Without a doubt out of all the carriers I have used in the past, Verizon Wireless has had the best coverage out of them all. However, I couldn’t resist the Sprint SERO plans and their tempting low prices, so last summer I broke down and jumped on the deal. $30/month for 500 minutes for unlimited data unlimited texting. Sounds too good to be true right?Well it worked great in major metro areas, like around Daytona Beach and Orlando when I was still attending school. The phone I picked was the Palm Centro, and it did everything I wanted a phone to do and more. The unlimited data plan is great, when taking a break I can check news, e-mail and weather all from the palm of my hand.
All was good, I graduated and moved back home with my folks since I didn’t have a job lined up yet. Where I live, zip code 08867, is literally in the middle of nowhere. It takes me 15 minutes of driving to get to the closest store, and there was absolutely no cell phone service for Sprint there. None. Turn phone on, NO SERVICE. Well, Verizon wireless had recently installed a local repeater there, so while friends and family enjoyed full signal, I was stuck between NO SERVICE and a one-bar roaming level. Every once in a while, the phone would jump over to the Verizon Wireless repeater that was down the street, and I would get full bars of wonderful 3G coverage, but as soon as I tried to do anything, it would puke and die, sticking me back with the one bar of roaming.
Not to mention, this also had a dramatic effect on my battery life. The Palm Centro was never known for its specatular battery life, and this only worked to make it worse. In Florida, an overnight charge was enough to juce up the Centro for about one full day’s work, from 8AM to about 9PM with no problem as long as I wasn’t surfing the ‘net too much.
Back home, a fully charged battery would last for about 3 hours. That was it. If you turn on the service indicator (Apps -> Prefs -> Sound & Alerts -> Phone Alerts -> Coverage In/Out) the phone would be mad with beeping every two or three minutes. There was no calm, and my phone would be going absolutely batty looking for something it could stick with.
A few calls to Sprint were in order. The first call, I asked for the cancellation fee to be waived since I moved to an area with absolutely no coverage, and I needed the phone for potential job interviews (which, actually isn’t a lie, I did have several interviews lined up). The first representative said no problem, he would have to see proof of my street address faxed in (bank statement, bill, w/e) and he would wave the early termination fee. I took his name and extension and said I would think about it.
I called the next day and said I had the paperwork, and I would like to cancel. “Hold on a moment” he says, and before I know it I was transferred to a retentions agent. Hmm, Sprint retentions agents have been known to do almost anything to keep you as a customer. Last time I called, they paid for my Verizon early termination fee so I could stay with Sprint.
The nice lady asked why I wanted to quit. I explained that I needed a reliable phone where I was living since I was expecting calls for job interviews. Before I knew it, she offered me a magical device called the Sprint Airave, which is basically a local Sprint repeater. She offered it to me for free (usually costs $100) and free two years of service (usually costs $5/month) and offered to ship it overnight to me. Well guess what, I took the bait, hook line and sinker.