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No network, not funny

My mobile phone has been registering "no network" for a few days now. I rang up Vodafone to find out what's wrong with the network in my neighbourhood. Is it because the builders nextdoor are working on the roof?

No, they said. Either there's something wrong with my SIM card or my phone. If it's the phone, then I need to take it to the shop I bought it from.

Since there's nothing wrong with my SIM card, it must be my phone. But my phone is less than 2 years old and it has a 3 year warranty!

The Carphone Warehouse shop in my neighbourhood was bombed out. So I had to take the train to the nearest branch, which happened to have a repair centre.

The lady at the counter told me that it would take a day to fix it.

I cycled back the next day only to be told that the resident engineer couldn't fix it and it would have to be sent away. Because it's not covered under the warranty, it would take anywhere from two to four weeks to get it fixed or replaced. And it would cost between 30 and 75 pounds.

Well, well, well. What am I supposed to do in the meantime?

Actually, I was quite relieved not to get any calls. This gave me the excuse to be irresponsible, unaccountable, and free. However, I'm still paying the monthly fees to Vodafone! They don't allow a break in the billing. So it's one of those - use it or lose it deals.

Piecing together the various options available, I managed to construct the following analysis:


1- Rent a temporary mobile phone for £5 (deposit 40 pounds and get 35 back when I return it) while waiting for my phone to be fixed. If it can't be fixed, it will be replaced, but not by a new phone. Whatever the case, it will only carry 3 months warranty.

2- Upgrade now by exchanging my broken phone for one that works. The new phone will have a year's warranty. But this requires that I sign up for another year-long contract with Vodafone. If I break the contract, I would still need to pay up. There are many new models, but there will be more in 6 months time. And Vodafone incentivises its customers to wait with a new deal which doesn't change anything for me.


1- Do I want to sign a one year contract when I don't know where I will be in six months time?

2- Do I want to keep my triband phone or exchange it for free, for a phone that has more functionality (including BlueTooth and WAP) but doesn't work in the US?

3- If fixing or replacing my phone costs £30, then I would go for it. If it costs £75, then I might as well as upgrade it.

So, the result? I asked the counter clerk to call me as soon as he knows whether it would cost £30 or £75 to fix it and then I would tell him whether to go ahead or upgrade. [I created a flexibility in the choices available.]

Meanwhile, I got the loan phone, which is bulky, heavy, and impossible to use. I keep it switched on only when I'm expecting a call. I forgot that there's a cost to switching: getting used to it.

Oh, how I miss my T28 World. It took me one month to analyse the mobile phone market, one month to wait for the shipment, and now - one month to wait for it to be fixed.

13 September 2002 Friday

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