Shopping For Toys In Hell

It's the phone you write on

Bleurgh.

But first the good news: The Samsung Galaxy Note is finally available in Ireland, from Vodafone.

The mixed news: It’s pricey – ranging from €100 up front on a 24-month “I wish to buy all these airwaves” heavy use contract, to €300 if you only want to be committed for 18 months. That puts it on a level with only the iPhone 4S.

The medium news: Maths is hard. Or to be precise, arithmetic is tedious. But having hammered through nine different contract options, amortising the down payment to try and figure out which is really the best value, there is one inescapable conclusion. They’re all nearly the bloody same. The most expensive one has five times the minutes, ten times the texts and twice the data as the cheapest – but only costs a third more a month.

But will I need all those extra minutes, or can I save that third off the price? Well that really depends on how much I use now. And my current carrier O2 doesn’t put all that information in one place, so I have to go extracting it from each month’s bill… And of course it’s not presented in terms of what you actually used. Oh no, that would be far too simple. Unless that is you want to get it from the downloadable Excel spreadsheet – where they put your spend on voice, text and data all in a single column, so rendering it it ****ing useless.

What appears on the bill is how much you were charged for exceeding your allowance in that month. To work out what that means in terms of usage you have to divide it by the price, and nowhere on the site does it seem to say anymore what the tariffs for excess minutes, texts and data are for my contract. So I have to figure the pricing out from the spreadsheet – factoring in the VAT of course. And this still tells me nothing about the months when I was under my allowance; that I have to extrapolate from the bell curve (i.e., guess). Gaaaaah. My brain hurts. Shopping for toys ought to be more fun than this.

They do it to make their customers stay. We know that we might get a better deal somewhere else. We just can’t tell where.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Shopping For Toys In Hell

  1. Aren’t you going overboard by trying to work out rates? Just look up what your limits currently are, work out from the spreadsheet how often you exceed these limits in a year, how much it costs you when it happens (which presumably are all or most of the entries in the spreadsheet). Then decide if the marginal cost of going over your limits is worth upgrading to a heftier package and if the package would always keep you within limits. Would that not work for making a decision?

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    1. It’s not quite enough. My current package includes 150 minutes a month, for example, while Vodafone only offer 100 minutes and 200 minutes. Would it be worth my while to drop to 100? It’s very hard to tell. Repeat for texts etc.

      But yes, I am going overboard. I do that.

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  2. They do it to make their customers stay. We know that we might get a better deal somewhere else. We just can’t tell where.

    How true. Since they’re basically selling a commodity, they’re doing what all service providers that actually sell a commodity do: they make their pricing schemes absolutely opaque. (See energy company, cable company, ISP)

    Good luck with your hunt, though!

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