T-Mobile doesn't want my money

Y'know, I live in a wonderful world full of technological possibilities. A global communications network exists that allows me to communicate to almost anyone, almost anywhere. I can sit at my computer and write something that the entire world could (if they cared, of course) read the moment I finished writing. Nearly all of this is driven by money-hungry corporate interests. These guys can virtually conquer the world as long as it makes them a little more money.

Except for T-Mobile, that is. They apparently want their customers to move to other carriers.

Early this year I bought a T-Mobile prepaid mobile phone for my second son. He was beginning to need his own phone, especially during the adverse winter weather we had experienced. I thought I would try a prepaid phone this once to see if it was worthwhile. In order to get a good idea what it's total cost would be, I put $100 onto the phone and handed it over to the boy.

September rolled around and he informed me that the phone was running dry of available minutes. I had given him the phone without informing him it was a prepaid, so that he would give it “normal” usage. Considering he probably was not consistent in his usage - he likely used it less at the beginning than he did at the end - he might have run out earlier than the 9 months he experienced. This means he spent a little over $10 a month communicating with people.

Here's the rub. If that phone had been tied to my T-Mobile account, he would have only been $10 a month plus taxes, or a little over. There didn't seem to be any reason to keep his phone off our account, so I contacted T-Mobile to see if I could get his number moved over.

T-Mobile said no.

Now, the prepaid service is with T-Mobile as well, which seems to be the problem. T-Mobile prepaid phone numbers cannot be transferred to a T-Mobile account. To someone like me - where it's a simple matter of programming the correct logic to move numbers from one database to another - this seemed worse than inconvenient, it was stupid bureaucratic silliness. Someone on high made a decision not to interoperate, which could only be made by an ignorant body in a suit.

Well, as I am never one to accept policy-based inanities, I decided to call AT&T. Guess what, they're happy to take my mon … ahh, transfer my number. Verizon even tells me the number is portable. So now what is going to stop me from moving this line, along with all my other lines, to another carrier? This is not the way to keep a customer.

This goes along with an experience I had in July with T-Mobile. Seems if you want a discount on a phone, you need to wait until your contract completely expires before they will give you that discount. I stated to the T-Mobile representative at the time that this goes against any marketing common sense that I've ever experienced. Drug dealers don't refuse to sell to junkies until after they've recovered. Mobile phone companies should be trying to reel their current customers in before their contract has expired. Wait until there's no penalty to move to another company, and I will likely jump ship.

My biggest regret is that I was looking forward to renewing with T-Mobile in May. I really want to get one of those MyTouch phones to play with. Now I'm looking to unite all my lines under any plan *other* than T-Mobile. Perhaps I will end up getting an Apple iPhone.

Thanks T-Mobile for keeping my options open for me.

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