My Problem with Phone Contracts

The contract for my mobile phone ran out about 6 months ago yet, I’m still hanging on to my current phone and plan.  The reason is that around the time my contract ran out, there really wasn’t a phone out there that I wanted.  And with imminent (at that point rumored) iPhone and the buzz around the Nokia N95 I thought I’d hang on.  And thats what I’ve been doing.  Now both phones have had a public airing, one more so than the other, its making my mind up time.  And I’m going for the Nokia.  The reasons are numerous and I shant bother going into them here and now, but its a carefully taken decision.

In steps my problem.  At the time of writing this the phone has been released to carriers which means its imminently going to be available to the public en masse.   I always manage to get a decent deal out of my carrier but they took me aback last year by trying to force an 18 month contract on me, something I fought against and refused to take.  Despite the better deal they were offering.  The reason is simple, I have NEVER had a mobile phone that has lasted that long, ever.  Getting the latest and greatest phone every year isn’t a nice to have, its a necessity.  Unfortunately, this appears to be something I am going to have to combat again shortly.

Looking at the Car Phone Warehouse’s page for the N95, I see that they seem to be charging greatly inflated prices for those wanting 12 month contracts.  No doubt I’ll get a better deal through tough negotiating, but I’ll still be worse off than those who take the 18 month plunge.  That’s a real shame and will no doubt put off heavy users like me, and lets face it, anyone going for the N95 is going to be a heavy user.

You might think that I abuse my phones or work in a particularly harsh environment, but no.  I use my phone many other people and work in an office.   This is why 18 month contracts seem inherently flawed to people like me.  After 18 months, and this is the first time I’ve actually kept a phone for this long, I might as well just carry around a piece of plastic.  At the moment, the joystick on my K750i is basically broken.  I can’t move in any direction and it seems to think I’m pressing the select button all the time, which I’m not.  This kinda limits its use.  And its nor just this phone, my previous phones, all big name makes, have failed at around the year mark.  Batteries, screens, keypads, I’ve lost them all.

So, when it comes time to negotiate for my new n95, I’ll go with whoever can give me the best 12 month contract.  Because for me, a normal person, 18 months just isn’t an option.   I really feel sorry for those of you over in the states.  After a two year contract my phone will typically have decomposed into it’s constituent parts.