Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Communications Setback

Remember one of my first blogs when I was singing the praises of cell phones and aircards? I thought we were so up to date with technology. Well,I think I have mentioned that our Alltel cell phones and aircard aren't going to work at the new place we are moving to. The area is served by a local phone company, the Nucla Naturita Telephone Company a.k.a. "the mafia". They are expensive and think they are God's gift to Paradox Valley. Maybe 50 years ago they were but I see no reason they should continue to take advantage of ignorant residents, many who have never ventured more than 100 miles from home. I have been very vocal about not playing their silly game, we don't need a landline but we do need a cell phone that is halfway reliable and internet access. So this week I took a drive to Nucla to find out for myself just what they were offering in the way of cell service. Unlike my experience a couple years ago with the NM Dept of Motor Vehicles, no one threatened to have me bodily removed or arrested. See? I can learn how to act civilized...heeheee. The nice lady who answered my questions looked totally out of place, she was professionally dressed and had an expensive haircut as opposed to most residents who wear Carharts and muddy boots. She explained their cell phone plans, you can buy the phone outright and pay $45 per month for their basic 250 minute plan or get a "free" phone and pay $10 a month more for the same plan with a 2 year contract. HUH? The "free" phone sells for $150 if you buy it outright, if you opt for the "free" deal you end up paying $240 for it! All the rest of the phones displayed in a locked glass case ran anywhere from $300-$900, rather expensive for a piece of equipment that will be out of date in 6 months, don't you think? On further examination of their various plans, non of them have voice mail...that is $4.50 a month more! What is that about? I asked if the phones would work out of area....would it work in Moab? in Durango? in Phoenix? yes, yes, yes.....OK, whose towers are they roaming off of? Alltel, Verizon and Sprint! Only the very best! OK, why don't you share your towers with those companies? "Well, I guess those companies don't want to use our towers, you should ask them that question." Darn right I will! I left there with most of my preconceived notions confirmed but with the sad fact that we may have to get one of their darn cell phones. And it won't be the FREE one!
Back in LaSal I called Altell and told the nice service person my sad tale. I asked why they didn't use the "mafia's" towers, she said Altell probably found them to be inferior for service, too expensive, or not feasible....I'm guessing all 3! I told her about the new tower that the mafia had just put up in the middle of the little town we are moving to , just a block away from our new place. I thought she would never stop laughing! "What are they thinking?" she asked, "that will never work, you are too close to the tower!" oh. Well, what can we do about getting us out of our contracts? "What kind of phones and which aircard do you have?" huh? what difference does it make? I have the Hue, Al has something by Samsung that rarely works because I somehow managed to program it on Verizon, and the air card I just call Huey because I have no idea how to pronounce it's real name. Normally it would be around $200 each to get out of the contracts but after consulting with a supervisor it was agreed that my phone would be $109, Al's would be $99 and Huey would be $159. So much for free and special price phones! Just like with the "mafia" you are actually paying for them. OK, but don't disconnect me yet, I need to do our income taxes first!

Thoroughly disheartened, I inserted the Turbo Tax program in the laptop, answered all the questions, and efiled all the returns with the help of Huey. Guess I will place an online order today for Hughes net pro. I'm really going to miss Huey!

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