I’ve mentioned a few times that I was an old AT&T Wireless customer, which means that I was paying Cingular a lot of money every month to be a second-class citizen. With an AT&T account, I couldn’t buy a new Cingular phone (they’re locked to Cingular’s network) or add features (like a wireless data plan) to my account without trading in my old AT&T account for a shiny new Cingular plan. And I didn’t want to do that for a few reasons:

  1. I have a family plan, which means that I’d have to switch both lines at the same time. Which means that I’d have to buy a pair of new phones.

  2. I had a reasonably cheap plan with AT&T, and comperable Cingular plans cost more and provide less.

  3. Finally, switching plans means that I’d be stuck with at least a 1-year contract extension.

So, basically, it meant that it was a pain to change phones. If I wanted to get a new phone and have some sort of unmetered network service, then I was going to have to pay more for basic phone service and I’d have to replace my wife’s phone. Which is a pain. So I’d been putting it off until just the right phone came along.

Well, with the E61 on the way Friday, it was finally time. I needed to turn on a data plan for the E61, but I didn’t want to pay more for basic phone service. In general, normal customer service reps are helpless to do anything about this sort of complaint, so I decided to bite the bullet and threaten to cancel; the retention department at most carriers is able to make deals, but you need to be willing to actually cancel and switch carriers if you can’t make a deal. So I called Cingular’s customer service and asked the to transfer me straight to the retension department. Once I had a rentention rep on the line, I told her that I’d been with Cingular for years and I was going to switch to T-Mobile if I couldn’t get a deal.

Amazingly enough, she didn’t even blink, and offered me an extra 100 minutes per month for the same price I was already paying, and threw in a decent discount on phones. So, all in all, I’m happy. I feel kind of mercenary, but I figure I can live that if it saves me $400 or so over the next couple years.

[FWIW, I actually wrote this on the E61 and then mailed it to my Mac for posting. I need to find a decent web editor for S60. Any suggestions?]