Mobile phone woe

I ran out of time to post anything more from my time in Preston, but I doubt it will be the last time I refer to it as it has had quite an impact. At the moment I think I’m suffering from brain burn. I can’t remember the last time I used the old grey matter so intensely for so long.

One thing that came out is that I am in serious need of upgrading my mobile package. Playing with the Nokia N95 made me realise I need to find out how mobile Internet is working and how that might effect people who use The Post website (and how I might do my job as a journalist).

I don’t get a work mobile and my current personal mobile is talk and text only. I will have to change it but the thing is, I’m on a really good tariff. I signed up to it with BT Genie back in the day when I was a student and BT was experimenting with selling online. Because I never moved O2 keeps me on it to stop me going elsewhere.

It includes:

  • £10 a month contract
  • 50 free off-peak minutes every day (1400 a month).
  • unlimited free texts a month

Good, huh? If I try not to use it for work calls during the day too much then it’s a very good package. So, relunctant to lose the contract I phoned O2 today to see what they could offer me. I have two options.

Option 1: Internet bolt-on

  • 2MB a month for £3
  • 4MB a month for £5
  • Unlimited access for £25

Option 2: Change of package to Online 35:

  • £35 a month contract
  • 600 free mins a month
  • 1000 free texts a month
  • Unlimited internet access for £7.50 a month extra

I think it’s probably going to end up with me taking the bolt on, but boosting my outgoing on a mobile from at least £10 to at least £30 is still a pain in the arse. The other thing is that it would not allow we the handset upgrade. If I wanted an 8GB N95, for example, I would have the pleasure of paying £249.

So, is there a better contract out there?

9 Responses to “Mobile phone woe”


  1. 1 Stef Lewandowski February 2, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    If you’re already with O2 why not go for an iPhone?

    Seems comparable to option 2 but with all the goodness that is surfing the web with safari on your mobile.

  2. 2 David February 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I’m liking my shiny new iPhone. The cost is about the same as it sounds like you’ll end up paying anyway. It’s pretty nifty for internet access on the move. And you use it by prodding the screen, which has to be good. No video facility, mind.

  3. 3 joannageary February 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I have to say I have completely and utterly fallen in love with the iPhone. Everything about the way it is designed with the user in mind is fantastic and I’ve been tempted many, many times… but is it the best for journalists?

    As David mentions, if there’s no video then it might not be the best. But then, I love it so much, I might just decide that, if I came across some breaking news, I would take pictures instead.

    Does the iPhone record audio?

    There is also the cost. I’m going to have to do some budgeting. I can just about strech to £35 a month (I think), but isn’t there a one-off cost for the phone?

    I think O2 also only allow 500 texts a month, which might limit my burgeoning Twitter habit! Saying that though, with unlimited data I could just tweet online…

    So many variables!

  4. 4 James February 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    “4MB a month for £5″?

    Bloody hell. T Mobile does ‘unlimited’ for £7.50. I average about 100mb of data per month, and I only really use it for gmail and twitter.

  5. 5 Pete Ashton February 2, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    iPhone doesn’t do video or audio recording.

    There might be peripherals that do the latter but my iTalk doesn’t work.

    So far I’m seeing it more as an internet device rather than a media production device. It’s great for surfing and micro-blogging (Google Reader, Twitter, del.icio.us, etc) but not necessarily for what you’re thinking of.

    (I twitter through the web. Don’t see the point of using texts!)

    At least not yet. Remember it’s a version 1 product. The next version might well do more (look at the original iPod and the current one…)

  6. 6 Mark February 2, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    The Iphone just does not hack it as a journalist’s tool. Cam not good enough, video and audio non-existent.
    The new n95 is great but I would rather go for the older one. You can pick them up relatively cheap (I know, if you have little money even cheap is dear) on ebay. The con with the new N95 is that you are locked in to an 8 gig limit (no micro card slot).
    The iphone is beautiful and everyone should have one :-) but I agree with Pete it’s more an internet device. And even here the n95 kicks it arse.

  7. 7 Nick February 4, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    For my money smart phones haven’t really come of age yet. I had a really exhaustive search of every single smart phone on the market and really couldn’t find any thing that fit my needs (That’s why I ended up getting an EEE for working on the move) . Weirdly I also have the same Genie internet SIM from back in the day and I am lothe to part with it.
    The very best article I have ever read on smart phones is written by Stephen Fry: http://stephenfry.com/blog/?p=33
    Be aware that anything that doesn’t have a qwerty keyboard is virtually useless for anything other than perhaps having a quick look at your e-mails or looking up something on Wikipedia.
    For my money the iPhone is an awesome bit of kit but it is virtually identical to the iPod touch and I personally couldn’t bear the cost difference (also being a phone is the one thing it’s not that great at). The N95 is also pretty damn good, but it is an entertainment oriented music/photo phone and is no good for business use (the battery life absolutely sucks as well)
    For journalistic work you might want to look at something like an XDA (though I hate Windows mobile) or a RIM Blackberry/ Personally the only smart phone I seriously considered sheling out for was the Nokia E90 which is awesome, but is going to put you on a £50 tarrif.
    I ended up getting an N73 which was only £130 on pay and go and does a fair hash of internet and webmail, but is also sadly lacking in whelm in the battery life front.

  8. 8 Ben February 5, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Just buy one and put it on expenses Jo – I’m sure it’ll sail straight through.

  9. 9 Dom Barnes February 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I would have to agree with other people. If you wanna look at the Internet mobile, then why not forget the N95 and get an iPhone. It really is superior to all other web browsing. Having unlimited data access, and the ability to switch to Wifi makes it ideal for all that. Plus I find it a great email client and manage 5 email accounts on it.
    The complaints about the camera, video and audio can all be upgraded later by Apple, and its a hell of a lot easier than updating an N95 or anyother mobile phone out there.
    Bear in mind that come the end of February the developer kit for iPhone will be out so third parties will be making apps and no doubt there will be voice recorders, to do lists, and a whole lot more.
    The other thing about the iPhone is that it already has a large mass of iPhone customised websites, that make viewing sites entirly different. Just look at something like pockettweets.com or iphone.digg.com or iPhlickr. All designed to keep data usage down so pages load quickly while still giving a great interface and experience.

    In case you can’t guess, I have one and couldn’t imaging going back to a Nokia phone. And the Crackberry’s are just plain ugly. Too many self-involved executives have one and its just shameful that they think they’re so important they can’t leave an email for a few minutes to respond. If its that important, they’ll call!
    Excuse that rant. But try the iPhone out.


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