Mobile phone upgrade
The problem with pre-pay mobile phones is that you need to have enough credit to make calls. Running dangerously empty, I refused to figure out how to top up my credit. I was playing a psychological game with myself. If I didn't have enough credit, then I wouldn't feel the liberty to call other people. I would have more time to myself.
Not having sufficient credit also meant I couldn't access my voicemail for messages. With only 1 pence on my pre-pay balance and one outstanding voicemail, I spent the entire day wondering who had called me. Was the message urgent or important?
After reluctantly topping up my credit with another 20 pounds in one month, I noticed my battery ran close to empty too quickly. Apparently batteries only last up to two years. This probably explained why my Ericsson T28 World stopped functioning two years ago before I got it replaced.
At Carphone Warehouse, I enquired about getting a new battery.
"Sorry, we don't carry that model anymore," the lady behind the counter said.
"You mean I have to upgrade to a different phone?" I asked. Two years ago Carphone Warehouse at the Greenford branch gave me an option to upgrade for 20 pounds. Reluctant to learn something new (how to use a new phone) or to make a decision I stuck to the T28.
"Sorry, we don't do upgrades for that anymore. You can trade it in for 5 pound refund. But you still have to pay the full price for a new handset."
"I also have the charger," I said.
"Then we'll give you another £2.50," she said.
£7.50 to get rid of my beloved T28. It was unavoidable. There's no time for regrets.
"Okay, how much do new handsets cost?" I asked.
"Take a look through this catalog."
This was what I feared the most --- going through a catalog of multiple attributes. Mobile phones differ by maker, size, weight, keys, display, colour, reliability, radiation level, and price. It had taken me an entire month to decide on the T28. Now I wanted to decide within half-an-hour its successor.
In the air conditioned store, I flipped through the catalog. I've grown accustomed to the flip feature of T28. A phone that flips open prevents me from hitting the keys by accident. I like that. I don't need a digital camera. I don't need special ring tones. I just want a phone that works all over the world. I want a phone that is light, lighter than the T28 if possible.
I recalled that I had chosen O2 for pre-pay because Virgin pre-pay card was not compatible with T28. I don't need to stay with O2 now that I want to switch mobile phones.
Eventually I settled for a tiny silver Samsung flip phone. At just over 100 pounds, it was compatible with both O2 and Virgin pre-pay cards. The Carphone Warehouse catalog also rated it 5 out of 5 for reliability and customer satisfaction. The handset works all over the world except the US.
I was relieved to get a new phone that worked despite having to charge up the battery for eight hours before I could use it. Mobile phones have become such a necessity of modern life that I was afraid those eight hours would be too long to risk being disconnected from the real world!
5 August 2004 Thursday