Sunday, January 4, 2009

Advise Me...Cause I'm a Little Dumberer Than You.

My cell phone service is supplied by T-Mobile. I'm happy with it (now). For a bunch of years, I lost service two steps from entering our brownstone. I couldn't make or receive a call from home. When I'd call T-Mobile and complain about the crappy service they'd tell me that "some rural areas were not as well served as major cities". I'd mention that I could see the Empire State Building from my front porch and they'd run out of answers. Eventually, things got better, so I'm happy.

Everything else is powered by Verizon. My landline is Verizon. My DSL is Verizon. My "Internet Anywhere" doohickey is Verizon. I'm happy with these items. They work.

Here's the problem. I'm pretty sure it's been about two years since my landline rang and it was a call that was actually for me. Oh yeah, it rings on occasion, but it's usually a recording letting me know that the extended warrantee on my Ford F-150 is about to expire and if I press '1', then give them my bank account number, my mother's maiden name, my PIN code, my social security number, the name of my first dog, my birthdate, the street I grew up on, etc. etc. etc., they'd renew my warrantee. For the record, I don't think I've ever driven a Ford F-150, much less owned one. I realize the robo-caller can reach a lot of people, but how often will they hit the unique combination of someone who 1.) owns a Ford F-150, 2.) bought the extended warrantee, 3.) has a warrantee that is about to expire, and 4.) is stupider than a soap dish.

So, here's the issue. I'd love to dump Verizon but I don't want to change DSL providers. I'm sure there are others that are just as good, but I don't want to change my "@verizon.net" email address. I'd have to let everyone know and I don't want to do that.

I could change my cell phone to Verizon, but I like the cell service I've got right now. I use the pre-pay plan on T-Mobile and this works very well for me. When I'm not working, I just don't use the phone all that much and it's cheap as hell. When I'm on a job, I put the bills into my petty cash expenses and it costs me...nothing. I've looked into it, but Verizon, doesn't seem to have the same cell service. I'm told that I can sign up for the cheapo service and then upgrade to the "Gazillion minutes plan" when I'm on a job (and downgrade again afterwards), but I'm hesitant to do that for some reason.

I think I can dump the actual landline and maintain the DSL, but I'm not sure about that either.

Advise me please, geniuses. (I'm open to switching everything as long as I don't have to change my email address or my phone number.)

P.S. I called Verizon a few months back and tried to figure out a way to bring their cost down. The woman on the phone tried to sign me up for a different "bundled plan" than the one I was already on. When I asked what it cost, she kept quoting me the costs by line item. When I finally got her to tell me the total cost including tax, it turned out to be a plan that gave me three new features I didn't care about and cost 47¢ per month more than I was already paying.

8 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

I'm not best to answer this, because although I have verzion phone service, I have earthlink DSL.

Um... what phone plan do you have? A couple years ago, we switched to the lowest plan, where we pay for each outgoing local call. It's about $13 a month. FWIW, I don't want to get rid of the land line, just in case cell service goes down, if I have to make an 800 call the land line is better (those remain free), and people (family) can still call in for free.

Second, I might recommend starting to slowly switch your contacts to an e-mail account like gmail. I did that a couple years ago, and although we're not planning on ditching Earthlink, if we decided to do so now, it would be relatively painless, since almost no one emails me at my earthlink account.

Third, although I don't think it likely, you can check and see if you can pay money to keep your verison e-mail address. Earthlink allows you to do this, but not sure if Verizon is that nice.

MWT said...

My cable company does allow me to have Internet without TV, but the Internet costs slightly more. So I'm paying the $9 for superbasic TV to pay $7 less overall. I ditched DSL specifically because I didn't want to pay for the landline phone that was required to come with it.

Then my cell phone is part of a family plan with AT&T where for three phones it's around $95 per month (and most months these days I'm paying for it because neither of the other two phoneholders are currently employed).

I guess the first thing I'd do is find out whether you can get the Internet without the phone service. If so, then just cancel landline and voila, everything solved. ;) I mean, if you're happy with your DSL service and your T-Mobile phone service, is it really crucial that they both be provided by the same company?

Janiece Murphy said...

I use a cable modem with VoIP landline, for which my company pays the bill. We have good bandwidth throughput and they're reasonably reliable and responsive, so go, me.

The T.V. is on satellite - the service escapes me, since the Smart Man pays that bill.

I'm on Verizon for cell service, and my whole family's on the same plan, so it's unlikely that I would change.

So I'm stoopider than you, and really have no reason to leave a comment at all.

Other than I'm a lonely, sad little technophile.

Nathan said...

I definitely don't want to switch provider to cable (keeping my @verizon email). I might switch to FIOS when it becomes available in my neighborhood.

Janiece,

Feel free to launch stoopids any time you like...it makes me look good by comparison. :D

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks, Nathan, I will.

You need to change your link on your All-Seeing Eye, BTW.

Nathan said...

I actually decided to leave it so you see comments when you go there. I may attach a second link to the cached version.

Jeri said...

OK - so let me see if I can untangle this. You have:

T-mobile cell
Verizon local
Verizon LD??
Verizon DSL Internet
Cable TV??

First, telcoms bundle and choose not to sell products a la carte for their convenience, to get customers on more of their products - believe me, it's not for the customer's convenience.

There are two major ways of providing Internet & phone service via land line to the home - cable (coax cable) and phone line.

On the cable-delivered side of the house, the FCC required that providers turn up cable service for the express purpose of providing Internet via cable modem without actual tv programming. Providers don't like to admit that they can do this.

In your case, you're getting service via phone line. While you can buy your DSL from a different company than Verizon, you can't actually have DSL without local phone service. Your local line has to have signal before the provider can run DSL over it.

It's not technically possible to run DSL without local service like you can run cable Internet without cable service - if you run signal on the local line for DSL, you have dial tone.

If you choose to drop your land line, do consider the loss of e-911 capabilities, as Michelle said. Land lines all participate in an e-911 database of emergency address info, and emergency services do not know your address when you call via cell phone.

There are other options for Internet services. Most urban areas have wireless options - they aren't quite as fast, but they can be cost competitive or even cheaper, especially because they don't have to be bundled. Out here we have Clearwire and WiMax. The provider sends you a device a lot like your DSL modem, you put an antenna in your window and set it up in your home, and voila - you're in business.

Or, you could buy a wireless data card that operates on the cell network, but that can quickly get fairly spendy.

Nathan said...

T-mobile cell - Yes
Verizon local - Yes
Verizon LD - Yes
Verizon DSL Internet - Yes
Cable TV - canceled it in '96 and haven't missed it.

Also Verizon wireless (for internet anywhere doohickie)

So, like I said, I'll consider going Verizon FIOS when my neighborhood has fiber optic system. I'd probably take the TV and internet on that, which would mean I could dump the DSL. I'd have to think about the landline issue (911).