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Getting a New Phone from Cingular

Discussion in 'Central US Wireless Forum' started by erub, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. erub

    erub Junior Member
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    I want the Nokia 3360 (well I was almost 100% sure I did, until I just read another post about how its a bad phone...). The problem is I think that Cingular's "upgrade prices" are astronimacally high. I really like Cingular, I have had great customer service and very good reception here in Dallas and in College Station (where I'll probably go to college next year). My phone however is a piece of trash StarTAC (I bought it used...I just don't like it, good thing I only paid $30 for it). As a good loyal 2 year customer, Cingular is rewarding me with the option of paying $50 if I sign another 2 year contract for the phone, or $170!! for a 1 year contract.

    AT&T on the other hand, will give it to me for $45 with a 1 year agreement (of course then I have to pay a $35 activation fee, but I have a $25 off coupon, so effectively $55 for the phone), or only $10 if I sign a 2 year agreement (activation fee waived). I like the rate plans of Cingular though (right now I have the 29.99 home plan, 250 anytime with unlimited nights & weekends), whereas AT&T has a 29.99 home plan with 250 anytime but only 1000 nights & weekends (not that I could ever use 1000 minutes, but its nice to know that I can just yak as long as I want...).

    Do you think there is any chance I can get them to do some sort of price-matching (maybe by calling up and threating to cancel - I'd rather not do this though).
     
  2. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Wireless Provider(s):
    AT&T & Verizon
    While the cellular market is very competitive, it hasn't yet reached the level of WalMart and Target, "If you can find the price cheaper somewhere else, we'll match or beat it." In my experiece, their rates are non-negotiable. (Probably has something to do with FCC regulations, etc.)

    As far as your decision delimma, here is what I do when faced with "do I listen to my heart or my head?" On a piece of paper, draw three columns. In the first column write the feature of the company, service and phone you like. In the 2nd column, write "Cingular" as the heading. In the 3rd column, write "ATT" as the heading. Fill in the spaces and then give it thought. Your head (logical) side may win out, or, after considering all the facts, you heart (emotional side) may just say "I don't give a dang what the facts say, here is what I WANT to do...." Here's a starter list for you.

    <u>FINANCIAL</u>
    Rate Plan
    Phone Costs
    Additional One-time Costs

    <u>SERVICE</u>
    Customer Service
    Network Coverage
    Network Services (voicemail, sms, etc)
    Roaming / Long Distance
    Per-minute overage charges

    Happy decision-making,
    Kevin
     
  3. erub

    erub Junior Member
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    Well guess what? I was in Best Buy today, and since they had a big ol' Cingular advertisement I stroll up to see what's going on. Rate plan is $35, with 300 anytime minutes, long distance included and unlimited nights and weekends. Phone is $50 + 35 activation fee, but they give you $100 back for signing a 1 year agreement - way cool :) (Nokia 3360).
     
  4. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    The ATT store I bought my Panasonic Allure from (last week) indicated they had several returns on 3360 due to faulty on/off circuitry. I am interested on hearing your experience after you've had it a while.
     
  5. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    I would be surprised if you will be able to start new service with Best Buy (Cingular) since you already have service. Unless I'm misreading your posting you will still need to upgrade to the Nokia 3360 and pay that price not the new customer price. Keep in mind you can't just cancel the 1 line even if you aren't under contract and sign a new contract with the same carrier. There is one way around this if your married, you can get the other phone in your wifes name with the same carrier and then it wouldn't matter. The only other problem is you would get a new number. Number portability isn't here yet (November 2002).

    Tom
     
  6. erub

    erub Junior Member
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    Well, if Cingular won't let me keep my current phone number, perhaps I can get a new account under my name. My account is currently under my grandmother's name, but I will be turning 18 on December 23rd, so maybe I can get the name under my own account. Will they give me wireless service with no credit history whatsoever (I have high enough household income, but I do not currently have a job or credit...)? I don't understand what you mean by number portability. Why wouldn't Cingular not treat their existing customers as well as they would treat their new customers (espically since the existing customer could cancel service once the contract is over...)?
     
  7. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    Erub,
    To answer your first question, whether you can get credit being 18 but have no credit history? My guess is they will want a deposit. The credit scoring system does change depending on the marketplace. For instance, if sales are down the carrier might loosen the credit requirements to entice more customers but if times our good, which I would say they are, they can be choosy with who they extend credit. Keep this in mind, when you buy a car and you don't pay your bill they can always come take your car away. However, when you get service and don't pay your bill there's really nothing they can get from you that has any value. Granted they may shut off your service but it doesn't help them recover any loss revenue from someone not paying their bill. Definitely try and get the phone in your name but don't be surprised to have to put a security deposit down. The security deposit either will be refunded after 6 months or they will apply it to your bill right away, this changes from carrier to carrier. My educated guess your security deposit will be around $300. Let me know if I'm close.

    Your other question regarding why the carrier treats new and existing customers differently has been an area of debate for sometime. I'll give you my take on it. The cell phones you get at a store are subsudize quite a bit meaning the phone may cost $200 but you will get it for free when you sign up for service. To recoup their money, ($200) they hope to make at least that much during the length of your contract. It's only after they make back the $200 do they start making a profit on you. What the carrier is betting on is that most customers will stay on long after the minimum contract is expired and that the customer spends more than the airtime package they signed up for. When an existing customer wants a new phone they have already absorbed the cost of the 1st phone you got from them. So they try not to give as big of a discount on the equipment although you do get a discount. In the above example the phone cost $200 so maybe the carrier will sell it for $49 instead to existing customers but then tell them they will save on the activation fee (you are an existing customer after all). Activation fee can run $25-35 bucks. Additionally, sometimes they will entice existing customers with free weekends promos or free accessories, again this is dictated by the market. The other thing is your cellular phone #. The carriers are betting you are attached to that number meaning you gave it out to all your friends and wouldn't want to change it. This is where number portability comes in. Currently the number belongs to the carrier so if you switch to AT&amp;T for example you can't keep that number. However, in November 2002 this will change. The number will belong to the customer and where they go the number will follow. When this happens you will inevitibly see changes from the carrier on how to handle existing customers.

    Sorry about the long response, if I confused you let me know and I'll try to explain it better

    Tom
     
  8. erub

    erub Junior Member
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    Wow, thanks for answering my questions :) I don't have $300 to give them, I don't really care if I get the phone in my own name or not (I'll wait till I build up some history with credit cards).

    I called a few local stores (besides Best Buy), and the going rate for &quot;upgrade elgible customers&quot; (which I should be) for the 3360 is $50 + a $20 upgrade fee (quoted at many places). The only problem with this is that you have to extend your contract with them for 2 years.

    Best Buy has the best deal...dang. I talked to the Cingular rep at Best Buy, he said that they can't offer me a deal because those are Best Buy's phones that are real cheap. The 3360 from them is $45 + 35 activatoin fee, but you get $100 back..meaning you make $20, and they only require a 1 year commiteement with a rate plan of $35 or more (which I wouldn't mind switching to). I'm very tempted to do this...but I don't want to change my #. I'm not exactly sure which way I'm going to go at this point, but I think that for now I will stay with my current phone. I am going off to college in September, so I will need a new cell phone # then, so it won't be a big deal to cancel and rejoin at that time to get whatever the latest promo is.
     
  9. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

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    Unless you don't mind dropping calls, dead areas, poor quality and a greater possibility of breakdown, don't buy a cellphone from Best Buy. You said it, they are cheap! Remember, you get what you pay for.

    Stay away from Radio Schack too.
     
  10. erub

    erub Junior Member
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    Buzz:

    The phones they are selling are new in box. Do you really think Nokia is giving worse merchandise to Best Buy? That's unbelievable and completely dishonest on both Best Buy's and Nokia's part. I think those are just promotional prices. I bought a Visiontek Geforce Ti-200 from Best Buy this morning for $99 after MIR, about half of what they go online for. Its the exact same card I could have got anywhere else, except that it was cheaper.
     
  11. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    Buzz,

    Erub is right. The phones at Best Buy or Radio Shack are the same phones sold by the carriers. The service is also provided by the carriers as Erub mentions in regards to Cingular at Best Buy. Best Buy can generally offer better prices because they sell alot of phones and therefore their commission ramp is higher. All the carriers have agents (ie. Best Buy) that sell phones for them. They give the agents commission and then based on sales volume will give a bigger commission (higher on the ramp).

    Erub, good luck at college and on your quest for a new cell phone.

    -Tom
     
  12. rlugo74

    rlugo74 New Member

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    Here in the northeast I can see haw many phone each dealer sells for Cingular, and Best Buy and Circuit City number are very low, thats probably why they sell the phones cheap, to get customers to come to their stores and buy something else.And yes, they sell the real deal.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Ok here's why there is a difference:

    Even though the model phones may be the same, the software is different. Each carrier gets its own peticular software for a particular market. I have personally dealt with Radio Schack, Best Buy and others and I KNOW that even though they are the same model you are definitly not getting the same product, I have seen it first hand MANY MANY times.

    I don't care if you don't want to believe me, but I thought it would be helpful.
     
  14. DiverDown

    DiverDown Member
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    Listen you can get any phone you want for cheap OK. Arguing with these idiots who work there is the best part. I have Verizon Service, and have had The Samsung 850 (which costed $300 at the time), which I got for $100 only to trade it in for the Motorola Timport P8767 3 months later and getting that for free, it two costs three hundred dollars. Do you want to know how I did it, I bitched. Do you know that the salesmen at Verizon and Cingular don't make money on anything but the contracts. They don't make a penny more if you take the free P.O.S. ericcson or the $500 dollar palm phone, same with At&amp;T. That means that there commissions are souley from the sale of a new or renewed contract. (I know this for fact don't argue it because I have friends who have worked at all 3) So all you have to do is _____ enough and I guarantee that you won't have to pay a penny more then $50. Especiall for the 3360, ____ for that phone I promise that if you haggle enough you can get it for free, just mention that Voicstream is giving the 3390 out for free. And if they bother you with that, and you live in Michigan mention me as your lawyer. Stick up for your rights as a complaing consumer and you can get what you want.

    P.S. If you are attracted to the salesperson and want to ask them out on a date these tatics will defintely not help.
     
  15. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    I should follow KevinJames' advice and not respond to people who post under &quot;Anonymous&quot; but I feel compelled to make sure others who read that post don't fall for that bs. The phones are the SAME!!!! Software is the SAME!!! I've worked in the industry for 8 years and that IS A FACT! The only thing different about anyone's software is the IRDB or PRL that is loaded into the phones. All this does is allow the phone to roam correctly and pick up your extended home coverage area. Anyone who claims otherwise is ignorant to the wireless industry.

    Tom
     
  16. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Tom,

    Bravo! I cringed when I read that post about different software. I so much wanted to challenge the lack of tangible and logical evidence. His last line, &quot;I don't care if you don't want to believe me, but I thought it would be helpful,&quot; is a classic deceptive phrase. Something similar was used in the garden of Eden. But I was hoping an industry representative would respond--and indeed you did.

    Oh, and about anonymous posters: I respond to them, just not to anonymous insulters. Those type are the same people that leave those flaming bags of doggy-poop at your door, ring the bell, and then run. If we over-react in our response to it (stomp out the fire) we just end up with poop all over our feet.

    Kevin
     
  17. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    Kevin,

    Too funny. Great analogy.

    Tom
     
  18. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

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    I didn't realize my comment above would cause such a heated debate and such negative responses. There is evidence, worldcom tom, of differences. First you can simply check the software version in the phones, but that isn't that compelling. Secondly and more importantly go into testmode and check for flex codes and other things. I am not that versed in this subject nor do I care to be, but for the good of the industry it seems this subject could use some unopinionated investigating rather than just terse objections.
     
  19. Untitled1

    Untitled1 New Member

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    There is a disadvantage from buying from Best Buy, and other retailers in that they sometimes still sell phones that's been discontinued by the carrier. For example, Cingular stopped selling the Nokia 5120 months ago. But if you go to Best Buy and sign up for new service, you may still be sold a 5120.
     
  20. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    Buzz,

    I respectfully disagree with your statement. Going into the testmode will not support your agruement. The testmode will allow you set your settings, among other things, but the software of the phone will be identical to a phone bought at another carrier. If the model shows Motorola V60t, then regardless of where it is purchased it will of the same quality, same features, and same software. I will admit the manufacturers will upgrade the software in models of time to time and if this happens you may have 2 versions of the same phone but this is not intended to be distributed differently only to upgrade the software when needed, Ericsson does this alot. If you believe that they are different then so be it and make your choices based on that notion.

    The other poster, &quot;Untitled&quot;, brings up an entirely different, albeit, valid point. Sometimes discontinued phones will be sold at some of these type of retailers mainly because they can move large volumes. But don't confuse that with a different version of software in the same model phone. He is referring to different and older model phones being sold at the Best Buy type stores.
     
  21. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

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    Thanks for your comment Worldcom Tom. You bring up an interesting point.
    I remember something interesting that we had a problem with before with radio schack with the Motorola 7868.
    When we put the radio shack phones in testmode:
    FCN,0,0,*,*,8,3,7,8,6,6,3,3,STO
    (you will see US ')
    then hit 1940# we would see flex code: 40 ca0d and ONLY radio schack had this flex code with software 6775. These were not compatable and would cause problems.
    In the meantime our direct agents were selling 7868's with our newest version software (sorry I can't remember what it was)which had corrected several major network issues.

    This isn't the only issue we had with Radio Schack. The worst was at one time they were selling nokia 5180's. We told radio shack SEVERAL times that those phones failed testing on our network and not to sell them with our service. They did anyway.

    Best Buy did the same thing with the ericson 318.

    I don't know, it's been a while since I dealt with it and these issues happend a few months ago and to be fair, maybe it's better now.
     
  22. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Member
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    Buzz,

    Just curious, who did you work for? Verizon? Obviously a CDMA carrier. It's not important but when I was reading your post I could tell you worked in the industry.

    Tom
     
  23. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Gents (Buzz &amp; Tom),

    Admittedly, this is a bit beyond my knowledge level (well, okay, its way over my head). I've never even heard of a &quot;flex&quot; code. I would like to recommend that you both start a new thread under the Wireless Technologies forum and see if other experienced wireless-tech-types will pick up on it. This interesting and worthy subject is being obscured under the present heading (&quot;Getting a New Phone from Cingular&quot;).

    Kevin
     
  24. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

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    worldcom tom, check &quot;help ! need to terminate contract&quot; in southern forum
     

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