Over a year ago, my friends Avi and Andrew convinced me to buy a Danger Hiptop phone from Fido (one of three cellphone carriers in BC). The phone is an odd phone, but it had this great feature — $20/month unlimited data, including coverage throughout Canada and the US. Meaning email, web access, and instant messaging are all included. It was a great deal. I signed up, including the contract (the phone without the contract was prohibitively expensive). I was resigned to being stuck with a phone that I knew would get outdated, because I knew the alternatives would make using phone-based email/web browsing way too expensive.
Since then, Fido’s attitude towards that plan has changed. They took it off the market, presumably because they were losing money at it. Oops.
The first month I roamed, I got roaming charges when in the US. I called, and the charges were dropped (that sounds so “dangerous”!). Haven’t had a roaming charge since.
Until last month, alerted by Avi, who had a nasty surprise. This time, two frustrating calls to customer service later (including typing my phone number twice, saying it at least twice, getting a call dropped, being on hold forever). Turns out their US partner didn’t renew the deal for roaming, so they passed the buck (literally) to the customers. After some wrangling, they agree to drop the extra charges for the last month, but I can’t get them to stick by the spirit of the original terms (turns out the data deal isn’t part of the contract term, just a “changeable” add-on. Gee, thanks).
Now it turns out that coincidentally the hiptop is broken (again). A few months ago, I broke the screen, but I resigned myself to pay for it. This time, since an unsolicited operating system upgrade, it won’t read the SIM card, making it useless. The only way to get someone at Fido to look at the phone is to take a 1/2 day, go out to the repair center on Kingsway, and, I predict, be told that it’ll cost several hundred dollars to fix it, or hey, I can buy a new phone.
At this point, I’m in the market for a new carrier, a new email-capable phone, and a new plan. Alternatively, I might just go to a cheap phone & cheap plan until the iPhone lands. Any suggestions?
(NB: for the unaware reader, this is Canada, and the national cellphone industry is even more broken than in the US, which is saying something).