SiKing

November 8, 2006

Getting mobile

Filed under: mobile — SiKing @ 4:46 pm

… or as I’d like to call it: Getting shafted! Ireland has some of the most expensive rates for mobile calls that I have ever seen. And all the locals take it nicely all the way up there, just quietly lying down. I have been using only a mobile phone for so long that I don’t even remember how to use a classic telephone. You got to like plug something in someplace in a wall, and if you want to take the call over to the couch and sit down you need an extension cord and got to watch what you’re doing so that you don’t trip anyone with it. lame

I have a large-ish family, and we are all used to mobile phones. This week I started looking for a package that would satisfy us:

  • At least four telephone numbers connected to the same one bill.
  • A bundle of 400 minutes for local calls.
  • A bundle of 100 minutes for international calls, predominantly to the Czech Republic.
  • A bundle of 100 text messages.
  • All of the bundles to be shared between the three phones.
  • Any unused portion of any bundle could be carried over to the next month.
  • All communications (voice or text) between the three phones free of any charges.

So this week I did a little price comparison. Here is how I judged it:

  • I could not be bothered to figure out up front, for every call that I make, what network the person is on that I want to call. Therefore all the minutes are calculated at the most expensive rate, usually land-line.
  • Same for text messages. For the purposes of this survey, I will stick to text messages within Ireland. However, in real life I will be texting outside; in fact, it is my primary means of communicating with friends and family in the Czech Republic.
  • If minutes can be shared between the phones, that is worth a savings of 5% of the cost of the bundle for me.
  • If unused minutes can be carried over to the next month, that is worth a savings of 15% of the cost of the bundle for me.
  • Free calls between the phones is worth another 10% of the cost of the bundle.
  • Just to make things slightly more interesting, I added in the possibility of going 15 minutes and 10 text messages over the alloted amount.
  • I also want to keep my old phone number. All the providers that I checked with will do this for no cost, therefore I did not assign a cost value to this.

Meteor

Item Provider bundle Cost Details / Notes
local calls 2 x Talk 60 plus 2 x Talk 200 €120 No “family-pack” available; need to go with three separate plans. Total of 520 local-call minutes.
international calls included €45 No international calling bundles available, only per-minute costs that come with each of the above bundles. Using “Band 4” (Czech Republic) to calculate costs.
texts Text Add-On €12.50 The cost breakdown is €7.50 for the privilege of getting up to 150 €0.05 text messages.
minutes share no €0
minutes carryover no €0
free calls to members no €0 This option is available on higher (more expensive) plans.
extra minutes €10.25 Cost breakdown: €3 for extra local calls, €6.75 for international calls, and €0.50 for texts.

Grand total of: €187.75 per month. Note that the package has over 100 more local minutes than required. Some other perks include free voicemail and 300 free web texts per month per bundle; neither of these are actually needed by our family. I have not checked if it is possible to have all three plans on one single phone bill, but this is only a minor convenience.

This is the provider that we are currently being screwed by; we are all on the Anytime Plus plan.

O2

Item Provider bundle Cost Details / Notes
local calls 2 x Active life 40 plus 2 x Active life 150 €110 No “family-pack” available; need to go with three separate plans. Total of 460 local-call minutes, this includes the 20% extra you get if you join online.
international calls International €32 This is not a bundle. You pay €2 for the privilege of having €0.30 per minute calls.
Note that I found this information in their brochure, but could not find it online.
texts included €0 The three plans include a total of 360 texts, this includes the 20% extra you get if you join online.
minutes share no €0
minutes carryover yes -€16.50 The minutes on the local bundle can be carried over. International minutes are not in a bundle.
free calls to members no €0
extra minutes €9.75 Cost breakdown: €5.25 for local calls, €4.50 for international calls, and sufficient texts are already included.

Grand total of: €135.25 per month. Note that this plan also includes over three times as many texts as is required. I have not checked if it is possible to have all three plans on one single phone bill, but this is only a minor convenience.

Vodafone

Item Provider bundle Cost Details / Notes
local calls Perfect Fit for Family 450 €119 The base price of €99 includes only two phones. Additional phone (up to a total of 6) is added for €10 each. Total of 450 local-call minutes is included
international calls International Add On €36 Includes total of 105 minutes.
texts Text Add On €25 This includes 400 texts, that can be shared between the members; this information comes from a brochure, and I could not find it online. There are text add ons, that are cheaper but do not allow sharing.
minutes share yes -€7.20 Local-minutes and texts can be shared. International minutes are not sharable.
minutes carryover yes -€17.85
free calls to members yes -€11.90
extra minutes €11.55 Cost breakdown: €3.30 for local calls, €8.25 for international calls, and sufficient texts are already included.

Grand total of: €154.60 per month. Note that this plan also includes four times as many texts as is required. The whole thing comes on one telephone bill.

3

Got a late comer into the race. They certainly win in the shortest name category. WTF?

Item Provider bundle Cost Details / Notes
local calls 4 x VideoTalk & Text 200 €100 No “family-pack” available; need to go with four separate plans.
international calls included (.pdf link) €35
texts included €0
minutes share no €0
minutes carryover no €0
free calls to members no €0
extra minutes €9.75 Cost breakdown: €4.50 for local calls, €5.25 for international calls, and sufficient texts are already included.

Grand total of: €144.75 per month. They do not beat out O2, but man they certainly do try

T-mobile CZ

Just for the heck of it, I thought I would thrown in my last provider to see how expensive it would be to do this on a roaming plan.

Item Provider bundle Cost Details / Notes
local calls T 30 plus roaming WorldClass 9948.40Kč You need to get on a plan, and then activate cheaper roaming. The roaming requires a 5000Kč deposit.
international calls included 2487.10Kč Costs are the same, even when calling into the Czech Republic.
texts roaming SMS pack 583.10Kč
minutes share no 0Kč
minutes carryover no 0Kč
free calls to members no 0Kč
extra minutes 628.31Kč Cost breakdown: 285Kč for local calls, 285Kč for international calls, and 58.31Kč for texts.

Total of 13646.91Kč, for a grand total of: €480.01 per month.

This is obviously a pipe dream, as people in Ireland, with the already high costs, would be seriously put off with calling an international number to get a hold of me locally. Image

Summary

So in the end, if you include the fact that Meteor has the least coverage, they definitely slurp donkey piss. I do have to admit, when I started doing this I was leaning toward the Vodafone family plan, but in the end it is hard to beat O2!

September 8, 2006

Shopping for a phone

Filed under: meatspace,mobile,noki — SiKing @ 12:11 pm

Dead Santa

So I’m looking for a new phone. Actually I have been looking for a new phone for like the past three years, but I have just never had the spare cash to do it. This year I’m going to hit up Santa, as I figure he owes me for the past several years of socks and underwear; if he does not come through for me, then I’m going to treat myself for my B-day!

Currently I am sporting the extreme bargain Nokia 1600. What I really want is a phone and MP3 player and that’s it! I don’t need a camera, I have no need for Bluetooth, or any of that other latest’n’greatest crap. However, I suspect that in today’s consumer economy, I will not be able to get one without these additional features. As for the design, I am not a fan of the flip-phones – the ones that you first have to open up like a can. I do believe that it is a great idea to hide the buttons so as not to damage them, but I personally just could not be bothered to flip. Oh ya, and I would also like it to have a Czech dictionary. Image

Here are the current recommendations, in order of my preference:

  1. The Nokia N91. The slider to hide the buttons is nice, much better than a flipper. Have been a fan of Nokia ever since my trip to their plant in Salo.
  2. The Chocolate bar LG KG800. Slightly over-hyped for my tastes, but seems good.
  3. The Walkman Sony Ericsson W810i. I liked this phone the first time I saw it, even though I generally shy away from Sony products.
  4. The Perl BlackBerry 8100. This looks kool, but I am not sure that it will satisfy me as it has a lot of other features that I will probably never use and will just get in my way.

Anyone else have one? Please do add your thoughts, links, whatever.

OK, Santa flipped me off … so birthday it is then!

It is looking like the Noki is going to be the winner: 4GB disk on-board, and running Symbian too! How freakin’ kool is that? Now I just need to figure out a way to get it over the border, so that I can get the VAT back.

I also started checking this thing out on eBay – it goes for like US$500 including shipping and all (hidden) costs. But man, there are a lot of scams out there! I joined eBay way back in the day, and back then it was a good thing. But today, it is fast becoming the place to get ripped off on the Net. WTF is up with that?

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