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Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Telecom Digest for Sep 6, 2015
Volume 34 : Issue 167 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Choosing the Best Smartphone Plan for You (Monty Solomon)
Re: What are my options? (tlvp)
Legion of Tech Volunteers Lead a Charge for Bernie Sanders (Monty Solomon)
Re: What are my options? (Bill Horne)
Re: What are my options? (Bill Horne)

We are on the cusp of this time where I can say, "I speak as a citizen of the world" without others saying, "God, what a nut."
Lawrence Lessig

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Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 10:23:57 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Choosing the Best Smartphone Plan for You Message-ID: <DC34D5EF-D710-40CD-8AF4-C3F50E69E9A9@roscom.com> Choosing the Best Smartphone Plan for You The end of the two-year contract has spawned something perhaps more nefarious - endlessly bewildering options. We waded through them and found the best bets. The American wireless industry is increasingly redefining the word "simple" in the same way that the food industry rendered the word "natural" absurd. Consider that when you pick up "natural" pancake syrup from the grocery store, chances are that one of the listed ingredients will be "natural flavoring" - an oxymoron. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/technology/personaltech/choosing-the-best-smartphone-plan-for-you.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** It's "simple": they want money. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 03:07:34 -0400 From: tlvp <mPiOsUcB.EtLlLvEp@att.net> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: What are my options? Message-ID: <1hmcc3oxvgqnv$.1x19v8832g01q.dlg@40tude.net> On Fri, 4 Sep 2015 05:01:53 -0400, Bill Horne wrote: > I continue to have the problem, and also received a text message > saying that I had to add money to the account - after I'd just signed > up! With what "plan", if I can call it that, did you sign up? Did you pay $10 for a first 120 days of service or 100 minutes of airtime, whichever expires first? Or just the few minutes of starter/testing time that is gratis? Or one of their recurrent monthly plans? If the first, can you possibly have eaten up 100 airtime minutes already? (Even then, I believe you get up to the full 120 days, just with no paid airtime to use remaining, before you must pay again, upon penalty of losing your number.) If the second, perhaps your gratis starter/test time is up. If the third, it stumps me, you'd have to call them. Have you registered your phone / your phone number on the Page Plus Cellular web site, http://www.pagepluscellular.com ? You can create an account there and register your phone (you put in your PP number and they send an activation code to the phone as a text, that you then enter in the website to prove it’s really your phone). Once you’ve registered the phone, it shows up under your account and you can: learn its current expiry date; add time as needed; check your call records; etc. (Thanks to Todd Allcock, whose tutorial words to me I've repurposed here for you.) > What are the chances that this phone was locked to Verizon? Page Plus > said that they could serve my phone's MEI, but I'm starting to wonder. Unlike a phone originally branded for Sprint, any Verizon-branded phone whose MEID is not recognized as lost or stolen, or implicated in bill-evasion, is eligible for conversion to service with Page Plus. The Page Plus CS rep whom you first speak with generally gets something done to your handset over the air to achieve that end. One test: dial #737. If that's answered by a Verizon network interrupt, something's screwy. If it's answered by PP CS, that's as things should be. (Until it's activated on Page Plus, #737 dialed on the handset will be dealt with via Verizon's billing/charging technology; only once PP has activated it will that #737 refresh to the incoming Page Plus CS lines.) I hope your puzzling effects get resolved. In a worst case scenario, try to scrounge up (even if only temporarily) a friend's currently-out-of-service but fundamentally functional Verizon-branded handset, and get CS to transfer your account and phone number from your current A-930 with its MEID to that "new" instrument with its own MEID. If the troubles go away, I'd blame them on your A-930, and seek a replacement for that. If not, there must be something fishy in the way PP set up your account. For that, I can only wish you best of luck. Cheers, -- tlvp -- Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP.
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 10:32:34 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Legion of Tech Volunteers Lead a Charge for Bernie Sanders Message-ID: <44BA06A3-7C93-47E6-9A98-3EB7E964492A@roscom.com> A group of software developers and designers, product managers and more have used their prowess to create apps and other tools to help the candidate. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/politics/bernie-sanders-presidential-campaign-tech-supporters.html
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 22:36:44 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: What are my options? Message-ID: <msg8og$jad$1@dont-email.me> On 8/31/2015 11:40 AM, Bill Horne wrote: > I've been given a Samsung Model SCH-A930 cell phone. It's branded as > Verizon, and the display shows "VCAST" when I turn it on, but that's all > I know about it. As I wrote in my previous post, I switched the Samsung phone over to Verizon this afternoon. I'll take this opportunity to thank the Verizon Mobile Solutions Specialist who helped me do that. Craig Bernabei went out of his way to get the phone I brought to him working. He spent almost thirty minutes on the phone to my former vendor, trying to find the problem, and then offered me a better plan than they had, and the chance to switch over right away without any contract. He involved two other employees in solving the problem, took care to make sure that the phone worked properly on Verizon's network, and offered me a wide range of accessories to choose from when I asked about headsets. I know that T-D readers are in all corners of the map, but if you're ever in Avon, Massachusetts, please stop in to the Verizon store at 1 Harrison Blvd in Avon, and tell him "Thanks" for me. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 22:24:27 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: telecomdigestsubmissions.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: What are my options? Message-ID: <msg81b$gfl$1@dont-email.me> On 8/31/2015 11:56 PM, tlvp wrote: > I'd suggest you contact Page Plus As of this afternoon, at around five PM, the phone is working - and I'm a Verizon customer. <RANT> Dealing with Page Plus was the most irritating, confusing, frustrating, and fruitless waste of time I've ever had in dealing with any company. >From the time I tried to "activate" the phone until this afternoon, I had six separate calls with Page Plus call centers, none of which improved the situation in any measurable way. Each employee demanded that I perform the same steps in the same order, and whenever I told them that I had already done what they wanted me to do, they would recite a glib non-answer, and talk by me with the hope that I'd do it their way again, and again, and again. My requests to speak to a supervisor were either ignored or treated as an excuse to get rid of me. I was dumped twice, and promised call backs that never occurred, three times. The last person I spoke with told me that there was nothing else she could do, and gave me an address for "the local Page Plus dealer", which turned out to be a private residence. I just called Page Plus for the last time, and told them to issue a credit, and they tried to tell me I wasn't entitled to a refund. I replied that I would order my credit-card vendor to chargeback their bill, and after that, I was promised a refund "In three to five business days". </RANT> I've been accused of being anti-cellular, or anti "smart"-phone, but neither is true. I've used basic cellphones for years, and I'm well acquainted with their benefits and limitations. Although I freely admit that I feel too many users don't make productive use of the capabilities of cellphones, or expect them to be a substitute for basic business competence, that isn't what bothers me about them at the basic level. What gets under my skin, and Page Plus is (AFAICT) the canonical example, is that so much of the cellular industry is geared to treat customers as sheep to be fleeced and lied to instead of served. I judge cell phones by the behavior of the companies that sell them, and by that of their employees, and when those employees pretend to "fix" a non-working phone by demanding that I perform a puppet's dance for them, without any attempt to ascertain a root cause for my phone not working, I am entitled to complain in public. The fact is that they couldn't make the phone work after they had told me it was compatible with their system, and Page Plus even had the temerity to claim that I wasn't entitled to my money back after they had wasted over three hours of my time. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)

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