July 5, 2007

iPhone, days later

So I've been using the iPhone for around 6 days now. I migrated my phone number from Verizon Wireless, where I'd been a customer for around 12 years, to AT&T/Cingular - because I wanted this phone. Verizon promptly threw a 24-hour hold on my number transfer when I tried to autoactivate the iPhone. I will admit it's only the conspiracy theorist in me that notes that 2 hours before that period was up, I got a hard-press phone call from the Retentions department at Verizon.

I didn't really enjoy it. I told the lady on the other end of the phone I'd just gotten an iPhone. She made a great effort to sound shocked. "But you've been with us for twelve years!" she exclaimed. "You can't be leaving because of a phone!"

Um. Yes, actually, I can. See, up until now, all phones have sucked. A lot. I almost left Verizon when I couldn't get a decent Palm phone, but they got theirs out in time, and I stuck around. First for the Kyocera 7135, which was a great phone; then for the Treo 650, which is a crappy phone and middlin' PDA. I stuck with Verizon because I agreed with her next attempt:

"But we have the best network!"

Yes ma'am, I said, you surely do. And that's why I've stayed this long. But you cripple features on your phones so I can't use them and you make more money. You cripple dialup access on phones which will do it strictly to get me to buy a data plan. You backslide on 'unlimited' data access plans when people start using them as actual unlimited data plans. You lock down ringtones, multimedia, you name it.

"But you have to buy your media from Apple now! We have multimedia phones that are just as good as that one!" (that's a quote.)

Er, no. See, whatever your position on the whole FairPlay DRM kerfluffle, one thing nobody has really denied is that you can always do what I do - which is (for the most part) take your CD collection, rip it into unprotected format, and dump it to your iPod. And now, your iPhone. So no, I don't have to buy my music from Apple. Some of it I do (at last count, it looks like 1.6% or thereabouts of my library- 0.0157, that is.) Most of it, though, comes from the umpty-ump hundred CDs I've bought. Some comes from free downloads, like the entirety of Splashdown's catalogue or the Kleptones. Some, indeed, is illegal music; I won't pretend otherwise. I don't have an easy way to calc that, but it's probably something like 3%-4% of the library from a random sample I grabbed. In any case, it took all my effort not to burst out laughing at her. Your phones are just as good. I know. It's just not fair that nobody buys them, is it.

I told her that I had really been hoping Verizon had taken the iPhone. I knew that Apple had offered it to Verizon first. As a Verizon customer, I hadn't known that at the time, but had they asked me, I would have told them unequivocally to take it; I would have indicated that (at the time) I was willing to pay what I'd just paid for the iPhone, and to Verizon, and that I'd probably have been willing to incur a small monthly surcharge for it. Indeed, I incurred a $9 higher fee for AT&T's middle rate plan.

"Oh, but they insulted our company with the offer they made us."

Well, folks, that's not my problem. That sounds like pride. Which is all well and good, but guess what? I'm your customer. I was for twelve years. I am telling you, now, apparently in the only way that matters, that your pride meant bupkes to me. The network meant something to me as long as the equipment playing field was relatively even. But I consider the iPhone an uneven playing field, and your network doesn't even the gap.

Dear Verizon: If you haven't figured out yet that you fucked up, well, this won't teach you. If you have figured it out, then this won't mean anything. All it is is a blog post saying I tried to tell you but you weren't listening.

Having said that to get it off my chest, there are some things Verizon should be proud of. AT&T/Cingular's network, in the Cambridge/Boston area and up to Vermont along I-93/I-89/I-91, is incredibly shitty compared to Verizon's. The whole 'Fewest dropped calls!' claim on AT&T's billboards? Yeah, right. I never really had dropped calls on Verizon enough to notice them; one or two a month, maybe, and usually when I was on the phone with another cell user. So far this week, I've counted fifteen. FIFTEEN. Ten of those when I wasn't moving, and when I was in a five-bar signal area. Your network sucks ass, AT&T.

Furthermore, coverage is abysmal. Leave the major metro area, and it turns into little islands around towns big enough to have a McDonalds. The nearest tower to my parents' house is apparently some five or six miles away. Verizon had towers along the interstate, or at least coverage; AT&T, nope. Only at the major service towns/areas.

Is this enough to make me go back to Verizon? In my current life, no. I'm no longer required to be reachable 24 hours a day, and if I were, my answer would be to get a Verizon phone on my company's dime and carry two phones. I hate Verizon phones that much; I'd carry them both just to not have to look at/use the VZW one.

I've watched seven movies on the iPhone so far. Listened to a Harry Potter book. Haven't made a call using the headset yet. Have been keeping it in a jeans pocket (albeit with nothing else in there) and it seems quite happy. No scratching, creaking, feeling of 'ooh I'll damage it.'

Went 2.5 days without recharging, in which I watched 1.5 movies and listened to 1/4 of Goblet of Fire. Didn't make more than a call or two, but the phone stayed on standby the whole time, although it was out of service area for a good fifteen of those hours.

Happy happy as clam.

Posted by jbz at July 5, 2007 7:53 PM | TrackBack

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