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phone

The new Phischphone

So earlier this week, I decided I had had enough. The Sony Ericsson T616 was obviously having issues with its Bluetooth hardware, as it continued to drop connections with a brand-new Sony Ericsson Akono HBH-602 Bluetooth headset. It is very frustrating to be in the middle of a conversation with someone, then suddenly you can’t hear them and they can barely hear you, because the phone dropped the Bluetooth connection with the headset, and picked up the call itself. And the phone is in one of the cargo pockets of your shorts.

I stopped by my local Cingular Wireless store, where I have always gotten excellent customer service, and the sales guys know what they’re talking about. I extolled my tale of Bluetooth woe to one of the guys, and informed him I was in the market for a new phone.

First, the bad news:

The way Cingular works its contracts is that you are locked in to that contract. There’s no coming in and getting a new phone with a new contract, unless you want to pay the termination fee, which runs between $125-200, if memory serves. Thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted a new phone, I would have to pay full price.

Now, the good news:

I have insurance on my phone. My phone is damaged. The Bluetooth hardware is flawed. I can file a claim, and for $50, receive, within two business days, a new, comparable phone. (Didn’t I tell you these guys provide excellent customer service? Pity more wireless shops, including other Cingular stores, aren’t this on top of things.)

I was told it was unlikely I would get another T616. The sales rep and I were both hopeful I would get a Sony Ericsson T637, which was the model replacement for the T616.

So Tuesday evening I called up the third-party insurance provider Cingular uses, filed my claim, agreed to the $50 charge to my next monthly statement, and was told they did not have any comparable Sony Ericsson phones available to ship. My heart began to sink. I was getting a Motorola v551, the most popular phone in Cingular’s line-up, according to the rep on the phone.

The phone arrived at 3:30 PM CST on Wednesday. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it, though the druthers I do have ensure I will not be getting another Moto phone in February, when I am “eligible to upgrade” with Cingular. (At the 21-month mark of a two-year contract, Cingular is then willing to sign you up for a new contract, and you can get a new phone.) Full impressions, and the aforementioned druthers, on the phone in an upcoming post.