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Published December 14, 2021

Maybe changing cellphones wasn’t such a good idea

By John Toth / The Bulletin

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you my experience of changing cell phones, which is a rare occurrence.

I don’t like throwing stuff away because there is a newer model around, and changing cell phones is just a big hassle with all the apps and features on it. So, I don’t do it unless I absolutely think it’s time.

I ended my column with mentioning how the apps just reloaded into the new phone. That part went according to plan. Then things began to go wrong.

I bought the phone from Amazon, refurbished to “as good as new,” with a 90-day warranty and free returns. I don’t like spending $1,000 on a cell phone, even if I can pay it out in intervals of $30 per month. I also don’t like getting stuck in a contract.

So, this is how I buy my phones - for cash and “as good as new.” I know they’re not the latest model. I don’t care as long as the phone does some basic things I need - like connect to data, work my apps and make and receive calls.

The second day of the big switch, I noticed that something was wrong. I wasn’t getting any data service outside of my house. I have had the phone connected to wi-fi the whole time.

So, I took it to the T-Mobile store by Kroger’s In Angleton, where it also wasn’t getting a data signal. You’d think that it would be quite strong by the store, since they sell phones there.

I had to make this trip because T-Mobile decided again to reduce the signal at my house to unusable levels. I need to call them again and ask for Moses, who promised me when I first called the company that my problems would be solved. They were, for a week or so.

With a name like that, you’d think he would be more honest with me. II should have had him etch it in stone.

The problem was not in the signal, however weak it was at the house, but in the phone. It was a Sprint model used phone, not a T-mobile phone, and not compatible with my account. Like I said, I hate changing phones.

I switched everything back to the old phone, packed the new one up and printed out a return label. Off it went, with an explanation, for a refund.

The other new phone arrived a few days later. This time I checked the data part first to make sure that the sim card can talk to the tower. Idrove back to the Kroger parking lot again, and it was cooking. The needle was pushing the limits of 4G. I was satisfied.

(I can hear you asking: “Why don’t you just get a 5G phone?” Because they cost more, and why get it when 4G provides all the data speed I need? When they start closing down the 4G service, I’ll reconsider.)

Then the hard part began. I had to re-enter all the passwords for all the apps so I can use them again. Although the apps loaded into the phone from the cloud, the passwords didn’t. I didn’t expect them to. This is another reason I hate changing phones.

It took a while. I have all the passwords written down. There is always a glitch somewhere. It’s a big time hog, but I finally did it.

This new baby is quite a change from what I have been using. The phone is about four years younger than the one that now sits on my desk and waits for me to turn it on should I need something from it.
I know, four cell phone years is like 40 human years.

Since I have done so well with changing phones, I thought I would plunge into the deep end of the tech world and change computers. Why not? Go for it. It was not a smooth ride. But I’ll save those details for another column.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)