Why are mobile phones so complicated to buy?

I need a new mobile phone (thats cell phone for non Brits ;)). I’ve never been too bothered about having the lastest, greatest phone as my miserly student finances can’t afford it and my needs are modest. I normally keep a phone for 2 to 3 years, however after about 2 years, my phone is getting a bit flaky and storing all my numbers in phone memory instead of the SIM memory and then at christmas, with no warning it ‘remembered’ all of the numbers I’ve ever deleted so I then had about 2 or 3 numbers for quite a few people. Its also a bit out dated now, monochrome screen, ZX Spectrum style ring tones etc…

So I would like a new phone. Colour screen, polyphonic ring tones and camera are pretty much par for the course these days so I’m not going to save money by not having those, besides I want them. Java games I’m not bothered about, data storage is nice, an MP3 player and radio maybe but not critical. Picture/video messaging I probably won’t use much, but a camera that can save video clips I will. Some kind of Linux interoperability would be nice too (recommendations gratefully received).

Well, getting a phone isn’t a problem. Most retailers will give you the phone for nothing with a pay monthly contract these days unless you want the hottest, newest phone. What is baking my brain is the call time deals.

For example:

Random cool phone handset, free. 200 free anytime, any network minutes. 200 text messages free for the first 6 months, £6 per month after the first 6 months (may be cancelled after the first 3 months). Line rental £5 per month for the first 6 months, charged at £15 per month with the difference rebated at the end of the first 6 months provided you return your rebate claim form within 30 days of the end of the initial 6 month period. £15 per month for the second 6 months, charged at £30 per month with the difference rebated at the end of the second 6 months provided you return your rebate form within 30 days of the end of the second 6 month period. Line rental is £30 per month thereafter, based on a minimum 18 month contract period.

This is a pretty standard mobile phone contract tarriff in the UK, though £5 per month is among the lowest deals around at the moment, but with more expensive contracts, the terms are normally the same. If you want a new phone without a contract then you are paying a few hundred pounds for a handset.

I just want an affordable phone contract without the hassle. For this reason I am staying put with my perfectly reasonably priced contract, although the call restrictions on call time (500 mins per month after 7pm til 7am and all weekend) and cross network calls (50 mins per month after 7pm til 7am and all weekend), plus 100 free text messages for £20 per month, is a little inconvenient. The cross network and pre 7pm calls are what cost me more than I can afford as a penniless student. Thats why I’m looking at these ‘Cool new camera phone’ and £5 per month for 6 months with free anytime any network calls, as I will be able to afford it in 6 months when I have finished uni and the charges go up. Charge me £15 or £20 flat fee for 12 months minimum with 200 cross network minutes and 200 text messages and I’m yours. Make me fill in forms, pay extra, get it rebated, have the price go up in stages, then fuck you.

I would go on Pay as You Go, but that would mean I would never be able to afford to call anyone ever.

What the fuck is going on?

2 thoughts on “Why are mobile phones so complicated to buy?

  1. Phone recommendation: SonyEricsson K700i.
    On tariffs: you’re on your own there, dude. 🙂

  2. ttp://www.e2save.com/mobile/phones/disphandset.php?network=tmobile&handset=K700

    Try that, e2save are the cheapest for phones, that’s where I got my contract from

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