Verizon Welcomes Me With Open Arms. T-Mobile, Can You Hear Me Now?

No? That’s because all you’re hearing on the other end is a dial tone.

After almost 11 years together, sans a brief move to Amp’d mobile in support of my friend Ramsey, we part ways similarly to how Jerry Sloan left the Utah Jazz this past week. Heck, somewhere in a drawer is my old Voicestream sim card!

But after the way things transpired over the past 2 weeks, I really was left with no choice but bidding you farewell, and into the arms of CDMA’s finest carrier: Verizon.

It all started 4 months ago, while continuing our relationship while I was off-contract, I decided to upgrade to a more powerful productivity device. I wandered into my local T-Mobile store in Hazlet, NJ with the pure purpose of picking up a Blackberry since corporate email dominates 85% of my day. It’s a common misnomer that while I stay on top of technology trends, I like simplicity in their application. Hence why I’m a Blackberry advocate – you want mail done right on your phone? Go right to RIM and don’t look back.

Well I flinched in the eyes of technology’s latest and greatest, the Samsung Vibrant. Powered by a 1 GHZ processor and a 4″ Super AMOLED screen, they had me at hello the moment my T-Mobile sales representative shared the trailer to Avatar with me from the phone.

Consider me sold…almost.

“But what about Exchange Server?” I asked.

“It supports Exchange.” He said cautiously.

“Supports or performs superbly?” I began to sense a lack of confidence before he collected himself.

“Look it’s a great phone, it’s the best one we have, I love it, I’ve got it. See?” As he pointed to his belt clip.

So taking a deep breath I agreed to extend my contract  and pick up the phone for 2 years.

Within 2 weeks I had regrets. Stuck on a business trip to the west coast, the phone outright died between airports. Since my 14 day guarantee coincided with the fact I was 3 time zones away, I called T-Mobile to ask if I could return the device to a satellite location for a cash refund. I knew the answer before they asked – no – but I still wanted to hear how they would handle this.

Surprisingly, it was handled rather poorly. They offered me a replacement phone which I accepted given the circumstances and told me that my return was contingent on returning my phone to the original purchase location. Annoyed, I waited for my replacement Vibrant asking myself if I made the right choice – not just with the Android phone but by remaining a T-mobile customer.

All of this culminated to this afternoon where after another 3 weeks of spotty phone service where the device would outright freeze, leak memory, and function like a paper weight, I had decided I’d had enough and called T-Mobile customer care.

My first 4 calls never got through to general customer service, yes Android 2.1 didn’t play too nice with dialing 611 with every call  disconnecting before my issues could be attempted to get resolved. Finally after the 5th try I was on the phone with a tech rep who informed me that the only way to fix the phone is to hard reset it.

This happened 3 more times and I tried everything to figure out how to fix it including finding 3rd party apps that managed my task manager (no really). During my seeking of answers, I noticed plenty of other people sharing similar issues to mine when searching message boards and forums on the issue. I was so frustrated I made the decision that if a device meant more to my carrier than me as a consumer, than I’d be done with my carrier.

I called T-mobile and offered them a final opportunity to make right what I considered a dual blame scenario. Me? I’d keep my commitment to T-Mobile, not breaking my contract in the interim. T-Mobile? Well they’d get me far away from the Galaxy S and into something cheaper – like any of the RIM devices.

No can do according to the sweet voice from Customer Care I spoke with this morning. I let her know that this would result in me breaking my contract and going to Verizon. She was either oblivious,  or shaken by the mass diaspora due to the iPhone,  was just instructed to let defectors go, offering me a replacement Galaxy S even when asking if I could trade down. She said no and  I said “then I have to leave.”

Stunned she thanked me for my time, let me know I could manage my bill down to 10 dollars a month if i wanted to avoid the $200 cancellation charge and hung up.

Now, here I sit. With an iPhone 4. My Verizon sales rep  Matt was cordial and empathetic (He has the same version of my Galaxy S on the Verizon network and showed me he has the same issues I had on my phone.). He was informative, reviewed plans with me, and shared some recommendations on how I could save costs while enjoying the full breath of the iPhone.

In conclusion I understand ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). I bought apps, I bought ringtones and wallpapers, and I used my data plans. I was, if I say so myself, a great customer. I didn’t complain often and if I did it was due to a reason well justified.  I was loyal and unfortunately, after voicing my opinion online through social media and escalating to customer service, my loyalty was sadly not reciprocated.

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