. Now I look for a good carrier, one that provides the coverage I want and the rates I can afford. Then I ask: "What phones do you have for FREE!!" I just switched to Cingular and received 2 free Camera phones. A far cry from the "brick".

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What comes first in your decision: Carrier or cell phone?
by Gyle McCollam / December 20, 2004 10:14 PM PST

Definitely the carrier. The best plan and coverage, even "pay-as-you-go", is the most important choice. The phone is only as good as the carrier.

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Gotta be the carrier.....
by critique / December 20, 2004 10:16 PM PST

...unless you live in an area where all carriers have 100% signal strength in all areas in which you go....

As someone else said here, Verizon is the top dog in my region (Southeastern US). All day at the office all I hear is folks moaning about AT&T, Sprint, Cingular, etc.. and how they can't ever get a signal or calls get dropped. I've never dropped, nor have I not had a signal, even inside a large building.
... Can you hear me now?


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