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Mobile Phone Moan

The UK mobile phone market is simply uninspiring at the moment. I’ve been looking to get a new phone and calling plan, but having investigated the options I’m deeply disappointed.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the poor current choice of phones and payment plans (in the UK at least) are the result of hollow marketing and greedy market distortion.

I need to upgrade my phone as I’m still using an ancient Sony Ericsson P900 that’s on its last legs. But having visited London’s biggest mobile phone shop (and also reviewed several dealer websites), I’ve come away with the view that the current market’s range of phones leave a lot to be desired.

Range of handsets

For a start, there simply aren’t many phones to choose from at the moment. Nokia and Sony Ericsson each seem to have about 4 main phones out at the moment. Combined with a few others from the secondary manufactures (like Motorola, LG, Samsung, etc) you’re left with a realistic choice of abut 15 different phones that are less than a year old. That doesn’t seem too many to me.

Come on, we all know that the likes of Nokia and SE know exactly what phones they’ll be shipping between now and Christmas 2006. What we are seeing on the high street today is the net result of handset manufactures sitting on new models, holding back innovation, whilst they squeeze the last drops from their current ranges.

The other thing that strikes me is most of the current ‘hot phones’ are simply iterations of older models. We’re not even talking evolutions – just iterations:

What’s the point of releasing a new RAZR in hot pink months after the original launch of the phone in black and silver? (It’s been a failure too, shops are discounting them heavily)

Call me a cynic (or naive), but the biggest disappointment was discovering Sony Ericsson’s “Walkman Phone,” the W800i, was nothing more than ‘pimped up’ case for the Sony Ericsson K750i, bundled with a 512MB Memory Stick Duo card (a £20/$40 value). For that you seem to pay the equivalent of twice the street price of the K750i.

The guy in Car Phone Warehouse described it as a “Lifestyle choice”. You can either have the (deliberately designed) ‘boring’ black K750i or go for the “up sell” swinging orange and white W800i. Apparently it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ as to which suites you best.

And what’s the genuine difference between the Nokia 6680 and the Nokia N70 – other than a minor difference to the case and a better camera (whoo!)?

Really expensive plans

Competition in the market should mean constantly cheaper mobile phone plans. But I’m shocked at how much mobile phone plans have gone up in the past 18 months or so. It seems to me that carriers are not interested in providing plans that cost less than £30 ($60) a month.

They also now want to push you into an 18 month contract, rather than the traditional 12 months. I don’t want to locked down to the same contract for one and a half years – the mobile landscape (hopefully) will look very different in that time and my needs might change between now and then.

I’m also disappointed about the complete lack of viable mobile web tariffs. Paying £2($4) a MB to download data to your phone is still prohibitively expensive (and on 3G that could get dangerous – potentially 50p ($1) a second if you’re streaming something!).

With the announcement of city-wide WiFi coming to London, I think the mobile phone companies are really going to shoot themselves in the foot if they don’t start offering their customers mobile web options very soon.

Some smart phones already have wifi in them (it’s a £10 part to add) and there’s no reason to assume other phones won’t go this way too. Plus, if you carry around a laptop or PSP with you then you arguably already have a better browsing option with you than a mobile phone anyway.


So I’ve come to the conclusion that I am going to opt for the most heavily discounted, shitty basic phone I can find – and use it just for calling and sms. So far that seems to be this deal from Chatterbox – a Nokia 3120 for the equivalent of £2.99 a month on Orange. But don’t take that as a recommendation!

Published in Gadgets Thoughts and Rants


  1. Murray Murray

    fwiw, i used and got a phone on three.

    everyone told me the coverage would be useless, but to date I’ve had no problems. Everyone told me their call center staff were utterly useless, and they were correct.

    I had to hassle them to send the free bluetooth headset, so they are def. scamming that one. But they did send it once I hassled.

    As for three, if you don’t get up-sold into buying extras, their tarifs are way cheaper than orange/vodaphone for a **new, swish** phone. But you have to get a current/new phone, and if that isn’t worth paying for, then hey ho.

  2. I’m hoping to swap to EasyMobile – they only offer pay as you go tariffs, but you can set it up to auto-top-up from your credit card if your credit gets low, and their tariffs are dirt cheap (the text messages are cheaper even than the discounted ones I can get on my current tariff by buying them in a bundle.

    They don’t sell phones, so you’ll have to buy a new one of ebay (where you can get old phones dirt cheap).

    The only downside is a lack of GPRS (WAP at 15p a minute only) and lack of MMS (fine if you’re able to get photos off your phone using bluetooth anyway).

  3. Aaron Aaron

    You’re absolutely right.

    I can’t believe some enterprising technology company (Apple, where are you) hasn’t taken the decision to release a well-designed, stylish, innovative mobile phone that actually works, and has no connection to the mobile phone networks whatsoever, to the geek/early-adopter market. I’d happily pay £200 for a decent mobile in the knowledge that it was mine, it worked properly, and I could do whatever I liked with it.

  4. How will the city wide Wifi work? Will you pay a monthly subscription for unlimited use?

    If this is the case then the mobile companies are going to be doing more than just shooting themselves in foot because surely you could just get a decent WiFi (Skype) handset and use it anywhere you go?

    So not only will the phone companies loose out on data but possibly on voice as well.

  5. City wide wifi is coming closer, according to the Cloud. And there are handsets which will look for wifi and a clear connection back to your home network so you don’t even have to sync contacts.

    But back to mobiles for a bit. I do take what your saying Ben. But I’m not so sure its all that bad. I’m on Orange and there SPV range is actually pretty good. The only problem is being Microsoft driven the phones only seem to support GRPS and EVDO which we bypassed on the way to true 3G.

    I’ve been waiting for the Nokia N90 for quite sometime –
    but don’t think I can afford the 500 off contract price tag.

    I would honestly look outside the big 4 mobile phone companies. My Sanyo had problems at the start, but has turned out to be a fantastic phone with one of the best 1.3mpx cameras and a screen only outdone by the N90 and N91 now. I would see what Panasonic, Sharp, etc are doing for phones. I saw a Sharp with 3.2mpx camera in the Vodafone shop over xmas. I’m sure its only 100 pounds on contract now.

  6. Get a 6680. It’s great. Symbian OS and you can run Python and J2ME Java on it. Web browsing is bearable (I do things like Google Local searches on mine). Lovely.

    The N70 is a technically better phone (I think it has more memory) but I didn’t like the keyboard.

  7. I have the Sony Ericsson K750i and I like it. It has everything you would need from a phone and more. Look into that.

  8. I like to masturbate over mobile phones all the time, so think that mobile phones should be cheaper in the market. This is very important to me as I like to do this a lot.

  9. SBG SBG

    Ive been shoving phones up my arse for many years now and i am very upset that the phones are continuing to get smaller. This makes it less pleasurable for me as I prefer the big ones.

  10. josh harthern josh harthern

    i like boy

  11. mobile phones are my best friends. i love takin pictures on then while its showing my knob! bt mostly i really prefer a really big one!!!

  12. jamealla jamealla

    im really angry that the phone has got smaller as i caNNOT EAT AS MUCH OV IT ANIMORE I NEED SOMETHING AFTER I EAT MY HOUSE AND FRIDGE GOD NOW IM CRYIN

  13. i love to have a load of bumfun with phones. i enjoy cracking my head open an fit a load of phones in there like soldiers. i maybe be som dumbass but its not my falt my head is so big an its the size of a egg. and… gay over mobile phones.

  14. shaun potter shaun potter

    my name is potter/pot head i like boys and i have a stupidly oversized head like an elephant. MMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like eating cow balls and shagging horses



  16. S B G S B G

    i have a small willie

  17. Now then. first of all ive been after little children, or as i call them ‘my little miracles’, for 5 straight years and captured up to 300 of them. if you’ve got a kid missin then they’re gunna be wid me arite. And second of all when I do capture them then i just use my imagination, like my last victim, she only just came out with her nipples!


    the above are all lies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. matthew scholes   FISHYYYYYYYYYYYYY! matthew scholes FISHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

    i like shauns penis! though its very very very very very small. i also like sex with several farm yard animals

  20. ? ?

    all of these comments are made up apart from SBG which is real, he actually is a fat bastard who shoves phones up his backside.

  21. sasha fani sasha fani

    no its true robs a peedofile! im stuck in his basement right now licking his nipples! i couldnt do anythin he set his pet poodle on me!

  22. rob baxter ov ya mum... rob baxter ov ya mum...

    LET MY PEOPLE GOOOOOOOOOO! i lik shoes on sundaysb4 i go 4 a swim in the gayboi lake town ov ya mum! my name is robert baxter 10s3…happy holidays everybody 😀

  23. rob baxter rob baxter


  24. rob baxter rob baxter

    that is all

  25. georgie georgie

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaa yes old tite the ravors!… nice one robb atibacterial handshizzle:P

  26. gertrude baggins here gertrude baggins here

    GERTRUDE BAGGINS…78 from hartfordshire currently moving to shroPPPPPshire due to back pains..snoop dizzle G my beloved chiwawarrrr got stuk up a tree yesterday morning and the firebrigade had 2 recue him and he was rather dishy 😛 mmmmmmm..during the war way bak wen..everybody got along just fine! a pellet dropd on my head the other day and blew my hat off! indespicable!!!

  27. rob baxter rob baxter

    hmmmmmmmmm okay!
    *cough* LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *cough*

  28. dylan dylan

    i am nastyyy

  29. robert baxter robert baxter

    i am soooooooo gay please find me a boyfriend quickly i need 1 pleeeeeeease!

  30. georgie georgie

    charlies a dumb blonde n will never actually manage 2 read this cuz yourr comp crashedd lmaooooooooooooo woundedd

  31. mathew lowe...ov 10s3 mathew lowe...ov 10s3

    rob, if ur listening, please…i love you with all my heart, u r my life and i want to spend the rest of my life with you rob i am replying to that……x

  32. mathew lowe...ov 10s3 mathew lowe...ov 10s3

    rob, if ur listening, please…i love you with all my heart, u r my life and i want to spend the rest of my life with you rob i am replying to that….x

  33. robert baxter robert baxter

    please find me a boyfriend!!!! i am so depressed i reaaly need a boyfriend i am crying here please BABE please!!!#]

  34. rob rob

    ok mathew….i will be your gay lover….x

  35. Joanne smith Joanne smith


  36. georgie georgie

    but rob! what happened 2 me and youu!:(:( …. cry me a riverr

  37. robert baxter robert baxter

    do u robert baxter take thee matthew lowe to be ur lawfuly wedded gay lover??? hmm??

  38. rob baxter rob baxter


  39. joanne smith joanne smith

    i love shaun potter with all my heart and will give him the 1-2 whenever he likes. but only if his head will shrink 10 metres.

  40. rob baxter rob baxter

    i am gay i am sooo sorry georgie 2 break ur heart!! but i love matthew lowe 2 much 2 leav im!!

  41. georgie georgie

    youuuuuuuuuuuuuu goooo glen coco!

  42. chris holland chris holland

    what about me matt lowe i fought i was yours?

  43. charlie charlie

    i am sexually atrracted to matt scholes peach bum

  44. matthew lowe matthew lowe

    ok chris babe! i am all urs!! x

  45. courtz courtz

    SHE DOESN’T EVEN GOOOO HERRRRRRR!!! fresh meat comin thru!!!!!!!!!!! (8)ah uh ah uh-ah uh- ah uh ah uh-AHHHHHHHHH AAAAAAA!(8)

  46. josh morris 10s4 josh morris 10s4

    hi im a gayboi willing to join in the fun :p enibody up 4 sex???? quik tho :p

  47. georgie & charlie georgie & charlie


  48. courtnay reddy courtnay reddy

    i loooove kaz and her 2 stripe trainers!! will you get me sum please !!??? i rave off gay trances coz my life revolves around them!! andd also i love kaz’s green fleece it is just sooo my colour!!! love you kaz! peace out!

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