Thursday, 19 January 2012

How I Buy Things Now – Episode 1: The Cell Phone Search

Those that know me know that I've been trapped in a three year contract with Bell Aliant and an LG Bliss I never wanted in the first place. I’m going to omit the gruesome details at the risk of this turning into a rant…ask me about it and I’ll tell you though (A.K.A Don’t get me started). I thought I would attempt to make a decision using only information found from Internet Research and Social Networking. I know what you’re thinking, and this was an experiment and not just an excuse for me to spend an evening sitting on my couch on my internet machine….mostly.

Step 1: Research Hardware

I didn’t want to be left in the dust, buying a phone that is clearly inferior to the one everyone is going to have in a couple months (like I did with this one). I assumed the best would be the iPhone 4S until I started hearing all my nerdy friends get excited about the Galaxy Nexus. So I put the question to my nerdiest of friends… the people I have on my social networks. I also went online and looked up Youtube videos of people with foreign accents (Nasal is an accent right?) comparing the Nexus to the iPhone as well as the Galaxy SII. The only apparent downfall of going with the Nexus is that the camera is blatantly inferior to the iPhone and the Galaxy SII.

Dear Samsung.

Tell your engineers that the other companies publish their specs on their websites. Why you would purposely install an inferior functioning camera in what could be a superior phone?

Hugs and Kisses,

After flopping back and forth on this decision I found two people I trusted to give me accurate advice. I consulted @ZacherySchiller and @SamsungTMobile. I asked @SamsungTMobile to evaluate the choice between the Nexus and the Galaxy SII. They recommended the Galaxy SII, but only because of the camera functions. I was leaning towards a Samsung product, because they actively sought me out on Twitter and always respond to my tweets. Thus, if I have a “phone” issue, I feel like I have a “go to” person. I felt I could trust @ZacherySchiller, because his Google+ profile picture shows a pale individual with dark-rimmed glasses and he once referred to himself as a Nerdosaurus Rex. He also stated that he has owned both a Nexus and an iPhone which makes me trust his judgement. He recommended the Nexus because he had more control over everything on it and it didn't have a “skin.” Then he gave me a short lesson in what a “skin” was and why he didn’t like them.

Short Lesson: When the operating system is created by someone other than the person who built the phone (in this scenario, the operating system is created by Google and the phone is created by Samsung) the phone creator “tweaks” the operating system to make it look different. This is called a skin. When upgrades come out, it takes longer for users of phones with skins to get them, because the update needs to be tweaked to be compatible with the skin. Because the Nexus is “Pure Android” it will not have a “skin” and will be compatible with anything Google creates. For those of you who are like me and are an entirely different kind of nerd, the Galaxy SII is probably muggle-born and the Nexus is a Pure-Blood.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 

Step 2: Assessing Customer Service: Finding a Provider

The next step was to not get stuck with some douchebag provider with no accountability or concern for my experience. I wanted to assess my ability to speak with someone about my experience. This would determine my comfort level with this company. Someone who cares about what people are saying about them online makes me feel comfortable as they will want to fix my problems in a timely fashion to avoid a slew of negative tweets about their products or services. I sent the following tweet out.

Ok people. My @Bell_Aliant contract is up soon. @RogersBuzz @TELUS @Koodo_Mobile There could be a 3 year contract and a happy tweet for you.

Within 20 minutes @RogersRavi (a Rogers employee) tweeted back with a link to their specials and told me that if I needed any help, I could feel free to tweet him. He won some brownie points, but then I received a slew of other messages from friends saying things like “anyone but Rogers” and “not Rogers” and “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T GO WITH ROGERS!!!” If they do have good customer service, it must be fairly new. This counteracted the fact that they won the race to tweet back.

12 hours later @Bell_Aliant tweeted back.

“Unfortunately we cannot assist you but Bell Mobility can be reached at 1-866-434-0344 or .”

After 6 years with them, I found the wording ““Unfortunately we cannot assist you” to be very appropriate. In their defense, they gave me as much information as Rogers did AND I should actually be talking to Bell Mobility. However, Bell Mobility does not have an active twitter site. If I sold smart phones I feel like that’s a thing I would have. Fail!

Telus and Koodo were absent from this round. Fail! However, everyone I know who has Telus recommended them, and no one had anything bad to say about them.

Step 3: Pricing

After deciding on the Galaxy Nexus, I checked the websites for prices.


Didn’t have it. Fail! Koodo loses.


599.99 or 99.99 on select three year plans. (Select did not appear to be defined) Fail!


649.99 or 99.99 on three year plans of 50$/month or more. The price to purchase just the phone is a little more than Rogers, but I don’t plan on doing that anyway. I also appreciated the fact that they identified how much I was going to have to pay monthly in order to get that deal.

Bell Mobile

159.95 on three year plans of 50$/month or more, and I couldn’t find their price for buying it outright. WTF Bell?!?!?!?! You don’t have a twitter or facebook account and you’re not even trying to be price competitive! 

Score Card

Samsung beat out Apple with its use of social networking to make me feel like they care about me, and the volume of nerd-hype the Nexus has been able to accumulate.

Koodo neglected to carry the winning hardware. They lose.

Rogers won social networking race, but lost points when everyone in the entire world told me how much they hated them. They also failed to clearly define “select plans” somewhere on the site I wouldn’t have to dig for.

Bell Mobile was absent from the social networking round, they charge more for the hardware than any other carrier and they don’t have a good history with me. They are only still in the race because they are my current carrier. 

While they did not actively participate in the social networking round, Telus’ clients did and they had only nice things to say. Their website clearly indicated all of the information I needed ...Telus is currently leading.

Tune in for Episode 2 where I look at plans and Bell Mobile gets a bonus “retention” round, where they try and win my affection.


  1. hmm..sounds like Telus may come out on top, but you never know, perhaps Bell will do something to win you over, despite the lack of a twitter account (don't be hating! I didn't have one either until recently and you taught me how to use I'm catching myself going on twitter before facebook, is this a good thing?!?!) As for Rogers, don't let @RogersRavi blind you from the truth behind Rogers' customer service - they don't have any! But you'll make your own desicion when it comes down to it.
    I will soon be due for an upgrade as well, and I just want a few things that I'll be looking at: a good camera, preferably one that can function while the actual phone is locked.. and a decent operating system, Bada sucks! Especially if the upgrade isn't available in our country! Stupid Euro-trash P.O.S.. Curse you Samsung Wave!

    I need to stop before this turns it a rant..I look forwad to episode 2

  2. When can we expect Episode 2? My contract with Bell has been up for months and my Blackberry just officially decided to be useless. In order to charge my battery I must now remove it from the phone, place it in an old blackberry to charge it, thereby losing my connection with the world during charging, which of course must happen for a full 8 hours every 14 hours or so.

  3. Thanks for the interest Shara. My plan is to call all of them to see which ones will be able to tell me exactly what my price is going to be after taxes and fees. It will come out when I've made a decision, but the decision will probably be updated on Facebook and Twitter before the actual post is released.