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If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?

A thought I’ve pondered over a lot. If I had my way I would change a lot (not only in Mobile), but in the rest of the world. But let’s forget about that; let’s think purely Mobile, purely communications, and sales. What would you change?

What has to annoy me the most with mobiles, especially here in the UK, is the locking, and branding of mobiles on certain operators.

I absolutely loathe this.

Yes, mobiles are subsidised by the networks we buy them from, and hooray for that, but loading horrible, cheap, and ugly firmware onto a device I have just paid for is at the very least; highly annoying. And then plastering your network brand all over my shiny new device? No thank you!

I will use the example of my Sony W810i, it has Orange branding all over it (which I hate), and when I used to turn it on, and use the menu, It was all Orange branded. No I don’t use Orange, and I don’t want them infiltrating my phone. So I decided to get it debranded; now apart from the fact that none of the high street retailers knew of such a term, was irritating.

I ended up doing the procedure myself; which for about two hours nearly bricked my phone. I was panic stricken, and worried.

The point is one shouldn’t have to half scare themselves to death in order to use a mobile they paid for, in the way they like. And even if you don’t break your mobile yourself as my friend found out, Nokia’s which (can) come hard locked can cost around £25 to unlock.

My answer to this problem is now to ask the staff at mobile shops “What phones do you sell on PayG unlocked?” and from there, only the devices which are unlocked, unbranded and free for me to do whatever I wish, I will take into consideration. It’s a terrible truth, but I will not pay in excess of £200 or £300 for a network free phone, but nor will I pay £100/£110 for a mobile that is complete with horrible firmware.

So to you, another mobile consumer, if anything, if you had one thing to change, what would it be? Would it be something to do with the handsets, sales, operators, applications, or anything!

18 replies on “If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?”

I'd like to change the way mobile phone insurance currently works. It's really expensive if I was to insure each handset that I have individually – what I really would like to see is a stand-alone fone insurance policy that I can get multiple family handsets to and save money in the process. As it is at the moment, I don't insure any of them apart from my iPhone because I feel that I'm being ripped off.

PK

Related to your article, I'd like to see any phone sold via a store or via the web get upgraded to the latest firmware at point of purchase. And not just the operator's (branded) firmware, but the latest available for the device.

Example: when I bought my N95, it came with V10 firmware. A year later, I bough the same device for my partner. Guess what? V10 firmware at a time when I'd already upgraded mine to the V12 firmware offered by the operator. (I've since debranded it and upgraded again so I'm running the V21 firmware currently).

I rather agree with you here — and the situation in the U.S. is even worse than it is in the UK — finding an unlocked phone here is virtually impossible; there are a few shops scattered around the country, but for those of us who'd like to find an unlocked/unbranded phone, it's the 'net all the way.

With the exception of my blackberry (which is a secondary phone I got through T-Mobile), I haven't owned a locked/branded phone in years — but I pay through the nose to get them (my N95, the N. American version unlocked, was $700.00). It's worth it to me to not have to deal with any carrier lock downs, but still smarts a bit.

I would just love to see subsidies go away entirely — let people feel the real cost of buying a handset and turn the operators into nothing more than service providers.

-olly

roaming data…… ! I dont want to pay £6 a meg (O2) or £7.50 a meg (T-Mobile) thank you…

I want to pay a one off £10 a year and then my Unlimited data (oed update of word now = 200 meg – 1 gig) should kick in where ever I am…

Or at least get a heary discount on charges if you use the home network with the same network abroad ie T-mobile in the UK and T-mobile in the US..

roaming data…… ! I dont want to pay £6 a meg (O2) or £7.50 a meg (T-Mobile) thank you…

I want to pay a one off £10 a year and then my Unlimited data (oed update of word now = 200 meg – 1 gig) should kick in where ever I am…

Or at least get a heary discount on charges if you use the home network with the same network abroad ie T-mobile in the UK and T-mobile in the US..

Samantha: You’re right on point with your comment and Ollysk2 is also correct when he says that the situation in the States is even worse. We got rid of carrier owned equipment for our land lines in the 80’s and one would have thought that we learned something.

I had hoped that Apple would have lead the way 14 months ago, by selling the iPhone without a carrier tie in. If Jobs had launch the iPhone this way, I believe that sales would be even higher than they are today. The only physical location where you can buy a non-carrier locked phone today is the Sony Style store… And that’s just not enough of a game changer to have an impact on US consumers.

I suddenly feel all lucky that I was born here in India. Finding a 'locked' phone here is as rare as Will Smith speaking in an Scottish accent. Almost all the phones available here are unlocked.

As for what I'd like to change, I'd say:
“I'd change the time we have to wait for newer mobile technologies take to reach us. A country of 300 million mobile subscribers and we don't even have 3G yet.”

nokia contact app – its a pile of crap.

but i wholly agree about operator firmware – it does no one any favours. esp now most phones auto configure on sim insertion. some firmware updates are vital to fix things and they never appear on the branded versions.

I've never bought Mobile Insurance myself, but that is due to price. I totally agree though. I'm sure if there was an option for family insurance (which for Parents would be brilliant with teens), it would be bought up pretty quickly.

Thanks for your comment!

Samantha.

That's terrible!

Because as James has pointed out with his walkabouts, not many people do the firmware upgrades (either due to ignorance or laziness), and they use devices which have bugs in them!

Yes, I would say there should be a point during sales where the phone is made up to date, and any free applications of interest could be installed or something. That would be helpful.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Samantha.

Ahh, really?

It's terrible that we can't buy phones without all of this additional rubbish on it, unless we go to extreme measures.

Hopefully one day something will happen where subsidised phones that are sold locked, and branded will end. And with any luck the economics of Supply and Demand will make it easier for us all!

Thanks for reading, and commenting!

Samantha.

Eurgh, roaming charges and data!

Prices should definitely be made better, and seeing how we're charged say compared to standard broadband, it's ridiculous!

As for the international rates on the same network… Definitely! Seeing as you're not actually using another network, it doesn't make much sense to be charged as if you're forced to use an entirely different network altogether.

Thanks for the comment!

Samantha.

I would simplify the endless range of phone tariffs that require you to predict what you’ll be doing over the next month/12 months/18 months and then guess which tariff will suit your needs best. How? Very simply actually, the networks would offer a service where for an extra £2 a month their billing computer would analyse your phone usage at the end of the month and figure out which tariff plus extras would have been best for you and then apply the relevant charges so for an extra £2/month you knew you were never overpaying to use your mobile.

I would simplify the endless range of phone tariffs that require you to predict what you’ll be doing over the next month/12 months/18 months and then guess which tariff will suit your needs best. How? Very simply actually, the networks would offer a service where for an extra £2 a month their billing computer would analyse your phone usage at the end of the month and figure out which tariff plus extras would have been best for you and then apply the relevant charges so for an extra £2/month you knew you were never overpaying to use your mobile.

I agree that phones being locked down is terrible! And I agree that it's terrible here in the US as someone said above me. I had a Samsung T519 (aka trace) a while back. It was a Tmobile branded phone for sure. The menu highlighting was Tmobile pink and unable to be changed. But what really drove me nuts was the java… you could not run or install *any* programs/games/etc that were not signed by Tmobile! I finally figured out how to hack it and was able to install a program to my phone… but there was no way for unsigned applications to use data AT ALL. Sad thing is I don't think most users of this phone would ever notice things like that.

This one is easy. It should be legal to break a contract for poor customer service. That is, the regulator should force an standard clause into all fixed term contracts saying that if the contract terms are not actively supported by the service provider the customer can walk with no penalty.

They can use the same wording as the banking regulator has insisted on.

This one is easy. It should be legal to break a contract for poor customer service. That is, the regulator should force an standard clause into all fixed term contracts saying that if the contract terms are not actively supported by the service provider the customer can walk with no penalty.

They can use the same wording as the banking regulator has insisted on.

This one is easy. It should be legal to break a contract for poor customer service. That is, the regulator should force an standard clause into all fixed term contracts saying that if the contract terms are not actively supported by the service provider the customer can walk with no penalty.

They can use the same wording as the banking regulator has insisted on.

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