Well, my contract was up with Sprint and it was time to re-evaluate my cell phone situation.
The biggest reason for the switch to Verizon was the lack of coverage we had with Sprint. It seemed that almost anywhere we went that wasn't in a major metropolitan area had little or no coverage. After a few years, this gets really annoying.
So I took to opportunity to move to Verizon Wireless. Their coverage is much better for us and many of our friends and relatives have gravitated to Verizon so many of our calls won't use our minutes.
We selected our new calling plan and phones on the web, which was a pretty good experience. I tend to be salesperson averse, so I like to shop online when possible.
I was disappointed that no phones where available that used flash, but neither did my sprint phone. It's just something I would have liked exploring. Maybe next time.
I didn't bother to get web access or text messaging this time either. Neither of those features have lived up to my expectations. Way too slow and cumbersome.
Lets face it. In general, text messaging is just stupid. You have a phone IN YOUR FRICKEN HAND! Leave a message. The only real use I see for text messaging is to be able to receive short automated messages. Cool for monitoring servers or stock prices, but just too geeky to pay for.
Here's where the story gets interesting. Once I activated the phone, I placed a call. No problem, except that the person receiving the call had a strange name pop up on their caller id. Curious. So I had that person try to call me back. What do you know, but they got that other person's voice mail. When I checked my voice mail, I actually got this other persons mailbox. It seemed like it was an active mailbox. There were messages in there, some new ones, asking questions about this guys products. Obviously a business phone.
I quickly called Verizon to look into the problem. 10 minutes into their automated system and I find out I can't troubleshoot a phone if I'm calling on that phone. Doh!
I called back on another phone and went through the process again. I finally got through to a person, but they were in New Jersey. They couldn't access my records, so they had to transfer me to someone in Maryland. No big deal, except that each time I called back I would get routed to New Jersey by their automated system. I then had to explain the situation again and get forwarded to somebody in Maryland.
Once I was on the phone with a customer support person in the right state, we started reprogramming the phone to correct the problem. Hmm... didn't work. Next we had to take the phone apart and read off a bunch of numbers so the cs rep could confirm them in the system. Everything looked correct. After trying this 3 more times with no effect, the rep gave up and suggested I go to my local Verizon Wireless store to have them flash the operating in the phone.
Once I got to the store, we went through the process of taking the phone apart, verifying the numbers and reprogramming and activating a few times. When I told the technicians at the store (who seemed very knowledgeable) that customer support suggested that the os needed to be reinstalled, they all laughed. "What are they smoking up there" was the general feeling.
To prove a point, the technician (Joe) put my phone number on a completely different phone. Same problem. They let me use a phone in the store to call customer service again. After getting re-routed back to MD from NJ, we did the "take the phone apart" thing again and the "reprogram the phone" thing again with no effect. We also reinitialized the voicemail box. No effect. The cs rep said they would now like to transfer me to technical support (I thought that was who I was talking with, but there must be another level). He informed me the current wait for tech support was about 25 minutes. I was in the middle of the showroom floor doing this. I had already been there for over 2 hours. I decided to try again from home after I had run a few errands.
Back on the phone with customer service at home. I've already done the NJ to MD thing again and told my story. I suggested that we just change the number to a new phone. After a little coaxing and a discussion about how that will affect my invoice and such, we changed the phone number. A little more testing and yes, it worked. I was able to call out and receive calls.
Whew, that was a pain, but at least it's done.
I go to use my phone the next day and I get James Earl Jones telling me that my call can't be completed because of a "conflict in serial numbers". Crap. Call somebody else, maybe it was the person I was calling that had a problem. Same message. Double crap. Ok, try to call my phone from another phone. "Phone not in service". GAHH!
Back on the phone with customer service. Apparently, they had to change my phone number again because the new number I was assigned belonged to somebody else. Reprogram the phone. Now I have my third phone number on this phone. Seems to work again.
Let me go make a quick call to see if it is still working... Cool. Still working.
I can't wait to see what my bill looks like.
I have to say that everyone I spoke to was very friendly and gave it a good shot. I think the technicians in the store were probably the most knowledgeable. It might actually sway me into going to the store to buy the phone the next time.
One thing I have noticed, that I'm not too happy about is difference in sound quality between the Sprint and Verizon Wireless networks. When you can get a good signal from Sprint, the sound is crystal clear. With Verizon, I seem to get more distortion and changing of sound quality during a call. Its like the way streaming audio will degrade when your connection can't keep up with the streaming rate. I don't think you would notice the difference unless you move from one system to the other.
I hope Verizon works out. I feel like I've put in a lot of work getting the thing to work.
I wonder if this post is worthy of the BlivitLog?