Entries Tagged as 'Verizon'

I’m a valuable Verizon Wireless customer…

Or so says an email an email I got from them last week asking me to take a survey on why I hadn’t taken advantage of my ability to upgrade my phone.

When the email came in I was on the phone talking to one of my friends; and besides, email is intended to be dealt with when it’s convenient…

About two hours after the email came in, things settled down and I had some time while I was waiting on the computer to finish a backup — so I clicked the survey link.

To which I got a web browser window (that adjusted down the size of my preferred browsing window) to tell me that the survey had been closed.

WOW — I’m glad I’m a “valuable” customer, I would hate to think how “un-valuable” customers would be treated.

Let’s see…

First, I never authorized Verizon to send me any type of email other than email specifically dealing with my account (a survey in no way deals with my account — and is clearly a marketing effort), so this email would be classified as SPAM (that’s UCE – Unsolicited Commercial Email).

Second, any legitimate survey sent out would certainly have more than a two hour response time; after all, it’s not like they would know I was anywhere near the computer.

Third, I’ve already told Verizon I’m not interested in a “free” phone since I’m not interested in a new two year contract.  And frankly there should be laws against calling something free when it’s got all kinds of strings attached.

Fourth, Verizon certainly doesn’t need to send me a survey to know how I feel about them — I consider them a crappy company like all cellular providers.  And obviously, Verizon know it’s a crappy company that is afraid it couldn’t keep customers without resorting to tricking and coercing them into long contracts by selling them equipment which is locked and crippled.

I say it’s time for an open wireless system with open handsets — where like the wire line market, wireless providers cannot force you to purchase a device from them, and they have to compete without all these tricks and fine print.

Certainly Verizon (like other cellular companies) have worked very hard to make sure that I as a customer will look out for my interests, and jump to any provider that offers me reasonable service at a reasonable price.

Customer loyalty?  Well, that’s about as rare as customer service in the cellular industry!

Verizon Wireless

NOTE: Verizon Wireless sent out a new survey email the next evening (even after I explicitly “unsubscribed” from the email list used to send the original one) with “CORRECTED LINK” added to the subject. Once again I got the message:

This survey link is no longer valid. Thank you for your time and consideration in trying to complete this survey.

Originally posted 2010-07-25 02:00:31.

Verizon Wireless Features

# Features

#MIN (#646) – Check current month’s unbilled airtime usage.

#BAL (#225) – Check your current account balance.

#DATA (#3282) – Check your current monthly usage of TXT, PIX and FLIX Messaging

#PMT (#768) – Make a payment


* Features

*228 – Over-the-air Program / PRL (roaming) update

*611 – Customer service

*70 – Cancel Call Waiting (during call) – *71-123-345-6789

*71 – No Answer/Busy Forward – *71-123-345-6789

*72 – Always Forward – *72-123-345-6789

*73 – Cancel Forward


I’ll try to update this list as I find more.

Originally posted 2011-08-11 11:00:34.

Google Voice(mail)

I’ve already made a few posts that tell you how you can use Google Voice to make and receive unlimited free calls (provided your carrier allows you to specify at least one telephone number that’s air-time free), but here’s a way you can use an unlimited data plan to reduce your air-time fees for retrieving voice mail and totally eliminate any carrier charges for “visual voice mail”.

Verizon charges nothing for “Basic Voice Mail” per month; but they will charge you air time each and every time you call your own voice mail (evening and weekends are air time free on some plans, but you cannot put your own number in the air-time free call list [current called “Friends & Family”, it used to be called “My Circle” before the AllTel acquisition).

Verizon charges $1.99 for “Premium Voice Mail” .  You can read up on the features they’ll rape you for.

Verizon charges $2.99 for “Visual Voice Mail”.  Again you can read up on the features they’ll rape you for.

Or… you can just setup your Google Voice account to be your voice mail — and then you’ll essentially get all the feature Verizon would love to charge you extra for; plus be able to call your voice mail for free (assuming you have put your Google Voice number in your “Friend & Famly” list) or just read the SMS and/or email message that contains the voice mail transcription or play the voice mail over your unlimited data connection.

There are actually instructions on Google Voice for setting up Google Voice mail as your primary voice mail on your carrier (they will tell you for most any carrier), so this doesn’t only work for Verizon, this will work for pretty much any carrier…

Why throw money away?

While I might have reservations about letting Google have access to more and more of my information, I sort of lump them in the category that the people you don’t want to have access to your information had it before you did…

Anyway, Google Voice mail (and Google Voice) will work with any cellular phone (and actually you can use this strategy with landlines as well).

Originally posted 2010-10-17 02:00:07.

Galaxy Nexus

I got a new handset today… a Google (Samsung) Galaxy Nexus.

My Motorola Droid (A855 — the original one) was getting a little dated and running way too slow for me.

I was originally thinking about the Motorola Droid 4, and held out until that was released to make up my mind (I really liked the idea of a physical keyboard); but when I found that Motorola pulled GSM support (added in the Droid 2 Global, and kept in the Droid 3) as well as used a crappy display (compared to the Droid Razr — which the Droid 4 is basically a Droid Razr with a keyboard) I decide it just wouldn’t satisfy me.

I considered switching from Verizon to a pre-paid GSM plan and getting the Galaxy Nexus GSM model, but one of my Google friends had gotten the Verizon CDMA model from Google and offered to give it to me (I guess I can consider it a birthday present — and again, THANK YOU very much), so I decide to go ahead and try it.

I’d already confirmed with Verizon that my plan (unlimited data) wouldn’t require any changes to support an LTE handset (woot)… so when the phone arrived today I called up and activated the handset and SIM.

The handset has a stunning display… there’s just no way to describe it without seeing it, the 3.65″ Super AMOLED curved display is wonderful.  And of course with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor and Ice Cream Sandwitch (ICS – Android 4.0) it’s about as “new” a handset as you can get.

Technically (by the map) Verizon doesn’t have LTE at my home, but outside I do get a weak LTE signal (and let me tell you, a weak LTE/4G signal is way faster than a good CMDA/3G signal)… it’s not really an issue that I don’t get LTE at home, just slightly West of here there’s stable LTE coverage, and hopefully Verizon will continue their 4G build out in this area.

Next task will be to root the phone so that I have unfettered access the power of Android 4.0.

Google Galaxy Nexus

Originally posted 2012-04-13 02:00:35.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away

Today Verizon ships the latest edition in the Motorola Droid empire — the R2-D2; a skinned Droid 2 in a box that had to pay it’s share of licensing to George Lucas.

The only “hardware” differences between the R2-D2 and the 2 are purely cosmetic — there’s a jumble of software on the R2-D2 to appeal to the techno-geek (all of which will likely be available one way or another for virtually any Android phone fairly soon after the R2-D2 ships).

There’s a $50 premium for the R2-D2 over the Droid 2; and rumors are that the Droid 2 will be discontinued in favor of a newer model with a faster processor and GSM/Worldphone support.

If you’ve got the extra cash, and just can’t satisfy your need for gadgets any other way — go on, splurge — after all, it’s the two year contract that will end up being the gift that keeps on giving.

Droid R2-D2

Originally posted 2010-09-30 01:30:37.

Un-unlimited Data

Last week Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg confirmed that Verizon would be discontinuing it’s unlimited data plans in favor of tiered data plans (similar to what AT&T introduced with the iPhone 4).

I’m expecting T-Mobile and Sprint will use this announcement to their advantage, since both of those carries still offer unlimited data (and at a lower price than Verizon ever did).

Also, Verizon’s move to end unlimited data just as the smart phone market hits critical mass may also catapult carries like Cricket and MetroPCS to major expansions since they’re far more likely to find large numbers of subscribers eager to dump the expensive plans offered by carries like AT&T and Verizon.

For the moment Verizon still offers their $29.99 unlimited data plan — so if you think you might want a smart phone in the next few months you might be wise to go ahead and do your upgrade now if your contract permits it, and remember that you can purchase a used CDMA phone with a clean ESN (meaning it has not been reported lost or stolen and the terms of the contract / account it was on were satisfied / paid) and have it added to your account with the unlimited data plan without incurring any extension to your current contract.

Keep in mind that when Verizon launches it’s 4G (LTE) services at the end of the year it’s very likely that they will not offer any unlimited data and will require a plan change to use the enhanced services (meaning you won’t be grandfathered into the unlimited data once you move to 4G).

For me, this is yet another reason I’ll dump Verizon in a heartbeat when I have an alternative.

Originally posted 2010-10-03 02:00:36.

Straight talk about cellular service

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for a very very long time, and except for a short flirtation with MetroPCS (or as it’s often called — GettoPCS) I’ve been reasonably loyal.

But that’s about to change.

This week my Google/LG Nexus 4 arrived as well did an AT&T SIM card (through Straight Talk available on-line or at Wal-Mart).

I have an old Verizon plan, unlimited for a reasonable price (roughly $82 with tax after my 20% discount through a previous employer); and I had a Google/Samsung Galaxy Nexus S2, so I enjoyed LTE (in areas where Verizon had LTE service).

With Straight Talk, I’ll get unlimited AT&T services (MVNOs don’t generally have access to LTE) for $45 per month plus tax; but wait, until 18-Feb-2013 Straight Talk is offering a $2.50 reduction on your monthly service if you sign up for auto-pay (if you currently have Straight Talk with auto-pay, cancel your auto-pay and immediate set it back up to take advantage of the discount). Note, the $2.50 discount does not apply to your initial service payment, that’s going to be $45.00 plus taxes even if you immediately sign up for auto-pay.

I activated the SIM (you don’t actually even need a phone to activate a SIM card, you use a “serial number” they provide with the SIM card to register everything, then just pop it in the phone) on Thursday morning (yesterday), didn’t want to do it Wednesday night after returning from Mardi Gras (even though the phone and the SIM were laying on the front porch — sleep was more important).

And voila, it works — and it works well.

Straight Talk actually offers service on all four major networks: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

For AT&T or T-Mobile you simply need an unlocked GSM phone and the SIM for the network you would like service on (purchased through Straight Talk / Walmart). Or you can just purchase a handset with a SIM installed directly from Straight Talk / Walmart. Note, if you go with an unlocked GSM phone, there will be a couple settings you’ll have to change on the handset to have full function with the network; but those are well documented online.

For Verizon or Sprint you must purchase a handset from Straight Talk / Walmart that works on the network you choose. You can purchase a used Straight Talk handset on Craigslist or eBay, but remember that if it’s marked as stolen or lost, you might not be able to activate it.

And… the cost of the service is the same, regardless of what network you’re on, and the service is unlimited (keep in mind unlimited in cellular speak doesn’t mean what it does in the rest of the English language, if you use abusive amounts of service you’re likely to get throttled or terminated).

Now what’s the catch — well… you deal with Straight Talk customer service rather than the network’s customer service (let’s face it — they’re all horrible, and hopefully you’ll never need to deal with them at all); you don’t have access to partner or roaming, only the network you actually have service with (which really doesn’t matter generally unless you travel to fringe areas — and if that’s the case, stick with what works); you don’t have a contract (oh, wait, that’s not a catch); you own your handset outright (though Straight Talk does offer insurance on handsets they sell; or you can do what I do and pay for the service with a credit card that provides some level of cellular handset insurance coverage free).

And yeah I hear all of you — what about the iPhone… well, Straight Talk will sell you one (and Walmart has 0% financing so you can spread out the payments over a year), or if you’re going with AT&T or T-Mobile service you can just purchase a GSM handset from the Apple store or buy one used.

I’ve actually been considering switching for about a year; originally I was fixated on going with Verizon service since it was the only carrier I trusted, but times change. AT&T has been busy building out it’s network and increasing coverage, Verizon has been busy reinforcing the fact that they don’t care about their customers and re-tuning their towers to support LTE data services (and apparently forgetting that some people still want to make voice calls).

Now your mileage may vary, and the downside of choosing Verizon or Sprint is that you’re stuck with the selection of handsets offered by Straight Talk (which isn’t the latest and greatest — other than the iPhone 5); with AT&T or T-Mobile you can choose any handset (by just getting the SIM).

I don’t think this is the end of traditional wireless carriers, after all, Straight Talk depends on them for the actual service, but pre-paid unlimited plans like this truly seem to be the most economical way to have cellular service; and you don’t have to miss out on the latest and greatest equipment (with GSM service), all you have to do is front load the cost by buying the handset outright.

My guess is with more consumers buying handsets outright, the price of handsets will actually moderate closer to what they really cost, and not carry a surcharge to support the deep discounts the manufacturers give to cellular carriers to woo them to offer their handset.