Monday, July 21, 2008

My cell phone dilemma 

We have had fun the last few weeks with Michael and another friend of mine who are, like me, gadget geeks. I haven't talked with Lileks about his iPhone, but I'm sure he likes it. I am a longtime Palm user, currently with a Treo 700p I bought in December 2006. The phone has a replacement plan so that I am probably on my third phone.

So last Friday I went with Littlest to the Sprint store to see what they have. I like that Samsung Instinct; its lack of wifi might be the only thing I don't like. (I would kinda like a GSM phone to use overseas, but I probably am down to one trip a year so I can rent one for those.) I looked at the cost of changing over to AT&T for the iPhone and decided it wasn't worth it if I could switch to the Instinct today. Alas, they will not do it without an extra $250, unless I get to 22 months in the contract, which of course isn't until October.

Littlest is out with sports enough to warrant a phone, so I upgraded her phone. But I now think perhaps we should return it and bail out to the iPhone. If I pay $200 to get out of the contract now and get an iPhone, I don't wait three months, and the cost of a plan that shares out a second phone with her is $129. Hell, I can get her an iPhone too for that price. (Will she get one? I don't know if I'm that good a father.)

I am not whinging about the early termination fee. But it seems to me Sprint is making a mistake in pricing by having such a high differential on waiting. It is in some sense encouraging switching to AT&T -- I can have the Instinct for roughly $430 now, or have the iPhone for $199 + $200 to terminate Sprint. Though, I have wondered whether the remainder will get eaten up by texting charges on AT&T.

Of course, I can always hope the Palm dies before October and, if they haven't any more 700p's, perhaps talking my way into an Instinct.

Your advice is solicited in comments.

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