Cell companies vs. Internet

So I have this new laptop that won’t take my old EvDO card, which I long been using to get on the Net over Verizon’s system. It has it’s own phone number and account, but it treats the cell system as a big wi-fi network, effectively. I use it anywhere in I can’t get on by wire or ‘fi here in the U.S. Which is a lot of places. Not cheap: $60 per month. But worth it.

So I need a new card.

To get one, I went to a Verizon store yesterday afternoon here in Loma Linda, CA. A new card, they told me, was $280. Too much, I said. So, after several calls to somebody over the phone, the young man behind the counter said he could “help me out” by discounting the price of a new card if I agreed to extend my cell phone contract another two years. (It’s due to run out in July.)

I didn’t want to do that. So I asked what it cost to cancel the account. The answer was $170. It runs to September.

So the choice is to pay $170 to cancel or pay $300 until the contract runs out. Pretty sucky.

Never mind that I’ve been a Verizon customer for many years, with a FiOS connection in Boston and a landline connection in Santa Barbara, in addition to the cell phone and the EvDO accounts.

I’m really looking forward to fixing this lopsided system.

11 comments

  1. PXLated’s avatar

    Doc…I didn’t want to fork over the high cost of the card or sign a new two-year contract either…check in to tethering your phone as a cheaper way around this. I tether a Razr. You pay the same $60/month but there is no contract, just month-to-month. The speed is slightly degraded but not bad. On my Mac, all it took was a USB cable. Didn’t require any new software.
    Not quite as convenient as a card but very workable. And, it charges the phone while connected.

  2. Amy Gahran’s avatar

    Doc,

    Unlocked cell phones are a smal step in the right direction. Maybe we need unlocked EVDO cards next.

    Carriers have been deliberately crippling the mobile market in this country for years. What kind of a business strategy is that? Talk about losing sight of the big picture…

    - Amy Gahran

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    PXLated, I had both a tethered and a bluetooth setup before I went with the EvDO. I need to go back to that. Thanks.

  4. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    It is time for the iPhone!

  5. Carter f Smith’s avatar

    Great News! Google has the solution to all your mobile Internet needs . . . let’s have a big hand for the ‘WiFi on steroids’ networks!

    Check out the Free Press post, which says: Google’s proposal can be expected to generate lots of opposition from the big wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T, which want to protect their massive investments in what are proprietary networks.

    Ya think?

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080325/BLOG01/80325035

  6. Frank Paynter’s avatar

    A well crafted and equitably enforced regulatory policy would protect us from the rapacious greed of the oligopoly.

    (Also, I gotta know — does the “f” in Carter f Smith stand for “fone?”)

  7. carterfsmith’s avatar

    hey Frank, the f stands for free, which is how the Internet should be – like radio and, er television (except for cable and PBS) . . .

  8. Wes Felter’s avatar

    Try buying a USB EVDO modem on eBay then performing an ESN swap on your account. Then you can sell the old modem.

  9. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Wes. I didn’t know until today that the USB option existed. Is it equally fast?

  10. Wes Felter’s avatar

    Yes, USB is equally fast. If your old modem is Rev0 then a new RevA modem will even be faster than the old one.

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