Monday, September 17, 2007

What, No Hunt?

Instead of boring my reader(s) with continual updates of weeks of hunting for (yet another) cellphone I'll cut directly to the trophy.

I have bought a T-Mobile Dash smartphone with a one-year contract.

My hunt was spurred by the desire to get a lighter and less bulky cellphone than the Treo 650. I also wanted to be able to check my email on the cellphone without paying outrageous data plan rates. The ability to store some information was a nice to have. Of course I could get various data plans with the Treo 650 on Verizon, but the prices were ridiculous. Even though their coverage is good, and their customer service very good, any new phone from them would be locked into their ridiculous pricing structure. Also I was looking at a GSM carrier because of an upcoming overseas trip , and the ease of switching to a backup phone if necessary. A smartphone appealed to me, not just because of my "techie" nature but because I already carry a regular cellphone for work and wanted some of the additional features available on a smartphone.

With this in mind my top choice was an AT&T 3125 smartphone - the only clamshell style Windows Mobile smartphone I could find. One of its advantages - apart from small size and weight - was that it came with a $5 per month email data plan. When it came down to placing the order though, the person at corporate sales told me it had been discontinued - just her disinterested manner put me off arguing that it was still available on the AT&T website. Unfortunately, to get the sizable corporate discount I would have to buy from her or not at all.

The only other AT&T smartphone available which was on my short list was the Samsung Blackjack. It was currently free "on special", but the data plan was $39.99 on top of a $39.99 voice plan for a two year contract. Even after the corporate discount this was more than I had anticipated paying. I decided to think about it.

One of the other phones on my shortlist was the T-Mobile Dash. Also a Windows smartphone, the T-Mobile Dash was not free, but when I initially priced it the data plan was $29.99 on top of a $29.99 voice plan for a one year contract. The only corporate discount was a waiver of the activation fee. That made the total cost of the two phones over two years pretty close. Although I had initially wanted to go with AT&T because they have better coverage, the slightly better reviews of the Dash, as well as T-Mobile's good customer service - from previous experience, as well as dealing with their Corporate Sales people and the flexibility of just a one year contract helped me make my decision.

There was a pleasant surprise when I actually placed the order for the cellphone. The data plan had dropped to $19.99 per month when purchased with a voice plan!

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