The customer is king in America. Well almost always.. cellphone and Internet providers remain the last bastions of customer unfriendliness. I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to cell phones. I use my phone just as a phone. I don't want it to sing songs, take pictures or cook me dinner. Phone companies hate me since I don't contribute much to their profit margin.
The feeling is mutual. My Verizon contract expired almost two years ago and I have been unwilling to sign another one. And then the inevitable happened - I lost my cellphone. So I went ahead and ordered an unlocked Blackberry Pearl from Amazon. I was feeling pretty smug when I walked into the Verizon store. After all I had shelled out a mere $35 for a Blackberry. Alas.. Verizon considers all Blackberry phones as smart phones. So here was a chance to lure me in - a data plan for an additional $25 will be required to just use my new phone. If I didn't like the deal, I was always welcome to buy the non-smart phones from their store for a paltry $200! My only other option was to switch to another carrier. However there was no guarantee that I would get to retain my old number or get a better cellphone plan.
That is when I decided to do some research. I found out that PagePlus Cellular runs a prepaid service using the Verizon network. I called their customer service and ported my existing Verizon number to PagePlus. This took less than 30 minutes. I then provided them with my Blackberry Pearl's MEID (obtained by pressing Blackberry button > Options > Status) and transferred my number to the new phone. My prepaid plan amounts to just $100 for 1000 minutes. Compare that to the $46 I paid monthly to Verizon.
All in all, a good way to stick it to the Verizon Man.