Saturday, January 18, 2014

Unlocking Verizon --

I’ll share with you my transition from Verizon to ATT.

First of all, Verizon was gouging me (demonstrated by widespread web complaints), I had no choice but to disentangle and go to some other carrier. 

Since then, my internet with Hughesnet is faster and cheaper.  I have no Jetpack ( portable wi-fi for laptop service wherever there is cell phone service), but I virtually never used it.  There is usually wi-fi where ever you go.  Now, I use my mini iPad for "anywhere" service.

My phone service is the same with ATT, only cheaper.  As for reception, I have a reception booster in my car and home, and if ATT presently has fewer towers than Verizon, I simply don’t gab on the phone when I drive enough for it to matter.  But I suppose I might be in the minority there.

I have the improvement of a certified-new iPhone 5 for half price now, with no contract. 

The cell phone service providers/carriers are now required by law to let you keep your phone number and unlock your phone to use with your new carrier.  All phones unlock, that does not mean that it will work with the new carrier, some for some reason (several conspiracy theories) simply don’t always make the transition over to the new carrier’s system.  There is supposedly no hardware difference.  Apple claims to make the phones no differently for one carrier than the next, but to just give each carrier initially a chance to lock the phone into their own system.  So when a person changes sevice, ATT for instance, will look at your IMEI number located in the “About” section of your iPhone, and tell you if your phone will make the transition or not.  But the phone may or may not make the jump.

Verizon will tell you that they don’t know why some don’t work with other carriers.  They say their phones unlock automatically at the time of the transaction when the number is transferred to another carrier according to the wishes of the owner of the number.  When it doesn't, and you suggest that it is not Apple’s fault but their own software system that is at the bottom of it, they suggest that Apple actually may put some sort of chip in per carrier batch which personalizes it to that carrier. That absolves them of the problem and makes it a hardware issue.  Apple has a disclaimer which states it does no such thing.

Well who cares, unless you’re one of those whom ATT tells that your phone will work on their system and you need not buy another one when you change plans?  They tell you to get it unlocked through Verizon.  Verizon tells you it is.  But it doesn’t.  And you begin wondering why you wasted all this time running around from Verizon store to ATT store, spent hours on the phone, only to find out that now you are without a phone for 4-5 days while you order a new one. 

So for several days, I use my daughter's new Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.  She loves that she can talk to it, that is she enjoys its voice recognition feature (now that she has learned to type?), and is learning her way around the rest of it.  

I miss my iPhone.  I have come to appreciate its reliability, plus I don't want to change anymore right now in the device department.

Speaking of smartphones, the smartphone technology keeps holding center stage in the technology media marketplace, and I am enjoying it.  From using facetime to help my daughter with her algebra homework when I'm not home, to dictionaries, encyclopedias, online college, online high school, learning the German language, maps, notes, timers, a flashlight, clock, bibles, bible concordance, weather, news, etc, it is very useful. The least gratifying of things I use my smartphone for is experimenting with Candy Crush Saga.  I am trying to manage Candy Crush Saga playing right now to not let it take away from the larger blessing of having a smartphone.  I am up to level 50 and have stubbornly not spent a dime to improve my score.  Its more fun if you don't give in to its goading you into spending money on it.  It is trying to work some psychology on me by chastising me for failing to reach the goal.  With patience, you will eventually pass the level, without spending any money for more moves, and therein is the competition. My goal is to get better at it, enjoy it, and not ruin the competition by spending money on it (the competition should be between me and the game -- not how much of my score I am willing to buy).  Although, with all of the enjoyment I get out of it, I wouldn't mind compensating them some financially -- paying my way.

Now may be the time.  Is my Candy Crush adventure over?  I've reached level 50 without spending a penny but am locked out of anymore levels until I either "Ask Friends" or pay $0.99 to unlock.  For some reason, it will not let me log onto Facebook to ask friends.   I have been replaying already passed levels just to bide my time, and frankly, have even gotten a little bit tired of the game.  I've been thinking it was maybe the transition from Verizon to ATT that caused the problem logging onto Facebook -- no problem logging onto anything else.  So I guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is and see if they finally forced my hand.
O.k., I paid my 99 cents.  It's unlocked, but for some reason, still cannot connect to Facebook.  This too is a mixed blessing.  My Candy Crush adventure continues.  Next time I have some extended time in the bathroom, I'll get back at it.  Or maybe I'll read the news instead -- or my bible.


First Candy Crush still will not connect me to Facebook.  This is probably a step toward improvement in the quality of my life.

Second, I sent my old iPhone in for recycling.  They appraised it at $110.00 dollars.  I followed all of the instructions including emptying it taking the battery out.  Now today I got my electronic gift card as payment for sending it in.  The phone was less than a year old, barely used as a back-up home phone, originally cost me $350.00, and they sent me $11.64 for it.  It is in the form of an electronic gift card.  I can carry the email on my phone or my pad with card number and PIN and use it anywhere (though never quite as easy as it sounds).

So, with $11.64 for a barely used one-year-old $350.00 phone, the recycling program may not be useful if you are on your way out of Verizon.  However, with ATT, the expensive Verizon Jetpack data hemorrhaging has stopped, and their "recycle" trick only reminds me that it is nice to be done with them.  For the same service, minus the portable jetpack capability (which I never used), I now pay much less with ATT for phone service, and with Hughesnet for internet service, and get faster speeds with each.  This is now much more like a blessing in disguise.

One last jab-

I truly miss (not) the great tech support with Verizon when I could call them and get an American English-speaking agent on the phone whom I could understand and converse with fluently, and ask why I have used more Gbs in the last two days, with almost everything turned off, than I normally would use in a month (why another $150.00?), and hear that "made in America" voice tell me that there was nothing they could do and they were genuinely sorry for what I was going through.  Such considerate people, who would mind spending an extra $300.00 in two months to help their company thrive? Well, . . . me.