The cost of providing mobile voice calls, and mobile data traffic, is falling. Coupled with vicious competition, prices to consumers are falling as well. In theory, mobile bills ought to be falling year on year - or you should perhaps be getting more for the same amount of money.
After a frustrating hour spent on the phone to both T-Mobile and O2/Carphone Warehouse in the UK, it's become increasingly apparent that the only way that consumers can actually benefit from falling prices is if they churn.
O2/CPW negligently failed to inform me of a lower tariff that almost exactly met my requirements, despite my asking. The customer "service" representative repeatedly tried to upsell me to a higher tariff, despite the fact that I clearly don't even use most of the minutes allocation in my current plan. He claimed in fact that I went over each month - when in fact the extra charges are almost solely due to roaming. When I rang back asking to be switched to the lower plan I'd found on their website, I got passed around 3 departments ("oh, that's not an upgrade, we can't do that") and eventually gave up. And given the level of stupidity & poor service I was facing, I decided that trying to mess around with my tariff plan a few days before 3GSM was too much of a risk. I've had CPW arbitrarily turn off international call capability when I switched tariff in the past, and it would really be a pain to fix next week if they screwed up again.
I'll give them one last attempt when I get back from Barcelona - otherwise it's both easier and cheaper for me to churn to someone else & port my number.
The T-Mobile rep wasn't an awful lot better - also trying to upsell me to a substantially higher tariff, albeit with the inclusion of an upgraded device and better data plan. For some reason, they've stopped doing the data-only Web'n'Walk plan - annoying as I don't use my data device for voice at all. They also absolutely refused point-blank to do anything about the ludicrous £7.50 / MB data roaming charge.
Simple solution - stick with the current plan and old phone, but pay £15 to get the handset unlocked, and then just get a local prepaid data SIM when travelling.
Oh, and in both of these cases they tried pitching me an 18 month contract as well - in O2/CPW's case without even telling me before trying to get me to agree to it - pretty close to the legal definition of mis-selling, in my view.
So the bottom line is that despite the fact that I've had relatively OK service from both companies, I've essentially been encouraged by both of them to churn. And despite the fact that I've been out-of-contract for about 6 months on both of them - they appear to be trying to crassly upsell me instead of rewarding my loyalty. And one thing that's become abundantly apparent to me is that the UK's mobile market is horribly overpriced, and in fact much less competitive than the industry tries to make out.
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