It's no secret that since its debut, I've been pining for an iPhone. I crave the ease of surfing the web from anywhere and the cool apps you can get. And it seems like all the "cool" moms agree.
But so far, the iPhone has only been available on the AT&T network, and there's the rub.
We're T-Mobile customers. We've been with them for years and on balance, have been happy. We have four lines for our three-person family and thanks to our urging, brought them my sister's five-member family and my mom and dad, as well.
While their coverage can be spotty (especially in other parts of the country), it's been fine in most of the places I frequent. But my current phone - a Blackberry Pearl - was shoddily made and started falling apart on me one year into my current two-year contract, which ends this month... and I've been eagerly looking forward to the time I could afford to replace it.
I figured this was an opportunity not just to examine the phones available through T-Mobile, but to take a gander at what the other phone companies are offering. My teenage daughter has long groused that our carrier's lack of an iPhone isn't the only thing wrong with their product line - she much prefers the catalog offered at AT&T and Verizon.
Over the summer, I got to play with a Palm Pre (which is exclusive to Sprint) and loved its ease of use. One of my best friends has a Pre and she is extremely happy with it.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to play with a Blackberry Curve on the Verizon network (a review is forthcoming). It's a superior phone to the Pearl and I could be very happy with it (if I didn't crave the browsing ease offered by the sexier smartphones). I was also impressed with the coverage and speed provided by Verizon.
But there's one big issue that keeps me from switching to Sprint or Verizon: We have family in the UK and have found that it's nice to have the use of our own phones when we visit them. Most of the world's mobile phone networks (Britain included) are on GSM networks... this means AT&T and T-Mobile are the only companies we feel comfortable using.
The cost of the iPhone has been coming down, and last month, I was all set to switch... and then for a couple of reasons, I changed my mind.
The first was a cover story in Consumer Reports, that named AT&T as one of the most expensive companies with the worst service... and T-Mobile as one of the cheapest and most customer-friendly.
The second was the rumor that T-Mobile was going to get an amazing new phone offering from Google.
That phone made its official debut on Tuesday, at CES. Since then, I've been eagerly reading reviews of the Nexus One, and it sounds like it just might satisfy my iPhone jones. One of the interesting things about it is that you can purchase it unlocked directly from Google, and use it on any compatible network (which, so far, is just AT&T and T-Mobile in the US). The retail price is $529 - which is too rich for my blood.
But if you buy it with a new two-year contract with T-Mobile, the cost goes down to $179. As my current contract expires this month, I was starting to get excited.
Ah, but not so fast: The website specifies that you have to have a new two-year INDIVIDUAL contract.
We're on a family plan and they won't allow me to tack it on to that. I would have to get a new, separate individual plan with a new phone number.
Or else, pay the full $529.
I gotta say, T-Mobile: THIS SUCKS. Is this how you incent your loyal customers to stick around?
Once again, I'm looking at the other phone companies.